Year of the Jungle

Children dealing with deployed parents can gain comfort from Year of the Jungle by Suzanne Collins (yes, the author of The Hunger Games). Collin's father was deployed to Viet Nam when she was six.  In this picture book, she remembers what life was like with her dad gone, and the questions she asked about his... Continue Reading →

Keeping Score

Maggie Fortini listens to every game her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers play, usually at the firehouse with her father’s former co-workers.  When Jim joins the firehouse, she is shocked to discover he is a huge fan of the Dodgers arch-rivals, the New York Giants.  She determines to never be his friend. But slowly, he wins her... Continue Reading →

Queen of the Falls

Not very many people have braved riding Niagara Falls - what a fearful idea!  But some have done it, and survived.  Perhaps none as interesting as Annie Edson Taylor. In Queen of the Falls, Chris Van Allsburg tells Taylor's story - what gave her the idea to go over the falls, how she accomplished it,... Continue Reading →

Duke

Children and teens sometimes wrestle with the question of courage - what does it mean to be courageous? How can I have courage when I'm so scared? Hobie Hansen constantly asks himself those questions, especially since his dad is courageously fighting in World War II.  He finds great comfort in his dog Duke, who accompanies... Continue Reading →

Pearl

Children can have a hard time thinking of history in personal terms.  It happened so long ago, to strangers - it's hard to imagine they are real people. That's why I like Pearl by Debby Atwell so much.  Pearl traces the history of America from it's roots to the 1960's through the story of one... Continue Reading →

Soldier’s Heart

The newspapers today are full of stories of soldiers struggling to re-adapt to civilian life, living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among other things.  It made me ask the question - what about the soldiers of the past?  Did veterans of World War I or II suffer from similar issues?  What about those who fought... Continue Reading →

Clara and the Bookwagon

It's hard to imagine a time when books were expensive and not readily available, especially for children. Clara and the Bookwagon by Nancy Smiler Levinson tells the story of Clara, who badly wants to learn to read, but does not have anyone to teach her.  Clara lives on a small farm, where there are no... Continue Reading →

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