Special picture books: GIFT DAYS and ONE HEN and MIMI'S VILLAGE



 One Hen, the story of micro lending and Mimi’s Village, And How Basic Health Care Transformed It, both by Katie Smith Milway. These large, hardcover picture books for middle school share important global issues such as health care, micro loans and environmental awareness. One Hen, in particular, shows how one egg can lead to one chicken, to more eggs and eventually to food and income for an entire village. Each book is based on a real person or event. The books give information on how you can help to make a difference in the world.

These titles are part of an inspiring series called Citizen Kid. Each title, such as If The World Were A Village, explains an important aspect of global awareness, be it health care, wildlife preservation or clean water. In addition to a good story, each book gives information on organizations you can join to help others. The website tied to these books allows children to take action beyond the books: http://www.citizenkidcentral.com/ has online interviews, videos and activities that complement the books.
ISBN: 978-155453-028-1

Teaching guides: http://www.onehen.org/


Gift Days by Kari-Lynn Winters, is a new picture book for ages 8 up. This is the touching story of Nassali who longs to learn to read and write like her brother, Baaba. But since her mother’s death, Nassali is responsible for looking after her younger siblings and running the household. There is no time for books and learning. But one day she wakes up to discover that her chores have already been done. It is her first gift day. From that day on, once a week, Baaba gives Nassali the gift of time so that she can pursue her dream of an education, just as her mother would have wanted. The book itself is also raising money for the charity. Through the organization I am a Girl, which focuses on education and women’s rights, money has been raised to send girls to school in Uganda for a full year.
Check out: http://kariwinters.com/gift-days

ISBN-10 1554551927; ISBN-13 9781554551927

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Sometimes I am not sure what motivated a Newbery jury in selecting a particular book. Daunting as their task must be, Newbery novels have been all over the map for me - from books I adore to books in which I just don't see the merits. But The One and Only Ivan is a delicious, unique, lovely written story. Published by HarperCollins in 2012, this is the 2013 Newbery Award winning novel. 

If gorillas had a human voice, this one rings true as a large primate living in captivity. 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 since he has successfully blocked out the dark events of his past. He has accepted his fate, even if he'd rather be anywhere else.

Ivan' friends are Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. Bob is a wonderful character, stray by choice. Stella, however, has an elephant's memory and she has not forgotten how life in the wild was. She has not forgotten nor accepted humans' brutalities. In between the circus acts in which both Ivan and Stella have to earn their keep, 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 Ruby arrived, a baby elephant taken from her family. 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.

Beautifully and gently told, this story can lead to much contemplation of how humans hunt, and keep animals in captivity. I'll never again look a zoo gorilla in the eyes without wondering what's going on behind that high forehead.

http://theoneandonlyivan.com/

The Paperbag Princess by Robert N. Munsch

The Paperbag Princess by Robert N. Munsch

Robert Munsch is probably Canada's most well known children's book writer. What child did not grow up on Thomas' Snowsuit or Jonathan Heard A Noise...

But the Paperbag Princess, Munsch's very first picture book, has sold over 3 million copies and is his best known story. He developed the stories over many years while working at a daycare. I am not a fan of many of Munsch's stories but this one is great. The smoothness of the story, the repetition and the twisted ending make this one of my favorite books ever.

Elizabeth, a beautiful princess, lives in a castle and wears fancy clothes. Just when she is about to marry Prince Ronald, a dragon smashes her castle, burns her clothes with his fiery breath, and prince-naps her dear Ronald. Undaunted and presumably unclad, she dons a large paper bag and sets off to find the dragon and her cherished prince. Once she's tracked down the rascally reptile, she flatters him into performing all sorts of dragonly stunts that eventually exhaust him, allowing her to rescue Prince Ronald. But what does Prince Not-So-Charming say when he sees her? "Elizabeth, you smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess." Princess Elizabeth makes a wise decision and does not marry Prince Ronald after all.

Michael Martchenko's scratchy, comical, pen-and-ink drawings capture the tongue-in-cheek quality of this read-aloud crowd pleaser. (Ages 4 to 8)
http://robertmunsch.com/book/the-paper-bag-princess

Window by Jeannie Baker

Window by Jeannie Baker 


It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In that case, the picture book Window equals a thick novel! A wordless picture book with story telling possibilities for all ages, this is a book of environmental awareness.

One window frames an ever evolving view. First of a green back yard. But as the baby inside the home grows up, the yard has its own story. Diapers on the clothes line give way to toys and bikes, then a VW beetle. The walls show their age, trees disappear to make way for a new subdivision, stores and roads.

Eventually the boy is a grown up and moves into his own home, with his own family - to enjoy the view from a new window: of green and the promise of a more natural environment for his new baby.

Endless possibilities to discuss urban expansion, growing populations, preservation and threats to the environment! Combine this with Jeannie Baker's wonderful collage art, and this book is a must for all classrooms.




"The effect human beings have on the landscape around them is the theme of Baker's most recent tour de force....The artist's multimedia collage constructions are, as ever, fascinating in their realistic detail and powerfully convey the dramatic message.."-- Horn Book.

Hardcover, 32 pages, Greenwillow Books
ISBN 0688089186 (ISBN13: 9780688089184)

Lesson Plans: http://www.geography.org.uk/projects/primaryhandbook/mapsandstories/6-9/

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