Tough Stuff

My Quiet Shipby Hallee Adelman

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Back of Book:
Whenever the yelling in his house starts, Quinn runs to a special hiding place. There he becomes captain of the Quiet Ship, where he can get far, far away from the yelling that hurts his ears and makes him feel scared. But one day the Quiet Ship is broken and Quinn needs a new plan, one that requires him to be brave. A thoughtful treatment of a difficult topic, this story is for any child who faces fighting in the home.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Hallee Adelman in exchange for an honest review.
My Quiet Ship is a touching tale about how a young boy finds safety in the middle of his parents fighting. He goes into his quiet place where he is the captain of his environment. I feel like this is a story that is very needed in today’s kid lit selections. The premise of this story is based on how children can use their imagination as a true coping mechanism. Quinn escapes his parent’s argument by going to his quiet place. I love that Hallee wrote a story that can help adults understand how children feel when their parents begin to fight. The illustrations are full of color and depth. This heartfelt story is a must addition to all classroom and counselor libraries.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Tough Stuff

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper

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Back of Book:
There was a cat
who lived alone.
Until the day
a new cat came . . .
And so a story of friendship begins, following two cats through their days, months, and years until one day, the older cat has to go. And he doesn’t come back.

I have enjoyed being a judge on the Cybils  short  list

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My Review:
This is a slightly unassuming picture book, readers cannot see the amazing message within the pages. Once opened, this story is a lovely look about the importance and bonds of friendship and loss. My favorite part of this book is the contrast between the two cats. The Big cat is outlined with black while the little cat is all black. The contrast allows readers to clearly see the differences between the two cats. The story of loss is beautifully written. It is told in a way that the youngest audiences can understand. The message of the circle of life is truly profound and strong. This book strikes emotion in readers that most picture books do not. I am glad that this book was apart of the Cybils short list this year. It is defiantly not one to be missed.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Tough Stuff

Boxes for Katje By Candace Fleming

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Back of Book:
After World War II there is little left in Katje’s town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom “thick and bright,” Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje’s street to deliver a mysterious box – a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her package is part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What’s inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks – beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same.
My Review:
During the holidays I always try to read my students a story about children who have survived a difficult time. It is a good lesson about the power of giving. The story follows Katje a young girl who receives a box from America. What follows is a beautiful tale of friendship. I loved reading such an inspirational tale about the difference one person can make. As an elementary school teacher, I am always finding ways that I can tie in character traits into literature. This book is a perfect example of how children can show one another empathy in times of need. The illustrations are lovely and help tell the story beautifully. The end of the book has a note from the author about the true story of sending boxes to Holland. I highly recommend this book.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Tough Stuff

Grandma and Me: A Kid’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and Dementia By Beatrice Tauber Prior Psy.D. & Mary Ann Drummond RN

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Back of Book:

 

 In Grandma and Me, Beatrice and Mary Ann combine their years of clinical experience to create a truly engaging, yet informative book for young children on the topics of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The beautiful artwork will capture children’s attention, bring them into the story, and help them return on their own. Grandma and Me provides a gentle, yet age appropriate description of Alzheimer’s disease, while providing tools that helps children continue to have a relationship with their loved one despite the disease. Grandma and Me addresses a difficult topic with love and understanding and provides the tools for children to successfully navigate the journey ahead.

My Review:

I was sent this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  

 

My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was around nine years old. I will never forget my parents explaining to me that things were going to be different from now on. I wish that Grandma and Me was around for my childhood. This story explains Alzheimer’s in a way that children can understand. Readers follow Matthew as he shares all things he did with his grandma, like that she taught him how to listen to birds. The story goes on to give specific examples of how Matthews Grandma begins to act different. She forgets his name, and sometimes doesn’t feel well. Matthew meets with Grandma’s nurse so he can better understand the changes that are happening. 

 

This book gives readers examples of ways that children can help their loved ones. Things like singing songs, coloring and reading stories.  I love that this book provides real advice and strategies for children and adults. The illustrations are soft and very welcoming. The Note in the back of the book gives readers tips and ideas on how to go through the journey of this disease.

 

I am thankful that this book was written. The authors took a tough topic and wrote a story from the heart. If you have someone in your life that has Alzheimer’s then this book is a must read.

 

Ages 4 and up

 

32 Pages.

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Skills Children Learn, Tough Stuff

A Bike Like Sergio’s By Maribeth Boelts

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Back of Book:
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money?
My Review:
I feel like more stories like this book need to exist in children’s literature. Ruben represents the feelings that so many children in America have. Many families in the United States do not have extra money for extra things. Bikes are not a necessity in many homes. I loved the dilemma that Ruben is presented with. I believe this is an excellent story to teach children about morals, as well as empathy. Readers can discuss what they would do if they found a hundred-dollar bill. This story makes for a great writing assignment topic. I truly enjoy reading anything written by Maribeth Bolts. She has a gift of connecting readers with the emotions of the storyline. I look forward to her next story.

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages

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Tough Stuff

Those Shoes By Maribeth Boelts

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Back of book:  All Jeremy wants is a pair of those shoes, the ones everyone at school seems to be wearing. Though Jeremy’s grandma says they don’t have room for “want,” just “need,” when his old shoes fall apart at school, he is more determined than ever to have those shoes, even a thrift-shop pair that are much too small. But sore feet aren’t much fun, and Jeremy soon sees that the things he has — warm boots, a loving grandma, and the chance to help a friend — are worth more than the things he wants.

My Review: I cried reading this book because it reminded of every child I met who has a story like Jeremy. This is a must read and as far as I’m concerned a must have for every elementary teacher. The story is one that all Children can relate to. There is always a child in a classroom, or down the street or at the park with just a little less than the other kids.  Jeremy just wants to be like all the other kids at school. He wants those shoes.  Instead his grandma can only afford a pair of boots that will help him get through the winter. Jeremy soon learns the value in friendship and helping others.  Great story to teach children the value of empathy,

8 years old and up

40 pages