A fish only discovers itsneed for water when it is no longer in it. Our ownculture is like water for the fish. It sustains us. We live and breathe through it.”by Stephanie Quappe and Giovanna Cantatore
The fearless little old lady decidedto take a walk in the night. Shediscovered that she was being followedby a big pair of shoes, pants, shirt, hatand gloves. When that was not strangeenough, a jack-o-lantern followed herhome. When the little old lady wokeup the next morning she found apleasant surprise, a scare crow in hergarden. This delightful book illustrates thatolder people can be adventurous, havea full life and have a sense of humor.Reference:Williams, L. 1988). The Little Old LadyWho Was Not Afraid of Anything. NewYork: HarperCollins
An older woman who lives alone movesfrom the city to the country in Australia inhopes of a quiet and peaceful life and timeto read. She soon realizes that she has alot of work to do on the farm includinggardening, harvesting, canning and caringfor animals. The only time she has to readis during the winter months. It is a bit oddthat the wild animals hang around insideher house. This story is a happy tale of a busyolder woman leading a full life. It portraysa self-sustaining older woman in an upbeatmanner.Reference:Winch, J. (1998). The Old Woman WhoLoved to Read. New York: Holiday House
Let’s Talk About What It’s Like to be Olddescribes old age being relevant to everyindividual. Some people may view 44 years old as“old” but 44 years old could be considered youngto some. Also, the book discusses retirement, thewisdom of older people may have and the factthat they may need help with personal needs suchas shopping as they age. This book is a nice introduction to what its liketo be old; both physically and mentally anddescribes the joys and challenges of old age. Also,it provides a glossary of ageism, adult residence,arthritis and a senior citizen.Reference:Sanders, P. (1991). “Let’s Talk About” What it’sLike to be Old. New York: Gloucester Press.
These two stories, combined into one book,show the difficulties a child faces whencoming to a new land and the unique heritageeach one of us has. In Painted Words, Maribegins school not knowing anyone and isunable to speak or understand the language.She expresses herself and her feelings throughher art. She shares her experiences and newknowledge with her mother, who provides thegirl with warm reassurance. Finally the daycomes when Mari is able to stand before theclass with her paintings and tells her story withher new language. Flip the book over for Spoken Memories. Itis Maris turn to tell her class what her life waslike in her native land. The setting is a small,poor village, probably in Greece, but it couldbe anywhere. In simple, understated language,this book captures the emotions andexperiences of children.Reference:Brandenburg, A. (1998). Spoken Memories,Painted Words. New York: Greenwillow Books.
My First Book of German Words is anintroduction to basic words in German.How do you say “Mother” and “Father”? Itnot only provides the correct Germanspelling but it also gives the phoneticallycorrect pronunciation and pictures. The book provides a foundation forbuilding language fluency, an understandingof other languages and cultural awareness.Reference:Kudela, K.R. (2010). My First Book ofGerman Words. Mankato, Minnesota:Capstone Press.
Rwanda is best known for one of the worlds worstethnic-based conflicts. Roughly 1 million people werekilled in 100 days in 1994 and millions more left thecountry while the world watched the daily bloodshedof human massacre. Rwanda is a small and beautifulcountry about the size of Maryland; however, it hasmany names. Because of its mountainous landscape, ithas been called the "Land of a Thousand Hills." EarlyEuropean travelers admiring Rwandas natural beautycalled the country the "Pearl of Africa." Residents ofRwanda have an even deeper name "Rwanda Nziza,"meaning "beautiful Rwanda." These many names capture the natural beauty ofRwanda. Rwanda explores the history, culture,geography, economy, and government of this Africannation.Reference:Oppong, J. R. (2008). Rwanda. New York: ChelseaHouse.
In Chad, Africa, it was the first day of schooland the children were excited to learn and havea notebook and a pencil to write with. Whenthe children arrived at the school yard, theschool was nowhere to be seen. The teacherapproached the students and said that “we willbuild our school,” then follows that with “Thisis the first lesson”. (Rumford, page 8) Thestudents learned how the build mud bricks, mudwalls and mud desks. They gathered grass toplace on the roof. The instructor teaches thestudents how to read and write during schoolhours. During the summer, strong winds andrain tear the school down. The following year,the students have the knowledge of how tobuild a school. This experience happened to a Peace Corpsvolunteer who taught the students to build astructure from mud. This book will provide amoment of appreciation for the school that isdown the street and to the men and woman whomake education so easily available in ourcountry.Reference:Rumford, J. (2010). Rain School. Boston:Houghton Mifflin Books For Children
Miri, a mountain girl named after a mountain flower aspires toearn a paltry living by working in the quarry like her older sisterand father. Although she thinks she too small to perform thelaborious work involved she is able to contribute to the family. The king’s priests decided that the next princess will be fromMount Eskel. All young women in the village are ordered toattend the Princess Academy to be groomed for lowlander life.During school, Miri realizes there is harsh competition with theother girls and her own conflicted wishes to be the princess.When danger comes to the academy, it is Miri who must find away to save her classmates to secure her own fate at becomingthe next princess. Miri discovers that she is has a hidden talentcalled quarry speak, which is a silent way to communicate. Sheuses this ability in many ways, most importantly to save herselfand the other girls from harm.Because the girls have never been officially schooled most ofthem cannot read or write. However, as the story progresses, Miriand her class mates begin to recognize that there are manydifferent levels of intelligence, including social emotionalintelligence. Social emotional intelligence is how individualsrelate to one another.Reference:Hale, S. (2005). Princess Academy. New York: BloomsburyPublishing.
Start the adventure of meeting the students aroundthe world! Solomon in Australia, Riku in Japan, Rupa inIndia, Aseye in Ghana, Francis in England, Frida in Peruand lastly Samantha in the United States. Each studentwalks through their typical day of school including whattime school begins, reviewing classroom lessons, recessand after school activities. Riku in Japan explains thatwhen he enters the classroom, it is customary for all thestudents to take their shoes off and place them in theircubby. Also the students learn how to wipe down the gymfloor after gym class. In addition to students learning Math, English, Arts andScience students learn about the environment and havingan exposure to how others live and the different studiesin schools around the world. It is a look at an averageschool day in the lives of children from seven countriesaround the world, showing how they are all different andyet all the same.Reference:Chambers, C (2007). School Days Around the CultureWorld. New York: DK Publishing
Sarah Jean became very sick and her familyneeded money for her surgery. Unfortunately herfamily did not have the money. Her uncle Jed wasthe only black barber in the county. He would travelall over to cut hair. Because he was African Americanresiding in the south in the 1920’s, earning a livingwas much more difficult because of racism. UncleJed loaned Sarah Jean’s father the money to pay forher surgery. This delayed his dream of opening hisBarber Shop. Despite a few setbacks, Uncle Jed stillpursued his dream even if it did take him longer thanexpected. Uncle Jed’s Barbershop talks about segregationand poverty. This book can be used on various unitson The Great Depression and on racism andsegregation. Segregation began to be eliminated inthe United States in the 1950s.Reference:King-Mitchell, M. (1993) Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. YewYorK: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Two fifteen-year-old Union soldiers form abond of friendship on the battlefield. SheldonCurtis, a white soldier also known as Say, liesbadly wounded when Pinkus, an AfricanAmerican soldier also known as Pink, rescueshim. Pink carries Say to his home where Say iscared for by Pinks mother, Moe Moe Bay. WhileSay is recovering, Pink reads aloud to him andMoe Moe Bay from the Bible. Say confesses thathe cant read but he is proud that he oncetouched the hand of Abraham Lincoln. In a verysad section of the book, marauders kill MoeMoe Bay and Pink and Say return to their units.Shortly after, the Confederate Army capturesthem and they hang Pink. Before he is hung,Pink request to touch the hand that touched Mr.Lincoln. Touching the hand of Lincoln isrepresentative for hope for a better future anda country without slavery.Pink and Say addresses racism and evenclassism to an extent. Classism is alsomentioned because Pink is a slave and hiswealthy owner educated him and provided himwith some opportunities that Say, a white boy,had never received.Reference:Polacco, P (1994). Pink and Say. New York: .Philomel Books
Let’s Talk About Race introduces race as just one ofmany chapters in a persons story. Beginning with theline, "I am a story," Lester tells his own story with detailsthat young readers will benefit from. Then he writes,"Oh. Theres something else that is part of my story…Imblack." Throughout the storyline, he asks questions thatyoung readers can answer. Also, he prompts youngreaders to talk about who they are and encourages themto tell their own stories. Lester discusses "stories" that are not always true,pointing out that we form discrimination by perceivingourselves as better than other people. Remove our skinand we would all look the same. Lesters charming andwarm nature is just right and his words are effective whilemaintaining the readers interest by discussing raceawareness, tolerance and racism.Reference:Lester, J. (2005). Let’s Talk About Race. China.HarperCollins Publishers
An infant was left at the Buddhist templeand was adopted by the Buddha’s. He tendedtheir garden which is considered sacred to theBuddhist. While the monks travel the worldseeking clarification, the young boy takes careof the temple garden. He befriends a blindmonk who sits by the garden gate, too old totravel. One day the old monk tells the boy,"Buddha is in the garden!" and the boy,captivated with hope, walks in the gardenhoping to find Buddha. Buddha, however, isnowhere to be seen; instead, the boy finds aninjured bird. This happens three times, andeach time the boy finds a different creature tocare for. In the moving conclusion, the boydiscovers the true nature of enlightenment, tothe surprise of the monks returning fromabroad. The book is an introduction to the Buddhistculture and religion as well as to such conceptsas enlightenment and reincarnation.Reference:Bouchard, D., (2001). Buddha in the Garden.Vancouver: Raincoast Books.
Hakeem exclaims, “Assalamu Alikiem!” meaning,“May peace be with you”! Hakeem is Muslim and hisreligion is Islam. On the ninth month of the Muslimlunar year he and his family go to the highest mountainto look for the thin crescent of a new moon. If theycannot find it, they will return the next night. Oncethey finally see the crescent they say, “RamadanMubarch everyone”! This interprets to “have a blessedand happy Ramadan”. This is how the Muslims blessand congratulate each other on the eve of the mostspecial month of the calendar year. Hakeem and his family have a big feast during theevening and will fast until the sun is fully set. Hakeemexplains that Ramadan is the most difficult time forMuslims because of the fasting, he also illustrates thatit is also the best time for Muslims because they spenda lot of time praying and celebrating with his familyand friends.Reference:Ghazi, S.H. (1996). Ramadan. New York: Holiday House
The Story of Religion is an introduction to worldreligions. After introducing each of the more popularreligions, there is additional information about otherreligions that are not as popular. There is informationabout atheism, diversity, and the "Golden Rule". Thevery last pages of the book contain a glossary whichincludes information about religions that werentincluded in the book. This book has the viewpoint that all religions areequally legitimate, and tries to show thoughts andtraditions that are found in most faiths, thus providingchildren with a diversity of beliefs in the world andencouraging acceptance.ReferenceMaestro, B, Maestro, G. (1996). The Story of Religion.New York: Clarion Books
In the New York City Zoo there were twomale penguins that bonded with each other.This is a bit out of the ordinary for penguinsbecause they usually bond with the femalepenguins. Roy and Silo were a little bitdifferent. They did everything together.While the other mates were nesting, Royand Silo began to build a nest of their own.Roy found a rock similar to the shape of anegg and Silo and Roy took turns sitting onthe rock but the rock did not hatch. Thezoo keeper had an idea, he found an eggthat needed to be cared for and he broughtit to Roy and Silo’s nest. After much care,out came Tango!Tango makes three is appropriate teachingresource to help promote equality for samesex couples and teaching tolerance.ReferenceRichardson, J. Parnell, P. (2005). And TangoMakes Three. New York: Simon & SchusterBooks for Young Readers.
A fictionalized story mixed with facts about the youngHarriet Tubman. As a young slave nicknamed "Minty,"Harriet was a feisty and stubborn girl with a dream toescape. Her mother tried to teach her to be moredisciplined and listen to her master. She disobeys theoverseer by freeing some muskrats from their traps and iswhipped for her stubbornness. After this event, Mintysfather takes her dreams of escape seriously and educatesher to survive in the wild. Minty vows that someday shewill run away. The book chronicles her life from theMaryland plantation from which she escaped, andprovides details of what life was like as a slave on aplantation. Harriet Tubman was a hero of her time andthis book does an excellent job of telling her story.Schroeders mixture of fact and fiction make this book ajoy to read.Harriet Tubman introduces the injustice of slavery toyoung audiences. An authors note tells of the realizationof her dream and her work with the UndergroundRailroad. This book is a nice illustration to remindchildren that its important to dream, hope, and havefaith.Reference:Schroeder, A. Pinkney, J. (1996). Minty – A Story of YoungHarriet Tubman. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Marie Curie was born in Poland in 1867 and as a littlegirl she dreamed of being a scientist. Her husbandwas also a scientist. She was the first scientist todiscover two new elements. She named onepolonium and the other radium. Marie and herhusband Pierre, uncovered the reason why X-raysworked as well as the secrets of the atom. Even as achild Marie was clearly the brightest child in thefamily, unfortunately in Poland at that time womencould not attend any university. Her only hope was togo to Paris, but money was an issue. Marie and hersister Bronya worked out an arrangement to helpeach other. Marie would work to help her sister go tomedical school and then Bronya would work to helpMarie achieve her dream of obtaining a collegedegree. She became the first woman to obtain aphysics degree at the Sorbonne and she was first inher class.Marie had to overcome barriers that were placed inher way because she was a woman. Unfortunatelywomen did not have the same rights as men duringthe 1800’s. Initially women of that era were notallowed to attend college. She secretly attendedcollege for women until she moved to Paris, France.Reference:Venizia, M. (2009) Marie Curie, Scientist Who MadeGlowing Discoveries. China: Scholastic, Children’sPress
Four Feet, Two Sandals is based on co-authorKhadra Mohammeds experiences with refugeesin Peshawar, a city on the Afghanistan-Pakistanborder. It is about ten-year-old Lina and heryoung friend who each discover one of awonderful pair of sandals. Together they mustsolve the problem of how to share one pair ofsandals between four feet! As they wait andhope for their names to appear on a list for anew home, the sandals become a symbol oftheir fast friendship; a bond that will endureeven when one of them finally has theopportunity to escape the poor conditions andmove to America. “As-salaam alaykum.” Linasaid to her friend. “Peace be with you.”This book portrays the harsh and barren worldof the refugees, where positive humanrelationships are a treasure in the midst of thedaily difficult world of survival. Also, itintroduces readers to the realities ofchildren growing up in refugee camps.Reference:Williams, K.L., Mohammad, K. (2007) Four Feet,Two Sandals. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans Booksfor Young Readers
Lords, Ladies, Peasants, and Knights reviewthe social hierarchy that represented theEuropean medieval world. At the uppermost,kings and popes battled it out for top position.At the bottom, serfs toiled hopelessly, and nowomen had rights. They were to be seen andnot heard. Knights and the clergy made upmuch of the rest of society. In the last chapterthere is a section of Leonardo Da Vinci’s resumeto the king applying for a job making weapons!Clerical divisions are fully clarified here. Asexplained, at the end of the Middle Ages,merchants and scholars began to rise inimportance. In studying the great historical eras, studentswill develop a better understanding of our owntimes. They also learn about people from manyyears ago reading records, such as diaries leftbehind. In medieval times, only the wealthiestpeople such as the lords, knights, and ladieswere able to read and write.Reference:Nardo, D. (2007). Lords, Ladies, Peasants, andKnights: Class in the Middle Ages. FarmingtonHills, MI: Lucent Books.
Old Yeller is a story of a family who finds astray dog. The dog is not welcomed by all inthe home. While the father is away on a cattledrive, the eldest son, Travis does not want thedog but his younger brother and mother win.Eventually Travis begins to see the benefits ofOld Yeller and begins to love him. This book depicts the time period of Texasin the late 1800s and the challenges of dailylife including the mix of chores, adventures andthe need for farming.Reference:Gipson, F., (1974 R). Old Yeller. Santa Ana, CA:Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.