Read Your World

The Water Princess By Susan Verde

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Back of Book:

 With its wide sky and warm earth, Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is a beautiful land. But clean drinking water is scarce in her small African village. And try as she might, Gie Gie cannot bring the water closer; she cannot make it run clearer. Every morning, she rises before the sun to make the long journey to the well. Instead of a crown, she wears a heavy pot on her head to collect the water. After the voyage home, after boiling the water to drink and clean with, Gie Gie thinks of the trip that tomorrow will bring. And she dreams. She dreams of a day when her village will have cool, crystal-clear water of its own.

My Review: I read this book in class on March 22nd for #wordwaterday It is a perfect story to read to kids about the importance of conserving water. My students were amazing that the book is based on a true story. It created a great conversation in my classroom about what we can do as a class to save water. I loved the way this book is set up. I loved the unique illustrations and so did my students. There is also a great note in the back of the book that talks about the Woman the book is based on.

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages

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Read Your World

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey By Amy Shrodes and Doug Kuntz

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Back of Book:

 When an Iraqi family is forced to flee their home, they can’t bear to leave their beloved cat, Kunkush, behind. So they carry him with them from Iraq to Greece, keeping their secret passenger hidden away.

But during the crowded boat crossing to Greece, his carrier breaks and the frightened cat runs from the chaos. In one moment, he is gone. After an unsuccessful search, his family has to continue their journey, leaving brokenhearted.

A few days later, aid workers in Greece find the lost cat. Knowing how much his family has sacrificed already, they are desperate to reunite them with the cat they love so much. A worldwide community comes together to spread the word on the Internet and in the news media, and after several months the impossible happens—Kunkush’s family is found, and they finally get their happy ending in their new home.

This remarkable true story is told by the real people involved, with the full cooperation of Kunkush’s family.

My Review:

This is beautiful story about one families fight to live in a safer environment. The tale is about a lost cat, but the book discusses the current events of people who are refugees.  The illustrations are soft and help balance the harsh reality of refugees and the hard things they go though.  Another thing I loved about this book is the love of strangers. The people who took care of Kunkush, and helped him family, did it from their heart. I think their kindness was my favorite part of this story. This is a fantastic story to add to any class library.

Ages 5 and up

48 Pages

 

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Civil Rights, Read Your World

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement By Robert F. Sibert

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Back of Book: This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement’s most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured.

My Review:

This picture book has won many awards! It is the tale of how one woman would not be beat down. I had not heard of Fannie Lou Hamer and found that this story gave me a strong insight and into her life and struggle. The material can be hard to read and is not intended for young children. There is a place in the book that has strong language and could be seen to some readers as offensive. I found that this story was very thought provoking and helped me to understand the fight of Jim Crow Laws a bit better. The illustrations are beautiful show readers a very clear look into one strong woman’s journey. I thought the first person narrative was a nice touch to showing readers the strength behind Fannie Lou Hamer.

Ages 10 and up

56 Pages

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Baseball, Civil Rights, Read Your World

She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story By Audrey Vernick

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Back of Book:

 Effa always loved baseball. As a young woman, she would go to Yankee Stadium just to see Babe Ruth’s mighty swing. But she never dreamed she would someday own a baseball team. Or be the first—and only—woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

From her childhood in Philadelphia to her groundbreaking role as business manager and owner of the Newark Eagles, Effa Manley always fought for what was right. And she always swung for the fences.

My Review:

I did not  grow up around baseball in the same way that other people did. My family is a football family. When I started teaching, I began to realize how many amazing picture books are centered around the game of baseball. I had never heard of Effa Manley until I picked up this story. I feel in love with her strength and pride. This book really tells the story of how one African American woman broke all the stereotypes that were put in her path. This is an excellent story that is perfect for baseball lovers. It also fits into Black History month or National Woman’s month. I truly enjoyed reading it.

Ages 6 and up

32 Pages  

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Art, Read Your World

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Back of Book:

 Somewhere in Brooklyn, a little boy dreams of being a famous artist, not knowing that one day he would make himself a king.

My Review:

When I heard that this book was a winner of a Caldecott Medal and a winner of a Coretta Scott Illustrator Award I knew I had to read it.  I did not know much about the great artist Jean Michel Basquiat and this story opened my eyes to his fight and challenges he faced to become the great artist he was. Jean was famous for his collage-style painting and the illustrations in this story mirror the authors work. I am so glad that this book received an award for its unique and breathtaking images. This is a perfect story to add to any collection. I would keep it for an older audience because some of it is a bit heavy for younger audiences to read and understand. Overall, I say a true winner and worth reading.

Ages 9 and up

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40 Pages

 

Martin Luther King, Read Your World

If a Bus Could Talk Faith Rinnggold

BACK OF BOOK: If a bus could talk, it would tell the story of a young African-American girl named Rosa who had to walk miles to her one-room schoolhouse in Alabama while white children rode to their school in a bus. It would tell how the adult Rosa rode to and from work on a segregated city bus and couldn’t sit in the same row as a white person. It would tell of the fateful day when Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man and how that act of courage inspired others around the world to stand up for freedom.9f347bca6804d777359eb130d23c576d       Click Here to find on Amazon

My Review

February is black history month. This year I have seen some amazing stories being promoted to teach students about Civil Rights. One of my favorite stories that discusses the story of the famous Rosa Parks is If A Bus Could Talk. It is a unique story about a young girl who gets picked up on a different bus. The bus tells the young girl the incredible story of brave Rosa Parks.  The illustrations in this story are soft, which balances out the tough and cruel things that Rosa had to deal with.  The story ends with the young girl having a great deal more knowledge about why the stand that Rosa Parks took was so important.  This is a story that is much more suitable for older children. A great way to teach children about the woman who said no and made a nation change its way of thinking.

32 Pages

Ages 8 and up

Chinese Culture, Read Your World

Roses Sing on New Snow: a Delicious Tale By Paul Yee

 

 

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 Back of Book: Maylin is a young girl who works very hard in her father’s restaurant 7 days a week in China Town.  She loves creating delicious meals that everyone will enjoy. She especially loves cooking for the men who are new to America and may be missing their families back in China. Although Maylin cooks very hard she never gets any of the credit. Her lazy father and brothers take credit even though they have never cooked a day in their lives. Then one  day the governor of South China arrives. Maylin’s father orders her to make a dish that will impress the governor. She creates a delicious dish and names it Roses Sing on New Snow. The governor loved Maylin’s the best out of all the dishes He demanded to know who had created such an amazing dish. He and all the guests at the feast were surprised to see that a woman created the dish. The governor demanded that Maylin come to China and create the dish for the emperor of China!

My Review:  I randomly picked up this book based on the cover and after reading it was immediately glad I had. It is a beautiful story that shows Chinese culture in America. Maylin is a strong female character who is not afraid to work hard and fight for what she believed in. This is a great story to pull out when discussing strong female roles the Chinese New Year.

Ages 8 and up

32 Pages

Civil Rights, Read Your World

Talkin’ about Besse By Nikki Grimes

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Back of Book: Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman was always being told what she could & couldn’t do. In an era when Jim Crow laws and segregation were a way of life, it was not easy to survive. Bessie didn’t let that stop her. Although she was only 11 when the Wright brothers took their historic flight, she vowed to become the first African -American female pilot. Her sturdy faith and determination helped her overcome obstacles of poverty, racism, and gender discrimination.

My Review: I love finding stories that discuss the amazing advances that women have made throughout history. I found this story particularly intriguing because it is written from other people’s perspectives of her. It begins with her parents and continues to the perspectives of her siblings, classmates, and people who interacted with her. The book discusses her love of knowledge and her determination to fly in a plane. I think this is a great book to bring out for Black History Month or a look at strong women. This is also a good story to do a book report on.

Ages 9 and up

48 pages