Tag Archives: dreams

Going Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Going Places

Peter H. and Paul Reynolds
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014

A book that encourages a child’s imagination to ‘go places.’

Rafael and Maya’s class receive go-cart kits to make for an upcoming race.  Rafael follows the directions perfectly. But Maya sees the world differently, as she sits on the kit’s box, absorbed in drawing a bird. She takes the kit and creates a contraption with wings.  At first Rafael hesitates, but then throws aside the instructions as the two join together to make a flying go-cart. At the starting line, everyone laughs, but the cart soars into the sky and wins the race.  When Rafael and Maya land near a pond, they see the potential for their next project! Another winner by Peter H. Reynolds!  (Other books by award winning Peter H. Reynolds: Ish, and Playing from the Heart)

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Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
By Chris Barton, illustrated by Don Tate
Charlesbridge, 2016

When a child is curious, they just have to explore, and that’s exactly what Lonnie Johnson did as a child.  Living in a small house with five brothers and sisters, he had challenges storing his rocket kits, bamboo shooters, rubber-band guns, erector set, go-kart engine, and all the other spare parts he used to make things.  He was an inventor.

From scratch he taught himself how to make a rocket and launched it for his classmates.  When an ‘exam’ told him he would not make a good engineer, he pushed through those claims because he knew he had Linux, a robot he had created from spare parts.  In 1968 he and Linux won a science fair at the University of Alabama, where only five years earlier, African American students hadn’t even been allowed.  In time he invents the Super-Soaker and, with perseverance, his dreams come true.  An inspiring story with encouragement to push through setbacks.

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The Power of Henry’s Imagination

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The Power of Henry’s Imagination

by Skye Byrne, illustrated by Nic George
Aladdin, 2015

“Believe, and it shall be” is the theme of this story.  Henry was gifted Raspberry, a stuffed bunny, when he was born and played with it every day, all day.  Then one day Raspberry was missing.  Henry and his parents tore his house apart, but could not find Raspberry.  Henry’s wise grandpa suggested, “You just have to imagine that Raspberry is with you—in this moment!”  Trusting his grandpa, he did.  He and Raspberry got caught in a storm, were pirates on the sea, and flew into space.  He even went to sleep believing Raspberry was with him.  That night the mailman returns Raspberry, who had been out on a path and when Henry wakes the next morning, Raspberry is with him, just like Grandpa said.

The illustrations, combining photography with pen and ink sketches, bring a mystical, yet reality-based touch to the story.  A delight to read and a story with an important message.  A great book for the development of a young one’s spirit.

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Wink, The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed

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Wink, The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed

by J. C. Phillips
Viking, 2009

I love a good story where a child finds a way to express his most inner self and be accepted by others.  This one is especially good for ninjas!

Wink dreamed of being a ninja and attended Summer Moon School for Young Ninjas.  As he learned each lesson, like “Silence is the weapon of the ninja”, he had a difficult time following them.  Instead of being silent, for example, he jumped on a ball, raised he ‘sword’ and hollered, “Look at me!”  Master Zutsu clapped like thunder and raised one angry finger to his lips to reprimand the young ninja.  Everything Wink learned, he pushed beyond the limits of a studious ninja, and Master Zutsu continued to shake his head, until one day Wink was so out of line, that Master Zutsu sent Wink away.  On his way home he heard some noises and saw a boy practicing tricks.  With his ninja training he could see right away what the boy needed to do and demonstrated.  Soon the boy’s family trained him and Wink went on to perform in the circus as, “The Nimble Ninja!” When Master Zutsu saw the circus performance, he acknowledged Wink’s strengths when he said, “Free-flowing water will always find its way.”

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Trombone Shorty

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Trombone Shorty
by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, illustrated by Bryan Collier
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015
2016 Caldecott Honor Book, Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Award Winner

A great celebration of a great musician, written by the musician!  Trombone Shorty played music way before he had an instrument. When he found an old beat-up trombone, twice the size of him, he played it everywhere he went.  Raised in New Orleans, he was born to play music.  While in the audience of a Bo Didley concert, he started playing his trombone.  The show stopped.  Bo asked who was playing the trombone.  He was so short, his mother had to raise him up so Bo could see him.  Trombone Shorty was passed up to the stage and played with Bo Didley at a young age.  Soon after he formed his first band, The 5 O’Clock Band, as that’s when the practiced after they completed their homework.

Readers can feel the joy of music, the love of rhythms, and the passion Trombone Shorty has for his music.  Bryan Collier’s illustrations further enhance the story bringing color and passion to each page.  A wonderful introduction to music, the Mardi-Gras, and following your passion. An afterward includes more details of the musician’s life

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Imani’s Moon (2014 Best Picture Book for Girls!)

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Imani’s Moon
by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Hazel Mitchell
Mackinac Island Press, 2014
Children’s Book of the Year, Principal’s Award
NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award
2014 Mighty Girl Book for Young Readers
2015 Reading Is Fundamental – Multicultural Book

Imani’s Moon inspires young girls to reach for their dreams.   This is my pick for the best picture book for girls!

Set in Africa, Imani, the smallest girl in her tribe, is teased by the other children.  She is told, “…you’ll never accomplish anything!”  At night her mama lifts her spirits with stories.  One story was of Olapa, the goddess of the moon who fought a great battle against the god of the sun and triumphed.  Imani dreams of doing something great like Olapa and decides she will “touch the moon.”  The others laugh when Imani announces her dream, yet they follow her.  For two days she attempts two creative ways to touch the moon, but they fail.  Greatly disappointed, she returns home where young warriors were performing the adumu, the jumping dance.  Inspired, she knows that’s how she will reach the moon.

Beautifully written and illustrated Imani’s Moon is rich with love, bold colors, and one young girl’s determination.  The story ends with Imani telling her mother a story, The Tale of the Girl Who Touched the Moon.

When I read Imani’s Moon to a very active third grader, she sat quiet for the whole story.  When I brought it back later to re-read, she ‘read’ it to me—from memory!  Imani’s Moon is a powerful story.

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Emmanuel’s Dream, The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Emmanuel’s Dream
The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015

This story shows how a boy born with one leg, destined for poverty, can change the world.

His mother names him Emmanuel, meaning “God is with us” and carries him to school, where people with disabilities are normally not allowed.  When he becomes too heavy, he hops two miles on one leg to get to school.  Resourceful, he shines shoes to earn money.  To make friends at school with those who shun him, he buys a soccer ball and says he’ll share if he can play.  On crutches, he plays soccer and earns his classmate’s respect.  They help him learn to ride a bike with one leg.  At age 12, his mom becomes ill and Emmanuel leaves for the city to earn money.  No one wants to hire him, until one shopkeeper gives him a chance and a place to live.

To change people’s attitudes toward people with disabilities, he dreams of riding a bike across his country and filming his journey.  Resourcefully he gets funding for the bike, camera, and taxi to follow him.  On the trip he wears a t-shirt with the words, The Pozo, or “the disabled person.” He travels across his country, Ghana, talking to the poor and the wealthy, demonstrating and educating them that people with disabilities are ‘able-bodied’, too.  He soon becomes a national hero.

This well-told story and illustrations show the poverty and circumstances where everything is against Emmanuel, but because he believes in himself, he finds success.

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What Do You Do With An Idea?

What Do You Do With An Idea?
by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom
Compendium Kids, 2015
Gold Independent Publisher’s Book Award

A young boy has an idea and wonders what to do with it.  The new idea is kind of strange and he decides to leave it behind and walks away, but it follows him.  The boy worries about what others might think and tries to hide the idea, but the boy feels happier when his idea is around.  One day he shows it to others, and indeed they didn’t think much of it.  But then he decides it was HIS idea and keeps it.  He plays with it until one day his idea became its own, transforming the black-and-white illustrations into full living color.  Brilliant!  The tale speaks to a child’s inner self and imagination, and gives him or her permission to have, cultivate and grow from the ideas that come into his or her imagination.  This tale stays with the reader, like the idea stays with the boy.

A compelling tale told visually with black and white drawings accented with an egg-shaped idea featuring its own brilliant colors.  A powerful example of words and illustrations working together.

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Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go
By Pat Zietlow Miller, Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Little Brown and Company, 2015

An award winning writer and illustrator invite adventurers to take to the road and follow their dreams.

Using the road as a metaphor, author Pat Zietlow Miller invites us to follow our dreams and embark upon life’s adventure.  Whether we choose roads through country sides, rivers, bays, forests, mountains, or cities, all roads offer sites to explore.  Along the way we will encounter detours, choices, and unexpected connections that provide new people to meet and things to explore.  And, at the end of our adventure, when we think of home, the road returns us to where we belong.

Wherever You Go’s warm illustrations call to be enjoyed.  From the cover where we can almost feel the warm breeze on our face, to the behind-the-scene stories not told in the text, artist Eliza Wheeler enriches the adventure.  We follow rabbit and owl helping others along the way, carrying a boat and travelers for a short distance,  and packing their bike and belongings and joining others in their van, sharing in life’s joys. With trees on the move, bustling winds, and streaming waters there’s something to enjoy on every page.

Want to know more about how a picture book comes to be?
After a manuscript has been accepted by a publisher, a typical picture book takes “two years” to be published.  It’s a complex—creative—process often telling two’ stories, one in words and one in illustrations.  When you read Wherever You Go, it all seems like one beautiful  story, but when you start comparing the words against the illustrations, you’ll soon see the illustrations tell their own story.  Rabbit and Owl are never mentioned in the words.  Picking up others on their journey and joining others in the van are not written, but pulling the two stories into one provides an enriching story that communicates to readers through many senses, addresses many needs, and—in  this book—inspires many dreams.

Take a peek at the fascinating road Eliza Wheeler took to create her illustrations and the inspiring road Pat Zietlow Miller followed to write her story.

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