Posts tagged ‘responsibility’

RIGHT OR WRONG?

E is for Ethics: How to Talk to Kids About What Matters Most

Written by Ian James Corlett

Illustrated by R.A. Holt

 

The author is a Children’s TV writer and animator by trade. Distressed by the fact that schools no longer include ethics and civics teaching in their curriculum, he decided that he and his wife must assume that responsibility. Many years ago when his children were young, he and his wife decided to set one night a week as a family discussion time. Corlett developed a series of twenty-six stories that exemplified different aspects of moral behavior. Following each story, the children engaged in interactive questions for discussion as well as suggested activities.

The following is a list of the topics discussed in these stories: honesty, understanding, forgiveness, courage, perseverance, tact, politeness, loyalty, gratitude, truthfulness, sincerity, integrity, citizenship, responsibility, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, empathy, charity, trust, willingness, respect, fairness, acceptance, patience, and effort. There are simple colorful illustrations of a young child like the character of Lucy or Eliot featured in each story. A few famous quotations are sprinkled throughout.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to spend time getting to know what their children are thinking as well as fulfilling a necessary parental responsibility to guide and form a child’s character and values. Recommended for all ages in the family to enjoy and share.

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#Cybils2017 #Finalists

Proudly presenting two more books that were finalists in the contest this year:

EASY READER CATEGORY

FRIENDS FINDING SOLUTIONS…

My Kite Is Stuck! And Other Stories

Written by Salina Yoon

 

All three stories feature the same three main characters, Little Duck, Big Duck and Porcupine. In the first story, Big Duck gets his kite stuck in the tree. His two friends try to help, but only make the problem worse. Children will laugh at the silly solutions the characters invent.

The second tale revolves around Porcupine making friends with a bug. Big Duck and Little Duck discuss the qualities needed in a friend and try to persuade Porcupine why he can’t be friends with a bug. There is a surprise ending.

In the third story, the three friends decide to build a lemonade stand. They model cooperation, patience and hard work. Of course, there are a few hiccups and lots of humor when the friends forget about the main ingredient needed for their success.

These stories employ speech balloons with dark text and brilliant digital illustrations that fill the page. I would recommend it to preschoolers and kindergarten beginning readers. Each story can be enjoyed separately for beginning readers with shorter attention spans.

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK CATEGORY:

SCIENCE, MAGIC, AND GIRL POWER…

Zoey And Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows

Written by Asia Citro

Illustrated by Marion Lindsay

 

What a charming way to combine science, a bit of magic and a strong female role model in an interesting story! Zoey is an inquisitive, intelligent, sweet girl. One day she discovers her mother holding a photograph that appears to be glowing. Her mother attempts to hide it, but when Zoey reveals that she can see the glowing creature, her scientist-mother reveals her secret.

As a child, her mother discovered a purple glowing frog that was severely injured. To her amazement, the frog named Pip began talking to her. Ever since that day, Zoey’s mom had been helping other magical creatures who needed assistance. She installed a hidden doorbell in the barn. Zoey’s mom thought she was the only one who had this ability, but now she understands that Zoey also has the gift.

When Zoey’s mom must travel to a scientific conference, Zoey hopes that she will receive a call for help from one of these magical creatures. Zoey studies her mom’s journals, notes, and photos. Sure enough, a few days later, she hears the bell and finds a small reptile near death in the barn. Zoey gets to work, but there is so much to learn. She sets forth a hypothesis and sets out her materials. Like a true scientist, she uses trial and error and controls in her experiments. Together with her cat, Sassafras, they work to save the creature. Who is this creature? Will Zoey be successful?

I found lots to like in this chapter book. Large print, beautiful black and white drawings, and a table of contents that lists the subject of each short chapter. Citro carefully crafts a multicultural, curious and hard-working female protagonist who is empathetic and appealing to young readers. Children quickly become engrossed with the plot, while hardly realizing they are learning about the scientific method and the reptile species. The glossary reinforces understanding of unfamiliar vocabulary. Highly recommended for beginning readers, but certainly challenging enough for middle-grade readers.

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GROWING UP MUCH TOO SOON

DOG BONE SOUP Launch Banner

DOG BONE SOUP is not only the title of Bette A. Stevens’s debut novel; it ranks high among the paltry meals that the book’s protagonist, Shawn Daniels, wants to forget. Plodding through mounting snow and battling howling winds, Shawn is ready to leave it all behind—living in poverty, Dad’s drinking, life in foster care, the divorce, the bullies….

Travel with Shawn Daniels through the guts and the glories of life. You’ll find them all in DOG BONE SOUP, a Boomer’s coming-of-age saga. Available now at “YOUR AMAZON”

From the Reviewers

“Dog Bone Soup is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when most others were on the crest of a wave. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. But most of all it will make you glad you read it.” ~ Charlie Bray, founder of the Indietribe

“In Dog Bone Soup, Bette Stevens captures the feeling and images of growing up in hardscrabble times perfectly.” ~ John Clark, librarian and author

DOG BONE SOUP

READ the opening Excerpt from Chapter One right here…

DOG BONE SOUP BW Border 2015The postcard arrived four days before my eighteenth birthday. All I had to do now was sign the final papers and light out for basic training. I could hardly wait to leave this place behind.

There were six of us ready to become soldiers. The other five guys were headed to Fort Dix. Soon as we were inducted, the sergeant who swore us in started calling us a bunch of lily-assed bastards and worse. When the jerk marched the other five guys off, I was happy as hell I wasn’t one of them.

Lieutenant Richards called me into his office. “You’ll be heading out tomorrow, Private Daniels. Here are your tickets.”

We sat in his office and talked about my future with the U.S. Army. Then he handed me a schedule for the next day’s journey and we went over every detail.

“Now let’s get you home so you can get a good night’s sleep before you fly off to serve Uncle Sam, soldier.”

“Good luck Private,” the lieutenant said when he dropped me off at the house. We saluted and I stood there watching until his car disappeared over the hill.

I’d always liked army people. They called me Mr. Daniels and even sir sometimes. Now I was officially a private in the U.S. Army and I was ready to start a new life. I pictured myself in an officer’s uniform one day—a lieutenant, a captain, maybe even a general.

Mum and I didn’t get much more than a few winks of sleep that night. I don’t know how many pots of coffee she perked while we sat at the kitchen table and talked the night away. Of course, it was Mum did most of the talking. Once she opened her picture books, I felt like I was drinking in the life I wanted to leave.

Mum took all of those pictures with her Brownie—that camera was her pride and joy. None of us kids was allowed to touch it unless she supervised a picture taking every now and then. If Dad wasn’t around, it was me peeking through the lens. Mum was fussy about taking pictures just so.

Five books were piled on the table and we went through them one page at a time. Mum had a story for every snap shot. Some made me laugh so hard that I doubled over.

It was two minutes shy of three when she closed the last album.

“Thanks for staying up. I’ve got the alarm set for six and I know that won’t give us much sleep.” Mum pulled out her hanky, sniffled and hugged me before we turned in. My leaving would to be hard on her.

Willie was snoring away, likely dreaming about cars. I slipped in next to him and pulled away some puffs and huddled under them.

The minute I closed my eyes I started dreaming about my new life. No more freezing to death up north. I was headed for southern sunshine and I saw myself soaking it all in.

Bzzzzzzz. I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes, grabbed the suitcase and headed for the kitchen. Mum already had breakfast on the stove, so I ran outside to do my business and came back in to grab a hot biscuit and down it with a cup of steaming coffee.

I was half frozen and snow was whipping around me in circles when I headed out on the three-mile walk into town to catch that bus.

I shook flakes big as quarters from my jacket when I climbed the steps of the Greyhound. Two hours and I’d be boarding a plane headed to Fort Jackson. South Carolina was sure the place to be, especially in February.

### end of excerpt

About the author

BAS Author logo stamp 2015Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Bette A. Stevens is the author of award-winning picture book AMAZING MATILDA; home/school resource, The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to DOG BONE SOUP.

Find out more about the author and her books right here on “YOUR AMAZON”

MY BOOK REVIEW

Dog Bone Soup

Written by Bette A. Stevens

DogBone,pic

Anyone who grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s or who has a grandparent or parent who has told them stories about it, will truly empathize with this coming of age novel. It touches on so many timeless issues like poverty, alcoholism, bullying, domestic violence, family relationships, and self-identify crises. There are many touching and authentic incidents described in a way that makes the characters so alive and appealing to the reader.

Shawn Daniels is the oldest child in a poor family living in a small rural town. They live in a unfinished house that has no bathroom, running water or heat, yet his dad finds money for a TV. Dad spends most of his time drinking or bullying the family. When a friend from school spends the night, everyone at school learns of Shawn’s plight and make fun of his situation. Shawn’s mother is very proud; she works several jobs to make ends meet. At the same time Mrs. Daniels refuses to accept help from “uppity rich folks.” Largely left to his own resources, Shawn accepts responsibility for the family, he learns about logging, gardening; he will do what is necessary by stealing apples or teaching himself how to milk a cow and then steal the milk. By the time Shawn is in high school and his mother finally divorces his father, he faces the difficult decision of whether to maintain his dream to attend college or accept reality and his self-imposed family responsibility. His choices are to leave home to join the military and perhaps face death fighting in the Vietnam War or living on another family’s charity while finishing high school.

This book is written from the heart. Though the setting is over fifty years in the past, the issues remain contemporary. I feel that the book is appropriate for young adults and adults or mature middle grade students. There are a couple of curse words. Well-written, worthwhile and powerful in scope and detail.

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BABYSITTER BASICS

How To Baby-sit (Survival Skills)

Written by Joy Berry

Illustrated by Bartholomew

Howtobabysit,pic

Joy Berry has written many books on behavior; this one does exactly what the title says. The manual includes everything a parent, child or prospective babysitter needs to know. Berry covers how to mentally prepare, search for a position, set up the home, deal with misbehavior and practice consideration for the child and family for which you are providing babysitting services.

There are six steps anyone needs to ponder if thinking about a babysitting job. A prospective applicant needs to do the following: 1) get permission from his parents to babysit for other people’s children, 2) learn everything possible about child care and first aid, 3) get first-hand experience and on-the-job training before beginning, 4) decide how much to charge for services, 5) find parents who might need a baby-sitter and let them know that you are available, and 6) gather items for a “Babysitter Survival Kit.” These include supplies for an emergency in the home, pen and paper, playing cards, crayons, stickers, books, a ball, an old sheet for pretend play, and paper stacking cups. All these supplies need to be age appropriate for the child.

Preparation does not end here. Once a job is accepted the baby sitter must prepare by visiting the family and child ahead of time, taking notes, and building a rapport with the child. The sitter must know how to deal with misbehavior and comfort a child, practice safety for self and the child while in the home, and inspect toys to make sure that they are safe. Berry’s cardinal rule is to treat the child the way you would like to be treated. She gives detailed instructions exactly how to do everything that has been outlined above.

I cannot think of anything that has not been covered in this guide. It is a must for any child contemplating babysitting as well as the parents of the sitter and prospective employers. While much of this book is common sense, Berry’s ability to pull things together concisely and clearly is unparalleled. The cartoon illustrations are well done adding to the appeal and effectiveness of the book. Highly recommended and appropriate for children age eight and above. Book is available in hard cover, paperback and kindle formats.

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TURTLE TRUTHS

Samantha Loses The Box Turtle

Written by Daisy Griffin
Illustrated by Matthew Gauvin
SamanthaLosesTheBoxTurtlepic
This book is a fictional story about a girl named Samantha who is traveling with her grandparents and two younger sisters when a box turtle suddenly crosses the road. She pleads with them to stop, and to her surprise grandpa not only rescues the turtle but hands it to her. Once they return home, the girls plead with their parents to keep it, but mom explains that a box turtle needs to live in the wild. She agrees that they can keep it until the next day. Samantha also gets her teacher’s permission to bring the turtle to school.

Many adventures ensue as the turtle they have named Gayzer manages to escape both at home and in the classroom. Samantha introduces us to several of her friends and their reactions to her turtle. Because they are studying the food chain in science, their teacher, Mrs. Klutz, has devised a very clever “answer the question and pass the turtle” game to teach the children. At the same time, the reader is learning a lot of facts about turtles, nature and ecosystems. An element of suspense is introduced when the turtle goes missing and the neighborhood cat somehow gets into the classroom. This causes the entire student body to go into an uproar as everyone in the room desperately searches for Gayzer Samantha is supposed to protect and return her turtle to the nature preserve after school. Now she feels guilty that she may have caused it harm.

This chapter book with beautiful black and white illustrations is just over one hundred pages. The charming way the story is told will entertain children in first grade and up if read in chapters. Older children will amass a great deal of information about reptiles and nature; such as, how to tell the sex of a turtle, what they eat, how they survive in their habitats, and how long they live. The adult characters guide the children, but do not preach or make decisions for them. There is just the right amount of humor like naming the teacher Mrs. Klutz, and the toddler sister placing stickers on the turtle so that she could identify it when searching for it in the nature preserve. I thought the questions based on the book at the end were well done and an excellent resource for teachers to test comprehension. In the conclusion, the author reveals that the story is based on the real life experience of a family with three daughters and grandparents who rescue a box turtle named Gayzer and release it to a nature preserve. She also provides additional fun facts about box turtles and includes her website www.samsanimals.info. I am looking forward to many more animal adventure stories with Samantha and her family.

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PRINCESS IN PERIL

The Escape of Princess Madeline

Written by Kirstin Pulioff

EscapeofPrincessMadelinepic

This book has been classified as a young adult novella. The protagonist is Princess Madeline and the setting is the medieval kingdom of Soron. Madeline’s mother,  Queen Eleanor, is introduced in the Prologue by the wizard Elias and again alluded to in the Epilogue. The subtlety of these allusions will become evident to the reader at the conclusion of the tale.

At the beginning of the story, we meet Princess Madeline and her twin brother Braden. They will soon be celebrating their sixteenth birthdays. Madeline’s best friend in Sophia who is a commoner. Alas! She cannot really understand the life of a princess. Sophia is in love with Braden and it seems that her dreams of happiness with him are doomed. King Theodore has attempted to raise his children to be proper heirs of the kingdom, but Madeline is a determined, headstrong and passionate princess who has begun to question her father’s authority. He presents Madeline with a beautiful green gown that was once worn my the mother she never knew. The trouble begins when Madeline learns that the ball to celebrate her birthday is really an opportunity for all the royal suitors to compete for her hand. Enraged by this prospect, Madeline wears another gown in defiance and then feigns illness to escape the ball. This behavior infuriates her father and embarrasses the family.

When Madeline is awakened by Sophia the next morning, she learns that there is to be a jousting tournament to determine which of the knights will become her Knight Protector. Her father forces her to attend. She spies a young knight named Daniel who evokes “butterflies in her stomach” and other unexplained emotions in her head. Madeline disappears from her viewing point before the end of the contest. She is determined to escape what she feels is a life in prison.

When her disappearance is discovered, all the knights in the kingdom go to search for her. Daniel, especially is determined to win her back. Madeline is clever; she switches her gown with the clothes of a peasant girl that she meets in the forest. She bribes her with a bag of gold coins. But Daniel discovers that the family is hiding the royal dress and finds out that Madeline is still alive. Madeline is alive but she has been captured by bandits in the forest. This young pampered princess has never had to use survival skills, but she is clever and strong. She manages to escape not once but twice. Things are looking gloomy for her; Madeline has learned a few lessons about family, love, and responsibility along her journey. The wizard Elias and his green robed elves make an appearance. Here is where the author successfully merges the fantasy environment with the strong characters and modern day coming of age plot.  What will happen to Madeline? Does Daniel win the princess?  Will the king and his daughter mend their relationship?

This book contains in depth character studies and a story line that moves along well with a few twists and turns. Mature middle grade readers might enjoy the fantasy elements though the plot is more suitable for young adult readers. In fact, I did feel like I was reading a story more intended for an adult audience so my suggested audience would be twelve plus. Looking forward to hearing more about Princess Madeline and her life’s journey.

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