Judith St. George Has Died

So You Want to Be President? The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr

Judith St. George was an author who wrote about American history. She celebrated history in almost all of the 40 books she wrote. Subjects ranged from the Revolutionary War to Native Americans to feminists. Ms. St. George was 84.

Review: The Wren and the Sparrow by J Patrick Lewis

Wren and the Sparrow by J Patrick Lewis

The Wren and the Sparrow by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg (InfoSoup)

This Holocaust story tells of an old man who weaved carpets on a loom and spent his evening singing to a hurdy-gurdy. His student, the Sparrow, learned at his side. The town in Poland was dark and dismal, all of its trees harvested for kindling. Food and clothes were rationed and even the music was starting to disappear. One day music was removed from the village as soldiers arrived to gather all of the musical instruments and take them away. Everyone had to give up their instruments, but the old man sang one final song before he put his hurdy-gurdy on the pile. And he would not stop singing, even as he was dragged away. That night, the Sparrow returned and took the hurdy-gurdy from the pile and hid it away. Then she too disappeared. It was found years later with a note that spoke of the bravery of both the Wren and the Sparrow and the importance of music in keeping spirits alive in dark times.

Based on the musicians who played in the Lodz Ghetto, a place that housed 230,000 Jewish people in 1940. Only 1000 survived the Holocaust that followed. Music was a part of their life and that celebration of music as a way of expressing feelings that could not be voiced is very clear in this picture book. Lewis writes with intense beauty in this book, the strong feelings showing in his sentences such as “The town shriveled up like a rose without rain.” And the image of “the gift of music soon dwindled to a sigh.” The entire book sings with prose like this, adding its own music to the story.

The illustrations by Nayberg, a native of Ukraine, show the darkness of the times. The illustrations swim with the colors of war, khaki ground and the gray of despair. When the instrument and music are present though, there is a glow and a warmth that shines in the illustration visually capturing the impact of the music on people around.

This allegorical tale captures the impact of the Nazi regime in Poland and elsewhere, offering a lesson about the power of music to carry hope in the darkest of times. Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Kar-Ben.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:



12 fantastic children’s books to help talk about prejudice http://buff.ly/1CrOFiF #kidlit

The Best Feminist Books for Younger Readers http://buff.ly/1H5sE5Y #kidlit #feminism

‘Children’s books are one of the most important forms of writing we have’ http://buff.ly/1HMKe45 #kidlitOne Weird Trick Any Children’s Book Can Use to Make Parents Cry http://buff.ly/1D1fXXV #kidlit

Summer reads: The kid edition http://buff.ly/1CrXetB #kidlit #yalit

Why Diversity in Children’s Literature Really Matters http://buff.ly/1HMOwZf #kidlit #diversity


Everything Science Knows About Reading On Screens http://buff.ly/1KT5aFT #ebooks #reading


Audit Details $310,000 in Prohibited Expenses by Queens Library’s Leaders http://buff.ly/1CrWWDc #libraries

Caught In The Middle: Librarians On The Debate Over LGBT Children’s Books http://buff.ly/1J53rZE #libraries #kidlit #lgbt

Designs for new Wichita central library nearly finished http://buff.ly/1CizsAr #libraries

Fifty Challenges Filed Against LGBTQ Children’s Books in Rural Texas County http://ow.ly/P8x6j #libraries

Future of libraries: No more shushing teens at the library http://buff.ly/1TlMuBy #libraries

How The New York Public Library Is Bridging The Digital Divide http://buff.ly/1D0MT2V #libraries

Vancouver Public Library is the best library system in the world http://buff.ly/1HIwLdB #libraries

Where are the books? Libraries under fire as they shift from print to digital. http://buff.ly/1RkP7Gd #libraries


"Author Jenny Han Discusses The Successes And Shortcomings Of The Young Adult Genre" http://buff.ly/1LWnfEx #yalit

Michelle Knudsen On Winning The 2015 Sid Fleischman Award (For Humor) For Her YA Novel "Evil Librarian" http://buff.ly/1G9IKtx #yalit