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Showing posts from March, 2011

Mix N' Match Monday: Bangladesh

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With my geography background, I find books about other countries fascinating.  Not having traveled to many of the places I read about, however, I sometimes have a hard time always knowing how accurate the portrayals of people and cultures are.  So when I find a book by an author who has lived in and experienced the culture he or she is writing about especially refreshing.

Rickshaw Girl
by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan
Charlesbridge, 2007.
ISBN: 978-1-58089-308-4
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from personal copy

The blurb from the book says:
Naima loves to create the traditional alpana patterns Bangladeshi women and girls paint in their homes for special celebrations.  Her designs are always the best in her village.  But Naima wishes she could help earn money for her family.  Her friend Saleem can drive his father's rickshaw.  "If only I had been born a boy, she thinks."Mitali Perkins brings Naima quickly to life by showing us her love for alpana.  But her impulsiveness leads …

Nonfiction Monday: She Loved Baseball

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Being the last Monday of Women's History Month, I thought it would be appropriate to share a book about a women who made a difference in the world by speaking out for what she believed in.  Such role models are especially important in a world that is growing increasingly conflicted.

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story
by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Don Tate
HarperCollins, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-134920-1
Grade K-5
Reviewed from personal copy.

Effa always loved baseball.  As a young woman, she would go to Yankee Stadium just to see Babe Ruth's mighty swing.  But she never dreamed she would someday own a baseball team.  Or be the first--and only--woman inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From her childhood in Philadelphia to her groundbreaking role as business manager and owner of the Newark Eagles, Effa Manley always fought for what was right. And she always swung for the fences. (Taken from the blurb on the cover of the book).Despite looking white at a time when it was diff…

UELMA Presentation

This week I attended a conference for the Utah Educational Library Media Association.  I presented at the conference which was a new experience for me.  I confess I was rather nervous, at least until I actually started talking about the books.  Once I start talking about books I tend to forget almost everything else.  Someone did ask me if I had my power point available on my blog and I told her that I would post it, so here it is.

MIX N’MATCH Powerpoint

I will also include the three book lists I created.  These lists include information on children's books of fiction and nonfiction that work great together for book talks or curriculum needs. I have them separated into primary, middle, and secondary grades. I hope these may prove useful. Here is the link for the UELMA website where other great resources can be found.

Nonfiction Monday: Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell

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For Nonfiction Monday and Women's History Month, I have reviewed the picture book biography of Jane Goodall by Patrick McDonnell.

Me...Jane
by Patrick McDonnell
Little, Brown and Company, 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-316-04546-9
Grades K-3
Reviewed from personal copy.

Jane, along with her stuffed chimpanzee named Jubilee spent much of her childhood exploring the world around her. She not only noticed the plants and animals around her but she took the time to watch their behavior.  Once when she wondered where eggs came from, she sneaked into her grandmother's chicken coop to find out.  Jane also loved to read about other animals, especially African animals.  She loved to pretend to be Jane from the Tarzan novels.  Despite neighbors and friends telling her a life as a naturalist was not acceptable for a girl, Jane never stopped believing and with the encouragement of her mother, she became a naturalist.  Today she still works to help both animals and people and encourages children everywhere to…

Bless this Mouse

I admit I am rather fond of stories about mice, everything from The Tale of Despereaux to Brian Jacque's Redwall series.  Unfortunately, I can't say that I am overly fond of the real thing.  When I think of real mice, I always remember the time when I was a kid and we had a mouse die in the wall of my family's downstairs bathroom and the smell.  It was a pain to get it out.  This book kind of reminded me of that but not in a really bad way.

Bless This Mouse
by Lois Lowry
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-547-39009-3
Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through netGalley.


Hildegarde is in charge of a group of mice who live inside an actively used church.  Her job is to make sure the mice are taken care of but especially to make sure that the mice are not discovered.  If the mice are discovered there is sure to be a Great X.  Unfortunately, Hildegarde cannot be everywhere at once and several mice sightings by members of the churc…

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: Cherry Trees

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With everything that is going on over in Japan right now, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight a book that highlights a connection that we have with Japan, a peaceful connection.

Eliza's Cherry Trees: Japan's Gift to America
by Andrea Zimmerman
illustrated by Ju Hong Chen
Pelican Publishing Company, 2011.
ISBN: 978-1-58980-954-3
Grades K-5
Reviewed from personal copy.

Eliza Scidmore loved to travel.  From the time she was little and her mother took her to Europe, she dreamed of adventure and excitement in other lands.  Woman had few options at this time (mid to late 1800s), but Eliza refused to let that stop her.  She went to college and developed her writing skills.  She wrote numerous newspaper articles and a couple of books.  She traveled to Alaska, Japan, and Europe.  She visited India, China, Russia, and Indonesia.  But she especially fell in love with Japan, its people, its food, and its cherry trees.  When she returned home after her first visit to Japan, she looked …

Mix N'Match Monday: A Pet Skunk?!

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I missed blogging on Friday, I guess I was just too tired after running a book fair all week and two Praxis tests to take the next day (not one of my better decisions).  But here are a couple of books to share with kids who are into atypical pets.

A Pet for Petunia
by Paul Schmid
HarperCollins, 2011.
ISBN: 9780061963315
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

Petunia wants a pet, but not just any pet.  She wants a skunk (a live one, not a stuffed one like the one she carries around for almost the whole book).  Her parents are naturally horrified by this, but Petunia is persistent.  She promises to feed it and brush it and be responsible for it.  Her parents tell her that skunks stink, but this does not seem to phase her.  Will her opinion change once she runs into a skunk for real?  I'll let you read and find out.  I must admit the twist at the end surprised me.  In a fun way of course, I laughed out loud catching the attention of a teacher walking by.  This is a delightful book, perfec…

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: The World of Imagination

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I am in the middle of a very busy week, with a book fair and a test to study for, so this will be a short post.  I was thinking today though about some of the places we can travel in this world we call earth.  There is one place though that we can travel to without ever leaving home and that is the world of our imagination.  This place is a lot cheaper than any other place on the planet or off.  I confess to spending many happy hours visiting different places in my daydreams, mostly real kinds of places, but when I open a great fantasy or fiction novel I can end up almost anywhere.  Nonfiction can also transport me to different places and times, places I can not go in the real world.  So today I have a couple of picture books to share that demonstrate the joys of using our imagination to go places. 

 Mudkin
 by Stephen Gammall
Carolrhoda Books, 2011
ISBN: 9780761357902
Grades PreK-2
Reviewed from copy received from publisher through NetGalley.

The first book is called Mudkin by Stephen Gam…

Mix N'Match Monday: Mysterious Messages

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Code Talkers: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War II
by Joseph Bruchac
Dial Books, 2005
Grades 5 and up
Reviewed from copy borrowed from school library.

Native Americans have long been under appreciated, along with African Americans and other minority groups, for the contributions they have made to the development and survival of the United States.  During World War II as the war in the Pacific was heating up, the Americans desperately needed a way to send and receive messages that the Japanese couldn't intercept and interpret.  The Navajo language offered the best solution. 

This historical fiction novel follows the experiences of Ned Begay as told to his grandchildren many years after the fact.  He starts by explaining his experiences at a boarding school where the teachers did everything they could to strip the students of their Navajo identity.  Ned survives by becoming the model student, on the outside, but sneaking around with some of the other students, he manages to…

Fantastic Friday: Cats

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Bad Kitty 
by Nick Bruel
Roaring Brook Press, 2005.
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

Bad Kitty wasn't always a bad kitty, in fact she used to be a good kitty, until the day there was no kitty food in the house, only 'healthy' food.  Bad Kitty then proceeds to destroy the house to show her displeasure.  Once appropriate food is provided, Bad Kitty becomes good once more, although the reward she receives for her good behavior implies that her good behavior is not going to last. The following books contain the same sort of humor.  Interestingly several of the follow-up titles are chapter book length.

The author manages to insert ABC lists four times into Bad Kitty, which is quite an accomplishment in and of itself, but he also keeps the story moving forward to hold childrens' interest.  I have shared this book with my kindergartners and they enjoyed it greatly.  The colorful illustrations and design provide a nice complement to the wacky parts of the book.  Recommende…

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: Newbery 2011

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Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte Press, 2010
Grades 5 and up
Reviewed from personal copy

I chose to review this book on my Wild & Wonderful Wednesday feature, despite the fact that this book takes place in the United States.  I chose this book for a couple of reasons.  First, many of the characters in this book are immigrants who have come to Manifest to work in a mine.  Second, the location of this story (the town of Manifest) plays such a key role in the story, and that is what geography is all about, the interactions of human beings and their environment.  Would this story have been the same if located somewhere else? No, without the town of Manifest, the story would have been very different indeed. While the town is fictional, Vanderpool explains in the end notes that it is very much based on real people and real places.

Abilene Tucker, a twelve-year-old girl, who has lived most of the life on the move with her father, Gideon, arrives in Manifest, Kansas, her fathe…