Rufus the farmyard dog first notices the strangely shaped snakes on the ground outside his house. The word they form with their bodies, DOG, looks oddly familiar. As Rufus goes about his patrol, the snakes follow behind. Soon dozens of snakes join in, until the farmer’s field is covered in words. What are the snakes trying to tell Rufus?
The farmer, busy covering up an old well in a far corner of his field, doesn’t realize that his action will destroy the wintertime home of the harmless snakes. But Rufus’s determination helps the snakes find a way to tell the farmer their predicament and save their home.
Tina Holdcroft’s illustrations are an energetic and fun-filled complement to a charming story that subtly presents the benefits of literacy as well as the importance of preserving animal habitats. A brief afterword gives young readers additional information about snakes.
Thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret: he can’t read. But a shrewd teacher and a sassy girl are about to change everything in this witty and deeply moving novel. Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he’s missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there’s just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he’s called on to read out loud. But that’s before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn’t take “pass” for an answer—a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it’s before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters—and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.
In free verse, evokes the voice of Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, a book-loving writer, feminist, and abolitionist who courageously fought injustice in nineteenth-century Cuba. Includes historical notes, excerpts from her writings, biographical information, and source notes.
Join the discussion of The Lightning Dreamer as well as other books set in Cuba on our My Take/Your Take page.
Yatandou lives in a Mali village with her family and neighbors. And though she is only eight years old and would much rather play with her pet goat, she must sit with the women and pound millet kernels. To grind enough millet for one day’s food, the women must pound the kernels with their pounding sticks for three hours. It is hard work, especially when one is eight years old. But as they work, the women dream of a machine that can grind the millet and free them from their pounding sticks. But the machine will only come when the women have raised enough money to buy it. Yatandou must help raise the money, even if it means parting with something she holds dear. Through the eyes and voice of a young girl, award-winning author Gloria Whelan brings to life one village’s dream of a better future. Atmospheric paintings from artist Peter Sylvada capture the landscape and spirit of this inspiring story of sacrifice and hope.
When a man brings to a remote village two burros, Alfa and Beto, loaded with books the children can borrow, Ana’s excitement leads her to write a book of her own as she waits for the BibliBurro to return. Includes glossary of Spanish terms and a note on the true story of Colombia’s BiblioBurro and mobile libraries in other countries.
It’s the first day of school, but before he goes Chepito runs outside to play. He comes across all kinds of people in his neighborhood — a man reading a newspaper, a young girl enjoying a comic, a couple of tourists consulting a guidebook, an archeologist studying hieroglyphics. “Why, why, why?” he sings, and they each have an answer for him. Later that day Chepito discovers for himself that reading is catching, and he even brings home a book to “read” to his younger sister.
Readers spend a school day with two kindergarten classes in this flip-me-over book. One side tells the story of a class from Schenectady, New York, and the other side tells of a class from Beijing, China. As the day progresses, clocks show the time in the USA and in China, noting that its daytime on one side of the world and nighttime on the other. Discover the differences and similarities between these two countries as the classes participate in activities such as reading stories, drawing pictures, eating lunch, playing at recess, and solving problems.
A daughter of Afghanistan discovers new friends and opportunities after the defeat of the Taliban. Zulaikha hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her–“Inshallah,” God willing. Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to the village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha.