The Coffee Can Kid

The Coffee Can Kid

Little Annie wants her dad to tell a story.  So she pulls down the blue coffee can, curls up on his lap, and listens to the story about the coffee can kid. Her father tells her of a baby born to a very poor mother in a land far away.  This mother, and grandmother could not care for the baby.  So the mother decides to take the baby somewhere she can have a better life. As you can guess, the baby is Annie, whom her mother named Dong Hee, or...

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A Dance Like Starlight

A Dance Like Starlight

All children have dreams, hopes and wishes.  One little girl’s wish feels unrealistic – she cannot find a star to wish upon in the bright night sky of New York City. But her mother finds a way to nurture her daughter’s dream – reminding her that hope is hard work, and demonstrating that fact by her own hard work. Then, she delays the fulfillment of her dream to continue to nurture her daughter’s dream to be a...

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Behind Rebel Lines

Behind Rebel Lines

Recently, my children and I learned quite a bit about the work women did to help the war effort during the Civil War.  Quite a few women dressed up as men, and joined the army.  Other women were couriers or spies. Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy by Seymour Reit details one such woman. And she was pretty amazing.  Emma Edmonds joined the Union Army as Franklin Thomas.  She wanted to be a nurse on the...

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Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Mrs. Frisby, a timid, widowed mouse, has a dilemma.  And it’s dire.  Her youngest son, always weak, has taken seriously ill.  Thankfully, he’s recovering, but he cannot move to their summer home before the plow comes through the garden and wrecks their winter home. What can she do? Courageously, she seeks advice from some unlikely creatures, which leads her to the rats.  Mrs. Frisby has avoided the rats her whole life.  But now, she...

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The Case of the Deadly Desperados

The Case of the Deadly Desperados

P.K. Pinkerton is in deep trouble… in more ways than one.  He is at the bottom of a silver mine, trying to figure out a way to outwit Wittlin’ Walt, the Very Bad Man after his inheritance. This is where we find P.K. at the beginning of The Case of the Deadly Desperados, by Caroline Lawrence (who also wrote The Roman Mystery series – another series my kids and I really enjoy).  How he ended up there, and how he escapes,...

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Words in the Dust

Words in the Dust

What is truly amazing about Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy is that this young man could write such a beautiful book from the first-person perspective of a young Afgani girl. Zulaikha (thankfully, there’s pronunciation guide in the back of the book) loves her family, especially her older sister and her father.  They don’t make a big deal about her cleft lip.  Her little brothers used to ignore it too.  But now that they’re getting...

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A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson

A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson

You haven’t heard of Peanut Johnson?  That’s OK, not many have.  If you love baseball, even if you don’t, you will enjoy A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson by Michelle Y. Green. Written in first person, Green did an excellent job capturing the voice of Mamie Johnson, her expressions, interjections and southern drawl.  She also captured Mamie’s love for baseball – a passion so strong it took Johnson into...

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