This is a book I wanted to review for a while, but other books always got in the way.
One by Katherine Otoshi
This is an amazing picture book about bullying and it is one I read to my kids over and over. Her other book “Zero” is about loving yourself as you are and is also amazing. I received both books from a group promoting children’s literacy and it is one of my most favorite stories of all times. With a simple message and beautiful illustrations this is a book that can be read and enjoyed by anyone over and over. Amazon did not put an age limit on this story for good reason. My Mom loves this story and she is…well older than preschool for sure. 😉
Age Range: 4 and up
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: KO Kids Books (October 1, 2008)
The story is simply told. Blue likes being Blue, except when Red is around, then he feels very very small. Orange, Green, Yellow, all like Blue, but when Red picked on Blue they don’t say anything because they are afraid of being picked on as well. Then walked up the number One. He stands up straight to Red and says, all it takes is One to stand up, because Everyone Counts! Then Orange, Purple, Green, all the colors stand up “Me Two, Three..” even Blue finally stands up to Red and says I Count! Red blows up, deflates, then Blue says “Can’t Red be Hot, and Blue be cool too?” Red becomes a number too and so the theme Everyone counts ends with Blue and Red, and ALL the colored numbers Counting.
This is both poignant and brilliant in its simplicity. Beautiful watercolors and simple prose tells the message: standing up to bullies takes courage, but if everyone stands together, no one stands alone. What is remarkable about this story, is that it offers a way to talk about all the factors in bullying, (why people remain silent, what a target feels, and what the bully feels) and does it in a way that is not preachy, it even offers a child appropriate way to solve the problem. I don’t care if you are 5 or 95, this should be in your library.
Her other book Zero is an amazing book about being true to yourself and should also be read by everyone. It continues the theme of Everyone Counts and is a terrific story of how a “zero” can matter.
I was thinking about my Dad today, and in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King I have a special person I would like to introduce some of you to.
Her name was Marian Anderson, and she was one of the most amazing opera singers of her time. She sang everywhere in Europe and had a voice that was breathtaking. Thinking of my Dad because he was the one who told me about Ms Anderson when I was six, sitting in our living room off La Joya listening to a live Met broadcast like we did every Saturday. I can still hear his voice telling me that this amazing woman with a voice of an angel wanted to sing at the Met, but the directors at the time sad no. Whites only! Undaunted, Marian looked for a place to sing. The First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband President Franklin D Roosevelt, solved this problem by inviting her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial. So Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, Marian Sang to more than 75,000 people.
The National Archives recorded and preserved the concert. To listen to the whole radio broadcast of the concert click here
This book means a lot to me because Ms. Anderson was both a beautiful singer and someone who my Dad adored. She pioneered equality for artists of color long before there was a Civil Rights Movement and did it simply by being so good she could demand things like she would only perform to mixed audiences.
The illustrator: Brian Selznick, who won his own Caldecott award for his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, uses sepia tones and stylized people to convey the sense of time until the last page where the only bit of true color in the whole book is Ms Anderson on stage, singing at the Met…The First singer of color ever to perform there. I am not familiar with Pam Munoz Ryan’s books, but this story focuses on Ms Anderson’s life and her singing. I adore this book and read it often.
It should be in our library soon, so look for it to be featured along with other stories of important Civil Rights pioneers in the coming weeks.
So I was in-between several edits and reads and thought I would search for some great children’s illustrated books for the library. This one caught my eye and so I requested it.
Sequoyah and his talking leaves: a play about the cherokee Syllabary
by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin
Illustrated by Siri Weber Feeney
40Pgs (all formats)
This book is is a play in four acts with twelve character parts about Sequoyah (S-si-qua-ya) during the time he created the written language of the Cherokee.
I was looking for books to add to our library that tell about important Native American figures and their roles in history. Now to be fair, it has all the elements that I was looking for in a children’s book about this subject: lovely illustrations, history and a little bit of drama.
I can see reading this in a classroom, but it is a little too simplistic for our older high-school and upper middle schoolers to do, but a little long for our younger kids. Also there is no pronunciation guide for the Cherokee words and symbols in this story so in several parts despite it being written I have no idea how it should be said. I love plays that make our children think and I can say this is worth reading, but with 12 parts might be a little difficult to simply read to your children. It is a play that needs many voices (though some parts can be read as a single person).
Please note that while broad facts are known, some of the details were made up for dramatic effect. The last few pages of the book include more information about Sequoyah and where to find more about the Cherokee writing system as well as curriculum links. My favorite is the Cherokee nation’s website at www.Charokee.org.
This is another Netgally book folks. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
IF… A Mind-Bending New Way of looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
by David J. Smith, Illustrated by Steve Adams
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Hardcover: 40 pages
Ever tried to explain how big the universe is to a child? and got stuck on BIG (with accompanying arm gestures). Or tried to explain how much of your life is spent traveling from one place to another or sleeping? (A Lot.)
Well this wonderful new Science book “If” aims to help explain these concepts in small easy to digest nuggets of knowledge using concrete objects and analogies.
I Love science books. Some of my favorite books of all times have been clever books about science and math that teach a concept or idea in a way that makes a lightbulb go off in my children (sometimes the adults too). This book with simple yet beautiful illustrations takes huge concepts like how far we are from the sun, and puts it into a way anyone can understand. (I am doing the football field one of the solar system with my kids). This is a great book for teaching basic concepts about history, geography, population, space, and resources. It won’t necessarily tell you what to do with the knowledge, but it is a great place to start a discussion or a lesson about any of these subjects. I will recommend this book for our library, and I will be buying this for my household library as well.