Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Before, I didn’t know about perspective.  Now I know it can change how you see the whole world.

This was a beautifully written story!  I didn’t realize until the end that this was a rendition of the author’s life as a little girl.  I loved the main character, Ruthie Mizrahi.  It’s the 1960’s and Ruthie is a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl adjusting to her new life in New York City.  It’s been hard for her family to learn the customs of the big city and on one dark night, their lives are changed forever…a horrific car accident leaves Ruthie in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery.

This is the story of a young girl who learns to love in darkest of times and how her heart can go from being stone cold to growing larger.  She teaches us how fragile life can really be and no matter what your circumstances happen to be, there is always something to look forward to.  Ruthie’s hope was to recover and learn to walk again as well as forgiving the person who had caused the accident and her displacement being confined to her bed for almost a whole year.

This moment in their lives seems to have brought many people together and closer to Ruthie.  The story was moving and very well written.  I felt myself rooting for Ruthie and almost crying with her at times.  She is a tough gal, who although fell into the darkness, it didn’t take long for someone to show her the light again. She let their rays of sunshine warm her heart and from there, Ruthie spread the rays onto others.

 

 

The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals by Joel Sartore (National Geographic)

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a book that should be on everyone’s coffee tables and book shelves!  I found it on the ‘new’ release shelf at my local library, being an animal lover I had to check it out.  National Geographic the Photo ark is a lifelong project, already spanning 25 years, of photographer Joel Sartore.  It is his goal to take portraits of the world’s animals, especially those that are endangered and put them at our fingertips.  Joel has a powerful message sprawling through this fantastic book conveyed with humor, compassion and art.  Joel hopes we will look into the eyes of these animals, to know these animals, in order to save them.

Sartore’s intends to photograph every animal in captivity around the world.  He is visiting zoos and wildlife rescue centers to create studio portraits of 12,000 species, with an emphasis on those facing extinction.  He has photographed more than 6,000 already and now, thanks to a multi-year partnership with National Geographic, he may reach his goal.

As I was going through the book, I happened upon an Albino North American Porcupine with the caption “This albino porcupine is named Halsey for the spot in Nebraska near where she was rescued after being hit on the highway.  Today Halsey is thriving, despite a dental condition that prevents her from ever being returned to the wild.”  This caught me off guard because I happen to live in Nebraska!  Not only that, but as I kept reading I read more captions and descriptions of animals that were photographed at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (Nebraska),  Nebraska Wildlife Rehab in Louisville (Nebraska) and the Lincoln’s Children Zoo (Nebraska).

Then, after finishing the book, I read about the photographer and author Joel Sartore.  He is a photographer, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic Fellow and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine.  He is the founder of this project, the Photo Ark, has contributed to Audubon magazine, Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Smithsonian magazine and numerous book projects.  Are you ready for the icing on the cake????  Joel is always happy to return from his travels around the world to his home in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his lives with is wife and their three children.

I cannot stress enough how amazing this book was, especially from the fact that this project is being conducted by a fellow Nebraskan.  I look forward to seeing more of Joel Sartore’s work in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of The Wizard of Oz, she’ll realize how big she is inside, where it counts.

Julia is still mourning the loss of her beloved dog Ramon when her mother signs Julia and her younger brother Randy up for a local university production of The Wizard of Oz.  Julia is quite short for her age, so her mother is certain she will be cast as a Munchkin.  Reluctant at first, Julia becomes more and more enamored with the various people involved in the semi-professional production.  The director, some of the actors, and a few of the tech crew have been hired from out of town; some are college students; the rest, like Julia, are from the local community.  Julia acknowledges not only her own “shortcomings” both at school and at home, but is realistic in her assessment of other people as well. The reader will grow along with Julia as she learns about life and the world around her through this classic production. A must read for students who love to act, as well as for those who feel they are average in a world of “stars.” I loved the main character Julia SO much and I think I took a liking towards her right from the beginning due to her love of her dog! Highly recommended for grades 4 & up!

Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White by Melissa Sweet

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

Some Writer! is one of the best biographies, for kids, that I have ever read!  Seriously! E. B. White is one of my most favorite authors.  If you don’t know the name, he is the author of the iconic Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, among many others.

The mixed media approach calls for the reader to slow down to observe all the details and sweet emphasizes, that E. B. White did himself. It’s filled with maps and collages that connect to the stories/chapters included of his life. There are thirteen chapters, among them, White’s beginnings and his work for The New Yorker magazine, his three books, and his collaboration on a new edition of The Elements of Style. His love of solitude and being in nature is evident in nearly every chapter. A beginning page, for children’s use especially, is a full-page picture of a manual typewriter, and an explanation of how it works. There are pages of actual pictures of White’s manuscripts, some hand-written, some typed; and a page about boat building, which is a surprising thread throughout the book. He was given a canoe by his father when he was young, and when the family spent summers in Maine. And, among others owned, late in life his son built him another one. (His son became a boat builder!) He spent much time canoeing and sailing on the water, observing, thinking about life.

The whole thing is a masterpiece. It’s so lovingly and expertly written and illustrated – capturing White’s essence perfectly.  For any literary lovers, this is a must for your personal library!  I cannot wait to read a few more books from E.B. White such as a book full of letters.  A beautiful, exceptionally written book that is a gift to us all!

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What happens to the leaves on a tree when autumn and winter comes around the corner? Well, that is what we are about to find out! “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” is a children’s book  and it is about a young fox named Fletcher who tries to save a tree’s leaves from falling off during autumn and winter. “Fletcher and the Falling Leaves” is a cute story about the beauty of changes in weather that I am sure that many children who are interested in knowing what happens to the trees during winter and autumn will easily enjoy for many years!

Each morning, Fletcher would come out of the den and explore the world, but then he realizes that the tree’s leaves were turning gold and beginning to fall off the tree. Fletcher than goes to the tree every day to keep the leaves on the tree; however, when winter came, Fletcher noticed that all the leaves were starting to fall off more rapidly than before.

Fletcher is very worried. He tells the tree he’ll help. But when the very last leaf falls to the ground, Fletcher feels as though he’s let down his friend . . .until the first day of winter, when Fletcher sees that his tree has turned into a shining, glittering surprise.

Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Melanie Watt has done a fantastic job combining a great children’s story with an underlying life lessons.  This book has fantastic, humorous pictures to go with the story of a fly that inadvertently gets sucked into a vacuum. In silly ways, the fly goes through the five stages of grief.  Parents can keep it simple for the little ones, or engage older children in discussion about the feelings we often go through when something bad happens to us. Perceptive readers will notice the dog experiencing loss only slightly less dramatically than the bug! I read this to my story time group and they were genuinely sad for this fly!  An interesting concept for a children’s book!  I will tell you that the story DOES have a better ending than the beginning of the book for the Fly!

The League of Beastly Dreadfuls (The League of Beastly Dreadfuls #1) by Holly Grant

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A creepy Victorian house, secretive aunties, and a great escape combine in this debut that is part Mysterious Benedict Society, part Roald Dahl. Join the League. . . 

We meet Anastasia a average almost 11 year old who’s parents die in a freak vacuum accident and her great aunties come to take her to their home in St Agonys insane asylum. between a creature in the woods, attacking poodles, a biting gardener and being locked in her room at night Anastasia`s life is turned upside down but all is what it seems and Anastasia is about to learn how horrible the world can be.

The pacing both in action and humor is perfect, and the narrator not too clever for its own good. Full of adventure and excitement, The League of Beastly Dreadfuls is a fast-paced and highly entertaining read. The story mixes the perfect amount of dark and quirky with comic relief and enjoyable characters. The writing flows wonderfully and pulls the reader in expertly, making this an excellent choice for reluctant readers.  something strange is going on at the asylum. Anastasia soon begins to suspect that her aunties are not who they say they are……