Friday, June 29, 2018

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban

Pink is for Boys 
by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban
Published June 5, 2018
Running Press
40 pages
Review copy (F&G) was provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Pink is for boys . . . and girls . . . and everyone! This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. Featuring a diverse group of relatable characters, Pink Is for Boys invites and encourages girls and boys to enjoy what they love to do, whether it's racing cars and playing baseball, or loving unicorns and dressing up. Vibrant illustrations help children learn and identify the myriad colors that surround them every day, from the orange of a popsicle, to the green of a grassy field, all the way up to the wonder of a multicolored rainbow.

Parents and kids will delight in Robb Pearlman's sweet, simple script, as well as its powerful message: life is not color-coded.

My Thoughts
How often have we heard kids (and adults) talk about colors like pink and purple being "girl" colors or associated with femininity?
This book reinforces the concept that colors do not have a gender specificity and ALL colors are for ALL people. 
The repeating text is sparse, but effective. Children will quickly be able to learn the story and read it themselves. 
However, the illustrations by Eda Kaban really bring this book to life. Each page is depicted in the color being showcased and the last pages put all the beautiful colors together. The characters are simply adorable with many ethnicities and abilities being represented so children will find someone that looks like them. 

I would happily share this story to kids ages 2-6

See what others have to say about this book. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Anna and Johanna by Geraldine Elschner and Florence Koenig

Anna and Johanna 
by Geraldine Elschner and Florence Koenig
Published February, 2018
Prestel Publishing
Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Although one is the daughter of a wealthy Dutch family and the other a household servant, Anna and Johanna become friends. Born on the same day, they celebrate their joint birthdays by making gifts for each other. But then a letter arrives that changes their lives forever. Told against the backdrop of the 17th-century Dutch city of Delft and its thriving commercial and artistic culture, this story of an unlikely friendship echoes the themes of Vermeer's luminous depiction of domestic life. Florence Koenig's brightly colored illustrations evoke Vermeer's style through the city's multifaceted landscapes, from misty mornings by the canals to busy households preparing for a special day. Young readers will be fascinated by this uplifting story of friendship inspired by Jan Vermeer.

My Thoughts
This beautiful book was translated from the original French version. Each page looks like a painting in a museum. You can actually see the brush strokes on the page. I found this fictional story, inspired by two of Jan Vermeer's paintings, to be quite interesting. Readers will like the twist in the story and the satisfying ending. 
I really like how this book ties art with story. It would be fun to show two paintings to students and have them create a story using the images for inspiration. 
The back matter tells more about Vermeer, how works and more about the two paintings that inspired the book.
The book is not a short picture book to read and I struggled a bit with the font size and style. While it is listed for ages 4-8 I would recommend it for slightly older readers ages 6-10. 

See what others have to say about this book.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Louisiana's Way Home 
by Kate DiCamillo
Expected Publication Oct 2, 2018
Candlewick Press
Middle Grade
227 Pages
Advanced Reader's copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo comes a story of discovering who you are — and deciding who you want to be.
When Louisiana Elefante’s granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has many middle-of-the-night ideas. But this time, things are different. This time, Granny intends for them never to return. Separated from her best friends, Raymie and Beverly, Louisiana struggles to oppose the winds of fate (and Granny) and find a way home. But as Louisiana’s life becomes entwined with the lives of the people of a small Georgia town — including a surly motel owner, a walrus-like minister, and a mysterious boy with a crow on his shoulder — she starts to worry that she is destined only for good-byes. (Which could be due to the curse on Louisiana’s and Granny’s heads. But that is a story for another time.)

Called “one of DiCamillo’s most singular and arresting creations” by The New York Times Book Review, the heartbreakingly irresistible Louisiana Elefante was introduced to readers in Raymie Nightingale — and now, with humor and tenderness, Kate DiCamillo returns to tell her story.

My Thoughts
First off, I LOVED Raymie Nightingale (DiCamillo 2016) and Louisiana was my favorite character in the book. I was thrilled to get to spend more time with her in this book. So my thoughts are probably a bit skewed. Louisiana is a character like no other. She has a unique way of expressing herself and her voice is very strong throughout the book. The way she views the world is very different to say the least. She is both brazen and innocent at the same time. Although the story seems a bit far-fetched, it all just seems very "Louisiana" to me. Nothing surprised me (well almost nothing). I was not surprised when Granny needed her teeth out or when 12 year-old Louisiana drove the car, or when they landed in a motel room with no money to pay. In true DiCamillo style, readers will meet and get to know new and interesting characters. There are two cranky women who are always in various stages of curling their hair, three characters named Burke, and a nurturing, cake-baking mother. 
Of course Granny is an intriguing character in her own right. She is grumpy, non-nonsense, cunning and fiercely protective. I think she could have her own story explained in a book some time. 

The ending is surprising and satisfying and just seems "right". Readers will love Louisiana with her swampy lungs, fainting spells, beautiful singing voice and her adorably woeful outlook. 

I would recommend this book for grades 4-6. 

See what others have to say about this book:
Publishers Weekly

Monday, June 4, 2018

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? June 4, 2018

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here is my reading from this week. Click on the book covers to learn more about them.

Poetry-not for my taste, but interesting. 

An excellent historical fiction picture book for middle grades. 

Really enjoyed this new MG novel from Jennifer Richard Jacobson! Coming in August. 

Currently Listening

What are you reading friends?