- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
In alternating chapters, the authors tell the story of two cousins Margarita, known as Margie to her school friends, and Lupe. The two girls are the same age, Lupe was born and raised in Mexico, until Margie’s parents arranged for her to come to live with them and go to school with Margie. Margie’s grandparents were all from Mexico, but she was very proud to have been born in Texas. She considered herself to be a true American.
When Lupe arrives, things change in Margie’s life both at home and in school. She is expected to help translate the teacher’s instructions into Spanish for Lupe, but Margie hasn’t spoken Spanish for several years. She understands most of what her parents say, but can’t carry on a real conversation.
Lupe’s life also changes completely. She leaves behind her beloved grandmother and her twin baby brothers. Her Mother is nice to her, but wrapped up in taking care of her new husband and the twins. Lupe is both happy and scared with this new situation, happy to be living with her aunt and uncle, but scared she won’t find friends or a place for herself in this new school.
Will Margie and Lupe become friends? Can they each learn to adapt to the changes in this shared life? Can they find something in common to bring them closer together? The book’s title, Dancing Home, hints at a shared interest and how both girls find ways to adapt to their new lifestyle. Written by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta, a mother and son writing team, both living in California.
Early in their lives after the death of both parents, Homer and Harold, his older brother, are left alone, except for an uncle. This uncle, Squinton Leach, who is the husband of their mother’s late sister, hated everything and everyone.
When Uncle Squinton illegally sells Harold to the Union Army, conscription as it is known at that time, Homer is left to fend for himself. He knows he can’t stay with his uncle, so relying on his wits, telling many lies and some truth, Homer leaves the farm to try to locate his brother.
As he searches for Harold, Homer meets quite an assortment of people, both good and bad. There are the men trying to locate runaways slaves, the good rich Quaker helping the runaway slaves, a naïve minister, and two con artists. And that’s just the beginning of the story behind The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick.
Susanna and Pina, both eleven years old, live in an orphanage in Italy. The story takes place years after the end of the Second World War, while the country is still recovering from the devastation caused by the battles. Some of the girls living at the Istituto di Gesu Bambino (Institute of the Baby Jesus) are actually orphans, others have parents or relatives who could not care for them.
The nuns at the Instituto care for the children as best they can under difficult circumstances. There is little money. The nuns seek donations from the Allies who now occupy the city. The girls sing at funeral services and they crochet berets and baby blankets for the nuns to sell.
Things slowly begin to change at the Instituto when visitors come to watch the girls, some of whom are then adopted. Pina finds out she has a mother, here in Italy. Susanna learns that her own Italian mother died, but her father is an American! Will one of them be leaving soon? As Susanna and Pina learn more about their birth parents, each of them must find a way to accept that reality and realize that they may soon go their separate ways.
A glossary at the end of the book provides translations for the Italian words used throughout the book.
Raisha and five other members of her African tribe are kidnapped by a rival King and taken to a ship called “God’s Adventures.” Misnamed for sure, the ship is taking them from their home in Africa to the West Indies island of St. John. During the six month long trip, Raisha learns to speak Danish from the ship’s captain. Many of the captives die along the way, some from illnesses, others due to the poor food, still more washed away by the violent storms. But Raisha survives.
Upon arrival in St. John, Raisha and two fellow captives, Konje and Dondo, are sold to a Danish land owner. All three are given new names, Raisha is now known as Angelica, Konje is named Apollo and Dondo is called Abraham. And so begins Raisha's new life.
Mr. O’Dell based this novel on events surrounding the 1733-1734 slave revolt on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas.
Why do I love these bear books by Karma Wilson?& I love the way the different animals are able to interact with each other beautifully, but still show varying traits particular to their species. I love the way the animals genuinely seem to care for one another. I love the way the characters collapse into naptime after their hair-raising adventures at the end of the stories. I love the repetitive phrases, which make for a fun participatory way for kids to interact during storytimes. But most especially, I love the way the author introduces childhood fears and experiences in a fun way for kids to understand: being noisy, sharing, being afraid of the dark. And, in Bear's Loose Tooth (AR .5, Level 2.2): being afraid of losing that first tooth!
One of the rites of passage, is the loss of that first tooth, somewhere in kindergarten or first grade. Well, in this story, bear is the not so little guy who loses that first tooth! He proceeds from tooth-losing fear, to trying to pull it out with the help of his friends, to finally pulling it out. Our friend, the tooth fairy, makes a small but brilliant appearance!
Enjoy reading this to that fearful child who is just losing their first tooth!
Julia finds that her interests are changing one summer, a summer when her friend/niece Eliza and she no longer see eye to eye. At the heart of the matter lies her budding interest in a boy. Eliza cannot understand Julia's changing tastes and is hurt and confused.
The Summer Before Boys (AR 5.0, Level 4.4) is a twist on the hurt friend who is left behind. Author Nora Raleigh Baskin instead takes the point of view of the kid who is changing. In Julia's case, she must face her guilt and budding romantic feelings alone.
In addition, many people are either oblivious or have forgotten about those who are in other countries fighting wars for the United States. A timely tale for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, this story takes the point of view of a girl whose mother is a nurse in war-torn Iraq. How do the families who are left behind deal with the ongoing stress of wondering if their loved ones are safe?
Friendships often change in middle school. Zoe finds this out when her best friend Dara starts to develop different interests from her. Zoe is unconsciously drawn to Lucas because of a shared gift in cryptanalysis.
Lucas is very unusual because he doesn't care what others think of him; he only cares about Zoe. But when Lucas tries to solve Zoe's problems, he inadvertently makes them worse! Along the way, Lucas tutors Zoe in the various puzzles he is so gifted in decrypting. Meanwhile, Zoe tries to figure out what to do about her friendship with Dara.
Barbara Dee skillfully shows us Zoe's troubles when she tries to choose friendship over her natural talent. Solving Zoe (AR 6.0, Level 4.3) is humorous and tender at the same time.