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Posts by Jennifer

Where we begin

Cover of Making a Baby
A review of Making a Baby by Rachel Greener

I really liked this straightforward and respectful picture book, originally published "across the pond" in England! Lovingly constructed with inclusive language and engaging, visibly diverse illustrations, you are sure to see some part of your family's experience reflected here. All families are ready for these important conversations at different times--as author Rachel Greener writes, "You and your family are amazing, just as you are!" When you're ready to talk the ways one egg, one sperm, and one womb can come together to create a baby, Making a baby is a great resource!

Feb 25, 2022

We need to do better

Cover of Children Under Fire: An Am
A review of Children Under Fire: An American Crisis by John Woodrow Cox

John Woodrow Cox's powerful book examines the countless victims of gun violence that are not counted as victims - the classmates, siblings, children, parents, teachers, friends, grand parents , and so on and so on. The book focuses on a 2016 shooting in South Carolina that killed 6-year-old Jacob Hall and the effects on his best friend Ava who was so traumatized that she developed severe PTSD. We get an intimate portrait of how Ava and her family are affected every single day by the PTSD.

Feb 21, 2022

Who gets to decide?

Cover of Borders
A review of Borders by Thomas King

If you heard that someone got stuck when trying to cross the border, would you think of San Ysidro, El Paso or maybe Laredo? I admit, I did. But this story takes place at the Canadian-American border. This graphic novel, illustrated by Natasha Donovan, is an adaptation of Thomas King's 1993 short story. A Blackfoot boy in Alberta tells how when he was about twelve years old, his seventeen year old sister moved to Salt Lake City. The tension between Laetitia and her mother feels very real.

Nov 12, 2021

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

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