Book of the Month
Primary & IntermediateFirst Day JittersAs this delightful picture book shows, first day jitters aren't just for kindergarteners. The first day in a new school has Sarah Jane Hartwell ducking for the covers. Mr. Hartwell tries to ease her nerves with calm reassurance and wise advice.
But Sarah Jane is convinced that staying home in bed is the answer to her general fears about a new school: she doesn't know anyone, no one will like her, it's just too hard and besides, she hates school.
Kids will identify with Sarah Jane's free-floating school anxiety, even if this isn't their first year in a new school. Love's richly-colored ink and watercolor illustrations help build anticipation for the surprise ending to Danneberg's story, a twist that will delight kids and give them a new perspective on the first day of school.
Perfect late August reading for everyone heading back to school.
IntermediateAlbert the Fix-It ManAlbert is always on the lookout for things to fix. If a hinge is rusty, he oils it. If a roof is leaky, he repairs it. When Mr. Jensen s old green pickup needs a new motor, Albert hoists up the truck and drops it in. All his neighbors count on Albert to help them. He is never too busy or too tried to help.
But one day Albert is too sick to get out of bed. He s dizzy and his bones ache. When his neighbors find out, they all lend a hand to help Albert. Thanks to his friends, he is quickly on the mend.
Author Janet Lord s simple story of generosity repaid is complemented by artist Julie Paschkis s colorful, folk-style illustrations. The result is a timeless story for young children that celebrates the importance of helping others and demonstrates the value of community.
My Brother CharlieHow do you describe how you feel about someone you love with autism? MY BROTHER CHARLIE fills in the blanks through the voice of Charlie's twin sister Ryan. Wanting to crawl inside to his world, knowing how to interpret "I Love You" without it being said, and having the difficult days when things are not always smooth sailing. This is a book for any classroom and for every family. The innocent beauty of the words along with Shane W. Evans'illustrations make this book a timely treasure about an issue that has been silent for so long.
Grow“Corner lot” is a beautiful pun that works as both fact and metaphor in this moving verse novel about a neighborhood garden in Minneapolis, where people across generations and backgrounds find riches in working together. But there’s more than just message here; there’s a real story, narrated by 12-year-old Kate, in spare, free verse with short lines that say a lot. Stressed about being overweight and sad about her absent dad, Kate finds support from big Berneetha while helping in the garden; the garden thrives as more and more people work there––including a physician, a teenage “graffiti gangster,” and a gay army vet and his partner. They all stand up to officials who want “to bury the flowers and vegetables under slabs of cement” to build a parking garage. With quiet scribbly drawings of the tendrils of snap beans, wild dancing of feet, and lacy leaves, the pages depict the power of working as a community.
IntermediateThe Christmas SweaterAdapted from the original bestselling novel, The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book is the story of a young boy who finds the true meaning of Christmas in the most unlikely of places. Eddie wants a bicycle for Christmas, but his mother knits him a homemade sweater instead. His disappointment is obvious, but a magical journey makes Eddie realize that the sweater is far more than it seems. Ultimately it teaches him that the true meaning of a gift is that it is given with love.
A Season of GiftsIt's been a long while since readers last enjoyed a season with Grandma Dowdel, and what a startling, hilarious, and touching season it is. It is now 1958, a time when Elvis is king and the glow of television sets has replaced sitting on the porch for an evening. Yet as much as things have changed, Mrs. Dowdel has remained pretty much the same, living alone in the last house in town, pushing 90 and still toting her rifle, cooking up a storm and taking down the neighborhood hoodlums. What's new are the PKs (preacher's kids) who've moved in next door, including the 12-year-old narrator, Bob Barnhardt, an unassertive boy who has the misfortune of being welcomed to town in a most unneighborly fashion. Mrs. Dowdel intervenes and helps out the Barnhardts in her own inimitable way, proving herself as clever, capable, and downright amazing as ever and allowing Bob and his family to see just what a gift of a neighbor she is. With a storyteller's sure tone, Peck has once again created a whole world in one small Illinois town, a place where the folksy wisdom and generosity of one gruff old woman can change lives.JanuaryPrimaryIntermediateBIGMAMA'SIn this very appealing picture-book reminiscence, Crews invites readers to journey back to his childhood. Four African-American children and their mother travel by train to visit grandparents in a rural town. When the family reaches its destination, the children inspect each room of the house. Outside, they investigate the yard, the toolshed, the barn, the stable, and, finally, the pond. To their everlasting delight and satisfaction, they see that everything is "still the same."ChainsSet in New York City at the beginning of the American Revolution, Chains addresses the price of freedom both for a nation and for individuals. Isabel tells the story of her life as a slave. She was sold with her five-year-old sister to a cruel Loyalist family even though the girls were to be free upon the death of their former owner. She has hopes of finding a way to freedom and becomes a spy for the rebels, but soon realizes that it is difficult to trust anyone. She chooses to find someone to help her no matter which side he or she is on. With short chapters, each beginning with a historical quote, this fast-paced novel reveals the heartache and struggles of a country and slave fighting for freedom. The characters are well developed, and the situations are realistic. An author's note gives insight into issues surrounding the Revolutionary War and the fight for the nation's freedom even though 20 percent of its people were in chains.