I just got this from the library. So beautiful! I am going to have to buy a copy for Nana's house for sure. The story is very family oriented and hasI just got this from the library. So beautiful! I am going to have to buy a copy for Nana's house for sure. The story is very family oriented and has the perfect touch of Hebrew plus tikkum olam, or repairing the earth. We read it before bedtime and it reads as a natural goodnight story. :)...more
Polacco usually creates characters with which readers make connections easily. This is certainly true with Bully which introduces Lyla, a middle schooPolacco usually creates characters with which readers make connections easily. This is certainly true with Bully which introduces Lyla, a middle schooler moving to a new school. Lyla wants to be like other girls with cell phones and facebook. Even with savvy parents who are strict about technology rules, Lyla still becomes the victim of cyber-bullying. Parents might not understand the ins and outs of cyber-bullying and this book is an excellent primer.
Fans of Patricia Polacco will appreciate her sensitivity and authenticity. Lyla feels compelled to fit in, but is torn when she witnesses ‘mean girls’ at work. The characters are insightful, but also deal with real life problems. One character makes the comment that “[the bullies] aren’t happy unless they are putting someone else down.” I was also interested in how the school authorities were portrayed in dealing with cyber bullying, as there is much debate within education as to how to deal with this ever growing problem. This book would be an excellent read in upper elementary and middle schools or even with older students to start a discussion. In fact Polacco ‘ends’ the story by giving options for the characters and asking what should be done.
Recommended for MG readers including teachers, parents, fans of Polacco, people who are against bullying, and those who want to learn more about cyberbullying....more
Wordless picture books usually aren’t my thing, so when I read that Little Bird was nearly wordless, I was skeptical that I would enjoy it. I figured Wordless picture books usually aren’t my thing, so when I read that Little Bird was nearly wordless, I was skeptical that I would enjoy it. I figured it would be worth the read considering how many people are just in love with it. When I got the book, my first impression was of the small size of the book and the unassuming front cover featuring a big red delivery truck with an overall-ed man standing on the hood of the truck, looking up. The colors, font, and style of illustrations carry on inside the book. I read the book with my 3 yr old and we talked about what was going on in the pictures. I did read the text, but most of the overall meaning came from the images. It was at this point that I understood how wordless picture books are so popular with readers (both children and adults). I think it takes great skill to tell a story without having the luxury of descriptors. Author, Germano Zullo and illustrator, Albertine worked together beautifully on Little Bird to create something that is unique and very, very special.
Inside the book we follow a story of pictures and few words beginning with a man driving off into the hills. When he reaches his destination, he opens the back of the truck and watches as a large group of colorful and various birds fly out of the truck. The man looks inside the truck to find one tiny lone black bird. In simple pictures that somehow illustrate intangible details, the man befriends the little black bird. The man is clearly very caring, encouraging the bird to join his ‘family’ of birds in the sky. The man’s flying lessons are comical and touching, even when you see him fall flat on his face. It’s also amazingly sweet when we see the little bird fly over to perch on the man’s head. It’s then that we know these friends will soon part ways. The bird flies away and the man watches before getting in his truck to drive back down the hill. It’s when the man and bird reunite that we see how magical this little friendship really is for these two.
It’s no surprise why this book won ‘the French Caldecott’ (Prix Sorcieres for illustrations). It’s beautiful, touching, and sweet. My 3 yr old was interested enough that his face lit up in wonder at the end of the book. It’s a real treasure to find a book like Little Bird. Highly recommended to those who enjoy award winning books, readers ages 4 and up, picture book lovers, and everyone in between.
I cry at movies, weddings, and Hallmark commercials. I cry at all those things and sunsets, funerals, sweet ‘love you’ whispers, and many other emotioI cry at movies, weddings, and Hallmark commercials. I cry at all those things and sunsets, funerals, sweet ‘love you’ whispers, and many other emotional moments, everyday. I also cry while reading a great book. Me & Earl & the Dying Girl is a great book. I laughed to the point of getting annoyed looks from my husband across the room and I cried until I had to put the book down, staining the library pages with my tears. The book is a surprisingly real look at high school friendships, the teenage mind, and death and dying. The story is told in such a way that pulls readers into a teen’s life in a very personal way.
Protagonist Greg is sharing his life with you. He doesn’t leave out the annoying parts, the gross parts, the socially awkward parts, or the heart-breakingly emotional parts. He shares his personal story via short chapters, mini screenplay scenes, annotated lists, and multiple flashbacks. Greg uses self deprecating humor as a tool to talk about parents, school, girls, friendships, and everything in between. Add to the story Greg’s friend Earl whose constant references to erections, penchant for getting into trouble, and his massive anger issues somehow make him likable. (Doesn’t sound true, but somehow, yes, it’s true.) Finally the last part of the puzzle is Rachel, terminally ill and without stigmas or prejudice befriends both Greg and Earl.
This book should be a hit with YA readers. I know I was immediately drawn to each of the characters for different reasons. The direct and unapologetic nature of narrator, Greg, truly had adolescent crudeness and charm. I just couldn’t stop laughing at him. During one point in the book Greg nervously makes up a story about how his parents restrict how many pillows he can have on his bed because of his tendency to have self stimulating relationships with them (Greg doesn’t bother with this euphemism btw). I laughed and saw how Rachel was drawn to him too. Of course I cried too. Author Jesse Andrews is able to build empathy for these teens and YA readers won’t be able to read this book without feeling it. That’s somewhat rare for true empathy to come so naturally in book with such irreverent characters.
I am not going to hesitate to recommend this book. Its style is bold and unforgiving, its message is powerful and important. If you can sync these two contrasting thoughts in your head you will be rewarded with a great story. Recommended for Grades 10-12 and older YA readers....more
The new children’s book Chloe and the Lion is from author Mac Barnett and illustrator Adam Rex. Here is what I knew about Barnett and Rex before I reaThe new children’s book Chloe and the Lion is from author Mac Barnett and illustrator Adam Rex. Here is what I knew about Barnett and Rex before I read the book: next to nothing. I knew that Adam Rex was funny because I want to retweet everything that I see on his twitter account because the guy is hilarious. As for Mac Barnett, I hate to admit, I hadn’t seen his books on the KidLit radar, I hadn’t heard about his other fabulous picture books or his awesome MG novel series (Brixton Brothers). After reading Chloe and the Lion, I can tell you that both Barnett and Rex are clever, funny, and adorable creators of KidLit and I predict they will continue to make a splash in this genre for years to come.
Chloe and the Lion is collaborated on before your eyes in this story within a story book. Both author Mac Barnett and illustrator Adam Rex are on-going characters, in the shape of claymation dolls, in this adventure. Mac wants things one way, Adam another. When they part ways citing creative differences, the book comes to a halt. Readers get to see behind the curtain of creating a book. Revisions and editing are all fair game as the story is written and rewritten before your eyes. Not only is all of this happening in a children’s book, it is hilarious. I read it to myself, read it to my 3 yr old, and made my husband read it. I knew my husband thought it was funny because rather than laughing he handed it back to me thoughtfully and declared, you know, that was really funny. Three year old laughed at Adam’s hand protruding from the lion’s mouth for a good portion of the book.
Children and adults of all ages will appreciate both Barnett’s clever storytelling and Rex’s layers of illustrations. Rex offers hand drawn characters, layered backdrops, and as mentioned before, adorable claymation dolls. He stretches the imagination of readers, utilizing artistic techniques not often found in books written for children. As for Barnett’s offering, he charms readers with his short temper, lack of confidence, and stubbornness. That’s not to say that Barnett comes off as dislikable. He is a charming hoot! His story finally comes to together, plus he manages to satisfy readers, artists, and characters alike.
This book might appeal to a certain crowd of readers. If you like slightly dark humor, enjoy being a voyeur into the world of collaboration, or you already have had the treat of enjoying Rex and Barnett’s other work, this book is for you. If you like happy endings, beautifully drawn fairytale scenes, or have the expectation that books are just books, still check out this book, but be warned, you might change your mind after reading.
On a personal note, I wanted to add that a couple days after reading this book with my 3 yr old, he had a story to tell me. He began, "Once upon a time there was a boy. The boy had a Mom and a Dad who loved him very much. One day there was a dragon. The dragon came and ate the boy up. The boy put his arm out of the dragon's mouth. He waved at his Mom and Dad. The Mom and Dad pulled on the boy and the dragon coughed him up. They lived happily ever after." So, let me add to my praise of the book simply by saying, The book is inspiring young storytellers. The End. ...more
I recently read The Lions of Little Rock by Kristen Levine. If you haven’t read this book or heard about it yet, let me be the one to recommend it toI recently read The Lions of Little Rock by Kristen Levine. If you haven’t read this book or heard about it yet, let me be the one to recommend it to you. You won’t be disappointed. It’s not often that a book comes along that marries historical content with heartwarming story on such a deep level like The Lions of Little Rock. The story is set in the turbulent segregation fights of Little Rock in the 1950’s. We meet 12 year old Marlee who is introverted and nearly friendless. She finally finds a kindred spirit with a new student, Liz. Readers will suspect the truth long before innocent Marlee, that Liz has a secret. Marlee and Liz endure prejudice, bullying, and fight for their friendship.
I loved so many parts of this book. As an adult reader I was especially touched by the relationship between Marlee and her parents. It’s hard to put my finger on why Marlee and her parents were so special, but author Levine has created magic in my eyes. One part of the story has Marlee leaving a bible verse in her mother’s purse. This simple act was so inspiring, and not in a religious way, but rather in a way that shows the connection that mothers and daughters can share (there is also some teen angst, ‘my mom just doesn’t understand me’ parts too). The book also featured other family dynamics. Marlee’s own parents don’t always agree, another friend is being bullied by his older brother, and sisters who were once close mature and become more independent.
There are even more reasons that this book was one of my favorite recent reads. The main characters are smart, interesting, and real. The secondary characters are well developed, integral to the story, and interesting too. The setting is unique, relatable, and assessable to the reading age level. Overall the story is extremely well told, thought provoking, and IMPORTANT. Good historical fiction tells a story dependent upon a different time period, showing difference in culture and experiences, but at its best historical fiction teaches readers important lessons, changes reader’s ideas, and reflects a story so strongly that the reader can’t help but make applications to their own lives. Lions of Little Rock is that kind of book. I HIGHLY recommend this book to MG readers, teachers, parents, book lovers, people who grew up in the 50’s and remember the civil rights fight, and anyone who enjoys quality books.
I remember when my niece was a little girl she would kiss each of the pages after we read the text in this adorable board book. We read it so many timI remember when my niece was a little girl she would kiss each of the pages after we read the text in this adorable board book. We read it so many times, the pages were soon stuck together from sticky kisses. Loved it....more