Archive for September 22, 2011


your moon my moon

Your Moon, My Moon by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Brian Collier

In her signature poetic text, MacLachlan has created a picture book that celebrates the continued connection between family members who are apart.  Here, a grandmother lives in a cold area of the world, while her grandchild lives far away in Africa.  She watches the snow start to fall while he is in the hot sun.  She wishes they were together to ice skate or together to swim in the lake where he lives.  There are many things that connect them, from the dogs in both places to the sun, but especially the moon, which shines on them both.

MacLachlan weaves two very different places together into one story filled with a poignancy and longing but also a story of love and connection.  For both settings, she pulls the best out of them, celebrating their differences and their similarities at the same time with great skill.  She invites us into memories, special moments, and also into the day-to-day of lives. 

Collier’s illustrations elevate this book further.  Their watercolor and collage use the color of the light to great effect as it moves from African gold to the cool of a northern winter.  People of all colors fill the pages, making it feel all the more inclusive and global.  Collier also uses lines to great effect, sometimes swirling and creating color or intensity changes in the illustrations, otherwise showing currents, mountains or forest. 

Beautifully written and illustrated, this book may be specifically about grandparents and grandchildren, but could also be used for any adult being away from a child they love.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

dogs dont eat jam

Dogs Don’t Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know by Sarah Tsiang, illustrated by Qin Leng

Here in this cheerful picture book, an older sister explains to her new baby brother that he has a lot to learn.  She covers things like the potty, learning to walk, and that things fall down (a lot).  She also covers other things that will delight, like the fact the baby has already done something amazing: made her a big sister.  The book is filled with small encouragements and nothing negative towards the baby coming into the family and no jealousy.  Instead it is a celebration of a new baby, the growth that he will see, and the warm adoration of an older sibling.

Tsiang’s writing here is joyful, filled with the small moments that create a growing baby, the milestones and those smaller times that are too often ignored.  She writes with a gentle tone that suits the subject beautifully, tying all of the moments together into one wise older sister’s encouragement for a new baby.

Leng’s illustrations have a great sense of humor and whimsy.  The lines are loose and flowing, filled with bright colors and plenty of white space as well.  

There are so many books about new babies, but this one is definitely worth looking at.  The text and illustrations combine into a noteworthy package that will delight.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Annick Press.

National Geographic has a cover story this month all about the process that teen brains undergo to move from a child’s brain to an adult’s.  The science is fascinating, including the tests that have been done to demonstrate the changes the teen brain undergoes.  Anyone working with teens, and especially those of us living with teens, should take a look at this. 

On their website, you can also see a photo gallery, take a quiz about your risk tolerance, and also a video about viewing teens positively.

Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for the link.

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