The Latest In Progress
Cozbi A.Cabrera, et. al.
One Last Word is a stunning combination of striking poetry and beautiful illustrations (by so many big-name African American illustrators). Grimes uses the "Golden Shovel" method to build her own poems out of classic works from Harlem Renaissance writers. She brings the past into the present, showing young readers the importance of hard work and respect for others even in the midst of struggle and sadness. Meaghan McKeron. Ten to Fourteen.
A morality story about community, freedom, individuality and passion. A community that gets annoyed by noise gets a leader who tries to shut all noise out and have total control. But one rooster refuses to be silent, even when he is threatened with death. His song may grow darker as hardships are imposed, but he will still sing and we get his song almost every other page. There's lots of sunshine on many of the pages, especially when the rooster is in full song, and the dark pages still hae the song. An author's note at the end reminds us not to temper our song or stop singing. Edie Ching (up to 7).
With careful deliberate text, matched by illustrations whose softness delie the serious nature of the topic, we are introduced to the subject as a young slave and watch him evolve into the educated, deliberative activist he became. Cooper's illustrations often focus on the face or body of Douglass, dominating his background, the strength of his personality apparent. Myers calls Douglass careful in his decision, he is careful with his words. We understand how Douglass' desire for knowledge increased as he observed the whites around him, how he used this knowledge to escape and how he recognized that the rights of others, especially women, were an important part of his fight for Negro rights. A book with new insights into an important figure. Edie Ching (ages 7-10).
Simon & Schuster (Beach Lane/Atheneum)
The secret of this book is the development of the hydrogen bomb, referred to as The Gadget". The opening illustrations show a peaceful desert landscape, the site of a boy's school. The end pages, wordless, show what looks like some form of monster, a nuclear explosion. In between there is the story of the people who gather on a secret mission, working night and day. The illustrations are framed, exerting a tightness that reflects the controlled situation described. I There is a lovely contrast with the nature outside the confines, a suggestion of Georgia O'Keefe creating beautiful paintings compared to the creation inside. A thoughtful book about a powerful subject. Edie Ching (up to 7).
With his lively art and careful prose, Reynolds creates a dreamer who is quiet, loud, colorful, unique. Not always happy or in step with expectations, his lively child always finds a way back, letting us know "I'm really good at being me". The main character is "unisex" and almost always in motion. While there is clearly a message her, it is an important one and you can't finish this book without feeling good about the character and hopefully yourself. Edie Ching 9up to 7)
A story of the Battle of Fredericksburg and the power of music for both sides of the Civil war, especially the emotional impact of Home Sweet Home. The theme is what unites vs. what divides us. Levy quotes from letters from both soldiers to those at home, usually written by very young participants. All reflect on the desire to rejoin loved ones. Similar to the response of those "higher up" to the soccer game that united both sides during WWI, bands on both sides were banned from playing Home Sweet Home less it dis-spirit the soldiers but it continued to be played. Extensive end notes add information about the Battle, the creation of the song and a time line of the Civil War. An important part in this divisive time. Edie Ching (ages 7-10)
A World War II story set in Alsace, where Genevieve has come to visit her grandmother (on her father's side) and is getting ready to go home, following the departure of her big brother. But while grandmere is not warm and friendly, on the day of her departure, she realizes that she is needed and returns to the farm. Caught in the German invasion, she becomes more and more involved in efforts to thwart the Nazis and support her good friend. There is mystery here, what has really happened to her brother, and revelations as she slowly learns about the life of a father she never felt close to, and as her relationship with her grandmother warms. Edie Ching