This little light of mine…

McDonnell, Patrick. Shine! New York: Megan Tingley Books/Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
“I wish I were…” Somewhere else. Someone else. Something else. Little Hoshi wishes and wishes she were not a humble little sea star in the ocean. Until she learns, of course, that happiness is to be found right where we are and possibilities always surround us. This delightful picture book – illustrated by Naoko Stoop – is another heart-warming and inspiring story by the creator of the Mutts comic strips. Highly recommended as a read-aloud – for listeners 4 years old and up – and for anyone who needs a humorous reminder that we all can shine.

More stories about individuality HERE.

More books about philosophy HERE.

More picture books HERE.

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

– Omar Khayyam, Persian mathematician & poet

 

Who is Guru Nanak?

Grace, Jones. The Birthday of Guru Nanak. Kings Lynn, England: BookLife, 2017.

What a lovely book to read aloud and discuss with a group of children! Each page is almost 25 by 30 centimetres in size and illustrated with colour photographs. What is a festival? What is Sikhism? What is the story of Guru Nanak? And how is his birthday celebrated? All these questions are simply and clearly answered for anyone interested in a very basic introduction to the Sikh faith. Highly recommended. 

Guru Nanak “taught that everyone was equal, no matter whether they are rich or poor, a man or a woman, or if they followed a different religion. This is still one of the main beliefs of Sikhism” (11).

An overview of major world religions HERE.

Stories about faith HERE.

Stories set in India HERE.

Whom can you trust?

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Quicksand Pond. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Twelve-year-old Jessie makes a new friend and discovers a decades-old mystery when she spends the summer with her family in a ramshackle Rhode Island saltbox. This 240-page novel by a skillful novelist is recommended for readers – 11 to 15 years old – who enjoy stories of friendship, secrets, and betrayal. 

More stories of mystery and suspense HERE.

More stories of summer vacations HERE.

 

This Little Light of Mine…

Bryan, Ashley. Let it Shine. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007.
Three joyous spirituals – Let It Shine and When the Saints Go Marching In and He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands – are exuberantly illustrated by Ashley Bryan in this cheerful book happily recommended for all ages. The large brightly coloured pictures are ideal for group story sessions, and the construction paper collage illustrations will inspire art students. The melody line for each song – along with all of its verses – is provided at the end of the book along with a brief history of Spiritual folk songs.

Listen to the African Children’s Choir sing He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.

And learn how to make luminaries.

Musical books HERE.

Stories of faith HERE.

Who do you think you are?

Boyne, John. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2015.
When Pierrot is four years old, his father – a German soldier in the Great War – disappears. When Pierrot is seven years old, his French mother dies in a Parisian hospital. He is sent to live with his Aunt Beatrix, a housekeeper for Adolf Hitler. It is 1935 and life is changing in Europe.
What happens when people flatter us and make us feel important? What happens when lies start to sound like truth? What happens when we realize we’ve betrayed the people who love us?
Spanning the course of World War II and its aftermath, this 215-page novel by a breathtakingly powerful writer is highly recommended for mature readers 11-years-old and up. [France; Germany; Historical fiction; Hitler, Adolf; Orphans; Self-awareness]  

More stories of World War 2 HERE.

More stories of controlling societies HERE

Remembering…

Giff, Patricia Reilly. Genevieve’s War. New York: Holiday House, 2017.
August of 1939. Summer is over. Time to leave France and go home to America. But thirteen-year-old Genevieve decides – at the last moment – to stay with her grandmother in the small Alsatian village rather than return to New York. Mere months later, Nazi soldiers arrive and life changes.
This story is among the best of Giff’s many novels. Who are your friends? Whom can you trust? For whom will you risk your life? All these questions are quietly and skillfully addressed in a compelling novel for readers 11 years old and up.

More stories of World War 2 HERE.

More stories set in France HERE.

More stories of love HERE.

More stories of courage HERE.

Mennonite Migrants

Trottier, Maxine. Migrant. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2011.

Anna and her family leave their home in Mexico each spring to travel north. All spring and summer they work on farms before returning to Mexico for the winter. They are part of a group of German-speaking Mennonites who left Canada in the 1920s but now return for part of each year, earning just enough money to survive.

This powerful story encourages readers – and listeners – to think about the life of migrant workers and the role they play in providing food for Canadian and American consumers. An afterword explains the history of these Mennonites who moved to Mexico.

Read a literary analysis of this story HERE.

More stories of migrants HERE.