After reading Elijah of Buxton and The Watsons go to Birmingham, I am now on a mission to read everything by Christopher Paul Curtis. In these two booAfter reading Elijah of Buxton and The Watsons go to Birmingham, I am now on a mission to read everything by Christopher Paul Curtis. In these two books, Mr. Curtis tells stories which involve very ugly parts of history, but he first gets the reader to know and love his characters through storytelling that is both comic and poignant. Cliche as it sounds, I laughed (out loud. a lot.) and cried.
I listened to this book on cd, narrated by LeVar Burton, which was awesome because he does a wonderful job reading and also because it took me back to my Reading Rainbow days. I'd recommend for kids grade 4 and up. ...more
In The Road From Home: The story of an Armenian girl (that's the title my copy was published with), David Kherdian tells the story of his mother's expIn The Road From Home: The story of an Armenian girl (that's the title my copy was published with), David Kherdian tells the story of his mother's experience as a young Armenian girl living in Turkey, and how she survived the 1915 Armenian genocide.
Kherdian writes in his mother's voice, Veron's voice, which is brought to life so clearly and achingly, Mr. Kherdian as storyteller seems to completely disappear. Veron's telling is very honest and straightforward (though never sensational) when describing horrific events. But even living through these events, Veron fiercely holds on to what joy she can find, and hope. That is why this personal story, while such a tragedy, is also a miracle.
I'd recommend The Road from Home for readers 8th grade and up. Because of the emotionally difficult subject matter, this book might be good for a class to read (I don't mean out loud), or for a parent to read at the same time as their teenager. The book is of special interest because the Armenian genocide is often not addressed in the schools.
The Porcupine Year is the sequel to Louise Erdrich's The Birchbark House and The Game of Silence. I know I would have loved these books as a child, anThe Porcupine Year is the sequel to Louise Erdrich's The Birchbark House and The Game of Silence. I know I would have loved these books as a child, and I love them now.
The stories follow the lives of Omakayas, a young Ojibwe girl, and her family, in the mid 19th century. What I enjoy most about these stories are the memorable characters I feel I've come to know and love. I also enjoyed reading about the details of the family's everyday life.
While the books are often very funny, and describe many happy times, along with the ordinary dramas of family, friendship, and even romance, there is also much heartbreak and hardship in the books - a family member is lost to small pox, and later the family must leave a beloved home due to the encroachment of white settlers. Erdrich describes these griefs with truth, without getting sappy. The stories are ultimately not depressing, but rather, life affirming.
Recommend these books to readers in 3rd grade and up, and younger kids will enjoy hearing them read aloud. The books have been compared to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, and they do have some of the same appeal - a depiction of warm and loving family life, details of everyday life in the Americas in the 19th century (albeit from two different cultures/perspectives) - so, also recommend them to readers who enjoyed that series. While I would recommend starting with the first book, it is not necessary, and older readers might even want to jump in a little later if they prefer reading about a main character who is a little older. (Omakayas is 8 at the beginning of the first book and 12 at the opening of the third.) In her author's note, Louise Erdrich mentions a next book...I look forward to it!
I really enjoyed When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead's novel is poignant, moving, and a compact, suspenseful story with immense kid appeal - there's mystI really enjoyed When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead's novel is poignant, moving, and a compact, suspenseful story with immense kid appeal - there's mystery, time travel, friendship drama and crushes here.
Definitely hand this book to any young readers who love A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L'Engle's book plays a big role in the story) - or if they haven't read A Wrinkle in Time they may want to after this book. When You Reach Me has appeal for a wide variety of readers (mystery, realistic fiction, fantasy...) and ages (note that younger readers may be encouraged by the short chapters).
I'd be interested in checking out the audio version - I think listening might definitely be enjoyable, but I'd probably want to go back and read the book, as there were many times while reading that I flipped back to reread clues and details....more
Strange, sweet, and fantastic. And with illustrations from the wonderfully weird Anthony Browne, to boot. Peter Fortune is a dreamer who finds himselfStrange, sweet, and fantastic. And with illustrations from the wonderfully weird Anthony Browne, to boot. Peter Fortune is a dreamer who finds himself in incredible situations - such as in the body of his 17 year old cat, taking part in a showdown on a garden wall with the tomcat next door. Or being in possession of a jar of vanishing cream to make his family disappear. Or unwittingly the cause of an uprising from a community of doll babies.
I'd recommend it to my friends, and to kids at the library who like quirky authors like Daniel Pinkwater. I think fans of Harry Potter might like this one, too....more
I'm a big fan of John Burningham, and his newest is totally magical.
A little girl wonders where her cat goes at night...and one evening when she comeI'm a big fan of John Burningham, and his newest is totally magical.
A little girl wonders where her cat goes at night...and one evening when she comes down from bed for a glass of milk she finds the cat, Malcolm, dressed in finery and all ready to go to a party. Malcolm agrees to let Marie Elaine come with (she has to get on her party dress and make herself "small" first). What follows is a fantastical account of a nighttime party with cats coming from far and wide, complete with the arrival of the Queen Cat and a midnight feast. The story is pretty light on plot, but it's really all about the magical atmosphere - captured perfectly in Burningham's dreamy/silly illustrations. I read this one in my evening storytime the other night and the kids loved it (my favorite was was when they spontaneously echoed the line of the party cats when the Queen Cat is approaching: "She's coming! She's coming!).
The book is nice and big, the pages are thick and creamy, great for storytime and in general a perfect bedtime story for kids 2 to 5......more
I'm re-listening to this on audio right now. I find it really hard to find audio books I want to stay with - I think I like this one for listening becI'm re-listening to this on audio right now. I find it really hard to find audio books I want to stay with - I think I like this one for listening because, although the story builds to a conclusion (a heartbreaking one, actually), much of the book is anecdotal storytelling depicting the life of a family over a number of years. In that sense, what I can think to compare it to right now is The Watsons Go to Birmingham (which I also loved listening to). This anecdotal style makes for easy listening, I think. Also, the reader of Kira-Kira is wonderful. I'm working on figuring what makes a great audio book (for me and in general)........more
I've listened to all of Christopher Paul Curtis' historical fiction on audio - I think (beyond the fact that they're darn good stories), his style ofI've listened to all of Christopher Paul Curtis' historical fiction on audio - I think (beyond the fact that they're darn good stories), his style of storytelling lends itself particularly well to the audio format. This one is read by James Avery (Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince!).
Bud, Not Buddy was so enjoyable - it's the kind of book I'd recommend to anyone. Grades 4/5 and up. ...more
I just purchased this for a friend's baby shower, and was reminded of how it is my very favorite Mother Goose book. Nina Crews' photo collages combineI just purchased this for a friend's baby shower, and was reminded of how it is my very favorite Mother Goose book. Nina Crews' photo collages combine familiar situations with the fantastical to perfectly complement the rhymes. The pictures show children of diverse ethnicities in an urban setting (the photographs are mostly taken in Park Slope, Brooklyn).
I gave this to baby E when he turned one, and it turned out to be one of the first books I read with him that really held his attention. Mother Goose and other books of rhymes are great for those kids who like to turn pages a lot, because each spread stands on its own and its not jarring to skip around. The pictures in this book are clear enough for babies to look at and see smiling faces, but detailed enough that toddlers and older children will enjoy picking out different familiar objects.
This makes a great gift for new babies - it's one kids can grow up with.