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

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.

 

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink is a 1930s Newbery Award Winner, based on the experiences of the author’s own grandmother. Caddie is a creative and active 11 year old, resistant to the demands her nineteenth century culture demands of her because she is a girl. In this fictionalized volume of adventures, Caddie’s fun occasionally brings her in to danger, although her courageous spirit refuses to worry.

Although her stories are fun ones, it is does not capture my heart in the ways Laura Ingalls’s adventures do, and it does not provide the ultimate growth at the end of the book that gives satisfaction. Caddie has supposedly embraced some of her roll as a girl in her culture, but I am not convinced. Continue Reading

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