Monthly Archives: April 2015

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World

A Thirst for Home: A Story of Water across the World is my pick for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Every April the school my kids attended, The Summit Country Day School, hosts Hands Across the Water, a service project that educates students about global water crises. This event supports a mission of the order that founded the school, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) Clean Water Fund. This story highlights an important struggle across the developing world – the limited availability of clean, safe, drinking water resulting in thousands of deaths each year.

Capture thirst

Brief Synopsis: In what must be the most unselfish act of love, an Ethiopian mother gives up her daughter Alemitu for adoption because she can no longer feed her. Alemitu, which means you are the world, is renamed Eva, which means life, after joining her new family in the United States.

Opening pages:  “When I was Alemitu (ah-le-mee-too), my name meant world. I lived with my emaye, or mama, in a small village in Ehiopia. The sun was always smiling down on me and whispered my name with its hot, sticky breath.”

Why I like this book: This story is about Eva, the adopted daughter of the author. From visits with Eva’s birth mother, the author experienced the plight of finding clean water. Thousands of children die each day from drinking unsafe water. This book brings attention to the scope of this problem and gives readers more information about organizations that offer help.

Resources: 6 Elements of Social Justice Ed.TeachingBooks.net, Author interview on youtube

For more book reviews from April 24, 2015, go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan is today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday and National Sibling Day!

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Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 2010)

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes:  cultural awareness, immigrant experiences, cultural conflict, sibling-rivalry, tolerance, dealing with anger, frustration, jealousy

Brief Synopsis: Rubina is invited to a birthday party and her little sister Sana asks to tag along. But Rubina tries to convince her mother it’s not a good idea to bring someone to a party when they are not invited. Rubina’s mother does not understand why bringing her little sister is a problem. She also doesn’t understand why someone would celebrate a birthday since that is not a tradition in their culture. Sana persists and although embarrassed, Rubina asks the host for permission to bring her. At the party Sana misbehaves. And not only does Sana eat the candy in her party bag when they get home, but Rubina is not invited to another party for a long time. When Sana is invited to a party, the third sibling, Maryam, asks to go too. But this time, Sana is the one who doesn’t want a tag-a-long. Rubina’s intervention helps her family understand North American culture.

Opening pages:  “I am so excited I run all the way home from school.

“Ami! I’ve been invited to a birthday party! There’s going to be games and toys, cake and ice cream! Can I go?”

Sana screams, “I wanna go too!”

Ami says, “What’s a birthday party?”

“It’s when they celebrate the day they were born.”

“Why do they do that?”

“They just do! Can I go?”

Why I like this book: I enjoyed this book because it weaves sibling rivalry in the backdrop of a story about an immigrant family from Pakistan. The are two ongoing conflicts, the first between the siblings and the second is adapting to a new culture. An excellent choice to introduce cultural awareness,teach tolerance, address cultural practices, and address the sibling dynamic present in all families regardless of heritage.

Resources: See the Teacher’s Guide here.

For more of today’s book reviews, go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.

Betty Bunny Loves Easter

Betty Bunny Loves Easter

Happy Easter Everybunny!

Betty Bunny Loves Easter is today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday! My pick for today is

Written by Michael B. Kaplan 

Illustrated by: Stéphane Jorisch

Publisher: Dial Books (February 2015)

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Easter, growing up, seeking independence, family, overcoming disappointment

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Brief Synopsis: Betty Bunny wants to become the Easter Bunny one day but when she has difficulty finding eggs on her own at an Easter egg hunt she becomes discouraged.

Opening pages:  “Betty Bunny was a handful.

She knew this because on the night before Easter, she was hopping all around the kitchen handing eggs to her parents, her brothers, and her sister. And that’s when everyone in her family said at once: “Betty Bunny, you are a handful.”

Why I like this book: Many families will recognize the character portrayed in the Betty Bunny series. She is indeed a handful! But even when naughty, Betty Bunny is loved. In this new addition to the series Betty Bunny discovers her older siblings are helping her fill her basket with eggs on the Easter egg hunt. She tells them she would prefer to find them on her own. But when she only finds one egg she decides “Easter is yucky”. Her parents encourage her to keep trying.

Resources: A page dedicated to the Easter Bunny theme can be found here.

For more of today’s book reviews, go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.