Posts tagged ‘peer and family relationships’

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

Celestina, the Astronaut Ballerina: A Kids Read Aloud Picture Book about Space, Astronauts and Following your Dreams

Written by Donald Jacobson

Illustrated by Graham Evans

Celestina is a little girl with big dreams. Her aspiration is to become an astronaut. Unfortunately, her friends at school belittle her and adults advise her to downsize her expectations. Why doesn’t she become a ballerina instead?

After a time, Celestina gives up on her dreams and settles in to learn ballet. That changes one day when a new teacher arrives. She counsels her class to dream big. Celestina returns to her real goal. Now she works hard and studies hard. Will she achieve her dream to become an astronaut.

This book includes lots of multicultural characters and vibrant illustrations that are appropriate for the elementary grade target audience. The book reinforces the image of a strong female role model and builds self-esteem in young girls.

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#Hold That Temper

When I am Angry: Children’s Book about Anger

Written by Michael Gordon

Illustrated by Max Larin

Gordon explores the topic of anger and how to handle it with preschoolers. This picture book features a preschooler named Josh who loses his sweet temperament rapidly when he becomes angry. So, when he wants to eat cake instead of lunch, go off alone to play with his friends or demands a pet, he becomes furious. His mom, dad, and older sister suggest ways to control it. He could pretend it to be a giant fireball to be thrown away, count to four or breathe deeply. Will Josh be able to practice these techniques to control his bad temper?

Larin has done a good job of providing age-appropriate colorful illustrations to help toddlers and preschoolers understand the lessons of the tale. Recommended for children ages two through five.

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STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

Diary of a Cool Boy

Written by B. Campbell

AJ is the middle child. He has an older sister, Jane, who is learning to drive and a younger brother, Taj, who has the gross habit of picking his nose. AJ’s mom is a neatness and control freak, while his dad is laid back.

Middle school readers will love the humorous situations in which AJ constantly finds himself. Cedric is the classroom bully, and the new boy, Hawk reveals a secret to AJ that will eventually enhance AJ’s reputation. Readers will enjoy reading about the family foibles and mishaps, as well as the sixth-grade classroom escapades. There are a few valuable life lessons to be learned, but the plot is fairly predictable with few twists and turns.

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OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Hey Nana! Connor’s Story of Love

Written by Toni Nunemaker

This book is a testament to the young life of Connor, a boy who was murdered by another in a playground not far from his home in a trailer park nearby. The memoir is penned by his grandmother, who herself undergoes a transformation because of the crime.

Readers need to be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster as Nana proceeds through a gamut of emotions proceeding from the moment of the crime, the funeral, the criminal investigation, the trial, and the family’s readjustment to a life without the nine-year-old child, who brought so much love into the world.

Nana even learns to understand and accept the grief that Jamarion, the young murderer, and his family experience and the abuse that led up to it. I think the author does an exceptional job of portraying her conflicting emotions as well as the character of the gentle and loving victim, her grandchild, and the special relationship they both shared.

The book is a powerful commentary on abuse, addiction, love, and the way various members of society cope or fail to cope with them. This book is one that will force readers to consider these issues, whether they agree with the author’s ultimate decision in her acceptance and forgiveness. Recommended for young adult and adult readers.

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DRESS FOR SUCCESS

HAILEY’S WHITE DRESS

Written by Sigalit Benbenishti

Illustrated by Ambadi Kumar

Hailey is a young girl with a flair for fashion. She has a closet full of colorful dresses. One day her mother brings her a gift. Hailey is delighted to find a beautiful white dress decorated with flowers inside. She decides to save this dress for a special occasion, her upcoming birthday. When that day finally arrives, Hailey wears the dress and enjoys her birthday celebration with friends and family. Hailey’s neighbor notices a stain on the dress. Hailey tries to remove the stain. When she is unsuccessful, Hailey determinedly searches the internet for a solution to her dilemma. Hailey finds something guaranteed to work and eagerly awaits the washing machine cycle to finish. Will she get her dress back again, good as new?

I would describe this book as a beginning reader that will also appeal to reluctant readers. There are a few minor editing issues. The text is not overly challenging and there are lots of color illustrations to assist the reader. Recommended especially for young girls who love pretty dresses.

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