Starting our diverse board book library out right, The Snowy Day is our first board book for baby!
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
Viking, the Penguin group, board book edition 1996.
Picture book realistic fiction adapted to board book format, 30 pages.
When we found out about Baby, of course there was a lot to do to get ready. But one thing stuck in my head, bibliophile that I am – we didn’t have any board books! Well, a few that the younger ones use for church, but not much for regular reading. I didn’t quite get it together enough to have books ready before he arrived (practicalities came first), but the first week of the new year, I got busy!
Extra Credit by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Mark Elliott.
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009.
Middle grade realistic fiction, 183 pages.
AR Level: 5.3 (worth 5.0 points)
Abby is a smart sixth grader who could care less about homework but is obsessed with mountain climbing. Sadeed is the top of his school in Afghanistan, living right next to real life mountains. When Abby’s about to flunk 6th grade, she has an emergency project to complete – write to a pen pal in another country. What starts off as a quick project turns into a real connection.
The premise seemed to work okay, but as I often feel with two-person stories, one side was definitely lacking. The chapters about Abby had a lot more realism and detail. Sadeed’s chapters started off strong but while the premise was interesting, seemed to lack the specifics and connection that would have made me care about him. Even when his village was undergoing a lot of problems, it just felt dramatic and not real. The scenes with him and his sister were probably the best on his side.
We had a family emergency, so although I had posts written for the last two Fiction Fridays, I didn’t have them set to auto-publish and wasn’t able to do it in the midst of events.
I’m slowly catching up on all manner of things and trying to decide if I will just start fresh this week or try to backdate some of the posts I had planned for the last two weeks. If I do, I’ll edit this post to link them below.
I decided just to post the Fiction Friday books (since I have a fiction review backlog) and will post the others another time. The family challenge took another turn so I had to backdate another week. Hopefully this coming week I’ll be able to post on time, even if I have to schedule it!
Young Peter’s day in the snow is a classic for all children, as well as a book of historic importance.
I posted some time ago about how I originally got this book – however a friend recently gifted me a new hardcover copy! There is a book by Andrea Davis Pinkney about the making of The Snowy Day that I can’t wait to review as well.
“Everybody laughs. Especially the ones who don’t do it out loud; they do it the loudest.” p. 186
A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane.
Magic Carpet Books, Harcourt, my edition 2003, first published in 2002.
Middle grade fantasy, 320 pages + excerpt.
AR Level: 5.8 (worth 13.0 points)
NOTE: This is the 6th book in the Young Wizards series.
“Becoming a wizard isn’t easy. In fact, it can kill you.
All first-time wizards must go through an initiation in magic called an Ordeal. Most last only a few days. So why has Darryl McAllister been on Ordeal for three months?
Or has he? Darryl hadn’t actually gone anywhere. His body is still here; it’s his mind that seems to have departed. And that’s where Kit and Nita come in. Only together can they unravel the mysteries around Darryl – who he is, what he is, and why the source of all death in the universe, the Lone Power, is desperately trying to destroy him.” -back cover blurb
Even that is a little spoilery, but better than the synopsis you will find on most popular websites (including the two linked above), which give major spoilers. Unfortunately, this review will also be somewhat spoilery since this is the sixth book in a series. Discussing this book will give away some plot elements from the first five books.
I last read these these books many years ago and had forgotten that one of the two main characters is Latino. The other might be Latina (her given name is Juanita, her father is Irish-American but I don’t think her mother’s background is specified). When younger, I only cared about female characters. Although the two have very equal parts, I inaccurately recalled Kit Rodriguez as a sidekick to Nita Callahan and her younger sister Dairine.
Most of this review will be have spoilers for either the book or the series, but be sure to scroll down to the non-spoiler end…
“They would prove themselves equal or better, having internalized the Negro theorem of needing to be twice as good to get half as far.” p. 48
Hidden Figures:The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly.
William Morrow Imprint, HarperCollins, New York, 2016.
Adult non-fiction, 346 pages including notes and index.
New York Times Bestseller.
Lexile: not yet leveled
AR Level: 9.7 (worth 18.0 points)
In 1969, a human being set foot on the moon for the first time. Although you wouldn’t know it from the all-white, mostly-male camera coverage, the calculations of a black woman helped him get there. But this story starts much earlier, when the labor shortage of WWII allowed highly qualified, extremely intelligent, and very respectable female African-American mathematicians a chance at a job with pay and work closer to what they deserved.
They came in droves to Langley, in Hampton, Virginia, for a unprecedented opportunity in the midst of a heavily segregated community. Those who stayed, and their white female counterparts, spent decades breaking barriers and proving their value to aeronautics over and over again, so that when John Glenn needed the numbers for his first spaceflight checked, Katherine Johnson would be in the right place to be able to perform those and other calculations.
This book is so superb you should run out and get it right now.
“Most of the homes in the village looked the same, with smooth clay walls, thatched roofs, dirt paths, and large stone thresholds. They only looked different on holidays, when girls decorated their family’s paths and thresholds with painted patterns called alpanas, just as their ancestors had done for generations.” p. 8
Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan.
Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA, 2007.
Elementary chapter book, 91 pages.
AR Level: 4.3 (worth 1.0 points)
Bangladeshi girl Naima is a gifted painter and a free spirit who spends every moment thinking about her next alpana pattern, until her family experiences a turn of fortune and she desperately wants to help drive her father’s rickshaw, like her best friend Saleem does for his family. But as a girl she can’t even speak to Saleem now that they are older.
This is a library book which I am hoping to use as a read-aloud at school. It crossed my path very randomly but I am starting to get in the habit of noting (and trying to read) any book with clearly non-white characters on the cover. This sometimes pays real dividends as I find new treasures to read and discover new-to-me authors!