Posts tagged ‘Olympics’

SNOW EXTRAVAGANZA

Box Set for Children: Paul the Snowman Series  (4 in 1 Box Set)

Written by Yossi Lapid

Illustrated by Joanna Pasek

 

This collection of snowman stories is a great bargain and a worthwhile collection for preschool and primary school children. Parents might choose to read them as separate bedtime stories, older children will find them a fun beginning reader collection. I had previously read the story of Snowman Paul and Kate’s Birthday, which I enjoyed. The first four stories combined in a collection provide children with a more comprehensive view of the character of Paul, a personification of a snowman with the strengths and weaknesses of a human character.

In these beautifully illustrated watercolor tales, children view Paul from the moment Dan creates this snowman with a well-defined personality. In the Olympics story, children learn that determination is a good character trait, but it needs to be reigned in when the spirit of competition is unfair to others. My favorite tale is the fourth. Paul decides he wants to play in a musical concert. He learns to play, a fiddle, trumpet and drums. His human friends have their patience worn thin listening to his practice. At long last the concert arrives, and Paul puts on a brilliant performance

These tales and the lessons embedded in the stories can be enjoyed by any age, but preschool and kindergarten children will especially love them. When you want to experience wintertime, get in the spirit of the season by introducing yourself to Paul, the snowman.

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“I AM THE GREATEST”

Muhammad Ali: BORN TO WIN

Written by Stephen Croke

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The author describes Ali as one who never let others define or limit him. Croke hits the nail on the head. Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay in 1942 in Louisville Kentucky; he was named after his father. Clay changed his name when he later converted to The Nation of Islam. Ali began training for boxing at the age of twelve. His ego prodded him to be arrogant and taunting of his opponents. In 1960, Ali won the Olympic Medal in Boxing for the US. By 1974, he had defeated Sonny Liston and obtained The World Heavyweight Champion. The seventies also witnessed victories over Joe Frazier and George Foreman. After the mid seventies, Ali’s health began to decline; he would fight a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Ali is perhaps just as well known for his behavior outside the ring. He became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and refused to be drafted. He opposed the Soviet War with Afghanistan and sided with Palestinian families in Israel. The boxer took part in the Long March in which Native Americans stood up for their rights. Ali was active in the Black Lives Matter Movement. With his Parkinson’s Disease rapidly progressing, Ali got to carry the Olympic Torch in 2012. After being admitted to the hospital, he died of septic shock in June, 2016 and was buried by fans and family in Louisville.

This is a well-written book that prevents a non biased portrait of the man and his times. Available in kindle and paperback, this approximately thirty page read is appropriate for readers age eight and older.

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MIND GAMES

A Diamond in my Pocket: Book One of The Unaltered Series

Written by Lorena Angell

 

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Calli Courtnea is leading a fairly ordinary teen life in Ohio when one day she is whisked off to a new world that is anything but ordinary. She has always been an independent spirit, but Calli is somewhat a bright loner unwilling to give in to peer pressure. Recently, she has joined the school track team. On this day, she has broken both the world and the school record in the 100 meter race. Strange thing about all of  this; Calli has no idea how this happened! A beautiful woman named Mrs. Winter convinces Calli and her parents that she should attend a training camp for Olympic hopefuls in Montana. So Calli is transported there immediately.

What an eerie place she finds! Most of the athletes are younger than her sixteen years. They do not welcome her. She is ignored and taunted by them as a “muck,” which means slow runner. When Mrs. Winter calls her into her office, things get even worse. Calli is informed that she has been summoned here not to train for the Olympics, but because she has been granted special powers by cosmic rays that travel through the universe and altered her at birth. The children who are Runners have been chosen to transmit important communications. There are two other groups that have been given special powers, the Healers and the Seers.  Not much time passes before Calli finds out that she has been assigned with two other teams of Runners to rescue three of their own members who have been held hostage by the Shadow Demons.  These powerful spirits lurk outside in the night and possess the ability to rip you to death instantly. Why does Mr. Bates choose her to hold the Diamond in her pocket that will be the ransom to secure the hostages? Calli is mystified.

Because she is the slowest runner, Calli needs to be assisted by Justin or Chris who are much quicker than she. Calli has been developing a crush on Chris who, at first, appears to be much older and wiser than the others. Once on the journey Calli finds out that her powers are growing exponentially. She also  possesses the power of a Healer and like the Seers is able to peer into the future and know its outcome. Calli becomes confused and frightened as she is able to scare off her enemies and safeguard her fellow teammates. She will learn that when she uses her powers; she must respect the boundaries of nature and that she cannot impose her will upon others.

Will Calli and the Runners be successful in rescuing their friends and foiling the plans of the Shadow Demons? Does Calli succeed in learning how to use her powers in this strange new world or will she be able to control them and return to her world on earth? Teens will identify with themselves and their peers in the challenges that these well developed characters must face. The dialogue is well written with many twists and turns in the plot that definitely hold the reader’s interest. Good beginning to a new series.

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