Set during the summer in Florida, Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of 10-year old India Opal and her dog, Winn-Dixie. India and her father have j...moreSet during the summer in Florida, Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of 10-year old India Opal and her dog, Winn-Dixie. India and her father have just moved to the small town of Naomi as her father is the new preacher at the Open Arms Baptist Church. Living in a new town with no friends her age, a father who is often too preoccupied with his ministry to spend much time with his daughter, and a mother who left when she was 3, India feels lonely. One day while at the Winn-Dixie store, India unexpectedly finds a friend in a shabby dog who she takes home and names Winn-Dixie. Through her adventures with Winn-Dixie she finds love and friendship among an eclectic mix of the town's inhabitants.
This is a simple and beautiful tale about finding friendship and love in the places where you might least expect it. While the story does have some sad elements, in the end everyone lives "happily ever after". I would recommend this book to young readers who enjoy stories about children and their pets. This would also be a great read for children who are dealing with difficult issues like moving to a new town. Because this book is a short quick read, it would work well as a read-aloud book for 2nd to 4th grade students. (less)
George and Martha reminds me of the Frog and Toad books that I read as a kid. Both series were published around the same time and share a similar aest...moreGeorge and Martha reminds me of the Frog and Toad books that I read as a kid. Both series were published around the same time and share a similar aesthetic. Rather than a story about a frog and a toad who are best friends, George and Martha is about two hippos who are best friends. Similar to Frog and Toad, George and Martha have very different and very child-like personalities. Rise and Shine contains three short stories about the two friends. While this early reader edition of Rise and Shine was printed in 2009, the book maintains the simple four color illustrations from the original.
I loved the nostalgic simplicity of the George and Martha stories. Children will relate to and find humor in the silly antics of the two best friends. This book is intended for children ages 4 to 8 years old, which I think is the perfect age range for this early reader series. There are a few words that younger children may need help sounding out, but for the most part the text is easy to read. The illustrations and text layout makes use of a lot of white space, making the book easy on the eyes and not overwhelming. This would be a great book to recommend to new readers who enjoy books that feature animals as the main characters. (less)
The Higher Power of Lucky is the story of a 10 year old girl named Lucky. Lucky's life seems from the outside to be quite desperate. Her mother has pa...moreThe Higher Power of Lucky is the story of a 10 year old girl named Lucky. Lucky's life seems from the outside to be quite desperate. Her mother has passed away, and her father, who doesn't want to have anything do to with her, convinces is ex-wife to move from France to be Lucky's guardian. Lucky and her guardian, Bridgitte live in a hodgepodge collection of small trailers in the tiny desert town of Hard Pan, California. Despite desperate poverty and the absence of her parents, Lucky sees the beauty of life in Hard Pan. But when Lucky thinks that Bridgitte is going to leave her and move back to France, Lucky hatches a plan to run away.
This is an at times funny and quite emotional story. At first I was a little put off by the idea of another story of a tragically orphaned child. But instead of serving up the usual story of an orphaned child who goes on implausible adventures, Lucky's story is more true to life. This book was intended for children in grades 4 - 6. This is a perfect age range for the book as younger children may not be ready to deal with some of the issues that Lucky deals with, and older children may find the book to be too easy of a read. This would be a great book 4 - 6 grade classes to read together or for a young readers book group. There are many issues that come up in the story that would prompt great classroom discussions.(less)
"Juneteenth honors the saga of African people in the United States from slave ship to freedom." (pg. 23). Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom honors...more"Juneteenth honors the saga of African people in the United States from slave ship to freedom." (pg. 23). Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom honors the history of the June 19, 1865 General Orders, No. 3 freeing slaves in the state of Texas (the last state to abolish slavery). Charles Taylor takes the reader on a brief journey through the history of slavery in the United States from the horrendous journeys on slave ships, the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, and eventually to freedom. Unfortunately the book focuses much of it's attention on the history of slavery, with little focus on the intended subject of the book, Juneteenth. While understanding the history of slavery is important in understanding the celebration of Juneteenth, this book seemed to treat the celebration as an afterthought.
Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom is intended for grades 5 through 8. As far as reading level and content the book is a good fit for it's intended audience, but it does not have the visual appeal that would grab the attention of most young readers. Because this books is fairly text heavy, the book seems best suited for students doing research for school projects. (less)
Joe Bunch's 8th grade English teacher has given his students an assignment to write an "alphabiography" over the course of the school year. With each...moreJoe Bunch's 8th grade English teacher has given his students an assignment to write an "alphabiography" over the course of the school year. With each letter of the alphabet representing a different chapter, Totally Joe tells the story of a year in the life of a gay adolescent boy. Joe falls in love, has his heart broken, comes out to his family, and finds love and support among his friends and family. Howe does such a wonderful job of writing in the voice of a 13-year old boy that the reader can almost forget that an adult wrote the book (I mean that as a compliment to the authenticity of the story, rather than a criticism). Howe's story line and writing style creates a protagonist that tweens can readily relate to.
I loved this book, and I loved the concept of writing an "alphabiography". I would recommend this book to English teachers to read to/with their class and I would encourage teachers to create a similar "alphabiography" writing assignment for their classrooms. I would also recommend this book to any tween who enjoys books about outsiders. It is a definite must have for any teen LGBT collection. (less)