Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (1998 Newbery Medal Winner) is a young adult novel in poetry about the difficulties of dust bowl living in the 1930s. A changing industry, magnified by severe drought and the Great Depression, meant that farming in rural Oklahoma was more difficult than ever. But Billie’s difficulties are compounded. It’s hard enough being on the brink of womanhood, but when tragedies strike, nothing will ever be the same again.
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Born Reading by Jason Boog

Born Reading by Jason Boog (Touchstone, September 2014) is the best go-to book for figuring out how to teach your child to love reading. I’ve read books before about encouraging your child’s literacy, and they have been great. But what Born Reading does is address the issue for the now generation: the generation of ipads and mobile phones. How does a parent encourage literacy when the number one method we have of getting through our days includes technology?
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Passenger on the Pearl by Winifred Conkling

Passenger on the Pearl by Winifred Conkling (Algonquin Books, January 13, 2015) is a middle-grade nonfiction story about two young girls who sought to escape slavery in 1840s Washington, D.C.

Emily Edmonson was only 13 when she joined siblings and others on the small ship The Pearl in hopes to escape North. It was the most daring mass slave escape ever attempted, and it was tragically captured before it reached the safety of the North. The book captures the horrors of slavery from a unique perspective: that of a girl on the brink of freedom.Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić

My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić (Kids Can Press, April 2015) has zany illustrations and a creative twist on the entire “family tree” metaphor for family history.

The colorful family tree the author has illustrated represents people back to his great-great-grandfather on both sides. One side of the book portrays his father’s family, and the back of the book (going left toward the middle) portrays his mother’s side of the family. I love how the middle of the book brings both sides of the family together. For each generation, the previous generation is lightly sketched on a picture behind them, so the reader can easily compare the child to the parent: what does the younger generation carry over from the older generation? Noses, eyes, ears, and hair color are easily recognized as similar.Continue Reading