Posts tagged ‘camping’

GETTING THROUGH FIFTH GRADE

Pi

Written by Lori Ann Stephens

Illustrated by Trevor Yokochi

Pierre Francois is a fifth-grade student who lives in Texas. As you may have guessed from the name, Pierre’s father is French. To his chagrin, Pierre spends his Christmas holiday in France with his grandparents. He tells his readers that he hates fifth grade because the boys are annoying and the girls are mean.

Readers follow Pierre’s troubles in school, his attempt to impress his friends by winning the spelling bee, his first crush on Cynthia, the new girl in school, and his disastrous camping adventure with school buddies. The book has a few simple illustrations. It is a pretty easy read, and I would categorize it as an early chapter book or a good choice for reluctant readers. Especially recommended for readers in grades three through six. Lots of humor and plenty of situations that they will find familiar.

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A MOVING EXPERIENCE

Benjamin Dragon: Awakening (Chronicles of Benjamin Dragon Book 1)

Written by C.G. Cooper

BenjaminDragon,pic

Ten year old Benjamin Dragon is a very bright child who has already skipped two years in school. He is the son of Tanya and Timothy Dragon, a powerful lawyer and businessman. Their frequent moves plus Benjamin’s small statue and last name provide fertile ground for bullies. On the first day of a new school Benjamin is bullied on the playground. Egging him on to fight, Nathan lies on the ground bloodied and injured. But Benjamin is puzzled because he never even touched the boy.

When his parents urge him to go to the hospital to apologize, Benjamin discovers that he and Nathan have a lot in common. They become good friends, but Nathan is just as puzzled about what happened. When Benjamin is at the scene of a close-call car crash, and the car swerves away to avoid hitting a young girl, Benjamin begins to suspect he had something to do with it. Weird things begin happening. Benjamin swears Nathan to secrecy.

A strange old man named Kennedy pays a visit to Benjamin and explains that there are certain special people in the world. Some have the gift of healing, some the gift of growing, and others the gift of destruction, which roughly translates to telekinesis. He informs Benjamin that he will be trained in his gifts.

Benjamin is scared, but he is elated that he will be attending Camp Walamalican with his friends Nathan and Aaron. There he meets another gifted one named Wally who is a healer. On the other hand, Benjamin will come face to face with a destructor who threatens to corrupt him and destroy people that he loves. Will Benjamin learn how to use his powers? How can he adjust to living a normal live, while coping with extraordinary power?

Recommended for a middle grade, young adult and adult audience. The characters and plot are well developed. Addresses lots of issues pre teens and teens face like bullying, fitting in with peers, being gifted, and getting along with parents. Look forward to more in the series.

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MONTE’S MEANDERINGS

Books in the Adventures of Monte Series: Book 1 Monte Travels the Rainforest

Written by D.J. Thomas

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Monte is a monster with a penchant for travel. He takes the reader on a journey through the African rain forest. Monte takes photographs as he departs his campsite and walks through the forest. Readers gain knowledge of twenty animals including size weight, habitat, breeding, food choices, communication and distinguishing features. Each animal’s description is accompanied by a photograph of the animal.

The book is advertised as an interactive book. This author offers readers and subscribers activities to accompany the books. The first kindle book in this series is just over fifty pages and targets readers ages three to nine. Young children might enjoy looking at the pictures, but they will have difficulty understanding the text containing sentences with as many as thirty words. The book needs some editing; there are too many adjectives and exclamation points.

Monte the Monster is pictured on the cover, but does not appear inside the book. He is narrating the story, and I think that children would like to visualize him doing so. This book contains information that could be useful for elementary school children, but the text is difficult for children under age ten to read independently. Parents, teachers or librarians might want to break down the information and simplify for easier understanding.

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MONSTERS AND MISHAPS

Bedtime Stories For Kids! Funny Monsters Go Camping

Written by Alice Cussler

FunnyMonsters,pic

The author’s aim is to teach children to respect animals and nature. In the second book of this series about Furry Monsters, Melton and his friends go on a camping trip. Cussler involves them in situations that teach children about planning ahead, fire safety, becoming too confident, overcoming unreasonable fears, eating the right kinds of foods, and working cooperatively.

The print edition of this book is sixty-two pages. It is marketed for ages four through eight, but it really is a chapter book more appropriate for independent reading by a beginning reader or as a classroom read aloud for discussion. I would suggest the book for readers aged six through nine. The lessons in the book are worthwhile for discussion among families planning a camping trip. Colorful drawings of these adorable fuzzy monsters encourage young readers to follow along with the text. Look forward to following these fuzzy friends in many more educational adventures.

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YOU CAN’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Read Your World

January 27, 2015

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

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Children’s reading and play advocates Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom teamed up in late 2013 to create an ambitious (and much needed) national event. On January 27th, 2015 this dynamic duo will be hosting yet another Multicultural Children’s Book Day as a way of celebrating diversity in children’s books.

The Multicultural Children’s Book Day team hopes to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along via book reviews, author visits, multicultural booklists and visit the huge multicultural book review link-up that will occur on the MCCBD website 1/27/15.

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view our booklists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit our Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share.
  • Visit our Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on our website.
  • Visit MCCBD sponsors (you can find them HERE)
  • Create a Multicultural Children’s Book Day display around the classroom or library.
  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website on January 27th to view and participate in our huge blogger link-up, multicultural book reviews, giveaways and more!

Other Fun Details:

Our Sponsor Line-up Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors: Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author   FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.

Our CoHosts: We have NINE amazing Co-Host. You can view them here.

-MCCBD now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. Please feel free subscribe and stay up-to-date with this topic.

-Connect with us on our new Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MulticulturalChildrensBookDay

-Connect with us on our new Twitter https://twitter.com/MCChildsBookDay

We are hosting a Twitter party! Join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages. Use this info to share with your readers and to tweet it out!

If you have not done so, check out the MCCBD blog! Thanks to support from the Children’s Book Council we are posting author interviews like crazy and are thrilled with the response. You can find the MCCBD blog here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/blog/

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter. Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice. Here’s a tweet: Book #giveaway at Wisdom Tales Press! Winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice. #ReadYourWorld http://ow.ly/Hr0MC

If you would like more information, or have questions regarding Multicultural Children’s Book Day, please contact Valarie Budayr at Valarie@AudreyPress.com or Mia Wenjen at pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com

PLEASE READ THE REVIEW OF MY MULTICULTURAL SELECTION

The Unboy Boy

Written by Richa Jha

Illustrated by Gautam Benegal

UnboyBoy,pic

I am reviewing this book as a guest blogger for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. This forty page hard-cover picture book is interesting on many levels.

Gagan is a happy boy who loves nature and looks at the world with optimism. His brother, Pavan, is mean-spirited and self-centered. When Gagan plays with ants, Pavan calls him Mousey. Gagan’s classmates taunt him with the name Sissy the day he brings his stuffed toy Bingo to Show and Tell. So Gagan asks his mother if he is a boy; she assures him that she loves him dearly and that he is a soft and gentle boy. In his dreams Gagan imagines himself a superhero, but Pavan and his friends continue to try to make Gagan into their own boy image by chasing him with worms, destroying plants, and playing with water guns. Gagan ignores them as he reads and works on his stamp collection. Even his grandfather urges Gagan “to be a man” by playing with toy guns. Gagan feels sad, lonely and isolated.

Things come to a climax when the children at school attend summer camp. At night, Pavan and his friends begin to tell stories of ghosts, goblins, murderers and zombies. They warn Gagan that the trolls will rip his stuffed Bingo apart. When a cat named Scuttie disappears and other mysterious events occur, the children become frightened. Gagan disappears from the story….Will he survive? If he escapes the danger, will the children continue to bully him?

This story reminds me a lot of Charlotte Zolotow’s 1972 book, William’s Doll, which related the tale of a boy who wanted a doll for Christmas because he wanted to practice being a father one day. At the time it was controversial and received mixed reviews because it presented a male character who did not act in accordance with the stereotypical image of an American boy. On the other hand, it was acceptable for boys to play with G.I. Joe soldier dolls.

Illustrations in this book remind me a bit of Mo Willems. The cover gives a hint of scary creatures who are drawn in dark silhouettes. Mischievous children are portrayed with mean faces, while Gagan is happy and smiling. There are some rather scary images, even though they are displayed in a cartoon-like format. Parents of young children might think twice about making this a bedtime story for sensitive children. The lessons of being true to yourself and disregarding gender based stereotypes are valuable. Teachers and parents can use the book as a basis for discussion on many levels. I would recommend the book for children older than age six.

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AFRICAN ADVENTURES

African Safari with Ted and Raymond

By: Rhonda Patton

Illustrated by Chester McDaniel

African Safaripic

For those who are not familiar with the series, Ted and Raymond are two frog friends who share many adventures. In this latest book, which I read in Kindle version, the friends are about to embark on an African safari. They create a list and pack supplies; Ted makes sure to include a safety kit! They find their way to the airport, pass security, and board the plane where a map is shown to indicate Africa’s location. The reader is introduced to African culture by pictures and explanations of African dress and musical instruments. An African frog named Adebayo, which means “born in a joyful time” is to be their guide. Their jeep passes native Umbrella Thorn trees as they make their way to camp. But the friends are surprised that they will be sleeping in tents outside! They meet other tourists and natives and are introduced to native foods like steamed green bananas and flax bread. The next day they board the jeep and see native animals like the Kingfisher, flamingos, lions and zebras. After observing dozens more animals and taking lots of pictures, Ted and Raymond are sad that their safari is coming to a close. Our two frog friends promise that there will be many more adventures with new friends.

I enjoyed the way the author introduced a wealth of information about the culture, animals, food and customs of Africa. The whole travel experience was portrayed realistically from the preparation and packing to the landing and tour itself. Ted and Raymond are drawn as very stylized characters, but the images in the latter part of the book are good representations of the actual animals. Children are given a few facts about each of them. Hopefully they will be enticed to do more research and exploring on their own. Teachers may want to use this book as a read aloud introduction to a science unit on animals or as an opportunity to study African culture. Parents can employ the book as an introduction to what will happen when the family travels by air. I believe that this book is an excellent addition to the Ted and Raymond series of adventures.

COMEDY OF ERRORS

F.U.D.G.E.

By Colin Machiavelli (D.A. Boal)

F.U.D.G.E.This book is based on the experiences of a sixteen year old boy who is just about to enter his final year of high school. It is written in first person in the form of a stream of consciousness or personal diary, At the beginning, Pete Armistad, who is often called Petestar, is feeling nervous and anxious about the first day of the new school year. He is worried about grades, teachers and most of all, the fact that he has never had a date or even kissed a girl. The day does not start out well as some eighth grade boys put gum on his seat and he spends the whole day wondering why everyone is snickering at him. Chloe is the girl he currently has a crush on, and his friend Eric is moving in on her. The author uses lots of funny incidents to show the trials and tribulations of the boys and girls in his school. Pete laments, “For a teenage boy to remain happy for more than ten minutes is usually an achievement.”

Pete’s family is also dysfunctional. He tells us that his mother uses cruelty to be kind to him. She is often despondent and has radical mood swings. Pete’s father advises him to ignore his mom when she gets mad because otherwise she will throw and break everything in the house. Most of the time his parents ignore him. Pete points out that they never even bothered to talk to him about sex. Instead they handed him a book. He finally finishes the first week of school when his parents inform him they have decided to take a camping trip for the weekend. Of course he does not want to go. Their car breaks down and they have to take a bus the rest of the way to the campground. He insults an old man and the whole family gets kicked off the bus. The family is forced to walk the rest of the way to the campground. The nightmare continues as he takes a shower in the girl’s shower room and leaves his clothes there by mistake. I think you see where this is going.

There are a few incongruities in the story. The author has teachers bantering back and forth with him and other students in the classroom. Pete’s mother creates a false identity on face book so she can spy on him, and then actually makes a bet that he will not be able to find a date for the prom!  Pete is forced to ask Sylvia, the ugliest girl in the school, to the prom and she winds up beating him up. Yet, the book is still funny; teen boys and girls alike will find many situations with which they can identify. The characters are well defined and the story line is clever. Even though I am far removed from my teen years and the times have definitely changed, I found lots of incidents that brought back memories. What does the title F.U.D.G.E. mean? You’ll have to read the book to the end to find out.

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