The Neighborhood Mother Goose is intended for students in grades K-2 and has won the ALA Notable Children's Books Younger Readers Award. In this book,...moreThe Neighborhood Mother Goose is intended for students in grades K-2 and has won the ALA Notable Children's Books Younger Readers Award. In this book, 41 nursery and street rhymes both familiar and not well known are illustrated with photographs in a city setting.
This book is a modern Mother Goose as computer generated and manipulated color photographs accompany Mother Goose rhymes. The author uses computer tools to combine photos of children in the Brooklyn neighborhood who act out the Mother Goose Rhymes. The scenarios she creates are both realistic and wild. For example, accompanying the familiar rhyme “There was an Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe” is a double-page spread of tiny children jumping in a giant shoe. Even though reality has never been a part of Mother Goose rhymes, children will enjoy seeing individuals like themselves in pictures that make the familiar rhymes part of imaginative fun in the city. Even though this book illustrated familiar Mother Goose rhymes in a unique way, I did not particularly like this book of rhymes because it combined realistic elements where fantasy is usually present.
Sweetgrass Basket is recommended for students in grades 6-8 and is a book written in free verse poetry. This book describes the lives of two Mohawk si...moreSweetgrass Basket is recommended for students in grades 6-8 and is a book written in free verse poetry. This book describes the lives of two Mohawk sisters with alternating passages as each sister tells their life story in their own words. In alternating passages, two Mohawk sisters describe their lives at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, a school that educates Native Americans, as they try to assimilate into white culture. It also describes how they feel about their mother’s death, life at the school, when one sister is accused of stealing, and death.
Overall, this book describes how two sisters feel in alternating poetic passages as they are shipped off to a boarding school, and try to hold on to their language and the few precious they have to remind them of their culture. This book describes how both sisters long for family, friendship, and a place to call home. However, trying to obtain these things results in tragic circumstances and ultimately the death of one sister. The inner-thought narratives allow readers to connect with the characters in a deep and emotional way. However, because the sisters have similar thoughts, it is sometimes hard to distinguish between the two. Overall, this poetic novel is compelling, authentic, and a sensitive and emotional portrayal of a part of history that is not widely known. (less)
This poem novel is recommended for students in grades 7 and up and is a Schneider Family Book Award (2008). This book chronicles the life and struggle...more This poem novel is recommended for students in grades 7 and up and is a Schneider Family Book Award (2008). This book chronicles the life and struggles of Josie, a seventh grade girl with Cerebral Palsy, who lives with her mother and grandmother. It also describes in detail a blooming friendship between Josie and Jordan, her neighbor, as well as challenges, which include her grandmother’s illness and her best friend going off to camp for the summer.
This is a heartwarming and inspiring story is hard to put down. The unique poetry format also adds to the appeal of the book. It is a quick read and a relatable book with issues regarding friendship, life struggles, illness, and family. Josie, the narrator of the book, is bright and does not fully realize her limitations or her strengths. The language used throughout the free verse poetry novel is also particularly strong. Reaching for Sun has wide appeal for readers of diverse abilities. Reluctant readers will be attracted to the simplicity of the text, with short chapters and lots of white space on each page. Every poem included really adds to the flow of the book, so much so that some readers may not even realize that they are reading poetry. However, more advanced readers will find enjoyment in the poetic structure used throughout the book. Overall, this book is touching, uniquely written, and will appeal to a wide range of readers as they discover what it feels like to live with a disability. (less)