Counting By 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan

You know those books that allow you to crawl inside the main character's head and allow you to dwell there for a while? Those comfortable, even if disturbing, books that are so real.  Those books that are like a lollipop - you start licking (reading) slower so that the good feeling with last longer...

That's how felt while reading Counting By 7's.
This is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family. Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn't kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now. Willow's world is suddenly, tragically, changed when... well, I won't tell you 'cause you have to read it yourself. The triumph of this book is that it is "not" a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

"Holly Goldberg Sloan writes about belonging in a way I've never quite seen in any other book. This is a gorgeous, funny, and heartwarming novel that I'll never forget."--John Corey Whaley, author of "Where Things Come Back"

"Willow Chance subtly drew me into her head and her life, so much so that I was holding my breath for her by the end. Holly Goldberg Sloan has created distinct characters who will stay with you long after you finish the book."--Sharon Creech, Newbery Award-winning author of "Walk Two Moons"

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner





This book is a classic by now. How did such a thin little book become both a classic bestseller as well as a major motion picture?
Because it is a good story! A heart string pulling, tear jerking good tale.

Little Willy's grandfather is sick, and it's up to Willy to save their farm from tax collectors. Their only hope is the prize money from the National Dogsled Race. But a lot of other people want to win the race, too, including Stone Fox, who has never lost a race in his life.
Do Willy and his dog Searchlight stand a chance against the toughest racers around? Can they win the race to save the farm -- and Grandfather -- before it's too late?

I was lucky to have met the author, John Gardiner. He seemed a very kind man and was supportive of me as a fellow writer. We had a great chat about the struggles of writing, editing and rewriting. He showed me his first original manuscript. The paper was covered in red. It seems that every single word of it had been crossed out and edited. "I am dyslexic. I couldn't write at all...", he said.
I was in awe that his story had gone on to do so well.

Then, to my utter surprise, a few weeks later I received the Dutch version of Stone Fox in the mail. "I can't read it anyway so you enjoy!" he said.
And enjoy Stone Fox I have! A book that every teacher and parent should read aloud with their children.




Lesson Plans: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/stone-fox-lesson-plan

The London Jungle Book by Bhajju Shyam

The London Jungle Book by Bhajju Shyam
I felt very lucky when I 'discovered' this unique book, several years ago. It's one of those gorgeous books, and story, that makes a fascinating read for adults, a coffeetable art book AND a children's book.
“A beautiful book. I would like to give it to everyone I love when they are traveling by choice or necessity.”—John Berger

“Bhajju Shyam is causing quite a stir among museum-goers in London. . . . This is London as you’ve never seen it before. An incredible vision.”—BBC World Service

This stunning visual travelogue by an Indian tribal artist turns a modern metropolis into an exotic bestiary. Bhajju Shyam, from the Gond tribe in central India, had never left his native village when a European visitor encountered his art and invited him to London to paint the interiors of a chic Indian restaurant.
With radical innocence and great sophistication, Bhajju records his experiences and observations showing a modern city as you’ve never seen it before, combining his vision with native lore — the London Underground becomes a giant earthworm, Big Ben merges with a massive rooster, and English people are shown as bats that come out to play at night. It is rare to encounter a truly original vision that is capable of startling us into reexamining familiar sights. By breathing the ancient spirit of wonder back into the act of travel, The London Jungle Book does just that. Bhajju’s work is well known throughout India and has been exhibited in the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, and Russia. From the walls of his tribal village home to international acclaim, Bhajju’s has been an incredible creative journey.

Check out what Delhi street children did with art based on this book:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5Np1dyG_o8

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