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Short Review: Esperanza Rising

12 Aug

Esperanza RisingEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Esperanza Rising is a gorgeous book about families struggling together to overcome tremendous obstacles in order to stay together and work toward new dreams. Set in Mexico and California leading up to and during the Dust Bowl Era, this vibrant and engrossing coming-of-age story will teach young and adult readers alike valuable lessons about that historical time period in the United States but also about relevant themes to this day: grief, resilience, understanding and appreciating other cultures, and the value of dreaming, hoping, and never giving up.

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Short Review: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers

17 Apr

Charlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good RecyclersCharlie and Lola: We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers by Lauren Child, Bridget Hurst

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was glad to find this after struggling to find a good read-aloud for Kindergartners leading up to Earth Day. Charlie and Lola are adorable and lovable characters, and in this story kids are introduced to recycling and celebrate as Lola and her classmates achieve an important goal. The illustration style combines drawings and collage in a way that allows opportunities to look for interesting details with young readers.

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Short Review: Our Choice: Young Readers Edition

16 Apr

Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate CrisisOur Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis by Al Gore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Young Readers edition of Al Gore’s Our Choice is not new, but important to highlight. This book takes the very complex issues of climate change and the solutions Gore calls us to enact and makes them engaging and understandable to middle grade-and-older readers. I found this book informative and interesting as an adult, and it is a great resource for inquiry projects around climate change and conservation in school libraries.

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Short Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

6 Apr

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After years of being advised to read this book and never quite finding the time, I finally did it.  I’m so glad I finally did. Junior is what many people would call “an old soul”, but probably not people on “the rez” because they’ve all had to grow up too fast. Just when you think your heart will break for Junior and his family, you are relieved with a belly-shaking laugh. Junior’s sensitivity, empathy and clearly genetic, nuanced sense of humor will make you admire him repeatedly. Junior struggles and thrives as he tries to live two lives – one on the rez and one in a white high school he chose to go to because he knew he deserved a better education than the reservation school could give him. Both supported and humiliated by his family and friends, Junior finds his way and can reconcile the duality of his life through a series of trials and triumphs. Alexie has done an amazing job of writing a young hero that is superb yet believable, and Forney’s illustrations bring Junior’s best qualities to life.

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Short Review: The Fault In Our Stars

22 Mar

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Green has done it again. He’s written a refreshingly honest and respectful book – not just about teens, but about young love, grief, family, friendship, dying, and the small moments in life that offer hope even in the darkest of times. This book is sweet, funny, heartbreaking, surprising and predictable – hmmm, which is a lot like being sixteen.

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Let’s crowdsource: Women’s History Month, ages 5-12

2 Mar
Whenever I talk about why I love librarians and why I’m so excited to be a librarian, I always gush about professional ethic of helping one another to help make the profession better and to better meet the needs of our communities.  It’s true!  I see little to no actual backstabbing and under-the-bus-throwing among my people.  I see so much helping, sharing, and supporting!  That’s my rainbows-and-lollipops library thought for today.

The idea:

That being said, I thought it would be fun to try some crowdsourcing here at Brooklyn Biblio.  Since my readership is still small, please help by passing this on through your own blogs and twitter accounts and Facebook and let’s see how many titles and great ideas we can gather here!  I will then compile the best ideas submitted along with anything I come across in my own research and follow up with a nicely organized, editorialized post that could be reposted and referred to in the future as a resource for school and public librarians going forward, with plenty of thanks and hat tips to individual contributors.

This is experimental, but if this works, maybe there can be monthly or quarterly crowdsourcing features here on Brooklyn Biblio!

Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Comp...

Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

The ask:

March is Women’s History Month!  I’m working on putting together a K-5 book display and read-aloud for Women’s History Month at the school library where I’m currently a practicum student.  While I’m researching this, I’d love to know what some of your favorite children’s titles, discussion ideas, and online resources are to use with elementary and middle school students or to use in planning learning activities for students during Women’s History month!

 

I look forward to seeing all the ideas and suggestions from librarians all over the country (or the WORLD?) and I can’t wait to put it all together.  Thanks for reading and sharing!

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Short Review: Looking For Alaska

18 Feb

Looking For AlaskaLooking For Alaska by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Miles is fascinated by final words, especially those of Francois Rabelais, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps”. Unpopular, awkward and virtually friendless, Miles spends most of his free time at home reading or watching TV with his parents, and he doesn’t want to wait until he’s dead to find his Great Perhaps, so he convinces his parents to send him away to Culver Creek boarding school. Miles falls in with a daring group of friends – pranksters and rule-benders with good hearts, sharp minds, and fierce loyalty. Through these friendships in particular, Miles finds his Great Perhaps and wrestles with some of the essential questions we all struggle with, even after growing up – how to love, how to lose, how to grieve and how to recover – and speaks to the resiliency of youth that young people and adults alike would do well to remember.

Please be advised, this book contains strong language and sexual content.

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