Tag Archives: review

Earth Day Books

Earth Day was celebrated recently around the globe. What better way to celebrate than with books that create a lasting impression and support readers of all ages.

Garden Wonders: A Guidebook for Little Green Thumbs

For young students and budding gardeners, here’s a perfect picture book to celebrate the abundance of gardens. Garden Wonders, A Guidebook for Little Green Thumbs by Sarah Grindler shows how plants grow, what is needed to help plants to flourish, how you can feed the soil with compost, what plants do for nature and much more. The book has activities and is perfect to use if you have a school garden. It even comes with a package of wildflower seeds! This title complements the Little Explorers series which includes Seaside Treasures and Forest Magic. ISBN 978-1-77471-143-9, Nimbus Publishing

A Tree Is a Home
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

Books I reviewed previously but perfect to use for Earth Day, include A Tree is a Home by Pamela Hickman and Zafouko Yamamoto is a beautiful picturebook to share with young readers when looking at the importance of all things tree-related (Kids Can Press). One Well, the Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss focuses on the water on earth in all of its forms and how it effects all life (ISBN 1525302361, Kids Can Press).

In My Backyard

I wrote a book called In My Backyard (Tundra Books) which shows common critters that live in urban backyards. The art includes hidden animals and a ladybug to spot on each page.  ISBN 978-0887767753, Tundra Books

Tying into Earth Day and climate change are these two nonfiction picture books:

50 Climate Questions: A Blizzard of Blistering Facts

50 Climate Questions by Peter Christie and Ross Kinnard is an appealing book chock ful of fun illustrations and jokes but also dead-serious facts about the environment and the effect humans are having on it, as well as what we can change to improve. This is not a new title but, unfortunately, every bit as relevant today. ISBN 978-1-55451-374-1, Annick Press

Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World

Trash Talk by Michelle Mulder is a great title in Orca’s Footprint series. The subtitle is Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World. This book, too, hones in on the amount of packaging we use and how we can change that, thereby reducing our waste. Besides facts and suggestions the book offers many real examples of kids and groups working towards a better world. ISBN 978-1-4598-0692-4, Orca Book Publishers

Two Degrees

Two Degrees by Alan Gratz. I was already a fan of Alan Gratz’ s powerful writing, especially in Ban That Book, a realistic fiction story about a school library and censorship. 

Two Degrees is a riveting read for both kids and adults. It brings home the message about climate change and global warming in an even more urgent way than any nonfiction book I have read.  

In his book Refugees, Gratz used tales of seemingly unconnected people, bringing them together in a skillful way at the end. He does the same admirable job in Two Degrees, showing that all places and people are ultimately connected. 

Using three different settings across North America, Gratz spins a realistic tale of what is happening to our planet right now, right here. Two boys in the Arctic face danger as polar bears are effected by think ice. A girl in Miami is caught up in the hurricane of the century while Akira in California needs to outrun a wildfire that is set on destroying her home and her life.

A fantastic read for anyone which brings home the urgent need for all of us to change our ways now. As Alan Gratz states in the very end of this book: “If the bad news is that humans are causing the climate crisis we face now, the good news is, we have the power to fix it. It’s your world, your future. It’s up to you to decide what you want that future to look like, and what you can do to make it happen.”  ISBN 978-1338735673, Scholastic

Margriet Ruurs is a Canadian author of over 40 books for children. She conducts author visits to International Schools anywhere.

http://www.margrietruurs.com

BOOKS for booklovers

As an avid reader and writer, I love books about books and libraries. Here are some outstanding ones.

Every once in a while you pick up a book that makes its way straight to your heart: Alphamaniacs, Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word, written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is such a book.  The text is a poetic description of  26 people who made a difference in the world of language – some are writers, others invented a new style or printed books in a new, unique way. Rather than a summation of biographies the author used the voice of a circus ringmaster to introduce each ‘Wonder of the Word’. There is Jean-Dominique Bauby who became paralyzed except for one eye lid and ended up dictating an entire novel by blinking the letters. An astonishing feat. Jumping back and forth through the ages, the book celebrates European writers and native Americans, among others. One is Jessie Little Doe Baird who singlehanded saved her Wampanoag language, actually bringing it back from extinction. There’s the inventor of Klingon as well as the creator of Esperanto, a universal language created by Ludwik Zamenhof in Poland in hopes of promoting peace and understanding between people.

Each story is accompanied by a piece of art by the incredible master of collage, Caldecott Honor illustrator Melissa Sweet, making this book is a feast for the eye and ear of any booklover. 

Candlewick Studio, ISBN 978-0763690663 

FROM A CHILD OF BOOKS

Another book I fell in love with is the picturebook A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston. One of those fabulous books for anyone who knows the value of stories, this one starts with a pen and a blank page. Then the main character takes us along on a celebration of books, through illustrations composed of words from those very books. While sailing the ocean, the words forming the waves are from books like Ten Thousand Leagues Under The SeaThe Swiss Family Robinson and more. Kids climb mountains of words from Peter Pan to reach the sky. They discover treasure and wander through forests made of book spines. I love this book and its powerful images, and I suspect that booklovers of all ages will love it, too.

Candlewick Press, ISBN 978-0-7636-9077-9

Oliver Jeffers is also the creator of The Incredible Book Eating Boy, a hilarious picture book to share with Kindergartens or older. Henry devours books, literally. The more he eats, the smarter he gets. Until he is so stuff full of books that he gets a tummy ache. Then he discovers that reading books is much better than eating books, and he gets smarter yet. The ‘real bite’ out of the back cover is a fun bonus.

ASIN : B007XJ7388

The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

As soon as I spotted this novel for young readers in my local bookstore, I knew I had to own it. And it was a wise choice. As I read, I met Lenora and traveled along on her wild adventures through the ages and around the globe, all entered through a library. 

Lenora is ‘hired’ as Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian and climbs her way up the library ladder, through solving problems and risking her life for knowledge. ‘Knowledge is a Light’ is the library’s slogan, chiseled in stone, and Lenore knows it’s true, especially when she encounters dark forces who want to get rid of books and ban others from gathering knowledge through reading.

I’ve read many other books with a library theme: Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library for instance. But those books are merely fun entertainment. The Library of Ever actually has a whole layer beyond its entertainment value that, almost imperceptibly, demonstrates the importance of books, research and the freedom to read.

I soon loved how this unique book blends fantasy with true questions, asked at the Help Desk and whose answers can be found only be doing research. The book is very cleverly written because we all have asked some of the questions and often have made the mistake of not enough fact checking. Reading, I learned some very interesting facts – from the highest point on earth (not what you think!) to Minoan Literature, from leap years to hieroglyphs. Readers’ minds can truly grow on this book.

Underlying all of Lenora’s adventures is the threat of Dark Forces. As the Chief Librarian states at one point: ‘the value of a Library cannot be counted in money.’ Same with the book – it was well worth the 10.- purchase price and both my grandson and I gained much more from the reading experience than just fun hours spent reading together. We kept sharing what we learned by saying “Did you know this? And listen to this!”…

Fantasy is not normally a genre I enjoy but now I can’t wait to read the next title: Rebel in the Library of Ever.

@ZAlexanderBooks

ISBN 978-1-250-23370-7