Biography, Black History Month, Civil Rights, Uncategorized

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins By Michelle Meadows

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Back of Book:
Janet Collins wanted to be a ballerina in the 1930s and 40s, a time when racial segregation was widespread in the United States. Janet pursued dance with a passion, despite being rejected from discriminatory dance schools. When she was accepted into the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo as a teenager on the condition that she paint her skin white for performances, Janet refused. She continued to go after her dreams, never compromising her values along the way. From her early childhood lessons to the height of her success as the first African American prima ballerina in the Metropolitan Opera, this is the story of a remarkable pioneer.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Michelle Meadows in exchange for an honest review.
I love this beautiful biography that tells readers of the perseverance that Janet Collins had. Readers are drawn into the life of Janet from her childhood to her success on stage. The story follows Janet as she struggles through prejudice, and expectations to rise up and become the first African American ballerina. The lyrical text is whimsical and draws readers into the magic of the ballet. The illustrations by Ebony Glenn are nothing short of stunning. Each page captures the different movements of the dancers in perfect light and detail. Brave Ballerina will inspire everyone who readers it to fight for what they believe in. A must-have for all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Biography, Uncategorized

Lights! Camera! Alice!: The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker By Mara Rockliff

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Back of Book:
Meet Alice Guy-Blaché. She made movies—some of the very first movies, and some of the most exciting! Blow up a pirate ship? Why not? Crawl into a tiger’s cage? Of course! Leap off a bridge onto a real speeding train? It will be easy! Driven by her passion for storytelling, Alice saw a potential for film that others had not seen before, allowing her to develop new narratives, new camera angles, new techniques, and to surprise her audiences again and again. With daring and vision, Alice Guy-Blaché introduced the world to a thrilling frontier of imagination and adventure and became one of filmmaking’s first and greatest innovators. Mara Rockliff tells the story of a girl who grew up loving stories and became an acclaimed storyteller and an inspiration in her own right.
My Review:
This is a truly beautiful nonfiction narrative about the first woman filmmaker. The story follows Alice from her childhood to her life in America as a prominent woman in the movie industry. I had never heard about Alice Guy Blanche and was excited to find that Maria had written such a well-researched story. I love that the book was broken down into sections. It allows readers to follow along with the different parts of Alice’s journey. I was fascinated with all the amazing ways that Alice changed the film industry. The illustrations are whimsical and detailed. The back of the book has an authors note that shares more information about the incredible life that Alice lived. This is a great book that is perfect for Women’s history month or anytime. It should be in every elementary classroom.
60 Pages
Ages 5 and up

 

Uncategorized

Grizzly Boy by Barbara Davis-Pyles

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Back of Book:
One day Theo wakes up and decides he’s a grizzly bear. He leaps out of bed, practices his growl . . . and his roar. . . and scratches his bottom on the bedpost. “Oh my! That’s very convincing,” his mother responds.

When Theo finds a bowl of lettuce and berries for breakfast instead of his favorite Frosted Monster Bites cereal, he is still determined to have a day that’s wild and free, but he finds it’s more difficult than he expected, especially when you have a clever mother and still have to go to school where there are rules and more rules!

After a challenging day as a grizzly boy at school, Theo learns you can follow the rules and still enjoy being wild and free!
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Barbara Davis Pyles in exchange for an honest review. This is a lovely story that is written in the same style of “Where the Wild Things Are”. Theo represents every child who has ever felt like going against social norms. It can be tough for children to always follow rules, especially at school. This book shows those children that they are not alone in feeling overwhelmed. I love the compromise between Theo and his mother. The illustrations are fun and bring the Grizzly side of Theo to life. A great book to add to any social and emotional unit.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Uncategorized

Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story By Lindsey McDivitt

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Back of Book:
The art and writing of Gwen Frostic are well known in her home state of Michigan and around the world, but this picture book biography tells the story behind Gwen’s famous work. After a debilitating illness as a child, Gwen sought solace in art and nature. She learned to be persistent and independent–never taking no for an answer or letting her disabilities define her. After creating artwork for famous Detroiters and for display at the World’s Fair and helping to build WWII bombers, Gwen moved her printmaking business to northern Michigan. She dedicated her work and her life to reminding people of the wonder and beauty in nature.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Lindsey McDivitt in exchange for an honest review.
Natures Friend is a powerful picture book about the amazing, and creative Gwen Frostic. This nonfiction biography shows readers the tenacity and strength that Gwen had throughout her life. Even though Gwen faced many obstacles, she never stopped striving to be better. I loved that she worked with the military to create bombers. Gwen also had a passion for nature. I love that Lindsey weaved original quotes from Gwen into the story. Eileen Ryan Ewen is a talented artist and her illustrations are detailed and stunning. The back of the book has more information about Gwen Frostic, as well how to sketch and paint with nature. I truly enjoyed reading this story. I highly recommend it for all school classrooms and libraries. A perfect addition to any unit for National Women’s Month.
Ages 6 and up
32 Pages

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Art, Uncategorized

Something from Nothing by Damian Synadinos

 

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Back of Book:

“Hank and Stella in Something From Nothing” is an engaging story that helps children laugh while they learn and improve through improv.

Theatrical improv(isation) is, essentially, making something from nothing. Players create and perform shows simultaneously and in the moment, without a script, props, or costumes. And, the fundamental principles and skills of improv are as useful on stage as they are at play and in life!

The story takes place on a boring, grey, and rainy day as Stella the bunny and Hank the dog learn about improv and discuss focusing on the present, getting and exploring ideas, reacting to accidents and mistakes, the importance of practice, and the benefits of diversity. The story ends with Hank and Stella inviting the reader to join them in an improv show, and even includes a few silly, simple games to help get kids started making improv shows of their own!

The book can help children develop their imaginations, play cooperatively, increase their confidence, and even conquer boring, grey, rainy days!

My Review:
I was very excited to receive a copy of this fun and unique story from the author Damian Synadinos.
I have never seen a picture book that teaches children how to do improve. The story follows Hank and Stella as they try to find something to do. They decide to create a show. I love that the text explains to readers what improve is. There are several categories and definitions that describe to readers how they can create their own show. The text rhymes which keeps readers engaged and smiling. The illustrations are sweet and fun. I love that Damian created thought bubbles so readers can see what Stella and Hank are describing. The back of the book has a list of improv games so that readers can put on their own show. I am looking forward to sharing this book with my classroom.
Ages 5 and up
44 Pages

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Biography, History, Uncategorized

Amelia And Eleanor Go For A Ride Pam Munoz Ryan

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Back of Book:
On a brisk and cloudless evening in April 1933, Amelia and Eleanor did the unprecedented: They stole away from a White House dinner, commandeered an Eastern Air Transport jet, and took off on a glorious adventure–while still dressed in their glamorous evening gowns!

This picture book tour de force celebrates the pioneering spirit of two friends whose passion for life gave them the courage to defy convention in the name of fulfillment, conviction, and fun. Soaring text, inspired by the known facts of this event, and breathtaking drawings ask readers to dream dreams as big as Amelia and Eleanor’
My Review:
Both Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt were strong independent women who leaders of the Great Depression era. I was excited to find a story about their friendship and adventures together. Pam Munoz Ryan is a talented author. Her ability to weave a story about a time in history is incredible. The back of the book has a fantastic author note as well as a recipe of Elanor Roosevelts favorite dessert. The illustrations are done in black and white by Brian Selznick. They are soft and show the beauty of the night flight that the two women took together. The very last page of the book has a photograph of the two women together. This is a perfect nonfiction book to add to any Great Depression or Aviation history unit. It is also a perfect story to share during National Women’s Month in March.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Read Your World, Uncategorized

Ten Cents a Pound By Nhung Tran-Davies

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Back of Book:
Back of Book: A young girl and her mother have a loving, passionate conversation with each other. The girl is torn between her desire to stay home with her family and the familiarity of their village, and her desire to go to school and discover the world beyond the mountains that surround them. Every time the girl insists that she will stay, her mother repeats that she must go, that there is more to life than the labor in the coffee trees.
My Review:
I was very excited to receive a copy of this book from Second Story Press in exchange for an honest review. I found this picture book to be a stunning example of the importance of literacy. The conversation between the daughter and mother has a haunting quality to it. Each page shares the conversation that the mother and daughter have. The daughter feels like she must stay, but the mother assures her that its okay to go. The message of this story is simple and profound. It shows readers the gift of education and the sacrifices that people give in order to obtain it. The illustrations are stunning and capture the feelings and strength of both the mother and daughter. A truly remarkable story that I highly recommend!
Ages 5 and up
24 Pages

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Uncategorized

Bunny’s Staycation (Mama’s Business Trip)

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Back of Book:
Mama’s suitcase is packed for an important business trip. But it’s Mama’s turn to read bedtime stories! Bunny does not like Mama leaving one bit. If he can just figure out how to keep her home… or maybe he can go with her! But Papa and Bunny have a better idea. They set off on a grand adventure… in the living room. And kitchen. And bathtub. Bunny’s Staycation is the perfect book for every family with travel-for-work Mamas or Papas. Kids and parents will laugh, cheer, and celebrate the wonders — and happy challenges — faced by families who are juggling the joys of stay-at-home fun and business trips.
My Review:
This is a great book to share with readers who have parents that need to travel for work. It can be very difficult for young children to understand why their parents have to leave for work. I love the idea that Papa and Bunny had a staycation. This story gives readers great ideas on how they can pass the time before their loved one returns. The illustrations are sweet and enduring. I am glad a book like this was written for working parents.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Uncategorized

The King of Bees by Lester L. Laminack

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Back of Book:
Henry can’t wait until he can have a bee suit of his own so he can help his Aunt Lilla with the sister bees.
Day after day as Henry observes his Aunt Lilla work with the beehives on their Lowcountry farm, he becomes fascinated with her bee suit and her ability to communicate with the bees. When he learns that the bees are getting ready to look for a new place to live, he tries to find a way to communicate with the sister bees to convince them to stay.

My Review:
After reading this story I wished that I could be apart of the world that Henry lived in. The relationship that Henry has with his book is touching and real. The way Aunt Lilla teaches Henry about the way of the bees is a beautiful look at how older generations can teach younger generations about the importance of protecting and caring for nature. I love how much information the text gives about bees. The authors note in the back of the book shares that he has a love of bees and wanted to share that love with readers. The illustrations are truly stunning and show the details of the bees. I truly enjoyed reading this amazing book.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Uncategorized

I Am Enough by Grace Byers

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Back of Book:
This is a gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another—from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo. We are all here for a purpose. We are more than enough. We just need to believe it.
My Review:
This is the type of book that we need more of it Kid Literature! It is a truly beautiful look a what it means to be kind and caring to one another. The entire book is uplifting and shows illustrations of children being kind and loving. I believe this is one of those stories that should be in every classroom and library. It shows readers a beautiful blend of the diversity in the world and how they can embrace and love and diversity. An excellent resource for all young girls. I hope that Grace and Keturah do another collaboration together soon.
32 Pages
Ages 5 and up

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