Monday, September 22, 2014

Early Reader Series - Eleanor by Julie Sternberg

Eleanor Series
by Julie Sternberg
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Harry N. Abrams

These books are written in verse format.  They're charming as well.

“Eleanor’s ingenuous free-verse monologue should strike a chord with readers, especially those who may have had to cope with the loss of a loved one. Cordell’s halftone cartoons convey the story’s pathos and humor, as well as Eleanor’s changeable moods.” –Publishers Weekly 

1.  Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, 2011
2.  Like Bug Juice on a Burger, 2013
3.  Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake, 2014

Julie Sternberg's website.

61. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie - Julie Sternberg

#1 Eleanor
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
2011, Amulet Books
120 gs.
Early Reader - CRF - in verse
Finished 9/21/2014
Goodreads rating: 3.77
My rating:  4/ Loved it
Paperback Swap - Hardcover!
Setting: Contemporary city (she lives upstairs in an apartment building, very New Yorky in feel and illustrations)

1st sentence/s:  
     "I had a bad August."
      A very bad August.
      As bad a pickle juice on a cookie.
      As bad as a spiderweb on your leg.
      As bad as the black parts of a banana.
      I hope your August was better.
      I really do."

My comments:  This is a very charming book, written in verse, with lots of illustrations,so it's somewhat of a graphic novel, too. Eleanor is about to start 3rd grade, but her beloved babysitter (the daily kind), Bibi, has had to move to Florida.  Eleanor is distraught.  It's a book that's easy-to-read but not babyish.  And it's the beginning of a series!

Goodreads book summary:  When Eleanor's beloved babysitter, Bibi, has to move away to take care of her ailing father, Eleanor must try to bear the summer without Bibi and prepare for the upcoming school year. Her new, less-than-perfect babysitter just isn't up to snuff, and she doesn't take care of things like Bibi used to. But as the school year looms, it's time for new beginnings. Eleanor soon realizes that she will always have Bibi, no matter how far away she is. 
          Written in a lyrical style with thoughtful and charming illustrations throughout, this remarkable debut novel tells a poignant story of friendship and the bittersweet feelings of growing up.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

MOVIE - The Maze Runner

PG-13 (1:54)
Wide release 9/19/2014
Viewed 9/21/14 at Park Place
RT Critic: 63  Audience: 81
Cag:  3/I liked it
Directed by Wes Ball
20th Century Fox
From the book by James Dasher.  See my review here.

Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Sangster, Will Poulter

My comments:  I read the book when it first came out - about five years ago.  I thought I remembered a lot of it, but watching the movie was almost (but not quite) like I'd never read it.  I don't know if that's good or bad.  I was entertained by the film, that's for sure, and will definitely go to see the sequel, apparently coming out next year.

RT Summary:  When Thomas wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape. Based upon the best-selling novel by James Dashner

60. Half a World Away - Cynthia Kadohata

2014 Atheneum Books for Young Readers
228 pgs.
Middle Grade CRF
Finished 9/20/2014 (read in one sitting)
Goodreads rating: 3.74
My rating:   2.5 - it was okay
Setting: Contemporary Chicago suburb for half the book, and Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan.

1st sentence/s:  "Jaden sat on the floor, holding on to a half loaf of unsliced bread.  He switched his lamp on and off, the bedroom lighting up and darkening over and over.  Electricity had always relaxed him.  For sure it was the most amazing thing about America."

My comments:  2 stars means it was okay - and yes, this book was okay. But I'm not sure how many KIDS would enjoy it.  Being inside Jaden's head was good, very good, for me as an ADULT and I ached for this kid and all his messed-up feelings. I liked the way that he slowly came to realize what love is. I ached also for these parents who tried and tried and tried to figure Jaden out, to understand him and love him past all his faults. Numerous psychiatrists later...will he be tempted to set fire to something major?  But there's another huge issue in the book - the issue of foreign adoption.  If what happened to this family adopting a second child in Kazakhstan is anything like really happens in our world, it makes my hand stand on end.  So maybe I should rate it more than two stars, because for me, as an adult, it was powerful.  But for a child?  I'm not so sure....

Goodreads book summary:  A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award.
          Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing.
          But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve travelled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power.
          From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, Half a World Away is Cynthia Kadohata’s latest spark of a novel.

59. The Dead Will Tell - Linda Castillo

Kate Burkholder #6
2014 Minotaur Books
304 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 9/13/2014
Goodreads rating: 4.15
My rating: (5) Awesome, a great story
Setting: Contemporary small-town Painters Mill,  Ohio in Amish Country "

1st sentence/s: from Prologue:  "He dreamed of pneumatic sanders flying over the finest burled wood and full-blind dovetail joints chiseled with such precision that you couldn't see the interlocking pins and tails."
from Chapter 1: "John Tomasetti is standing at the kitchen counter chopping green peppers when my cell erupts."

My comments:   Don't ya hate it when you wait and wait for a book to be published and then you wait and wait for it to get to you from the library's very long reserve list....and then it's done and finished waaaaay too fast?  I couldn't put this down.  Not a lot of surprises, but it didn't really matter in this story, watching it weave in and out and back and forth, taking shape....with a few asides about what was going on inside Tomasetti's world....was just what I'd anticipated and craved.  I love Linda Castillo's storytelling.  I got to Holmes Country, Ohio, for the second time this summer, driving even more in and around and through Millersburg and Berlin and Walnut Creek.  I love the area.  And although this book was jarring and full-of-anguish, it was a great read.

Goodreads book summary:  Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.
          On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they're both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?
          When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Illustrator Spree - Julie Paschkis

Birthday: August 30, 1957
Lives: in Seattle (raised near Philadelphia)
Family: She lives with her husband, Joe Max Emminger

Not only has Julie Paschkis become one of my favorite illustrators, but I recently discovered that she creates FABRIC, too.  FABRIC!  I love FABRIC!  I want to make a quilt - for ME - from Julie Paschkis fabrics!  You can purchase online, but it looks like there are some fabric stores in Washington state that carry her line (perhaps near where she resides?)  Road trip!

Here's a link to her website.
She's part of a blog with four other author/ illustrators: Julie Larios, Margaret Chodo-Irvine, Bonny Becker, and Laura Kvasnofski.  Find it here.

Albert the Fix-It Man 
written byJanet Lord, 2008
Albert helps everyone in the neighborhood by fixing fences and leaky faucets and even mending broken teacups. So when he gets a terrible cold, the neighborhood comes together to fix him a meal and make him feel better. I wish I had an Albert.

Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love (2012)
Bottle Houses (Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker) 2004

Building on Nature; the Life of Antoni Guadi
written by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez) 2009
Antoni Gaudi was an architect, born in 1852, that devoted his career to the city and surroundings of Barcelona at the turn of the century. Apparently, these magnificent creations are the number one tourist draw to that city. I wonder if you can make it as a tourist there with no Spanish?

Fat Cat (Margaret MacDonald) 2001
First Steps (Lee Wardlaw) 1999
Flutter and Hum: Animal Poems (coming 2015)
Fortune Telling, Palmistry, and Tarot (Dennis Fairchild (1996)

Glass Slipper 
Paul Fleischman, 2007
which make the visual enjoyment of this story even more wonderful. The fairly small amount of text is written in small white boxes that are framed by batik-looking backgrounds. Paschis uses designs and motifs from each of the various cultures that she's depicting. The illustration for each is placed in a rectangle above the text, and she includes as much information from the country as possible. The only thing that never changes is Cinderella's face.

Great, Slobbery, Smelly, Small-Tooth Dog
written by Margaret Read Macdonald, 2007
I do love the illustrations. They have such a folksly, Scandinavian/Russian look to them. Julie Pachkis is such a wonderful artist. Each illustration is encased with the same rope that makes the squares on the endpaper. What is left in the white space are the words and branches of plants from the endpapers.

Happy Adoption Day! (John McCutcheon) 2001
Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia (Won-Ldy Paye) 2002
Here Comes Grandma! (Janet Lord) 2005
I Have a Little Dreidel (Maxie Baum) 2006
Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures (Julie Larios) 2008
Italian Soup Cookbook (Joe Famularo) 1997
Knock on Wood (Janet Wong) 2003
Mooshka, A Quilt Story (2012)
Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile (Won-Ldy Paye) 2003
Night Garden (Janet Wong) 2000

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story 
written by Hena Khan 2008
The illustrations. They remind me of batik, my very favorite fabric. The outline for each picture is done in an ivory/cream-colored line. How? It says they were "rendered in gouache and permanent masking medium on paper". I'm not sure what this means, but it sure is intriguing. And there's no negative space. None at all. Each illustration is framed by a shape; rectangles, tablets, mosque-shaped araches. And outside those frames, all the way to the edge of the page, is an Islamic tile motif...lots and lots of different designs in rich blues, aquas, turquoises. Camels and suns and leaves and flowers. Its almost like that thin ivory/cream line is the grout holding hundreds of pieces of ceramic together. Mmmmmm. Love it.

Nutcracker, The (2001)
Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (Monica Brown) 2011
Play All Day (1998)
P. Zonka Lays an Egg (coming 2015)
So Happy, So Sad (1995)
So Sleepy, Wide Awake (1994)
Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian (Margarita Engle) 2010
Talking Vegetables (Won-Ldy Paye & Margaret H. Lippert) 2006
Through Georgia's Eyes (Rachel Victoria Rodriguez) 2006
Twist: Yoga Poems (Janet S. Wong) 2007
Where is Catkin? (Janet Lord) 2010
Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar? (George Shannon) 2013

Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary 
Julie Larios, 2006
14 poems about 14 animals, illustrated in bright colors on a white-framed page. Really lovely illustrations.

Friday, September 19, 2014

MOVIE - The One I Love

R (1:31)
Limited Release 8/22/2014
9-18-14 at the Loft
RT Critic: 80  Audience: 78
Cag:  4/Liked it a Lot - Quirky
Directed by Charlie McDowell
Radius - TWC

Actors: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson

My comments:  As I was leaving the theater, I heard a women bemoaning, "I didn't get it."  There's only a little part that you're not supposed to get, it's what I call fantastic realism.  It was fun, clever, and really well acted.  SPOILER ALERT:  The two leads play two different people brilliantly.  Mark Duplass is particularly believable.  It makes you think, but not too hard....

Rotten Tomato Summary:  The highly anticipated debut feature from acclaimed author Charlie McDowell, THE ONE I LOVE is an original tale that continues to showcase McDowell's keen observations of human relationships with a distinct and comedic voice. THE ONE I LOVE, written by Justin Lader, was produced by Mel Eslyn and executive produced by Mark Duplass who stars opposite Elisabeth Moss. On the brink of separation, Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) escape to a beautiful vacation house for a weekend getaway in anattempt to save their marriage. What begins as a romantic and fun retreat soon becomes surreal, when an unexpected discovery forces the two to examine themselves, their relationship, and their future.

58. The Chapel Wars - Lindsey Leavitt

2014, Bloomsbury
294 pgs.
Finished 9/11/14
Goodreads rating: 3.57
My rating:   3.5 liked it on many levels
Acquired TPP:
Contemporary Las Vegas, NV

1st sentence/s: "Inheritance.  I hate that word.  Translation: Sorry someone you loved kicked the bucket; now here's your present.  It's like getting hit by a car, only to make a fortune in the lawsuit.   People constantly remind you what a financial blessing that accident was, such a sweet silver lining, when the truth is, you still got hit by a car."

My comments: The Chapel Wars is a cute story about young love, determination, relationships of all sorts, and Las Vegas. It's a quick read and pretty light.  I really loved looking into the mind of a teenager that loves the city of Las Vegas itself - not its vulgarities, vices, and debauchery.  I have the same feelings about the city, and appreciated the story for that alone.  The characters and setting were both strong points.

Goodreads book summarySixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance? 
          And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax. 
          Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

MOVIE - Tammy

R (1:36)
Wide Release 7/2/2014
RT Critic: 24  Audience: 39
Cag:  4/Liked it a lot - and I didn't intend to!
Directed by Ben Falcone (I think he's Melissa McCarthy's husband)
Warner Brothers Pictures

Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates - and more great actors in smaller parts

My comments: I thought this movie was going to be crass and stupid, but I went to it anyway, simply anticipating a great cast.  And I greatly enjoyed it!  Yes, touches of stupid AND crass, but only touches.  There was lots of "being human" here, too. A 3-generation story.   Melissa McCarthy is SOOO cleverly funny!  And the music was terrific - wouldn't mind the soundtrack.

ReviewsTammy (Melissa McCarthy) is having a bad day. She's totaled her clunker car, gotten fired from her thankless job at a greasy burger joint and, instead of finding comfort at home, finds her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor in her own house. It's time to take her boom box and book it. The bad news is she's broke and without wheels. The worse news is her grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), is her only option-with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls. Not exactly the escape Tammy had in mind. But on the road, with grandma riding shot gun, it may be just what Tammy needs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PICTURE BOOK - The Very Inappropriate Word - Jim Tobin

Illustrated by Dave Coverly
© 2013, Christy Ottaviano Books/ Henry Holt & Co.
HC $16.99
32 pages
Goodreads rating: 4.07
My rating: 4
Endpapers: Lt. blue with special words (like QUEASY FISTICUFFS, FLUTTER, GNOME) written inside an oblong, simple drawing that exemplifies the word.
Illustrations:  Ink and watercolors - really fun pages and illustrations, another great example of lots of ways to create a page.
An excellent example of book-making.
1st line: "Michael collected words,"

My comments: Word-lover alert - this is a great story for us!  The inappropriate word is written as[@#and then a couple of symbols I can't do on my computer, ending with !].  There are two main themes for this book.  First, how many people DO use inappropriate words, what INAPPROPRIATE means, and how we should react when we hear one.  Second, that there are some really great words in the English language that we can and should use (which, in the classroom, would initiate a conversation about great words). I just need to prepare for the moment (and it WILL arrive) when kids want to discuss what the inappropriate word actually is!

Goodreads:  Michael loves interesting words (hard words like ELASTIC, little words like VAST, and big words like SMITHEREENS) and is always on the lookout for words to collect. Then one day, he picks up a new word. A badword. An inappropriate word. At least, that’s what his friend says. But Michael kind of likes the word. He thinks he might try it out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Illustrator Spree - Jeanette Winter

Birthday: October 6

I love her illustrations, the way her books "look," and always, always enjoy her subject matter.   I love the folky feel to Jeanette Winter's illustrations. I love all the clever touches she includes. Yup, one of my top five artists of all time.

She wrote AND illustrated these books:

Angelina's Island (2007)
Beatrix (2003)
Biblioburro:  A True Story from Colombia (2010)

Calavera Abecedario, A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book (2004)
Jeanette Winters's art, her illustrations, the way she depicts this happy Mexican celebration, evoke really good feelings for me. Lots of blacks and fiesta colors. Black-backed illustrations framed to the edge of the page with yellows, pinks, purples, aquas, greens.....
          The first nine pages tell of a family in Mexico City that have made calaveras (paper mache skeletons) for generations. Then the alphabet begins. Angels, witches, doctors, farmers, musicians, bride and groom, shoemaker, unicorn, chemist, queen.... all are depicted as calaveras using the SPANISH name. The translation for each is in the back as well as a bit of information about the day.

Christmas Tree Ship,The (1994)
Cowboy Charlie: The Story of Charles M. Russell (1995)

Elsina's Clouds (2004)  This book is about the "Basotho women of southern Africa." My research shows that Basotho is a part of South Africa, perhaps in and around the area of modern-day Lesotho. I'll have to look into this a little more.
          eanette Winter shares the custom of the Basotho women painting their houses as messages to their ancestors to bring the rain. A nameless young girl paints the addition to her family abode that will house her soon-to-be-arriving baby sibling. She goes to bed at night and dreams about the rain coming to moisten her mother's crops.
          This is the third time I've read that it's the WOMEN who plan, plant, care for, and sow the crops in many parts of Africa.

Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World (2002)
Follow the Drinking Gourd (1988)
Henri's Scissors (2013)
Hey Diddle Diddle (1999)
House That Jack Built, The (2003)
Itsy-Bitsy Spider, The (2000)
Josefina (1996)
Kali's Song (2012)
Klara's New World (1992)

Librarian of Basra, The: A True Story from Iraq (2005)
Simply told, beautifully illustrated, here is another version of the bombing of the central library in Basra, Iraq. Ensconced in rich purples and yellows and blues, Winters' recognizable artwork accentuates the story beautifully. A great companion book to Alia's Mission.

Magic Ring, The (1987)
MAMA, A True Story, In Which a Baby Hippo Loses His Mama During a Tsunami, But Finds a New Home and a New Mama (2006)
Mr. Cornell's Dream Boxes (2014)

My Baby (2001)  There are THREE reasons why this book is a "5" for me (the illustrations, the bogolan cloth, the great author). And there are THREE different reasons to read it:
          One: The story. Nakunte learns the art of painting bogolan cloth from her mother. Years later she paints a special cloth for her baby that will come when the rains come. As she paints, she speaks of all the creatures that live in her African village.
          Two: The culture. Mali, Africa. You get a feel for the place.
          Three: The painting of the cloth. I have some of this beautiful black cloth, myself. To see how it starts with white cloth, then specially prepared mud is painted on, leaving the lovely white design, is a treat.
          When, as a young adult, Nakunte begins her painting, the borders of the illustration become strips of the bogolan cloth she's working on. The colors are bright and cheerful, different colored borders on each and every page, with very little white. And, Ms. Winter is a lyrical writer: "Listen, my baby, do you hear mama crocodile creeping across the savanna on her short legs? Will she find the water she is looking for?"

My Name is Georgia: A Portrait (1998)
Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan (2009)
Nino's Mask (2003)
Rock-a-Bye Baby (1999)
Sebastian: A Book about Bach (1999)

September Roses (2004)  This is a lovely book that memorializes this terrible occurrence with a connected story.  I now use it in my classroom each year, but fourth graders now, 13 years later, don't yet know much about this day.  So I have to talk to them about what happened before I share the book  I keep it simple.  After reading the book we talk about gratitude.  Nine year olds have enough time in the future to talk about the nitty gritties of the day as well as the repurcussions, but I've found this gentle, simple book is a really nice way to talk about this day with my kids.

Tale of Pale Male, The: A True Story (2007)
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (2000)

Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa (2008)
When Wangari returns from six years of schooling in America, she realizes that a huge amount of Kenya's trees have been cut down. She starts by planting and nurturing nine seedlings. And then she begins to give them away to the village women to grow, care for, and protect. "The women spread out over their village, planting tiny trees in long rows, like a green belt stretching over the land." She protects old growth threes and is even arrested. But she does not give up. "The umbrella of trees returns."
          Excellent author's note. Wangari won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and is now a member of the Kenyan Parliament! Wonderful storytelling.

Watcher, The: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps (2011)

She illustrated thes books but they were written by someone else:

Changling, The (Selma Lagerlof) (1992)
Cotton Mill Town (1993)
Day of the Dead (by Tony Johnston) (1997)
Diego (by Jonah Winter) (1991)
Eight Hands Round (by Ann Whitford Paul) (1991)
Fruit and Vegetable Man, A (by Roni Schotter) (1993)
Once Upon a Time in Chicago (by Jonah Winter) (2000)
Secret World of Hiildegard (by Jonah Winter) (2007)
Shaker Boy (Mary Lyn Ray) (1994)
Snow (by Steve Stanfield) (1995)
Tortilla Cat, The (by Nancy Willard) (1998)
Witch Goblin and Ghost in the Haunted Woods (by Sue Alexander) (1981)
World's Birthday, The, A Rosh Hashana Story (by Barbara Diamond Goldin) (1990)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

PICTURE BOOK - Miss Moore Thought Otherwise - Jan Pinborough

How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children
Illustrated by Debbie Atwell
2013, HMH Books for Young Readers
HC $16.99
40 pages
Goodreads rating: 4.18
My rating: 5
Bosler Memorial Library, Carlisle PA
Endpapers: Bright Pink
Title Page: One page has a 3-inch long elongated oval with illustrations, founts of different colors
Illustrations: Some in ovals, some whole page, some partial page - acrylic on paper.
1st line:  "Once in a big house in Limerick, Maine, there lived a little girl named Annie Carroll Moore.  She had large gray eyes, seven older brothers, and ideas of her own."

My comments: I especially love picture book biographies for kids. This one gives just enough information to properly introduce Anne Carroll Moore and the historical perspective that before the turn of the 20th century, kids weren't even allowed to ENTER a public library.  This notion alone will interest kids. And it was all new information for me - I didn't have a clue about her or the history that's shared in this story. Another great picture book find for intermediate grades. (And the added bonus that it took place, in part, in MAINE!)
     There are excellent examples of using repetition in text.

Goodreads: Once upon a time, American children couldn’t borrow library books. Reading wasn’t all that important for children, many thought. Luckily Miss Anne Carroll Moore thought otherwise! This is the true story of how Miss Moore created the first children’s room at the New York Public Library, a bright, warm room filled with artwork, window seats, and most important of all, borrowing privileges to the world’s best children’s books in many different languages.

57.The Garden of Burning Sand - Corban Addison

Audio read by Robin Miles (there are lots of different accents, and she nailed every one of the, making the book even more realistic for me.)
12 unabridged cds (12.25 hrs.)
2013 Regulus Books, 2014 Recorded Books
448 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 9/12/2014
Goodreads rating: 4.06
My rating:  4/I very much enjoyed this 
Setting: Contemporary Lusaka, Zambia

1st sentence/s:  "The girl walked alone on the darkened street.  Lights moved around her as cars drove by, their headlights shining on the dusty roadway.  But no one seemed to notice her or care that she was alone.  Her gait was steady but her steps were irregular since one of her legs was shorter than the other."

A good quote:  "Life is a broken thing.  It's what we do with the pieces that defines us."

My comments:  The best part about this book?  Getting to know contemporary Africa a bit.  This book is set in Lusaka, Zambia with forays to Livingtone and Victoria Falls.  The protagonist, Zoe Fleming, is an ex-pat whose father just happens to be running for president of the United States.  The story centers around an orphaned teenager with Down's Syndrome who has been raped, and Zoe's legal team gathering evidence to prosecute her rapist.  Many issues are thoroughly examined...AIDS and HIV, rape (not only in Africa, but in the US, since part of Zoe's past includes this), the culture of Zambia including the gaping socio-economic differences, medicine man/voodoo (my words) beliefs, and the realities of rich (country) vs. poor (country).  Disadvantaged vs. Advantaged.  I enjoyed listening to this book a great deal.

Goodreads book summaryZoe Fleming is an American attorney working with an NGO devoted to combating child sexual assault in Lusaka, Zambia. When an adolescent girl is raped in the dark of night and delivered by strangers to the hospital, Zoe’s organization is called in to help.
          Working alongside Zambian police officer Joseph Kabuta, Zoe learns that the girl’s assailant was not a street kid or a pedophile but the son of a powerful industrialist with deep ties to the Zambian government. As the prosecution against him grinds forward, hampered by systemic corruption and bureaucratic inertia, Zoe and Joseph’s search for the truth takes them from Lusaka’s roughest neighborhoods to the wild waters of Victoria Falls, to the AIDS-ridden streets of Johannesburg and the splendour of Cape Town.
           As the rape trial builds to a climax and sends shockwaves through Zambian society, Zoe must radically reshape her assumptions about love, loyalty, family—and, especially, the meaning of justice.

PICTURE BOOK - Giant Steps to Change the World - Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee

Illustrated by Sean Qualls
2011, Madstone: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
32 pages
Goodreads rating: 3.93
My rating: 3
Endpapers: pink background, with 12 different quotes in 12 differently-colored and shaped quadrilaterals
Illustrations:  I liked some of them a lot, but others didn't do anything at all to inspire me...

My comments:  I hunted for this book in anticipation of using it during one of my Owning Up/Character education lessons each week.  Unfortunately, it's not going to work for that.  The ideas put forth are wonderful but....vague.  Each set of pages referred to someone special in the history of the world.  Granted, there were quotes from each of them on the endpapers, but an addendum at the end of the book - or even a separate space on each page - would have been informative and helpful.
     Perhaps researching, or even discussing, the people ahead of time....or finding picture books about some of them...this would be the good ENDING to a mini-unit, but does not stand up well on its own.

Mohammad Ali
Harriet Tubman
Jesse Owen
Ben Carson
Marva Collins
Albert Einstein
Langston HughesJean-Michel Basquait
Barack Obama
the Tuskegee Airmen
Neil Armstrong
Mother Teresa

Goodreads:  "On some days your dreams may seem too away far to realize… Listen to the whispers of those that came before..." 
          Following the success of their much beloved picture books, Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please; Academy Award nominated director Spike Lee, and his talented wife Tonya Lewis Lee offer up an inspirational picture book about activism and taking the big steps to set things right set to beautiful illustrations by the award-winning Sean Qualls. Using examples of people throughout history who have taken "giant steps", this book urges kids to follow in their footsteps and not be hindered by fear or a sense that you are not good enough. Despite the challenges, even the smallest step can change the world. So, what's your next step going to be?

Early Reader Series - WHO WAS Biographies by Various Authors

Who Was Abraham Lincoln? (2008) 5.5 - 720L
Who Was Albert Einstein? 2002 (Brallier/Parker) 5.8 - R - 810L
Who Was Alexander Graham Bell? (2014) 720L
Who Was Amelia Earhart? (2002) 4.3 - 610L
Who Was Anne Frank? (2007) 4,6 - N - 660 L
Who Was Annie Oakley? (2002) 5.8 - 0 - 870L
Who Was Babe Ruth? (2012) 690L
Who Is Barack Obama? (2009) 5.1 - Q - 740L
Who Were the Beatles? (2006) 4.5 - R - 670L
Who Was Ben Franklin? (2002) 4.4 - S - ?????????????
Who Is Bill Gates? (2013) 720L
Who Was Charles Darwin? (2005) 5.1 - P - 760L
Who Was Christopher Columbus? (2013) 640L
Who Was Clara Barton? (2014) 960L
Who Was Claude Monet? (2009) 4.7 - 740L
Who Was Daniel Boone? (2006) 4.5 - N - 620L
Who Was Dr. Seuss? (2011) 5.3 - 820L
Who Was Eleanor Roosevelt? (2004) 4.5 - P - 620L
Who Was Elvis Presley? (2007) 4.2 - O - 610L
Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? (2004) 5.0 - 710L
Who Was Franklin Roosevelt? (2010) 710L
Who Was Frida Kahlo? (2013) ????????
Who Is George Lucas? (2014) 930L
Who Was George Washington? (2009) 5.0 - 720L
Who Was Harriet Tubman? (2002) 4.6 - R - 650L
Who Was Harry Houdini? (2002) 5.8 - R - 780L
Who Was Helen Keller? (2003) 4.1 - Q - 570L
Who Is J. K. Rowling? (2012) 860L
Who Was Jackie Robinson? (2010) 4.5 - S - 670L
Who Is Jane Goodall?  (2012) 700L
Who Was Jim Henson? (2012) 4.9 - 750L
Who Was John F. Kennedy? (2004) 5.8 - N - 790L
Who Was Johnny Appleseed? (2005) 5.1 - Q -  790L
Who Was King Tut? (2006) 4.9 - S - 690L
Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder? (2013) 710L
Who Was Leonardo daVinci? (2005) 4.7 - N - 650L
Who Was Louis Armstrong? (2004) 5.2 - O - 780L
Who Was Louis Braille? (2014) 780L
Who Was Marco Polo? (2007) 5.2 - R - 780L
Who Is Maria Tallchief? (2002) 5.1 - R - 740L
Who Was Mark Twain? (2004) 6.1 - P - 910L
Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (2007) 5.2 - 750L
Who Was Maurice Sendak? (2013) 820L
Who is Neil Armstrong? (2008) 5.4 - 810L
Who Was Nelson Mandela? (2014) 850L
Who Was Pablo Picasso? (2009) 4.6 - 700L
Who Was Paul Revere? (2011) 4.8 - U - 710L
Who Was Queen Elizabeth? (2008) 5.3 - 750L
Who Was Roald Dahl? (2012) 670L
Who Was Roberto Clemente? (2014) ???????????
Who Was Ronald Reagan? (2004) 5.4 - P - 780L
Who Was Rosa Parks? (2010) 4.8 - S - 700L
Who Was Sacagawea? (2002) 4.4 - N - 650L
Who Was Sally Ride? (2013) 800L
Who Was Sitting Bull? (2014) ???????????
Who Was Steve Jobs? (2012) 660 L
Who Is Steven Spielberg? (2013) 940L
Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? (2005) 5.3 - O - 790L
Who Was Thomas Jefferson? (2003) 5.3 - P - 680L
Who Was Walt Disney? (2009) 4.9 - 720L
Who Was William Shakespeare? (2006) 4.8 - N - 690L
Who Was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? (2002) 5.3 - N - 790L