By Valle Blair
by KEITH BAKER (Beach Lane Books, 2010)
If you are a fan of talking food, then this is the alphabet book for you! The alphabet peas take you on a journey through the alphabet showing all the things you can be that start with each letter of the alphabet. The rhyming text makes this book really fun to read while learning the letters and their sounds. Be sure to emphasize the first letter sounds as you read each name. The charming little illustrations show the peas doing or being the things they name, such as ‘king’ which shows a pea with a crown in a castle and a pea with sideburns and a microphone. The question at the end challenges you to make your own choice of what you are (or want to be). This book would also be good for counting practice – try counting all the peas on each page. There are quite a few on some pages!
2ND – 4TH
NABEEL’S NEW PANTS: AN EID TALE
by FAWZIA GILANI-WILLIAMS (Marshall Cavendish, 2010)
This is a folktale from Islam about Eid which is a holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Nabeel, the shoemaker, closes his shop and goes to buy gifts for his family for the holiday. He chooses some beautiful things for his wife, his mother, and his daughter. Then when the shopkeeper points out that his pants are patched and full of holes, he also buys a new pair of pants for himself. But they are four fingers too long! The shopkeeper cannot shorten them because he must prepare for Eid. “Why don’t you ask your wife?” he suggests. But neither Nabeel’s wife nor his mother nor his daughter can help him because they must prepare the food for Eid. So he decides to do it himself and leaves the finished pants on the table. Then his wife, his mother and his daughter, each regretting not helping him, come in search of the pants. And I’m sure you can guess what happens next!! But all is well at the end in time for the celebration of Eid.
SUPER SIMPLE JEWEL
by KAREN LATCHANA KENNEY (ABDO, 2010)
This short, colorful book is full of great ideas for jewelry that you can easily make. It starts with a list of tools and supplies, from toothpicks to polymer clay. Then it gives detailed instructions on how to make seven different jewelry projects. Most of them also have several options to vary the project but you can be as creative as you want to be with any of the crafts presented. A few of the ideas included are a button bracelet, safety pin jewelry, necklaces made from metal washers, and funky beads of all designs made from polymer clay. Simple and fun and great looking! What a great idea for your BFF’s birthday or Christmas! Or just to while away the long summer hours. Make them for all your friends!
SHADOW OF THE LEOPARD
by HENNING MANKELL (Annick Press, 2009)
This story takes place in Mozambique, a very poor country on the southeast coast of Africa that has a long history of war and strife. Land mines dot the countryside and create danger zones alongside the pathways where people often travel on foot. Sofia, who is 19, lost both her legs to a landmine 10 years earlier when she happened to veer off the path. She is a strong young woman who battles the hardships of living a life of poverty and of overcoming her disability to make the best of her lot in life. The drama unfolds throughout the story as Armando, who is the father of her 3 children, has to work in the city which is far from their small village. Armando's pattern of returning home on the weekends to be with his family and bring home his pay is suddenly altered and leaves Sofia feeling of suspicious. When she discovers the reason for his change in behavior and confronts him, it sets off a series of episodes that have tragic consequences. The twists and turns of the action will keep you wondering and looking for solutions to the dilemmas that are presented for Sofia, Armando and their family.