More Than Anything Else

Written by Marie Bradby

Illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet

Published by Orchard Books (September 1, 1995)

 

This book is about the young boy who wants to learn to read. But he must work for now. The Booker T. Washington don’t give up his hope by the difficulties his having in life. I think that is the most inspirational message this book is telling to readers.

We are currently living in a society where most people can afford to go to school. But other side of the world, there are still young children who can’t afford to go to school or not have enough to eat. I think this book is great for young readers to learn about the situation and appreciate their opportunity to learn.

This book reminds me of my grandmother who always told me how she always wanted to learn how to read when she was young. But she had to work for her family to survive. When I was child, I had tons of books at my house. My grandmother loved to read children’s book and she told me learning process is so wonderful and glorious. I really hope every children in the world can be happy and able to learn equally.

 

Kirkus Review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/marie-bradby/more-than-anything-else/

Audiobook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beEMU9YOBnU

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Ain’t Nobody a Stranger to Me

Written by Ann Grifalconi

Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Published by Jump At The Sun (March 27, 2007)

 

An old man tells a story of his escape to his granddaughter. He escaped to have a freedom in him and his family’s life. This incredible story talks about how the people of colored survived through the time when there were extreme racial discrimination.

The illustration has very oily paint looking, and I think it really activates the story. This story tells the readers that there shouldn’t be any discrimination happen with the appearance. I highly recommend this literature work to young readers who are age around 7 to up, who are starting to learn about history of the world.

 

Review by Publisher Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-7868-1857-0

Article about Racism: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/books/review/a-history-of-race-and-racism-in-america-in-24-chapters.html

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The Harmonica

Written by Tony Johnston

Illustrated by Ron Mazellan

Published by Charlesbridge; 1 edition (July 1, 2008)

 

Holocaust is tragic historical event that happened in the past. Nazis invasion of Poland has separated many family and destroyed their lives. This book is inspired by a true story. This heartbreaking story shows little boy who is separated by his parents. He has the harmonica that keep his hope alive.

“I cannot remember my father’s face, or my mother’s, but I remember their love, warm and enfolding as a song”. It’s miserable to see naive people sacrifices their lives because of the selfishness of human being. I was heart broken when I read this book, because mostly it’s based on a true story. This book talks about the tragedy that everyone must need to know and learn about. The Harmonica is a great book for young readers to learn about the historical event and how this kind of tragic event can destroy people’s lives.

 

Review by Publishers weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-57091-547-5

What is Holocaust?: http://www.projetaladin.org/holocaust/en/history-of-the-holocaust-shoah/holocaust-the-basics/what-is-the-holocaust.html

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The Other Side

Written by Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (January 15, 2001)

 

Clover lives in a place that is separated with fence. The fence separates White people and African-American side of the town. Anna is Clover’s friend who is living opposite side of the fence, and Clover’s mom tells her not to go around the fence. But two girl’s genuine friendship makes beautiful harmony.

I love this beautiful friendship that two young girls are having in this book. I think this is what is so great about the children’s literature. I’m always so thankful and touched when children have their pure mind to look at the world. This book honors diversity, and talks about that appearance does not matter. This book gives a message that combat racial discrimination during the certain historical era.

 

Interview of Jacqueline Woodson: http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/woodson

Audiobook: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C80HdoDkHxY

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My Name is Yoon

Written by Helen Recorvits

Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Published by Square Fish; Reprint edition (June 10, 2014)

 

Yoon is little girl from Korea who is living in the United States. When she first write letters in Korean, the words look like dancing figures. Yoon’s name means shining wisdom, and she enjoys learning Korean letters. But Yoon’s father ask her to learn to write English. As Yoon learns English, it feels like every words are standing alone by itself. That is what Yoon feels like living in the United States.

This picture book has beautiful illustration with inspirational story. Yoon’s experience shows how children from immigrant family might feel about themselves living in other country. I think this book can give encouragement to children who are struggling with their cultural backgrounds and identity. I could relate myself to this book, because the what Yoon feels about herself is what sometime I feel about myself in the United States.

 

Picturebook Narration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kawh9S_UUU

Review: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-374-35114-4

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The Book Thief

Written by Markus Zusak

Published by Alfred A. Knopf; Reprint edition (September 11, 2007)

 

Beautiful thief. Is this word even possible?

This book was on the Best Seller List of The New York Times for 230 weeks. Also, this book has been released to a movie. Liesel is a little girl who is living in Germany. Because of her parents don’t have ability to take care of Liesel and her brother, they are leaving to leave with their foster parents. On the train, her little brother dies. At the funeral, Liesel finds the book “Grave Digger’s Handbook” and happens to steal that book. Liesel is becoming “book theif”. Liesel finds out that she wants to read books rather than not only stealing the book. Liesel’s foster father helps her to learn to read a letter. Liesel learns how to write how she truly feels with her heart. 

I could relate to myself with this book while I was reading. I never experience the war in my life, but I remember listening to my grandmother’s story during the Korean War in 1950. She told me the tragedy that she had to go through during that era, and how she felt about herself during that time. I was impressed by Liesel’s will to write with her true heart. That is what I feel about myself, because it’s hard for me to express the art with true heart. This beautiful best selling book has strong inspirational story that can motivate middle age children. I think the messages of this book is beautiful and delicate to young readers.

Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjWOkiLlkpE

Book Review: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19063.The_Book_Thief

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Number the Stars

Written by Lois Lowry

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (May 2, 2011)

 

This book is about the historical era during Nazi’s occupation. This book mainly talks about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943. Annemarie is a girl who has best friend name Ellen. Ellen was a girl who has star necklace that represent the Star of David. Two girls couldn’t even go to school together sometimes, because of the German military. One day, Ellen’s family finally had to escape. Annemarie’s family help Ellen’s family that they could escape safely. The final day, Annemarie helped Ellen’s family with her whole heart.

I was drawn to this historical fiction, because it arouse sympathy from readers with the two girl’s friendship and love. Even though Ellen was Jews, Annemarie and her family did not discriminate Ellen’s family by their race. Reading this book brought me into tears. Seeing tragic situation like the Nazi’s occupation and Jewish people’s sacrifice was extremely emotional to see. I highly recommend this book to middle age children. This book shows how this young girl combats for freedom and diversity long time ago in our history.

 

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImH2-2lZTVw

Historical information about Nazi’s occupation: http://www.theholocaustexplained.org/ks3/life-in-nazi-occupied-europe/jews-in-occupied-countries/which-countries-did-the-nazi-occupy/#.WQuxlVM1_Vo

 

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The Name Jar

Written by Yangsook Choi

Illustrated by Yangsook Choi

Published by Random House Children’s Books

 

Unhei is little girl who was living in Korea. She left Korea and come to America with her parents. At the airport, her grandmother gave little wooden block with Unhei’s carved. This become Unhei’s treasure. When Unhei started her first day of the school in America, her classmates had hard time to pronounce Unhei’s name and she was ashamed of it. Her classmates suggested the American name and put the slip in the glass jar, so Unhei can choose her “American” name. One day, Joey, Unhei’s friend told her about the beauty of Unhei’s name and how special it is. Unhei realizes how beautiful her name is, and decides to keep her Korean name.

This book by Yangsook Choi has beautiful illustration with beautiful story that teaches children the value of their background identity. I could relate myself to this book, because I am from Korea too. Living with different cultural background in another country is challenging, and always remember the importance of cultural background and root is extremely important. I think this book can arouse sympathy from children who are living in other country with different cultural background. Also, for children who hasn’t learned a lot about other culture’s diversity can learn a lot from this book.

 

Lesson plan: http://pbskids.org/lions/parentsteachers/pdf/RABC2-TheNameJar.pdf

Book Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1w5GmZ3ETw

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Written by John Boyne

Published by David Fickling Books on September 12th 2006

Little boy Bruno move to a new house. Bruno’s father is got a call from government that their family must move to a new place where is very far away from where they lived before. Bruno loves to explore outside of the fence, and he has genuine heart to see things differently. One day, Bruno meets Shmuel who is the opposite side of the fence. They became best friend, and shared everything. All of a sudden, Shmuel tells Bruno that he can’t find his dad. So Bruno changed to striped pajama and crawl under the fence to help Shmuel finds his dad.

This book has been made to movie as well, and I think this literature work shows tragedy  that was caused from the racial discrimination. History can be too literacy for children to learn and acquire. This book arouse sympathy based on the historical event. This book can be a great learning source for middle age children to learn about the historical issue with more accessibility.

 

The movie trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ypMp0s5Hiw

Book review: https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/sep/04/review-john-boyne-boy-in-striped-pyjamas

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The Secret Garden

Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Illustrated by Tasha Tudor

Published by Harper

 

Mary Lennox was sent to Yorkshire Moore to live with her uncle when her parents passed away. Mary was selfish and spoiled because she was raised by nanny who did everything she wanted to do. Mary was not welcome when she was born, so she did not know what meaning of love was. When she got to her uncle’s house, Mary was against of everything in new house. When Mary meets Martha, who is the housemaid, and new friends at new house, Mary started to change. Mary finds secret garden that was mysterious and unknown, and her life changed.

The Secret Garden is classic fiction that was published in 1911. With that reason, this book has lots of different contents that we can’t encounter in modern society. This classic story doesn’t have much diversity inside, but it’s beautiful as it is. This book can be an opportunity for children to learn what life was like in the past. In addition, Mary Lennox’s overcome story can be positively affect children to grow their encouragement and hope.

 

Goodreads Review: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2998.The_Secret_Garden

Review of the reader: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwCHOHOQr-o

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