Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Name is James Madison Hemings by Jonah Winter - ADVISABLE

Winter, Jonah My Name is James Madison Hemings, illustrated by Terry Widener.  PICTURE BOOK.  Schwatrz & Wade (Random), 2016.  $18.

James Hemings was a slave on a plantation in Virginia.  Like many slaves, his father was also his master.  In James case, however, his master/father was Thomas Jefferson.  Being only one-eighth black, he could have passed as white, but since he is property, such a life is not for him.

Winter takes a very interesting look at the life of Thomas Jefferson’s slave children.  It is quite a lot of information and more detailed than the average picture book.  I will definitely be showing this to my teachers, as I feel the material is more appropriate for the upper grades,  I’d love to know if an elementary school would use and talk about this book.  Anyone?

EL _ OPTIONAL.  MS, HS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne - ESSENTIAL

Boyne, John The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, 335 pages.  Knopf (Random), 2016/2006.  $19.

You might think that its odd to have Oliver Jeffers, a picture book author, illustrating a book about the Holocaust.  However, this is a book about children.  A heart wrenching book about children.  So it is perfect.  Ironic, really.   I will be replacing at least one of my copies of the original with this version.  I think I will always keep both versions in the library.

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pigsticks and Herold and the Pirate Treasure by Alex Milway - OPTIONAL

Milway, Alex Pigsticks and Herold and the Pirate Treasure, 58 pages. Candlewick Press. 2016. $12.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0 "f"); Mature Content: G; 

Out to find a fortune to save their town of Tuptown, Pigsticks and Herold go in search of a treasure. Searching, they end up traveling to an island where Pigsticks' great-great-grandpig was a pirate. His treasure has yet to be found. 

I feel that this beginning level chapter book was a little odd. While this book will appeal to some young readers, others will skip over it because of lack of interest. 

EL (K-3) - OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.

I Am So Bored! by Henrike Wilson - ADVISABLE

Wilson, Henrike I Am So Bored! PICTURE BOOK.  Sky Pony Press (Skyhorse Publishing), 2016.  $16.99.

Most children have uttered the phrase, "I'm bored!" at least once in their lives.  Therefore, they will be able to relate to this story where little bear is so bored.  With no one to play with, he wanders aimlessly until he lies down in the grass and does nothing.  Through the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch he is suddenly aware of all the wonderful things around him.  

This story shows children, that like little bear, they can make their own fun. This book was published in Germany in 2015 and translated into English by Connie Stradling Morby.  The illustrations are simple but colorful.  This book can be used as a starting off point for students in practicing using their senses as they explore outside like little bear. 

Pre-K, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE.  Reviewer:  Nancy W.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Gathering Storm by H.K. Varian - ESSENTIAL

Varian, H.K. The Gathering Storm (The Hidden World of Changers), 167 pages. Simon & Schuster. 2016. $17.99. Language: G (0 swears, 0 "f"); Mature Content: G; 

Four students in middle school are surprised to find their last class for the day is P.E. Independent Study. They barely know each other, but Mack, Fiona, Darren, and Gabriella all become connected when they learn they are Changers. Each of them have the ability to transform into mythological creatures. Not long after they start to explore their newfound abilities, they learn that a powerful warlock is heading for their town. 

I was hooked from the second page of this book and didn't want to put it down! This is one I will be recommending to readers, especially those that like Spirit Animals. I can't wait to read the second book in this intriguing and captivating series! 

EL (K-3) & EL - ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Amy, Elementary Teacher.