Monday, July 27, 2015

Computer issues

I killed my laptop which is what I normally use to post. Our main computer is also not working at the moment. So till I can fix those issues I have to step away from blogging as using the iPad is a nightmare. Keep your fingers crossed that I can find a decent solution.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Diverse Characters

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Following this weeks theme I've decided to feature 10 classic children's books that have diverse characters.

1. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry- This is one of those books that I've only read once but I remember everything about it. I read this when I was still in elementary school and it hit me in a big way. Taking place in Europe during WWII a young Jewish girl moves in with her best friend and pretends to be one of the family's daughters.

2. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats- A true classic for sure. A young boy spends one snow day in the city playing in the snow. I recently read this to my son and it reminded me of the school librarian reading this book to my kindergarten class. All of our faces tilted up and staring at the pictures, imagining ourselves out playing in the snow.

3. And Tango Makes Three by Justine Richardson- I have to admit I've never read this book. But I plan on reading this to my son during banned book week. 

4. The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack- It has been so many years since I've read this that I barely remember it. But that is about to change since I've decided to reread it. All I remember is that it takes place in China.

5. Corduroy by Don Freeman- One of my son's all time favorite books! We've read it so many times I've lost count. Who can forget that lovable bear who is finally adopted by Lisa. 

6, Iggie's House by Judy Blume- As a child I was a huge fan of Judy Blume and read as many of her books as I could get my hands on. The main character in this book is white but it tells the tale of an African American family who move into a house that used to be the MC best friend's house. I remember the MC had no problem and didn't think twice about the family being black. But others in the neighborhood were less than thrilled. Sadly this still happens today.

7.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie- Another book I have not read but plan on reading during banned book week. 

8. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson- I remember reading this in school and being in awe of Helen Keller. I remember being fascinated and wondering just how someone who is deaf, blind and cannot speak overcomes such an obstacle. 

9. Freedom Summer by Donna Wiles- Two best friends in the south in the 1960's one black one white. A simple tale that is great at introducing young readers to the desegregation that began in the 60's. 

10. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling- I have not read the book but plan on it sometime soon. Of course I've seen the movie but that is really not the same thing 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review: Snap! by Hazel Hutchins

When I saw this on *netgalley I just knew I had to request it. Not only was the cover amazing but the book summary had me desperate to read it to my son.

Evan has a brand new set of crayons. But before he knows it the brown one breaks. Soon one after the other all of his crayons begin to break. But that doesn't stop him. With each new broken or missing crayon he discovers something new like combining colors to make new colors and making rubbings on the paper from coins and paper clips. 

I loved this book. I love that Evan become angry at his crayon for break. We've all seen the frustration that pours forth from a child who has just broken a crayon. But more importantly I love that he discovers new ways to use his crayons and that even when he no longer can color with them he finds a new way to start new adventures with his drawings. I think it says a lot that children should fully embrace their creativity and go with the flow. Discover new ways to make art. 

The illustrations in this were wonderful. It definitely gives the feel of a child artist on a roll frenzied roll with artwork. Never stopping just keeps drawing drawing drawing. The colors are perfect and really follows the flow of the story. I want to add this book to my collection! I love that the cover shows the colors almost splashing out from the broken crayon.

My son loved this one and took out his crayons and some paper afterwards and began to draw. While he didn't get into the long frenzied drawing of Evan he did spend a good (blissfully quiet) 20 minutes drawing cats and blue skies and what might have been a flower.

5 out of 5 stars.

*I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my special needs son who is severely learning disabled. The review reflects not only my opinion but his as well

Book Review: Jaya's Golden Necklace: A Silk Road Tale by Peter Linenthal

I'm always looking for books that feature diverse characters. I was happy to find this book on *Netgalley. I'm always trying to expose him to different cultures and religions. It is important to me that he understands that all people are people and it doesn't matter their race, gender, sexuality, or religion. Though coming from a house of atheists/agnostics he doesn't have much of a concept of religion.

Jaya's Golden Necklace tells the tale of a little girl whose mother is sent to the kings palace to bake her famous apricot cake for the king's birthday. Before her mother leaves she give Jaya a golden necklace with three gold coins. Jaya then finds out her father has also been summoned by the king. He has been asked to carve a statue of Buddha the peaceful one. From the gold coins on Jaya's necklace spring the gods Shiva, Inanna and Hercules. They help Jaya on her journey to the palace with her father.

I loved the illustrations in this book. They almost reminded me of stained glass with the colors and how they pictures were outlined. It really was beautiful to look at. I was afraid my son would have a hard time keeping up as he doesn't know much about the gods (ok to be truthful neither do I). But he kept up and seemed to enjoy the book. He loved the part were Jaya dons the lion skin.

I love how at the end historical information is give and you even get the recipe for Jaya's mom's famous apricot cake...I might even give it a go since I love apricots! I actually really liked this book and think it is great for introducing children to Buddhism.

4 out of 5 stars!

*I received a free copy of this ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion
**This book was read with my special needs son who is severely learning disabled. The review reflects not only my opinion but his as well

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thursday's Tale: The Gingerbread Man

This week I decided to break out a book I had from when I was a baby. This was a Little Golden Book illustrated by the famous Richard Scarry....The Gingerbread Man. We all know that chant "Run run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man." In fact when my son was a toddler I used to say that to him and he would be off and running. Giggling cause he knew I was about to scoop him up and give him tons of tickles and hugs.

The Gingerbread Man tells the tale of a woman baking a gingerbread man who comes to life. He runs past her and many others who give chase. A kindly fox offers to help the Gingerbread Man cross the river. This of course is a trick and the fox eats the up the goodie.

I fondly remember this book and it was fun to go back and read it. I probably haven't read it in 30 years. I've heard many different versions of the gingerbread boy/man. Also who can forget Gingy from Shrek. All I know is right now I could go for a piece of gingerbread.

Thursday's Tales are hosted by CarolsNotebook. Stop by and see what she has read this week or better yet join in and read your own tale this week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

This is a classic for sure. Pretty much everything Dahl wrote had the magic touch. He was just such an amazing writer. I read this one as part of the 1001 children's book challenge.

Matilda tells the store of an extremely bright little girl who loves to read. Her parents don't take with reading and her father is crooked car sales man. Matilda sets off to school for the first time and her teacher Miss Honey is amazed by how smart the little girl is. The big problem is that the head teacher Miss Trunchbull is a meanie and cruel beyond cruel.

Now then it has been over 25 years since the last time I read this book...Eek did I really just write that? Whenever your reread a beloved childhood classic you always have to wonder if it will stand up or if growing up changes the book for the worse. I'm happy to say for the most part Matilda stands up. Of course had it been written today Matilda's family would be on their tablets and cell phones while watching tv and eating their gross (even to this day) TV dinners. Also as an adult the idea of the type of abuse and violence that Matilda and her fellow peers face is a bit sickening. I guess as a child it seems cartoonish but as an adult we realize the stomach turning reality of such things. The fact that unfortunately neglectful parents like Matilda's and the inexcusable physical and mental violence of Miss Trunchbull actually exists makes it hard to see it as silly.

That being said I still really loved the book. Matilda is a great example of a book loving child who uses her intellect to get through problems. She is always greatful for what she has and she forms such a wonderful loving relationship with her teacher Miss Honey.

4 out of 5 stars!

WWW Wednesday: July 15, 2015

WWW Wednesday is hosted by samannelizabeth.

The Three Ws are:
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Ok I'm going to have to split this up in two parts. 1 is books I'm reading just for me and 2 is books I'm reading with my son.

Part 1.

Currently Reading: So I requested this book from Netgalley not even realizing that I already own the book. Well, that's ok. I'm not quite a quarter of the way through it but so far I'm enjoying it. But I'm a huge fan of dystopian/apocalyptic/post apocalyptic fiction. I know a lot of people are burnt out on it right now but I've found if I mix it up and read other types of books I never become bored with a genre. But if you read 20 of the same type of book in a row it becomes yawn worthy.

Recently Finished: Just finished this last night and it was oh so satisfying. I love that Roald Dahl is so universal and his books are not only beloved by children but adults as well. They don't feel stale or dated. I haven't read this one since I was in elementary school (no I wont even begin to tell you how many years ago that was). I can't wait to tackle another Dahl book as there are a few on the 1001 childrens book challenge that I have to read.

Reading Next: Here is where the debate comes in. I have a TON of books to read and want to read. I think though I'm going to knock out another Netgalley book. This one has been waiting for me to read for a few weeks now so I suppose it is time to do it.

Part 2

Currently Reading: This is hard to do as we only read picture books together and they are finished immediately. So I'll post the book I'm going to read to him today when he gets home from summer school. This is yet another Netgalley book (can you tell I'm obsessed with Netgalley?)

Recently Finished: This is one of my favorite books that we have read this year. This was another Netgalley book. I'm excited for when it is released and plan on buying my own copy. 

Reading Next: These are the next two books up for reading. I might read them today or tomorrow. Depends on if he will sit through multiple books today. The first one is another Netgalley and the second one is one I've been dying to get my hands on since I've heard so many amazing things about it. Finally found a copy of it in my local library.