Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Previewing new books

I've been busy enough with the books in my hands so I haven't been looking at Netgalley but now that school is out for a few weeks, I had a little extra time to look.  I found a really great one that will be published in March and if you like books that make kids think about global issues, this is going to be one for you.  It's called The Red Bicycle by Jude Isabella.  It's about a red bicycle and what happens to it after the boy who buys it in Canada is finished with it (he outgrows it).  He donates it to charity that takes bikes to Burkina Faso and donates them to charitable organizations there.  I loved how it showed not only that the bike went to a girl who really needed it, but how she used it to help her family.  When she was finished with it, she donated it to another charitable organization which used the bicycle as an ambulance.  The pictures are cheerful and simple but evocative enough to make you feel a part of the story.  It also has information in the back of the book for making connections to some of the charitable organizations in the book.  I can't wait to get this one into our library, I think our kids are really going to like this one.

Another one I read is called One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul.  It tells the story of a girl living in Gambia that suddenly notices how many plastic bags there are blowing around her village.  At first the bags seem helpful but they don't break down in the soil the way the traditionally made baskets do.  They look ugly laying around.  They blow into the gardens and damage the plants.  The goats eat them and sometimes get sick or die.  The girls of the village come up with an ingenious idea for recycling the bags.  At first the people ridicule them for picking things out of the trash, but when they start making money, people change their minds.  In the author's notes, it appears that recycling effort is working.  I think my students will love thinking about ways they could recycle the bags that we have floating around our community too.  

And here's a video about how to do the recycling from the author.  

The last one I read was called School Days around the world by Margriet Ruurs.  It shows lots of different schools around the world.  I liked it because it showed a variety of different kinds of schools-public schools, private schools, boarding schools.  It had a good range of school but it also raised a lot of questions for me and I guess that's what would make it good starting point for research about different kinds of schools around the world.  It has nice engaging pictures that are cartoonish but show how the schools are the same and different without actually having to show real kids or real schools.  I didn't find this one as engaging as the other two, but it was ok.  

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