Posts tagged ‘family and sibling relationships’

SLAVE OR FREE

Vengeance of a Slave

Written by V.M. Sang

Adelbehrd and his family live in the Roman provinces. Their simple life is suddenly turned upside down when Roman soldiers come to exact revenge for a rebellion in which they played no part.

They randomly choose men to be examples. Adelbehrd’s father is crucified. He and his sister are singled out to be sold as slaves because of their blond hair. Torn from their grieving mother, the two terrified children are carted off to a far-off villa to be enslaved.

For many years, their monotonous life continues. One day, Adelbehrd discovers that his sister is about to be sold. A friend tells him about a group of Britons who rescue slaves. Adelbehrd is determined to protect his sister and hatches a plan to escape. Will they be successful, or will they suffer the dire consequences?

The book appears to be well researched. The plot moves along and keeps the reader’s interest. I would recommend it to those who enjoy history and intriguing characters.

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MONSTERS BEGONE

The Night the Monsters Came: A Fun Way to Teach Kids Healthy Habits as Part of Their Bedtime Routine

Written by Junia Wonders

Illustrated by Lisa Ciccone

Siblings Jack and Joy are getting ready for bed when Jack warns his sister, the monsters are outside and hungry. He dresses as a wizard and Joy puts on her fairy dress and crown.

As the monsters barge through the door, the children are steadfast. They warn the monsters they are not appealing targets because they follow good hygiene. Why does that turn the monsters off? Read the book to find out.

The rhymes are clever with extensive use of onomatopoeia and bright colors outlining new vocabulary. Illustrations are appropriate and colorful. I highly recommend the book for toddlers and primary grade children.

AN ADVENTURE FOR THE AGES

The Time Hunters and the Box of Eternity

Written by Carl Ashmore

Illustrated by Andrew Gaia

This is the second book in the series. Becky and Joe Mellon return home on school break to learn that nothing has changed at home. That home is as weird and unusual as ever. Saber-tooth tigers, a dodo, and a dinosaur share the home with the rest of the family. Things become more bizarre when an American named Bruce Westlake arrives. This time traveler has in his possession gold doubloons that contain magic powers.

In no time at all, Becky, and Joe, accompanied by their Uncle Percy and Will, find themselves time traveling to Victorian England, the 18th century Caribbean, and the city of Chicago in the 1920s. They will encounter gangsters, sharks and sea demons, and blood-thirsty pirates. What is their goal? Their quest is to find the elusive Pandora’s box.

This fantasy time-travel thriller will appeal to middle-grade, young adult, and adult audiences.

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WHAT’S OLD IS NEW…

As You Wish

Written by Tyler W. Kurt

This book is a charming, coffee table book that can be used to spark conversations with family or friends. An elderly woman dressed in retro fifties clothing discovers an old trunk in the attic. The stuffed animals that are trapped inside have been there since their former owner abandoned them. They are torn, soiled, and tattered. The old woman can communicate with the stuffed animals. She offers to repair them and make them new once more. Then one of them announces he doesn’t want to change the way he looks or feels.

At the end of this short story, there is a set of discussion questions for readers with open minds and open hearts. I would recommend the book for all ages.

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SIBLING LOYALTY

What It Means to be a Big Brother

Written and illustrated by Lindsey Coker Luckey

This charming picture book is told in the first person. The older sibling professes his unending love and loyalty toward his younger brother.

The book is written in rhyme. While I believe the story would be just as effective if told in verse, the rhyme succeeds for the most part. This older brother promises to protect his brother from harm, and teach him new skills like how to fish, ride a bike, and play games. He promises lots of adventures. The older sibling injects realism and humor into the story. He admits there will be times when they play pranks on their parents or get into trouble for drawing on the table or bringing bugs into the house.

Many books written on siblings focus on the rivalry and adjustment issues when a new sibling enters the family. This one focuses on the family’s love for one another. The soft, gentle illustrations work to enhance the mood. Recommended for any age reader.

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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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CHOOSING YOUR OWN WAY

The Village Alien

Written by Steve and Kathleen Donoho

On a sunny Saturday morning in Zionsville, Indiana, the protagonist and his younger brother, Andy head off to Lions Park on their bikes. The reader will determine the outcome of this interactive alien adventure. The boys encounter an alien spaceship landing in the park, setting the table for the rest of the story. Readers are given three choices at the end of each chapter. Plot outcome changes according to the reader’s decision.

This book affords readers the opportunity to revisit the scene several times, changing the outcome each time. It would be fun for siblings or friends to share it together. I like the fact that children can see that making choices affect outcomes and the characters. It allows them the opportunity to take risks or to play it safe.

Recommended for middle-grade readers. The length of sentences and manageable vocabulary will appeal to reluctant readers. It might also be a good choice for a classroom discussion group.

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MOVING RIGHT ALONG….

Miss Perfect and Tiny Tail

Written by Rachel Schlessinger

Illustrated by Sigalet Carmely

 

This book is a fairly well-written chapter book that features a ten-year-old named Lily who faces numerous challenges one summer. Lily is the middle child. Her older sister, Miss Perfect, and a younger sister, Tiny Tail are both dearly loved and constant annoyances. A large part of the book focuses on sibling and peer relationships as well as Lily’s conflicts with her mother.

Lily’s mother informs the three sisters that they will be moving from their small village to the big city because their father has found work there. This is the second conflict that Lily, as well as her sisters, must face and resolve. Lily has developed a crush on Tommy. At first, he seems to ignore and make fun of her.

The summer setting provides the backdrop for these three challenges. As time advances, each member of the family must face the issues revealed in the first person narrative told by Lily. Many middle-grade readers will see themselves mirrored in the characters and their conflicts. Because this book consists of short chapters consisting of less than seventy pages, reluctant readers will not be deterred. A few illustrations enhance its appeal. Recommended for middle-grade readers, teachers and parents who wish to explore the challenges faced by the middle child, parent and sibling relationships, and families who are planning a move.

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TINY BUT FEARLESS

The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins

Written by Karin Kaufman

A delightful chapter book consisting of ten stories that revolve around a fearless family of mice facing the dangers and challenges of winter. Geraldine is the protagonist who was born in April, but now in October is facing the end of the gathering season. She and her brother Nigel have much to learn and experience. Readers are introduced to their friends in the forest, Penelope, the sparrow and Cheddar, a white rabbit. The children love to hear their father Nigel read to them stories from the Book of Tales. These adventures teach them about common sense, trust, gratitude, empathy and sharing. As October wanes, the family and friends celebrate Thanksgiving and the joys of Christmas. On the other hand, the children’s curiosity put them in danger of being eaten by wolves and ravens, swept down the river on a log and being destroyed by a forest fire. Charlotte is a sensitive and inquisitive mouse who desires to read, write and explore the world around her. She and her brother share sibling rivalry, but at the same time deeply love and care for one another. Their parents teach them to have faith that Very, Very Big Hands will be there to guide and protect them.

This chapter book is geared toward readers in grades three to six. Some younger children may enjoy individual stories as a read aloud. There are no illustrations; a few simple drawings would add appeal to younger children. I would thoroughly recommend the book as a gentle, sweet read for children who love animals. The many lessons learned and bravery in facing adversity allow for lots of discussion on the topics of developing strong character and interpersonal skills.

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TORN BETWEEN TWO SIDES

Fields of the Fatherless

Written by Elaine Marie Cooper

fieldsfatherless

Short novel of Christian historical fiction based on a true historical account of the 1775 conflict in the village of Mentonomy, Massachusetts. Betsy Russell is an eighteen year old girl living in a Patriot family near colonial Boston. Her village is busy preparing a militia for the inevitable battle looming on the horizon with the British. Betsy feels slighted that her younger brother Noah is taught how to fire a musket, while she is expected to stay home and play a support role. When Betsy confides her feelings to the blacksmith, he gives her a small knife to defend herself and protect her family. Betsy could never imagine what role that knife would play in her future.

The battle brings both joy and tragedy to the Russell family. Betsy will grapple with grief, struggle with her Christian faith, assume heavy family responsibilities, become a nurse, and find out about love in many unexpected ways. This novel is based on actual historical events; the fictional characterizations and quotes from the Bible add a humanistic element to the narrative. Some of the battle details are a bit graphic, which is the reason I would suggest the target audience to be age thirteen and older.

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