Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey

by Margriet Ruurs, illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr
ORCA Book Publishers, 2016

The artwork, made of water-smooth stones, will fascinate young readers and their parents.  River rocks beautifully laid out, tell the story of a Syrian refugee family escaping from their now hostile home to a new, unknown place.  The natural hardness of the stones poignantly illustrates to hardships the family experiences.  The book includes photos showing how the artist creates the illustration. After the scene is captured in photos, it is dismantled for the next scene, for the artist can’t afford ‘glue’ to make them permanent.

The story starts out on a normal day before there was hostility. But even then, the family wasn’t free, for they could not sing their songs, dance their dances, nor pray their prayers of choice.  Then rivers of people began leaving the city, until one day the family decided they must leave, too.  Only what they could carry went with them.  They traveled by foot, then by boat, hoping they’d be safe, for many others did not survive.  After a long time, a family took them in and helped them create a safe home.  The story ends on a note of peace.

Beautiful story, exquisite, moving illustrations.

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Freedom Over Me, Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Freedom Over Me, Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

By Ashley Bryan
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book & Newbery honor award

Freedom Over Me jumps into the lives of eleven slaves, their thoughts, feelings, dreams.  The eleven selected were from Mary Fairchild’s estate listing of her property, including their names, sex, and worth.

The story opens with Mary selling off her estate and returning home to England after her husband died.  Each slave is given a story, a voice to be heard.  While the stories are fiction, they are composites of true stories of real slaves.  Written in open verse, we learn of what they currently do, their past when they were ripped from their villages, their future, all with the same dream of freedom.  At this point in the story they wait, helplessly, knowing they will be sold, and likely separated.

Loose, color-filled illustrations bring life to the people, show the love they had and the pains they survived.  An insightful, heart-felt book that gives a deep look into the lives of those enslaved.

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Duck on a Tractor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Duck on a Tractor

by David Shannon
The Blue Sky Press, 2016

Rich with colors and shenanigans, the animals pull one over on the townspeople in this hilarious story of the duck who drives a tractor through town.

Imagine a big, bold red tractor, driven by a small duck whose wings drive like they were arms.  Imagine this duck kicking the tires, to check them out.  Surprised it rumbled when he turned the shiny metal by the steering wheel, he shouted, “Climb on, everybody!”  The dog up first, then the cow and pigs, each having their own thoughts about the big red tractor.  Driving by the diner, everyone stops and stares, each sharing their own inside thoughts about what they see.  Until Farmer O’Dell realizes it’s his tractor, and they all run out and chase it.  But when the people reach it, the animals are gone.

You’ll have to find out what happened and enjoy each character’s banter about the big red tractor.  The illustrations are bold, bright, and full of character; readers can read each character’s thoughts before they read the words.  This book is perfect for read alouds and just plain silliness.  Written/illustrated by award-winning David Shannon.

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Charlotte the Scientist is Squished

Charlotte the Scientist is Squished
by Camille Andros, illustrated by Brianne Farley
Clarion Books, 2017

This story is about Charlotte who loves to solve problems.  Her biggest problem is that she is squished in her den with all her brothers and sisters.  She needs more space.  After she determines the question, she forms a hypothesis, then tests the hypothesis with an experiment.  It doesn’t work!  She tries other experiments, recording observations, drawing conclusions until she solves the question.  Only a new problem occurs.  Find out how Charlotte continues with her experiments until she finds her perfect solution.

With a touch of suspense, this book breaks down science experiments into steps young readers can understand and enjoy.  Perfect to stretch the minds of young scientists.

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Reach for the Moon, Little Lion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Reach for the Moon, Little Lion

by Hildegard Muller
Holiday House, 2017
Originally published in Germany

Hippopotamus, Leopard and Crocodile badger Lion for being so little.  They poke fun at him and claim if he were a real lion, his paw could touch the moon.  Feeling smaller than he already is, he climbs onto a hill and stares at the moon.  Raven comes along and asks, “What’s the matter?”  Little Lion says, “I want to be big.”  Raven questions him further about why he wants to be big, and has an idea.  Raven calls all the animals to the hill the next night.  Find out how Little Lion quieted Leopard, Hippopotamus and Crocodile.

The story and illustrations, using a Cintiq and Pen Display, are endearing.  The story also includes many other animals the children will love to identify.  An empowering story for little ones.

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Dog Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Dog Rules

by Jef Czekaj
Balzer + Bray, 2016

Two dogs fall for a cat’s wild goose chase when they find an egg in a nest with a note, directing them to ‘teach baby to be a good dog’. Baby (bird) calls (boy) dog ‘mama’.  The dogs try hard to teach their baby to be a good dog.  They teach him to growl, roll over and bark, but all the baby does is tweet.  The cat finds all this hilarious.  Find out what Baby does to defend his family.  A silly book for fun reading and lots of laughs.

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Oops Pounce Quick Run! An Alphabet Caper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oops Pounce Quick Run!  An Alphabet Caper
by Mike Twohy
Balzer + Bray, 2016
2017 Geisel Honor Book

Using approximately 26 words, beginning with A and ending with Z, we follow a story of a sleeping mouse who is chased by a dog when the dog’s ball accidentally bounces into the mouse’s lap.  For readers learning the alphabet, they’ll delight in finding the next letter really does continue the story as the chase goes through the Kitchen, Living room, and the mouse is Missing.  The O, P, Q, R in the title are the actual words in the story.  See how the illustrations work together with the alphabet words to make this story one of suspense, yet one with an endearing ending.  A fun and educational read.

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Swallow the Leader, A Counting Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Swallow the Leader, A Counting Book

by Danna Smith, illustrated by Kevin Sherry
by Clarion Books, 2016

In perfect rhyme we follow the leader, swimming into coral caves, riding waves, flapping like a ray, and puffing like a blowfish.  But as the school of fish grows, the reader watches a shark swim nearby and become fish number ten!  Suddenly the game turns into “Swallow the Leader”…but don’t despair, the surprise ending will delight children into peals of laughter!  They’ll want to read it again and again.

Big, bold colorful fish swim through watercolor backgrounds making this a visual delight—an opportunity to practice both numbers and colors!

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I am Jim Henson (Ordinary People Change the World)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I am Jim Henson

by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017

Several generations have been raised on Sesame Street and Jim Henson’s Muppets and this book is a delight to learn about what experiences Jim had as a child that helped shape him to create the highly successful M
uppets.  Jim was one of author Brad Meltzer’s childhood heroes and readers will note an extra boost of energy woven throughout the biography.

Jim was raised in a family of jokesters, art creators, and with a grandmother who encouraged his storytelling.  One of his favorite radio comedians was ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen.  Jim badgered his parents until they got a television, which opened his world to live shows.  As a teen, he decided he wanted to work in television and visited all his local TV stations to get hired.  Soon after that, one station looked for a puppeteer.  He’d never used a puppet before, but created one and the station gave him a chance. Although the show was cancelled, Jim was hooked and created more puppets, including a frog he named Kermit.  Then one day two TV producers offered him an opportunity to create puppet characters for a new show targeting children of families that didn’t have a lot of opportunities.  And on November 10, 1969, their first episode of Sesame Street aired and was a smash hit.

Wonderfully inspiring book, especially for creative children. Both children and adults will enjoy the book.

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Round

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Round

by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Nature poet Joyce Sidman takes the shape “round” and shares about round shapes abundant in nature.  From round oranges, to round seeds that grow, or turtle eggs being buried to later hatch.  Each page is a nature lesson.  Each page gives young readers things to think about. “Some swell into roundness” (mushrooms)….”stretching toward the sun” (sunflowers). Some start in a different shape, but become round when all sharp edges wear off (rocks in oceans).  Some are hidden (rings in a tree stump), some last only a moment (bubbles). A wonderful way to share a shape and explore many aspects of nature.

Gentle, nurturing, yet sciency-exciting.

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