Monday Children’s Book Reviews for March 15

My Abuelita, written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Yuyi Morales

“Abuelita’s hair is the color of salt. Her face is as crinkled as a dried chile. She booms out words as wild as blossoms blooming. She stuffs her carcacha – her jalopy – with all the things she needs: a plumed snake, a castle, a skeleton, and more. Her grandson knows he has the most amazing grandmother ever – with a very important job. What does Abuelita do? With her booming voice and wonderful props, Abuelita is a storyteller. Next to being a grandmother, that may be the most important job of all.

“Sprinkled with Spanish and infused with love, My Abuelita is a glorious celebration of family, imagination, and the power of story.”         [JPB JOHNSTON]

Dad’s Cake by Margaret Nash and Jane Cope

On a rainy day, Jed’s dad says “Let’s make a cake!”  Who for, asks Jed, and his dad answers “Ah! You will see!” Waiting with his mixing bowl and big spoon, Jed is surprised when Dad puts in bits of bread, lots of seeds, pieces of fat and cheese. “Yuck, who will want this cake?”

But when Dad and Jed take the cake outside, they find out who wants the cake!     [JE NASH]

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth

“For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. So they must flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family until school starts, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.

“But Gopal has been deceived. There is no factory but, instead, a small, stuffy sweatshop, where he and five other boys are forced to make beaded frames for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. In this atmosphere of distrust and isolation, locked in a rundown building in an unknown part of the city, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.

“Then, late one night when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys’ key to holding on to their sense of self and their hope for any kind of future. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape.”  [J SHETH]

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) by Barbara Kerley

“Susy Clemens thought the world was wrong about her papa. They saw Mark Twain as “a humorist joking at everything.” But he was so much more, and Susy was determined to set the record straight. In a journal she kept under her pillow, Susy documented her world-famous father-from his habits (good and bad!) to his writing routine to their family’s colorful home life. Her frank, funny, tender biography (which came to be one of Twain’s most prized possessions) gives rare insight and an unforgettable perspective on an American icon. Inserts with excerpts from Susy’s actual journal give added appeal.”              [JB TWAIN,M.]

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Filed under Book Reviews, Children, Reading, Uncategorized, Union City Library

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