Books By Age

Sophia's Jungle AdventureWritten by Giselle Shardlow, Illustrations by Emily Gedjyk

Sophia is off on an adventure with her family.  They’ll be taking an airplane to Costa Rica and exploring the jungle and the rainforest.  As you can imagine, her whole family will explore an exciting new world.  And, as the story unfolds, we watch to see how certain activities, objects or animals remind Sophia and her little brother of yoga postures they know.

Although yoga is an art form that dates back centuries, it can be practiced by very young children in a way that immediately inspires and delights.  This book is a perfect way of sharing yoga poses and practices as well as a love and curiosity for our beautiful, bright planet.

I reviewed the Spanish version of this book and recommend it highly to my readers, especially those with “all abilities kids”.  Link for the Spanish language version is below.

Sofia En Una Aventura Por La Selva

 

 

 

 

 


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Written by Deborah Hopkinson, Illustrated By James Ransome

What if you were a child during the terrible time period of slavery?  How would you endure the hardship and challenges?

This book is a realistic portrayal of a young girl named “Sweet Clara”.  At the age of 12, she’s taken from her mother to work on another plantation as a field hand.  But her kind “aunt” Rachel has a plan to get her away from that difficult and back-breaking work.  She teaches young Clara how to sew.

As a young seamstress in the big house, Clara hears about many things in larger world around her, such as the Underground Railroad and the prospect of freedom in Canada.  But how can a young girl without a plan or a map hope to make it to freedom?

Clara finds a way to combine her sewing skills with both courage and patience and the chance to make a break toward freedom appears.  Can her quilt guide her and the ones she loves to a place of safety and peace?  Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt is an unforgettable story sure to inspire readers of any age or background.


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Mar
30

The Egg Tree


Egg Tree CoverWritten And Illustrated By Katherine Milhous

Everyone’s heard of a Christmas tree – but what about an Easter egg tree?

In this older story, author/illustrator Katherine Milhous takes you on a trip to Pennsylvania Dutch country.  You get to visit with young Katy and Carl as they have their first Easter on their Grandmother’s farm, complete with an egg hunt.  But Katy has not been too lucky.  In fact, she hasn’t found a single egg and she retreats to the attic where she finds a real treasure – Easter eggs her grandmother had created when she was a little girl!

Katy’s discovery and the special “egg tree” they made is a wonderful story about family and creating meaningful holiday traditions.  The designs are inspired by authentic Pennsylvania Dutch motifs and the book ends with an egg tree activity that is fun for homes, libraries and classrooms as a special way to celebrate the Spring.

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Written And Illustrated By Patricia Polacco

A kindly old woman named Babuska is famous for her special Easter Eggs.  Each year she wins first prize for the beautiful creations she has crafted over the long cold months of winter in Russia.  But this year may be different.  Babuska has rescued a goose with a wounded wing and; by mistake, it’s broken all her marvelously crafted eggs.  Can an Easter miracle brighten the life  of the little goose and sweet, patient Babuska?

The word “Babuska” in Russian and Polish can mean old woman or grandmother.  You’ll love this tale of a special grandmother and how her kindness and faith make for the most heart-warming Easter ever.

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Written/Retold by Eric A. Kimmel,  Illustrated By Katya Krenina

On a cold, wintery morning, Katrusya and her grandfather discover something alarming.  Small birds had been caught in an unexpected snowfall and are in danger of freezing to death.  The young girl and her grandfather pick up as many as they can and bring them inside.  So does the rest of her family and her entire village.  Even the priest from the local church invites the birds to come inside and have a safe refuge from the cold.

The little birds brighten the spirits of all the villagers during an especially long winter until they need to fly away in Spring.  Can the villagers let them go?  What will come of this simple act of kindness?  Perhaps an Easter miracle?

This is a beautiful book about how small actions can create big results and transform even the bleakest situation.  Illustrated by Katya Krenina, a native of the Ukraine, this book is charming and uplifting, especially in Spring or before the Easter holidays.


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Written by Teresa Bateman

Illustrated By Kelly Murphy

What would you do if suddenly all the luck in the world disappeared?

This is an enchanted and enchanting story about the wee folk of Ireland and one clever heroine named Fiona. The book tells the tale of a Leprechaun king who decides to hide all the luck in the world away from the humans.  The results are terrible as cows will not give milk, chickens won’t lay eggs and potatoes won’t grow in the fields.  And people simply don’t know what to do.  All except clever Fiona.

How can a human outwit a Leprechaun king and make things right? Pick up this charming book and find out how a good heart and a clever mind can sometimes change even the more dire situations.

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Written By Virginia Kroll

Illustrated By Sally Wern Comport

Although Easter is usually a happy time of year, this year seems like it will be quite a challenge for Anya.  Her father has gone off to war and the family has lost their grey goose that lays the eggs they use to make beautiful pysanky – traditional Ukrainian Easter Eggs.  Can an Easter miracle save the day?

This book with it’s soft, heart-warming illustrations is a gentle story showing great love between the family members and a deep abiding sense of God’s presence and love.  The book also shares background information about the art of Ukrainian pysanky and has several easy crafts for bringing this story alive.


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Written by Michelle Edwards, Illustrated By Stacey Schuett

It’s really hard to celebrate a holiday after a loved one has passed away.  And this family of a dad and two children miss their mom terribly as Chanukah approaches.  Dad wants to come to the rescue and make the special treats – potato latkes – with his kids, but the experience is just not the same.

How does the family come to understand the miracle and beauty of the holiday, despite the sadness?  This story weaves a wonderful, sweet, sensitive Chanukah tale.

Suggested Reading Level – Ages  5 – 7


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Written by Deborah M. Chocolate, Illustration by Cal Massey

What happens when it’s Kwanzaa time?  This book tells the exciting story of this holiday from the perspective of a young boy.  Throughout the days of Kwanzaa, this family dresses in special ways, greet relatives and visitors, listen to stories about the family and from Africa and share wonderful activities that bring everyone together in a very meaningful way.

A beautifully written story, this book for young readers shares special moments in a family’s celebration plus the seven principles of Kwanzaa and a history of the holiday that will inspire any reader.

Highly recommended!


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Written and Illustrated by Karen Katz

Although written for earliest readers, this is a beautiful, informational and inspirational book for any age!  Karen’s Katz’s beautiful illustrations take you through the seven days of Kwanzaa and the activities that one family does to celebrate each day.

It’s wonderful to watch principles or concepts such as “creativity, faith, self-determination, and helping our neighborhood grow” come alive on the pages of this book.  A great book for reading or reading aloud at holiday time to inspire the question… what do the holidays mean to you?

Suggested Reading Level – Ages 3 and up.


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Written by Bhakti Mathur

Illustrated By Maulshree Somani

Several teachers I know recommended this book as a fun way to learn about the holiday of Diwali – through rhymes!  They felt the book was fun, age appropriate and also culturally accurate and respectfully written!  Text and illustrations are adorable and introduce this holiday to readers in a way that is as exciting and understandable.

Highly recommended!


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By Roger Priddy

A 12 page, beautiful, bright  “touch and feel” board book about Diwali, perfect for the youngest child.

What a nice way to share this joyous holiday with really young children through colorful rangoli and other simple but pleasing, powerful images that share the spirit of this holiday.


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Written by Jonny Zucker, Illustrations by Jan Barger

For Hindu people, Diwali is a very special holiday that celebrates the new year.  Although customs and practices vary from area to area and from North to South India, Diwali is a joyous occasion involving bringing in a new year, making and sharing sweets, gathering with friends and family and telling stories that have deep and powerful cultural significance.

How do people celebrate Diwali?  Beautiful, colorful patterns called rangolis are painted and small lights called “diya” are lit (or modern electric lights are sometimes used as well).  And then there are trips to the temple, small presents, fireworks and much more!  This book is perfect for children of any age. Beautiful pictures and easy to read text share the joy and fun of this special holiday in a way that is sure to appeal to any reader.


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Written And Illustrated by Dav Pilkey

It’s Fall and class trip time!

Eight adventurous young students set off to visit a farm in the country and come home with a surprising new love for turkeys.  How will the teacher respond?  And the farmer?  In a wonderful and whimsical turn of events, the turkeys become part of everyone’s Thanksgiving celebration  – as invited guests instead of main dishes!

I really enjoy books like this that are simple and fun and incorporate kids of various colors and nationalities into a lively story.  This is a sweet, funny, light-hearted book, perfect for reading as part of Fall festivities.

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Written and Illustrated By Jeanette Winter

Where do you get your books?

If you lived in the Northern mountains of Colombia, it might be hard to visit a library or even have any books at all.  But that was before the Biblioburro – a library carried by a donkey!

Based on a true story, the Biblioburro traveling library was created by a teacher named Luis Soriano who loved kids and loved books.  He was so dedicated to reading and literacy that he has been willing to take his two special donkeys (Alfa and Beta) into remote and even dangerous places.

Although Luis started with about 300 books years ago, stories like this one have shared his amazing work and he now has thousands of books to share with kids – mostly donated by people who love reading about him from all over the world.

 


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Written by Michele Maria Surat, Illustrated by Vo-Dihn Mai

It can be really difficult to adjust to a new country and a new school.

Little Hoa knows this well.  Her family had to leave Vietnam and did not have enough money to pay for their mother’s passage to America.  The family is resettling in America and busy raising money so their mom can join them.  But the new life not been easy for Hoa who is also called called Ut at home, a loving term for he youngest daughter.   Her new school is completely different, the language is difficult and some kids are downright mean to her and her sisters.

However, when Ut gets into a fight with a boy in class who is taunting her, something exciting happens.  During their “time-out” the boy learns about Ut’s life and how her family is missing their mother.  In the sharing of their stories, the boy who had bullied her actually becomes an advocate and a friend.  He even plays a key role in helping Ut’s family be reunited in this short but moving story.

This beautiful book is fictional but based on real life teaching experiences of the author and is beautifully illustrated by Vietnamese artist, Vo-Dihn Mai. Can a new country and a new home become a beautiful place to live?   Ut’s story answers this question with a resounding yes!


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Written by Yoshiko Uchida

Years ago I stumbled across several volumes of books for young readers by Japanese American writer, Yoshiko Uchida.  I fell in love with her ability to tell a compelling story from the eyes of a young person and this is one of my favorite volumes by her – the Rooster Who Understood Japanese.

It’s about a little girl named Miyo and her neighborhood.  Although a handsome rooster lives next door and is the pride and joy of her elderly neighbors, it becomes a problem for another resident who threatens to call the police because of it’s early morning crowing. Miyo is afraid the beloved pet will have nowhere to go and will become someone’s meal.  So she takes on the mission of finding a home for this special bird – a rooster that understands Japanese.

Uchida has a gift for weaving realistic details into her stories in regard to prejudice and the difficulties faced by Japanese Americans in the USA during the 1950s – 1970’s. Her young heroines succeed by using grace, cleverness, persistence and patience and have a way of making their world a better place, despite the obstacles they are forced to overcome.

And the rooster?  There’s happy ending there, too.  But you have to read the book to find out how it all turns out.

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Written By Ronald Roy, Illustrated by Vo-Dinh Mai

Can a small boy in a tiny fishing village rescue a huge beached whale?  Is it an impossible task? Impossible or not, Yukio looks into the eyes of the whale and promises that he will bring 1,000 pails of water to keep it alive until the tide comes back in.

Illustrations by Vietnamese artist Vo-Dinh Mai appear as wonderful woodcut images on the inside book cover.  The interior pages are gentle black and white drawings that share the urgency of the story and the powerful desire of this young boy to make a difference.

A tale of compassion in action, woven together with the story of a young child, his father and grandfather come together in an inspiring book you will want to read over and over again.


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Written by Pooja Makhijani, Illustrated By Elena Gomez

This book is a gentle and moving story of a young girl whose family no longer lives in India.  However, her mother has a suitcase of her special and beautiful saris underneath her bed that she brings out and wears on special occasions, like the day her daughter was born.

A trip through the suitcase shares many wonderful details of family history and the girl finally convinces her mom that she is old enough to wear a beautiful sari of her own.  Which one does she pick and what special surprise does her mother have to go with the sari?  Pick up this book to experience a wonderful dress-up adventure, Indian style.


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Categories : Early/Elementary, India, Moms
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Retold/Written By Robert D. San Souci, Illustrated by Daniel San Souci

This is a beautiful Cinderella story, retold from an Ojibwa legend and set in the woodlands of the Northern Central United States.  In this story readers meet a small girl who is the youngest daughter of a warrior whose wife has died.  While the father is away, her older sisters are cruel and force her to do all their work.  Since she does all the family’s cooking over a wood fire, they tease her and call her “Sootface”.

One day the village’s daily life is interrupted by a remarkable announcement.  A nearby young medicine man I looking for a bride.   Handsome and powerful, this young warrior can even make himself invisible.  Only the woman who can see him and can answer a riddle about his bow and arrows will prove she is pure in heart and can share his life.  The rest of the story unfolds perfectly, accompanied by lovely illustrations with an eye to authentically portraying the details of clothing, shelter and other aspects of Ojibwa life.

A wonderful tale of how remaining true to one’s self eventually becomes it’s own meaningful reward.


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