Monthly Archives: February 2014

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story of the Underground Railroad

Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story of the Underground Railroad
Henry’s Freedom Box
A True Story of the Underground Railroad
 
Written by: Ellen Levine
Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson
Scholastic Press, January 2007, Historical Fiction
Suitable for ages: 7-10
 
Themes/Topics: Biography and Autobiography, Slavery, Underground Railroad,  Abolition, Determination and Perseverance
 
Brief Synopsis: Henry is born a slave one day around 1830 in the state of Virginia. But Henry does not know his birthdate or his age.  As a child, Henry is sold and taken away from his mother and family. Many years later, his wife and young children are also taken away from him and sold. Henry doesn’t know his birthday, but knows one day he wants freedom. Through heartbreak and time Henry finds others who want the same for him and he is able to break free from bondage.
 
Opening pages:  “Henry Brown wasn’t sure how old he was. Henry was a slave. And slaves weren’t allowed to know their birthdays.
 
Henry and his brothers and sisters worked in the big house where the master lived. Henry’s master had been good to Henry and his family.
 
But Henry’s mother knew things could change. “Do you see those leaves blowing in the wind? They are torn from the trees like slave children are torn from their families.”
 
Why I like this book: Freedom. It’s something children desire very early in life. Humans want choice and independence. It’s what Henry wants but he is born in a time when his freedom is not allowed. This Caldecott Honor Book introduces kids to a very complex time in US history through a biography loosely based on a true story of a slave named Henry “Box’’ Brown.  Henry is sold to another master as a young child but tries to make the best of a terrible situation. He marries and has a family of his own and they mean the world to him. Then his wife and children are sold and Henry is devastated. Henry then enlists the help of an abolitionist and together they make a plan to mail Henry through the Underground Railroad to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and freedom. Kadir Nelson’s illustrations are wonderfully supportive of the story. Readers of all ages can identify with Henry when he is accepting of his situation, when he is happy and when he is filled with despair. And all readers will certainly want for Henry what he wants for himself- freedom.
 
Resources:
http://library.echs.edwrds.k12.il.us/book-awards/information-contained-on-pages/bluestem-resources/Henrys%20Freedom%20Box.pdf
http://vimeo.com/20964070
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/henrys-freedom-box-lesson-plan
 
henry

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds

Carnivores

Written by: Aaron Reynolds

Illustrated by: Dan Santat

Chronicle Books, August 2013, Fiction

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: nature, differences, self-awareness, accepting who you are

Brief Synopsis: The lion, great white shark and timber wolf are feeling misunderstood and sad because other animals fear them just because they eat their relatives.

Opening pages:  “The lion is known throughout the animal kingdom as the “”king of beasts.” The great white shark is the most feared predator in the oceans. And the Timber wolf’s howl strikes terror into the hearts of fuzzy woodland creatures everywhere. But even SAVAGE CARNIVORES get their feelings hurt.

Why I like this book: Carnivores is hilarious. The lion, great white shark and timber wolf are feeling rejected. They come up with ideas so the other animals will like them but their solutions fail because it’s just not the way the animal kingdom works. They are predators and come to accept themselves as they are…and at the end you learn they truly are what they are…carnivores. Belly laugh funny!

Resources:

http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/ChronicleClassroom/Carnivores_TeachersGuide_4.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mgt8k8Dle-Q

carnivores

2014 King Cake Festival Winners!!

2014 King Cake Festival Winners!!

2014 King Cake Festival Winners! Congratulations!

Best Traditional King Cake: Bakers Dozen
Best Filled King Cake: Mr. RONNIE’S FAMOUS HOT DONUTS
Best Savory King Cake: Loretta’s Authentic Pralines
Best Non-Traditional King Cake: Ye Olde Bake Shoppe
Best Baby: Thee Heavenly Donut
Best Looking King Cake: Bakers Dozen

People’s Choice:
3rd Place: Maurice French Pastries
2nd Place: Manny Randazzo’s
1st Place Haydel’s Bakery

kc fest haydel winner

Later Tartan Gator: A New Orleans Tale

Later Tartan Gator: A New Orleans Tale
Later Tartan Gator: A New Orleans Tale
Written by: Lorraine Johnston
Illustrated by: Preston Asevedo
Mascot Books, April 2013, Fiction
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: kindness, courage, community, cultural awareness
 
Brief Synopsis: An alligator at the New Orleans Audubon Zoo gets into colorful trouble when Scottish tourists ignore the sign “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS AT ANY TIME”. A little girl comes to the rescue through the help of local shopkeepers.
 
Opening pages:  “If you’re ever going to visit Audubon Zoo, remember this story, it is quite true. There is an old alligator who sits in his pen. He’s got quite a story, it all started when…”
 
Why I like this book: Later Tartan Gator: A New Orleans Tale written by Scottish author Lorraine Johnston weaves the love of her own culture with the culture of New Orleans through her choice of setting and characters. Themes and topics addressed are valuable teaching tools. The alligator learns there are consequences when rules are broken. A little girl shows kindness and courage by her desire and actions to help him solve his problem. And through cooperation with a community chocolate shop, the little girl helps the alligator return to his original self.

 LTG