Monday, October 15, 2012

Stellar poetry

Out of This World : Poems and Facts About Space by Amy E. Sklansky (811 SkO 2012 PIC BK) is a good book to connect science and language arts for early elementary grades.

The combination of poems written in various styles, interesting facts and darkly coloured illustrations provides an appealing opportunity to learn more about astral bodies and phenomena.

One of my favourite poems for its imagery is After Blastoff.

The Earth
their window

and then
drops away,
like a


How far from home
they’ve traveled today.

Facts that struck me as particularly interesting include:

*Each space suit costs more than 10 million dollars.
*Footprints left from any of the twelve astronauts to have walked on the moon remain unchanged for billions of years.
*Uranus spins on its side.

Who knew?

Check out today's Nonfiction Monday event at Capstone Connect .  Looks like an interesting round up of nonfiction children's literature.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

International Day of the Girl Child

In 2011, the United Nations issued a proclamation that October 11th would be declared the International Day of the Girl Child.  It's prime directives are raising awareness about issues that imperil  girls around the world and promoting equal access to opportunities and fair treatment.  A strong supporter for the initiative is the Canadian government through the office of Status of Women.  Visit their website for more information.

Children's books that focus on some of the issues that face girls in third world countries are plentiful.  A few I would recommend include:

Wanting Mor by Rakhsana Khan (823 K527W FIC)
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (823 P218L FIC)
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (823 W571H6 FIC)

Sold by Patricia McCormick (823 M137S FIC)
An Equal Chance for Girls and Women by Judith Anderson (323.352 AnE 2010)

Girls from first world nations also face inequities and discrimination.  I would recommend the following books: 

Tyranny by Lesley Fairfield (823 F161T FIC)
There's a Girl in My Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli (823 Sp46T FIC)
Sticks and stones by Beth Goobie (823 G59S FIC)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (823 An243S FIC)

I would love to hear of other recommendations.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Strong sequel

I often don’t follow up with sequels, mostly due to lack of time.  But I’m really happy that I picked up White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages (823 K661W FIC) the sequel to The Green Glass Sea (823 K661G FIC).

We pick up with Dewey Kerrigan and the Gordon family after they’ve move from Los Alamos to Alamogordo, New Mexico after the end of World War II.  Dewey is feeling very comfortable with the family who has taken her in after her father was accidentally killed by a car.  Dewey and Suze have grown closer and it’s a delight to read about their relationship, especially as they work together building a very inventive, mechanical wall, with each girl doing her own thing.  Dewey is the inventor who loves all things mechanical and Suze is a budding artist who looks to understand her world through her art work.

There are many secondary storylines that engage and preoccupy our two main characters: Suze’s growing friendship with a Hispanic girl and awareness of racial inequality, Suze’s jealousy over Dewey’s closeness with her mother, Dewey’s concern over her own birth mother’s reappearance in her life after abandoning her when she was two, Mrs Gordon’s concern and activism to raise awareness about the horrors of the nuclear bomb, Mr. Gordon’s increasing excitement as he works further with nuclear technology building rockets to protect the United States from Communist USSR, a growing distance between Mr. and Mrs. Gordon based on their positions about nuclear technology, and an ethical dilemma involving Nazis now living in the US and helping the Americans build rockets.

Whew! This sounds like a lot but it all works seamlessly, just the stuff of everyday living for two pre-teen girls with the usual parental background noise layered with a bit of current events of the time.

I love the science and art connections of this book.  The family relationships seem real and caring.  The resolutions to some of the storylines also ring true with no pat answers and concessions being made.  The writing is strong and draws us into this time period with ease.

I highly recommend this novel for the middle grades.

I also recommend Countdown by Deborah Wiles (823 W648C FIC) that deals more directly with the cold war of the 1960s.

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