Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Review and GIVEAWAY!

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia  Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara O'Connor

Here are my reviews this week:

anti-bullying, audio-book, character-development, character-motivation, character-traits, friendship, intermediate-kids-book

I love spelling bees and Barbara O'Connor books, so how could I not love this one? Sixth-grader Bird is a bit of an outcast, but because of the encouragement of her caring neighbor, Ms. Delphine, she tries to make a friend out the new boy, Harlem. Harlem is picked on, poor, and sullen-faced, but Bird is determined to be nice to him. When she realizes Harlem can spell really well, she asks him to be her partner for the school spelling bee. After much practice and the making of a true friendship, (SPOILER ALERT) she doesn't understand why he misses the winning word when she knows he can spell it. After the problem is solved, Harlem doesn't forget Bird, thankfully, and always saves her a spot.

On the Road to Mr. Mineo's  On the Road to Mr. Mineo's by Barbara O'Connor

motivation, friendship, intermediate-kids-book, mock-newbery-2013, mood-tone, setting

I feel like a broken record when it comes to Barbara O'Connor books. I loved this one. The spare language, the simple story, the endearing, country characters, the authentic kids, the dusty roads, and southern tone all make it a quintessential O'Connor book. I think, for me, it's an escape into a world in which I want to live. I want to escape the strife, polarization, and angst and just look for a one-legged pigeon and make sure its safe and sound where it belongs, along with a little brown dog. 

Ivy and Bean (Ivy and Bean, #1)  Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows

audio-book, character-development, character-traits, early-reader, friendship

I read this one because I'm working with some primary grade teachers with their gifted readers and wanted some younger kids' books. I thought a good theme would be books that feature strong, spunky girls (I was working with a 1st grade girl) or friendship. Well, this book definitely fits into those themes! Ivy and Bean never thought they could be friends, but after one of Bean's pranks, Ivy, who watched the whole thing, encourages her to hide. Bean realizes Ivy isn't at boring as she thought, and a fast friendship develops. One of my favorite parts is after they become friends, each of them admits that her mother tried to get her to be friends with the other because she "was a nice girl," and they both say "But you're not nice!" Cute story and full of fun. I know early readers will want to read more and Ivy and Bean

  Nightsong by Loren Long

animals, family, metaphor, mock-caldecott-2013, sensory-details, journey

This is a beautiful story about Chiro, whose mother sends him off into the night alone for the first time. He goes on quite the journey. Using his good sense (the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you), he flies into the cold air, through the tall trees, over rivers, ponds, and the ocean, past cliffs and vast lands, until, finally, he's home again. This book would be perfect to use for sensory details, metaphor, and theme, or a unit on journeys. Great graduation gift!  See my post yesterday about the Loren Long event I attended.
This is Not My Hat  THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen
humor, inference, mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book

I've been WAITING for this to come out because I LOVED I Want My Hat Back, which started my Jon Klassen collection.  It does not disappoint.  It's just as brilliant and laugh out loud funny.

Drummer Boy  Drummer Boy by Loren Long

Christmas, journey, picture book

This picture book would make a good companion to The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. When a toy drummer boy accidentally falls into the trash, he goes on a scary journey. In the true spirit of Christmas, he ends up back where he belongs. 

Otis  Otis by Loren Long

Boy + Bot and this picture book would make great companion texts in a unit on friendship.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters  of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama

Z Is for MooseI'm going to borrow Donalyn Miller's review of this book because I couldn't say it any better: Barack Obama challenges his daughters (and all children) to accomplish great things by offering historical inspiration from noteworthy Americans. While the text is unremarkable, Loren Long's illustrations and the diversity of individuals honored lift this book above other celebrity-written children's books.

  Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul Zelinsky

abc-book, humor, mock-caldecott-2013, picture-book

This ABC book is SO cute! The moose is so excited for his turn that he keeps barging in on the other animals' and objects' turns with Zebra controlling the show. When it finally gets to M, the Zebra decides to go with Mouse. Moose throws a temper tantrum and Zebra has to throw himself in front of the truck, umbrella, violin, etc. after Moose defaces R and S. Finally, he gets his turn at the very end. This is such a funny take on the traditional ABC book that kids will undoubtedly want to take a turn at something similar when charged to write one.

Each Kindness  Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

anti -bullying, empathy, leaving-a-legacy, mock-caldecott-2013, theme

This book makes an impact. Chloe and her friends reject and tease the new girl, Maya, even when she tries to befriend Chloe. One day Maya moves away, and when Chloe's teacher demonstrates that kindness acts like a stone dropped into the water - it ripples out into the world, she can't think of a single kind thing she's done. When she realizes Maya isn't coming back, she is left with the knowledge that she was cruel to her and won't be able to make it right. The illustrations are beautiful and revealing, capturing expressions perfectly. This would be a great companion book to Wonder and The Hundred Dresses.

And now, drum roll please....My first ever book giveaway contest!  Thank you, Mr. Schu, for all you help in creating one of these forms.  I sure hope I do it right!!






  1. Holly,
    I read them all & now I can start reading it at work which will make it easier to jot down the titles I want to order for the MC.

    Keep up the good work. We miss you!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kathy!