Posts tagged ‘allegory’

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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MANHATTAN IN YOUR DREAMS

Magical Manhattan

Written by Gregory Hoffman

MagicalManhattan,pic

An intriguing urban fantasy tale that will appeal to young adult and adult audiences, but one that might be enjoyed by children as young as ten who will “grow into” the meaning of these fantasies as they mature.

Fourteen year old Sam has just received a bad report card. On Saturdays, he has a ritual of accompanying his mother to her job in an antique store on 80th street in Manhattan. Once there, he leaves to spend the day walking down to the twin towers in Lower Manhattan and back again. As they leave their apartment, Sam ponders how to break the bad news. He places the report card on the console after they cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Little does he know that he will experience an adventure that changes his life on his walk today.

Sam will meet a homeless man named Elijah who asks Sam for his shoes. Subsequently, they will encounter a bicycle messenger a human antenna, a talking train, spirits of artists in the Metropolitan Museum , a princess cloud and many others. The streets of Manhattan are transformed into a water paradise filled with lush vegetation. What does it all mean? Will anyone else believe Sam’s story? Does the experience have a impact on Sam’s future?

The adventure is magical on several levels. It is a wonderful walking tour of Manhattan; the author expertly captures the essence and spirit of New York City. The imagination and allegories presented by the author to the reader as food for thought have many layers of meaning. Clever and creative with no objectionable content. This book could be used for so many topics as a classroom discussion or starter for creative writing assignments.

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MANHATTAN IN YOUR DREAMS

Magical Manhattan

Written by Gregory Hoffman

MagicalManhattan,pic

An intriguing urban fantasy tale that will appeal to young adult and adult audiences, but one that might be enjoyed by children as young as ten who will “grow into” the meaning of these fantasies as they mature.

Fourteen year old Sam has just received a bad report card. On Saturdays, he has a ritual of accompanying his mother to her job in an antique store on 80th street in Manhattan. Once there, he leaves to spend the day walking down to the twin towers in Lower Manhattan and back again. As they leave their apartment, Sam ponders how to break the bad news. He places the report card on the console after they cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Little does he know that he will experience an adventure that changes his life on his walk today.

Sam will meet a homeless man named Elijah who asks Sam for his shoes. Subsequently, they will meet a bicycle messenger a human antenna, a talking train, spirits of artists in the Metropolitan Museum , a princess cloud and many others. The streets of Manhattan are transformed into a water paradise filled with lush vegetation. What does it all mean? Will anyone else believe Sam’s story? Does the experience have a impact on Sam’s future?

The adventure is magical on several levels. It is a wonderful walking tour of Manhattan; the author expertly captures the essence and spirit of New York City. The imagination and allegories presented by the author to the reader as food for thought have many layers of meaning. Clever and creative with no objectionable content. This book could be used for so many topics as a classroom discussion or starter for creative writing assignments.

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#kidsreadclassics TOUCHING THE STARS

The Little Prince

Written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Translated by Katherine Woods

The Little Prince,pic

I first read this book as a college student in the original French, Le Petit Prince. Widely translated into 250 languages, the book has traveled around the globe like its protagonist. You might ask why this is my favorite’s children’s book as I did not read it as a child. My answer is that I love the wonder in the prince’s eyes and the wisdom that comes from his mouth. I read the book in the original 1943 edition, which unfortunately is no longer widely available. Woods’ translation is smooth and the watercolors beautifully done. Some critics are not as happy with recent editions.

The plot is at once complicated and simple. A pilot who has crash landed in the Sahara desert meets a young prince who has fallen to Earth from an asteroid. The little prince muses about his wanderings throughout the galaxy and his philosophy on the universe. On a deeper level, the novella is an allegory pondering the human condition. Our little prince expresses his dismay about grown-ups. “Grown-ups never seem to understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” Out of the mouths of babes, one might say.

The author first flew an airplane at the age of twelve. Born at the turn of the century in 1900, Antoine actually did crash into the Sahara desert in 1935, while attempting to break an aviation speed record flying from Paris to Saigon. He fled to the United States during World War II, but went back to join the Free French Air Force. He disappeared while flying a mission over the Mediterranean on July 31, 1944. Antoine became a national French hero, highly respected as an aviator and writer.

I would recommend this book to children and their parents. It can be enjoyed on so many age levels, and the embedded layers of meaning enrich young and old minds regardless of age. Fantastic as a read aloud and group discussion. This is one book that cannot be read too many times.

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Antoine,pic

REALITY OR ILLUSION?

Young Plato and the Cave

Written and illustrated by F.A. Chekki

YoungPlatoandthecave,pic

 

This is a wonderful and innovative book for children in middle grades and older. It serves as an introduction to one of Plato’s works, The Allegory of the Cave, as well as a bird’s eye view of ancient Greece and its importance to the Western world today.

At the beginning of the book, the reader meets the philosopher Socrates and his student, Aristotle just finishing a lesson. Portraits of Socrates and Aristotle are given as well as thumbnails of the poem which has Plato visiting the oracle in the cave to discern its mystery. Side by side with the allegorical tale, the author presents what he calls, “Bites” of Greek knowledge. These include the government of Athens, Mount Olympus and its gods, the Library of Alexandria, Greek education, the Oracle of Delphi, notions of Arete, and Greek architecture, Greek theater, art, religion, and geography. These small bites pack an abundance of material on each page.

The black and white pencil drawings of the allegorical tale are combined with humor to contrast nicely with the colorful photos of sculpture, paintings, and Greek artifacts. Students are introduced to a plethora of subjects in an easily digestible format. Teachers have an unlimited field of possibilities when using this book as jump off point of discussion for history, literature, philosophy, government, art and science. Any child age nine and older should be able to find an area of interest for further exploration. As a historian, I was impressed by the succinct but pithy descriptions and the well balanced text. Highly recommended to parents, librarians, teachers and budding scholars who want to learn about ancient Greece in a nutshell! I am confident that most readers will be encouraged to explore to learn more.

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