Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

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)

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Poetry, Reading

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)

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

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

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Middle Readers, Picture Book, Reading

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

Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Poetry

MAKE WAY FOR READERS by Judy Sierra

7712680Illustrator: G. Brian Keras

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)
Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

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)
Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

ADA’S VIOLIN: THE STORY OF THE RECYCLED ORCHESTRA OF PARAGUAY by Susan Hood

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Illustrator: Sally Wern Comport

This is a story about Ada Ríos who lives in Cateura, Paraguay.  This is an extremely poor town where many adults (some children) work in the landfill, digging through the garbage in hopes of finding something to sell or recycle.  Ada’s Violin is based on a true story when  a man comes into the town for his job as an environmental engineer and falls in love with the people…so much so that he wants to change the way the children think about their futures in such a town.  He desires to give them meaning and hope to their everyday existence in a town based around a landfill.

At the end of the book, a large chunk of the true story is there, teaching us that Favio Chávez comes to town to train the gancheros (“gleaners” who eke out a living by finding and trading recyclable materials) about safety practices while working in the landfill.  He got to know the people of this village.  His concerns for their children led him to teach music to the children in order to try to keep them out of gangs and away from trouble.  As a musician himself, his interest, along with several others, spurred a whole new way for this village and others like it in Paraguay.  Without enough instruments, he enlisted some of the men to help him make violins, flutes, clarinets, guitars, and percussion instruments from items of the landfill.

The children each had an instrument then and attended practice on Saturdays with home practice in between.  After a time, they began to sound better and better.  The community began to hear sweet sounds coming from their children’s Saturday orchestra practices.  This led to hope for all even amidst a town filled with the stench of a landfill.  As they grew to sound like an orchestra, they were asked to give concerts around their nearby villages and then across Paraguay.  They now have been in many countries.  Money has come in and has helped change the community too.  New homes have been built away from flood-prone areas.  The adults have gained pride through their children; the children have been given hope through their accomplishments.

Favio Chávez began with ten children.  Over two hundred fifty have participated in it as of the writing of this book.  This one orchestra in Cateura has been a model for other children around the world.

Websites:

There is a documentary about the orchestra:  http://www.landfillharmonicmovie.com/

Frontline did a story on the village and orchestra in 2007.

CBS/60 Minutes did a segment in 2013 on them called The Recyclers: From Trash Comes Triumph

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDQ6c_bLr2o ; there are many more on YouTube.

Age Range:  4 – 8 Years

Author

SUSAN HOOD has been in the world of children’s stories for many years.  She was a children’s book editor at Sesame Workshop, and a children’s magazine editor at Scholastic and Instructor Magazine, the Children’s Content Director of Nick Jr. Magazine.

While working as an editor, she wrote many children’s books, including board books, concept books, interactive books, nonfiction and beginning readers. She has published books with Disney, Fisher Price, Penguin Putnam, Scholastic, Sesame Workshop and Simon & Schuster, to name a few. In addition to writing for children, she has written for parents and early childhood educators in The New York Times, Nickelodeon’s ParentsConnect, Sesame Street Parent’s Guide, Working Mother and more.

Susan lives with her family in coastal Connecticut, and enjoys spending the summer sailing with her husband along the coast of Maine.  You can find Susan @   http://www.susanhoodbooks.com/home

Illustrator

SALLY WERN COMPORT  has been drawing since she was a girl, making her first income when she was 15 by drawing furniture for newspaper ads for the local franchise of Ethan Allen.  Since then, she has been using her skills in many different ways.

Comport is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Columbus College of Art and Design; she earned her graduate degree from Syracuse University.  She guest lectures and teaches at Maryland Institute College of Art.  She founded W/C Studio Inc., a commercial art studio.  She also established Art at Large Inc. to produce large scale commissioned original works for interior and exterior wall spaces for commercial, residential and institutional clients.

In 2004 she cofounded a Public Art initiative and subsequent non-profit organization called ArtWalk and is currently serving as Curator, Artist, and Designer for that community organization.

Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of American Illustration in New York.  She can be found @ http://sallycomport.com/

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Book Information:

ISBN-13: 9781481430951
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Pages: 40
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

STEAMBOAT SCHOOL by Deborah Hopkinson

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Illustrator:  Ron Husband

Steamboat School was inspired by a true story.  It took place in Saint Louis, Missouri, before and around 1847.  Reverend John Berry Meachum had a strong desire to educate children in the years prior to the Civil War.

His own life was one of hardship and struggle as Mr. Meachum was born into slavery in 1789.  He worked to buy his own freedom and his father’s by the time he was 21.  He journeyed to St. Louis looking for his wife and children.  He worked as a carpenter and cooper (barrel maker) to earn enough to purchase their freedom, as well as a residence for his now-free family.

By 1826, he had been ordained a Baptist minister and became pastor of St. Louis’ First African Baptist Church.  While there, he began teaching black children in the basement of the church.  (In the true story, he taught free and enslaved blacks, children and adults alike.)  The school was called “The Tallow Candle School.”  In 1847, with racial tensions mounting, Missouri enacted a new law forbidding “Negroes or mulattoes” to be instructed in reading and writing.  His school was shut down.  But Reverend Meacham did not give up.

Early one morning, under the cover of darkness, he gathered his students and rowed them out into the Mississippi River to a steamboat in which he held class.  This school has been called the “Floating Freedom School.”  The river was considered Federal property, thus under federal jurisdiction.  Children and adults continued to learn because of the courage of this man.  His students grew in courage, as well, while learning to read and write.  One such student became a consul to Liberia.

This book has two pages at the end with actual historical events and background which aided in the writing of this historical fiction.  It is an excellent story to learn more about slavery and the freedom that came through education.  The courage of a single man made a difference in many lives.  Some 300 Blacks went through one or both schools of Reverend Meacham.  There are resource pages with websites and books to further one’s learning of the Meachams and of this period.

The Meacham home was part of the Underground Railroad.  In 2001, the Mary Meacham Freedom Crossing became the first site in Missouri to be recognized as part of the United States of America’s National Park Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

Age Range:  3 – 5 Years

Author

Deborah Hopkinson is the author of more than forty books for young readers including picture books, short fiction, and nonfiction.  Most of them are history-related.  Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building won an ALA Notable and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor book, Apples to Oregon won the Golden Kite Award and Spur Storytelling Award, and in 2013 she received both a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction honor and a Robert F. Sibert honor for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.  She has won many Oregon awards for a number of her other books, too.

Deborah Hopkinson was born in Massachusetts, lived in many cities, and now resides in West Linn, Oregon (near Portland).  She can be found @ deborahhopkinson.com and @ https://twitter.com/Deborahopkinson

Illustrator

Ron Husband worked at Disney Feature Animation for thirty-eight years and holds the distinction of being the first African American Supervising Animator at Walt Disney Studios.  He has animated many well-known Disney films including The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Fantasia 2000, Pocahontas, and Atlantis.  He illustrates children’s books and activity books.  He recently authored his own book about drawing, Quick Sketching, published by Focal Press.  He has retired from Disney, but continues to share his talents through workshops and speaking engagements.

Ron lives in San Dimas, California, with his wife. They have three children and three granddaughters.  Find him @ ronhusband.blogspot.com and on Google Plus @ https://plus.google.com/108206495971534759760

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Book Information:

ISBN-13: 9781423121961
Publisher:  Disney Press
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Pages: 40
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

THE HIGHEST MOUNTAIN OF BOOKS IN THE WORLD by Rocio Bonilla

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Originally published in Spain, 2015

Translated into English by Mara Lethem for publication in 2016

“Lucas was convinced he was born to fly.”  From a very young age, Lucas watched all that flew or floated in the air.  As he grew, he made his own wings and tried to fly with them.  When they failed, he would make a different pair of wings and try once again.  He asked Santa and made birthday wishes for wings…ones that “really” would let him fly.  But none of them worked.

One birthday, his mother told him that there were other ways to fly.  She placed a book in his hands.  Lucas did not understand what she meant, but he read the book while in their garden patio.  He loved the story so much that he got another book from the family bookshelf….and then another and another.  He began stacking one book on top of another as he read them. It grew taller and taller.

Each story taught Lucas something, whether it was history or science facts, about new places he had never been, or about places that did not even exist, but the mind would travel there through the book.  He met literary characters as you will recognize on many pages.  Each book gave Lucas wings to fly.

This book is quite clever as it encourages reading to such a fun and fine degree.

The illustrations are delightful and in subtle colors over each double-paged spread.  As you read the words and spend time with the art, the reader senses motion and flight.

  • Age Range: 5 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3

Author/Illustrator

Rocio Bonilla was born in Barcelona, 1970.  She received her degree in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona.  She began her career through various disciplines such as painting, mural painting, photography, advertising.

Motherhood changed her career though as she abandoned advertising and created “Once Upon a Time,” a company dedicated to decorating children’s spaces with hand-painted murals.

In 2010, Ms. Bonilla combined illustration of children’s albums with mural painting.  She has published several papers in journals, illustrated posters and nearly thirty books with different publishers.

As an author, she has published three titles: “Face Bird,” “The Highest Mountain of Books in the World” and “What Color is a Kiss?”  originally in Spanish and into several translations. 

She can be found @ http://www.rociobonilla.com/ and  https://www.facebook.com/eraseunavezilustraciones

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Book Information

  • Hardcover: 42 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Pauper Press (September 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441319999
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441319999
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 11.7 inches
Posted in Book, Book Review, Children's, Picture Book, Reading

THE WHISPER by Pamela Zagarenski

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This is a book about the joy and delight in reading and imagining.  It is a book about creativity and having fun.  It is a beautiful book in color, in creation, and in childhood (no matter what age one is!).  As I looked upon each double-page I felt a delight in the visual as well as where my mind began to take me.

“There once was a little girl who loved stories.  She loved how the words and pictures took her to new and secret places that existed in a world all her own….” 

The little girl’s teacher loans her a book.  It is a special book to this teacher because her grandmother gave it to her as a gift.

As the little girl heads home, the book is under her arm and is slightly open.  The words are escaping from the pages and into the air.  We, then, see a fox holding up a net and catching the escaping words.  When the little girl gets a chance that night to open the book, she is sadly disappointed to find the book has no words, no stories.

Yet, she continues to look through this book.  As she does, she hears the wind and a whisper: “Dear little girl, don’t be disappointed.  You can imagine the words.  You can imagine the stories.  Start with a few simple words and imagine from there.  Remember: beginnings, middles, and ends of stories can always be changed and imagined differently.  There are never any rules, rights, or wrongs in imaginings–imagining just is.”

She looks carefully at each double page picture and imagines what story it could be telling.  She starts slowly with a few words, the beginnings.  For each reader, the story is his or hers to imagine because each double page has a beginning, leaving an unfinished sentence such as, “He promised…” or “Last week…” or “Tiger had something important to say….”  Along with these unfinished sentences, the reader will find the word-catching fox and a rabbit, bees with a honeycomb, a crown, art all over and around each set of pages.

The art inspires one’s creative juices to flow.  As I read the beginnings of the little girl’s stories, I thought that one could use this beautiful book in so many luscious ways.  Of course, each beginning initiates a story.  Then, I would love to sit with a child without reading those beginnings and let the child tell me a story.  Or she/he could write a story by visually feasting upon the art.  Most children today are so electronically connected  that their imaginations can often be like a well run dry.  This book could easily be used as a tool to spark that creativity, that imagination.  Let us use books such as this one to fill those wells back up to full.

I felt so inspired myself.  I found the book in our public library and will surely want to own a copy to use with the children I tutor as I did during the Spring semester with a second grade girl.

Age Range: 4 – 7 Years (and older)

Author/Illustrator

Pamela Zagarenski is so creative.  She loves to draw and paint and has been using these creative outlets as long as she can remember.  She uses the natural world and her vivid imagination for her ideas.  She says, “I do all of my sketch work for my books in my journals. I have lots of ideas. ..some things become ‘real’ and others don’t.  I just play, and I write, and eventually the pieces come together to form something in paint and words.” 

The Whisper is her first book as both the illustrator and the author.  Prior to this, her art has won Caldecott Honors Awards for Sleep Like A Tiger by Mary Logue–CALDECOTT HONOR 2013 and Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman–CALDECOTT HONOR 2010

You can find her art @ http://www.pzagarenski.com/Home.html

She has a Twitter account as well @ https://twitter.com/Sacredbeez

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Book Information

ISBN-13: 9780544416864
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Pages: 40
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)