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Archive for the ‘Unit II’ Category

Barakat, I. (2007). Tasting the sky: A Palestinian childhood. New York, NY: Melanie Kroupa Books.
This memoir follows the author from young childhood during the Six-Day War and onward.  Not only does she discuss the difficulties, she also shows that there were good things to remember, as well.

My grade: A
The writing in this book is beautifully expressive.  The author also includes a list of resources at the back for anyone wanting to learn more.

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McGill, A. (1999). Molly Bannaky. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Molly Walsh was exiled from England at the age of seventeen and sent to the American colonies for having spilled a pail of milk.  Once in America she served as an indentured servant for seven years before eventually gaining her own land.  She later purchased a slave who she eventually freed and married.  This book tells the story of Benjamin Banneker’s, a scientist and mathematician who was the first black man to write an almanac, grandmother and grandfather.

My grade: A
I had not heard this story before, so I enjoyed learning something new.  The illustrations by Chris K. Soentpiet are absolutely wonderful.

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Ada, A. F. (2002). I love Saturdays y domingos. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
A little girl explains why she loves Saturdays y domingos (and Sundays).  She spends Saturdays with her father’s parents, who are of European heritage, and Sundays with her mother’s parents, who are of Mexican and Native American heritage.  The book mixes English and Spanish throughout which reinforces the storyline.

My grade: A+
Not only does this book have a sweet story, the inclusion of Spanish gives English readers an opportunity to learn a few words.  I think children would enjoy figuring out the meaning of the Spanish words based on the English portions.

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Lowell, J. & Tuchel, T. C. (2005). My best friend Will. Shawnee Mission: Autism Asperger Publishing Co.
Jamie Lowell, the co-author of the book, is a fifth grade student whose best friend, Will, is autistic.  Using simple and accepting language, this book explains what makes Will special.

My grade: A
It’s not often that a fifth grader authors a book and this one may be more approachable because a child was involved in its writing.  The black and white pictures are nice, as well.

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Richardson, J. & Parnell, P. (2005). And tango makes three. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Roy and Silo are chinstrap penguins that live in the Central Park Zoo when they become a couple.  They watch as the other penguin couples raise babies until a zookeeper gives them an egg of their own.

My grade: A+
I had to read this book since it is so often challenged.  I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss is about.  It was such a sweet story and I felt like cheering when the zookeeper gave them an egg to raise.

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Polacco, P. (2009). In our mothers’ house. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Polacco has created a diverse family that shows how a family should be – full of love.  A lesbian couple raises three beautiful, adopted children.  The battle the hatred of one of their neighbors, but don’t let it hurt them.

My grade:  A+
Not only does this book address GLBT and mixed families (one child is African American, one White and one Asian American) in a wonderfully positive way, it also touches on aging parents.  If you read it, I think you might be blinking back a tear or two by the end.

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Yolen, J. (1988). The devil’s arithmetic. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Hannah dreads Passover at her grandparent’s house.  She’s tired of remembering and observing all the Jewish traditions.  When she opens the door to Elijah, she’s transported to Nazi Europe where she experiences the Holocaust for herself.

My grade:  A
I am partial to fantasy, so I enjoyed that aspect of this story.  I also like how Hannah gained a new perspective on her Grandfather’s behavior.

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