Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is an appropriate book for reading just before our country’s Independence Day. It focuses on a Japanese American family during the early part of World War II, when thousands of people of Japanese descent were relocated to special “camps”. It is about the discrimination against Japanese, but even more, the main character must come to terms with what it means to be American and if she is happy with her place and the opportunities before her.Continue Reading

Picture Book Sunday: Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick

The nonfiction picture book Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick and illustrated by Kwanchai Moriya (Kid Can Press, 2015) provides the young dinosaur fan a guessing game. First, a two-page spread shows a zoomed in view of a part of a dinosaur’s body, with a question for the reader to determine which dinosaur had a body part like that. The next page gives the answer, with a picture of the full dinosaur in its supposed habitat. The text then details what scientists know about the particular dinosaur and what the unique body part did to help that dinosaur.Continue Reading

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl (originally published 1981) is a book I never got to enjoy as a child, but since I have always loved Roald Dahl ridiculousness, I knew this would be a fun one. In fact, my son was the one who originally checked it out (fresh off of a reread of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). After he finished it, he could not stop talking about the funny parts of it. I knew I had to give the brief volume a read!

In this story, George is tired of his complaining Grandmother that he must care for every afternoon. He decides to concoct a new medicine that will stop her whining once and for all. I love the ridiculous magical effects! First, his medicine makes her grow too tall, and then his medicine . . . well, I could tell you, but that would spoil the fun!Continue Reading

The Great Depression for Kids

The easily accessible text and the fun related activities make The Great Depression for Kids by Carol Mullenbach (Chicago Review Press, July 2015) a fantastic choice for the young student in upper elementary school or older that is interested in learning more about the era in our history. The text covers life before the Great Depression, the causes of the Great Depression, and then life during the Great Depression, both in cities and rural areas. It ends as it talks about how the nation recovered at the start of Word War II. Each chapter in The Great Depression for Kids covered a lot of information, but I felt it easily accessible to the younger reader.

This volume includes 21 activities related to the things happening in the text. For example, there is an explanation on how to “play the stock market” when the text talks about the stock market crash. Paper airplane making is the activity as kids learn about the new developments during the era. An erosion experiment is the activity during the chapter about the dust bowl. In all, the activities seem like simple but engaging ones for upper elementary students to enjoy doing!

As a personal note, I found myself wishing I’d asked my grandparents more about the era before they passed away. The book contained lots of details about life during the era, but I know my grandparent’s stories were unique. It’s interesting how this definitive historical era is now so distant from children’s lives today, even though it was only three generations ago.

Note: I read a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.