The Land beyond the Wall : an immigration story

February 17, 2018

the land beyond the wallThe Land beyond the wall: an immigration story     by Veronika Martenova Charles

Published by : Nimbus Publishing, Halifax c2017 [32p]

This is the tender story of a young girl named Emma. As a consequence of her parents actions, she is orphaned and sent to live with her aunt. Living in a practical world, Emma’s dreams of becoming an artist by adding ‘colour’ to her otherwise ‘gray’ life is her wish to go to school and become an artist. However, the world of her Aunt, dreams cannot exist along side a world of  common sense. This does not deter Emma…and against great odds she escapes these confines and arrives in a new land. Here she is welcomed with kindness and compassion. It is here, that her greatest desire … to add color…allows her to ‘find her voice’!

The vibrant and expressive illustrations lend an added sensitivity to the story that allows the reader to become empathic with Emma. Even though this story has a magical-like thread woven through it, I think that the ‘wall’ and Emma’s journey is symbolic of many of the obstacles that many families and children endure while escaping their past and seeking a way to follow their dreams.

Highly Recommended for Primary and Junior students! [grades 2-6]

five-stars

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Counting on Katherine : how Katherine Johnson saved Apollo 13

February 16, 2018

290FEC1F-5694-43D6-BB3E-8FCFEE1D2760Counting on Katherine : how Katherine Johnson saved Apollo 13  by Helaine Becker / illustrated by:                   Dow Phumiruk  [ARC]

Published by: Christy Ottaviano Books [Henry Holt & Co.] : c2018

Junior Library Guild Selection

As the information from the back of this book states, “Katherine Johnson is the extraordinary mathematician who calculated the flight path for NASA’s first Apollo moon landing”, but this exciting new book is so much more than just full of information! Author, Becker and illustrator Phumiruk are a wonderful team! Beautiful artwork  provides the perfect accompaniment  to the succinct sentences and together they paint a picture of an inquisitive, insatiable person whose boundless curiousity about the world her  was never quenched.

Counting on Katherine” is a brilliant read. Ms. Becker has skillfully woven a biographical narrative that is totally approachable to the reader. It is an empowering story for all girls, underlining that dreams can come true….to dream big and to keep chasing your dream. Persistence, courage and determination such as shown by Katherine Johnson allowed her to attain a goal that opened the door not only for women of colour, but for all women.

Thank you for gifting young readers with empowerment!

Highly recommended for all elementary school and public libraries as a ‘sophisticated picture book!
five-stars


A World Below

February 15, 2018

below

A World Below : by Wesley T. King

Published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books  c.2018;  274p.  [Ebook generously supplied by NetGalley] : to be released March2018

[A 2018 Junior Library Guild selection]

From celebrated, multi-nominated award winning author, Wesley King, comes his latest middle grade adventure, “A World Below“. The ethereal-like cover only hints at what is the story could be like between the pages!

Readers will be shocked, riveted and intrigued from the first page : “consider everyone on this list missing or deceased.  Notify parents immediately. Pictures for identification of bodies may be required.” 

As the title implies, the majority of this fast paced adventure story dives deep below ‘terra ferma’ and takes the world of caving, caverns, and tunnels to a whole new level! The author`s effective use of vivid description, intense action and suspense continually builds with each alternating ‘time’ stamped chapter.

For myself, A World Below is a cool mix of  Arthur Conon Doyle’s The Lost World and Jules Verne’s “Journey to the centre of the earth” and Edgar Rice Burrough’s ‘The Lost Continent’ — a true science fiction fantasy adventure tale.

This is a story of challenges and discovery that will captivate even the most reluctant of readers!

Highly Recommended for all Middle Grade readers who wish to go ‘spelunking’!!

five-stars

Booktrailer: A World Below


Don’t tell the Enemy

February 10, 2018

EnemyDon’t tell the Enemy by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Published by Scholastic Canada; 184p. c2018 [paperback]

This is the latest release by powerhouse historical fiction author, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Though this is slotted as a middle grade story, the power of this read lends itself to being read by readers of any age group or category. Skrypuch has expertly captured  the torment and emotions as “war rages around Krystia’s town, where her uncle and cousin have already died at the hands of the Soviet and Nazi invaders”.  The rawness and brutality of war is not tempered. With an uncompromising honesty, Skrypuch reveals to the reader, the merciless barbaric demeanor of occupying Nazi forces and the affects upon the inhabitants of the Ukrainian town.  However the savagery of these times is offset throughout the book, as the reader gets glimpses of humanity in unexpected places.

As the author’s note reveal’s this is the inspiring true story of Kateryna Sikorska and her daughter Krystia and it is a story that rings with deep emotion, extraordinary courage, determination, and the strength of the human spirit.

Highly Recommended for Junior and Intermediate students!

five-stars


Harry’s hiccups by Jean Little

February 9, 2018

harryshiccupsHarry’s Hiccups by Jean Little;

illustrated by  Joe Weissmann

Published by Orca Book Publishers

[ARC] to be released April 2018

 

Hiccups.

Something that almost everyone has experienced at onetime or another. In this new tale by author Jean Little, ‘Harry’s hiccups’, the main character, Harry, is desperate to have this reflexive sound stop! Many of the so-called solutions will make any reader smile, then giggle out loud, as they follow along with Harry as he tries one remedy after another.

The expressively vibrant and colourful illustrations by Joe Weissmann, perfectly capture the zaniness of each proposed solution and culminate in the last page with an unexpected laugh out loud surprise for the reader!

Student tested! Student approved with….

five-stars
Highly recommended ages 4-8     A story of complete fun, smiles & giggles!


The Great and the Small

October 30, 2017

GSEbookCov

The Great and the small  by written and illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara

Published by: Common Deer Press

 

This debut story by author Andrea Torrey Balsara, “The Great and the Small“, is a tale unlike anything l have ever read and I was hooked from the start.

The author has crafted a very descriptive, darkly-told suspenseful tale where the reader is taken into a world that is often hidden from humans.

Each chapter begins with an excerpt taken from historical record dealing with the ‘Black death’ which foreshadows the setting of of each chapter. This in turn creates a sense of foreboding within the reader. Atmospheric, detailed black and white illustrations add to intensify this sense of apprehension.

Although for the most part this tale is told from the perspective of Fin, a young disabled rat, whose curiosity often ends with disastrous (dire) results. Yet there is also a parallel storyline. Fin’s zeal in following orders leads into a mishap and an encounter with an ‘ugly two-leg.’ Perceptions are altered for both characters.  The reader is given a glimpse into the beginnings of a strangely unique friendship in which both Fin and the ‘two-leg’ gain a greater understanding of one another.

This experience teaches Fin that being a part of the ‘colony’, blind acceptance and trust can have far-reaching consequences. But will he be able to look deep within himself and do the right thing?

This is not a story for the faint of heart, but it is a tale that will surely have a reader sitting at the edge of their seat and holding their breath until the end!

Recommended for intermediate readers!

Curriculum connections:
History- Medieval; medical research; fear; loss; bullying; courage; acceptance; drawing.


A Bear’s Life

October 2, 2017

IMG_2676A Bear’s Life by Ian McAllister & Nicholas Read

published by Orca Book Publishers 32pages, c2017 Series: My Great Bear

Rainforest Keywords: back bears; spirit bears; grizzly bears; Great Bear Rainforest; Indigenous People; salmon; ocean; habitat

Following in the footsteps of  (2018 Silver Birch Express nominee), readers are now introduced to A Bear’s Life.

The array of brilliant bear photographs and the accompanying straight forward, easy informative text, reveal the many sides to an often mis-represented mammal … the bear.

At a modest 32 pages, this stunning nature picture book will definitely engage any young or mature reader. At the same time it can provide a perfect platform for discussions inside and out of the classroom!

A wonderful introduction that chronicles the enchantingly mysterious bears in the British Columbian wilderness known as The Great Bear Rainforest!

Highly recommended for readers of any age!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟