Posts Tagged ‘family’

Vivid phrases paired with stunning photography, Barbara Kerley’s books explore significant topics such as water, peace, and family and how that can look around the world. Fantastic read alouds.

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Keith Richard’s picture book memoir of his life as a young boy, inspired by his eccentric grandfather to love music and the guitar. Lyrical text with illustrations by Theodrora Richards, Keith’s great-granddaughter. Includes a CD with the story read by Keith Richards and music.

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This was one of the best novels I’ve read recently about a quirky young girl who loses both of her parents and struggles to build a new family. Beautiful, heartbreaking and funny. As you can see, I’ve been moving away from dystopia.

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There are four Penderwick sisters, all different but equally charming. Rosalind is twelve, the eldest, and the most responsible. Then there is Skye, and although she is considered to be the pretty sister and the only one who looks just like their mother, Skye is a tomboy and is sometimes more than a little grumpy. Jane is ten and an author who is completing her first novel. Batty is the youngest and can’t remember Mamma. She only speaks if she feels like it, a rare occasion.

While spending their summer in a lovely cottage on a grand estate, the four Penderwick sisters try desperately to stay on the good side of the estate’s owner, the scary Mrs. Tifton and her fiance Dexter. A seemingly impossible goal, especially considering all their antics. Things just seem to go sideways sometimes!

The sisters befriend Jeffery Tifton, the owner’s son, and try to help him avoid being sent to military school in his grandfather’s footsteps. Even though it might crush his mother’s hopes and dreams for him, Jeffery would much rather study music. Rosalind, the eldest Penderwick sister, develops a crush on the friendly and helpful ground keeper, a cute young man named Cagney.

Reminiscent of old family classics, The Penderwicks is good, old-fashioned fun that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would.

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Sometimes in my daily travels I come across some real gems. Here are two:

This book is delightful with lots of opportunities for connecting, questioning and inferring. Orange Peel was born in China and moves to the US or Canada. At school she is asked many questions about her birth country but she doesn’t know the answers. Curious to find out, she goes to visit all the people she knows who were also born in China. Each person tells her something about her birthplace and secretly slips something into her pocket. Great for learning a a few facts about China and perhaps a good launch for some research. Also great for connecting: we discussed who was born somewhere else (China, Vietnam, Sweden, Ontario, Afghanistan), who had another name (many), and who spoke other languages (many). 

Another thing I loved about this book is that in the illustrations Orange Peel’s mother is clearly caucasion and she is Chinese, yet there is nothing in the text to explain. The class discussed many possible options including adoption, Orange Peel’s father being Chinese, and her mother actually being asian but dies her hair blonde, etc. Although becoming increasingly easier, it is still difficult to find a mix of ethnicities/visible minorities in children’s literature unless it is a ‘cultural’/ ‘multicultural’ or folklore book.

in case you need to clarify some things with your twenty-first century learners:

It’s a Book by Lane Smith.

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