Posts tagged ‘community involvement’

MEMORIES AND MYSTERIES

THE FLYING FROG

Written by David Yair

Illustrated by Ilana Graf and Natalie Jackson

This is book five of The Flying Frog series, but it stands alone as an interesting approach for children to understand Alzheimer disease. The Rimon children are a clever pair of siblings who are adept at solving mysteries. They accomplish this task with the help of a flying frog named Quack.

In Book Five of the series, Adam Shor is a retired carpenter who is beloved in his town. He is now in the advanced stages of Alzheimer disease. His wife. children and grandchildren watch over him. One day, he walks out of the garden gate. gets confused and lost. The whole town mobilizes to search for him. The Rimon children enlist the aid of Quack. They tie balloons to him and launch him into the forest.

As the story unfolds, children begin to understand the complexities of the disease and the emotional upheaval that it evokes in the family and friends. This story is an excellent way to introduce a discussion about the topic to children. There are a few endearing illustrations that portray the emotional impact of the tale. The book is short at under forty pages, but I would have liked to have seen larger print for the targeted middle-grade audience. Recommended especially for readers in the eight to twelve age range.

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LOVE AND LEADERSHIP

Leadership Lessons Learned from Mom

Written by Mark Villareal

An interesting book that discusses qualities of leadership by correlating them with lessons that the author learned from his mother. The author begins the book in early childhood when his mother guided him to listen to the little voice in his head whenever he needed to decide whether something was right or wrong. She taught him not to be a loner, and to push himself to become involved. Villareal explains how his mother encouraged him to dream big and reach for the top while teaching him to understand not everyone will get the trophy. As he grew older, she taught him not to exclude others, be a good example, and avoid taking shortcuts to success. The author learned to stand up for himself when he believed that he was right, but to learn the difference between having pride and being too full of pride. Life will not always be convenient and be accommodating, we must learn to accept defeat graciously at times, then pick ourselves up to try harder next time.

These are all valuable lessons in developing leadership. Rather than learning these skills by reading a leadership training manual, Villareal tells a charming story that entertains and inspires. Unfortunately, not all children grow up in an environment with parents who make the effort to teach and model these values. Recommended for young adult and adult audiences.

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OPPOSITES ATTRACT

What A Pair! Mattie and Mark Miller:Double Trouble Series

Written by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Whatapair,pic

This is the first in a series focused on the Amish way of life and nine year old twins, Mattie and Mark. Targeted for middle grade readers ages eight through twelve, the book is a fun and educational introduction to a way of life misunderstood by most observers.

Brunstetter begins by explaining that the Amish are group of people who live a plain life without using many modern things; a simple plausible way to explain to children why they are different but not strange. The author goes on to give examples as to how they live and work both in the past and present.

She provides a glossary of the Amish language words which are used liberally throughout the story. Readers will love these feisty twins with diametrically opposed personalities. What they do have in common is a love of life, family, and kind hearts. For example, Mattie is a dreamer, Mark a scholar, Mattie is cautious, Mark an adventurer, Mattie loves dogs, and Mark loves cats. Mattie is a great baseball player, while Mark cringes when he sees a bat and ball. As the reader follows one humorous adventure after another, what comes through is deep commitment to family, society and community, and a story about two children experiencing the same problems any tween faces. The book will appeal to both genders.

On their birthday, the twins receive an unexpected gift from their grandparents. This gift will require them to learn how to work together. When an unexpected emergency arises, the twins learn the real value of teamwork. The plot has lots of twists and turns and many different scenarios to appeal to a wide variety of reader interests. Text is interesting and challenging, yet not too overwhelming. Lots of humor, adventure, family fun, good values and the benefit of learning about a culture few have experienced first hand. Highly recommended for tweens and young adult readers or anyone interested in understanding Amish society.

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