Animals

Quiero A mi mama coverWritten By Laurel Porter Gaylord
Illustrated By Ashley Wolff

A beautiful little “first book” for young children, especially those learning in both English and Spanish.  Colorful illustrations of animal families are used to share the concepts of loving and caring that children will relate directly to their own lives.

I especially appreciated how this book focuses on the simple interactions that are so meaningful to both parent and child: listening while a child talks, tucking them into bed, singing a song for them, etc.  Whether you’re adding this book for home or the early education classroom, you’ll get get hours of enjoyment from this wonderful board book for bilingual babies and toddlers!

Find This Book on Amazon.com here: Quiero a mi Mama Porque (I Love my Mommy Because Eng/Span ed) (Spanish Edition)

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Written by Michael Rose Ramirez

There’s a certain magic to hummingbirds that makes them popular in folktales wherever they are found.  But how did this unusual bird first come to be?

The hummingbird myth from Taino cultures tells of a beautiful young girl and a brave young man.  Unfortunately their parents did not feel they should be friends and so they are separated.

Do they find a way to be together?  And how does the hummingbird come into the story?  This tale of young love and devotion weaves a magical tale around a beautiful creature and may make you think twice the next time you see hummingbird in real life!

 

 

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I love books that take you to exciting new locations.

Terri Thompson’s new e-book for young kids is a perfect example of how to travel and learn about the world from the comfort of your family’s kitchen table or armchair.  In her 25 page e-book, there are lots of fun facts about Alaska and it’s history, plus all the type of topics that really intrigue young learners – dog sled races, Northern lights, glaciers, totem poles, black bears and bald eagles.

I especially love the hands-on crafts and the list of additional resources at the end of the book that point to great places to visit if you want to learn more.  The crafts are wonderful ways to bring different aspects of Alaska’s heritage to life and include projects to make “shiny salmon”, moose silhouettes, crayon resist Northern lights and personal totem poles.

This book is highly recommended, especially for young learners and homeschoolers – it’s packed with both learning and fun!

Find out more or purchase this book here:

http://www.creativefamilyfun.net/p/project-around-world-e-book-series.html

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Categories : Animals, E-Books
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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 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 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 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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Apr
05

Old Turtle

Written by Douglas Wood, Illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee

Along time ago, when everything on Earth could speak, there was a discussion.  The discussion turned to an argument.  It seemed that all things wanted to perceive God as being very much like themselves.  Can you imagine what came of this?

If you guessed that it created a state of disharmony – you would be right.  But, luckily, the wise Old Turtle stepped in and helped everyone understand how to find God in all things and restore peace.

But the story does not end there.  Just as peace is restored, Old Turtle explains that another type of creature will come to live on the earth – humans.  And they may have to learn the same lesson themselves.  Will they get this important lesson right or struggle with the concept as the animals, plants, trees and rocks all did?

This gentle parable, beautifully illustrated with watercolors by Cheng-Khee Chee, is a moving story for kids and adults alike.  And since it is so cleverly written, it can be read and appreciated by people of any religion as a way to understand the “allness” and the “oneness” of God.


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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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By Rafe Martin, Illustrated by Famimeh Amiri

A bridge of monkeys – how could that be?

In this retelling of a Buddhist Jataka tale, you follow the story of a group of monkeys and their wise king.  They live in a secret location near a tree that bears the most beautiful and wonderous fruit.  One day a human king finds out about this tree and it’s possible that the monkeys may not only lose their own tree, but their very lives!   How does their wise monkey king overcome these difficulties and save the day?

What are Jataka tales?  Author; Rafe Martin, shares a forward to the book that explains the history of jataka tales – some 500 or so stories about past lives of the Buddha, meant to inspire, encourage and teach.  This retelling of one of those tales is a beautifully illustrated book that also teaches a marvelous lesson about finding positive solutions to troubling problems and what it means to be an inspiring leader.


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Feb
22

Monkey Photo

Written By Gita Wolf, Illustrated By Swarna Chitrakar

Monkey Photo by Gita Wolf and illustrated by artist Swarna Chitrakar is another example of unique Indian folk art, this time the patua (Bengali folk style) from Bengal is showcased. The layers of stripes and dots and curls make the animals look exotic and fanciful, and my kids wanted me to read very s-l-o-w-l-y so they could pour over the illustrations.

This is a silly story of a monkey who is tired of being photographed by tourists. He grabs the camera, and begins to snap pictures of his other animal friends in the jungle. My son (4) says “I would call the police if he stole my camera!”

-Becky Morales, Kid World Citizen (www.kidworldcitizen.org).


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Categories : Animals, First Readers, India
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Written By Anushka Ravishankar

Illustrated By Durga Bai

One, Two, Tree by Anushka Ravishankar, Sirish Rao, and illustrated by the exceptional artist Durga Bai, is the perfect preschool or kindergarten book, counting the numerous animals that somehow fit into an enormous tree. What makes this book so remarkable is the traditional folk art, from the Gond Tribal tradition of Central India. My daughter (4) says “How can so many animals climb up a tree?!” Check out other books by internationally renown Indian author Ravishankar like award-winning Tiger on a Tree, I Like Cats, or Excuse Me, Is This India?

-Becky Morales, Kid World Citizen (www.kidworldcitizen.org)


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Here are some of our favorite books on Groundhog’s Day

Did you know what all around the world animals help people in so many different ways – not just in predicting the weather but in so much more.  You can read about it here on DARIA’s multicultural music blog.

Or you can stay cozy in your warm den and curl up with one of the great groundhog books below.

Go To Sleep, Groundhog!
by Judy Cox
Paul Meisel (Illustrator)
Too funny and cute! A groundhog can’t seem to fall asleep when it’s time to hibernate and has a tough time getting up when his own special holiday comes. Lovely illustrations. A great bedtime book!

Ten Grouchy Groundhogs
Kathryn Heling (Author)
Deborah Hembrook (Author)
A cute counting book for young children with some good groundhog facts sprinkled in! You’d be grouchy too if you were in cramped quarters for so long!


Groundhog Day!
Gail Gibbons (author)
Wonderful fun and great facts about groundhogs and the Groundhog’s Day celebration by this popular and prolific children’s book author.


The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun
Wendie C. Old (Author)
Paige Billin-Frye (Illustrator)
A sampler of groundhog facts and a good description of the special day in Punxatawny, PA.

Groundhog Gets a Say
Pamela Curtis Swallow (Author)
Denise Brunkus (Illustrator)
A groundhog thinks his holiday should last more then one day. His animal friends help make his case for the world to know more about groundhogs.

Groundhog Weather School
Joan Holub Joan Holub (Author)
Kristin Sorra (Illustrator)
A groundhog is encouraged to open a weather school and everyone gets to learn more about hibernation, groundhogs and the holiday. Fun characters and playful illustrations.

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Written By Fran Manushkin, Illustrated By Robin Spowart

This is one of my favorite Hanukkah stories!  Set in a cozy cottage in the woods, a family of four is preparing for Hanukkah and the weather becomes frightful.  During this terrible blizzard the family cannot get their potatoes for latkes or any more apples for applesauce – special foods that are a welcome part of the Hanukkah celebration.  Still the family is grateful each night as they prepare the candles and – lo and behold- out of the storm come some little miracles.  And the little miracles lead the family to another rather miraculous discovery that means their holiday table will have all they need.

A lovely and special little story that makes you feel as if you were hearing an expert storyteller weave a delightful tale from times long past.  Especially heart-warming for animal lovers, this tale involves a little stray cat and dog who not only find a home, but also a special name during this family’s beloved celebration of the festival of lights.

Suggested Reading Level – 5 and Up


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Categories : Animals, Hanukkah, Judaism
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Written By and Illustrated by Ivan Gantschev, Translation by J. Allison James

Bulgarian born author and artist, Ivan Gantshev weaves a wonderful winter tale about a rabbit and a bear.  The story takes place on Christmas Eve as two hunters make their way into the forest and come upon a little bunny.  Fleeing the hunters, she takes refuge in a cave and awakens a bear who is having the most marvelous dream.  In her dream, the little bear is in a far-off country and she sees a couple looking for shelter so their baby can be born.  The dream unfolds a breath-taking description of the birth of Christ and the bear is in awe.  The rabbit helps to explain Christmas and a nearby owl shares a prophesy that the baby from the dream will help protect the poor and the weak.

Does the rabbit remain safe and secure on Christmas Eve?  What will the hungry bear do before she settles down for the rest of her winter sleep?  Check out this book and be transported into the quiet setting of a wintery woods where miracles create the most beautiful and inspiring of stories.


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Written by Max Lucado  

Illustrations by Liz Bonham

Have you ever felt that something about you kept you separate from the rest of “the crowd”?  In this story, a little lamb named Joshua feels exactly the same way.  He was born with one leg that didn’t work quite right and found it hard to keep up with the rest of the sheep.  However, life brought Joshua a best friend named Abigail who happened to be a cow and Josh’s story unfolds.

Because Joshua can’t keep up with the other sheep, he needs to stay behind one snowy night in the barn with Abigail and gets to witness the miracle of the birth of Jesus.  Joshua not only witness it, but provide the warmth for the brand new baby who shivered in the cold.  The story is a wonderful retelling of the Nativity story as well as a tale of how the obstacles and conditions of one’s life often open the doors that offer the biggest blessings.

Although I cringe a bit at the use of the word “crippled”, in the title, this book is a great read, a real inspiration and joy! Also great for reading aloud.


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Written and Illustrated By Paul Gobel

Paul Goebel’s story and illustrations take you into the wonderful world of the Plains with it’s canyons, cactuses, wild weather and beautiful Native American customs and introduces you to a girl who loves wild horses.

The Amazon.com review of this book sums up the subject matter beautifully:  “For most people, being swept away in a horse stampede during a raging thunderstorm would be a terrifying disaster. For the young Native American girl in Paul Goble’s 1979 Caldecott-winning masterpiece, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, it is a blessing. Although she loves her people, this girl has a much deeper, almost sacred connection to her equine friends. The storm gives her the opportunity to fulfill her dream–to live in a beautiful land among the wild horses she loves.  With brilliant, stylized illustrations and simple text, Paul Goble tells the story of a young woman who follows her heart, and the family that respects and accepts her uniqueness.”

A wonderful combination of a great story and stellar illustrations, this is a great book to share with young children or to read aloud.

Suggested Reading Level – Preschool-Grade 2


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Nov
11

Rainbow Crow

Retold By Nancy Van Laan
Illustrations by Beatriz Vidal

There are many wonderful Native American stories of how the world began and how things we know got to be that way.  This is the legend of the courageous crow, as retold from Lenape (Leni Lenape) folk legends.  The books begins as all the woodland creatures find themselves engulfed in an enormous snowstorm.  Someone must step forward and help.  They must fly to the sun and bring back fire.  Who will take on this daunting task and what will happen to them in their quest?

This book is beautiful, exciting and a wonderful lesson about how courage and service to those you love can truly save the day!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS BOOK

Have you ever done something that required great courage?  What was it?

Was Crow a hero?  Why?

Do you think Crow was afraid when he set out on his journey?  If so, why did he continue?

If you were one of the other woodland creatures, could you come up with another way to save your family and friends?  Tell the story or write your own legend about it.

Suggested Reading Level – 4 and up (or preschool and up)


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