Posts tagged ‘overcoming fears’

#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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NERDS AND NINJAS

The Secret Path of Ned the Ninja: Reluctant Hero

Written by Kea Alwang and Melissa Mertz

NedtheNinja,pic

Ned is a bright fifth grader who admits to being a nerd and a klutz. He is taunted in school by Jared Beck, appropriately named Beck the Bonebreaker. When his parents can take no longer take the bullying and taunting, they enroll Ned in karate class. Ned paints a pathetic but humorous scene of his first day in class. The only saving grace is finding that he has a crush on one of the students, Adrianna. Ned is thrown into the fray with no leniency for being a new student. At first Ned is tempted to quit, but he changes his mind when the Tora Khan appears in his bedroom to give him a one to one training lesson. Is it a dream?

The next morning, Ned awakes and is still not sure when strange things begin to happen. When Ned gets to school, he discovers that he is no longer the person everyone knows. Ned learns that fears limit our capabilities. If one can take away fear by redirecting thoughts, limitations can be overcome. Our minds can be made to re-channel our fears and weaknesses.

Ned is such a likable character. He is funny, vulnerable, sincere and honest. Middle grade readers will empathize and grow with this character. The details of karate class keep the story line novel and interesting. Both sexes will enjoy the read. Recommended for all ages eight and up. I read the fifty five page book in one sitting.

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TONGUE-TIED?

Ruby Lee and the Very Big Deal

Written by Nancy Buffington

Illustrated by Stephanie Mullani

RubyLee,pic

Ruby Lee is a fifth grade student who has just won a contest. The problem is the prize she had hoped to gain was not something she wanted; it was to deliver a speech about her town at the first event ever held to celebrate life in Ruby’s town. Her friends and family congratulate her, but Ruby is terrified. The only time she had appeared on stage at age six had been a disaster because she had forgotten all her lines! Ruby wishes she could vanish into thin air.

Great Aunt Alice comes to the rescue. Alice is a bit of an eccentric who is rumored to have been a somewhat successful actress way back when. One day while Alice is sitting under the tree in the backyard with her dog, Thumbelina, Alice reveals that she will share her Nine Secrets of Becoming a Star with Alice. Over the next week’s time, Alice gradually shares them. Here are the nine secrets:

  1. Be yourself
  2. Practice, practice, practice
  3. Don’t even try to be perfect
  4. What the audience doesn’t know won’t hurt them
  5. Take charge
  6. Give yourself credit
  7. Have fun!
  8. Get ready to do it again
  9. Feel the love

Alice boasts that she has worked with some of the greats of the acting world. One evening she drops a picture signed by Johnny B., which Ruby picks up and places in her pocket for good luck. The big day has finally arrived. Has Ruby been able to internalize her Great Aunt’s tips in her quest to overcome her fears? How will the big speech go over?

This book can be used a  guide for anyone, child or adult, who is afraid to speak in public. Ruby’s story is in the format of an early chapter book and is an entertaining read for young readers. The author, who was once just like Ruby, is now a public speaking coach. The cast of characters included at the end of the book is a nice little time capsule of acting greats at the beginning of this century and is a bonus for those interested in the theater and the movies. I recommend this book as an interesting chapter book that promotes self-confidence  for those who are shy. Children and adults ages seven and up will enjoy the read.

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