Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The latest and greatest!

I just read the most amazing book.  It's called Child Soldiers by Michel Chikwanine and Jessica Dee Humphries.  It's a memoir or an autobiography about Michel and his experiences growing up the Congo in the early 1990s.  Michel lived a life of relative privilege-his dad was a respected lawyer and his mom sold fish and fabric in the market.  They always had food and he was able to go school (an hour's walk from home).  One day, he ignored his dad's rule about being home on time and was kidnapped by rebel soldiers.  Many terrible things happened but Michel was able to escape and find his way back home.  It wasn't especially easy back at home either.  There are gorgeous pictures to help to conceptualize the horrible things that are happening in the story but the message is so important, I think his one should find it's way into our library.  Here's a video with Michel speaking. 

Here was another really good one.  It's called "Jars of Hope" by Jennifer Roy.  It's a World War 2 story about a woman named Irena Sendler who helped rescue Jewish children from Poland.  The title refers to the fact that Irena created lists of the children's original names and the names she changed them to protect their real identities, so that after the war they could find their families and she buried these lists in jars to avoid destruction by the Nazis.  It's a nice story, but it bridges kind of a funny gap... it's a picture book and the pictures are nice and help to really hone in on the mood of the story.  The pictures have  muted colors and are kind of blocky so you get a big picture with a lot of emotion with out a lot of detail.  But there's a lot of text with a heavy message, so you probably wouldn't want to read it to little kids, but the bigger kids might miss it because it's a picture book.  I liked it and it would be good paired up with other picture books about World War 2 like "The Yellow Star" also by Jennifer Roy or "The Butterfly" by Patricia Polacco.  

The last one I got from Library Thing and it's an audiobook so I was really excited to listen to it, especially after the TitleTalk discussion I had on Twitter with all the awesome people there.  It's the audiobook of Dory Fantasmagory by Aby Harlon.  I hadn't read this book although I'd heard some good things about it, it just never got into my reading pile.  It's told by the youngest child in the family, Dory, who everyone calls Rascal.  She vacillates between wanting to be the baby and wanting to be treated like a big kid.  Her big sister and brother find her incredibly annoying.  She has the most amazing imagination of anyone I've ever heard and she has better questions than anyone in the universe.  I listened to part of it with my first and second graders and there were times when I had to stop and catch my breath because I was laughing so hard. Suzy Jackson is the PERFECT voice for Dory/Rascal and I can't wait to get the book into the library so we'll have both the book and the audiobook on hand.  Here is a tiny piece of the book so you can hear how great Suzy Jackson is AND hear the energy of this book.  You're going to love it.  

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