February 10, 2009
This cute book from 2007 was written by Carla Morris and illustrated by Brad Sneed. I just happened to stumble upon it while browsing through the library, and of course, since it involves librarians, I had to pick it up.
The story is about Melvin who grows up going to the library every day after school. He talks to the librarians, who he says are always happy to see him. They help him find information, teach him about classification, help him practice lines for a play, and much more. Melvin also mentions attending all the library programs, including the Spend the Night in the Library party. Do some libraries really do that?
As Melvin grows up, he continues coming to the library and visiting the librarians. This is a great book about how the library can affect kids! This book is also great for helping kids who have library anxiety because it shows children that librarians are kind, helpful, and full of information. One of my favorite parts is a reoccuring theme about the librarians, whether they help him find information or are proud of him when he succeeds: “They couldn’t help it. That’s how librarians are.”
February 5, 2009
Have you ever seen that episode of The Cosby Show where Theo is convinced that his math teacher, Mrs. Westlake, is out to get him? The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt is a little like that, only better! It’s a Newbery Honor book from 2008. I loved it, and I highly recommend it!
Holling Hoodhood is a seventh-grader in 1967/1968. The setting has some effect on the story, but readers won’t be overwhelmed by people and facts. Reading The Wednesday Wars would be a great way to get introduced to the Vietnam War and the turbulent times of the ’60s. Holling’s older sister supports Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and their dad (who made me furious most of the time) watches the news every night, which often reports on President Johnson and Vietnam.
Each chapter in the book covers a month of Holling’s year in school, and each month something happens either at school or at home. The story is very episodic, which reminded me of Huckleberry Finn. There are a lot of great characters in the book, including Holling and his teacher Mrs. Baker, and they encounter several funny, frightening, and heartbreaking things throughout the book. Definitely a must-read!