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Award Winning Book
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey. By Loree Griffin Burns. Millbrook Press, MN, 2014. 32 pages. $26.33.
Handle with Care is a terrific non-fiction book about a butterflies journey not only through metamorphosis, but through life as a museum insect. The reader's interest is peaked from the first page where they see a foil wrapped box that has arrived at a museum. What is in this box? One learns about the many pupa inside. From the Costa Rican El Bosque Nuevo butterfly farm one can see the process a butterfly goes through to be ready for shipment to museums. This story uses illustrations, maps, charts, definitions, and most of all, terrific crisp photographs by Ellen Harasimowcz.
To teach about metamorphosis, this story can be paired with one of the many butterfly stories on the market. Burns uses proper terminology to introduce the reader to the steps of the butterfly life cycle. This book has many awards some include, ALA Notable Children's Book, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K - 12, and was a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Historic Fiction Picture Book
Paper Son: Lee's Journey to America. By Helen Foster James. Sleeping Bear Press, MI, 2013. 32 pages. $13.22.
Twelve-year-old Lee’s parents died a horrible death at the hands of bandits. He lives with his grandparents in a small town in China. His grandparents love him very much through such a difficult time. Before his parent’s deaths they purchased a “paper son slot” for Lee to go to America. They spent all of their money and borrowed some for this purchase. Lee’s grandparents paid off the debt so Lee could make his way to America. Although he did not want to go his grandparents knew it would be a better life for him. A “paper son” is one who pretends to be the son of a family already in America. He will first arrive in San Francisco at Angel Island Immigration Station where he must pass the test. He must pass the test for the better life his grandparents wish for him.
This is a beautifully illustrated text that follows Lee’s journey. The text matches the great illustrations of the transition from China to America Lee experiences. The reader is there with Lee. They feel his heartache. This is a terrific story to help students connect with their coming to America story.
At the back of the book the reader will find additional facts about Angel Island: America’s west Ellis Island. This extra information helps the reader understand and connect to the story.
Contemporary Realistic Fiction
What James Said. By Liz Rosenberg. Roaring Brook Press, New York, 2015. 32 pages. $12.67.
Gossip. A little girl stops talking to her friend because she thinks he is talking about her. At the beginning of the book the word of what James supposedly said went through the "grapevine." James does not understand why she is giving him the silent treatment. Throughout the story he tries to get her to talk to him through a variety of creative ways. She ignores his attempts. The little girl realizes what a long day it can be without her best friend. In the end she realizes that James was not talking about her, but gave her a complement about her art work which was originally misconstrued.
This is a terrific little story about how a misunderstanding can hurt friendships. What James Said would be a great story to use for teaching students about how to deal with gossip and hurt feelings. The illustrations, by Matthew Myers, can inspire kids by his use of a simple ballpoint pen and watercolor. Myers incorporates great emotion in his work. This is a story well worth putting on any library shelf.