• Books

    Gyo Fujikawa: It Began With a Page….

    Gyo Fujikawa When you grow up with an author/illustrator’s books, they become part of your definition of “home” or “reading” or “friend.” Gyo Fujikawa is one of those authors for me. I remember Oh, What a Busy Day in particular. Gyo Fujikawa’s Books What makes Fujikawa’s books memorable? For starters, she was one of the very first to include children of many different races in her books. Not only does she illustrate many different races, she depicts them all doing ordinary things. Fujikawa wasn’t writing history books for toddlers or trying to show one people group as a distinct culture. Instead, she focused on activities and interests that most American…

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    Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim

    Yumi Chung faces the classic teen dilemma: honor your parents or follow your dream? Stand Up, Yumi Chung! By Jessica Kim. Penguin Random House, 2020, 306 pages Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12 Recommended for: ages 10-14 Take my parents—please! Yumi Chung’s parents are typical Korean overachievers who brag about her older sister’s medical-school grades incessantly. Mom has also signed Yumi up for the SSAT so she can earn another year’s scholarship at Winston Preparatory Academy, and the ‘rents can garner bragging rights for their second-born, too. Shy, awkward Yumi doesn’t fit at WPA, where they call her Yu-Meat after catching a whiff of the family Korean-barbecue restaurant. She feels…

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    Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

    Dragon Hoops turns a high-school basketball championship season into a close-up look at life’s changes and choices. Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang. First Second, 2020, 445 pages. Reading Level: Teen, ages 12-15 Recommended for: ages 12-up “I’ve hated sports ever since I was a kid. Especially basketball.” Young Gene Yang was interested in comics and superheroes. An adult, he even fulfilled his dream of publishing an award-winning graphic novel (American-Born Chinese), while teaching computer science at Bishop O’Dowd Catholic High School in Oakland. Now, with more highly- praised books to his credit, can he keep up with two careers and a growing family? And if so, what’s the next…

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    1493 for Young People by Charles C. Mann

    A fascinating historical look at globalization that covers botany, anthropology, politics, exploration, the slave trade, and more! 1493 for Young People: From Columbus’s Voyage to Globalization by Charles C. Mann and adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. Triangle Square, 2016. 416 pages. Reading Level: Ages 12-15Recommended For: Ages 10 and up (note considerations below) When Columbus reached the shores of the Americas, he unwittingly launched a new era in the history of Earth. Everything changed. Mann’s focus isn’t on Columbus “discovering” America. Rather, he looks at how Columbus’s voyage jumpstarted globalization, focusing in turn on trans-Atlantic trade and trans-Pacific trade. People’s craze for new products, or cheaper products (such as tobacco), fueled…

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    American Lives: a Picture Book Roundup

    For Spacious Skies, Most Wanted, and Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word feature the promise of the American experiment. For Spacious Skies: Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful” by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Olga Baumert. Albert Whitman, 2020, 32 pages, including timeline and bibliography. Reading level: Picture Book, ages 4-8 Recommended for: ages 6-10 Katherine Lee Bates spent her early girlhood in the shadow of the Civil War, while “the country’s heart was ripped in two.” After the war ended, her small seacoast town in Massachusetts didn’t seem to offer much for a bookish girl who loved to write. But her widowed mother worked long hours…

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    Song Of Mercy by Brenda Anderson

    Truth And Grace Song Of Mercy by Brenda Anderson is a most delightful Christian contemporary novel that is grounded in God. It is part of the Potter’s House series but can be read as a stand-alone. Once again Brenda Anderson has created a charming set of characters, all very realistic with flaws that are so […]

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    Under Scottish Stars by Carla Laureano

    God’s Fingerprint Under Scottish Stars by Carla Laureno is the most charming contemporary Christian novel with family at its centre. The novel is set on the Isle Of Skye which holds a dear place in my heart as we spent our honeymoon there many years ago (pre the road bridge). The locations were familiar to […]

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    *The Friend Who Forgives by Dan Dewitt

    In The Friend Who Forgives, we read about impatient, impetuous Peter and his faithful, forgiving friend Jesus. *The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About how Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave (Tales that Tell the Truth) by Dan Dewitt and illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. The Good Book Company, 2018. 32 pages. Reading Level: Ages 4-8Recommended For: Ages 0-10 Do you ever have a hard time keeping your temper? Watching carefully over what you say? What about making hasty decisions you later regret? Peter can empathize! In The Friend Who Forgives, Dewitt draws out Peter’s somewhat volatile personality and contrasts it with Jesus who forgives–even when Peter denies him three times!…

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    Jonah and the Very Big Fish by Tim Thornborough

    Jonah and the Very Big Fish has fun with language and offers the full story of Jonah–there’s more than the whale! Jonah and the Very Big Fish (Very Best Bible Stories) by Tim Thornborough and illustrated by Jennifer Davison. The Good Book Company, 2019. 24 pages. Reading Level: Ages 4-8Recommended For: Ages 0-8 Jonah retellings are nothing new in Bible storybook land. But this Jonah story does a little something different. First, Thornborough plays with words. A lot. Kids who are fascinated by words will enjoy the extravagant use of them in this book. For instance, when God sends the storm, “the sailors were horrified, terrified, petrified, jelly-died.” Adjectives galore!…

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    Flying Solo by Zoe May

    Wonderful Flying Solo by Zoe May is a deliciously fun contemporary novel about discovering just what you want in life. Life is not all about ticking off events on a list. Life is to be experienced and enjoyed. We need to discover our passion in life and live for what we were created for. Swapping […]