Monday, November 29, 2010

Hanukkah Read-Alouds

Children's Literature reviewer Lois Gross shares some of her favorite read-aloud titles, appropriate for ages 4 to 7, for Hanukkah this year.

I Have a Little Dreidel
Maxie Baum
Illustrated by Julie Paschkis
(Scholastic, 2006)
Great illustrations highlight the traditional song with added lyrics. Kids can help with the chorus.

Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah
Michael Rosen
Illustrated by Anne DiSalovo-Ryan
(Holiday House, 2000)
A child describes the night-by-night events of his family's holiday.

Hanukkah Haiku
Harriet Ziefert
Illustrated by Karla Gudeon
(Blue Apple Books, 2008)
Interesting, different approach to telling the holiday story in Haiku form. Pages open to reveal a different lit candle for each night.

Lots of Latkes: A Hanukkah Story
Sandy Lanton
Illustrated by Vicki Jo Redenbaugh
(Kar Ben, 2003)
This has a nice old tale feel to it. A shtetl community comes together to celebrate the holiday. Everyone is supposed to bring one item for the holiday meal, but they all end up bringing latkes.

In the Month of Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah
Nina Jaffe
Illustrated by Louis August
This is the traditional story of paying the miserly baker for the smells of his cakes with the sound of coins. It's a little wordy, but it's a really good story.

The Hanukkah Mice
Steven Kroll
Illustrated by Michelle Shapiro
(Marshall Kavendish, 2008)
A little girl's celebration is duplicated by the mouse family living in her doll house.

Mrs. Greenberg's Messy Hanukkah
Linda Glazer
Illustrated by Nancy Cole
(Albert Whitman, 2004)
When Rachel makes latkes with her neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, the cooking experience becomes messy fun.

My Two Holidays
Danielle Novack
Illustrated by Phyllis Harris
(Scholastic, 2010)
This really is a nice attempt to deal with the situation of dual holidays that so many families now have.

Just Enough is Plenty
Barbara Goldin
This is an Elijah tale for Hanukkah. Actually, I'd recommend anything by Barbara Goldin. She is a storyteller and has a storyteller's ear for how the story should flow.

The Best Hanukkah Ever
Barbara Goldin
Illustrated by Avi Katz
A story about how the gift itself doesn't matter; it's getting the right gift for the right person that counts.

Trees of the Dancing Goats
Patricia Palocco
(Simon and Schuster, 1996)
A Jewish family in Michigan helps to make Christmas special for sick neighbors creating their own Christmas miracle.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Themed Reviews: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one week away. Browse through our Thanksgiving feature and those from previous years for selections to share with your students, family, and friends.

The First Thanksgiving: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Nancy Davis
Thanksgiving sometimes is a challenge when planning story time for little ones. Either you find books on the imminent death of the turkey (who then, humorously, becomes the guest of honor), or newly illustrated versions of Over the River and Through the Woods. This sweetly done board books with lift-the-flaps is a nice addition to a Thanksgiving holiday collection. Told in the manner of The House that Jack Built, the rhyme and pictures follow the round-faced pilgrims from England to the New Land where they are befriended and educated by the natives, set about planting crops, and celebrate with a banquet to which they invite their new friends. The pilgrims are all rosy cheeked and blonde. The native people are rosy-cheeked and brown-skinned. The pictures are easily talked about as the flaps reveal enterprising Pilgrims companionably fishing with the Indians, spinning, planting, and eating. The Thanksgiving dinner shows both groups of people share a celebratory meal. In addition to the obvious lesson about the Pilgrims settlement of the Massachusetts colony, this book can be expanded to lessons on cooperation, sharing, and helping our neighbors. Kids will ask for repeat readings so that they can manipulate the pages. 2010, Simon and Schuster Children’s Division, Ages 1 to 4, $5.99. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0807-4

Why Did the Pilgrims Come to the New World?
Laura Hamilton Waxman
In the 1600s Puritans and Separatists broke with the Anglican Church and sought relief from persecution first in Holland and then in the New World. After a perilous voyage on the Mayflower, they arrived at what is now called Plymouth on Cape Cod. Before settling in they drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact on the ship. The signers were not a homogeneous group, nor were they all members of religious sects.. All agreed to stay, work together, and treat each other fairly. Many died that first winter. Samoset and Squanto, Native Americans who spoke English, helped them. The first harvest in 1621 led to a feast which became Thanksgiving. A question at the end of each chapter leads into the next chapter. Unusual words appear in boxes with a line leading to the margin where the word is defined. Sidebars pictured on notebook paper answer further questions with information such as “The word pilgrim refers to a person who travels to a sacred place for a religious purpose.” Colored photographs, maps, and reproductions of famous paintings enhance the text. This is one of the “Six Questions of American History” series. There is a timeline, source notes, bibliography, list for further reading and web sites, and an index. This interesting account for young people explains the various controversies surrounding the Mayflower voyage and explains how they were overcome. 2011, Lerner Publications Company/Lerner Publishing Group, Ages 12 to 18, $29.27. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 978-1-5801-3665-5

Monday, November 8, 2010

Themed Reviews: Veterans Day

On November 11, 1918 an armistice between Allied Forces and Germany was signed, ending World War I after four years of fighting. The armistice ended hostilities at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The following year U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued the first Armistice Day proclamation:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.

On Armistice Day in 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in WWI was buried in a special tomb in Arlington National Cemetery; now know as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by members of The Old Guard and located near the center of the cemetery.

Armistice Day was declared a Federal holiday in 1938. Celebrations honoring WWI veterans continued to include parades, public gatherings, and moments of silence.

After World War II and the Korean War, veteran service organizations lobbied congress to amend the 1938 act—changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans.” This new legislation was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 1, 1954. Since November 11, 1954 the U.S. has honored American veterans, living or dead, of all wars on Veterans Day.

The following recently published books are about Veterans Day, wars involving American soldiers, or the impact veterans have on their friends and family. Browse through this feature and those from previous years to discover more.

The War to End All Wars: World War I
Russell Freedman
The clearest and most comprehensible book about World War I also delivers a strong anti-war message. Freedman presents the political and social temperaments of 1914 and the naiveté of European leaders and ordinary citizens that led to the war frenzy. He then takes the reader through all aspects of this war that was presumed at the very beginning to be short-lived. Well-selected photographs personalize the events. Along with the text they show life in the trenches and the death and destruction caused by the use of the new military technologies. The futility of war resonates as Freedman recounts the famous battles of Verdun and the Somme. The changing climate of the war is seen through the sinking of the Lusitania, the war at sea, the Russian Revolution, and the entry of the United States. The last chapter, titled “Losing the Peace” recounts stunning human losses. Freedman correlates the poorly-drawn peace agreement to discord in the Middle East and resentments in Germany, which led to World War II and to today’s wars and unrest. Freedman has a singular ability to get to the core of the issue and present it with compelling storytelling. Through his careful and exhaustive research, Freedman selects just the right quotes, and weaves them seamlessly into the text. For a wide range of reasons, this is a book every young person needs to read. Source notes, bibliography, picture credits and an index complete the book. 2010, Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Ages 10 to 14, $22.00. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 978-0-547-02686-2

Monday, November 1, 2010

In time for the holidays...

Children's Literature provides support for book sales at numerous author events, school book fairs and the like. Often we have one or two copies of a book left that we do not bother to return to the publisher. Our stock has grown and we would like to make some very good, never used books available on a first come first serve basis at a very attractive price: 50% off list with FREE SHIPPING until December 24th.

We have four brand new forms for you to browse:
Board Book Titles
Picture Book Titles
Middle Grade Titles
Young Adult Titles

How to Place Your Order:
Print a copy of the order form and mark it up with your choices. Then fax the completed order form to (301) 469-2071 or put it in an envelope and send it to Children's Literature at the following address:
Children's Literature
7513 Shadywood Rd
Bethesda MD 20817

Orders will be filled as they are received. For credit card purchases, we will confirm your total before processing your card. If you want to use a personal or business check for a purchase, circle check as as the payment option and we will get back to you with the amount due. We will ship the books when your check arrives. If you are an institution using a purchase order, we will fill your order and send an invoice with the books.

For further information visit: