BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL by Philip C. Stead

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Author:  Philip C. Stead
Illustrator:  Erin E. Stead

The Steads are a talented couple who have written and illustrated another great book.  Friendship and patience are central to this sweet story.

A bear, readying for winter, wants to tell his friends a story, but they are all too busy preparing for winter themselves.  Winter passes; bear wakes from his winter’s nap, wanting to tell his story.  After a forgetful moment and patient encouragement from his friends, he is finally able to tell a story.  Here is where I found his friends to be sweetly kind as well as patient.

The art work of Erin Stead is done in woodblock and paint upon which she pencils in the perfect details.  The expressions on each animal is so very clear and delightful that I spent time on each page.  My favorite one is with bear, duck, frog, mouse waiting for mole to come up from his hole.  The bear has his head on his paws, patiently anticipating his friend’s arrival out into the full circle of friends.  I can see the expression in each line of his face, in his eyes.

Awards:
Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of 2012
An Amazon Best Book of 2012
Indie Next List Pick, Fall 2012

Reading Level: 2 – 5 Years

Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead are author and illustrator of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal and a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book. This is their second collaboration. This is Erin’s third picture book for Roaring Brook Press, and Philip’s fifth.
Philip and Erin live in a 100-year-old barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Philip Stead’s website is  http://philipstead.com/
Erin Stead’s website is  http://erinstead.com/

Book Information:

  • ISBN-13: 9781596437456
  • Publisher: A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, a Division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Originally posted August, 2013 and July, 2015

THE BROKEN WAY by Ann Voskamp

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As I read this beautiful book, I was continually drawn further and further into the ministry of Jesus. He came for the oppressed and the needy, for the sick and the tired.  Jesus sought the broken for healing, for comforting, to love unconditionally.  He came to save all who needed His salvation and gave Himself up to die upon the Cross for me, for you, for each and all.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Luke 19:10  Jesus broke the bread and gave it…And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of Me.”  Luke 22:19   Jesus was the Gift to His disciples; He also is the Gift for us this very day, every day.  As we take communion, we sit with Him, the Bread of Life.
The Broken Way is about being the gift, ourselves, to those we encounter in our walk upon this earth, on the path that God has set for us.  By being the gift, we give with open and welcoming hands, not closed fists and fearful. We can become less needy and less sick, less oppressed and less tired because we are giving of ourselves from the heart molded by God.
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As I finished reading chapter 14, I underlined so much in this beautiful chapter because it spoke right to my heart. I felt just like Hope, Ann’s daughter, who was lying on the bed with her mother.  I was listening to Ann’s words I had need of decades before, words that touched my soul today, that crept into my soul and heart through cracks begun years ago.  Maybe all the brokenhearted don’t need to try to believe more in themselves, but to believe what Jesus says about them more.”  I have lived broken since a teen…not being good enough.  By the time a bad first marriage ended after ten years, those old tapes of not being good enough had intensified.  What Hope began to grasp at her young age, I am healing year upon year since God blessed me with a Christ-centered marriage of 23 years now.  Now 69 years of age, I am blessed.  Thank You, Jesus.  Amen.

Being a member of the launch team for this book allowed me to begin reading before it hit the bookstores.  I have been so blessed to be a part of this as we who were on the team shared on a facebook page.  On it, we interacted with the actual book launch and the tour that Ann made over about two weeks in the United States, ending in Toronto, Canada.  We were able to watch the tour as it journeyed on from photos and words written.  We created graphics with quotes from the book to share with the others. Many on the team were able to venture to Canada to meet Ann and others on the team before it all began.  (I was not able, but enjoyed the photos, the messages, and the music from that afternoon.)

I highly recommend this powerful and insightful new book of bestselling author, Ann Voskamp.

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Author

Ann Voskamp is wife of a Canadian farmer and mother to seven children, ranging form college-age to a very young one.  She homeschools her kids, integrating real life in those lessons.  Ann is a New York Times bestselling author of The Greatest Gift and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, and the sixty-week New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, which has sold more than one million copies and has been translated into more than eighteen languages.

She was named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today.  Ann’s blog (Ann Voskamp) is filled with beautiful photographs of hers and her finely woven words.  Her site is one of the top 10 most widely read Christian websites.

Ann and her family live in Eastern Canada.

 

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Book Information:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 25, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310318580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310318583
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.4 inches

Paper Cranes

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This is not my usual format, but I am sharing a collage of books on Japan | the Hiroshima Bombing, 1945 and then other books on the folded paper cranes (the art of origami) All in all, they are very connected.

A bit of background:

Thousand Origami Cranes (千羽鶴 Senbazuru) is a group of one thousand origami paper cranes (折鶴 orizuru) held together by strings. Ancient Japanese legends promise that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish or receive eternal good luck, including healing from disease.  *

The crane in Japan is one of their mystical creatures, is said to live for a thousand years.  That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year.

The orizuru (折鶴 ori- “folded”… tsuru “crane”), or paper crane, is a design considered the most classic of all Japanese origami.  It is a representation of the Japanese Red-Crowned Crane which has a special significance in Japanese culture.  **

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The Red-Crowned Crane is among the rarest cranes in the world.  They are on the endangered species list.  There are only 2,750 in the wild, including about 1,000 birds in the resident Japanese population (the non-migratory cranes).  The remaining 1,750 migrate from Korea, China, and Taiwan to Siberia, China, and Mongolia.  Normally the crane lays 2 eggs, with only one surviving.  ***

The Crane myth is all positive—it mates for life (loyalty), and flies high for miles without tiring (strength.)  It is known as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity.

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I recently reviewed “The Last Cherry Blossom” by Kathleen Burkinshaw, revealing the memories of a twelve year old when the atom bomb destroyed Hiroshima, mostly based on the real life of Mrs. Burkinshaw’s mother.

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Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr shows two covers above (pink and green) which are the same book.  This book is written for the middle grades and is 80 pages long.  The book entitled Sadako is also by Eleanor Coerr but is 48 pages, written for the 4 – 8 year old.  It is beautifully illustrated by a Caldecott Medal winner, Ed Young.

The story is about Sadako Sasaki who was two years old when the atom bomb destroyed Hiroshima.  It is a true story.  Sadako, at twelve, got Leukemia from the fallout of the bomb.  She resided in the hospital at the end of her short life.  A friend made a crane from paper using origami.  The remainder of Sadako’s days became paper-folding ones.  Her family and friends hoped that she would be healed when they reached that thousand-crane mark.  Her courage changed many lives after she passed away.

The versions are the same story…told at two different age levels.

One Thousand Paper Cranes by Ishii Takayuki is another story about Sadako Sasaki.  After her death, her friends and family started a national campaign to build the Children’s Peace Statue, remembering Sadako and the many other children who were victims of the Hiroshima bombing. On top of the statue is another statue…of Sadako, holding a large crane in her outstretched arms.  Today in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, this statue of Sadako and the area around is beautifully decorated with thousands of paper cranes made and given by people around the world.  Many cities around the world have statues or monuments dedicated to Sadako and the other children, each dedicated to peace in this world.

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The Paper Crane by Molly Bang retells an ancient Japanese folktale, illustrated with paintings and cut-paper collages.  It is for the 4 – 8 year old.

Tree of Cranes by Allen Say is also for the 4 – 8 year old.  At Christmas, a young boy, sick with a cold, has his mother to tend to him.  She goes into the garden to dig up the pine tree that was planted when he was born.  She brings it inside for the boy’s first Christmas tree.  She decorates it with paper cranes and candles. The story is beautiful, surrounded by Say’s fine illustrations.

Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells is geared for the 3 – 7 year old group.  Yoko lives in the United States after moving from Japan.  She misses her grandmother, Obaasan, whose garden is visited each year by migrating cranes, and her grandfather, Ojiisan, who showed her how to fold cranes out of paper.  Yoko sends Obaasan some origami cranes for her birthday, folded just as Ojiisan had taught her. The greeting with the gift is, “Soon I will come back to Japan, just like the cranes,” reminding children that a grandparent’s love is enduring no matter how far apart they live.  The art is colorful and filled with patterns of fabric.

A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness by Florence Temko is for ages 10 and up.  A strand of one thousand origami cranes is an international symbol for peace, happiness, and health.  The book contains forty-eight tear-out sheets of colorful chiyogami (origami paper) for folding cranes and other things. Included is the story of Sadako of Hiroshima.  There are suggestions for how to use the subject of cranes in the classroom and hospitals; making the crane can be used as gifts and by people everywhere to demonstrate their commitment to world peace.

 

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*Wikipedia on “One Thousand Cranes”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_thousand_origami_cranes

**Wikipedia on orizuruhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orizuru

***Wikipedia on “The Red-Crowned Crane”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-crowned_crane

Photos of The Children’s Peace Monument (原爆の子の像 Genbaku no Ko no Zō – “Atomic Bomb Children Statue”) is a monument for peace to commemorate Sadako Sasaki and the thousands of child victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This monument is located in Hiroshima, Japan…  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=sadako+childrens+peace+park&FORM=HDRSC2

THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM by Kathleen Burkinshaw

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This middle school historical novel is set during a short span at the end of World War II.  The story is generally based upon the author’s mother’s firsthand experiences of World War II in Japan and surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.  The story is told from the point of a twelve year old, which was the age of Mrs. Burkinshaw’s mother on August 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb exploded on Hiroshima.

Young Yuriko Ishikawa was most content with life in Hiroshima with Papa.  Then Aunt Kimiko and little cousin Genji came to live with them.  To further complicate the peaceful life of Yuriko, the aunt and her Papa have a double wedding, bringing two more adults into the house.  Noise and chaos became more the norm for Yuriko which made her far less comfortable in her own home.

The ways of war were also significantly spread into all areas of Yuriko’s life.  The sirens of air-raids, preparation through drills, and the sound of American B-29s flying overhead were a continual kind of noise pollution to her.  The Japanese people were kept in the dark about how their country stood in the war, especially when it came to losses versus victories.  Despite the necessity of participating in the war effort, Yuriko and her family did their best to keep some semblance of normal in their lives, such as celebrating Oshagatsu (New Year’s) and the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Yuriko is shattered when a family secret is revealed.  As if dealing with all of that was not enough, the atomic bomb on Hiroshima devastates the family and the community.  Nothing could have prepared them for the total destruction that surrounds them.

Hope does sidle alongside tragedy in this well-written novel.  Kathleen Burkinshaw writes with reverence a fictional tale of her mother’s story…the experiences of growing up in Hiroshima and surviving August 6, 1945.   She was twelve years old on that day.

At each chapter, there are actual newspaper headlines, propaganda posters, and epigraphs of radio-show transcripts making the story all the more authentic.  At the end, you will find a bibliography, a glossary, and statistics about Hiroshima.  It dovetails exceptionally well with a middle grade(junior high) unit on Japan during World War II.

Age Range:  11 – 13 Years

Author

Kathleen Burkinshaw has been sharing her mother’s story to middle school history and language arts classes for the past six years.  She has been carrying her mother’s story her entire life and feels very honored to share it with the world.  She and her family visited Hiroshima in recent years and shares that experience in her presentations to classes.  Another part of the presentation includes the effects of nuclear bombs today compared to the atomic bomb in 1945. You can find information regarding all of this on the webpage for this fine debut novel…http://kathleenburkinshaw.com/

She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband.  Her daughter is away at college.  Kathleen worked in HealthCare Management for more than ten years, but because of the onset of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), she had to let that career go.  Writing gives her an outlet for her daily struggle with chronic pain as well as for her love of research and writing.   Her blog is @ Creating Through the Pain

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Book Information

ISBN-13: 9781634506939
Publisher:  Sky Pony Press
Publication date: 08/02/2016
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Publication date: 08/02/2016

MAKE WAY FOR READERS by Judy Sierra

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Miss Bingo, the Flamingo, is the children’s librarian.  She wears red round glasses (similar to my tortoise shell ones!!), a green hat with a yellow flower.  She is quite the sight!  The children are animals and ready for story time.

Ms. Bingo stands in a pond of water, bookshelves around the edge while the children sit on the grass.  Ducks, a skunk, a crocodile, a fox and a mouse, an owl and a penguin listen, get up and dance, exercise to the rhythm and rhyming of Ms. Bingo’s story time.  She reads Mother Goose nursery rhymes set to her own jingle.

This little book is built on total interaction.  I am just imagining the preschoolers and toddlers who came to my story times (as children’s librarian) reaching up and bending low, marching and walking, wiggling and squiggling, flapping and clapping right along with this delightfully fun and rhymed story time book.  As the children come and leave, some have library books in hand.

Age Range:  4 – 8 Years

Author
Judy Sierra was born in Washington DC, growing up in Virginia.  Her father was a photographer, her mother a school librarian.  They read to her every day.  She began writing and illustrating her own books when she was seven.  During the summer after her fourth grade year, Judy decided to read all of the children’s books in her local library.  She began in fiction, but, by the letter D, she felt there were too many books that were not right for her. The librarian suggested that she switch to the 398 section—folklore and fairy tales. She loved those books so much that many years later she went to UCLA and got a Ph.D. in Folklore.  Her anthologies of folktales have received awards and accolades including seven Children’s Choice Awards from the International Reading Association/Children’s Book Council, two Aesop Awards from the American Folklore Society, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Prize from the Association of Booksellers for Children.
Judy attended American University, B.A., 1968; California State University—San Jose (now San Jose State University), M.A., 1973; University of California—Los Angeles, Ph.D.
Judy Sierra worked as a children’s librarian, then a puppeteer. She traveled all over the United States, putting on shows with hand puppets and shadow puppets for children. She visited schools to teach children how to write scripts, make puppets, rehearse, and perform for an audience.
As an author, Judy has written many children’s books as well as a number of adult books.  She writes original tales in rhyme.  Some of her books have been listed as Notable Books by the American Library Association: Wild About Books, Tasty Baby Belly Buttons, Thelonius Monster’s Sky-High Fly Pie, and two–Antarctic Antics and Wild About Books—have been New York Times picture book bestsellers.  She has received many other awards as well.
She is married and has one son, living in Portland, Oregon.  You can find Judy Sierra @ http://www.judysierra.net/

 

Illustrator

G. Brian Karas was born in Milford, CT.  In 1979 he graduated from Paier School of Art in Hamden, CT where he decided that illustrating children’s books what what he wanted to do. From 1979 to 1982 he worked at Hallmark Cards as a greeting card artist in the Humorous Department. He moved to New York in 1982 and became a freelance artist.  He has written and illustrated many books, many of which have won awards.  He has illustrated for Cynthia Rylant, Denise Fleming, and many others.

He lives in the Hudson Valley of New York. He can be found @ http://www.gbriankaras.com/

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Book Information

ISBN-13: 9781481418515
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Pages: 32
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.50(d)

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr

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An absolutely beautifully written book!  Mr. Doerr can turn words, bringing the reader right into the story, describing the natural world along with the urban vistas, the action, and the characters like so few authors can or do.  The imagery is beautiful.  I felt as though I were right with Marie-Laure or Werner over and over again.  This is historical fictional, suspense/mystery, and literature at its finest.  It is a page-turner as well.  No wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris.  He is the lock master of the Museum of Natural History.  Marie-Laure goes blind at the age of six.  Her patient father builds a model of their neighborhood–every house, every manhole, every intersection, so that she can memorize it with her fingers and then navigate the real streets as she walks with her cane.  In 1940, the Germans occupy Paris.  Marie-Laure and her father flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s Great Uncle Etienne lives in a very tall, narrow house by the sea wall.  Her father frantically builds a miniature neighborhood of Saint-Malo for Marie-Laure so that she can get around on her own.

Then there is Werner, an orphan German boy.  While in an orphanage, Werner finds a radio.  Werner and his little sister, Jutta, are very intrigued with this machine.  He tinkers with it, listens to the stations he can find and becomes a master at building and fixing radios, and is incredibly smart in math.  These talents lead him to an elite but harsh military academy, a piece of the Hitler Youth.   He becomes a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels into Russia, across Europe and into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure’s.

The chapters are short, with few main characters.  Each chapter takes you to and from the various characters so while reading this fine book, it takes some time to lace it all together.  Mr. Doerr weaves a fabulous tale in this unique way.  There was much for me to learn about the French in World War II, as well as the Hitler Youth.  The reader is on the roads with the characters as they become intertwined.  The light we can see is the brutality and the love.  The light we may be unable to see is how many of these genuine characters, against all odds, do try to be good to one another through unconventional means.

And that is all I am going to say about the plot.  You won’t regret reading this fine book.

Awards:

Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction

2015 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction

Winner of the Australian International Book Award

A #1 New York Times bestseller

A finalist for the 2014 National Book Award

2014 Book of the Year at Hudson Booksellers

#2 book of 2014 at Amazon.com

A LibraryReads Favorite of Favorites

Runner-up for 2015 the Dayton Literary Peace Prize

Named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review

A best book of 2014 at Powell’s Books, Barnes & Noble, NPR’s Fresh Air, San Francisco Chronicle, The WeekEntertainment Weekly, the Daily Beast, Slate.comChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, the Oregonian, the Guardian, and Kirkus

Author

Anthony Doerr was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.  He graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine, 1995, majoring in history.  He then earned an MFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

He is the author of the story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, of the memoir Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, and his first novel About Grace.  

Mr. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and twin sons.   He can be found @ http://www.anthonydoerr.com/  and on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/anthonydoerr

 

 

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Conclusion of my Big Book Summer Challenge with Sue @ BookByBook

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THE PAPERBOY by Dav Pilkey

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A boy, living in a small town, gets up early every morning to deliver the local newspaper to all of those on his route.  He arises before anyone else is up and rides his bicycle from house to house, over hills and creeks that dot the landscape of his hometown.  While riding his bike, he thinks about how big or how small things are.  He sometimes just rides.  His dog joins him every day and has his own way of seeing this same world.  The dog chases squirrels while the boy enjoys the quiet and peace of these early mornings.  The pair enjoy those mornings together.

Even though paper delivery is almost a lost way for boys to earn money these days, there are places where it still exists.  Whether or not though, the lessons of organization and responsibility are taught so well in this story.  The Paperboy is unlike many of Mr. Pilkey’s children’s novels (see in paragraph below).  It carries lessons and is a quiet, thoughtful picture book.

Mr. Pilkey is probably known best for his silly series, Captain Underpants.  Other series authored by him are Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot, Dragon, Big Dog and Little Dog, and Dumb Bunnies.  He has written and illustrated many graphic novels for kids and quite a few picture books as well.  His books are often enjoyed by children for their short humorous chapters, large print, and comic format, but parents (as well as myself) tend to look at much of his writing through different eyes.  His work has been among titles in the American Library Association’s lists of Most Frequently Challenged Books.    

The book won a Caldecott Honor Award in 1997 for Mr. Pilkey’s exceptional artwork.  With this reissue twenty years later, Dav Pilkey remastered his art, bringing the colors to full vibrancy and to a whole new life, it seems.  Acrylics and India ink were used.

Awards: 1997 Caldecott Honor Book

Age Range:  4 – 8 Years

Author/Illustrator

Dav Pilkey  has written and illustrated popular, award-winning books for children, including the Captain Underpants and Dumb Bunnies series; Dog Breath!: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis, which won the “California Young Reader Medal”; and World War Won, winner of “The National Written & Illustrated by…Award” in 1985 (when he was 19…his first award).  He lives with his wife in the Pacific Northwest.   He can be found @ http://www.pilkey.com/

 

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Book Information

ISBN-13: 9780545871860
Publisher:  Scholastic, Inc.  
Publication date: 02/23/2016
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 32
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.50(d)