A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a fictionalized version of two related stories in the recent history of Sudan. It tells two parallel stories, one in the 1980s and the other just a few years ago.

In the early story, a young boy caught in the crossfires of the Southern Sudan Civil War.The other story parallel story told in alternating chapters is about a young Sudanese girl in 2009 whose job is to walk from her village to the water at the somewhat nearby pond and walk home again, twice each day. With an interesting twist, the two stories are able to come together.Continue Reading

Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo

Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo (translated by Ann Leonori) is a young adult novel based on the true story about a boy who, as a child slave in Pakistan, changed the outlook for the hopeless children who work at the rug making factory he has been transferred to. As told from the fictionalized perspective of a young girl who has also been in slavery in the rug making factory for years, the story is an emotional and heart-breaking roller coaster for the young reader.

The book is realistic harsh chapter book care for children able to handle the concepts presented therein, such as child slavery. I read this book a few months ago, and I believe I may have been in a very emotional part of my pregnancy because I cried from the very beginning to the end of the book! 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.

 

Two Chapter Books about Africa by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke is a series of short chapter books (actually related short stories) about a young girl’s lifestyle in Africa and her family.  I really enjoyed Anna’s playful and delightful personality. She is a character to enjoy. Her large family living in an African city is quite different from those of children in the USA, and I think that is a fabulous way for kids to get to know another culture. Even Anna herself must earn about her own privilege in the course of this first book: she decides to make money selling the oranges from her family’s tree, only to learn that the street children have become even more impoverished because she has taken away their own livelihood. Anna Hibiscus is the first in a series of four books. Others include Hooray for Anna Hibiscus!; Good Luck, Anna Hibiscusand Have Fun, Anna HibiscusPicture book stories have also been written for the youngest of children as well, including Anna Hibiscus’ Song; Splash, Anna Hibiscus; and a new release, Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus.

The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke places a young boy in a rural African setting. Once again, I love how the life he lives is so different and eye-opening to the American child. The boy, known as No. 1 Car-Spotter, spends his free time watching for cars on the main road by his town. He is so good at spotting cars that he can often name the car only by hearing the engine! In this first volume, No. 1 saves the day when the family’s wagon breaks and they need to get their goods to the market. My son is eager to read The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird, a sequel to this volume.

I am a new independent consultant for Usborne Books and More, which provides these books for those in the USA! If you are interested in these books, send me a note at books at rebeccareid.com and I will send you a free copy of one of these when you book a qualifying book party (on Facebook!).