THE LITTLE RED PEN by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

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OH!!!  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  ANOTHER SISTER-SUCCESS!

The Little Red Pen grades papers.  The piles on the desk are huge…overwhelming (in my teacher’s mind!).  She calls to Stapler, Scissors, Pencil Eraser, Pushpin, and Highlighter for their help in grading all of these papers, but they take cover in the nearby drawer.  The Little Red Pen tells them that if these papers are not graded, “the students won’t learn.”“The sky might fall.” “It might be the end of the world.”  and more in between!!  Excuses abound.  “The Little Red Hen” tale is brought back to us on top of a desk instead of in the country making bread.  “Not I, said the ….” all over again!

Tank, the lazy, overweight hamster, sleeping away, should be helping instead, or so thinks this excuse-laden cast.

With no help, the Little Red Pen goes off alone to grade the papers.  As the night wears on, she tires more and more, loses her balance, and falls into “The Pit of No Return,” the wastepaper basket.

The rescue ensues and the papers get graded, but not without much tongue-in-cheek humor and the best,most delightful artwork.

This is a fun book: colorful, bold, silly.  A great read-aloud!  These wonderful sisters have given us another story which will bring smiles to your faces from each and every page.

Age Range:  6 – 9 Years

Grade Level:  1st – 4th

Authors

Susan Stevens Crummel was a math teacher for 31 years!  As part of a Navy family, she lived all over the world. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree (major in Mathematics; minor in Physics) and Master’s Degree (Education) from Texas Christian University. She lives in Texas today.

Her husband, Richard, retired from education after 42 years (high school band director, principal, and superintendent).  They have three grown children.  You can find her @ http://www.susanscrummel.com

Janet Stevens co-authored this book.  (See below for her biography.)

Illustrator

Janet Stevens began drawing as a child.  Janet’s father was a Navy pilot, so moving and changing schools often was just their way of life.

Janet graduated from the University of Colorado in 1975 with a degree in Fine Arts.  In 1977, she attended “The Illustrator’s Workshop” in New York City, where it was suggested that her characters might find a home in a children’s book. She pursued that avenue and we are blessed to find her wonderful art in libraries and home bookshelves near you!  Janet is the author and illustrator of many original stories, plus, frequently, collaborating with her sister, Susan Stevens Crummel.

Janet has received numerous book awards, including a Caldecott Honor Award, Time Magazine’s Ten Best Children’s Books, the Wanda Gág Best Read-Aloud Book, Child Magazine’s Best Books of the Year.  Her books have been named ALA Notables, have repeatedly appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, won many state awards, as well as the prestigious Texas Bluebonnet Award twice.  You can find more @ http://janetstevens.com

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Book Information

ISBN-13:  9780152064327
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/18/2011
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 56
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.50(d)

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A CHILD OF BOOKS by Oliver Jeffries and Sam Winston

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by Oliver Jeffries and Sam Winston

She calls herself “a child of books.”  She lives for reading.  She goes to the home of a small boy, her travel companion who has yet to understand these things called “reading” and “imagination.”  The two children embark on an incredible voyage of discovery.  The two of them head out to find oceans, mountains, castles, monsters, the world itself to be filled with words from forty children’s classic stories and lullabies.

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The landscapes are typographical, where climbing up sentence steps and climbing down a rope of words to escape a monster are part of the adventures. They sleep and dream on a cloud of words. The passages from masterworks such as Little Women, The Wind in the Willows, Great Expectations and Treasure Island form a very literal and beautiful landscape of adventure.

One’s imagination can run wild across the make-believe mountains or through the forests of fairy tales.  This is a most imaginative book to encourage reading and the pursuit of all types of stories, poetry, lullabies.  The girl’s delight in reading and books inspires us all through this delightful adventure.  It opens doors for our imaginations to be free and run.  It encourages the storyteller in each of us, as well as invites our creative selves to push those walls beyond what we know is possible in order to illustrate our stories.

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This is truly a book for all ages although it gives the age range as 4 – 9 years old.

Awards:

Bologna Ragazzi Award 2017

http://iamachildofbooks.com/

Author/Illustrator

Oliver Jeffries, author of The Day the Crayons Quit, is from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.  Not only is he an author, but an artist as well.  He has won many awards for his books.  His paintings have been shown in London, New York, and Berlin.  We can find him @ http://www.oliverjeffers.com/

Illustrator

Sam Winston loves words.  He believes language not only carries messages from one person to another, but language and words can be a visual form of communication. He uses a variety of approaches including drawing, performance and poetry to accomplish this.  He has had his works shown in museums and galleries such as Tate Britain, the British Library, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., MoMA NYC and Stanford University, among many others.  He lives and works in London. We can find him @ http://www.samwinston.com/

The book is published or contracted to publish in 17 foreign editions around the world.

Book Information:

ISBN-13:9780763690779

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publication date: 09/06/2016

Pages: 40

Product dimensions: 10.40(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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)