Deza Malone is the kind of character who jumps right into your heart and makes camp there.
Yes, this is a wonderful historical fiction book about the devastating effects of the Depression on families in the American Midwest - especially African American families. More than that, though, this is a book about a whip smart little girl who treasures books, her family, and has boundless hope for the future.
Read it for the eloquent writing and the childlike wonder. Read it for the glimpse into the past. Most of all, though, read it to fall in love with Deza Malone.
** This was my book recommendation in my classroom last week, it just didn't make it online!
Listen to the author speak!
I read a book every day over my holiday break. I'm here to tell you that this one was one of my favorites!
My students showered me with love before holiday break - love in the form of books to read. This topped my list as one of my favorite reads, and so earned the spot as my "Dragon's Book of the Week" when we returned to school.
It's 1899 in Texas and Calpurnia has no desire to act like a regular little girl. Her mind dances with curiosity about the world. Luckily for her, Calpurnia's grandfather notices her quick mind and inquisitive nature and makes it his job to help her as she explores the world around her, in spite of her mother's every attempt to train her up to be a proper young lady.
Yes, this is the kind of story that is told a lot recently. But Calpurnia is one of those lovely characters that springs to life on the page. I highly recommend the story to students who love the natural world (boys and girls alike), as there is plenty of science built into the tale. It is also a beautifully told tale, and one that gives students a glimpse into the way the world worked as automobiles and telephones began I'm hoping my students love this book as much as I did!
Author: M.P. Kozlowsky
What would you sacrifice to make your fondest wishes come true?
Juniper's family used to be close and loving. Juniper would write elaborate plays and her actor parents would make them come to life. Her parents longed for fame and fortune, though. When they finally "made it" in the movies, their lives changed drastically. Suddenly, Juniper's parents have no time for her, and don't even seem to really care about her anymore. When she meets a new neighbor named Giles with similar parental problems, they decide to investigate.
This isn't just a tale of family changes, though. Juniper suspects something sinister has happened to her formerly loving parents. When she follows them out into the woods one dark and dreary night, her suspicions are confirmed. Can she withstand the temptations of her own deepest desires long enough to rescue her parents?
Juniper Berry is a wonderfully creepy tale, but not terrifying. It's a great choice for kids who want to dive into a book that will make them shiver. Students who are overly sensitive (as some of my students tend to be) may want to wait until they are slightly older. It's a great example of a strong female lead who will also appeal to the boys in the room!
Note: I won a copy of this book from Walden Pond Press. Check them out on Twitter! (@WaldenPondPress)
Check out the trailer here!
My students simply adore reading fantasy and mystery - but it's time to help them spread their wings. What better way than to read about the real lives of some amazing women from our history?
This series introduces the idea of primary sources to younger audiences, which definitely appeals to me. Every child should be able to see images and "hear" the real voices of the time period as they learn about real people. I think this is a lesson that can be taught well before middle and high school, especially when we use images as our primary sources.
The actual writing style comes across as a little dry, but the pictures and quotes make it a bit more interesting. The fact that the books are short will hopefully make it enticing to my students that are attempting to branch out into new genres.