I'm also excited to visit at Michelle Barnes Today's Little Ditty with a poem of address I wrote for Irene Latham's September challenge. Come visit!
And-it's Banned Book Week-Are you reading as many banned books (or sharing them) as you can?
Revolution – written by Deborah Wiles
Considering what recently occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, it saddened me to read this book about Freedom Summer, the history of the months during which the Civil Rights Act passed, 50 years ago, and the Voting Rights Act, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. In these 50 years, some things have still not changed.
The voice of 12-year-old Sunny who tells this story of her time in Greenwood, Mississippi, weaves in family conflicts, grief over her abandonment by her mother, figuring out the family dynamics when her father re-marries, and hard questions about the racial conflict. She often says she doesn’t understand. She often asks why everything can’t just go back to the way it was. The first might is a question we all should ask; the second shows the way so many children grew up, blind to the inequities surrounding them. Wiles intersperses the fiction with real-life photographs and news, cementing this “made-up” story with a firm under-pinning of truth. I was mesmerized and horrified, all at the same time.
The following book also meets the challenge from Latin@s at KidLit (see the button on the right) to read more diverse kid lit. It's a terrific book you shouldn't miss! You can discover many great books not always heavily shared by checking this blog.
Yaqui Delgado Wants To Kick Your Ass – written by Meg Medina
This book makes me want to run to the nearest high school to save all those kids who are living each day being bullied! Young Piedad (Pidday) Sanchez and her mother have moved to a better apartment, but that means a new high school. Piddy is sixteen, and smart, but also all of a sudden with curves, instantly offends another girl, leader of a “group” who sees her boyfriend take a long look at Piddy. The other girl, Yaqui Delgado, wants revenge. The first words Piddy hears at her new school is the title, “Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass.” Piddy grows into a young woman that you will love in her story, pushed to the limits, figuring out who she really wants to be, finding in her heart to help a friends who also need the support, and also learning to love her mother all over again. Every one of the characters who surround Piddy are interesting and sympathetic, even Yaqui. It’s a story for older students to love and to learn from. Sadly, it’s a story that may fit more students than we’d like.
Frank! – written and illustrated by Connah Brecon
Frank is a cute and lovable bear who struggles with being on time, anywhere, but the story focuses on his being late at school. He has good reasons because he stops along the way to help, like rescuing a cat from a tree. Unfortunately, he becomes even later because the tree runs away with him still in it! Eventually, Frank manages to be on time at school, and just at the right moment for rescuing his classmates! The story feels like it's about small children who start off with good reasons why something happens, and suddenly the story becomes even bigger than the truth. Lots of imagination here in this book, and the pictures are filled with small asides in balloon speeches. The book is confusing at times, so it might make a good group conversation first, then let the kids take lots of time to examine the illustrations!
The Seven Silly Eaters – written by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee
Just discovered, lent from a friend, a terrific picture book illustrated with all the humor pictures can hold by Marla Frazee, and a hilarious rhyming story of a family who keeps adding children who happen to be picky eaters. I began to feel a lot of sympathy for the mom, especially working so hard to please her kids. But it did all come out beautifully- will be a fun read aloud for young children.
Flashlight – written and illustrated by Lizi Boyd
This makes me want to do a study of the magical things that one can discover by entering the forest dark. A young boy puts up a tent in the forest one night, and through his use of a flashlight, discovers the “night” is alive. After a while, a surprising thing happens, and he too becomes part of the discoveries. Each time I read through this wordless picture book, I saw more. With each page turned, Lizi Boyd gathers what’s been seen, showing through a cut hole, a tiny peek at what’s next. What a wonderful book! It would be fun to do a study of the dark, pairing this with Lemony Snicket’s The Dark!
Belches, Burps, and Farts, oh my! – written by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Pranas T. Navjokaitis
A few years ago, Artie Bennett entertained with the book Poopendous, an educational book about Poop which really was entertaining and educational. Now, with this book, he’s done it again, written an educational and funny, rhyming picture book all about those gases inside our bodies that one is taught never to discuss, at least in front of one’s elders. In our culture, we’re taught to say our pardons if any of these sounds escape our bodies. Yet, we all know that it happens, and we also know that young children especially giggle and giggle if those sounds pop out (pun intended). The illustrations are funny, filled with balloon speech asides, and clear illustrations when Artie Bennett explains what’s really going on. There is also plenty of information about other animals in the world who also burp, belch and fart. The book is a fun and funny approach to learning about the biology of our bodies and others.
NEXT: I said last week I was going to read Laurie Halse Anderson's The Impossible Knife of Memory, & I will, but Yaqui Delgado called first. How does that happen? Do you have those things happen, thinking about one book, but somehow the other book calls louder? Hm-m. Well, at the end of the week I'm off for the week to a poetry workshop, so I know I won't be reading that book this time either, but soon! Right now, I hope to finish the second book by Marie Lu, Prodigy. And more poetry!