Posts tagged ‘ghosts’

HALLOWEEN HIJINKS

Mr. Boggarty:The Halloween Grump (Spooky Adventure for Kids 9-12)

Written by Tevin Hansen

Mr.Boggarty,pic

 

The question on the cover sets the main plot. Can Trix and her friends escape the Lime Green Ghost of Lincoln County? At first, I found the layout strange. The author chose to introduce each of the main characters in a separate chapter. Then he proceeds to explain Halloween customs in different countries. Finally, he gets to the subject of eggs and the plot that the five friends have hatched for this upcoming Halloween. Last, bit not least he sets the scene with each of their customs and moves to Mr. Boggarty’s house on Halloween night.

Trixie, Frank, Darby, Darren, and Preston crouch behind the tree in Mr. Boggarty’s front yard and prepare to ring the doorbell. When Darren “chickens out,” Trix cautiously turns the doorknob and the five friends find themselves inside. At first the house seems normal, but soon they see a lit jack-o-lantern on the table. Deciding to throw their rotten eggs inside the house, they are paralyzed with fear when the door slams shut and the lights go out.

Suddenly the fifth-graders are confronted with a bright green flying ghost. He orders them to kneel down and informs them he has just stolen the soul of Mr. Boggarty. He gives them a history lesson about the Great Depression But the worse news is yet to come. The children have been selected to be the new Demons of Lincoln County; they will be sent to school to learn how to be ruthless, evil and diabolical creatures who prey on poor farming communities like the one they live in now. The ghost’s brothers and sisters will arrive at six o’clock to whisk them away forever. As a thunderstorm rages outside the house, the five friends await their fate.

The plot has a ending with a surprise twist. Hansen takes his time building up to the main plot, but keeps the suspense going once the children arrive in the house. Middle grade students will enjoy the diversity of the characters, the humor, and the scary story line. Good choice for a Halloween party or a classroom read aloud. The dialogue is easy to read and the length of just over 130 pages is a good fit for reluctant readers.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this page.

SITTING ROUND THE CAMPFIRE

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL THE DADS OUT THERE….This one is dedicated to my dad, who loved to tell stories.

The American StoryBag: A Collection of Tales

Written by Gerald Hausman

Americanstorybag,pc

This author has been collecting stories since 1965. He loved to listen to stories which he scribbled down and later retold on paper. These tales focus on every aspect of American life. As I was reading them, I had the distinct feeling that I was sitting around a campfire listening to a storytelling master. Hausman has won numerous awards for his yarns, which speak of ghosts, demons, fantasy, humor, truths, and everyday life.

The author divides his tales into sections like Heroes, On the Road, Humor, Reflections, Out of this World, Moments of Truth, and Yarns. He has been compared to Mark Twain. The reader feels as if he is there in the story. Some stories will inspire you like the tale about an autistic child who survived a struggle in the swamp, some of them portray the legends of Native Americans as in The Horse of the Navajo or the bravery of a father and son in A Real Life Goliath.

The Discussion Questions that Hausman suggests are a wonderful beginning for students or book groups to use as a jumping off point for further exploration of the subject matter in individual stories. These questions could also be the basis of interesting essays on many topics. Teachers might want to use them in connection with other curriculum areas. The questions also assist in understanding the deeper layers of culture surrounding them. Finally, the author interview included at the end of the collection provides insight into why the author is so successful as a storyteller, lecturer and writer.

Recommended for readers age eight and older, all those who love to tell stories or listen to them!

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.

mcbd,PIC

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.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider subscribing to this blog, by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS FEED button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

 

 

 

 

 

MAGIC AND MYSTERY

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson

Written by Nikki Bennett

MindyMunson,pic

I am delighted to take part in the Blog Tour for this book for which I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. It is an interesting middle grade chapter book story that combines so many wonderful elements.

This story relates what happens to the Munson family after their parents are killed in a car accident. Susie, the eldest at age eleven, narrates the tale. Other members of the family include Tucker, age nine, and twins Jesse and Mindy, age five. They have recently moved into a dilapidated house purchased by their Aunt Julie, who is now their legal guardian. Mindy has been traumatized by her parents’ death and refuses to speak. Her only communication is occasional whisperings to her twin Jesse. All the children still see a psychologist weekly.

Their adventures are told by Susie even though most the imaginary characters are seen through the mind of young Mindy. Oh, yes, this house is haunted. There are monsters, spiders, ghosts, dragons, a leprechaun and something sinister that lives in the basement. Together with Danny and Anna, the kids who live next door, the children spend the summer exploring the huge backyard and house. The older children suspect that Mindy is imagining all these things, yet they hear the noises and see the clues left behind like a toy triceratops and a red feather. When the new school year comes around, the children are apprehensive about beginning all over again. At first Mindy is bullied because she does not speak. The winter brings more adventures like a new boarder named Adam who lives in the cottage, an abominable snowman, and a close call when Tucker falls through the frozen pond.

In little more than one hundred pages, Bennett manages to deal with so many issues: death, bullying, unsolved mysteries, coming of age, blended families, and childhood fears. The story is told with lots of humor, authentic dialogue, and well-developed characters. Chapters are short; many have charming pencil drawn illustrations. This keeps the book interesting for the younger reader. Length of chapters make it a good choice for a classroom read aloud. Highly recommended for boys and girls ages seven through twelve. Don’t miss it!

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS Feed button in the upper right hand corner of this post.

HAUNTED HOUSE?

Junior Ghost Hunters – Case of the Chadwick Ghost

Written by Sam Grasdin

JuniorGhostHuntersClub,pic

The adventure originates as four friends are hanging out in Nate’s room. Nate is twelve years old and an admitted nerd who loves science and comic books. Lanie Talbot, the only female, has recently emigrated from England. Pete, the athlete, rescued Nate from a bully last year. Greg is an electronic genius with the nickname Gadget because he is always inventing things. Greg has just burst into the room with the news that he has seen a ghost in the upstairs window of the abandoned Chadwick house. Initially the group is skeptical, but Nate convinces them that they should investigate. They decide to form a Junior Ghost Hunters Club; their mission to prove or disprove what Gadget claims to have witnessed.

When Nate’s father convinces the real estate agent to allow the group to view the house in question on the next Saturday, their exploration begins. Mrs. Davenport allows them a couple of hours to “do research for a school report.” They are equipped with a digital recorder, flashlight and video camera, the tools of modern ghost hunters. At first, they fail to uncover evidence until Nate picks up a faint voice on the recorder, saying, “Get out of my house.” They are now determined to make a nighttime visit. Coincidentally, the four friends discover that a couple named Barnes are interested in buying the house. Mr. Barnes is undeterred by the childrens’ revelations that the house may be haunted. He invites them to spend the next Saturday night camping out in the living room of his new house.

The courageous group share pizza and then settle down for their adventure. They appear to be at a standstill until Nate remembers something. His computer research will lead him on a trail to uncover the final clues in solving the mystery. Is there a ghost? Who is it? Will the ghost hunters continue their career as sleuths of the paranormal. Tune in for the next book in the series.

The author is targeting his writing toward children nine to twelve. I believe the text is appropriate and readable for that group. Plot and characters are likable and modern detectives who are equipped with the technology expertise twenty-first children expertly employ. As an adult, I was entertained, amused and convinced that the characters are real. They are multicultural and cover both genders. Looks like the beginning of a good middle grade detective series that will possess wide appeal.

If you enjoyed reading this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS Feed button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

PRESIDENTIAL PHANTOMS

Haunted Presidents:Ghosts in the Lives of the Chief Executive

Written by Charles A. Stansfield, Jr.

HauntedPresidentspic

This book presents portraits of the lives of the first forty presidents in US history and the possibility of hauntings or paranormal events associated with them and their families. While the author has written other books on the paranormal, he has also taught and written books on cultural and regional geography. Here he has ventured into the world of history as well, and while I have not double checked all the historical background which is sketchy in spots, it appears to be fairly well researched.

In his introduction, Stansfield informs the reader that ghosts are bipartisan and universal. Because the presidents are in a unique position to influence history, it makes sense that they might become restless spirits unable to leave our world. According to public opinion polls ten to forty percent of Americans believe they personally have had contact with a deceased person. Obviously some presidents have had more influence than others and it is the same with ghosts or the likelihood of ghost stories being associated with them.

Stansfield believes the relative degree of interest in a presidential ghost story is related to what he calls the “Three C’s.” These are character, charisma and circumstances. Presidents like Lincoln, Washington and Theodore Roosevelt have strong character that embody virtues like courage, perseverance and integrity. First ladies such as Dolley Madison and Jackie Kennedy possessed extraordinary charisma. Circumstances in one’s life often influence the legends like the strong influence in spiritualism displayed by Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary. President Woodrow Wilson was driven to despair because he was unable to succeed in achieving his dream of world peace.

The place where ghosts appear is usually based on a location that was especially significant to that person’s life. One example is the funeral route of Lincoln’s final train ride. Another is the Key West Cottage where Harry Truman and his wife often stayed. The White House is probably our country’s most famous haunted house. One of the most unusual stories is that of the demon cat which appears in the basement and crypt of the Capitol building. At first it seems to be a kitten, but soon evolves into a huge, snarling cat. Believers claim that this cat materialized shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Ghosts of past White House Staff open and close doors and lights. Even Winston Churchill and a British Queen have reported seeing the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in his former bedroom.

Whether you are a skeptic or not, you will enjoy reading about tidbits of historical information like the fact that Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were sure they saw UFO’s and the fact that George Washington appeared on a horse with a flaming sword at the Battle of Gettysburg to encourage the Union forces on to victory. The ghost of John Adams is said to haunt the former Supreme Court chamber in the Capitol building where he defended fifty three Africans who revolted against their slave captors on the Amistad and sailed to an American port seeking freedom and return to Africa.

The book can be read in chronological order or used as a reference to a certain period of history. Its story line is appropriate for young adult and adult audiences. Classroom teachers might want to use the paranormal aspect to encourage more interest in presidential facts and historical events. Certainly an interesting way to view American history.

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe by clicking on the word Follow or by hitting the orange RSS feed button in the upper right hand corner of the page.

%d bloggers like this: