And, also visit Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS for more reviews. Thanks to all these blogs we are able to discover many, many new books! Thanks Ricki, Kellee, Jen and Sheila!
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This time, too, I am linking with Myra, Fats and Iphigene at Gathering Books for their Award Winning Book challenge, having read two books who have earned awards.
I browsed in our school library this week and chose a few picture books that looked interesting, along with reading Soldier Bear. We are lucky to have a great library.
In 2012, Soldier Bear won The Mildred L. Batchelder Award, given to an American publisher to recognize the year’s most outstanding translated children’s book published in the United States.
Based on real events is this imagined account of a bear that accompanied five Polish soldiers who traveled from their beloved Poland to the British Isles then to the middle east, where they found a bear cub in the middle of a desert, finally to Italy, then to Scotland, and home. The adventures also involve two dogs and a monkey-a total menagerie that traveled with these men. In the earlier parts of the story, they had to gain permission to keep the animals, but soon, they endeared themselves to whole camps, providing comic relief and love in this time of such hardship. It’s a fascinating story of love and patience along with the sadness of war. At the end are pictures of the bear and one of the soldiers along with a little bit more information. I found the book a little slow at times, although I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. Some of the students at school, middle grades, have read and enjoyed the book.
Dawn – written and illustrated by Molly Bang
When a shipbuilder rescues an injured goose, soon after it is healed and released, a mysterious young woman shows up at his door. Soon after, they fall in love and later have a child. The woman shows her talents in sail-making, one time weaving the softest, but still strongest sails for her daughter. When another man wants sails for his schooner, the woman refuses, saying that the special sails are only for the family. What happens at the rest of the story is Molly Bangs beautiful interpretation of the Japanese folk-tale, The Crane Wife. It’s a lovely and mysterious story that will inspire much conversation.
One Hen, How One Small Loan Made A Big Difference – written by Katie Smith Milway and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
For many during this holiday season, this is a time for gift-giving in a variety of ways, including donations to organizations that aid many in third world countries through giving small loans so that people might open a small business and improve their lives. This beautifully illustrated book uses the structure of this is the house that Jack built to tell the story of a young boy named Kojo who begins with one hen, ending with an education, a large poultry business which becomes the largest in West Africa. Each full page spread relates the “next” exciting step, including so many details. One can’t wait to read on to see what will happen next. The back matter tells a true story of a “real” Kojo, and other information about how to help in this way. It’s a great book!
The following book is a Pura Belpré honor book award winner.
Dear Primo – written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
This picture book alternates information from letters between two cousins, one in New York City and the other in Mexico. The author is from Mexico, but went to school in the US, high school and college! The letters show connections between the two cousins using a mix of Spanish and English. In the letters, the cousins discuss what they do when they play, favorite things to eat, what sports thy like, etc. A sprinkling of Spanish words is used throughout and it includes a dictionary of those words at the back. The author/illustrator says he was inspired by the ancient art of the Mixtecs and other cultures of Mexico when he created the pages for this work. After exchanging much interesting information, the cousins decide what they needs to do, they need to visit each other! It’s a fun book that shows how much we have in common, despite differences.
Currently: Along with those professional books, I am reading two books by Jeannine Atkins, her poetry novel, Borrowed Names and book about writing, Views From A Window Seat--enjoying both very much. Up next, The Thing About Luck, by Cynthia Kadohata.