Friday, April 27, 2007

Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat

In her memoir, Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world, and the world of her parents,is shattered by war. She shares her memories of the Six Day War, fleeing alone as a 3 year old because she is inadvertently left behind in a flood of fleeing refugees. Reunited with her family, she evokes the sights, sounds, fears and small joys in trying to keep safe and to go on with life.
In a UN school for refugee children, the child is unexpectedly filled with pleasure as she discovers Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and the beginning of her journey into language. Although her mother cautions her to forget war and privation, she discovers that language can be both a refuge and a deliverance.

Author Naomi Shihab Nye says: "Nothing is missing in this exquisite, tender account of a Palestinian childhood--love, attachment, struggle, fear, humor, resilience. Ibtisam Barakat is a luminous writer and thinker. She is a wonderful healer, too."
Older middle-schoolers and teens will find this book of great interest.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

BRONZEVILLE by Gwendolyn Brooks

In 1956, Pulitzer Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks created a collection of poems that celebrated the joy, beauty, imagination, and freedom of childhood. She reminded us that whether we live in the Bronzeville section of Chicago or any other neighborhood, childhood is universal in its richness of emotions and experiences.
Now, a brand-new generation of readers will savor Ms. Brooks's poems in this reillustrated edition featuring vibrant paintings by Caldecott Honor artist Faith Ringgold.

BECAUSE OF YOU by B.G Hennessy

This gentle picture book begins: "Each time a child is born, the world changes. When you were born, there was a new person for your family to love and care for. And because of you, there is one more person who can love and care for others."
The narrative continues, celebrating the potential of every person, in language very young children can understand. The author promotes the idea that even the youngest child can make a difference.
Hiroe Nakata's illustrations show children in everyday situations--and also embracing the world (the globe). Parents, teachers, and grandparents will find great pleasure in reading this book to children ages 2-5 and interpreting for them what it means to be a peacemaker.

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Quirky, hilarious, bumptious Clementine is having a bad week. She helps a friend cut off her hair, for good reasons only they understand. Though viewed by some adults as a trouble maker, Clementine will bring on smiles, empathy, ideas and enjoyment from young readers( ages 7-9). Illustrations in this book are superb also.

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Lucky is a lively ten year old girl who lives in Hard Rock, California, population 43, with her foster mother, Brigitte. It's a desert town where Lucky desperately wants Brigitte to stay with her because he own mother died in a tragic accident in a desert rainstorm. She believes that Brigitte, however, wants to return to her home in France, sending Lucky back to her father. Lucky is unusual, humorous and imaginative. Her paid job, one of the very few in Hard Rock, is to clean up after twelve-step meetings at the local community center. When no one is aware, she eavesdrops on AA meetings and learns about Higher Powers. And wants to gain some for herself.
This Newbery Award winning book will delight most middle school girls, particularly those who like coming-of-age tales. Controversy over a single word in the text was ill-founded and should be ignored.