There is so much little-known history in our typical US History education, so much that is brushed over. This book helps fill out the lesser developedThere is so much little-known history in our typical US History education, so much that is brushed over. This book helps fill out the lesser developed (and long) fight for women's suffrage. What pluck and gumption these two sisters had and how unfairly they were treated for a long time by the town's leaders. Yet also, how much they were largely supported by the majority of their neighbors. An excellent read aloud for Women's History Month (or any other time of the year of course) as it complements the bigger picture that most of think we know. It is reassuring to see that the fight for women's suffrage began long before the 19th amendment was passed, which is when most history texts deal with the issue. It is so glaringly obvious even today, as it was when the book takes place, that the Smiths are victims of "taxation without representation" that even a child can grasp the concept. The author succeeds, in this teacher-librarian's opinion, in distilling down what could be a dry and prone to cliche story, into a compelling and well-explained story. The illustrations complement nicely as well. ...more
There is something very nice about a picture book that an adult can read on his/her own level and a child can still enjoy, just like when I watched BuThere is something very nice about a picture book that an adult can read on his/her own level and a child can still enjoy, just like when I watched Bugs Bunny with my dad as a child. He had seen them in the movies as a boy and still enjoyed them with me as a parent.
Claire Nivola had me with Planting the Trees of Kenya and I have been a fan ever since. She has a beautiful style of illustration that is both detailed and warm at the same time. Her pictures make me feel like she chose every single brush stroke with absolute care and forethought. I feel this way too about her words: the first page serves as a beautifully worded introduction to her father's home. There is a very well-written author's note which describes the changes that have occurred in the village over the years. This too can be shared with children.
This book is wonderful in the sense that it relates (from an adult's perspective) how a child saw the world in all its joys and sorrows and magic moments - like seeing lizards lying in the sun or eating tree-ripened fruit. There are the touchier moments as well, seeing a dead body is part of the story. However these are dealt with as a part of life and in this teacher-librarian's opinion make the story real and memorable to younger children. What great discussions might be had after a read-aloud with this book. I feel somehow satisfied after having read about Orani and I'd like to see it for myself....more
I have to admit that this book took me a second read to appreciate and enjoy. The first read left me a bit head-scratching and calling it surreal. NowI have to admit that this book took me a second read to appreciate and enjoy. The first read left me a bit head-scratching and calling it surreal. Now after the second read I appreciate it much more. I never had an older brother so I can't quite relate but Shaun Tan has done an amazing job in creating a birds-eye view of a boy's mind and fantasy world that comes from that feeling of an endless summer full of possibility and adventure. Two unnamed brothers have a summer of those adventures, a little dark, maybe even a bit ominous, but full of love and promise in the end - not exactly in the Disney "happy ending" way but in a truer, more real sense.
Very few words, accompanied by the beautiful oil/pastel illustrations, leave much to interpretation and I believe this book would make a great read-aloud and follow-up discussion with students, allowing them to discuss and imagine and interpret on their own. Have them sit in a circle and let them really discuss with each other - just sit back and listen. Pleas don't let the unique nature of this book let you pass it by or avoid sharing it with students....more
This is a thoroughly enjoyable tall tale read. The illustrations are colorful, attractive and engaging for kids of many grades, easily up to 5th withThis is a thoroughly enjoyable tall tale read. The illustrations are colorful, attractive and engaging for kids of many grades, easily up to 5th with a genre study. There are also good history connections to be made, particularly if the author's note at the end of the book is used. There is a map in the front as well. A comparison with Johnny Appleseed is also possible. I didn't give it a fifth star just because there were a few minor parts that just did not seem well-developed or completely connected. Nothing too serious but things the students asked about or did not understand that I felt could have been a little better explained or developed. I would give the author 5 stars for excellent vocabulary and use of language though. It made for a fun read-aloud with all the puns and Americanisms. ...more
I can't say a bad thing about this book. It really is great. I have read it with classes in 3rd through 5th grades as well as my ESL students in HS. TI can't say a bad thing about this book. It really is great. I have read it with classes in 3rd through 5th grades as well as my ESL students in HS. They all like it and for many different reasons. It is so obvious why this was an award winner. Any time you have to turn a book for a unique foldout and the kids go "oooh" and "aaaah", the author/illustrator has done his or her job. Gerstein has sparse but extremely effective and well-chosen prose. There is nothing missing. The message that comes across in this book, about what kind of person Philippe Petit must have been to do what he did is never explicit nor preachy. It comes to each reader differently. Gerstein gives just enough facts about the heights and weights and lengths for readers of all ages to understand just what a magnificent feat it really was. The pictures only complement the words, and they are as unique as they are beautiful, both in page layout and technical execution. When you get to the end and the kids realize it is non-fiction there is that great moment of silence when it dawns on them. They ask me and we discuss it and the sadness of 9-11, which is often difficult to discuss with students, somehow is tempered by the fact that people can remember something good that happened there. (I'm happy to discuss this book with anyone who is thinking of using it with students.)...more
This was my first YA mystery and I am so glad I read it. I was kept interested the whole time and the opening chapter was honestly worthy of any JohnThis was my first YA mystery and I am so glad I read it. I was kept interested the whole time and the opening chapter was honestly worthy of any John Grisham-style novel. It was just violent and gritty enough to be realistic for today's teens while it didn't lose a little of the "happy ending" flavor that maybe teens still want. The Puerto Rican flavor was authentic for me without being stereotypical at all. I am trying to focus a little more on Hispanic/Latino titles so I can recommend to my students and this one is a good read all around for anybody. Can't wait to try the next in the series....more
A great mystery-meets-travelogue with a good mix of characters and French culture but without the umpteen twists and turns. Just an entertaining readA great mystery-meets-travelogue with a good mix of characters and French culture but without the umpteen twists and turns. Just an entertaining read and I'm hoping to see some others by this author....more
I really enjoyed this memoir of Shtetl life, although at times it smacked a bit of "Fiddler on the Roof". Maybe that attests to the authenticity of boI really enjoyed this memoir of Shtetl life, although at times it smacked a bit of "Fiddler on the Roof". Maybe that attests to the authenticity of both... There was a real "homespun" quality to the writing where you felt it was more like a conversation at times with many asides and commentaries on aspects of the village's businesses, markets, schools and American visits. The last two chapters were the most compelling and I was wishing for more of the author's wartime experiences. The amazing thing for me was to read about daily relations with the gentile Poles and how the reader could have substituted our own segregated black/white relations for many of the interactions. On a more universal level, the book speaks to how every region, country and generation finds someone to keep down and dislike for one reason or another. ...more
My first mystery by Mankell and I'm looking forward to reading more. This is not a Wallender mystery but has a similar style (from what I gather fromMy first mystery by Mankell and I'm looking forward to reading more. This is not a Wallender mystery but has a similar style (from what I gather from the PBS shows). I liked how the actual mystery and the main character both intertwine but also develop on their own. The way Mankell combined the two worlds of China and Sweden and then added in a third in Africa where the actual plot takes a sharp turn. International politics (and our own individual views on them) come in to play as China rises on the world scene and the main character's realization about her own aging and marriage was written about respectfully and without the usual platitudes. There is something so eerie and amazingly well-written about how the violent acts of the novel are so matter-of-fact. It makes them both graphic and poignant while also banal. Mankell and his translator deserve kudos for this. ...more
A good mix of historical fact and fiction with interesting characters developed just enough without being too wordy. I look forward to reading the nexA good mix of historical fact and fiction with interesting characters developed just enough without being too wordy. I look forward to reading the next mysteries with this character and seeing how he navigates the soviet world. It was nice how the author did not need 75 twists and turns to confuse the reader but still made the ending plausible. The older I get the more I realize that I can only suspend my belief so far......more