This week’s reading probably totaled about 8 hours rather than 4. I’m not sure why I chose to read so many longer books this week but I enjoyed all of them to varying degrees and I learned about some book awards that I wasn’t previously aware of.
The first award I chose a book from was the Coretta Scott King Award which is awarded to African American authors and illustrators.
Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney
This book tells the life stories of ten black men who’s revolutionary ideas and persistence helped to shape and win the Civil Rights movement in America. I found the stories to be very informational and interesting. I would recommend this book to students in 5th grade or higher as there are some radical ideas discussed especially regarding leaders like Malcom X.
The second award category I chose from is the Pura Belpre award which is given to Latino and Latina illustrators and authors.
The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle
This book is about an actual author who grew up during the revolutionary times in Cuba. It is written in beautiful poetry form and is creative in its story-telling. Tula is a young girl reaching the age when she will be given over by her family to an arranged marriage. Tula, who is a creative, free-thinking girl cannot imagine marrying a stranger whom she does not love. She hides her love for reading and writing from her family but is soon sent away to her grandfather’s plantation where she begins to roam the countryside and finds freedom. I loved this book and hope to include it in my reading list for junior high-aged readers.
The next award I chose a book from was the Sibert Medal which is reserved for the non-fictional and informative books for children.
March: Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell
This graphic novel is the 3rd instillation of the story of the Civil Rights movement in which Congressman and author John Lewis played a major role alongside other major leaders such as A. Philip Randolph, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. This book is very straightforward and includes a lot of graphic material. It uses some foul language and sexual content as well as violence, therefore I would recommend this for only juniors or seniors in high school or for college students.
The fourth award category I chose from was the Schneider Family award which is reserved for authors who write about disabilities.
Back to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander
This is a children’s picture book that tells the story of a young dog who cannot write letters as well as his classmate and is afraid to ask for help due to embarrassment. After telling his best friend about his difficulties he is encouraged to ask for help from the teacher who shows him that just because he doesn’t get the letters down as easily as others doesn’t mean he can’t do it. He also learns he isn’t the only one in his class who struggles. He finds the motivation and confidence to learn to write just as well as the rest of the class. I enjoyed this book because it can help children see that there is no reason to be embarrassed about being different and there is no reason to treat people who are different badly. I would recommend this book to students in 1st and 2nd grade.
The next award I read from was the (Theodore Seuss) Geisel award which is given to authors and illustrators of children’s picture books or beginning reader’s books.
Goodnight Owl by Greg Pizzoli
This book is about an owl who cannot go to sleep because he keeps being disturbed by a sound. He cannot seem to find the source of the sound and in the process of trying to find it he nearly destroys his home. Finally, he discovers the mouse making the sound and is able to sleep. The book is written with simple words that are appropriate for beginning readers and the illustrations are cute and clever. I would recommend this book for kindergarten and 1st grade students.
The final award I chose from is the Golden Sower award which is an award which is chosen by students in the state of Nebraska.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Sage is an orphan who does what he can to survive even if it means breaking the law. But soon, Sage finds himself being purchased by a wealthy regent of the king’s court. Sage and three other boys are chosen from several orphanages to keep the regent’s devious plans a secret…or else. This story is one that will draw you into the world of Sage and the other boys. Once you begin it, you will not be able to put it down! There are twists and surprises all the way through the book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I can definitely see why this book was chosen by a group of young readers in Nebraska as one of their favorites! I can’t wait to read the sequel as well! I would recommend this to readers in 4th or 5th grade.
I truly enjoyed this week’s reading even though it took me about double the assigned time to read them all. I really have an appreciation for reading about the civil rights movement and about human relations topics. I feel I would use at least half of this list in my own classroom someday.