Friday, August 22, 2014

Found Naked

Just tore open today's Amazon delivery. It's like Christmas! Today I decided to write about two delightful children's picture books.

FOUND by Salina Yoon is a sweet story about a kind bear who finds a stuffed rabbit. He knows the rabbit is lost and sets out to find the stuffed animal's owner. He puts up flyers, searches high and low, but no one comes to claim the sweet, little rabbit.

As time passes, Bear becomes more and more attached to his new stuffed friend. They had picnics, picked blackberries and played hide-and-seek. So when Moose comes to collect his stuffed rabbit, Bear is very sad to lose his friend.

But Moose decides to gift his stuffed bunny to bear. Found.

I loved this sweet book for three reasons:

1. My twelve-year-old son still sleeps with his stuffed rabbit.

2. It teaches children about being selfless.

3. The pictures are charming. My favorite is the LOST bulletin board with so many missing treasures.

This is a great book for the preschool/kindergarten crowd.

NAKED! Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi have teamed up again for another highly entertaining picture book about a little boy with a very "clothing optional" mindset. Like most kids, our sweet, silly, nameless main character fully embraces his new idea - nudity. He scampers around in his birthday suit imagining all the fun he can have without clothes.

But what about capes? Or when he gets cold? Mom finally gets clothes on our sleepy little protagonist - but he's still wearing his cape.

Three reasons to love this book:

1. Cheeky buns are cute.

2. Imagination is wonderful.

3. Debbie Ridpath Ohi's adorable illustrations beautifully capture the whimsy of a busy boy and his even busier mommy.

A great book for preschool/kindergarten/early primary.

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I am …Ordinary People Change the World

My day job is teacher. Primary Multiage Teacher of six, seven, and eight year olds specifically. The students study biographies. And they write biographies. This wonderful series of books by Brad Meltzer is a great companion series to the biographies they read.

I've purchased and read the first three books in this delightful collection. In charming voice, the stories are told in first person and are accompanied by child-friendly illustrations by the talented Christopher Eliopoulos.

Looking forward to the fall release of I Am Albert Einstein.

Peace ~ Love ~ Books

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Out of My Mind

This book waited for far too long on my To Be Read pile. Out of My Mind tells the story of Melody - bright, sweet, and trapped in a body she can't control with thoughts and ideas she is unable to voice. Funny and heartbreaking but always uplifting, Sharon M. Draper gives us a first-person look into the gifted mind of a young girl with guts and determination. And cerebral palsy.

The three things I loved the most:

1. Mrs. V. In a word - stupendous. I loved her honesty, her compassion, and her "I'm not throwing you a pity party" attitude. More than any other character, Mrs. V empowered Melody. She reminded me a lot of my mom - huge bonus.

2. Mrs. Shannon. The last of the H-5 teachers we meet. What a gem! I love that she gets rid of all the old preschool, watered-down, learning activities for the kids and starts to differentiate her instruction for their individual needs. We need more Special Ed teachers with that attitude - actually we need more schools willing facilitate full-inclusion of special education students.

3. Melody. Of course. Brilliant! When she gets Elvira, her communication device, her whole world opens up and so does Melody. It doesn't change the way we read the story - we always knew what was in her mind - but her ability to communicate with others changed what we know about her spirit. We could see her react, honestly react, to her parents, teachers, and peers. We learned what she'd say and what she kept to herself. Melody is inspirational.

This is the first book I've read by Sharon M. Draper, but I look forward to reading her other award-winning titles.

Peace ~ Love ~ Books

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

This book is a must-read for every tween and young teen out there. Oh, and their parents too. I love what Neil Gaiman had to say on the jacket cover.

"Excellent in every way, poignant and really funny and
heartwarming and honest and wise and smart…. I have no
doubt that in a year or so it'll both be winning awards and
being banned."

The three things I loved the most:

1. Junior's voice. Alexie did a brilliant job of not only creating a likable, funny, flawed character, but his voice. I can usually picture a character - no problem, but I could hear Junior in the dialogue. His vocabulary, sentence structure, and style were perfectly pubescent boy.

2. Ellen Forney's art. Not too much - just enough. It still felt like a novel, not a graphic novel and was humorous, well-placed, and brutally honest.

3. Junior & Rowdy - the relationship. I've lived this relationship. The reader understands this relationship. It's perfectly imperfect. Love vs. Hate. Jealousy vs. Pride. Loyalty vs. Self. I was worried for the first couple of chapters that we might start getting "the other side of the story" - The Rowdy side. I didn't want it. I just wanted his reactions - strong, angry, violent - to Junior's new life. Rowdy wasn't a caricature of a best friend and he didn't come around in the end. Junior leaving the reservation wasn't just life changing for Junior, it changed Rowdy's life too - but not for the better.

The one thing (or three things) that I had a bit of a hard time swallowing and felt sorta "over the top" were the back to back to back deaths of Junior's grandma, Eugene, and his sister. It didn't keep me from loving the book and recommending it to everyone I know, but it felt gratuitous. Or maybe I just didn't want anything else bad to happen to Junior.

My twelve-year-old son loved it too.

Peace ~ Love ~ Books

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Back to Literary Lunchbox

I've missed my little blog. I've missed my book-loving blogger friends. I've missed writing about children's literature. I took a wee break that turned into a horrible hiatus. It had to be done. I had a book to finish, students to teach, and children to raise. But… I missed blogging.

Thank you for your patience.

Peace ~ Love ~ Books

Blog you SOON!

Ali B.