Posts from the ‘multicultural’ Category

FREEDOM AT A PRICE

One Step at a Time

Written by Sara Y. Aharon

Illustrated by Bryn Pennetti

 

Emma loves butterflies. She is elated to find out the new class pet is a beautiful rainbow butterfly.  Even though her teacher has warned the class not to open the lid of the tank, Emma cannot resist. The butterfly finds its way to the top and escapes to freedom.

Emma feels sad and anxious. She confides in her dad, who tells her she must be brave and tell her classmates what happened. His advice is to put one foot in front of another. Emma does just that, stomping, jumping, and twirling her way to school. When she arrives, she explains what happened. How will her teacher and classmates react?

This book teaches elementary school children to be brave and honest. Emma shows empathy toward the feelings of her classmates. She provides a good example for children who are afraid to admit their mistakes. The illustrations are bright and multicultural. Recommended for children ages four through eight.

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A Math Problem

Math on the Table (The Gracie Series)

Written and illustrated by Grace La Joy Henderson

Gracie loves to do math problems. When she finds a blank math worksheet on the table in the living room, she becomes excited. Gracie inquires of her parents where it came from. Both joke that they don’t know the answer. Gracie decides that it must have been placed there for her. She hurries to solve all the problems on the paper and feels elated when she accomplishes the task.

When Gracie’s younger brother discovers the completed worksheet, he becomes distraught. It turns out this was his homework. Gracie feels ashamed. She apologizes to her brother and learns a valuable lesson. This book is part of a series in which Gracie learns life lessons through personal experiences. The series is recommended for ages three through eleven but probably most appropriate for ages seven and older.

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#LittleMissHISTORY #virtualreality #SANSAR #INTERVIEW with Bernhard Drax

I recently had the opportunity to present Little Miss HISTORY  in animation. Thanks to Silas Merlin, who created the avatar, the character has come to life.

  • Little Miss HISTORY insists, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” On the day of our birth, we become a character in history because each of us has an opportunity to create our story and place our mark on history.

 

  • As we stand here in the twenty-first century, technology allows us to immerse ourselves in history. In 2003, Linden Lab launched a program called Second Life. Its users, who are called residents, use this technology to create virtual representations of themselves. These avatars can explore the virtual world, socialize and participate with other residents in a group or individual activities. Second Life has its own virtual currency that allows residents to create, shop, and trade virtual property with one another.

 

  • In 2014, Linden Lab announced a plan to develop a new virtual world. Content creators began working on the program named Project Sansar. The platform was released in “creator beta” to the public in July 2017. Users create 3D spaces where people can create and share social experiences such as watching videos, playing games, and having conversations. Participants are represented by avatars they create. These avatars contain speech-driven facial animations and motion driven body animations.

 

  • Sansar supports virtual reality headsets but can also be accessed with Windows computers. The program is free to use, but like Second Life Sansar has its own economy. Users can buy and sell their virtual creations with the Sansar dollar.

 

  • HOW DID LITTLE MISS HISTORY GET INVOLVED IN VIRTUAL REALITY? A few months ago, I was approached by Bernhard Drax to appear on his Book Club Radio podcast. When I heard that Little Miss HISTORY would have an opportunity to appear in virtual reality, I jumped at the opportunity.

 

  • Via “draxtor”..and media for all! Drax and his team now offer audio-visual storytelling for many media platforms. Bernhard Drax studied audio engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles and music at the Hochschule fur Musik and Theater Munchen. He is an expert in user-created content in Virtual Reality. His award-winning mixed reality documentary series “The Drax Files: World Makers” is just one of his many video series featured on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/draxtordespres

 

I invite you to join us in a discussion about books, education, and history, past, present, and future!

 

Check out Little Miss HISTORY’s journey into virtual reality!

 

If you would like to read the entire interview on the podcast, please go here:

https://wp.me/p485L9-1N9

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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BOLD AND BRASH

How He Comes Out of the Sun

Written by Carlyle Clark

 

This is a tale focusing on The Nobodies, a team of African-American B-17 flyers who were not supposed to exist. The story opens in the middle of the action, a crew is battling the enemy when a split-decision needs to be made. The language is a bit raw, laced with dialect. Readers need to pay close attention to grasp the meaning.

While I enjoyed the short read and thought the characters well developed for the length of the tale, I would have preferred to see the author embellish the story a bit more. If you enjoy wartime stories, you will be engrossed with this one that has an ending with a twist.

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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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CASE SOLVED?

The MEAN GIRL Who NEVER SPEAKS: (The Maya Dove Case Files Book 1)

Written by Zuni Blue

Maya Dove is a six-year-old detective who has already established her reputation at school. One of Maya’s classmates asks her to determine if a new girl at school, Libby Smith is mean or nice. Instead of chapters, the book is presented as a day of the week chronicle as Maya attempts to solve the case. Readers are brought through the day’s happenings in the classroom. Maya gathers her clues, but when Friday arrives she reveals her opinions in a classroom speech.

I am not sure whether Maya really solves the case. She does not state whether Libby is mean or nice but presents her solution in a way that introduces an important social issue. Certainly, Maya’s opinions are quite sophisticated for a six-year-old.

This book is targeted for 5 to 11-year-old readers. The text and vocabulary are an easy read until readers come to the end and Maya’s conclusion. I am not sure whether younger readers will understand the concept of social anxiety. That part of the book is most appropriate for readers ages nine and older. Younger readers will probably need adult help in understanding this concept. I was left with the feeling that the book ended a bit abruptly and the characters might have been fleshed out with more detail.

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