Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jeremiah learns to read by Jo Ellen Bogart and Illustrated by Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson

Pre-school story time is beginning in many libraries.  It is a time when we promote reading and learning for everyone, children and adults included.  One of my favourite books about learning is Jeremiah learns to read by Jo Ellen Bogart, and illustrated by Laura Fernandez and Rick Jacobson.

Jeremiah knows many things about caring for the land, growing food, and life, but he can’t read.  From the illustrations in the book, one would guess that Jeremiah is in his seventies.  When he expresses his dismay about not being able to read, his wife and family tell him, “then learn”.  Jeremiah does exactly that.  He gets up, makes breakfast, packs his lunch, and walks to school with the neighbourhood children.  He returns each day and gradually learns his alphabet; the sight and sound of each letter.  He practices making the letters and eventually he is able to not only read, but write his own stories as well. What I find especially endearing is that the author points out the things that Jeremiah teaches the other students and the teacher.

This beautiful book celebrates the way we all have something we can learn, but we all have wisdom and experiences to share as well. 

How I became a pirate by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon

Ahoy landlubbers:  Sept. 19 is “Talk like a pirate” day.  No – I’m not pullin’ yer pegleg.  One of my favourite pirate books for youngsters is How I became a pirate by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon.

Young Jeremy Jacob is minding his own business, when a pirate ship sails up to the beach.  It’s obvious that Jeremy is an excellent digger and the pirates welcome him along to help with burying their treasure.  Jeremy finds many things about the pirate lifestyle that appeal to him, like vegetables are banned, and nobody tells you when to go to bed, or take a bath, or brush your  teeth (which explains why so many have missing or green teeth).  But there are other things like bedtime stories and being tucked in that Jeremy misses.  When a storm hits, the pirates head back to land, and Jeremy solves their dilemma.

As I mentioned earlier, Thursday is “Talk like a pirate” day which brings me to another suggestion.  You can access Mango Languages from the library’s homepage.  It is an easy user-friendly way to learn another language.  Have some fun while learning the program, by learning to speak “pirate” on this day.  Then move on to that language you’ve been wanting to learn.

The Guilty one by Lisa Ballantyne

This week I’m turning to the SCRLreads blog.  A staff member posted a recommendation for The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne.  In light of the murder recently of a young boy by another child, this certainly is a timely book.  

An eight year old boy is found dead in a playground.  His eleven year old neighbour is charged with the murder, although he claims he’s innocent.  Leading the defense is London solicitor Daniel Hunter.  Daniel is reminded of his own troubled childhood, his drug addicted mother, and his foster mother whom he grew to love, but later felt betrayed by.  The two stories – that of the current trial and the story of Danny’s childhood are skillfully interwoven.  The author makes the point that if the same amount of money was spent on rehabilitating young offenders, as is spent on incarcerating them, we could rescue a good percentage of children that are on the wrong side of the law.  This book sheds light on a very serious social problem, and the roles played by parents, the juvenile justice system, the media, and the government (us).

This character driven novel explores the true nature of guilt; is a real page-turner and definitely worth a try.

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

At what point did it start being okay for girls to dream of a career in a non-traditional female role.  In my opinion, a catalyst for a different way of thinking happened with the Mary Tyler Moore show.  Here was a show about a young woman living independently in the city, making her own decisions, and holding down a job that most girls would not have considered.  Mary Tyler Moore was an inspiration to a generation of young women.

Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted is a new book by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong that documents how the show came about and the stories behind the story.  Prominently featured in the book are those people who took a real chance in making the show happen;  Female writers who contributed their real-life experiences; directors and producers; and network executives who took a gamble on the provocative new show and others.  What we all remember the most is the extraordinary chemistry between the members of the cast: the strong, courageous and independent Mary Richards; bumbling Ted Baxter; Lou Grant, the grumpy father figure; Rhoda Morgenstern, the quirky best friend upstairs; and others like writer Murray Slaughter and of course Betty White playing the happy homemaker Sue Ann Nivens.

For fans of the show, this walk down memory lane is a real treat.