Review: Clean Your Room, Harvey Moon!

“The softball he couldn’t find / Last Saturday, / One toothbrush, one helmet… / He put them away.” p. 18

Advertisements

Clean Your Room, Harvey Moon! by Pat Cummings.
Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon and Schuster, 1991, my edition 1994.
Picture book, 32 pages.
Lexile:  not yet leveled
AR Level:  3.3 (worth 0.5 points)  .

The story of one boy with a very messy room and the Saturday morning he spent cleaning instead of watching cartoons.

Clean Your Room Harvey Moon Cover resized

I’m always delighted when I find books about various life skills featuring children of color.  If diverse children are unrepresented in books in general, they are even more invisible in educational books, whether it’s word problems in the math textbook or “soft” life skill texts like this funny book about cleaning your room.

Harvey is settling down with a snack and getting ready for a Saturday of all his favorite cartoons when his mom walks in and tells him no TV until he cleans up his room!  Amidst moans and groans, Harvey starts cleaning.  The entire book is in loose rhyme and the funniest parts are about the items he finds in his room, both good and gross.

Continue reading “Review: Clean Your Room, Harvey Moon!”

Review: We Are Family

“Each family is different; it may be large or small. / We may look like each other – or not alike at all.” p. 21

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft.
Tiger Tales, Caterpillar Books Ltd., Wilton, CT, 2017.
Picture book, 22 pages.
Not yet leveled.

A sweet vintage-style picture book depicting similar moments in the lives of ten very different families.

We Are Family cover

This British book is a bit off the beaten path.  I think I was looking for family books that were inclusive of foster and adoptive kids, and this certainly fits that mold.

Continue reading “Review: We Are Family”

Review: Circles of Hope

“Facile had no gift for his baby sister. No tikado at all. He ate a juicy sweet mango, licked his sticky fingers, and thought.” p. 7

Circles of Hope by Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Linda Saport.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005.
Realistic fiction, 32 pages.
Lexile:  AD590L ( What does AD mean in Lexile? )
AR Level:  3.9 (worth 0.5 points)  .

Facile’s is excited about his new baby sister, Lucia, but he doesn’t have a gift for her.  When he was born, Papa planted a mango tree for him, but now Papa is working in the city.  Can Facile plant a tree for Lucia?

Circles of Hope cover
Circles of Hope by Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Linda Saport.

First I want to note that this book was published in 2005, so it’s that rare children’s book about Haiti that has nothing to do with the earthquake.

Continue reading “Review: Circles of Hope”

Review: JoJo’s Flying Side Kick

Brian Pinkney tackles bravery and Tae Kwon Do in this picture book about a girl with two big problems.

JoJo’s Flying Side Kick by Brian Pinkney.
First published by Simon and Schuster, 1995.
My edition Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
Picture book, 32 pages.
Lexile:  590L  .
AR Level:  3.2 (worth 0.5 points)  .
NOTE: This is a work of fiction, although I’m not reviewing it on Fiction Friday.

JoJo’s happy living with her mother and grandfather and practicing Tae Kwon Do with her friends.  But she has two big problems.  The first is the scary tree at the end of her driveway, and the second is her yellow belt test, where she needs to break a board with her foot.

JoJo's Flying Side Kick cover resized

Pretty much I have the whole Pinkney family on auto-buy because there hasn’t been one of their books I’ve disliked yet.  They are usually a hit with students as well.  This is not the most popular one but a very solid addition to the Pinkney canon.

Continue reading “Review: JoJo’s Flying Side Kick”

Review: Celebrate Chinese New Year

“When Asians immigrated to countries like the United States and Canada, they brought these traditions with them.” page 7

Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto and Haiwang Yuan.
National Geographic Kids, Washington, D.C., 2009, my edition 2015 reprint.
Picture book informative nonfiction, 32 pages.
Lexile:  740L  .
AR Level:  3.6 (worth 0.5)  .

How Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world, especially in China.

Chinese New Year cover resized

This is a very comprehensive book.  You could easily do a short unit study using just this text.  The format works for a variety of ages or abilities.  The book is divided into two parts – first the picture book, then the last six pages are mostly text with “More About the Chinese New Year”, a variety of supplemental activities and further information for parents, teachers, or older children.

Continue reading “Review: Celebrate Chinese New Year”

Review: Chef Roy Choi

“Trying different foods is a bridge into the many food cultures that make us collectively American.” page 28

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One.
Readers to Eaters, Bellevue, Washington, 2017.
Picture book biography, 30 pages.
Lexile:  710L  .
AR Level:  4.0 (worth 0.5 points)  .

This is the story of Chef Roy Choi, who’s best known for his Kogi food trucks that combined traditional Korean food with popular street foods like tacos or barbecue in a unique and delicious way.

Chef Roy Choi cover resized
Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One.

It’s kind of funny that I found this book through the Diverse KidLit linkup.  Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table has been on my wishlist for some time.  But honestly, neither of these books would have been on my radar at all without the internet.

Continue reading “Review: Chef Roy Choi”

Five Picture Books About African-Americans

Here are five books for the youngest readers that focus on different African Americans.  Some you may have heard of before, others may be new to you!
(Perhaps these will help you go beyond the big five.)

Dave the Potter Cover resized

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Dave must have been very strong, as he was able to create pottery that not many could.  He knew how to read and write, because he wrote poems on the side of some of his pottery.  This book shares the beauty and artistry of his life without ever ignoring the harsh reality that he was a slave.

Let the Truth Be Told cover resized

Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told by Walter Dean Meyers, illustrated by Bonnie Christensen.

This picture book does a great job of presenting the life story of Ida B. Wells, including difficult topics such as lynching.  Because of the subject matter, I’d recommend this for older picture book readers, or as a family read so parents can address any questions children might have.

Major Taylor cover resized

Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome.

Did you know that Major Taylor was the first black world champion bicyclist?  He used hard work and athleticism to prove that race did not determine ability at a time when the world was determined to prove him otherwise.  This would be a great book to read before or after a bike ride, or when the weather keeps you indoors!

ruby-bridges-goes-to-school-cropped-resized

Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story by Ruby Bridges.

This nonfiction early reader is actually written by Ruby Bridges herself, and includes photos of her historic integration of a New Orleans elementary school.  This is one of my earliest reviews for this blog, so I was hesitant to link it, but there aren’t enough diverse early readers and this book should be better known.

When the Beat was Born cover 2

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Theodore Taylor III.

I’m not much of a music person, so it’s surprising how much this book delighted me.  The story of DJ Kool Herc is fascinating and covers topics like immigration, community, and of course music!  The illustrations never fail to delight new readers and this remains a favorite in our house.
(Note: technically Kool Herc is a Jamaican-American, but he’s seen as part of the African-American community, which is why I included him on this list.)