Posts from the ‘coming of age’ Category

WHAT TO DO?

Hermione Granger’s Unofficial Life Lessons and Words of Wisdom: What would Hermione (from the Harry Potter series) Say?

Written by Euphemia Pinkerton Noble

This is an interesting read for fans of the Harry Potter series of all ages. The author presents questions written in a journal format. Noble chooses situations that pop up in our everyday lives and then poses the question of how Hermione would answer.

Hermione Granger is the smartest witch at Hogwarts. She is a hard worker, who places a high value on loyalty, friendship and love. Hermione often chooses the more difficult path because she knows it is the right, if not easy, thing to do. At first, the boys ignore or resist her, but eventually come to know she is the one who holds things together.

Noble urges her readers to first read through the book quickly and make a few notes about the questions they find most relevant to themselves. I particularly enjoyed the section on facing challenges and chasing dreams in which so many middle-grade and teen readers will find much to think about. The last section on believing in yourself probably sums up Hermione’s philosophy on life best.

This book could become an asset for preteens and teens who are struggling to develop their own views. Parents, grandparents, and teachers might find this book a good way to open family discussions.

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LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD

P.I.N.K. BACKPACK GENDER EQUALITY SERIES BOOK 1

Written by Trish Allison

 

P.I.N.K. stands for persistence, intelligence, necessary and kind. The author writes this book as a guide for parents to help daughters become aware of and respond to gender equality bias. She provides suggestions as to how to approach the topic. Parents will need to modify these suggestions depending on the age and individual personality of their child.

Topics discussed include how to navigate online, how to discover appropriate STEM models, how to minimize stress and become successful in science projects, how to create a STEM friendly environment for your daughter at home, how to develop and sustain interest in STEM during the tween and teen years, how to make your daughter comfortable in social settings that empower girls, and how to create a gender bias-free environment in your own household.

This book could become a valuable resource for parents who want to encourage positive self-image and self-confidence in their daughters to succeed in any type of role or career situation.

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SEEDS AND TREES

STRONG WORDS

SEEDS AND TREES: A Children’s Book About the Power of Words

WRITTEN BY BRANDON WALDON

ILLUSTRATED BY KRISTEN AND KEVIN HOWDESHELL

 

This book features a young prince as the protagonist. He lives in a castle by the sea. Every day he goes out to collect seeds. The prince soon realizes that some of these seeds become dark seeds, while others remain green. As the trees he plants grow, the dark seeds develop thistles and thorns. The green seeds blossom into beautiful shade trees. The reader comes to understand that the green seeds represent good words that are beautiful and true, while the dark seeds represent harmful, cruel words. As the prince becomes older, he notices that the dark trees are overshadowing the others. One day he meets a young girl who always speaks true and kind words. She carries with her the tools to remove the dark trees. She helps him take care of and nourish the green trees while removing the dark trees.

This tale is a beautiful way to teach children the importance of the type of words they use. Harsh words lead to hurt, bullying, and the destruction of good relationships. I would highly recommend this book to parents and teachers of children in elementary and middle school. It provides lots of material for a variety of discussions on behavior and developing good, strong relationships with peers and adults. The illustrations complement the text beautifully.

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A NEW BEGINNING

In Memory of Dad

Written by Maranda Russell

Kaley Jergins is a spirited fourth-grader who loves playing basketball. While she enjoys practicing with her teammates, Kaley especially enjoys playing with her father, Kyle. Kyle played basketball in college and received a championship ring after participating in The Final Four matches several times.

One-night Kaley’s placid world is turned upside down when her father suffers a heart attack. After his death, she and her mother withdraw. Kaley gives up basketball because the memories of her father pain her too much. One day her former teammate, Drea begs her to attend a game, which Kaley reluctantly agrees to do after much cajoling. A surprise event propels Kaley from her lethargy and convinces her to move on with her life.

This short story is a good way to discuss the topic of death and dying in families who have experienced or who are about to experience a loss. Teachers might also use the book as a read-aloud for class discussion. The author writes an afterword in which she offers suggestions to young readers for coping with the loss of a family member. Recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers.

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LOVE GROWS

Una Bo: The Magic Tree of Love

Written by Dr. Rebecca Verghese Paul

Illustrated by Ada Konewki

Podero is just a six-year-old boy when he meets Filgard, a wizard, who is passing through the town of Darae. Little Podero has been thinking about the way things were before the war. Podero wishes that he could have something sweet and that his parents would allow him to have a puppy. Filgard asks what he would do with the sweets and Podero says he would share them with his brothers. The wizard rewards Podero by causing a huge tree to grow in the center of town. This tree has the power to grant wishes, but only to those who are pure of heart and do not ask for more than they need.

Pretty soon the villagers gather round and try to rob the tree of its gifts, but they soon learn they will get nothing if they are greedy. Eventually, all learn to partake of the tree with good intentions and moderation. Podero and his best friend, Miyana develop a friendship and trusting relationship with the tree. They name it Una Bo, the tree of love. The tree helps the two friends to achieve their dreams of becoming a baker and a carpenter. Their life if happy until war threatens the town once more. Will the tree be able to save the villagers of Darae?

This chapter book tells a heartwarming story filled with lessons about bullying, generosity, greed, and coming of age. The characters are interesting and relatable. A few color illustrations enhance the tale. That adds to the appeal for beginning and reluctant readers. Highly recommended for middle-grade readers.

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SERVICE ORIENTED

Louis Joseph’s OOO-RAH

Written by Jennie E. Nicossio

Illustrated by Dorothy Ransil

Louis-Joseph is an adorable bear cub who has an insatiable curiosity and a desire to serve in the marines just like his dad. He has a best friend named Dusty who is a cat with a warble eye. Louis is kind and generous, he never bullies or makes fun of his friend. When Louis overhears one of his mother’s navy friends suggest that Louis practice for being a marine by digging a foxhole in the yard and living in it for a week., Louis and Dusty decide to take it one step farther and build a foxhole in the forest. Their parents are in a frenzy. All the military forces are called out to search for them. Dusty and Louis learn a valuable lesson to place their schooling first and always tell their parents where they are going to be.

This is a cute and easy to read beginning chapter book that is especially appropriate for ages six through eight, but younger children will also enjoy the story that contains a few beautiful illustrations accompanying the text.

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A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS

The Frights of Fiji: (Alyssa McCarthy’s Magical Missions Series Book 1

Written by Sunayna Prasad

This is the first in a series of fantasy adventures for middle-grade readers. Alyssa is the twelve-year-old protagonist who lost her parents in an accident five years prior. Although her parents had named her Uncle Alex as her guardian, she is now living with her Uncle Bruce and his daughter, Hailey.

Bruce is a stern taskmaster; Alyssa lives a life of unending rules and drudgery. When magic becomes a part of her life, along with some strange-looking wizards and creatures, she believes there is the hope of escape from her plight. But then she learns that an evil wizard intends to capture her and remove Bruce from the picture.

Alyssa has been whisked away to Fiji where her situation goes from bad to worse. She is enslaved with several other children and forced to do the evil wizard’s bidding. Will Alyssa find a way to escape back to the United States and find refuge with her godfather?

There are many fantastical characters and a series of rather far-fetched incidents. Even though this book is a magical fantasy, some of the plot connections don’t come off as genuine.

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