The story of Sylvia & Aki is based on true events in the lives of two young American girls whose paths cross at the start of World War II. In alternating chapters we learn how Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu meet and how their lives are affected by World War II.
Sylvia has just moved to Westminster, CA. Her family is leasing a house and farm land from a recently relocated Japanese-American family. Sylvia and her brothers are looking forward to attending the nearby Westminster School, but they’ve just been told they must attend Hoover school, the school for children from Mexican families. The conditions at Hoover lead Sylvia’s father to file a lawsuit, which turns into a landmark court case eliminating the “separate but equal” doctrine as it applies to all schools in California.
Everyone in Aki’s family is a loyal American, but following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the attitude of Americans toward their Japanese-American neighbors change. Soon Aki, her mother and older brother are sent to an internment camp in the Arizona desert called Poston. Her father is imprisoned elsewhere since he is considered a “security risk.” It is a comfort for Aki’s family knowing that the Mendez family is taking good care of their land and home, but Aki desperately misses her home and her friends at Westminster School.
Winifred Conkling interviewed both Sylvia and Aki for this book. She also provides an extensive bibliography listing relevant materials and websites. The Afterward includes historical information concerning the impact of both the internment of Japanese Americans and the Mendez lawsuit.
Hiccupotamus (AR 0.5, Level 3.3) by Aaron Zenz is great for the kid who is first experiencing hiccups! Poor hippo is suffering from the hiccups as he runs into various friends. Exaggerated rhymes and hilarity ensues as hippo inadvertently causes all kinds of trouble.
Hippo's friends carefully research (a super sight for this librarian to see) ways to eliminate hippo's hiccups. Spinning, vinegar, and other remedies don't seem to work. Finally, hippo's hiccups cease. See what happens in the surprise ending. If you read this picture book with emphasis on exaggerated hiccups, you are sure to see your kids laugh uproariously!
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading (AR 5.0, Level 5.4) by Tommy Greenwald is a tribute to the author's three sons, who are all NOT fond of reading. This title is in the format of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: black and white cartoons, snarky main character, and offbeat secondary characters. While I read the book, I found it difficult to believe that Charlie Joe was able to get away with not reading for so long. However, after seeing his inventive genius, one can easily believe that he talked his way out of doing many things.
Charlie Joe's characterization is quite different from Greg Heffley, Nate Wright, etc., however. Charlie Joe is one of the popular kids who has a nice family and friends. The amusement in Charlie Joe's life derives from his list of ways that one can avoid reading.
The book is sure to reach reluctant readers in addition to avid readers who will find Charlie's tips hysterical. This book will reach readers who did not care for the uglier aspects of Greg Heffley's or Nate Wright's personalities. Charlie Joe is a good kid; he is just misunderstood.
Local Bay Area author, Sara Pennypecker is the creator of the popular Clementine novels, the Stuart books and co-author of the Flat Stanley books, and is back with a new adventure entitled , Clementine Friend of the Week. This is her fourth book about Clementine. The first was Clementine, which is also available as an audio, and was our first introduction to the loveable fruit-named girl who reminded me a lot of another enjoyable literary character, Ramona Quimby. Clementine then appeared in two more books, The Talented Clementine and Clementine’s Letter all which are available at any of the San José Public Libraries.
In the newest Clementine adventure, Clementine, Friend of the Week, third grader, Clementine has been selected as the Friend of the Week in her school classroom. The honor has many important responsibilities such as leading the Pledge of Allegiance, collecting milk money, being the line leader, and feeding the fish. At the end of the week, the third grader will get a friendship booklet signed by all of her classmates telling her how much they appreciate her. Fourth grader, Margaret, Clementine’s frenemy – on again off again best friend, gives suggestions on how to procure compliments so that everyone will write something nice in her friendship book. The following day Clementine starts giving them to every person she comes in contact with, primarily based on physical observations which doesn’t always work out as she planned. Just as Clementine looks forward to the best week ever, things take a turn for the worse when Moisturizer, her beloved cat goes missing. Heartbroken over her missing pet Clementine totally forgets all about her promises. Will she have any friends and will they write anything nice?
Fans of the Clementine series won’t be disappointed in the latest installment of Clementine’s life, her relationship with her family , especially when Clementine refers to her brother as a different fruit each time – how does Pennypecker remember so many names of fruits? Keeping a series fresh is a tribute to an author’s skill and ability to capture the many nuances of childhood life especially being a friend one moment, an enemy the next, and then a friend again all in the same afternoon. Don’t you wish everyone could behave this way?
Readers who are not quite ready for a full chapter book but like appealing adventures may want to try this unusual hybrid of picture book, graphic novel, and early reader. Bink and Gollie introduces readers to a new pair of adventure-seeking, odd-couple companions. Bink-- short, blond, sprout-haired, lives in a rustic cottage -- and the tall, tidy Gollie lives in a sleek, chic tree house --are complete opposites, but they’re also devoted pals who visit each other every day.
This 2010 book was written by two well-known children’s book authors, Kate DiCamillo (Mercy Watson, the loveable pig series and also the winner of the 2001 Newbery Honor award for Because of Winn Dixie) and Alison McGhee (Countdown to Kindergarten, Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth) and the award-winning illustrator, Tony Fucile. In just 81 pages this trio was able to create three humorous interconnected stories about these two zany but lovable friends. The three episodes explore common friendship dilemmas: having different taste, learning to compromise, and experiencing jealousy. And. through the repetition of phrases and appealingly oddball elements (roller skates, pancakes, and rainbow socks) the team create a sense of cohesion without becoming annoying.
Elementary listeners and readers will have no trouble relating to the two friends’ antics and the bond they share. Despite their differences and idiosyncratic quirks know the importance of true friendship. Don’t you wish everyone could learn this?
This book is slightly comparable to the 2006 movie The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz. Two women who have had devastating occurrences happen to them decide to trade “lives.” It is about the friendship between Jesse and Erin. Jesse is a freelance writer living in Manhattan and Erin is an Inn keeper still living in Willow Creek, AZ, the town where they both grew up. Jesse proposes the idea to trade places for six months. During their time in each others lives they discover the grass isn't really greener. In this novel you begin to root for the strong heroines. By trading places they find themselves. This novel will take the reader through many different phases in these women’s lives. Overall this was a wonderful and uplifting book.