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Sofia is an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

 

Dear readers,

I have just come across this amazing book in the library and it is called The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow! I read it the first time to my four-year-old sister, and we love it! I bet you would love it too. This book is recommended for ages 6-9 on Amazon but I think it is great for any age.

Edwin was an inventor in the late 1800’s. He loved colors and was the actual inventor of the Crayola crayon! This book talks about how he worked on his invention to make it perfect. His wife encouraged him and actually came up with the name! He had made gray, white and really black crayons but his wife and family kept telling him what he could do to make them better and one major idea was to make them in different colors. At the end the book even shows how Crayola Crayons are made today and lists different steps with photographs!

I love this book because of its beautiful illustrations. They bring amazing colors into the picture and really make me feel like I am there. Another reason I love this book is because it makes great read-alouds!!! When I read this to my preschool sister who is four she said “This book is amazing!” Another great thing about this book is that it is good for questions. For example, you can ask your students or children to name the colors in the Crayola crayon package or you can just enjoy reading it through and ask a question like “Who was your favorite character and why?” or something like “How do you think Edwin felt when he ran home to his wife with his new invention?”. One last reason why I love this book is you can make tons of crafts out of it! For example, I told my sister to draw a few things out of the book using crayons. Here is the final product!

**Thanks so much to Sofia for this awesome post! Victoria, your drawing ROCKS! We loved having you this week, too!**

 

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Don’t Judge Me
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publication Date: November 10, 2020 by Scholastic

Summary: Inspired by a true story of girl empowerment, acclaimed author Lisa Schroeder’s new novel explores trust, self-worth, and speaking up — especially when you’re told to keep quiet.

Hazel doesn’t like to make waves. Middle school is hard enough without causing more trouble, right? She’s happy just eating lunch in the library with her BFF, writing secret haikus, and taking care of an adorable rescue tortoise.

But then Hazel discovers a list that rates the girls at her middle school based on their looks — started by her best friend’s older brother. She knows she has to do something, and she can’t do it alone. The wave she’ll be making might turn into a tsunami, but if Hazel can find the courage to speak up, she might just change everything.

About the Author: Once upon a time, Lisa Schroeder wanted to join Encyclopedia Brown on his fun adventures. Since that didn’t work out, she decided to be an author instead. Lisa’s written over twenty books for kids and teens including the popular verse novels for teens I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and CHASING BROOKLYN, and her most recent YA novels, THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU and ALL WE HAVE IS NOW. She’s also the author of the middle grade novels IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES, MY SECRET GUIDE TO PARIS, SEE YOU ON A STARRY NIGHT and WISH ON ALL THE STARS. Her books have been translated into foreign languages and have been selected for state reading lists. Lisa is a native Oregonian and lives with her family outside of Portland.

Review: This book is so timely and important! My county just changed their dress code, and it was introduced by a board member in our local newspaper with the title “Good riddance to dress code that singles out girls,” and there are groups of girls fighting for less descrimination in school all over the nationDon’t Judge Me is based off an event in 2019 where a group of girls in Bethesda, Maryland fought back about the toxic culture in their school.

But don’t worry–the book is not didactic, though it definitely does teach a lesson; instead, you get a book with a topic that is so important, combined with a engaging story with not only main characters who I ended up loving but also well constructed and detailed secondary characters, including parents! Oh, and a tortoise! I loved watching Hazel find her voice, Tori find her confidence, Dion find his friends, and Pip find his home!

Another thing I really liked about Schroeder’s story is she showed that kids can make a difference. She used Hazel to show that it doesn’t take radical insubordination to make that difference. Instead it takes a purpose, a plan, support, and execution. Hazel was awesome!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Do you think Hazel did the right thing the notebook?
  • Why do you think popularity was so important to Tori?
  • How is Mr. Buck an example of one of the problems presented in the novel?
  • Why do you think the author included Dion in the story?
  • What is a safe place for you like the library was for Hazel, Dion, and Tori?
  • What do you think the author hopes you take from this book?
  • Do you think that Hazel dealt with meeting with admin well?
  • What is toxic masculinity and how can we fight it in our schools and community?

Flagged Passages: [Hazel just entered the library during the first week of school during lunch]

As I started to unpack my lunch, I heard snifling.

I turned around and saw a boy curled up, arms hugging his knees, against the shelf of picture books that some of the Language Arts teachers like to use in their class. His face was buried in his arms so all I could see was his curly, black hair. I looked at Tori, hoping she’d run over to ask the boy what was wrong. I know I could have done it, but I’m not every good at that kind of thing…

‘What’s wrong?’ Tori asked. ‘Do you need help with something?’

He wiped his face across the sleeve of his shirt, then shook his head ducking back into his arms.

‘Come on,’ Tori said. We want to help. Can you talk to us? Please? We’re super nice, honest. Oh, and I’m Tori and this is Hazel. What’s your name?’

He raised his head and sniffled. ‘Dion. And don’t y’all go and tell people you saw me crying. It’ll justm ake things worse.’

‘We won’t,’ I said. ‘We’d never do that.’

‘My moms say boys should cry more often,’ Tori said matter-of-factly. ‘That the world needs more sensitive men. Or something like that.’

Dion sniffled again. ‘Tell that to the bullies of the world.’ (Chapter 11)

Read This If You Love: Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee, Nat Enough series by Maria Scrivan, Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya, The Usual Suspects by Maurice Broaddus, Here We Are edited by Kelly Jensen

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Lisa for providing a copy for review!**

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It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Edwardian Taylor
Anticipated Publication: October 27, 2020 by Two Lions

Goodreads Summary: Once again, the beleaguered storyteller tries to tell a traditional fairy tale, with little success. Red has some questions about her delivery to Grandma’s house, the wolf calls in sick, and more chaos ensues.

About the Creators: 

Like the characters in his books, Josh Funk doesn’t like being told how stories should go—so he writes his own. He is the author of many popular picture books, including the popular Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast series, illustrated by Brendan Kearney, and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor. He lives in New England with his family. Learn more about him at www.joshfunkbooks.com and follow him on Twitter @joshfunkbooks and Instagram: @joshfunkbooks.

Edwardian Taylor is the illustrator of multiple children’s books, including Race!, written by Sue Fliess; the Toy Academy chapter books, written by Brian Lynch; and the It’s Not a Fairytale books, written by Josh Funk. He lives in Texas with his partner and their four dogs. Learn more about him at www.edwardiantaylor.com.
Twitter: @edwardiantaylor
Instagram: edwardiantaylor
Tumblr: Edwardian Taylor

Review: With each book that comes out in this series, I have a long, intense internal debate. I ask myself, “But which one in the series is your favorite NOW?” And I simply cannot decide. Josh Funk and Edwardian Taylor’s It’s Not a Fairytale books are the best picture book fairytale retellings that exist. I know that’s a bold statement, but it is the truth. If you’ve missed this series, you must order copies from your nearest bookstore. They are such beautiful, thoughtful texts, and they inspire amazing classroom opportunities and critical thinking.

When I pulled out It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood, I suspect the shrieks of joy from my children could be heard by passersby outside of my house. These books are so cherished in our home. I’ve had It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood about a week, and I think we’ve read it about fifteen times (no exaggeration). Similarly to the other books in the series, Red is smarter than the narrator, and she tells her own story and does so boldly. Readers will laugh aloud as they read it! It offers good critical discussions about the stories we hear and read. I loved it and can’t wait to read it (several times) tomorrow. Thanks so much to Josh and Edwardian for another great book in this series!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be great to read as a Readers’ Theatre. Students could read different characters and the narrator aloud to create a powerful effect. Fairy tale retellings offer great opportunities for kids to tell counterstories to the narratives that are popular in society or the media, and teachers might ask students to write retellings and counterstories to those that are commonly told.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How would you describe Red?
  • How do the author and illustrator work together to create a story?
  • What aspects of the retelling are different from the traditional fairy tale? What does this make you think about when you consider the original fairy tale? How is the story improved in this retelling?

Flagged Spreads: 

Giveaway:

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Read This If You Loved:  It’s Not Hansel and Gretel by Josh Funk, It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk; Dear Dragon by Josh Funk; Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk; Whose Story is This, Anyway? by Mike Flaherty; Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett; A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media and Two Lions for providing copies for review and giveaway!**

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sharing Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle Grade Books, and Young Adult Books for All Ages!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults. It offers opportunities to share and recommend books with each other.

The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Happy reading!

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Tuesday: William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad by Don Tate

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

Sunday: Authors Interview with Philippe Cousteau and Austin Aslan, Authors of The Endangereds

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee


I was on a graphic novel kick because I bought Long Way Down, Animorphs, Monster, and Forget Me Nat for my library, and I didn’t want them to disappear and I never get to read them! Of the adaptations, Long Way Down was brilliant and Animorphs was intense (I’ve never read the books, but I am glad there is a GN now!)! Monster was well done but I don’t know if the format of the novel worked with the format of the graphic novel. Juliet Takes a Breath was so good also! A great older teen graphic novel (I’ve never read this book either, but I can see why it got so much talk!). Forget Me Nat is a great sequel to the first Nat book and is so middle school!

I read the two Nathan Hale books this week because I’ve read all of the Hazardous Tales but I had not read these two by him yet, and I want to be able to book talk them since Nathan Hale is HOPEFULLY coming in April to my school!

With Trent, we have been going through our picture book TBR pile and found some gems! His favorites were I’m Not Millie, The Box Turtle, Madeline Finn, and This Old Dog. We’ve also used the metaphor in Ravi’s Roar to talk about him getting upset a bunch since we read it, so I think it definitely is fulfilling the purpose for why it was written. What is a Refugee? and Women Artists A to Z are super important books and both really well done! Shy. Ruby, and Bag were already favorites of mine, so I was happy that Trent liked them too. Silli was just that–silly 🙂

The Stepping Off Place: “It’s the summer before senior year. Reid is in the thick of Scofield High’s in-crowd thanks to her best friend, Hattie, who has been her social oxygen since middle school. But summer is when Hattie goes to her family’s Maine island home. Instead of sitting inside for eight weeks, waiting for her to return, Reid and their friend, Sam, enter into a pact—to live it up, one party at a time. But days before Hattie is due home, Reid finds out the shocking news that Hattie has died by suicide. Driven by a desperate need to understand what went wrong, Reid searches for answers.”

Stepping Stones: “Jen is used to not getting what she wants. So suddenly moving to the country and getting new stepsisters shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Jen did not want to leave the city. She did not want to move to a farm with her mom and her mom’s new boyfriend, Walter. She did not want to leave her friends and her dad. Most of all, Jen did not want to get new “sisters,’ Andy and Reese.”

To learn more about any of these books, check out my 2020 Goodreads Challenge page  or my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

Ricki

It’s been a long weekend, so I am going to ask your forgiveness at the lack of pictures. My 6yo finished reading the new Dogman book to me. My 4yo LOVES Bye, Penguin by Seou Lee this week and read some BOB books to me. My 18mo loves the Leap Frog sound book this week.

We also loved Josh Funk’s It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood. He is a genius.

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Kellee

Currently listening to: Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Currently reading: A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patricia Caldwell

Ricki

I am still reading and LOVING Angeline Boulley’s Firekeeper’s Daughter.

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Tuesday: Blog Tour with Review and THREE BOOK Giveaway!: It’s Not Little Red Riding Hood by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

Thursday: Don’t Judge Me by Lisa Schroeder

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons by Natascha Biebow, Illustrated by Steven Salerno

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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The Endangereds
Authors: Philippe Cousteau and Austin Aslan
Published September 29th, 2020 by HarperCollins

Summary: It’s time for animals to take fate into their own paws! The Endangereds is the first book in a thrilling new adventure series by world-renowned environmentalist and Emmy-nominated host of Xploration Awesome Planet Philippe Cousteau and award-winning TURBO Racers author Austin Aslan.

Innocent animals are in trouble: temperatures are climbing, tides are rising, and nature is suffering. Someone needs to step in to rescue animals from extinction. Someone needs to turn this mess around, before it’s too late.

And that someone is . . . the Endangereds, the unlikeliest heroes you’ll ever meet—a superstrong polar bear, a pangolin with a genius for engineering, an extremely sarcastic narwhal, and an orangutan with a big dream.

Together, these four daredevils are determined to save endangered species across the globe, no matter what the risk. Rappelling into an underground cavern to save the day? No problem. Looping video footage to sneak through buildings unnoticed? Got it covered. Opening a doorknob? Okay, pretty hard without thumbs. But don’t worry. No matter what it takes, the Endangereds will get the job done.

But when two of their friends get kidnapped by a villain with a dastardly agenda, the team finds themselves up to their snouts in trouble. Can the Endangereds save the day? Or will this villain put humans and animals alike on the extinction list?

The A-Team meets the animal kingdom in the first book in the thrilling new adventure series from the host of Xploration Awesome Planet Philippe Cousteau and award-winning author Austin Aslan.

About the Authors: 

Philippe Cousteau is a multi-Emmy-nominated TV host, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur.  He has hosted numerous TV programs for Discovery, BBC, CNN, Travel Channel and more.  Currently he is the host of the syndicated television show Xploration Awesome Planet and producer/narrator of a new Virtual Reality experience Drop in the Ocean.  Philippe is the author of several award-winning books and is a sought-after speaker having keynoted events for the United Nations, Harvard University, and more. In 2004 he founded EarthEcho International; the leading environmental education organization dedicated to inspiring youth to take action for a sustainable planet. Philippe and his wife, fellow explorer and TV host Ashlan Gorse-Cousteau, reside in Los Angeles.

Austin Aslan is the author of the TURBO Racers series and the Islands at the End of the World series. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he can often be found camping in a tent on a punctured air mattress. In other lives, Austin drove ambulances way too fast, served as an ecotourism Peace Corps volunteer in a Honduran cloud forest, and managed a variety of campaigns. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Interview: 

Philippe Cousteau is a world-renowned environmental advocate, filmmaker and explorer. Austin Aslan’s debut novel, The Islands at the End of the World, was named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews. It was ranked by The Guardian as a top-ten climate fiction read. Together, they’re the authors of The Endangereds, the first book in a new science-backed, high action middle grade series.

AUSTIN: Philippe, it’s always an honor to wrap back around with you to discuss The Endangereds! The collaborative process of writing the first two books in the series has been a career highlight for me and a wonderful, thrilling ride. It’s great to be here with you on the Unleashing Readers blog for this guest Q&A. Readers should know that we both thought it would be fun to engage in a bit of a back-and-forth with each other to share with you some of the insights we’ve gathered along the way. Philippe, I’ll go ahead and get us started with a question about the “sausage-making” process for designing an action-packed book that intentionally includes some educational components, as well as a message or two. I’ve heard you repeat in the past that your grandfather always used to say to you, “Before we can talk about the environment, we must talk about education.” That sounds totally on point to me! But I’m curious, tell us more about your vision for this series as a mix of swashbuckling entertainment and environmental activism.

PHILIPPE: That’s a good question as the idea of creating a book that is first and foremost fun and exciting but also educational has been the central driving challenge of The Endangereds. For several years through my non-profit EarthEcho International, we have focused on education, channeling my grandfather’s advice to me, but we realized pretty early on that we couldn’t just focus on education in the traditional sense.  We also have to find ways of reaching people through other means. I have always been interested in fiction and how we can leverage fictional stories to tell important truths like the fact that biodiversity on earth is declining and hundreds of species go extinct every year.  The Endangereds was our way to do that because we know that young people are already interested in animals and that many of them are also clued in to the problems nature faces today but what they need is some inspiration to get them engaging in actively solving the problems we face. What better way to do that then create a team of inspiring heroes who are overcoming adversity to solve problems and help nature?

AUSTIN: I’ll never forget that first moment when I was approached by you and our editor about teaming up to make this idea a reality. The concept just sparkled for me, right away. I was electrified. I know my mind raced with ideas. The connection to the A-Team was obvious from the title alone. But you and our editor, David Linker at HarperCollins, had already zeroed in on the four main characters (and one of them shared a name with an A-Team member): A polar bear, an orangutan, a narwhal, and a pangolin! What a fabulous line up. What inspired this particular combination of species, do you think? I’ll say that I particularly gravitated toward the idea of including the narwhal, named Murdock. What’s not to like about narwhals? Also: from the “sausage-making” angle, I personally loved the challenge of including a two-ton marine mammal as part of the team. The possibilities and the potential humor of it fascinated me. And indeed, Murdock turned out to be one of my favorite characters. So, why these four animals in particular, and not, say, the lion, giraffe, hippo, and zebra from the Madagascar movies, if you know what I mean? Oh, also: I grew up watching the A-Team, and I believe you did too. What’s the role of our generation’s nostalgia for 80’s entertainment in The Endangereds’ success?

PHILIPPE: Good questions, as we were coming up with the animals I wanted to focus on some that where familiar, like a Polar Bear and mix in some that were not so familiar, like a Pangolin, as a way to provide comfort to readers but also introduce them to a new species.  Pangolins are arguably one of the most endangered animals on earth, and they are just cool looking with their claws, scales, and powerful tail.  I also chose Arief because of an experience I had filming with CNN about 6 years ago in Sumatra at an Orangutan rehabilitation facility.  They take Orangutans that have been illegally caught and sold into the pet trade and re-introduce them into the wild.  Orangutans are also highly endangered, especially Sumatran ones, and so I wanted to tell that story, and of course, like you said, Narwhals are just cool!  Because this book has a purpose—to entertain and educate—we really wanted to be able to highlight animals that could embody the main issues facing endangered species, like habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, climate change etc.  As for the A-Team, as you’ll attest Austin, we agreed early on that we wanted to have some easter eggs for the adults who might be reading this book to their children to enjoy and who doesn’t like the A-Team?

AUSTIN: Did I say Murdock the narwhal was “one” of my favorites? They’re all my favorites! Seriously, I even love the mystery animal villains we’re crafting for the series. Without giving too much away, I wanted to spend a minute talking about who the “bad guys” are in these stories. While the world’s present biodiversity threats are mostly human-caused, I think it’s too easy and too obvious, from a storytelling perspective, to just throw humans under the bus all the time. The reality is that a lot of people care about biodiversity and would join the Endangereds in their missions if they could. The rancher in the Four Corners area where our first book takes place, for example, isn’t the nefarious environmental destructor he’s taken for at first. He may even prove to be an ally to the black-footed ferrets our E-Team is deployed to protect! Philippe, can you say a few words about the buzz-term of environmental justice, and how important that concept is to understand in terms of our collective ability to arrive at real solutions?

PHILIPPE: I remember our long conversations about this, and our agreement that, as you said, it would be too easy to make humans the villains.  A theme that I really love in the series is one of balance; Arief, the Orangutan leader, talks about it a lot. The idea that the Endangereds exist because the world is out of balance, and since the Endangereds are really a proxy for humanity, diving into this world was really important.  But we didn’t want to make shallow evil characters; in a way, we wanted to be able to sympathize with them a little bit, they have motivations that aren’t hard to understand, they have been wronged like the E-Team, but have taken a different path. For me, it’s a metaphor for the choices we make as people—do we want to be positive and solve problems or be negative and cause them. Obviously, our message to youth is that the best way forward is to work together to solve problems. Austin, I know we are wrapping this up but before we do, I have a question for you.  What was the biggest challenge in writing this book and how did you overcome it?

AUSTIN: In terms of “sausage making” there were several challenges, as with any book. But I find that a story’s biggest potential rewards lie where the difficulties are. That’s where things get interesting…and fun! But rather than dwell on the craft elements that kept me up at night while drafting, I’d like to focus on the challenge of overcoming doubt and allowing myself to feel worthy of the aspirations of this series—and our partnership. We’re out to save the world, after all, through inspiring a new generation of environmental stewards to take up the mantle of a great cause. That’s a tall order. It feels like a lot of responsibility! Was I out of my league? Should I have stepped aside?

I think we all struggle with “impostor syndrome” in our various professions. The key breakthrough is realizing that, in this life, we’re all in it together! And that we’re all human and that means we’re each a package-deal full of talent and shortcomings. If we each defer to someone in the shadows to eventually come forward and do the work that needs to be done…none of us will ever get anywhere. And that’s one of the core messages of the book, ironically! Our animal heroes aren’t demigods. They’re not perfect angels sent from on high. They’re flawed, they’re uncertain, they’re scared. But they’re the ones who came forward and answered the call. I think that’s what kids need to take away most of all, and I like to think that we’re practicing what we preach by putting ourselves out there to pull these stories off.

That’s enough out of me (for now)! Philippe, any closing thoughts?

PHILIPPE: I think you said it perfectly. I just want to add that as part of The Endangereds, we have partnered with my non-profit EarthEcho International, World Wildlife Fund, and Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants to offer several live webinars where I will sit down with experts who work every day to protect these animals in the wild. Young people who join us will have a chance to ask me and the experts questions and hear stories about what wildlife conservation is like in the real world.  Go to www.TheEndangereds.com to register for FREE to join us.

Thank you, Phillipe and Austin, for being a guest on Unleashing Readers! Your focus on environmentalism is so important, and we are so glad that this book is out there for kids!

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Sofia is an 9-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

 

Dear readers,

If you are a dragon lover like my friend who recommended this book to me or love a kindhearted tale this would be your book: Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi! This book is recommended for ages 8-12.

Kenny is a little rabbit who always has his head stuck in a book. One day, Kenny’s father rushes into the kitchen all out of  breath. He tells his family to move out straight away but the Mom sits him down for dinner and then tells him to explain. The father says that a Dragon lives on the hill next to their farm and Kenny, the bookworm, obviously wants to see the dragon. The mom protests but the father says he can go but he has to be careful. Kenny quickly goes upstairs and covers himself in pots and pans like a knight and takes a benastary (a book of beasts) with him. Once Kenny gets up on the hill and sees the dragon he gets very scared. Once Kenny meets the dragon he becomes best friends with him. Kenny’s parents think that they should meet the dragon, whose name is Grahame, so they go over to Grahame’s house and have a cup of tea. Later Kenny goes to the village to meet his friend George who lends him books. Kenny discovers that George is assigned to kill Grahame! Will Kenny be able to explain to George that this monstrous but kind beast is his friend before it is too late?

I love this book so much because of its kindness and how it proves the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. It warms my heart when I see how the two companions work together to stop Grahame (the dragon) from getting hurt. I also love this book because of the cute pencil drawings and the great words that express the story. For example, this is how the book starts: ”Many years ago . . . Hold on, I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking a book about a dragon should start with “Once upon a time.” But this one doesn’t because frankly, I don’t really know what “Once upon a time” means.” Ha ha ha by now you must be laughing! Now you can see how the whole book is told in an exciting way. I hope this book captures your heart and your imagination. Either way HAVE FUN!!!

Discussion questions

  • If you were Kenny would you go up to a mountain that your father tells you has a dragon in it?
  • When Kenny decides to help his friend Grahame do you think that was the right thing to do? Why?
  • Which character is like you the most? What do you have in common?
  • Which of Kenny’s actions surprised you and why did they surprise you?

If this book got the action in you going or you just liked it then be sure to check out The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi. I have not read it yet but have watched the movie twice and can’t wait to get my hands on that book!

**We feel so lucky to have Sofia.**

 

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William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad
Author & Illustrator: Don Tate
Publication Date: November 1, 2020 by Peachtree Publishing Company

Summary: You might be familiar with Harriet Tubman and other key leaders of the Underground Railroad, but do you know about the Father of the Underground Railroad?

William Still’s parents escaped slavery but had to leave two of their children behind, a tragedy that haunted the family. As a young man, William went to work for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society, where he raised money, planned rescues, and helped freedom seekers who had traveled north. And then one day, a strangely familiar man came into William’s office, searching for information about his long-lost family. Could it be?

Motivated by his own family’s experience, William began collecting the stories of thousands of other freedom seekers. As a result, he was able to reunite other families and build a remarkable source of information, including encounters with Harriet Tubman, Henry Box Brown, and William and Ellen Craft.

Don Tate brings to life the incredible, stranger-than-fiction true story of William Still’s life and work as a record keeper of enslaved people who had fled to freedom. Tate’s powerful words and artwork are sure to inspire readers in this first-ever picture book biography of the Father of the Underground Railroad.

About the Author: DON TATE is the award-winning illustrator of numerous books for children, including Carter Reads the Newspaper, and is the author and illustrator of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton for  which he won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. He is also the co-contributor to the Brown Bookshelf, a blog designed to raise awareness of African Americans writing for young readers. He lives in Austin, Texas. Visit his website at www.dontate.com.

Review: I think history education is one of the ways I was let down as a kid, so I adore when I learn about a piece of history or a historical figure that we should all know about but has been left out of “chosen” history.

William Still was a huge part of abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, and the history of freed enslaved Americans. Based on Don Tate’s story, I learned that his transcription of the oral history of freedom seekers is how we know about many of the stories that are shared including Harriet Tubman’s and Henry Brown’s.

Don Tate’s book beautifully illustrates through his artwork and words the power of William Still and his impact on our history. We are lucky to have this book out in the world!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: 

Peachtree Publishing has provided a downloadable poster which I love!

https://peachtree-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/William-Still-and-His-Freedom-Stories_poster.pdf

Flagged Passages: 

Read an excerpt of the book here: https://peachtree-online.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/WilliamStillandHisFreedomStoriesExcerpt.pdf 

Read This If You Love: History, specifically the Civil War, Emancipation, Underground Railroad; Don Tate’s books

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**Thank you to Elyse at Peachtree for providing a copy for review!**

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