A Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (originally written 1949) is a true classic about a young boy meant to be a knight but recently disabled in an unfortunately illness. It was a Newbery winner from the earlier years of the award. The medieval setting was perfectly created, and I loved the inherent message of goodness in the book, but I suspect that despite it’s slim size, it is a tricky book to get young children interested in during this day and age.Continue Reading
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a poetic autobiographical reflection on the author’s childhood. The writing is sparse, written in free verse, and yet each poem packs a punch of emotion. Ms Woodson recalls her earliest of memories (fictionalizing events as necessary). Her early childhood is spent with her grandmother and grandfather in South Carolina and then she moves to live with her mother and step-brother in New York.
Ms Woodson’s poems capture the difficult transitions in life, but they also capture the complicate life that comes from growing up in the 1960s and 1970s in the Jim Crow South. She details her frustrations learning to read (due to probable dyslexia) and her persistent dream to become a writer and record the multitude of stories inside her mind.
Individually, each poem is full of meaning that could be enjoyed as the reader may like. There is more than meets the eye in these apparently simple poems. As a whole, the book is satisfying and complete: a story of a girl who lived and dreamed and became.
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, the Newbery Award Winner for 1991, is celebrating its 25th anniversary since publication. It’s hard for me to imagine this book being an “old” one, but since I knew I read it as a child, I should not be so surprised.
Maniac Magee is the story of a legend, a homeless boy called “Maniac” who stumbles in to a racially divided town and manages to break barriers and build new bonds of friendship among the town residents. This legendary story takes place in a timeless yet obviously historical era, a decade maybe in the 1960s or 1970s. It seems contradictory to say it’s timeless and yet in the past; yet, that is how it feels as I read it. Continue Reading
Ten Rivers that Shaped the World by Marilee Peters and Kim Rosen (Annick Press, Aprill 2015) is a delightful children’s nonfiction book about the significance of ten rivers on the history of the world. The rivers chosen are not necessarily the most infuential or the most interesting, but together the histories provide a well-rounded overview of world history and impact of rivers on the development of history.