Henry Brown is born a slave (he doesn't have a choice about it). After being separated from his parents he is sent to work in a tobacco factory, where...moreHenry Brown is born a slave (he doesn't have a choice about it). After being separated from his parents he is sent to work in a tobacco factory, where the conditions. Henry then meets and falls in love with Nancy, who is also a slave. Because both of them are slaves, they have to get permission from their owner to marry - which they do. Soon they start a family together. Then their owner sells Nancy and their kids to another man far away. Henry is separated from his family once again, never to see them. Henry no longer wants to be a slave and desires nothing more than freedom.... he "sends" himself to the north, where he obtain freedom, in a box.
This book is very touching, emotional and nothing short of affecting. Henry Brown is a man who never gives up and follows his dreams, no matter what his circumstances are. Henry Brown's courage is something to be admired and transcends time. Levin's writing style is very simple while carrying a very heavy topic and themes (:slavery, courage, determination).
Kadir Nelson's illustrations are out of this world! While the images have a vintage touch to them, they pop out the page with the hint of realism. This book would be perfect to help promote history, multiculturalism, and the themes that it presents. (less)
Chris and Toby are hitting a raven with their hockey sticks. The raven manges to get away from the two boys. When they turn around n angry man is stan...moreChris and Toby are hitting a raven with their hockey sticks. The raven manges to get away from the two boys. When they turn around n angry man is standing before them asking them why they were hurting the Raven. The angry man has the boys lead them to their parents. After speaking with their mother, the angry man tells the boys a story about man who liked to hurt ravens. This man was old and mean, who didn’t have any friends, and took joy in hurting ravens with blunt arrows. One rave, after he hurt it, began to follow the man wherever he went. To get away from the raven, he slept and began to live in the tree tops. One day he slipped and fell but before he could hit the ground he turned into a raven and started to fly. Even though he turned into a raven, he was still mean. In an attempt to spy on all those in the village he found that they were holding a funeral for him and that everyone turned up, not to laugh but to pay their respects to him - everyone loved him, to his surprise. From then on man who turned into a raven watched over his people. He even helped his people once from freezing in a snowstorms. After the angry man told them this story the boys understood and saw him leave, as a Raven.
The characters of this picture book are developed through their actions - the boys learn a lesson, as well as the old mean man who changed into a Raven. I loved the theme of this book: treat everyone and everything with respect, including animals. I was actually surprised at the ending of this picture book, the man ended up being the Raven. I found myself liking the author’s writing style as well as the beautiful illustrations. (less)
Garang Deng is a little boy who grew up in southern Sudan. One day while tending to the animals his village is attacked; Garang manages to escape and...moreGarang Deng is a little boy who grew up in southern Sudan. One day while tending to the animals his village is attacked; Garang manages to escape and hid in the forest. Garang is unable to find his parents but finds thousands of boys also looking for their families, unsuccessfully. Garang, being one of the older boys, is asked to lead a group of boys, as none of them have ever been on their own before. He is at first afraid to be a leader but then remembers his father’s advice as a young boy: to not fear. During a long and treacherous walk to Ethiopia, in search for help, the boys hide from the soldiers of war, travel by night and sleep by day. All the boys are hungry, tired, and thirsty. Garang assumes responsibility for a younger boy, named Chuti Bol. To help them take their minds off of their hunger and pain from being tired, they play games and tell stories. Finally they arrive at a refugee camp after crossing the Ethiopian border. At the camp they are fed and housed, and even receive an education. They are also taught religion and faith. War then comes to Ethiopia and the boys are forced to go back to Sudan; but they first have to cross the raging Gilo River. After crossing the river they arrive at another camp in Kenyon. There Garang meats Tom, the cam’s leader. Garangs finds himself looking up to Tom but soon Tom has to leave the camp. Garang is left in charge. He works very hard to keep the boys fed, clothed and education. His ‘adopted’ boy, Chuti, even helps him sometimes. Many years later Tom returns to the Camp to tell the boys that the United States have offered them a home. Afraid of the future, Garang remembers his father’s advice:
“Your heart and mind are strong. There is nothing you cannot do.">/i"
The illustrations by Gregory Christie, are full of browns and greens, coming alive with visible brushstrokes The author has chosen to use very simple words and sentences to present grim and overlooked time of history. For children, this book does a wonderful job of presenting an uncomfortable but harsh reality other worlds while representing the characteristics that connect humans and children everywhere: help those in need and carry on. More so, Mary Williams maintains that with hope, perseverance and the desire to help others, anything is possible. (less)
Lina, a member of a refugee camp, finds a yellow sandal with a blue flower after relief workers drop cloths off at her camp. Lina finds another girl i...moreLina, a member of a refugee camp, finds a yellow sandal with a blue flower after relief workers drop cloths off at her camp. Lina finds another girl is wearing the other half of the pair of sandals; she tries to talk to the girl but the girl walks away. Because she hasn’t had any shoes to wear in the last two years she takes care to keep her sandal clean when she does chores. While doing chores the girl from the day before, Feroza, tried to give her half of the sandals to Lina, but Lina suggested that they share: they each wear the whole pair taking turns every other day. So this is what they did. The two girls started to learn about how they each came to this refugee camp and became close friends. One day Lina saw her name on the list of people who were to go to America, Feroza’s name was not on the list. Feroza gave Lina the pair of sandals so she would not go barefoot to America. Before bording the bus to America, Lina gave the sandals backt o Feroza as she had a new pair for her journey. However, Feroza gave one sandal back for Lina to remember her by and their friendship.
Williams books is very easy to read as she has written in short and simple sentences, providing nothing complex. Her tone also invited the reader into the story, coinciding with the theme and plot. The illustrator, Dough Chayka has created lovely images, of bright yellows, browns, and blues - this also invites the readers more as the pictures are not somber in any way.
While the setting is in a Pakistan refugee camp, the overall theme of this picture book is “sharing”. Even in the hardest of times and places, sharing still matters and counts. The characters of this picture book, Lina and Feroza, are developed through their friendship which started through the act of sharing.
I found this picture book to be very uplifting and affecting. I do wish more picture books were as wonderful as this one. (less)
With unique images and a story of bravery and strength, readers are treated to one of the most important women in history: Rosa Parks. Rosa's Story is...moreWith unique images and a story of bravery and strength, readers are treated to one of the most important women in history: Rosa Parks. Rosa's Story is universally known, refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Little did Rosa Parks know she would go from being a seamstress to a timeless figure of history. By standing up for what she believed in and what is right, Rosa finds strengths and courage, giving all those around her the same.
Bryan Collier's images are nothing like any other. Using a patchwork style, there is something wholesome about each images, with rich colors and multidimensional effects. For those looking to inspire children with courage and inner strength, this is a wonderful book to add to any collection.(less)
This picture book goes through the number system, from 1 to 15, and then it jumps up to 20 and continues in increments of 10 until 100. Each number is...moreThis picture book goes through the number system, from 1 to 15, and then it jumps up to 20 and continues in increments of 10 until 100. Each number is then corresponded with an element that represents the state of Arizona in some way. For example, for number 70: "Beads of shell, discs of silver, and chunks of turquoise are created into 70 pieces of jewelry worn by Indian girls and boys". Also, with each number, the main thing that is being counted is then given a little description on the side. For example, the hummingbird is counted for the number 6 and then a brief description about the hummingbird's speed, what it eats, and the best place to see hummingbirds, is given.
This book does a pretty good job of being an instructional tool to learn how to count while making the process a little easier for children (and their parents) by connecting the numbers with real life animals and objects. This picture book would be perfect in a school setting. It could be used in the lower grades in programs that focus on learning how to count and/or elements of Arizona. This could also be used in a public library setting for a program that focuses on the west, Arizona, desert, etc.
Outside the obvious benefits of this picture book, the illustrations are very beautiful as well and do a great job of capturing what Arizona and the desert look like. (less)
Terri Fields’ twist on The Little Red Hen is about teamwork and responsibility.
One day a burro decides to make Tortillas out of some corn plants. He...moreTerri Fields’ twist on The Little Red Hen is about teamwork and responsibility.
One day a burro decides to make Tortillas out of some corn plants. He asks his friends for help to pick the corn but they decline. The burro is left to pick the corn by himself. Then he asks his friends if they can help him remove the kernels from the corn. Again, they all say no. And again the burro is left to do it alone. Then comes the time to ground the corn into flour; again his friends will not help and he has to make la masa alone while his friends sleep. The last step is to cook the tortillas, and again no one will help him.
After he finishes cooking all the tortillas he asks his friends if they would help him eat them all; they all say yes. However, the burro remembers that none of them had helped him at all and decides that he doesn't need their help to eat the tortillas.
The illustrations are very colorful, made up of reds, blues and greens. The writing style is very simple and uncomplicated; the sentences are not too long but not too short. The tone of this picture book is very deterministic. The burro doesn't give up in his quest to make tortillas, even without his friends' help. Even though he finds the work hard, he never gives up.
This picture book is well written, the illustrations are very attractive and the overall the theme is a wonderful message. One thing in particular that makes this book unique is bits of Spanish words are mixed into the sentences. Burro’s Tortillas is great book for all children. (less)
**spoiler alert** Two best friends, during a play date, ask if "everyday things" are things that princesses are able to do. Can princessess stomp in t...more**spoiler alert** Two best friends, during a play date, ask if "everyday things" are things that princesses are able to do. Can princessess stomp in the mud and then clean their toes off? Can they sing while on their way to the zoo? Can they get ice cream and they can play dress up? Most importantly though, if they hurt someone's feelings it is their responsibility to apologize to them?
These two cute girls start out doing very girly-princess-like things (playing dress up) and gradually move to doing more 'adult' things (making friendship bracelets) and knowing that even princesses have responsibilities.
This book is very cute and perfect for young girls to learn that friends are important. While it is not hinted in the writing itself, the illustrations show these two girls coming from different cultures: one is black and the other is white. This in turn adds to the theme of the book that friendship can cross color/culture boundaries. (less)
Reverend Knight is a pastor in Harlem and a father of 12 boys. In a search to solve the mystery of his sons' torn-up shoes he hires nanny Sunday. Nann...moreReverend Knight is a pastor in Harlem and a father of 12 boys. In a search to solve the mystery of his sons' torn-up shoes he hires nanny Sunday. Nanny Sunday is taken on a dancing adventure when she discovers their secret!
This modern day twist of the German folktale, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", is fun and exciting. Elements of jazz and regee are mixed up into both the writing and the illustrations. Told through the family dog, you will want to get up and dance after reading this picture. (less)
**spoiler alert** I loved this picture book. Not only were the illustrations gorgeous and very unique, the author's writing style, plot, and tone fill...more**spoiler alert** I loved this picture book. Not only were the illustrations gorgeous and very unique, the author's writing style, plot, and tone filled me up with happiness and warmth. This picture book brought a smile to my face.
Dona Flor is a giant lady who lives in a handmade pueblo. She can also speak every single language ever known, including the languages for animals (i.e. rattler). Dona Flor is so large because her mother sung to her as a child out of her love for her. Flor does the same thing now - she sings to her plants and animals out of love for them. She loves to read to the children outside of the library and make sure that all her animals and neighbors are always welcomed inside of her home. One day all of her neighbors and animals are scared after hearing a loud "roarr". Flor tries to find the huge gato that is making her friends scared. When she finally finds the gato she sees that it is actually a small cat 'roarring' into a large hollow tree trunk. Instead of getting angry she is happy and sleeps in the clouds with the cat sleeping on her big toe.
The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous!! Pat Mora also mixes Spanish words into her sentences, and also makes sure that they words used are explained, either by directly telling you or through the context of the sentence. Her tone is very loving and full of warmth. Dona Flor is characterized by her unyielding love she has for everyone and everything, which is translated into her actions and tenderness and understanding. Not once does she get angry in the book, even after she finds the cat that is scaring her friends; once she sees he is small she laughs out of joy and invites her into her life. (less)
Pinkalicious is the first book about a girl who loves the color pink so much she turns pink herself after eating too many pink cupcakes. Pinkalicious'...morePinkalicious is the first book about a girl who loves the color pink so much she turns pink herself after eating too many pink cupcakes. Pinkalicious' is given a bath, but she still is pink. She is taken to the doctors, and is diagnosed with 'Pinktitis'. Her prescribed medicine is to eat as much green stuff as she can, to turn back to her normal color. But Pinkalicious is happy being pink. Even after being swarmed by bugs because she looks like a flower, she still likes being pink. She likes being pink so much she eats one more cupcake. However, she wakes up to find she is no longer Pink but Ruby Red. Pinkalicious does not like this at all.
Right away she starts to eat anything in the fridge that is green. Her normal complexion soon returns. Pinkalicious finds that she loves her complexion, just as she is. More importantly, she likes who she is just the way she is.
Victoria & Elizabeth Kanns' book is not only beautiful to look at, with many pages full of 'pinkness', her message is simple: love yourself for who and how you are. While this book is centered around a girl, and is aimed for girls, such a message can be understood by many. (less)