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Posts by Jennifer

For some it's history

Cover of Ground Zero
A review of Ground Zero by Alan Gratz

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001?  I was at home, watching the news, I stepped away to help my young daughter and when I came back, the South Tower was gone.  

A few years ago, my son's fifth grade class read Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes. I read along with him, and it was one of the first times that I understood that to my children, and so many others, September 11, 2001 was not a powerful memory or a deep wound, but a historical event.  

Jun 11, 2021

Navigating the gap

Cover of Home is In Between
A review of Home is In Between by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu

Shanti waves good bye to her village in India and hello to her new town in the United States. Life in her apartment with Ma and Baba feels much like life in her village, but outside, in town things are strange. Shanti goes back and forth, remembering her village, and learning her new town. Back and forth, again and again, In Between. Most of the time, Shanti goes from village to town with great joy, but sometimes it is hard.

May 20, 2021

Alligators, bears, and chickens, oh my!

Cover of Little Red Cat Who Ran Awa
A review of Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned his ABC's (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell

Grab your running shoes - we are off!  A little red cat sees an open front door, runs out, and the adventure begins. He is chased by an alligator, then a bear and a chicken - in that order. This nearly wordless book it so much fun on a couple of different levels. Each page has a letter, both the upper and lower case, and a delightful picture the relates to the letter. The reader has to figure out what word is being illustrated. But your job is not done there, you also have to figure out the plot of the book. Plot in an ABC book? Yes, there is a definite story to this book.

Nov 6, 2020

Children in Chennai

Cover of The Bridge Home
A review of The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
Eleven year old Viji and her younger sister Rukku flee their abusive father and arrive in Chennai (India) all alone.  Life on the streets is harsh and dangerous.  The girls form a friendship with two boys living in similar circumstances.  With Muthu and Arul, they make a shelter on an abandoned bridge.  Together, the four children look for work, share resources, and become a family to each other.  They even adopt a stray dog - Kutti, the best dog ever.  One night they are forced from their bridge and take up shelter in a cemetery.  There Rukku and Muthu fall ill.
May 6, 2019

Old Sins Cast Long Shadows

Cover of Ghost Boys
A review of Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

I liked Jewell Parker Rhodes' book Towers Falling. So it was with great anticipation that I picked up her newest, Ghost Boys. Ghost Boys confronts another difficult, and all too real issue in today's society.  Twelve-year old Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer while playing with a toy gun in a park near his house.  Now, as a ghost, Jerome sees the devastating aftermath of his killing on his family, his friend, and his community.  Jerome meets the ghost of Emmett Till and hundreds of other ghost boys roaming the earth as their tragic history keeps replaying.

Feb 6, 2019

Ouch!

Cover of The Boo-Boos that Changed
A review of The Boo-Boos that Changed the World by Barry Wittenstein

Earlier today I cut my finger and put on a band aid. And then this book showed up on my hold shelf - coincidence? Back in 1917, a young couple is married and the wife seems to hurt herself with great frequency. I didn't really care for the descriptions of her injuries, both for the yuck factor, and rather condescending manner Josephine is talked about. But, if you can make it past that, this is a rather interesting story. The husband, Earle, has the idea to place small pieces of sterile gauze on a long piece of adhesive tape and then Josephine can put on a bandage easily by herself.

Jun 8, 2018

A Celebration of Girls

Cover of I Am Enough
A review of I Am Enough by Grace Byers

A beautiful picture book celebrating girls! Simple text, "Like the sun, I'm here to shine. Like the voice, I am here to sing," make the book accessible to preschool aged children. The use of similes make it something that early elementary school students will enjoy and can think of wonderful things to compare themselves to. The main character and a diverse mix of friends are shown singing, playing, studying, and even falling and getting back up again. Some of the rhymes don't quite work, but the book still has a lovely message of love, helping, and celebrating who you are.

May 18, 2018

Taco Time!

Cover of Dragons Love Tacos 2: the
A review of Dragons Love Tacos 2: the sequel by Adam Rubin

I read a lot of picture books.  Sometimes I love a book for the book itself and other times I love a book for the way children react to it.  The first time I read "Dragons Love Tacos" I was not overly impressed.  But after reading it with individual children and at storytimes with kids from ages 3-8, and seeing how much they loved the book, I became a fan.  So, when I saw "Dragons Love Tacos 2 The Sequel" I had to read it.

Aug 4, 2017