Saturday, January 20, 2018

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

"Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She's been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and undisputed queen of her school. Now it's her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months, she'll be a different person. She thinks she's ready for whatever comes next.
But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined: Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.
Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains the unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier's best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.
Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma." (book jacket)

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What  I really liked about Exit, Pursued by a Bear was that E.K. Johnston was not graphic in talking about Hermione's rape. One moment things fade to black the next moment she wakes up in an emergency exam room with her best friend and a nurse. She wakes up disoriented with holes in her memory of what happened to her. I also like that the book doesn't open up with a rape. You meet Hermione and get a peek into her life, cheer camp and her squad before we get to the party that changes her life.

The aftermath of the rape is the central focus of the book, what Hermione remembers and how she handles the changes and surprises that come her way. From realizing that the DNA evidence was compromised because of where she was found and knowing every boy on her squad was a suspect to those same boys volunteering to give DNA samples to help solve her rape, Hermione learns a lot about herself, her best friend and her squad.

I like that E.K. Johnston gave Hermione her best friend, Polly. Polly was able to be a grounding force in Hermione's life. She had Hermione's back at every moment and I can only hope that I have a friend as amazing as Polly.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Purple Kangaroo by Michael Ian Black

"The monkey narrator in this humorous picture book guarantees that he can READ YOUR MIND. What begins as a simple request to imagine the most spectacular thing in history turns into the story of a roller-skating, bubble-blowing purple kangaroo searching for his dear friend Ernesto on the moon. So by the time you finish this book, there's no chance you will be thinking of anything BUT the purple kangaroo."
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This is one of my absolute favorite picture books now. I laughed the entire time I read this book and I had to check it out to read to my cousins. . . even though they were 17 and 31 at the time.
When reading this book to others,  I like to hide the pictures and make them actually imagine what is happening. With a younger audience, I do show the pictures to keep them engaged.


With Love from LibraryLand,
Amber

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Sheep Go on Strike by Jean-Francois Dumont

" 'Why are we always the ones who get sheared? Why don't they make cat-hair sweaters, duck down socks, or donkey-hair britches?'  'Let's refuse to be sheared! Everyone who agrees, raise your hoof!' They all raised their hooves, down to the last sheep. And that's how the strike began.'

The sheep are tired of losing their wool, so they decide to go on strike. The dogs, however, are determined to keep the sheep in line. When the other animals on the farm choose sides, things soon turn into a furry, feathery scuffle. But eventually all the animals sit down together and manage to find a creative solution in this hilarious book about the importance of compromise." (Book jacket)

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This book is an interesting way to introduce the inequality in this world. While I am sure this book was in the works way before the most recent bouts of protesting and violence we have been experiencing here in the U.S., there are themes in this small picture book that I am finding to be a mirror of what we are seeing now. I think that Dumont's book is a great teaching tool to talk to your kids about the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, and a well timed resource to talk about the violence we are seeing from the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and other places in this nation.

I don't think this book would work well in a story time group setting, but it will work for a one on one reading time.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Meditate with Me: A Step-by-Step Mindfulness Journey by Mariam Gates

"Meditation does a body good. The regular practice of mindfulness improves health and happiness, and can even help very young children-- to settle their busy minds and understand their emotions. In this gentle and endearing step-by-step introduction, kids learn how to focus their breath, on the sensations in their body, and on the sounds around them. It's an ideal first experience of mindfulness that can be shared at home or in the classroom. Calm is just one breath away."
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While I probably wouldn't use this book in a storytime, I do think it has a lot of value. This particular book would be a great book to use at bedtime to help your little one relax. Mindfulness seems to be one of the latest "trends" right now and this is a great way to introduce it to small children. While I wouldn't use this in storytime,  I would be open to finding a way to do a mindfulness program with children and use this book as a way to get the kids to slow down.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wordless Book Wednesday: The Carpenter by Bruna Barros

This special book shares its story without a single word. Bruna Barros’ beautiful, creative illustrations will capture children’s imaginations, showing readers that even the simplest, most common objects can start a wonderful adventure. This book also offers opportunities to foster discussions and spontaneous story telling.

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I will be the first to admit I am not a fan of wordless books. I understand their value, but it's not my cup of tea. That being said, I like the premise of this book. A little boy is glued to his electronic device, much like kids today are, but something catches his attention and he starts to play and explore his father's carpenter tools.  I think kids will have a blast telling the story the little boy invents and the stories they will come up with will be entertaining.

I do have to mention that I am not a fan of how the people are drawn. The color of the boy and his father reminds me of the blackface used years ago. I understand the author is from Brazil and blackface may not be an issue in that country, but here in the USA, it leads to reminders of how divided our country still is.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

 "'Once upon a planetoid, amid her tools and sprockets, a girl named Cinderella dreamed of fancy rockets.'
With a little help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is going to the ball-- but when the prince's ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue!"

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I absolutely LOVE this book. I love how Cinderella is not the typical Cinderella, just cleaning a house with only dreams of going to a ball. This Cinderella is the kind of girl who can take care of herself and has dreams to be a mechanic for big spaceships. The Cinderella in this story reminds me a bit of my older sister-- a woman who can fix things and works in an auto repair shop, happily.


I really love how this particular version of Cinderella ended and will probably give this book to some little girls that I know.


With Love from Library Land,
Amber

Monday, November 6, 2017

Bob, Not Bob (To be Read as Though you have the worst cold ever) by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

" Little Louie has the worst cold ever. All he wants is his mom, but every time he calls for her, slobbery Bob the dog comes running instead." (book jacket)

Little Louie has a terrible cold that is affecting his ears and has stuffed up his nose. As he tries to get his mom's attention, his dog, Bob, thinks Louie is calling him. Little Louie gets frustrated because no one can properly understand him and his dog is confused because he thinks Louie wants him. As Louie gets worse (like we all do when sick) he is even difficult to understand until his mom in her frustration crawls into bed with him. . . just what Louie wanted.
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I love that the full title of this book is "To be read as though you have the worst cold ever: Bob, Not Bob!"  Little Louie was the right amount of pathetic during his illness and you could feel his frustrations in the illustrations by Matthew Cordell