Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Children's Book Roundup - The Award Winners Edition!!!

I am going to try something a little different.   Each week I am going to review children's books that the kids and I are reading.  I frequently have parent friends ask me for book recommendations for their kids so I am hoping this gives people some ideas.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This was picked for this year’s Newbery winner.  Before having read it, I was angry with the Newbery committee for not even acknowledging Wonder by R.J. Palacio (my hands down favorite of 2012).  After reading (post upon post upon post) about all the award winners I thought, in fairness, I should read it before coming to any quick judgments…and I am glad I did.  This is a very beautifully written story of a soulful and artistic gorilla, named Ivan.  I start “animal” books with a little trepidation (they are always *so, so, so* sad) but I was quickly swept up into the story.  This does have tissue worthy moments but it is worth it in the end.

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: January 17, 2012 | Age Level: 8 and up | Grade Level: 3 and up

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

This is not my Hat by Jon Klassen

And to continue on the award winning track…Jon Klassen’s This is Not my Hat took home the Caldecott this year.  This is such a great book and very funny too!  After having previewed the book at work (and loving it) I decided to take it home and try it on the real critic…my five year old son, Robbie…and he loved it too!

Book Description via Amazon

Release date: October 9, 2012 | Age Level: 3 and up | Grade Level: P and up


From the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling and award-winning I Want My Hat Back comes a second wry tale.

When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened. . . . Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I am embarrassed to say that I had not previously read this book.  I picked it up this week because my 11 year old triplets are reading this in class.  I love that I get to read things I may have missed in the past, now that I am reading along with them.  It is also so great to be able to discuss books with them…and what a book this is to discuss.  Number the Stars introduces the reader to what happened during WWII - the holocaust, the Nazi occupation, ect; in a very age appropriate way.  It is such an important historical time but it is also such a hard topic.  This provides a place for the discussion to start. 

Editorial Reviews via Amazon

The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is one of the great untold stories of World War II. On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained and then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish resistance, population and police arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. Lois Lowry fictionalizes a true-story account to bring this courageous tale to life. She brings the experience to life through the eyes of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggles Ellen's family out of the country. Number the Stars won the 1990 Newbery Medal. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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