Biography, Friendship, History

Doctor Esperanto and the Language of Hope By Mara Rockliff

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Back of Book:
Once there was a town of many languages but few kind words. Growing up Jewish in Bialystok, Poland, in the late 1800s, young Leyzer Zamenhof was surrounded by languages: Russian, Yiddish, German, Polish, and many others. But the multiethnic Bialystok was full of mistrust and suspicion, and Leyzer couldn’t help but wonder: If everyone could understand each other, wouldn’t they be able to live in peace? So Zamenhof set out to create a new language, one that would be easy to learn and could connect people around the world. He published a book of his new language and signed it Dr. Esperanto — “one who hopes.”
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.
Mara has created a fantastic picture book biography about one man’s journey to unite the world. Leyzer didn’t look at the world for what it was, instead, he looked at how it could be. He spent this life creating a language that would be simple yet effective. His hard work and dedication showed people that invention is not limited to science. The illustrations created by Zosia Dzierzawska are eye-opening and beautifully capture the strength and determination of Leyzers vision. The back of the book has more information about Esperanto as well as selected sources on the topic. Mara always captures moments in history and creates beautiful stories about the human spirit. A must have for all elementary and school libraries.
40 Pages
Ages 7 and up

Career Day, cars

Sunny’s Tow Truck Saves the Day! By Anne Marie Pace

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When a family car gets a flat on the way to a picnic, help is needed and time is ticking! Cranes are lifting, and pavers are paving. Diggers are digging, and workers are waving. But where is Sunny and her trusty tow truck?

I received a copy of this picture book from author Anne Marie Pace in exchange for an honest review.
This is an engaging and fun book that teaches readers about the different vehicles and the types of workers that drive them. The story follows a family as they begin their journey to have a picnic. Suddenly they get a flat tire and must call Sunny’s Tow Truck. While they wait, the family encounters several types of vehicles such as police cars, fire engines, and diggers. In the end, Sunny saves the day. The illustrations are bright and showcase a diverse family enjoying learning about different vehicles and enjoying time together. I teach a unit on community helpers in my classroom and was so excited to add this to my list of read-aloud books to share with my students. It is an adorable story that all readers will enjoy!
Ages 5 and up
24 Pages

Fairy Tales, Uncategorized

It’s Not Hansel and Gretel (It’s Not a Fairy Tale) by Josh Funk

Its not

Back of Book:
Hansel and Gretel will not listen to their storyteller. For one thing, who leaves a trail of bread crumbs lying around, when there are people starving? Not Hansel, that’s for sure! And that sweet old lady who lives in a house made of cookies and candy? There’s no way she’s an evil witch! As for Gretel, well, she’s about to set the record straight—after all, who says the story can’t be called Gretel and Hansel? It’s time for these wacky siblings to take their fairy tale into their own hands. So sit back and enjoy the gingerbread!
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Two Lions Press in exchange for an honest review.
Josh Funk has created another entertaining fractured fairytale. This time Hansel and Gretel are off on a very different adventure than their original tale. The story begins like the classic fairy tale but quickly is taken over by Hansel and Gretal. This leads to some hysterical conversations between the narrator and the children. The text is made up of regular text as well as speech bubbles. The illustrations by Edwardian Taylor are bright and vibrant. I thought of so many ways to use this in my classroom as a teaching tool. It is a perfect book to teach narration in a story, plot, foreshadowing etc. A great addition to my classroom library.
Ages 6 and up

40 Pages

 

Read Your World

Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal

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Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!
My Review:
I am so excited to use this story in my class this week to teach my students about the Indian Festival of Colors. Holi is a time to celebrate the coming of spring and flowers. The book follows two siblings as they collect flowers of all colors to turn into powder. The text is written in simple language that allows readers to easily understand the holiday of Holi. The illustrations are beautiful and showcase a community coming together to celebrate spring. A fantastic book to share with readers about Holi.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Biography, Earth Day

The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng By Sophia Gholz

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Back of Book:
As a boy, Jadav Payeng was distressed by the destruction deforestation and erosion was causing on his island home in India’s Brahmaputra River. So he began planting trees. What began as a small thicket of bamboo, grew over the years into 1,300 acre forest filled with native plants and animals. The Boy Who Grew a Forest tells the inspiring true story of Payeng–and reminds us all of the difference a single person with a big idea can make.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Sophia Gholz in exchange for an honest review.
The Boy Who Grew A Forest is a beautiful picture book biography about the life and work of Jadav Payeng. Jadav saw a need in his community and worked hard to change the environment for the better. He planted one tree at a time until he had created an entire ecosystem. The simple lyrical text sweeps readers into the story of how Jadav spent his life making his small island a better place. The illustrations are gorgeous and eye-catching. I felt as if I was there watching the forest grow and the animals return. The back of the book has more information about Jadav Payeng as well as directions on how to plant your own seeds. This is a fantastic book to share with children during Arbor Day or Earth Day. A perfect addition to all school and elementary classrooms.
Ages 6 and up
32 Pages

Biography, National Womens Month

Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World By Jessica M. Rinker

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Back of Book:
As a young girl, Gloria Steinem thought for herself and spoke her mind. She read many books by her favorite authors and imagined herself as the heroine of the story.
Gloria wished. She read. And imagined.
But Gloria grew up during a time when women were not encouraged or even allowed, to do a lot of the things men could do: go to college, get a job, open a bank account, and more. There were restrictions that made it impossible for women to be independent or equal to men. So, Gloria set out to change that . . .
Gloria listened. She watched. And wrote.
Gloria believed. She marched. And dreamed.
My Review:
I was sent a copy of this picture book from publisher Bloomsbury Press in exchange for an honest review.
Author Jessica Rinker has beautifully captured the life and determination of Gloria Steinem. The story follows Gloria from a young girl to a powerful woman. Gloria never stopped watching, listening, and dreaming. She believed that all people were important and that everyone should be heard. As a journalist, she fought to give a voice to women who did not have one. Gloria created a magazine that was strictly for women called Ms. She published articles about women who changed laws and protected themselves from violence. She achieved many great things over the course of her career. The illustrations are vibrant and draw readers into the strength and resilience of women. The back of the book has fantastic authors note and illustrators note about the ways that Gloria influenced them. The book also has a timeline and bibliography that shares more information with readers. This is a terrific story to share during National Women’s Day.
Ages 8 and up
48 Pages

Biography, National Womens Month

A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon by Suzanne Slade

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Katherine knew it was wrong that African Americans didn’t have the same rights as others–as wrong as 5+5=12. She knew it was wrong that people thought women could only be teachers or nurses–as wrong as 10-5=3. And she proved everyone wrong by zooming ahead of her classmates, starting college at fifteen, and eventually joining NASA, where her calculations helped pioneer America’s first manned flight into space, its first manned orbit of Earth, and the world’s first trip to the moon!
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Suzanne Slade in exchange for an honest review.
Suzanne Slade is a gifted author! Her books never fail to sweep me into the story. “A Computer Called Katherine” is no exception. The book follows Katherine from her childhood love of mathematics to her important work with NASA. The book focuses on Katherine’s courage and determination to keep moving forward. She chose to work in a career with all men. This meant that Katherine had to work twice as hard to prove that she was just as capable of solving equations as they were. The illustrations by debut illustrator Veronica Miller Jamison are bright and detailed. I love the way she incorporated numbers within the illustrations. I loved reading the authors note in the back of the book about how she pulled from her own personal experience working at NASA. The back of the book also had a fantastic timeline that makes this book perfect for book reports. This is an excellent book to share for National Women’s Month and any STEM unit.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Growth Mindset, Skills Children Learn

When You Are Brave By Pat Zietlow Miller

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Back of Book:
Saying goodbye to neighbors. Worrying about new friends. Passing through a big city. Seeing a dark road ahead. In these moments, a young girl feels small and quiet and alone. But when she breathes deeply and looks inside herself, a hidden spark of courage appears, one she can nurture and grow until she glows inside and out.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Pat Ziethlow Miller. “When You are Brave” is a stunning lyrical book that focuses on the many changes that occur in a child’s life and the ways that children can face days that they would rather not have. This story teaches children the ways that they can mindfully push through their fears and find their courage. The end of the story is inspiring and uplifting. The illustrations by Eliza Wheeler are incredible! They begin with darker colors and slowly blend into brighter colors. Readers can visually see the transformation that the young girl has as her courage increases. This is a perfect picture book to incorporate into any mindfulness, growth mindset, or social and emotional learning unit. A must have in the classroom.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Food

Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando By Andrea Wang

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Back of Book:

Inspiration struck when Momofuku Ando spotted the long lines for a simple bowl of ramen following World War II. Magic Ramen tells the true story behind the creation of one of the world’s most popular foods.

Every day, Momofuku Ando would retire to his lab–a little shed in his backyard. For years, he’d dreamed about making a new kind of ramen noodle soup that was quick, convenient, and tasty for the hungry people he’d seen in line for a bowl on the black market following World War II. Peace follows from a full stomach, he believed. Day after day, Ando experimented. Night after night, he failed. But Ando kept experimenting. With persistence, creativity, and a little inspiration, Ando succeeded. This is the true story behind one of the world’s most popular foods.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Andrea Wang in exchange for an honest review
Ramen noodles are such a famous food. I have many memories of eating it in college. I never thought about how complex it was to create. Ando lived during World War 2. During that time he saw people going hungry. He dedicated his life to making ramen noodles. The illustrations by Kana are similar to a graphic novel and bring depth into the story. The back of the book has a authors note, a pronunciation guide, and a great afterword that shares with readers more about the influence that ramen had on the world. Andrea and Kana have created a terrific nonfiction story about one mans passion and determination to create a food that everyone could afford and enjoy.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Biography, Black History Month, History

Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank By Nancy Churnin

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Back of Book:
Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr. were born the same year a world apart. Both faced ugly prejudices and violence, which both answered with words of love and faith in humanity. This is the story of their parallel journeys to find hope in darkness and to follow their dreams.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Nancy Churin in exchange for an honest review.
Until reading this story I had never realized that Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank were born in the same year. It is amazing to me that people who lived in different places shared similar difficulties. Nancy did a beautiful job comparing and contrasting the lives or Martin and Anne. Both fought discrimination with hope and strength. Although their lives were cut short, Martin and Anne left a legacy that continues to inspire people daily. Nancy weaved together a stunning picture book biography that celebrates the theme that love is stronger than hate. The illustrations by Yevgenia are soft and beautiful. The back of the book has a timeline of both Martin and Anne which gives readers more information about them. This is a perfect nonfiction text to share in the classroom or at home.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages