I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks
Written by Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw
Illustrated by Wendy Leach
Age Level: 5 – 9
Grade Level: K – 3
What do you do when something’s not right? Don’t scream . . . Campaign! Ask Joshua Lipshaw who fought city hall for ice cream and won. This is his true story and a great way to learn about local government. The back matter includes a glossary of civic terms, but don’t get lost in vocabulary and forget the most important thing . . . Ice Cream!
Nancy Drew Clue Book #4: Big Top Flop
Written by Carolyn Keene
Illustrated by Peter Francis
Age Level: 6 – 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
This set of 18 chapter book mysteries is great! When Nancy’s friend George wins the Junior Ringmaster whistling contest, her prize whistle is stolen and replaced with a dud. Can Nancy, George, and Bess solve the mystery before the circus leaves town?
The best part – the Clue Crew and You page. That’s where the case is summarized, and the last two clues repeated. Then it’s your chance to solve the mystery before the last chapter begins. I did, and I got it right!
Written & Illustrated by Hari & Deepti
Age Level: 4 – 8
Grade Level: PS – 3
This book is as beautiful as the cover, and it tells the legend of the silver fox and the fire wolf. The illustrations might tell the story better than the words, but it’s definitely worth a look.
The story - in the valley of Krum, there’s a legend that the land is guarded by fire and ice. Everything changes when Nao, the wonderer, finds a shell where the river slows. Mio the storyteller senses something’s wrong, but he’s sure when the river dries up. Together Nan and Mio must figure out the problem, then fix it. You’ll have to read the story yourself to find out how it ends, but I can share the theme – how man fits in with nature.
Written & Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Age Level: 3 – 9
Grade Level: PS – 3
I loved Yuyi’s story, of how she and her baby came to the US as immigrants. In the beginning she couldn’t understand or speak English. She learned from books. They gave her a new language, and a home. They taught her how to read, how to speak, even how to write. Books are amazing!
In return she gave us the chance to experience coming to America through her eyes. The back matter includes Yuyi’s story, the books she read to learn English, and how she told her story in this one.
The Remember Balloon
Written by Jessie Oliveros
Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Age Level: 5 – 10
Grade Level: K – 4
When this book came out, I wanted to read it. Then I saw it in my local library, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a quiet story about a boy, his grandfather, and Alzheimer's. Grandpa uses the balloons as a way to keep track of time, and memories. But when he starts losing them, his grandson James learns how to share his own balloons, and it helps. I’m a daughter of Alzheimer's, and this is a lovely book to help children understand it, to find ways to cope with it.
Written by Jarm Del Boccio
Age Level: 9 – 12
Grade Level: 4 – 8
Have you ever wanted to know more about a Bible story, the back story? That’s exactly what Jarm did with Naaman and his leprosy, the Naaman from 2 Kings Chapter 5 in the Old Testament. In second Kings, we don’t know anything about the maidservant except for the important part . . . that she believed in Yahweh and that her faith helped Naaman into the River Jordan.
Jarm started there, by giving the servant a name and a story based on historical details from this time period. For me it made the story richer, and it gave me a greater appreciation of the journey Naaman took. He didn’t want to get into the Jordan River. He said it was polluted, but he did it because of the faith of a servant.
The Friendship Garden: Pumpkin Spice
Written by Jenny Meyerhoff
Illustrated by Eva Chatelain
Age Level: 7 - 10
Grade Level: 2 – 5
This is the second book in a series of three about the Friendship Garden. These mysteries are great for young readers. Clues are left along the way to help them solve it, without giving away the ending.
In Pumpkin Spice, Anna, Kaya, and Reed are sure that their pumpkin is going to win first prize at the festival, but two days before the contest their pumpkin disappears. The girls must solve the mystery in time for the festival if they’re going to have a chance at winning. Kids who are into chapter books and easy middle grade reads will love this book, and this series.
Written by Leslea Newman
Illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira
Age Level: 7 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 4
This is the most amazing story, and it’s based on what really happened in Japan in 1923. That’s when Professor Ueno adopted a young Akito. The puppy was bright, and training was easy. Every morning Hachiko walked his master to the train station before heading home. Every afternoon before 3:00, Hachiko returned to wait, until one day, the professor never returned. If you want to find out what happened, you’ll have to read the book for yourself. Warning – have your kleenexes ready because this is a heartbreaking story about love and loyalty. My daughter reads it every year to show her students how character affects emotion, and every year, they cry.
On the First Day of First Grade
Written by Tish Rabe
Illustrated by Sarah Jennings
Age Level: 4 – 8
Grade Level: PS – 3
Looking for a gift for a Kindergartener who’s heading into First Grade? This is it! The rhyme isn’t perfect, but littles will love singing this version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with a twist . . . Parents too. It shows twelve of the great things waiting for you in first grade.
History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote
Written by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Dylan Meconis
Age Level: 8 – 12
Grade Level: 3 – 7
This book is so well done! It’s chock full of information. I was fascinated with the new things I learned. For instance, I thought all suffragettes had the same beliefs. They didn’t! Some believed ALL women should vote. Others thought only white women should.
Another example – the fight for the vote began with Abigail Adams. She tried talking to her husband, to her son. They both became president, but neither listened. It took until President Woodrow Wilson to get the 17th amendment passed, but it almost didn’t. It came down to one state, Tennessee. To one man and his vote, and a letter from his mother. It made all the difference.
Throughout the book there are short biographies of the famous, and not so famous. I loved the mix of people until I got to the most recent ones. That’s where the majority of names came from one party, from one side of the aisle. I wish the author had looked harder for names from the other side. For women like Nikki Hailey or Condoleezza Rice to name a few. They’re out there, working hard for the things they believe in.