Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Color of Water A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother

The Color of Water A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother
James McBride
ALA Notable Book 1997
Interest Level: high school to adult
CATEGORY: Biography
TYPE: Novel

SUMMARY: This book is about James McBride, as a boy he knew his mother was different but whenever he would ask her a direct question about her and their situation she always cut him short in a roundabout way. His interracial family, with 11 siblings, a stepfather, his white Jewish mother and growing up poor made it hard for him to know who he was. But his mother’s determination for them to get a good education and him backtracking to find out about his mother’s past gave him a sense of what it really means to have a family, unconditionally. A is a wonderful tribute to his mother.

Song Yet Song by James McBride
Miracle at ST. Anna by James McBride

KEYWORDS: Jewish, Black, White, mother, love, discrimination, interracial

Notes: Wow this was such a fascinating book. Not only does it tell of the struggles of growing up in a bi-racial family but being poor and having 11 brothers and sister. I think the vision Ruth, the mother, had for her children was that the value of receiving a good education was priceless, regardless of who you are or where you came from. Ruth was a wise mother too because not only did she send all her kids to college but she also taught them how to be strong, enduring and faithful in their Christian beliefs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie

Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie
David Lubar
Best Book for Young Adults
Interest Level: Young Adult (12 +)
CATEGORY: Juvenile Fiction
TYPE: Novel
SUMMARY: This is a book about a boy in his Freshman Year in high school. Scott tries so desperately to make himself visible to Julia that he ends up doing everything he did not ever expect to do. He is a typical freshman documenting in his journal his interesting and exciting adventures of going through normal freshman things at home and at school so that his little unborn sibling will not make the same mistakes he has made.
Interview with the author:
Author’s web site:
Punished by David Lubar
Hidden Talents by David Lubar
KEYWORDS: Freshman, boy, girl, oblivious, high school.
Wow, do you remember your freshman year in high school? Some of the things that happen in this book make it easy to relate to and understand (or remember) what it is like to be a freshman in high school. I guess things really do not change much in high school. Kids everywhere must go through basically the same kinds of stuff. It is a fun book to read. You will enjoy it.

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses
Paul Goble
Caldecott Medal
Interest Level: Elementary
CATEGORY: Juvenile Fiction
TYPE: Multicultural
SUMMARY: This is a story about a young girl who loved horses. She got lost with the horses during a bad storm. Her people searched for her but could not find her. Two hunters eventually found her but they had to fight a stallion in order to return the girl home. Even though she was home she was not happy so she was allowed to return to the wild horses.
About the author:
Interview with author:
Buffalo Woman by Paul Goble
Star Boy by Paul Goble
KEYWORDS: wild horses, storm, girl, stallion, freedom
This is a wonderful book. You can feel the storm, the horses running, her heart beating and the calm after the storm. It explains some of the cultural ideas of the Navaho People, helping one understand the connection to nature.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fever 1793

Fever 1793
Laurie Halse Anderson
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Interest Level: 10 and up
CATEGORY: historical fiction
TYPE: Juvenile Novel
SUMMARY: This book is about a fever epidemic of 1793. Thousands of people died as a result of contracting yellow fever. Mattie’s mother sends her away with her grandfather when she contracts this deadly fever. In the process Mattie is separated from her mother. Mattie’s grandfather becomes deathly ill leaving Mattie to face the dying city’s devastations alone.
Author’s web site:
About Yellow Fever in Philadelphia:
Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
KEYWORDS: fever, suspense, death, Philadelphia, a lone
This is a great book that gives students an idea of some of the struggles children and adults went through during the 1790’s with the Yellow Fever Epidemic. It is a good book for young adults to read and understand without feeling overwhelmed by the situations Yellow Fever put people in.

Shakespeare's Secret

Shakespeare’s Secret
Elise Broach
ALA Notable book
Interest Level: 10 to 14
CATEGORY: Contemporary Fiction
TYPE: Juvenile Novel
SUMMARY: This is a book about a girl named, Hero, after one of Shakespeare’s characters. Her family has just moved into their new home. The day before she is to start sixth grade she meets her neighbor Marian Roth, an elderly lady that tells Hero about a stolen diamond hidden somewhere in her new home. Hero also becomes friends with the coolest guy in eighth grade, Daniel Cordova. He helps her find the stolen diamond. In their efforts to find the stolen diamond they not only discover possible connections between Shakespeare, Edward de Vere, Queen Elizabeth and Ann Bolryn to the diamonds past but also a connection between Mrs. Roth and Daniel.
Author’s Web site:
About the book:
The Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal) by Julia Golding
The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood.
KEYWORDS: mystery, diamond, Hero, Shakespeare, police
This book turned out to be one of the most interesting introductions to Shakespeare. It was wonderful how some of his plays were introduced and quotes were used. Also the poetry used was just enough to get you interested. It also allows one to see that elderly people have so much to offer, that it is okay to make friends with them, they will enjoy the company.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Harvesting Hope The Story of Cesar Chavez

Harvesting Hope The Story of Cesar Chavez
Kathleen Krull
ALA Pura Belpre Honor Book
Interest Level: Elementary
CATEGORY: biography
TYPE: juvenile nonfiction picture book
SUMMARY: This is a story of Cesar Chavez, a civil rights leader, growing up. His family lost the family farm due to a drought. Sending his family to go where ever there is work, living in crowded shacks with other workers. As a migrant worker he along with others endured long hours of hard work for very little pay.
Author’s web site:
About this book:
Wilma Unlimted: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman by KathleenKrull
Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull
KEYWORDS: hard work, low pay, fields, civic duty.
Cesar Chavez was a typical migrate worker. He became a very important person when it came to the civil rights of farm workers. Cesar Chavez was a peaceful advocate for the improvements of the lives of migrant works.

The Icky Bug Alphabet Book

The Icky Bug Alphabet Book
Jerry Pallotta
Illustrated by Ralph Masiello
Interest Level: elementary
CATEGORY: nonfiction
TYPE: Picture Book
SUMMARY: this is a book of different bugs with snippets of information from Ants to Zebra Butterflies. This books helps students enjoy and learn about different types of creatures.
Authors site:
About the author:
The Icky Bug Counting Book By Jerry Pallotta
The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta
KEYWORDS: ABC’s, insects, flying, icky,
This is a wonderful book with interesting facts about different bugs. Something interesting about this book is that at the end it states that there were only two true bugs in this book the others are spiders, arachnids, the others are insects. Hummm.