Sunday, February 25, 2007

Langston Hughes (a collection of poetry for young people) is superb!

David Roessel and Arnold Rambersad have brought together an appealing collection of twenty-one poems by beloved writer Hughes. It celebrates the joys and the sorrows of African Americans both young and old. Illustrator Benny Andrews draws readers in with his colorful scenes in the lives of ordinary people. This amplifies Langston Hughes' philosophy, which was always to write about the people he knew and the ordinary--and courageous-- lives they led.
The book includes anecdotal comments about the poet's life on most pages, explanations of certain words, and a forward about Hughes' life and contributions to art and literature in America.

American Library Association Announces Its 2007 Book Awards

The American Library Association has announced the winners of its 2007 awards for outstanding writing and illustration in children's literature published in the United States. To view the complete list of awards, access; click on Awards and Scholarships; then click on Books and Media Awards.
The high profile Newbery Award went The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. This fine book is getting undeserved negative publicity for one word in the context of the story. Grandma suggests you check it out from your local library or buy a copy and read the delightful coming-of-age story for yourself.
Grandma will write more about Lucky in a future blog.

Hattie Big Sky is outstanding book for young teens

When Hattie is orphaned at age 16, her uncle in Montana provides a home for her by willing his homestead to the young woman. She travels to the homestead on her own and begins the brave challenge of living on her own and surviving in wild Montana before the first world war.
The book is so well-written it won a Newbery Honor from the American Library Association this year. It is based on a true story from the family of the author, Kirby Larson, who sensitively reveals the triumphs and tangles of Hattie. Of particular interest is the sub-plot of neighbors who harass or shun those of German descent in the ranching community around Hattie and her friends. This is based on actual incidents and legislation resulting from accusations of sedition in the Dakotas and Montana at this period.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Middle school readers will want to dive into GREEN GLASS SEA by Ellen Klages

Eleven year old Dewey travels alone to a town that is not on the map. It's 1943 and she's joining her father at his new workplace in the New Mexico desert. Since it's wartime, his work is part of a very big secret, and she has never lived with him by herself, Dewey has a lot of questions.

The author makes the locale, the secrets, the people and the landscape come alive in her descriptions of life at Los Alamos during the building of the atom bomb. This is an old story, but this time, it's told from the perspective of Dewey and her friends--and her nemesis, Suzy, who also feels like somewhat of a misfit. Suze likes art; Dewey likes mechanical challenges and building things from odd findings at the dump.

Sometimes Dewey and Co. are just kids and other times they must figure out how to act and react in this unusual environment. A compelling read for both girls and boys who like mystery and well-developed characters.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 is hot!

Here's a source that teachers, parents and kids can use to find lots of great information, ideas and activities for school, home and community that will help to promote tolerance, understanding and respect. In the latest issue of TEACHING TOLERANCE, the magazine produced the Southern Poverty Law Center, you will find timely articles and outlines for discussing size acceptance ( no more "fatso" name-calling), the need for gay-straight alliances, and breaking stereotypes.
And, the project has a new, free storybook called RHINOS AND RAZZBERRIES to encourage tolerance and respect in children as young as four. You can download an orderform at

And don't forget to sign up for a subscription to the magazine so you'll get every issue at