Charlotte's Web is a charming and innocent story. It is told through a third-person narrator, without bias, making it easy to follow. The story also t...more Charlotte's Web is a charming and innocent story. It is told through a third-person narrator, without bias, making it easy to follow. The story also takes a look at the inner thought processes of Wilbur, creating a child-like view for readers of all ages. However, it is a book that deals with several surprisingly deep issues including love, friendship, loyalty, heroism, consistency, death, and the realities of life indirectly. Characters explore their relationships with each other throughout the book and the themes mentioned above grow from these interactions. This book is definitely original since the author gives barnyard animals human-like voices and personalities, but uses human characters like Fern, Avery, and the Alable and Zuckerman families as well.
Charlotte's web has written with a certain simplicity and delight, but ironically deals with the subject of death throughout the book. For example, Wilbur escapes murder throughout the book with the help of Fern and Charlotte, but in the end, when Charlotte dies, the reality of death hits hard. It is here that the author also sends a strong message about selflessness as Charlotte expends her last ounce of strength writing a final web message, the one that assures Wilbur that he will live. Through these turn of events, the author makes the point that love is selfless and produces wonders just like the saving of Wilbur by both Fern and Charlotte, as well as the wonder of how he was saved later in the book with the messages written in Charlotte's web.
Charlotte's Web is a fine example of outstanding Children's Literature because it expands awareness of what is was like to live in the 1950’s, spiders in general, the meaning of words like loneliness, terrific, radiant, and humble, and also explores the themes of friendship, love, loneliness, loyalty, heroism, and death. It is also a book that tells the truth about spiders, death, friendship, feelings, and life, embodies quality, shows integrity when exploring issues like friendship, loyalty, compassion, heroism, and love, and definitely shows originality. In my opinion it is a piece of literature that is simple, innocent, enjoyable, deep, and exciting to read.
This chapter book about slavery is a novel in dialogue and is intended for children ages 9-12. This book accurately tells about the hardships during t...moreThis chapter book about slavery is a novel in dialogue and is intended for children ages 9-12. This book accurately tells about the hardships during times of slavery by describing the biggest slave auction in American History through flashbacks, flash-forwards, in shifting first-person accounts.
The author accurately describes slavery in general and transforms what little is known about the biggest slave auction in American History into a dramatic, personal, and real work of art. The personal voices and accounts given throughout the book really help place the reader in the shoes of the slaves represented. When reading, readers get to see and feel what is would be like to be handled like animals, wrenched from family, friends, and love, which is why this book has a deep emotional feel. The theme that every decision has its consequences is also strongly shown throughout the book. (less)
Summary: This picture book, illustrated in a quilt-like fashion, is intended for readers 4-8 years of age and is a Caldecott Honor book. This book is...moreSummary: This picture book, illustrated in a quilt-like fashion, is intended for readers 4-8 years of age and is a Caldecott Honor book. This book is about the universal wish of freedom. It delightfully balances dreams of a young girl and the injustices of the adult world. One night, as Cassie Lightfoot lays on “tar beach” which is the rooftop of her apartment building, the stars lift her up, allowing her to fly all round the city. While flying, she claims all of the buildings her own so her family will no longer have to worry, worries that are caused by the injustices of society.
This book demonstrates the effects that the social injustices of 1939 had on African American families. It displays nicely the universal themes of freedom, power, prejudice, wishing things were different, and using fantasies and dreams (like being able to fly all over the city and change the world) as ways to escape, try to make things better, and find hope. This book is a weaving of fiction, autobiography, African-American history, and literature, which is why it is so fitting that the illustrations are done in a quilt-like style. Tar Beach is a work of modern art translated into a children's picture book, by artist Faith Ringgold. The illustrations are rich, colorful, and intense, as is the story portrayed within the book. (less)
This picture book, recommended for readers 8-10 years of age and has received the The Sydney Taylor Book Award. This book is about a family quilt, whi...moreThis picture book, recommended for readers 8-10 years of age and has received the The Sydney Taylor Book Award. This book is about a family quilt, which is made from a basket of old clothes of several family members from many generations. The quilt represents the importance of family and heritage, as tells the story of the importance of the quilt, and all the events for which is has been a part (Sabbaths, weddings, births) as it has been passed along from mother to daughter through four generations for almost a century.
This book is extremely heartwarming and enjoyable. It really showcases the importance of family (alive and passed) as well as knowing ones heritage, and family history and finding ways to keep it alive. It also shows the importance and comfort that is brought by finding ways to share life and important events with the people that you love, even if they are not able to be there physically. The quilt symbolizes family, unconditional love, and faith. The illustrations are just as heartwarming, in addition to being real, detailed and unique. (less)
This picture book, intended for ages 4-8, is a beautifully illustrated book about a young child adjusting to life in America after being forced out of...moreThis picture book, intended for ages 4-8, is a beautifully illustrated book about a young child adjusting to life in America after being forced out of his home in Somalia by a violent war. The little boy, feels very alone and unable to communicate since he does not know anybody or the language. However, with the help of his parents, his teacher, and an interpreter, he uses painting as a way to communicate and help in adjusting to his new home in America.
Children, especially immigrants, who are moving to or from a different place will be able to relate to this book. This book is filled with emotion and shows the power of being able to tell ones own story to people who will listen. The main character in the book, Hassan, feels unsure, lost, and lonely in his new country and home, having to learn a new language, go to a new school, and make new friends. However, once given the opportunity of communicating though painting, Hassan was able to tell his story and show his feelings about what happened to him and the new changes that are occurring in his life. After being able to tell his story through painting, he began to open up, remember the good things about Somalia, and begin to make new memories in America. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and beautifully compliment the book. They are done in impressionistic watercolor and show the transformation of Hassan’s feelings and emotions as the illustrations go from dark grays, blacks, purples, and reds, to bright blues, greens, and yellow colors. (less)
**spoiler alert** Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears is a West African Folktale set in a picture book style. It is recommended for ages 4-8, and has...more**spoiler alert** Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears is a West African Folktale set in a picture book style. It is recommended for ages 4-8, and has won the Caldecott Medal (1976) and Reading Rainbow's 101 Best Children's Books (1976). In this book, Mosquito tells Iguana a tall tale about digging yams, which upsets Iguana so he plugs his ears with sticks. This causes a chain reaction that ends in a jungle disaster of the Owl refusing to hoot and wake the sun. Eventually all is resolved, the Mosquito learns her lesson and stops telling tall tales, but develops a habit of buzzing in people’s ears.
This book was a delight to read. This book is a good choice if teaching responsibility, community, or how ones actions affect others. This book is a dramatization of how people can affect the community in which they live. My only criticism is that the affects shown were all negative and had some pretty heavy consequences, (death) which can be overwhelming and harsh for the intended age group. However, at the same time, it is catchy, a great read aloud book, and would be interesting to hear on CD since it has sound effects and repetitive phrases with the turn of every page. The ending of the book is definitely humorous to those who are constantly bothered by mosquitoes. The illustrations are colorful, beautiful, imaginative, and different. They are done in a mosaic style, and bring a lot to the book.
This book is a novel recommended for children ages 9-12 and is A Booklist Editors Choice, A Hornbook Fanfare Selection, A Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Bo...moreThis book is a novel recommended for children ages 9-12 and is A Booklist Editors Choice, A Hornbook Fanfare Selection, A Judy Lopez Memorial Honor Book, A Parenting Reading Magic Award Book, A Beatty Award Winner, A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. It is a unique collection short stories that display the themes of love, friendship, growing up, success, and failure. Through this book, readers get to see and feel the joy and pain poor Latino Mexican Americans living in California’s Central Valley feel everyday.
The short stories represented in this book are moving, humorous, and entertaining, while the themes represented are quite subtle. The stories tell about the joy of receiving a new doll, anxiety over little league tryouts, and the desire to be better and stand out above the crowd, among others. They demonstrate the themes of love, friendship, growing up, success, and failure. The stories represented are honest and moving, yet simple. It is clear through his writing that the author has sensitivity to teens’ concerns and does a nice job of portraying these concerns through the eyes of teenagers. This book is a must read for any teenager, as I believe they will be able to greatly relate to the stories represented throughout the book.
This book is recommended for children 4-8 years of age and has won the Child’s Best Award from Child Magazine. It is a playground rap that demonstrate...more This book is recommended for children 4-8 years of age and has won the Child’s Best Award from Child Magazine. It is a playground rap that demonstrates how all people are different, yet the same.
Overall, I did not like this book. It did introduce the idea that all people are different, yet the same by concluding the book with the phrase, "Light skin. Dark skin. Long legs. Short legs. Thick arms. Thin arms. Brown eyes. Blue eyes. Big nose. Little nose. Straight hair. Curly hair. Different-- Mm-mmm , but the same, Ah-ha! Now isn't it delightful, simply out-of-sightful, bein' with you this way!" However, I don’t think this message was strong and bit superficial because the book focused on only physical traits. I read this book in the form of a CD, and I did not like it at all. The reader was monotone, boring, and did not emphasize or inflect her voice at all when reading. For a book that is supposed to be a playground rap, the reader did not read with any sort of rhythm. Even though the illustrations were vibrant, interesting, and added to the book, the overall book left me very disappointed since the represented theme is very important.
This picture book, recommended for readers 8-10 years of age and has received the Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor (2002), New York Times Bes...moreThis picture book, recommended for readers 8-10 years of age and has received the Coretta Scott King Award, Caldecott Honor (2002), New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (2001). This is a book that tells the story of MLK’s life and times. This narrative tells of MLK’s life and the Civil Rights Movement by weaving together the authors words and actual words spoken by MLK.
This book describes the Civil Rights Movement, inequality, and the life of MLK in a captivating and emotional way. The themes of “You are as good as anyone” and “Everyone can be great”, as well as inequality and death shine through. The illustrations are unique, colorful, and are done in the style of collage art. Overall, the book paints an accurate picture of MLK, a man who helped big changes occur in America and all over the world. Information about important dates surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and a list of additional books and websites to go to for more information also add to the book. (less)
This series chapter book is intended for girls who are 9-12 years old. This book is the first book in the Addy American Girl series and introduces the...moreThis series chapter book is intended for girls who are 9-12 years old. This book is the first book in the Addy American Girl series and introduces the subjects of slavery, the underground railroad, and the Civil War. Addy, a nine-year-old girl and slave on a North Carolina plantation hears her parents who are also slaves talking about possibly running away in order to gain freedom. That possibility becomes reality after Addy's father and older brother are sold to another master. It is then that Addy and her mother begin their journey to a “safe house” and from there are transported to a ship that takes them to Philadelphia and to freedom.
This book is a realistic, engaging, and emotional book about slavery, the underground railroad, and the Civil War. Many young girls will be able to relate and empathizes with the strong characters and personalities throughout this book. This book is heart-wrenching as many of the characters are treated like animals and some are even forced to leave behind family in search of freedom. The illustrations, which are done in watercolor and the accompanying captions add to the book, as does the family tree and looking into the past sections of the book. As a classroom teacher, I may use this as a read aloud book and one of many resources when teaching about slavery and the Civil War. (less)
The Other Side is for students in kindergarten through fourth grade and is an ALA Notable Book for Children (2002), a Notable Book of the English Lang...moreThe Other Side is for students in kindergarten through fourth grade and is an ALA Notable Book for Children (2002), a Notable Book of the English Language Arts (2002), and a Notable Social Studies Trade Books (2002). This story is about a fence that separates the black and white sides of town and a black girl named Clover and a white girl named Annie who do not understand why. Annie begins to sit on the fence, rain or shine. Clover grows more curious about the fence and Annie and one day decides to approach Annie. They both believe that a fence and the color of one’s skin should not come between friendship.
The author beautifully tells the moving story of two girls who are confused about a fence separating their worlds and the racial tension surrounding it. The story is written in a lyrical way and really displays the girls’ feelings, emotions, confusion, as well as their longing of friendship. It definitely illustrates segregation in a meaningful way and also lends itself to talking about other barriers that are present in our world today. The illustrations are done in watercolor and beautifully support the text. Overall, this is a great book to use when introducing the issue of segregation to young students, but can also be used to facilitate discussion with older elementary students. (less)
This beginning reader book is recommended for children ages 4-8. It has won the Caldecott Medal (2005), was a Book Sense Book of the Year Award Nomine...moreThis beginning reader book is recommended for children ages 4-8. It has won the Caldecott Medal (2005), was a Book Sense Book of the Year Award Nominee for Children's Illustrated - Honor Book (2005), won Charlotte Zolotow Award (2005), was an ALA Notable Children's Book for Younger Readers (2005), and was the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (2004). This story is about a kitten who mistakes a full moon for a bowl of milk. The kitten is brave, inquisitive, fast, and persistent in trying to reach what it thinks is a bowl of milk. However, the kitten quickly becomes very tired, wet, and hungry. Upon returning home, there is a bowl of milk waiting for the kitten.
This book is simple, yet teaches perseverance. This book is perfect for young children with its repetitive phrases. The words and illustrations complement each other as they are both relatively simple. The thick lines, patterns and repetition give clues and help children predict what is coming next in the text. When teaching, I would use this book during shared reading since its enjoyable and heart-warming story, repetitive nature, and simple illustrations and text, lend itself well to a shared reading experience. (less)
This wordless picture book is intended for children kindergarten through fourth grade. It has won the following literary awards: Caldecott Medal (2007...moreThis wordless picture book is intended for children kindergarten through fourth grade. It has won the following literary awards: Caldecott Medal (2007), Vermont's Picture Book Awards: Red Clover (2008), and New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (2006) This story is about a boy who goes to the beach looking for flotsam, any material that floats. While he does find some shells, crabs, he also finds something he never expected…an underwater camera. When developing the film, he finds out several secrets, some that he will share with the next person lucky enough to find the camera, and others that he will keep.
This wordless picture book has very colorful, vivid, and detailed watercolor paintings. While looking at these paintings, readers are able to use a combination of picture clues and imagination to figure out the fantasy-like story line. Readers are also able to feel like they are inside the story and moving just like the water on the beach as the author uses various perspectives including close-ups, landscape views, boxed sequences, and full-page spreads, much like a photographer. This book is unique, enjoyable, innovative, and extremely creative. The pictures are detailed, emotional, and captivating, and with the turn of each page, another twist is added to the story. When using this book in my classroom, I might have students pick an event and tell a story using only pictures, much like a comic book strip. (less)
This book is intended for children kindergarten through grade six. It has won several literary awards including Caldecott Medal (2004), Boston Globe–H...moreThis book is intended for children kindergarten through grade six. It has won several literary awards including Caldecott Medal (2004), Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Picture Book (2004), An ALA Notable Children's Book for All Ages (2004), Patricia Gallagher Picture Book Award Nominee (2007), and New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (2003). This book is about the day in 1974 when Philippe Petit spent hours securing a tightrope between the two towers of the World Trade Center. Afterwards, he walked, danced, and performed for over an hour feeling completely free. It ends reminding readers that the towers of the World Trade Center will always remain in memory, as should the image of the man who dared to walk in between them.
This story is heartwarming and encompasses the themes of courage, following dreams, taking chances, and freedom. Through poetry and lyrical words, the author captures the magic and freedom of being able to walk between the two towers. The illustrations greatly add to the book through the color, detail, and magic of the ink and oil paintings. Through this book, the author is able to capture Philippe’s determination, profound skill, joy, and dream-like state as he walks between the towers. This book can be used as a segway when talking about September 11, 2001 and the destruction of the twin towers. Overall, this books serves as a great memorial to the towers as the ending of the book states, “But in memory, as if imprinted in the sky, the towers are still there.” (less)
Freedom Summer is intended for students in first through fourth grade and has won the Once Upon A World Children’s Book Award (2002). This book is abo...moreFreedom Summer is intended for students in first through fourth grade and has won the Once Upon A World Children’s Book Award (2002). This book is about two best friends, Joe and John Henry who live in the south in 1964. There is one problem; John Henry is black and Joe is white so John Henry is not allowed to do everything that Joe is allowed to do. However, a new law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone, regardless of color. The two friends are so excited that they race each other to the pool. When they get there they discover that someone has ruined the pool because they do not agree with the new law. It becomes very clear to both boys that it is going to take a lot more than a new law to change people’s minds and hearts.
This story has the theme of racism and powerfully captures the feelings and experience of two boys who are best friends of different races during the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This book is heartwarming and bittersweet as the boys try to understand why racism occurs and work to defy it with their friendship. I like how the book ends on an uplifting not as the two boys walk into a store together that was once segregated in order to buy ice pops. The illustrations are bold, beautiful, colorful, and done in an impressionistic style. The close-up paintings of the boys’ faces and the facial expressions of the other characters add to the emotional feel of the book. The text and pictures work well together to capture the feelings, emotions, and great friendship of the two boys. (less)