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Friday, August 12, 2016

Book Review: Seven and a Half Tons of Steel

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
For those who experienced the shock and horror of the September 11 World Trade Center tragedy, it's hard to imagine that many young people have no clue to what happened. Just in time for the September 11 anniversary, Seven and a Half Tons of Steel introduces a whole new generation to the aftermath of the tragedy and what could rise from the ashes.

A beam of steal saved from the rubble is carried to a foundry in Louisiana to build a navy ship called the USS New York. In the midst of another catastrophe, Hurricane Katrina, the steal beam is fashioned into the bow of the navy ship. The solemn event is accentuated with muted illustrations by Thomas Gonzalez that give the young reader a sense of awe without overwhelming with sadness. Author Janet Nolan masterfully creates the mood and provides additional information about the USS New York for those readers who to learn more. A respectful way to introduce youngsters to a sad part of history.

Rating ★★★★☆

  Publishing Information

Written by Janet Nolan
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 2016)
ISBN: 9781561459124
Ages: 6-10

Book can be purchased from the following retailer:

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Tiger Tail (Or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School by Mike Boldt: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

The first day of school is scary enough but for Anya it's about to get worse. Anya wakes up to and discovers, to her dismay, that she has grown a tiger's tail. No way will her new school let her in with a a tail, right? Her mother assures her it brings out her wild side and goes well with her hair. Her dad compares it to the time he got glasses. Either way, her parents are not going to let her miss school and Anya is about to find out that she will be allowed inside.

Anya does everything to hide her tail but a collision with another boy as she gets off the bus ruins her plans. However, it leads to a new discovery about the boy. One that helps make Anya's first day at school better than she had anticipated.

Young readers will delight in the situational humor Boldt masters with exaggerated digital images while learning to embrace uniqueness and diversity.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 5, 2016)
ISBN: 9781481448857
Ages 4-8

This book can be purchased at the following retailer:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson: Book Review

Book received at no charge in exchange review.

It's been a month since Benjamin Putter's father passed away. It's hard for an eleven-year-old to describe what it feels like to lose a loved one but Benjamin is convinced the lump he feels in his throat is a golf ball caused by his loss. If that isn't enough, he hears his father's voice coming from his urn imploring him to scatter his ashes on the 18th hole of the famous Augusta National golf course. He has no idea how he's going to get there but he knows he must.

As he begins his journey, Benjamin meets up with a spunky girl named Noni who is determined to travel with him. Together they face obstacles that seem insurmountable. They also face the ugly inner demons of lingering racism and have to come to terms with what they see and hear as opposed to how they feel.

Strong writing and plot pacing make for a poignant and heart warming story. However, young readers may be turned off by the heart breaking subject matter. While it's written for middle grade, it may be too deep and unsettling for the younger end age group.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2016)
Pages: 336 hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1481448390
Ages: 8-12

This book can be purchase from the following retailer:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Sound of All Things: Book Review

Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.

On a summer day in 1930 the sounds of Brooklyn surround a boy from the clatter of the Coney Island roller coaster to the crash of the ocean waves. His deaf father reaches into his son's world and asks him to sign the sounds he hears. It's hard for the boy to find different words to describe loud noises.

 A trip to the library helps him feel the words so he can share with his father and mother who is also deaf. Though he envies the children around him who parents who can hear, the boy manages to find joy in sharing his gift with his parents.

Author Myron Ahlberg treats the family's relationships with respect as he draws on his own experience of growing up with deaf parents. He tenderly shows how love can soften resentment. Padpoulas period details in the illustrations transform the reader flawlessly into a different era. A poignant reminder of the importance of treating each other with love and respect.

Rating  ★★★★★

Publishing Information:

Peachtree Publishers (March 2016)
ISBN: 978-1-561-45-833-2
Ages 6-10

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:

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