11/18/2009

Flying Adventure: Sandpoint, Idaho, November 2009




From now until next spring, our flying days are severely limited, alas. These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago. We flew to the resort town of Sandpoint, Idaho, for the afternoon. The weather wasn't so great, and so we pulled our mini-bikes out of the luggage compartment, pedaled into town (2 miles from the airport), ate lunch at Spuds, did a bit of gawking along touristy Main Street, and then hurried back before the weather crapped out and we couldn't fly home again.



I ordered the Sonoma Sandwich special, which was soooooo good. Hubby had the Spicy Steak sandwich special. He said it was maybe the best sandwich he'd ever eaten.





Hubby built our airplane. It's a Van's RV-7 (which he'll be painting it this winter). It cruises between 180-210 mph. The flight took about an hour. We tucked our collapsible mini bikes back into the luggage compartment, and away we flew.

11/15/2009

Top Ten Books for Young Adults and Adults that Promote Peace

This list ends the series on Top Books for Young Readers that Promote Peace. All of these books are still readily available for purchase in bookstores and/or you should be able to find them in your local library.

Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card
Tor
1992

Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race.


Fallen Angels
by Walter Dean Myers
Scholastic
originally published in 1988

Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.


I Had Seen Castles
by Cynthia Rylant
Harcourt
2004

Now an old man, John is haunted by memories of enlisting to fight in World War Ii, a decision which forced him to face the horrors of war and changed his life forever.


Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
Originally published in 1959

After a plane crash strands them on a tropical island while the rest of the world is ravaged by war, a group of British schoolboys attempts to form a civilized society but descends into brutal anarchy.


The Red Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane

During his service in the Civil War a young Union soldier matures to manhood and finds peace of mind as he comes to grips with his conflicting emotions about war.


Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life In Sarajevo
by Zlata Filip
Penguin
1995

The diary of a thirteen-year-old girl living in Sarajevo, begun just before her eleventh birthday when there was still peace in her homeland.


Books Written for Adults (appropriate for grades 9 up):


All Quiet on the Western Front
by Erich Maria Remarque
Fawcett

Depicts the experiences of a group of young German soldiers fighting and suffering during the last days of World War I.


 
Catch-22
by Joseph Heller
Scribner

A bombardier, based in Italy during World War Ii, repeatedly tries to avoid flying bombing missions while his colonel tries to get him killed by demanding that he fly more and more missions.

Cat's Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut
Dell

In the year 2000, a young man discovers ice-nine, which can set off a chain reaction more deadly than a nuclear bomb, and a new prophet whose teachings sweep the world.



(Annotations courtesy of BWI unless otherwise noted.)

For further reading:
Top Ten Picture Books that Promote Peace
Top Ten Books for Early Readers that Promote Peace
Top Ten Books for Middle Grades that Promote Peace

If you counted my entries, I posted only NINE. Can you think of another, to round out the list?

11/13/2009

Top Ten Books for Middle Grades that Promote Peace

A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara: Hero of the Holocaust
by Alison Leslie Gold
Scholastic
2000

It's one of the great Holocaust rescue stories. Chiune Sugihara, Japanese consul in Lithuania, defied his government and personally wrote transit visas for about 6,000 desperate Jewish refugees, visas that allowed them to travel across Russia and escape the Nazis ... A moving epilogue describes how, after years of grief and disgrace, Sugihara was finally honored in his own country and in Israel. (Partial book review from Hazel Rochman, Booklist.)

Habibi
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Aladdin
1999

Fourteen-year-old Liyana Abboud, her younger brother, and her parents move from St. Louis to a new home between Jerusalem and the Palestinian village where her father was born, where they face many changes and must deal with the tensions between Jews and Palestinians.

The Breadwinner
by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood
2001

Conscious of the strict limitations imposed by the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, on women's freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to earn money so that her family can survive after her father's arrest.

Parvana's Journey
by Deborah Ellis
Groundwood
2003

Sequel to The Breadwinner. With Kabul in ruins from the Taliban's control, Parvana dresses as a boy and sets out to leave Afghanistan in search of her family.


Swiftly Tilting Planet
by Madeleine L'Engle
Square Fish
Originally published in 1978

The youngest of the Murry children must travel through time and space in a battle against an evil dictator who would destroy the entire universe.


Samir and Yonatan
by Daniella Carmi
Arthur A. Levine
2000

Samir, a Palestinian boy, is sent for surgery to an Israeli hospital where he has two otherworldly experiences: making friends with an Israeli boy, and traveling with him to Mars, where Samir finds peace after his brother's death.Palestinian, Jewish

Shattered: Stories of Children and War
by Jennifer Armstrong, editor
Laurel-Leaf
2003

Presents twelve short stories about the experiences of young children and teenagers in war, showing a variety of perspectives, and provides factual notes on each conflict dramatized.

The Fighting Ground
by Avi
HarperTrophy
originally published in 1984

Thirteen-year-old Jonathan goes off to fight in the Revolutionary War and discovers the real war is being fought within himself.


The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East
Naomi Shihab Nye
Aladdin
2002

Provides English translations of sixty poems from the Middle East


Torn Thread
by Anne Isaacs
Blue Sky Press
2002

Based on true experiences in a Nazi prison camp. “Eva Buchbinder, 12 years old in 1943, has recently been forced into the Jewish ghetto in Bedzin, Poland, along with her father and sickly older sister, Rachel. … Given its precise detail and sensitivity to unimaginable suffering, this gripping novel reads like the strongest of Holocaust memoirs. (Abridged from Publishers Weekly review)

 
For Further Reading:
Top Ten Picture Books that Promote Peace
Top Ten Books for Early Readers that Promote Peace
Top Ten Books for Young Adults and Adults that Promote Peace

11/11/2009

Top Ten Picture Books that Promote Peace

It's fitting on Veteran's Day to honor the patriotic Americans who fought and died for the freedoms that we love, but are so apt to take for granted. It's also appropriate to read books that shine a light on the concept of peace. Here are Ten Picture Books that Promote Peace, appropriate for the youngest readers.

This list is not exhaustive. My criteria was a simple one: The books are still widely available, either for purchase, or to check out from your local library.

Dear Ichiro
by Jean Okimoto
Illustrated by Doug Keith
Sasquatch
2002

After fighting with his best friend and vowing to hate him forever, eight-year-old Henry attends a Seattle Mariners baseball game, where his great-grandfather explains that enemies can sometimes become friends again.

Mole Music
Written and illustrated by David McPhail
Henry Holt
1999

Feeling that something is missing in his simple life, Mole acquires a violin and learns to make beautiful, joyful music.


Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale
written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister
North-South Books
1998

A big blue whale comes to live near their reef creating a misunderstanding between him and Rainbow Fish and his friends that leaves everyone very unhappy and hungry.


The Butter Battle Book
written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Random House
1984

Engaged in a long-running battle, the Yooks and the Zooks develop more and more sophisticated weaponry as they attempt to outdo each other.


The Story of Ferdinand
Written and illustrated by Munro Leaf
Viking
1936

In Spain, a young bull named Ferdinand who would rather sit peacefully under a tree and smell the flowers than butt heads with the others is chosen for the bullfights in Madrid when a sting from a bee makes him stomp and snort like the fiercest bull of all.

Home of the Brave
Written and illustrated by Allen Say
Walter Lorraine Books
2002
Following a kayaking accident, a man experiences the feelings of children interned during World War Ii and children on Indian reservations.




Peace Begins with You
by Katherine Scholes
Illustrated by Robert Inkpen
Little, Brown
1994

Explains, in simple terms, the concept of peace, why conflicts occur, how they can be resolved in positive ways, and how to protect peace.


Somewhere Today
by Shelley Thomas
Illustrated by Eric Futran
Albert Whitman
2004

Poetic verse gives examples of ways in which people bring about peace by doing things to help and care for one another and their world.


Swimmy
Written and illustrated by Leo Lionni
Knopf
1964

Swimmy, a small black fish, finds a way to protect a school of small red fish from their natural enemies. (Caldecott Honor 1964)


Island of the Skog
Written and illustrated by Stephen Kellogg
Dial
1973

Jenny and her mouse friends, in search of a peaceful place to live, come to the island of the Skog, who seems a more terrible threat than city cats and dogs.


For further reading (I'll be posting these over the next three days):
Top Ten Books for Early Readers that Promote Peace
Top Ten Books for Middle Grades that Promote Peace
Top Ten Books for Young Adults and Adults that Promote Peace

11/07/2009

Candyfloss by Jacqueline Wilson: Book Review

Candyfloss
by Jacqueline Wilson
Roaring Brook
1596432411 / 9781596432413
September 2007
Juvenile or Middle grade (grades 4-8)

This book would work well for both juvenile and middle grade readers. Written by Jacqueline Wilson, who was already enormously popular in Great Britain, this marked her debut in the United States.

Flossie's mom has remarried and is living prosperously with a new husband and baby. But Flossie's dad, though close to 40, just hasn't gotten his life together. Overweight, depressed, and hanging on by a thread, he's his own worst enemy.

When Flossie's mom and stepdad have the chance to move to Sydney for six months, they expect Flossie to go with them. Except that's not what Flossie wants. After a lot of pleading, she finally convinces her mom to allow her to stay with her father in London.

Whereas Flossie had been popular and well-groomed before, she's soon going to school looking unkempt and smelling of her father's greasy-spoon cafe. She loses her status-conscious friends, but later makes friends with Susan, who is a better, truer friend. After numerous trials that end with Flossie and her dad being destitute and all but homeless, he is finally jolted into seeing how far he's sunk, and begins to repair his broken life. He meets Rose, his true match, who is a fortune-teller and cotton-candy maker with a traveling carnival. Flossie, a likable character, suffers all this hardship with aplomb, and learns some important lessons along the way. Readers will cheer when she finally sees her ex-best friend for the bully and snob that she really is.

Many readers will identify with Flossie. I certainly would've, when I was that age. My strata of society wasn't about boarding school, designer clothes or European vacations, which is what trendy MG and YA fiction is about today, but rather working class people who lived from paycheck to paycheck and did the best they could with the cards they were dealt--just like Flossie and her father.

If you read this book, did you enjoy it?

11/03/2009

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater that Grandma Knit: Picture Book Tuesday Review

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit

by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney
Illustrated by Vincent Nguyen
Katherine Tegen Books
10/09
0061650935 / 9780061650932
32 pgs
Ages 3-7

Cameron is excited to open the birthday present from his grandma. He hopes it will be a video game, a remote control car, or a blinking light for his bicycle. Grandma Susan always gives him the best gifts. And so, excitedly, he opens the gift to find … a truly terrible horrible sweater. Cameron doesn’t want a sweater, even if his grandma did knit it especially for him. Especially not a sweater with red, green, yellow, orange and blue stripes. Determined never to wear it, he puts it on his dog and plans to send the dog outside into the mud, but that plan gets foiled. Next, he tries to hide it in a bundle that’s going to a rummage sale, but that doesn’t work either. He then squeezes mustard and catsup on it, but Mom washes it, and it’s as good as new. Cameron feels bad, because he never intended to hurt his grandma’s feelings by not wearing it. Still, he just can’t. Until Grandma comes for Christmas. The family meets her at the station and she compliments Cameron about how nice he looks, but he’s still not convinced. After all, it has huge buttons and terrible stripes in awful colors.

Then she begins to tell him that each colored stripe has a meaning. One is connected to him kicking the winning goal in a soccer match. Another corresponds to the first time he rode his bike without training wheels. The orange stripe is for his love of oranges. Yellow corresponds to how happy his parents were when he was born. Finally, Cameron realizes that the sweater is special after all. He’s now proud to wear it, and plans to keep wearing it for a very long time.

This heartwarming tale ends with a simple knitting lesson aimed for young children as well as a sweater pattern for a more experienced knitter. The pictures are charming, with luminous people and, on many pages, a cheerful yellow background. For grandparents who warm to this type of story, it’d be a terrific gift to give their grandchild.
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