The Snowy Day Ezra Jack Keats

I expect that most who have taught children or raised children in the past fifty years, are familar with the beautiful story of a city boy’s adventures on a very snowy day. It is a story that my children wanted to hear over and over. It goes perfectly with snow fall and hot chocolate. I’m … Continue reading

The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963

When I heard that this novel has been made into a movie and will soon air on the Hallmark Channel, I wanted to read it before watching the movie. I’d seen it on YA shelves for years, but knowing what happened in Birmingham in 1963, I resisted reading it. The bombing of the church which … Continue reading

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and TR Simon

The bad things that happen to you in life don’t define misery–what you do with them does.” ~ Carrie, narrator of this wonderful YA historical fiction novel. While Carrie is fictional, the true subject of this novel, Zora Neale Hurston, is real. Hurston is perhaps the most famous woman writer from the Harlem Renaissance era. … Continue reading

“Priscilla the Great” by Sybil Nelson

This is a fun read for late elementary through middle school students. There are typical adolescent issues, such as crushes and cliques. Middle grade readers will relate to much of that narrative. Priscilla then begins to exhibit some superpowers. The revelation of the powers and the mystery surrounding her family provide suspense to keep even … Continue reading

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

“Concrete can rot. It turns green and black before crumbling away. Maybe only people from Congo know that.”¬† So begins this tale of Sophie Biyoya-Ciardulli’s summer vacation. As many modern children do, she was spending her summer break with her non-custodial parent, her mother. Unlike most children; however, her parents lived on two very different … Continue reading

“Red Scarf Girl” by Ji-li Jiang

The narrator/main character/author of this fantastic YA novel is Ji-li Jiang who lived the first ten years of her life feeling very lucky. As she describes her childhood in the beginning of the book, the reader is indeed treated to Ji-li Jiang’s description of a very lucky life. A loving and close family, a cozy … Continue reading

Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli

I came¬†across this gem during a search for books illustrated by Kadir Nelson. I was planning a study of his work as my Black History Month theme this year. As usual, Nelson’s illustrations are absolutely amazing. But the story of “Mama Miti” is also a wonderful tale of the work of Wangari Muta Maathai. Wangari … Continue reading