Posts tagged ‘courage’

THE REWARD WITHIN

The Gold Egg
Written by Ule B. Wise (Dan Wyson)
Illustrated by Jaimee Lee

This is a wonderful book for children of all ages. The author writes in crisp rhymes and the illustrations are colorful and appealing. At first, group of multicultural children is sitting under their favorite tree. An old man carrying a cane comes along. He tells the children to look up high in the tree. They notice the abandoned nest of the Kloonee bird high in the tree. The old man tells them the nest is so high because it contains a gold egg. All the children scoff at this, except for Devan who decides to find out for himself.

Devan finds the task daunting. He falls from the tree but gets up and tries again. His friends make fun of him. When Devan finally gets to the top, will he find a gold egg? What does he learn about himself and his friends?
This book teaches children the importance of courage and persistence. Reaching goals is possible if one believes in himself and persists despite obstacles. While this book might appear to be a picture book, its message is one for children of all ages. Recommended as an inspirational read-aloud for children and adults.

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BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON

The Moth and the Moon

Written by David Kelley

 

This is an intriguing tale that is told in the first person by a newly hatched moth and the friends she makes on the windowsill of a garden shed. Upon opening her eyes, the moth is irresistibly drawn to the light from the moon shining through the window,

Readers follow her development as her friends name her Flutter. She learns quickly from her friends, Horsey the Wasp, her two ladybug friends, and Bumble, the bee. Flutter finds herself in trouble with their arch enemy, Sinister, the Spider. Flutter learns to develop trust and courage that she will one day find her moon.

There are many pitfalls along the way, and some of her friends will be lost to Spider. Will Flutter discover a way to achieve her dream and still retain her bonds with the friends who have nurtured and protected her?

This tale is written clearly and the story flows smoothly. Its length of approximately 100 pages is a bit long for a beginning reader even though the plot sustains interest. I would especially recommend it to middle-grade and young teens, but adults might enjoy it as well.

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RIGHT OR WRONG?

E is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About What Matters Most

Written by Ian James Corlett

Illustrated by R.A. Holt

 

The author is a Children’s TV writer and animator by trade. Distressed by the fact that schools no longer include ethics and civics teaching in their curriculum, he decided that he and his wife must assume that responsibility. Many years ago when his children were young, he and his wife decided to set one night a week as a family discussion time. Corlett developed a series of twenty-six stories that exemplified different aspects of moral behavior. Following each story, the children engaged in interactive questions for discussion as well as suggested activities.

The following is a list of the topics discussed in these stories: honesty, understanding, forgiveness, courage, perseverance, tact, politeness, loyalty, gratitude, truthfulness, sincerity, integrity, citizenship, responsibility, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, empathy, charity, trust, willingness, respect, fairness, acceptance, patience, and effort. There are simple colorful illustrations of a young child like the character of Lucy or Eliot featured in each story. A few famous quotations are sprinkled throughout.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend time getting to know what their children are thinking as well as fulfilling a necessary parental responsibility to guide and form a child’s character and values. Recommended for all ages in the family to enjoy and share.

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GENTLE SOULS

The Horse Listener

Written by Mark M. Hanna

 

This book describes the affinity of one man with the Arabian horse. It focuses on the tragic death of his father, his early upbringing near a racetrack in Los Angeles, and his move out into the country of Oregon where he began his lifelong journey of faith and close relationship with Arabian horses.

Matthew Peters struggles to find himself. When his mother accedes to his wish to acquire a horse, Matthew meets a neighbor named Mike Chapman who appears to know a lot about horses and how to raise them. Mrs. Peters notices a strangeness in Mike; she discovers Mike’s tragic divorce and horse farm bankruptcy. The author tells his story partly as a faith journey, partly as a spiritual partnership with the horse, and also as a memoir of determination and courage. There are plenty of tips concerning effective horse training.

This story tugs at the heartstrings. For anyone who raises horses or wishes to have the opportunity to do so, the powerful bond described here is appealing and inspiring. Hanna includes spiritual references, though he does not try to preach or convert.

This book is recommended for middle-grade readers, young adults, and adults.

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#Wednesday’s Winners

Two more finalists in the Cybils Bloggers’ Literary Awards:

Easy Reader

HUNGRY THIEVES

There’s a Pest in the Garden

Written by Jan Thomas

 

Another easy reader in the farmyard friends’ series. Duck, Sheep, Dog, and Donkey are upset that there is a pest invading their garden. He is eating their favorite and not so favorite foods like beans, corn, peas, and turnips. Duck thinks he has a plan, but it turns out that all the animals must work together to find a permanent solution to keep pests out.

The familiar characters and speech balloons allow readers to follow the simple dialogue and story plot. Children are led to understand that cooperation and working together is the way to solve a common problem. Recommended as an early stage independent picture reader or read aloud.

 

 

 

 

Early Chapter Book

RISING TO THE OCCASION

Survivor Diaries: Overboard!

Written by Terry Lynn Johnson

This book is part of a series that focuses on real-life survival stories to teach important life-saving skills. In this book, Travis and his family are vacationing in Washington. At the beginning of the tale, the family is sailing on a fifty-foot whale-watching boat with other tourists. While the group is preoccupied sighting whales, a huge wave capsizes the boat. Travis frantically yells for his family; he finds himself under water. Marina, the captain’s seaworthy daughter is nearby.

Travis is wearing a wetsuit and Marina has a life jacket, but her wrist is broken. As they drift farther away from the wreckage, Marina keeps Travis calm. After many hours and no rescue, they are finally thrown ashore on a beach. Hypothermia is setting in and Marina is becoming sick and disoriented. Travis must learn to overcome his fears, follow Marina’s instructions, build a fire, set up a shelter, and find water. The next morning with no rescue in sight, Marina sees eagles flying overhead and remembers an island that has a camera studying the nest. But can Travis overcome his fear of heights and somehow scale the tree to let humans know of their plight?

This is a story of adventure and courage. Marina and Travis undergo personality transformations and role reversals. Perhaps even more importantly, readers are taught how to survive if thrown overboard, avoid hypothermia, and learn basic survival skills. Hopefully, these will never need to be employed. There are a few powerful black and white illustrations that assist readers to visualize the adventure. The author includes a US Coast Guard approved section on illustrated, step by step survival techniques. While this book has been classified an early chapter book, I believe that the eight to twelve age range is a good target audience for this book.

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ARMED AND READY

Prince Martin Wins His Sword

Written by Brandon Hale

Illustrated by Jason Zimdars

Hale has written an original, charming chapter book that began as a way to keep in touch with his son while Hale was away from home. The book is divided into eight short chapters that are completely written in verse. Hale does not shy away from challenging vocabulary in a book that is written for the six to ten age group.

Martin is a young prince who lives in a faraway kingdom. At the beginning of the tale, Martin experiences a dream in which he fights a dragon with a loyal dog at his side. One of Martin’s favorite pastimes is visiting the castle armory, where all types of swords and weapons are stored. Unfortunately, the king permits his son to possess only a wooden staff and a slingshot, until the prince is able to prove that he is loyal, brave and true. Martin is unsure of how to do so, but he is determined to set forth out of the castle to the forest beyond.

Chapters two through eight covers the adventures that await Martin. He will meet a farmer who warns him of wild hogs, a deer whose fawn is trapped, and a brave dog who is willing to defend the helpless with his life. Martin must face his own fears as well as bullies. Will Martin find the courage and strength to survive and prove himself worthy?

The rhymes are perfect for a read aloud. Younger children might need the help of an adult to decipher some of the vocabularies. Color illustrations in each chapter enhance the adventure. This first book in a series should appeal especially to boys who love adventures, dragons, swords, and dogs. Highly recommended for elementary and middle school age children.

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A COLORFUL FANTASY ADVENTURE

The Black Pearl of Osis (Osis Fantasy Trilogy Book 1)

Written by Ingrid McCarthy

Jonathan Alexander Fenton is visiting his Aunt Josie who has just given birth to a baby girl. He is ambling around her studio and glancing at the posters on the wall when he spies one that he does not recognize. The poster shows a girl skipping rope on a cobblestone street surrounded by a tall tower. As he moves closer, Jonathan is literally drawn into the poster. Immediately he engages in a conversation with the girl. He discovers her name is Magenta, she is the daughter of King Cadium, Jonathan has been taken against his will into a fantasy world. Everyone here bears the name of a color, time is governed by the cycles of sun and moon, and danger looms over the kingdom.

Jonathan soon learns that he is destined to free the kingdom from the evil of the black pearl. A sage old teacher named Master Cobalt trains Jonathan. He is able to turn Magenta’s skipping rope into a deadly weapon that can be used to fight their enemies. Magenta, Jonathan, and her dog Monte face all manner of obstacles on their adventure. They meet threats of torture, deadly traps, and must learn to distinguish between friends and foes. At the end of the long journey, the two friends will grapple with the ultimate test of courage and loyalty.

The author keeps the plot interesting by using clever characters and imposing lots of twists and turns. Middle-grade readers who enjoy fantasy, adventure, and magic-tinged with dark overtones should find this first book of the trilogy an entertaining read.

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