Good Boy, Fergus! By David Shannon. Shannon’s books never sit still on the shelf for long. They are the ones that tend to be overdue with a waiting list of eager, impatient patrons who come in asking about them every day. Today is probably my only chance to read this new one. I am tempted to sneak it home for Buddy Boy because I know he will love it. Fergus is an adorable doggy; always into mischief and completely lovable. The text and illustrations are delightfully well balanced and the humor is irresistible.
Little Mama Forgets by Robin Cruise; pictures by Stacey Dressen-McQueen. A lovely, musical story about the special relationship a young girl and her grandmother share within a large family. We are introducing Spanish lessons in our kindergarten through fifth grades this year so it is wonderful to add delightful books like this one with a sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases.
I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakite; Illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite. Baba Wague Diakite says there is a proverb in Mali: “Raise a child is like planting a tree. When it is tended well, you will enjoy its shade.” He shares this with us in the brief biographical sketch at the back of this book written by his daughter. This is the story of a young girl visiting the family home in Mali when her tooth comes out. The tradition is that the African tooth fairy leaves a chicken in exchange for a tooth. How exciting for her to receive and care for her very own chicken! The illustrations are delightful and the authentic details of Mali family life are refreshing.
The Three Silly Girls Grubb by John and Ann Hassett. A take off on the three billy goats, this story of how to deal with a bully will have your children giggling and grinning with relief. A great beginning of the year book for opening playground discussions and building community.
Landed by Milly Lee; Pictures by Yangsook Choi. Based on a true story of Chinese immigration in the 19th century, this book tells the story of 12 year old Sun going to America with his father. In order to pass the exams required at Angel Island by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act Sun must study details of his house, family history, and village in order to prove he was a true son of his father and enter the country. This book would be a great addition to a unit studying immigration in upper elementary or middle school grades.
The Life and Times of the Ant by Charles Micucci. Anyone studying bugs? Here is a non-fiction book about ants full of interesting facts and detailed illustrations allowing even pre-readers to absorb fascinating information.
Crossing Bok Chitto; a Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges. The Choctwas of Mississippi are a story-telling people. Tim Tingle says “we live by our stories” This book is the written down story song of a little girl named Martha Tom and a little boy named Mo. It is the story of friendship, hope, and sharing a way to freedom. The opening paragraph makes my spine tingle:
There is a river called Bok Chitto that cuts through Mississippi. In the days
before the War Between the States, in the day before the Trail of Tears, Bok
chitto was a boundary. On one side of the river lived the Choctaws, a nation of
Indian people. On the other side lived the plantation owners and their slaves.
If a slave escaped and made his way across Bok Chitto, the slave was free. The
slave owner could not follow. That was the law.
Beautifully illustrated by an award-wining Cherokee artist, this book should find an honored place in every children’s book collection. This is a part of American history that has been unheard and untaught for too long… pass it on to a child you know and take it into your own heart as well.
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