WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Ada’s Violin

Ada's Violin The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Book of the Month, April 2017
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Comport

Ada lives next to a landfill where people comb the trash looking for items to sell for recycling. There is little hope or stimulation in her life until a teacher offers music lessons. Inspiration flows from this true story of how children in a orchestra with instruments made from the trash becomes a international sensation. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter

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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Sachiko

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson
Book of the Month, March 2017
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson

Sachiko, was 6 years old when the bomb was dropped on her city. This book tells how she survived when her four siblings did not. The story is heart rendering and is based on five interviews the author did with Sachiko. Maps, photographs, sidebars about the period give more information. Sachiko is a finalist for the National Book Award. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Samurai Rising

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner with illustrations by Gareth Hinds
Book of the Month, February 2017
Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner with illustrations by Gareth Hinds

This brutal account of the turbulent life of Minamoto Yoshitsune comes with a warning: “Very few people in this story die of natural causes.” Yoshitsune is perhaps the most famous warrior in Japanese history and also known for committing seppuku (ritual suicide involving disembowelment). Turner helps readers understand the bloody and betrayal-filled events through relatable speculation, often involving sports and sensory references. The brush and ink illustrations by Hinds include battle maps, helpful details, and family seals on every page. This biography reads like fiction with a thick set of end notes for motivated readers to dive into and so naturally earned a spot as a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Samurai Rising gives readers a chance to meet the real Yoshitsune, who is often referenced in video games, manga, and movies. -Recommended by Rebecca Ballenger
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Animals by the Numbers

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins
Book of the Month, January 2017
Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Animal Infographics by Steve Jenkins

The author/illustrator illuminates fascinating zoological information with infographics that compare and contrast scientific research. For example, one infographic shows that the biomass of all insects on the planet is more than the biomass of any other category of creatures. This book melds, art, science and math to demonstrate how to integrate the curriculum. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Luis Paints the World

Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish
Book of the Month, December 2016
Luis Paints the World by Terry Farish with illustrations by Oliver Dominguez

Nico, Luis’ older brother is off to join the army and see the world. While Nico is gone, Luis decides to paint the world on an alleyway wall in their Latino neighborhood and is joined by his family and neighbors to create a colorful mural. Spanish words and descriptions of Dominican foods are sprinkled throughout the text contributing to the warm sense of community. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Shepherd’s Crown

Shepherds Crown by Terry Pratchett
Book of the Month, November 2016
The Shepherd’s Crown: A Tiffany Aching Adventure by Terry Pratchett

The is the fifth and last fantasy tale about Tiffany, who has grown into a young woman and becomes a powerful and caring Head Witch. The Wee Free Men, 6-inch-tall blue men, zesty characters from the previous four books, join Tiffany to battle an invasion of the evil Fairies. Pratchett’s last book is a testimony to his belief that each person must make a difference in her world by helping others. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Irena’s Children

Irena's Children: A True Story of Courage by Tilar J. Mazzeo
Book of the Month, October 2016
Irena’s Children: A True Story of Courage, Young Reader’s Edition by Tilar J. Mazzeo, adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell

This book focuses on Irena Sendler, a courageous young woman who, with a network of trusted colleagues, saved about 2500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. With tremendous bravery and personal sacrifice, Irena and her network toiled throughout the war to find safe hiding places for Jewish children from the ghetto who otherwise would have been murdered. The account of Irena’s courage in the midst of terrible inhumanity is an inspiration. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
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WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: The Pact

The Pact by Amanda West Lewis
Book of the Month, September 2016
The Pact by Amanda West Lewis

Based on actual events, this WWII novel gives readers an inside look at how a German boy became and internally struggled with his role as a member of the Hitler Youth. This is a fascinating read that compels readers to think both about history and current political situations. -Recommended by Holly Johnson
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Native American Children’s Books Featuring Animals

By Angeline P. Hoffman, White Mountain Apache

One of the themes from my studies, animals, derives from Native American children’s books featuring animals and the encountered stories about ethical or moral behaviors contained within them. Many Indigenous American cultures honor and revere animals. The people know that animals came into existence before man and animals have long been prevalent on Mother Earth. When men came, Animals communicated with humans and they still do. Therefore, they are respected; animals are considered Spirit helpers. Each animal has qualities that are special and powerful and shared with human beings if the animal is respected.

Antelope Woman cover, Native American children's books featuring animals
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Native American Children’s Books and Foundations of Self-Knowledge

By Angeline P. Hoffman, White Mountain Apache

One way children can make a connection between history and their own lives is through storytelling that emphasizes self-image and the foundations of self-knowledge of one’s own people. The stories of indigenous people, past and present, are important because one must understand the larger context of life to gain perspective on personal experiences.

Foundations of Self-Knowledge, children's literature Continue reading