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Monthly Archives: December 2015

The War That Saved My Life

War That Saved My Life cover

Title:   The War That Saved My Life
Author:   Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Series:   –
Recommended for:   grades 5 and up
Pages:   316 p.
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION BRADLEY, K.

Rating:   *****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Comments:

I hope this book wins the next Newbery Award.

It takes place in England at the beginning of World War II, and is the story of two London children who are evacuated to Kent to protect them from wartime dangers.  Ada and Jamie aren’t chosen by any of the villagers who are willing to foster evacuees, and wind up at the home of an isolated woman who didn’t have any experience with children.  Thankfully, she feeds them, clothes them and (best of all) has a pony they can ride.

I think my favorite aspect of the book was the character development of the protagonist (Ada) and their guardian Susan, the growing relationship of Susan and the two children, and other friendships Ada develops in the village.  Their lives are so much better away from their mother’s abuse, and Ada learns that she is capable of many things.

 

 

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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Historical, Juv

 

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Lola Levine Is NOT Mean!

Lola Levine is not mean cover

Title:   Lola Levine Is NOT Mean!
Author:   Monica Brown
Series:    I think it will be called Lola Levine, but am not sure
Recommended for:   kids in grades 2-4 for independent reading.  It works best as a read-aloud for grades 1-3, although it could probably used for kindergarten and fourth grade classes.
Pages:   88 pages
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION BROWN, M.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Second-grader Lola has a wonderful family, a great teacher, and the best friend ever, Josh, and they all help her feel better after she is teased and forbidden to play team sports at recess for having accidentally hurt classmate Juan during a soccer game.

Comments:

Lola Levine is half Hispanic and half Jewish.  She has many opinions, communicates best in writing and loves to play soccer.  Sometimes she is too aggressive a competitor during recess soccer games.  One day she injures her classmate Juan when playing goalie at recess.  The other kids in her class nickname her Mean Lola Levine.

Lola has one best friend in her class, Josh.  The other kids, especially some mean girls, are not friendly (or even pleasant) to her.  But Lola primarily focuses on having one good friend.  She doesn’t spend an excessive amount of time talking or thinking about the mean girls.

I can imagine Lola being good friends with Clementine, Ramona,, Judy Moody and other feisty females.  I think her books will appeal to kids who enjoy those series.

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Juv, Realistic

 

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Freedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” Brown

freedomTitle: Freedom Song:  The Story of Henry “Box” Brown
Author: Sally M Walker
Recommended for: 4-8 years old
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E WALKE 

Synopsis:  Henry Brown copes with slavery by singing, but after his wife and children are sold away he is left with only his freedom song, which gives him strength when friends put him in a box and mail him to a free state.

As we have had a lot of people from children’s lit classes coming in and asking for historical fiction picture books, I really wanted to give them the highly acclaimed Henry’s Freedom Box.  Unfortunately, this assignment was too little, too late, and we weeded the book because it hadn’t gone out in years.  I was delighted to find out that we had another book on the same topic that had avoided that fate!

This fictionalized true story is sensational.  There is a transcribed letter at the end which is a historical document outlining Henry Brown’s escape.  There is artistry in the storytelling, using songs as a device to drive the story.  It is too long for a preschool audience or for a storytime, but for a one on one readaloud or for use in a classroom, this book is a gripping way to tell a real story.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Sound of Kwanzaa

Title: The Soukwanzaand of Kwanzaa
Author: Dimitrea Tokunbo
Recommended for: Preschool to 1st grade
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E 394.2612 TOK 

Synopsis:  This chant-like text explains the meaning of each candle lit for Kwanzaa. Each word is explained with the meaning as well as an example of what a person might do to celebrate that day.

Our primary audience for Kwanzaa books are preschool teachers who are talking about the holiday to people who do not celebrate.  While they need to convey information, they also need something that is a good read aloud. The repeating refrain should help drive the presentation of this book.  Unfortunately, the pronunciations of the presumably Swahili theme words is only included in the glossary, rather than within the text itself.  Teachers will need to practice ahead of time to be able to master this book, but of the choices, this book is appropriate for preschoolers.

 

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