Friday, February 16, 2018

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Eternity Elixir by Frank L. Cole


ABOUT THE BOOK

Twelve-year-old Gordy Stitser is one of the few people who knows the truth about the secret society of potion masters, because not only is Gordy's mom on the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (B.R.E.W.), but she has also been training Gordy in the art of potion-making.

Gordy is a natural, and every day he sneaks down to the basement lab to invent new potions using exotic ingredients like fire ant eggs, porcupine quills, and Bosnian tickling juice.

One afternoon, Gordy receives a mysterious package containing an extremely rare potion known as "The Eternity Elixir." In the right hands, the Elixir continues to protect society. But in the wrong hands, ti could destroy the world as we know it.

Now, sinister potion masters are on the hunt to steal the Eternity Elixir. It's up to Gordy, his parents, and his best friends, Max and Adeline, to prevent an all-out potion war.

REVIEW

Gordy Stitser's grown up knowing he has a gift for making potions.  And to his benefit, his mother has the skills and authority to teach him how to harness those abilities.  Gordy loves spending time in his mother's basement lab creating potions of his own.  But things take a bad turn when Gordy discovers what his mother really does on all her trips.  She works for the Board of Ruling Elixirists Worldwide (BREW) enforcing policies and rules among elixirists.  But when Gordy's Aunt Priss sends a special package with the Eternity Elixir to Gordy's home when his mother's gone, his stable world explodes into chaos.  Gordy and his friends Max and Adilene struggle to keep the enemy at bay, but the elixirist they are up against is far more powerful than they could imagine and time is not on their side.

Cole has created a series opener that is very appealing with likable characters, an interesting world premise, and plenty of action.  The humor keeps the book from getting too scary.  The wide variety of invented potions makes for a fresh new take on the 'chosen one' story.  Plus, Gordy isn't on his own.  It was refreshing to have his parents and other adults around to help him in his efforts.  Too many fantasy books have either no parents or bad ones.  This is a delightful new series that I look forward to continuing to read.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

VALENTINE'S DAY PICTURE BOOKS: Click, Clack, Moo I LOVE YOU!/Rot The Cutest in the World/I Am Loved


ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s Valentine’s Day and on the farm - that means a Valentine’s party! Little Duck is wildly excited. She hangs balloons, streamers, sparkling lights, and hearts everywhere, and hand-makes a valentine for everyone. On top of a hill, a little fox hears the music from the party and follows Little Duck’s many decorations to the barn…but foxes are not at all welcome on farms. The chickens stop dancing. The sheep stop dancing. The pigs stop dancing. The mice hustle off to hide. Will Little Fox ruin the dance? Or, perhaps, she’s just what the party needs! 
 
REVIEW
 
Cronin and Lewin have created another cute book revolving around the animals on Farmer Brown's farm.  In this one, Little Duck spends a great deal of time and energy decorating the farm for the upcoming Valentine's Day dance.  She also makes a valentine for everyone.  That night after the work is done and the cows have gone to their shindig, the party commences with food, dancing, and valentine's for everyone.  But the animals stick mostly to their own kind until a fox shows up and scares everyone except for Little Duck.  It turns out Little Duck still has one valentine left and she's willing to share it with Fox.  Not only is this a sweet story about reaching out to those who are different, it's full of glitter which is bound to thrill young listeners (especially if they get to touch it).
 
 
 
ABOUT THE BOOK
 
A mutant potato learns that he’s pear-fect just the way he is in this bright, fun, and silly picture book from the creator of It Came in the Mail that will have kids collapsing in giggles (and rescuing the contents of the vegetable drawer).

Rot is a mutant potato. Like most mutant potatoes, Rot loves all sorts of games and contests. So when he sees a sign for the “Cutest in the World Contest,” he can’t wait to enter.

But when Rot realizes who he’s up against—an itty-bitty baby bunny, a little-wittle cuddly kitten, and an eenie-weenie jolly jellyfish—he loses confidence. Will the judges find room in their hearts for an adorable mutant potato?
 
REVIEW
 
I enjoyed most things about this book.  Rot is a fun character who enjoys being himself, but when faced with a cute bunny, cuddly kitten, and peppy jellyfish he decides to try to be more.  When that doesn't work out he struts out onto the stage as the one and only ROT THE CUTEST IN THE WORLD.  While the book is cute and funny, I'm not a fan of the butt crack joke (apparently Rot's best side and 'the end' of the book).  But if that sort of joke doesn't bother you, this is a fun book about beauty or cuteness being in the eyes of the beholder.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Newbery Award honoree Ashley Bryan has hand-selected a dozen of National Book Award winner Nikki Giovanni’s poems to illustrate with his inimitable flourish.

There is nothing more important to a child than to feel loved, and this gorgeous gathering of poems written by Nikki Giovanni celebrates exactly that. Hand-selected by Newbery honoree Ashley Bryan, he has, with his masterful flourish of color, shape, and movement, added a visual layering that drums the most impartant message of all to young, old, parent, child, grandparent, and friend alike: You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. As a bonus, one page is mirrored, so children reading the book can see exactly who is loved—themselves!
 
REVIEW
 
Like many poetry books, I enjoyed some of these poems more than others and the same is bound to be true for young readers/listeners.  I liked the poems about family and heaven and being a mirror of those who came before.  But there are a few poems that are so abstract in their comparisons that young children will have a hard time figuring out what they mean.  I had a hard time with a couple of them (ex. Paula the Cat, Kidnap Poem).  Bryan's illustrations are bright and colorful and gorgeous as his normally are, but may not appeal to all children. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

"In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.
...
A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life."

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that's soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.
 
REVIEW
 
This is a beautiful book about love and where it can be found.  Love can be found in the glowing eyes of new parents, in the music on the radio, and the fresh air.  Love can be found spending time with those we love in the memories we make in the world around us.  Laughter can be love.  There is a lot of imagery in this book both in the words and the illustrations.  Imagery of making memories together, laughing together, sharing and helping each other, all these things are mentioned.  There is one picture that some reviewers haven't liked showing a young boy under a piano as his mother cries and his father stomps from the room.  There's a turned over lamp and chair.  Love is a beautiful thing, but loving humans can also be a painful, hurtful thing.  Sometimes those we love 'flame out' as the book says.  While the book is mostly positive, Long includes this picture demonstrating that love is wonderful, but sometimes also painful.  Long's illustrations are gorgeous and beautifully complement de la Pena's words.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

VALENTINE'S DAY BOARD BOOK REVIEWS: Hug Machine/How Do You Say I Love You?/Colors of Love


ABOUT THE BOOK

Who have YOU hugged today? Open your arms to this delightfully tender, goofy, and sweet board book from Scott Campbell.

Watch out world, here he comes! The Hug Machine!

Whether you are big, or small, or square, or long, or spikey, or soft, no one can resist his unbelievable hugs! HUG ACCOMPLISHED!

Now available as a board book, this endearing story encourages a warm, caring, and buoyantly affectionate approach to life. Everyone deserves a hug—and this book!


REVIEW

This is an adorable book about a little boy who calls himself the 'hug machine'.  He spends most of the book hugging anything and anyone in sight.  He hugs his family, the neighbors, a police officer, a tree, a bench, and a post office box.  He also hugs a crying baby, and even a porcupine (with appropriate protection).  But who will hug him when all his energy runs dry?  Having been hugged numerous times by young hugging machines, I can say that there is nothing quite like it.  The innocence and affection behind it is truly sweet.  This works for younger kids, but probably shouldn't be encouraged in older kids though, at least not without permission. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Learn how to say “I love you” in ten different languages with this heartwarming board book.

“I love you” may sound different around the world, but the meaning is the same. From China, to France, to Russia, to Brazil, and beyond, this charming board book features “I love you” in ten different languages.


REVIEW

This adorable board book teaches that while there are numerous ways to say I love you, the feeling behind the words is the same.  The author even manages to keep rhyming, even when presenting the words in other languages, quite impressive.  Thankfully the pronounciations for each phrase are shown under each phrase.  The illustrations are cute and appropriate and even include some cultural icons to connect with each language.  But the focus here is on the love between the children and the people around them.


ABOUT THE BOOK

This wildly creative board book is filled with illustrations of a child’s world that are sure to inspire kids to see their surroundings in a new way.

What color is love? Love is so much more than a big red heart! This joyful board book introduces children to a beautiful world filled with diversity—in their own family, their friends, and the world beyond. By using Crayola crayon colors to draw a loving world, children can learn how to express their emotions through colors, too. The Colors of Love makes a sweet Valentine’s Day gift, or a perfect gift for a friend anytime of the year.


REVIEW

A young boy learns about love through the colors of things around him.  The warm yellow sun, having breakfast with his family in the sky blue kitchen, and riding on the yellow orange bus with his friends all show things in his life that the boy loves.  This is a bright, colorful book that compares love to the beautiful colors in the world around us.  In this delightful way, parents, teachers, and caregivers can help children learn to express feelings in the colors that they see.

Monday, February 5, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko


ABOUT THE BOOK


Claire Martinson still worries about her older sister Sophie, who battled a mysterious illness last year. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor... until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden.

There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other. The beloved unicorns have gone, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes, it will take all of Claire's courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns' greatest secret.

REVIEW

Unicorns are pretty popular among my girl readers these days and I have to admit I'm a fan of them too.  So when I heard about this book I knew I needed to pick it up.  And I'm glad I did.  First of all it starts in a mysterious old mansion full of artifacts, a setting that I happen to particularly love, I mean who wouldn't want to explore such a place.  Second, we have two sisters who are very different who are struggling to get along but who love each other.  And third, there is a quest.  Interestingly it's Claire, the uncertain one, who finds comfort in her pencil, that must gather her courage to find her missing sister.  And things get even more complicated when Claire discovers that her sister has been accused of stealing an important unicorn artifact.  With the help of some new found friends, Claire sets out to find her sister, not realizing that she will find far more than she ever bargained for along the way.  A fun, engaging fantasy for the unicorn-loving set.  And isn't that cover gorgeous!

GIVEAWAY


1 print copy of The Unicorn Quest
US/Canada only

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, February 1, 2018

SERIES THURSDAY: Gimme Shelter/Barkus


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Chicken Squad prides themselves on being ready for anything. Marshmallow life preserves? Check. Copious bags of jellybeans for a car ride? Check. Storm shelter? Storm shelter! They need a storm shelter in case there is ever a storm. So Sugar takes it upon herself to build one in the yard. But it turns out it’s not big enough for everyone. And the big dig has unearthed some mysterious surprises.

REVIEW

Doreen Cronin's Chicken Squad is back in their fifth adventure.  This time around the four siblings face off over a storm/meteor shelter.  Sugar, who tends to take the lead, insists they must be prepared for any upcoming storms which she changes to meteors as soon as Dirt (the educated one) tells her about them. The problem is the hole isn't big enough for them and J.J. Tully (the former search and rescue dog) and their mother Moosh.  This argument leads to a decision to vote (an election held by Sugar alone at 3 a.m. in the neighbors garage so she gets her way) to settle the dispute.  When the digging commences another issue arises with the discovery of a bone.  Further arguments about just what they have discovered as well as conflict with the neighbor boys, squirrels, and chipmunks create trouble all over the place.  Cronin has created an amusing story that young readers are bound to enjoy.  And Gilpin's illustrations complement the story perfectly.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Meet Barkus. Barkus is loyal. Barkus is generous. Barkus is family.

The exuberant Barkus and his lucky young owner whirl and twirl across the pages of this delightful pre-chapter book series from award-winning author Patricia MacLachlan. The accessible text is ideal for even the newest independent reader, while the warm, humorous story and energetic illustrations will appeal to picture book readers as well as advanced readers.

REVIEW

In this delightful ode to the relationship between a girl and her dog, the author has created a wonderful book for sharing with a group or reading one-on-one.  The five short stories in the book highlight the fun that Nicky and Barkus have together.  The first story introduces Nicky and Barkus to each other. Story two introduces Barkus to Nicky's class at school.  Story three revolves around Barkus's birthday. Story four sees Barkus adopt a kitten and story five has Nicky and Barkus enjoying their first outdoor campout.  The bright illustrations are very eye-catching and appealing.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant/Animal Tails/Night Creepers/Living Things and Nonliving Things


ABOUT THE BOOK

How much does an elephant weigh? How do you know? How would you know if you didn’t have a modern scale? Six-year-old Cao Chong, the most famous child prodigy in Chinese history, faced just this problem! Chong watches as the prime minister’s most trusted and learned advisors debate different methods. The principle of buoyancy and a little bit of creative thinking help this boy come up with a solution.
REVIEW
Based on true events, Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant,  tells the story of six-year-old Cao Chong, who helped a group of Chinese governmental ministers figure out how to weigh an elephant without putting it on a scale.  It's delightful to see a child outsmarting the adults.  This is a fun book to use in STEM lessons on buoyancy and problem solving.  The publisher provides additional information at the end of the book that would be perfect for using in such a lesson.  This information includes a short biography of Cao Chong, a buoyancy experiment, and a geography activity.  All these activities can be found on the publisher's website.  The only thing missing is a works cited page with references.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Readers will be fascinated by the many ways animals use their tails: to move on land, swim, warn others, steer, hold on to things, keep warm, balance, fly, attract a mate, and even to defend themselves! Apparently, tails are not just for wagging when happy. Following Animal Eyes, Animal Mouths (NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Science Award-winning book), and Animal Legs, Mary Holland continues her photographic Animal Anatomy and Adaptations series by exploring the many ways animals use their tails.
REVIEW
It's the gorgeous photographs that really make this book. Photographs of a fox, eagle, muskrat, opossum, and other animals highlight the variety of ways that animals use their tails.  Each page, in addition to the photograph, gives a paragraph or two of information about the animal depicted and how it uses it's tail.  This is a great book to use with units on animals and animal adaptations.  The publisher has provided several activities that can be used with the book to encourage further exploration.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Short, lyrical text makes this a perfect naptime or bedtime story. Young readers are introduced to nocturnal animals and their behaviors. Older readers learn more about each animal through paired-reading sidebar information.
REVIEW
This book combines simple text with longer more detailed text and lovely illustrations to present information about animals that are active at night.  The shorter text would work well with younger listeners/readers while the longer text would satisfy readers interested in more information.  This would also work well as a you read, I read text for children and adults.  The illustrations do a nice job of highlighting some of the activities of certain nocturnal animals.  As in all there titles, Arbordale has provided additional information and activities that can be accessed at the back of the book as well as on their website. 
ABOUT THE BOOK

Using a wide variety of stunning photographs, author Kevin Kurtz poses thought-provoking questions to help readers determine if things are living or nonliving. For example, if most (but not all) living things can move, can any nonliving things move? As part of the Compare and Contrast series, this is a unique look at determining whether something is living or nonliving.
REVIEW
This book does a fabulous job of presenting the similarities and differences between living and nonliving things.  Kurtz also points out the exceptions to the rules, demonstrating that categorizing things can be complicated.  The combination of large, easy to read text and gorgeous photographs makes for a captivating read.  The book also works really well as a STEM lesson with activities and ideas for lessons listed at the back of the book and available on the publisher's website

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: Miguel's Brave Knight/ Polly and Her Duck Costume/Rapunzel/Dangerous Jane


ABOUT THE BOOK

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra finds refuge from his difficult childhood by imagining the adventures of a brave but clumsy knight.

This fictionalized first-person biography in verse of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra follows the early years of the child who grows up to pen Don Quixote, the first modern novel. The son of a gambling, vagabond barber-surgeon, Miguel looks to his own imagination for an escape from his familys troubles and finds comfort in his colorful daydreams. At a time when access to books is limited and imaginative books are considered evil, Miguel is inspired by storytellers and wandering actors who perform during festivals. He longs to tell stories of his own. When Miguel is nineteen, four of his poems are published, launching the career of one of the greatest writers in the Spanish language.


REVIEW

This beautiful book combines the writing talents of the amazing Margarita Engle, and the gorgeous illustrations of Raul Colon.  Each poem and illustration highlights some of the experiences of Miguel de Cervantes Saayedra as a boy.  His families struggles with poverty, his father's gambling, and moving regularly caused Miguel a great deal of sorrow.  But despite the difficulties, Miguel still managed to get an education and hold on to his dreams.  When things looked particularly dark, Miguel liked to imagine a knight on horseback who went around trying to fix the world's wrongs.  The author's and illustrator's notes at the end give insight into the Cervantes and their efforts to portray him and his famous Don Quixote.  Short historical and biographical notes give added information about the man.  This is a stunning book about the power of the imagination and the value of stories in helping people face the challenges around them.

34014199
POLLY AND HER DUCK COSTUME
The True Story of a Little Blind Rescue Goat
by Leanne Lauricella, illustrated by Jill Howarth
Walter Foster, Jr., 2017
ISBN: 978-1-63322-418-6
Source: publisher for review
Ages 4-8
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends.

REVIEW

This is a sweet story about a small, blind goat rescued by the author and given a good home.  Because she couldn't see, Polly tended to be easily confused and scared.  She liked to cuddle up with a blanket. But she couldn't take the blanket with her everywhere she went, so Leanne presents her with a bright yellow, very warm duck costume for her to wear.  This does the trick and now Polly does just fine going with Leanne anywhere.  The costume even helped her make friends with a new rescued friend, Pippa.  Slowly as Polly adapted to her new home and her new friend, Pippa, she grew out of the need for the costume. The soft pastels make a gentle complement to this sweet story of love and friendship.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The wicked witch has Rapunzel trapped - but not for long! 

Rapunzel lives all alone in a tall, dark tower. Under the threat of a witch's fearsome curse, the poor girl seems doomed to a life in captivity. But is Rapunzel frightened? Oh no, not she!


REVIEW

Fractured fairy tales have become a genre all there own in recent years.  And I love it.  There are no shortage of different ways to change the original stories to suit a wide variety of different tastes.  This fractured version of Rapunzel is bound to capture the attention of readers who prefer action-oriented heroines rather than the original 'sit-back-and-wait-to-be-rescued' type.  The touch of violence also makes this a version more similar in tone to the violence found in many of the original fairy tales (especially the Grimm brothers versions).  The story does follow the original, at least at first.  There is a young lady locked in a tower by a witch who lets down her hair to allow the witch to visit her.  The witch cuts some of Rapunzel's hair to sell.  Despite the witches threats to curse her if she tries to escape, Rapunzel uses her beautiful golden hair to escape.  And while she spends her alone time exploring the surrounding forest, she seeks a permanent solution. And eventually she puts her plan into action.  The witch is permanently disposed of and Rapunzel becomes a witch hunter.  The black and white illustrations stand in stark contrast to the bright yellow of Rapunzel's hair, but it creates an interesting dynamic with the reader immediately drawn to the hair on every page.  An interesting take on a traditional tale with an old-fashioned evil gets punished and good gets rewarded ending.  The idea that the way we are raised has a tremendous impact on who we become certainly plays out in a powerful way in this story as well. 


ABOUT THE BOOK

Jane's heart ached for the world, but what could she do to stop a war? This energetic and inspiring picture book biography of activist Jane Addams focuses on the peace work that won her the Nobel Peace Prize. From the time she was a child, Jane's heart ached for others. At first the focus of her efforts was on poverty, and lead to the creation of Hull House, the settlement house she built in Chicago. For twenty-five years, shed helped people from different countries live in peace at Hull House. But when war broke out, Jane decided to take on the world and become a dangerous woman for the sake of peace. Suzanne Slade's powerful text written in free verse illuminates the life of this inspiring figure while Alice Ratterree's stunning illustrations bring Jane Addams and her world to life.

REVIEW

I am a big fan of the increasing number of well-written picture book biographies about women.  I can't resist them.  This is one that I'm delighted to add to my collection.  Jane Addams grew up in a fairly well-to-do family and despite losing her mother at a young age, she grew into a lovely and caring young lady.  Her kind heart lead her down a difficult road, one she spent most of her adult life walking down.  Helping others became her mantra.  At first she ran Hull House, a settlement house from which she worked to help immigrants find a better life for themselves.  When World War I broke out though she expanded her efforts into encouraging women to seek peace.  After the war, she reached out to the suffering through out Europe, including former enemies.  Unfortunately, this lead to opposition from those who thought her efforts should have been focused only on Americans.  These efforts lead to nasty rumors and attacks with even the FBI labeling her "the most Dangerous Woman in America".  But Jane never let this stop her and it lead to her being the first American women to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  This book provides a glimpse into the heart of a woman who was determined to help those less fortunate than herself, despite the sometimes high cost of doing so.  Ratterree's soft illustrations match the tone of the book perfectly, creating a beautiful look at a admirable woman.

Monday, January 29, 2018

MULTICULTURAL CHILDREN'S BOOK DAY!



 Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors





BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

2018 Author Sponsors


We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs 
MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00 pm.
Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.
 
BOOK REVIEWS

Thanks to Capstone Publishing and Lee & Low Publishing for providing the books I am reviewing.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Tells the gripping story of four female African-American mathematicians who literally made it possible to launch US rockets--and astronauts--into space. Tells the thrilling tale of how each woman contributed, the struggles and resistance each experienced, and the amazing results. Consultants currently work for NASA.

REVIEW

The 1960s were a time of great change in the United States.  Not only was the Cold War with the Soviet Union alive and well, but the Civil Rights Movement was well under way.  As what became known as the space race heated up between the US and the Soviet Union, the need for mathematicians grew, especially at NACA (soon to be NASA), the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.  This opened doors for African American women to step up and use their talents and skills and be paid a decent salary for doing so.  Women such as Dorothy Vaughan, one of the first human computers to work for NACA.  She started there when the African American women were segregated in both work space and cafeteria space.  Others followed in her footsteps, helping to open the doors for desegregation and increased opportunities for women.  Woman such as Katherine Johnson who helped send John Glenn into orbit, or Mary Jackson, the first African American female engineer to work for NASA or Annie Easley who helped with the Centaur rocket that helped send the Apollo astronauts to the moon.  Thanks to the skills, courage, and determination of these women, doors slowly started to open.  This middle grade book introduces readers to these women and the contributions they made to the space race as well as to the Civil Rights Movement.


ABOUT THE BOOK

In 1942, when Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle.

But it turns out he isn't the one joining. Anjali's mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use "ahimsa"—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government. First the family must trade in their fine foreign-made clothes for homespun cotton, so Anjali has to give up her prettiest belongings. Then her mother decides to reach out to the Dalit community, the "untouchables" of society. Anjali is forced to get over her past prejudices as her family becomes increasingly involved in the movement.

When Anjali's mother is jailed, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother's work, ensuring that her little part of the independence movement is completed.

Inspired by her great-grandmother's experience working with Gandhi, New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant debut.

REVIEW

The Civil Rights Movement that took place during the 1960s was intended to open doors for African Americans and other people of color who were often denied their citizenship rights because of prejudice and racism.  One of the main tenets of that movement was the use of non-violent protest strategies.  What many young people don't realize is that those principles were used to great effect once before during the 1940s by the Indian people seeking freedom from British rule.  This middle grade novel puts the reader right in the middle of the 'ahimsa' movement as Anjali's family, her mother especially, gets involved in the movement, effecting the fortunes of the whole family.  At first Anjali is angry and afraid.  Angry at the loss of her beautiful clothes.  Afraid of losing her mother to jail or even death.  But as she slowly starts to understand just what her mother is risking so much for, she starts to realize that there are things more important than looking good at school or abiding by old traditions simply because things have always been done that way.  This is not only a story of a specific time and place but a coming of age story of a girl who realizes that she can make a difference in her small corner of the world.

 
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