Posts from the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

UNLOCKING THE PUZZLE

Dyspraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Dyspraxia and How to Help a Dyspraxic Child

Written by Cassandra Simmons

This book does not portend to be an authoritative guide to dyspraxia, but rather a guide to understanding the nature of dyspraxia and helping parents cope with the disorder.

What is it? Dyspraxia is a motor planning disorder labeled DCD or developmental coordination disability. It is a neurological disorder that results in an inability to plan and coordinate physical movements. Each individual presents with unique manifestations which may include slurred speech, poor social skills, and balance or posture difficulties. The disorder affects approximately six to ten percent of children, though it is more prevalent in boys. No definitive cause has been identified, but genetics, premature birth, and alcoholic mothers have possible linkages. Children diagnosed with this disorder usually require physical and occupational therapy as well as speech therapy.

I believe the most valuable parts of the book are the author’s list of symptoms for parents to look for in each age group of children. This developmental guide begins right after birth and goes up through the teen years. Parents of dyspraxic children are given the advice to follow such as making themselves knowledgeable, allowing their child to socialize and play sports, having an open ear to listen to frustrations, and teaching practical life skills. Simmons does not forget the health of the parents, reminding them to take care of themselves by getting all the help available and joining support networks.

I recommend this book to parents, teachers, and caretakers as a resource to understand why children who appear to be clumsy or speech impaired are frustrated. We need to ensure that they receive the proper treatment to lead productive lives.

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LAUGH LINES

Title: 130+ Rabbit Jokes: Animal Jokes and Riddles for Kids

Author: Kids Corner Publishing

One of a series of animal jokes for children on virtually any animal you can think of. The format is simple. Readers find one joke on each page, presented in a question/answer format. There are no illustrations. Most of each page is blank. Some of the jokes have fairly obvious answers. For example, What is a rabbit’s favorite dance? Answer: the bunny hop. Others are more sophisticated. What do you call a rabbit walking backward? Answer: a receding hare line.

This book and the rest of the collection will appeal to children who can’t get enough of jokes. The books are a good choice for children as entertainment at parties. They are a simple read so I would recommend them for beginning readers or reluctant readers who are intimidated by too much text on a page. Children who are animal lovers and enjoy sharing jokes will find this collection right up their alley.

 

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A STORY THAT MUST BE TOLD

Holocaust Survivor
Dan Myers, Author, and Editor
Virginia Weinkratz, Narrator

This is not a book for the feint-hearted. The author relates her personal experience as a young 22-year-old Jewish girl growing up in Poland. She communicates the heartache of suddenly being torn from family and community to live a life of fear and uncertainty. Trapped between the German and Soviet forces, the family fees struggling to remain together. Once captured, the men and women are quickly separated. Regina and her mother are torn from her father and male siblings. They are moved from the ghetto to Auschwitz where Regina loses her mother and befriends Elka. Regina describes in graphic detail the physical, mental and emotional atrocities of prison life. Then she is marched to Majdanek, where she remains close to death until “liberated.” Two-thirds of the Jewish population as well as many whom the Nazis viewed as undesirables would be wiped out during World War II.

This book is recommended for young adult and adult audiences who are prepared to read about one of the darkest events in history.

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OUT OF REACH

Sean Wants to Be a Messi

Written by Tanya Preminger

Illustrated by Elettra Cudignotti

Sean is a second grader who is obsessed with soccer, especially one player named Leo Messi. He seems uninterested in finishing his homework or paying attention in school. He is excited to join soccer club to perfect his skill, but upon arrival, he refuses to play. His mother is upset with him. Both parents encourage Sean to overcome his fears of inadequacy and start developing his game skills. One day, a sixth grader bullies him and throws Sean’s soccer ball over the fence. One day a player is injured and an opportunity arises for Sean to assist. I am not sure I approve of Sean’s mother’s response, but Sean learns a valuable lesson about himself and the game.

Recommended as a beginning chapter book for new or reluctant readers. The book has a few colorful illustrations to keep the story flowing. Soccer fans will particularly enjoy reading it.

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ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

Being the New Girl in School

Written by Kathleen Voclain

This book is a wonderful resource for any young lady who, for any reason, is facing a move to a new school. No matter what age, she faces worries about how she will fit into the school’s culture, will she be liked, who will be her friend, and the feeling of loss in leaving old relationships behind. The author explains the importance of developing a positive self-image and strong social skills. In the first chapter, readers are encouraged to build confidence by preparing ahead of time. Students should explore the new school’s mission statement and handbook, study the curriculum and practice portraying positive body image. They can get a good head start by making a good impression on teachers. Suggestions include sitting near the front, volunteering to answer questions and offering help and compliments. Newcomers need to observe students and how they interact with each other before deciding on new friends. By dressing neatly, smiling, and introducing oneself with confidence, new students encourage positive outcomes. Those students who are naturally shy or independent should take their time to find a few friends who have interests similar to their own. Finally, when things do go wrong, the new student must remain positive and proud, appreciate and respect the differences of other peers. Above all, never give in to the temptation to compare the new school to your old one or slack off on your studies. Accentuate the positive and use the opportunity to develop your personality and grow from new experiences.

The book could be used as advice for children or adults who are entering any new stage of life. It is an easy read filled with good reminders to promote courage in facing new situations and learning opportunities. Recommended for ages eight and older.

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PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

Dottie’s Daring Day

Written by Meg Welch Dendler

Dottie is an adorable dog who lives with Mindy, a University of Arkansas student, and her cat Mindy. About a year before, Mindy had seen Dottie’s picture online and had driven all the way to Oklahoma to adopt her. One Saturday, Mindy decides to take Dottie for a walk on the Razorback Greenway Trail. That decision would begin an adventure Dottie would never forget.

When a bike rider inadvertently loosens Dottie’s leash, she decides spontaneously to run away. Dottie rationalizes that she will be home before dark. Dottie meets a raccoon, a hog, and a seeing eye dog, to name a few travelers along the way. She is frightened and scared, but like a rebellious teenager, her curiosity and love of freedom spur her on. Then Dottie finds herself at a football game. Will she ever be reunited with Mindy?

This animal adventure tale is told in first person. The dialogue is amusing and feels genuine. While the story is marketed for ages three and older, the book is really appropriate for a middle grade and young adult audience. Dendler includes a glossary to assist younger readers with some of the more difficult vocabulary. A few photos enhance the appeal.

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TAKING ONE GIANT STEP FORWARD

MAYBE ONE STEP BACKWARD…. MY APOLOGIES!

My computer crashed and I have been down 2 1/1 days. So this post and everything else is late!

Bounce: Help Your Child Build Resilience and Thrive in School, Sports, and Life

Written by Dr. Kate Lund

The primary focus in this book is to teach parents, teachers, and community leaders how to foster resilience in the early stages in life so that children can develop their full potential. Children need to learn how to bounce back from misfortune and adversity in order to continue to move forward and ultimately achieve maximum potential. Young people must develop a tool box of coping skills to manage their frustrations and emotions. Lund presents seven pillars including navigating friendships and social pressures, sustaining focus and attention skills, developing courage, the motivation to succeed, and a spirit of confidence that will lead to optimism and continued forward momentum.

The author bases her book on her own personal experiences in overcoming challenges and studies of elementary school children as a psychologist for the past fifteen years. Lund includes a short autobiography and a list of resources for further study at the conclusion of her book. I would recommend this book to parents and teachers as well as anyone interested in developing the full potential of society’s future leaders.

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