MyaGrace Wants to Get Ready, by Jo Meserve Match — promoting inclusion (ages 4-8)

Our schools in Berkeley Unified School District educate all students and promote a “full-inclusion” model. Students with all types of abilities are all integrated into our classrooms, and I believe this benefits all of us — students and teachers. But seeking out picture books that represent the experiences of different students is not easy. We must make special effort to be inclusive in our books as we are with our schools.

I am happy to share a new picture book that shows a slice of life of MyaGrace, a teen with special needs who wants to be included in activities with her friends and classmates. This story exudes joy and will make a terrific addition to home and school libraries. MyaGrace’s mother writes the book, and it is told from MyaGrace’s perspective.

MyaGrace Wants to Get Ready
A True Story Promoting Inclusion and Self-Determination

by Jo Meserve Match and Vera Lynne Stroup-Rentier
illustrated by Mary Birdsell
Finding My Way Books, 2016
Amazon / Your local library
ages 4-8

MyaGrace is excited to go to her school’s big dance with her friend, Emily. She needs to choose a special dress and get ready. The introduction explains that MyaGrace has special needs and abilities, but the text just shows this event from her perspective.

Read more at the full post at Great Kid Books.

©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Celebrating Education Around the World

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney (with Plan International) is an intriguing picture book that shows readers how children get to school around the world.

The-Way-to-School

The first thing readers will notice are the beautiful color photographs by photojournalists and Plan members, which document the journeys taken by children every day to get to school. From crossing rivers to climbing mountains, regular kids make difficult treks to do what many of us take for granted.

Have a child or student who complains about going to school? This is the perfect book to show him or her how children are willing to make the sacrifices to get an education. In some cases these children are risking their lives every day to go to school, such as by crossing collapsed or flimsy bridges. Their stories are sure to put things in a new perspective.

The Way to School is perfect to celebrate the beginning of the school year, and to accompany units on world geography. It might also be appropriate for 100 day celebrations, to show children what can be accomplished. Be sure to pull out an atlas or world map to share the locations of these unusual journeys.

This review was originally posted at Wrapped in Foil blog.

Voyage to the Moon

A different kind of travel is depicted in MOONSHOT : the Flight of Apollo 11, a nonfiction picture book by Brian Floca.

What did the astronauts experience?

SAMPLE: “Onboard Columbia and Eagle, Armstrong, Collins, Aldrin  unclick gloves, unclick helmets, unclick the straps that hold them down, and float inside their small ships, their home for a week.”

This repetition is very effective. Everybody is familiar with the unclicking of seatbelts in cars. The reader can relate to this.

For a summer activity Brian Floca has provided coloring pages from MOONSHOT  (http://www.brianfloca.com/ColoringPages.html.)

 

 

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2014 Deborah Amadei All Rights Reserved. Site Meter

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Winnie by Sally M. Walker

WinnieCindy: After a year on the 2015 Sibert Medal committee I said I was taking a short break from nonfiction, but when I saw the cover art, the title, and the name Sally Walker on Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh (2015), I just couldn’t resist. Last year saw the publication of many soldier-and-dog stories, including Ann Bausum’s Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog (2014)—but a bear?

Harry Colebourn, a Canadian Army Veterinary Corps lieutenant, had a chance meeting with a bear cub at a train station in 1914. He bought the cub for $20 and named him “Winnipeg” for the Corps’ hometown. Winnipeg became “Winnie” and Harry’s fast friend. The two were inseparable until the war took them too close to the battlefront and Harry made the hard decision to leave Winnie at the London Zoo. It was there that a young boy named Christopher Robin met a bear so gentle that children were allowed to pet and hand-feed him. That night, Christopher’s teddy bear got a new name, “Winnie-the-Pooh,” and his father, A. A. Milne, told him the first of many stories about a bear and boy—stories that children are still reading to this day….

Check out our whole post about this book at our Bookends Blog post for Winnie over at the newly designed Booklist Reader.

THE SCRAPS BOOK by Lois Ehlert

THE SCRAPS BOOK cover
THE SCRAPS BOOK: NOTES FROM A COLORFUL LIFE
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, March 2014
72 pages

There have been several picture-book autobiographies of children’s book authors and illustrators over the past few years. Sadly, most have left me feeling just a little underwhelmed. While I personally enjoyed them, I felt like they were aimed more at their long-time adult fans than at contemporary child readers. While I, as an adult, was able to appreciate the rich context and interesting personal histories, I wondered if children would be able to relate to the stories and find directly relevant meaning within the pages. So, although I myself am a fan of Lois Ehlert, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when I picked up THE SCRAPS BOOK. Boy was I in for a delightful surprise!

Read the full review here.

Hope for Winter

Hope for Winter: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by David Yates, Craig Hatkoff, Juliana Hatkoff, & Isabella Hatkoff.  (Scholastic, 2014)9780545686693_xlg

Anyone who has seen the movie, Dolphin Tale, knows the story of Winter, the rescued dolphin fitted with a prosthetic tail.  Now, in the book Hope for Winter (and in the upcoming Dolphin Tale 2 movie), people will learn of Hope, another bottlenose dolphin rescued in circumstances remarkably similar to those of Winter’s and destined to bring them together.

In simple language, this paperback picture book tells the story of Hope’s rescue and new life at the aquarium,

     When the cast and crew finished filming Dolphin Tale, they threw a party at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  They were happily celebrating, when they received an urgent call —a baby dolphin was on her way to the aquarium.  She was very sick and might not survive the trip.  A group of veterinarians, dolphin trainers, and volunteers left the party and started getting prepared.  When the baby dolphin arrived, it was clear that every minute counted.

Back matter includes several pages of information on Clearwater Marine Aquarium, two pages of “Amazing similarities between Winter and Hope,” and “Dolphin Facts.”

Fans of the original movie, animal enthusiasts, and teachers should love this one.

 

See all of my reviews at Shelf-employed. Or follow me on Twitter @shelfemployed

Copyright © 2014 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.

What’s New? The Zoo: A Zippy History of Zoos

Krull, Kathleen. 2014. What’s New? The Zoo!: A Zippy History of Zoos. New York: Scholastic.  Illustrated by Marcellus Hall.

What’s New? The Zoo? is an illustrated overview of zoos that combines history with hard science and social science.  Kathleen Krull outlines the history of zoos, and offers insight into what compels us to keep animals, what we’ve learned from them, and what has changed in zoos since the founding of the first known zoo,

4,400 Years Ago, The Sumerian City of Ur, in Present-Day Iraq

The king of beasts lunges and roars.  The King of Ur roars right back, feeling like the ruler of all nature.  How delicious to wield his power over dangerous animals!  It’s the world’s first known zoo, and all we’re sure about (from clay tablets in libraries) is that is has lions.

From this beginning, Krull highlights transitional moments in zoos throughout the ages and across the globe.  Just a few examples include:

  • Ancient Egypt and Rome where zoos were created to impress
  • Ancient China where the zoo was a contemplative and sacred place
  • Sweden where the science of zoology was established in 1735
  • The U.S. National Zoo where the concept of zoos protecting threatened species was introduced
  • South Africa’s Kruger National Park where the protection of rhinos was so successful that rhinos were delivered to other zoos
  • Germany, 1907, where the “cageless zoo” concept is introduced

(Did you know that Aristotle wrote the first encyclopedia of animals?)

On most pages, humorous, watercolor illustrations nestle around paragraphs of simple font against white space.  Several pages, however (including one depiction of fifteen buffalo waiting for a train at Grand Central Station, 1907), are double-spreads with many amusing details.

If you like your science accessible and entertaining, this is the book for you.The very talented Kathleen Krull never disappoints!

See all of my reviews at Shelf-employed. Or follow me on Twitter @shelfemployed

Copyright © 2014 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.

 

Review: ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA

ABAYOMI cover

Published by Mims House
ISBN-10: 1629440019, ISBN-13: 978-1629440019

Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill have teamed up again, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. A couple of years ago, I reviewed their previous collaboration, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, for STEM Friday. You can read that review here.

Unlike Wisdom, the main character in ABAYOMI,  THE BRAZILIAN PUMA, is a mammal, a feline–not a bird. Unlike Wisdom, Abayomi lives in South America, in Brazil–not on an island in the North Pacific Ocean. Unlike Wisdom, Abayomi is a baby, an orphan–not a wise, old mother. Yet their stories have much in common.

Read all about what these two unlikely protagonists share in the rest of the review, posted here.

Tracey Fern Sails for Adventure With ‘Dare the Wind’

Who doesn’t love a daring adventure story when she sees it? And when it’s a non-fiction picture book? All the better. When it features a brave lass at the helm? Unbeatable. And there we have Dare the Wind: The Record-breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, published only last month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Dare the Wind tells the story of young Ellen Prentiss, who was born “with saltwater in her veins.” Her father nurtured her interest in the sea, and Ellen learned navigate and sail on her own. When Ellen grew up, her love for adventure never waned, and her husband was given command of a clipper ship built for speed. With the Gold Rush on, Ellen raced from New York, around the tip of Cape Horn, and into San Francisco to stake her fortune. She not only navigated the clipper safely, but she set the world record for speed along the way.

Question: You’re a Massachusetts gal, and so was Ellen Prentiss. Is that what drew you to her story? Could you talk about the “ah-ha” moment when you decided to write a book about this daring seafarer?

Tracey Fern: I’m always on the lookout for great real-life stories that feature a unique person mixed with a dash of adventure or discovery.  My “ah-ha” moment came when I picked up David Shaw’s book, Flying Cloud, on a whim.  I knew instantly that I had to write about Ellen. Ellen’s story – a young woman performing a traditionally male role, clipper ships, a race, storms – had it all! It was an added bonus that she was from Marblehead, Massachusetts, which is one of my favorite towns.  I love walking the narrow, cobbled streets, imagining Ellen learning to navigate ships in the harbor.

Read more of this interview over at AuthorOf.blogspot.com, where Kate Hannigan interviews authors of some of today’s best fiction and non-fiction, picture books to middle-grade.

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A Breath of Springtime with A Plant a Pocket of Prairie

We are so excited by this new picture book that we couldn’t wait until April 15, 2014 (when it is published) to talk about it.

plant-a-pocket-prairie

Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Betsy Bowen is a lovely breath of springtime.

Betsy Bowen’s woodblock print illustrations grab the reader’s attention right away. They capture the feeling of movement and the look of the prairies beautifully.

The text is also lovely, written in free verse. Author Phyllis Root starts by disclosing how the prairies are almost all gone. She then highlights examples of relationships between specific plants and animals in the prairie ecosystem, such as between foxglove beardtongue (a type of Penstemon) and hummingbirds; monarch butterflies and milkweeds; and goldfinches and sunflowers. She explains that by growing these plants, even in small pockets, the animals that use them will come to visit.

In the back matter are lists of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants found in prairies, perfect for a jumping off point for designing a garden or writing a report about prairies. Even though it explores the prairies of Minnesota, the book has a much more general appeal and a serious message about preserving habitats that applies anywhere.

Today at Wrapped in Foil we have this title and more books about the wildlife of Minnesota. We also have a full review and related activities at Growing with Science.