Monthly Archives: March 2011

John F. Kennedy, The Inaugural Address

In a handsomely bound blue cloth cover and an introduction by Caroline Kennedy, this Words that Changed America volume about President Kennedy is inspiring.  Included is Robert Frost’s poem commissioned for JFK’s inauguration.  Although John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address and excerpts … Continue reading


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Leo Lionni’s classic Frederick is a heart warming tale about the importance of words and beauty.  Although his fellow mice are storing up food for winter, Frederick soaks in the colours and sunshine around him for winter is gray, and … Continue reading

Posted in Love that art, Love that prose, Picture books, Poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Eleanor, Quiet No More

A pioneer of a first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt let her opinions about poverty, racism and women in politics be known, disregarding the negative comments.  “Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway,” is one … Continue reading

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Raccoon Tune

A family of raccoons go on their nightly food foraging in Nancy Shaw’s Raccoon Tune, a poetic picture book illustrated by Howard Fine.  A MichiganReads! book pick for 2008, this book is easy to read again and again.  The raccoons … Continue reading

Posted in Books with science links, Love that art, Love that prose, Michigan author/illustrator, Picture books, Poetry, Rhyme | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Peace, Locomotion

When Lonnie C. Motion tries to understand Peace, he struggles through his foster brother returning injured from the war, his sister Lili’s foster mother who sometimes keeps them apart, his new teacher who doesn’t think he’s a poet because he’s … Continue reading

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A is for Salad

For a fun twist on an ABC book, read Mike Lester’s A is for Salad. Watch puzzled kindergarteners or first graders as you read, and see how long it takes for them to catch on to the book’s hook.  The … Continue reading

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The Magician’s Elephant

Kate DiCamillo’s beautiful story about a boy searching for his sister and an elephant, and the adults surrounding them touches on tragedy, belief and hope.  Who cannot help but ache for Peter, who is being raised by a harsh old … Continue reading

Posted in Character-driven, Children's novels, Fantasy, strong characters, Voice | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation

Ike is writing letters again.  Wrongly accused, as always, Detective Ike LaRue is determined to find the missing cats and clear his reputation. Full of twists and turns, Mark Teague’s funny mystery gives the reader everyone’s side of the story.  In … Continue reading

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Fair Cow

Follow Effie as she gets gussied up for her trip to the state fair where she can’t help but stand out.  Maybe she can’t win the cow’s beauty pageant, but she can win at being Effie. Leslie Helakoski’s Fair Cow … Continue reading

Posted in Michigan author/illustrator, Picture books | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

Chris Raschka takes words and images, and makes them sound like Coltrane jazz.  Read it through with a class full of kids, but be ready to hand out music parts:  the raindrop gives the tempo, the box makes bass sounds, … Continue reading

Posted in Picture books, Word choice | Tagged , , | 2 Comments