Friday, August 10, 2018

PICTURE BOOK 10 for 10

Picture Book 10-for-10 is one of my favorite days of the entire year! It's the day I have to hide my debit card, so I don't go totally out of control buying all of the new books that people share. Some years I am wonderfully clever, and actually have a theme. This year I'm just sharing some books that I am looking forward to reading when school starts next year. You can check out a zillion great collections (remember to hide your debit card first!) in the Google PB 10-for-10 community.

by Ryan T. Higgins
When Penelope Rex arrives at the first day of school, she discovers that all of her classmates are children. She eats them, because children are delicious. The next day she goes back with good intentions, but again accidentally eats a classmate. It takes Walter, the class goldfish, to teach her an important lesson. Thanks to the ever brilliantTamara Jaimes for sharing this one with me!

as told by Dave Horowitz
Once there was an old stonecutter named Stanley (who just happens to be a frog). He was good at his job, but stonecutting was hard and Stanley wanted to do something a little easier. On the way back from the quarry, one day, he noticed a businessman sipping tea, and wished he could do that. And somehow magically he was a businessman, and then the king, and then he got tired of that and wanted to be the sun and, well you get the picture! Be sure to read the author's note at the beginning

Minh Le and Dan Santat
An Asian grandfather babysits his very assimilated American grandson. At first, the two don't seem to have much to say to each other, but then their sketchbooks create common ground.

by Julia Durango, illustrated by Bianca Diaz
Every time Wilson goes to visit his grandmother, he makes a promise about all of the things he wants to do to her old rundown house. Gigi assures him that she is just fine, and that he is enough for her. Wilson also tells other people, including the ice cream man and the librarian, about Gigi's house, and one day the community arrives to help.

by Liz Garton Scanlon and Lee White

Once there was a man
living all alone in a creaky 
house on the tip-top of a steep hill.

All is well until the wind starts to blow. 

The wind blew until the 
shutters banged in the creaky 
house on the tip-top of the
steep hill.
The wind blew, the
shutters banged, and
the boards bent. 

The man is sad until a little girl named Kate arrives and plants trees. A lovely cumulative picture book about our ability to take care of our world and about  the power of trees.

by Troy Hall and Richard Jones

Wednesday the Whale lives in a fishbowl. One day, a little girl named Piper approaches the bowl and tells Wednesday that she's lovely, but that she doesn't belong in there. Her words give Wednesday the courage to try something new. Pair this one with Dan Santat's AFTER THE FALL.

by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Matt Hunt
A family moves into a new house, only to discover that there is a walrus in the bathtub. The funnest part of this book is that each page is a different list, e.g. Bad things about having a walrus in the bathtub: 1) Clam shells  2) Screechy seagulls, 3) Bathtub tidal waves. A few pages later: Ways to try to get a walrus out of the bathtub: 1) Have a clam giveaway  2) Dress up like a killer whale  3) Dress your dad up like a lady walrus. 

by Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas, illustrated by Nicola Slater
A beautiful story about the never-ending life of a tree. Based on these Wisconsin authors actual experiences-- a tree on Surratt's property is first home to animals, then a little girl's rope swing, built by a loving grandfather. Finally the tree succumbs to Dutch Elm disease and the community comes together to build a tree house around its trunk.

words by Sally Lloyd-Jones
pictures by Leo Espinosa

Three goldfish, Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss, live in a tall apartment building that overlooks an old broken-down fountain. One summer, a man arrives to fix the fountain, and then invites all of the goldfish  in the neighborhood to go on vacation for the summer. An author's note says that this is based on an actual fountain, the Hamilton Fountain, in New York City. 

by David Covell

Hey, you.
Sky's blue!
(forget your shoes)
that door

Sprout, you're out!
Chase the wind
     can you grab it?
A joyful, rhythmic poetic picture book about a child playing outside on a barefoot summer day.

Monday, August 6, 2018


One of the things I love most about summer is the opportunity to do more adult reading.  A couple of books from the summer…

THE GIRL WHO SMILED BEADS by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

Clemantine Wamariya was six when she and an older sister, Claire, fled their family's home to escape the genocide in Rwanda. Together, the two journeyed from refugee camp to refugee camp to refugee camp in Africa, and ultimately ended up in Illinois. This was a hard, sad book for me, but also a book that grew my understandings of the Rwandan genocide and of the challenges some of my immigrant children face. 

I can't remember where I heard about this book, first published in 2012, but evidently a lot of other people heard about it too, because I was on a wait list for six weeks at the library. Goff is a lawyer, and adjunct law professor at Pepperdine University, and most importantly a follower of Christ. Goff is also the founder of an organization that fights for children's rights in countries like Uganda, Nepal, and Iraq. This book is a series of short narratives, all stories from Goff's life, and the lessons or truths he has learned from each of these times. A couple of favorite quotes…

The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s  a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright. What I learned from Randy about the brand of love Jesus offers is that it’s more about presence than undertaking a project. It’s a brand of love that doesn’t just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them. What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story: Love does.  pp 8-9

Maybe Jesus wants us to be secretly incredibly instead. That was His plan for self-promotion. Secretly incredible people keep what they do one of God’s best kept secrets because the only one who needs to know, the God of the universe, already knows. 160

God pursues us into whatever dark place we’ve landed and behind whatever locked door holds us in. He holds our unwashed and dirty hands and models how He wants us to pursue each other. Sometimes that means picking up a phone and asking a stranger to do something crazy at first. He invites us to leave perfectly fine careers like Charlie did, and rather than having us apply for a position, He says our lives are the position. And He says to ordinary people like me and you, that instead of closing our eyes and bowing our heads, sometimes God wants us to keep our eyes open for people in need, do something about it, and bow our whole lives to Him instead. 181