Search Results for -
Product Type: Books
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Family and Friends

 


2011 Award
Drawing from Memory
(by Allen Say, Scholastic $17.99 Score:)

Caldecott winner, Allen Say has often created stunningly beautiful auto-biographical picture books about his childhood in Japan. His paintings in books such as Grandfather's Journey, Tree of Cranes, and Tea with Milk, among others, are memorable works of great beauty. Though his stories are always about children, often the stories are more adult than not. Now, with Drawing from Memory, Say tells us the story of how he became an artist. In the telling, we really do get to meet the school-aged boy who was single minded from the start about his dream of becoming the gifted artist that he is. Instead of the double page paintings that grace his picture books, the illustrations here are mostly small drawings, sketches, pen and ink drawings, cartoon frames and photographs. The story is told in the first person and Say comes across with a warmth and sense of humor that had to sustain him through some personally difficult times. Although this is marked for 10 and up, it is a moving story that middle school and even high school students, with aspirations in the arts, will find engaging. It is heartening to find a book where a young person recognizes how important the adults in his life were to him. So often in children's books we do not see the strong positive influence of adults portrayed. In fact the parents are often disposed of on page one. Here the reader learns that although Say's father was not there for him, the void was filled by a very significant other. It is a story that will speak not just to aspiring artists but children struggling with estranged parents and their own feelings. A gem!

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
A Storm Called Katrina
(by Myron Uhlberg/ illus. Colin Bootman, Peachtree $17.95 Score:)

Although it is a fictional account of the events in New Orleans, when Hurricane Katrina struck, the voice of the narrator, a 10-year old boy named Louis, who plays a coronet, captures some of the terror of that time. Colin Bootman's moving paintings combine perfectly with Myron Uhlberg's believable narrative that tells the story of one family's experiences as they drift into the watery world of the floods and the chaos of the dome where they went seeking shelter. Although 10 seems old for a narrator of a picture book, this feels totally on the mark. His Mama calls him her baby, but in the end it is Louis who proves he is anything but a baby. 7-11.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2010 Award
Only One Year
(by Andrea Cheng/ illus Nicole Wong, Lee & Low $16.98 Score:)

Fourth grader Sharon and First grader Mary are shocked when their parents decide to send their little two-year old brother DiDi to their grandparents in China for a year. Both their parents have jobs and that would mean DiDi would have to be in daycare. Their parents decide that family caring for him would be better. This story of an immigrant family introduces young readers to a set of circumstances that will be strange to many. Yet this kind of separation is not so strange to countless African Americans who were sent to Southern and Island families while their parents worked in Northern cities. DiDi's return is in many ways more unsettling than his departure. His attachment to the grandmother who brings him back is deep felt. So, too is his detachment from the family he is returned to. It's a small chapter book and intended for 2nd- 4th grade readers, so the short chapters and simple text hardly conveys how long a whole year can be or the ache of their separation. Although the children are young, the subject seems more appropriate for older students. Still, this is an interesting look into another culture. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2010. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2002 Award
The Orphan Singer
(by Emily Arnold McCully, Scholastic Inc. $16.95 Score:) A poor Venetian family gives up their only daughter to a special orphanage, where they know she will be given musical training they cannot afford. Through the years her family is always there, although they cannot reveal their connection. One week, when they do not arrive, Catarina chances everything to be with them. A tender work of historic fiction about loyalty and love.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Caleb's Story
(by Patricia MacLachlan, HarperCollins $14.95 Score:) In this sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, a stranger who arrives during a winter storm turns out to be Papa's father. Caleb and Cassie form a bond with the old man, but Papap doesn't want to give him any forgiveness for running off years ago. Another beautifully crafted story in a memorable saga.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2002 Award
Blabber Mouse
(by True Kelley, Penguin $14.99 Score:) Learning not to tell secrets is harder for some than others. Blabber Mouse's friends come up with a clever solution that might help other blabbermouths, too.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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2003 Award
Dear Mrs. LaRue
(by Mark Teague, Scholastic $15.95 Score:)

Being a loved but disobedient dog, Ike La Rue is shipped off to the Brotweiler Canine Academy where Mrs. LaRue hopes he will be trained to behave. But Ike has other ideas. In a series of letters Ike begs for someone to find and tell Mrs. LaRue to come and get him! Good fun! 5–8.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2003. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2006 Award
Shakespeare's Secret
(by Elise Broach, Holt $16.95 Score:) Hero has just moved and her elderly neighbor tells her that there might be a million-dollar, historically significant diamond hidden in her house. The sheriff’s son, who has his own reasons for finding the missing gem, befriends Hero. Just enough history here to add interest with a feel-good (if slightly unbelievable) ending. You don’t have to know the Bard to enjoy this one. Plenty of suspense and a dollop of history! 10 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2006.

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2008 Award
The Gift of the Magi
(by O. Henry/ illus. by P.J. Lynch, Candlewick $15.99 Score:)

Share this classic gift of giving with your family before the holidays. O.Henry’s touching story of giving up something precious to brighten a loved one’s holiday speaks to ideas as basic as the gifts of love and selflessness. Lynch’s paintings capture this period piece in soft watercolors. Read this out loud so you can share the magic of this memorable story. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2002 Award
Dear Papa
(by Anne Ylvisaker, Candlewick $15.99 Score:) In school Isabelle has to write a letter to someone she has not seen in a long time. So, she writes to her Papa who died a year ago. Sound maudlin? Not at all! This is a moving novel written totally in letters, not just to Papa but family and friends who are very much alive. Isabelle sense of humor keeps her entertaining and endearing! 8-12.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2002.

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