|Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illustrated by Marla Frazee|
You can read more at Pennypacker's website HERE.
|Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illustrated by Marla Frazee|
If your young independent reader is looking for a great read with a wonderful girl protagonist, or maybe she's looking for a new series to latch onto, you can't go wrong with either of these two books or their prequels.Add a Comment
Clementine! If you've read Clementine an her sequels, you'll never forget her.
We read Clementine for Children's Lit tonight, had a good discussion, and we watched this delightful clip of the author and illustrator talking about creating this delightful series:
Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee talk about "Clementine"
Book: Clementine and the Spring Trip
Author: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrator: Marla Frazee
Age Range: 6-8
As I've said many times on this blog, I love Clementine. She's one of my favorite children's book characters, and I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to appreciate her. So when I was browsing in a bookstore last week and spotted this book on the shelf, in paperback, I didn't hesitate to buy a copy. And over the weekend I treated myself to a visit with Clementine and her family.
In Clementine and the Spring Trip, Clementine is a bit nervous about the upcoming field trip that her third-grade class is taking with the fourth graders. Her friend Margaret is in fourth grade, and continually warns Clementine that loud eating is not allowed among the fourth graders. Clementine worries about what she'll take for lunch that won't crunch or snick, or any of various other noise-related offenses. She also worries that her class will end up on the school bus that has "The Cloud", a truly horrific stink.
Meanwhile, a new girl in Clementine's class, Olive, has Clementine feeling a bit left out. And Clementine's family is preparing for the arrival, in a few months, of a new baby. Her mother is having cravings, and ranting more than usual about social issues. Margaret's family is undergoing changes, too, leaving Margaret more cleanliness-obsessed than ever. [Margaret is actually a really interesting character - she's going to need therapy one day, I think, but Clementine takes her in stride, and understands her issues.]
Like the other Clementine books, Clementine and the Spring Trip has some nice nods to Boston, like this:
"Mitchell acts extra Mitchelly in the spring too. Not because of the weather, but because the Red Sox are back in town. According to Mitchell, the Red Sox are the greatest team in the history of the universe, and it's just a matter of time before they ask him to play for them." (Page 5-6)
And some fun Clementine-isms, like this:
"I dropped the tape and spun around, because elevator doors are like game-show prize doors: until they open, you never know what valuable stuff is hiding behind them. Okay, fine--in our building, it's usually just the same old people, riding up and down from their condos." (Page 43)
"When you are pregnant you get to eat whatever you want, together with whatever else you want, whenever you want it, just by saying the magic words: "I'm having a craving." (Page 63)
That last quote made me laugh out loud. I also continue to adore Marla Frazee's illustrations, and the way that she completely nails Clementine and her family.
And yet, I must admit that Clementine and the Spring Trip is not going to stand out as my favorite of the series. The conclusion felt a bit over the top to me (including the presence of a plot-resolving coincidence), and a couple of aspects seemed a bit message-y. The last couple of chapters left me a little flat.
I still love Clementine, but I didn't end up loving this particular book. I liked it, sure, but I didn't love it overall. Not to worry, I'll still be eagerly awaiting the next book. And all libraries should certainly pick up Clementine and the Spring Trip.
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion (@DisneyHyperion)
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Source of Book: Bought it at Books, Inc.
FTC Required Disclosure:
This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).
I'm sad to report that the Share Our Books program has been discontinued.
I have donated the 250 copies of The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis to The Foundation for Children's Books, so at least I know they will be in good hands.
Special thanks to Sara Pennypacker for her efforts with Share Our Books.
Spoiler Alert – I am giving away every little detail about this book in this review. You have been warned.
As a librarian I’m always on the lookout for good middle grade books I can booktalk to kids. Often you don’t need an exciting cover or title to sell a book to kids. Heck, sometimes you don’t even need to show the book at all. Yet in the case of Sara Pennypacker’s debut middle grade novel Summer of the Gypsy Moths I fully intend to show the cover off. There you see two happy girls on a seashore on a beautiful summer’s day. What could be more idyllic? I’ll show the kids the cover then start right off with, “Doesn’t it look sweet? Yeah. So this is a book about two girls who bury a corpse in their backyard by themselves and don’t tell anyone about it.” BLAMMO! Instant interest. Never mind that the book really is a heartfelt and meaningful story or that the writing is some of the finest you will encounter this year. Dead bodies = interested readers, and if I have to sell it with a tawdry pitch then I am bloody selling it with a tawdry pitch and the devil take the details. Shh! Don’t tell them it’s of outstanding literary quality as well!
Convinced that her free floating mother will return to her someday soon, Stella lives with her Great-aunt Louise and Louise’s foster kid Angel. The situation is tenable if not entirely comfortable. If Stella is neat to the point of fault then Angel’s her 180-degree opposite. They’re like oil and water, those two. That’s why when Louise ups and dies on the girls they’re surprised to find themselves reluctant allies in a kind of crazy scheme. Neither one of them wants to get caught up in the foster care system so maybe that’s why they end up burying Louise in the backyard, running her summer cottages like nothing’s wrong. They can’t keep it up forever, but in the process of working together the two find themselves growing closer, coming to understand where they’re both coming from.
I always knew Pennypacker could write, of course. She cut her teeth on the early chapter book market (Clementine, etc.), which, besides easy books, can often be the most difficult books to write for children. The woman really mastered the form, managing with as few words as possible to drive home some concrete emotions and feelings. In Summer of the Gypsy Moths she ups the proverbial ante, so to speak. Now that she has far more space to play with, Pennypacker takes her time. She draws Stella and Angel into a realistically caring relationship with one another that overcomes their earlier animosity. By the end of the story you understand that they really do like one another, differences of opinion and personality aside.
Then there’s the writing itself. First and foremost, Pennypacker knows how to write some stellar lines. Things like, “Angel stared at me, looking like she was caught between snarling and fainting.” She’s also ample with the humor, as when Stella goes to school after the incident and reports, “Nobody seemed to notice the big sign I felt sure I wore, the one thAdd a Comment
For my eight-year old self, and every other child, whose name is followed by, “pay-attention.” We all know that what is happening outside the window is much more worth “paying-attention” to, than what the teacher is saying. – DaNae Leu
The Ramona for this generation, Clementine is spunky, quirky, funny, and most of all entertaining. You can’t get a better beginning reader book than this. – Melissa Fox
Red heads are no stranger to classic works of children’s literature. Recent successful red heads, however, are a bit on the rare side. And early chapter book red heads? Well, they exist but none are quite so prominent or popular as Clementine.
The plot from my review reads, “Clementine can tell you right from the start when her week started going poorly. It all began when her best friend Margaret let Clementine cut her hair in the school bathroom. Margaret’s always been jealous of her friend’s bouncy red curls, so it makes perfect sense to Clementine to take the strongest red marker she has and color some curls onto Margaret’s nearly bald head. That’s the kind of kid Clementine is. She’s always willing to go the extra mile. For example, she cuts all her own hair off in sympathy with Margaret and gets her own head painted green. Not that these were the only bad things that happened to our heroine this week. Her father, who takes care of the apartment building they live in, is fighting The Great Pigeon War against, what he labels, pigeon splat. And her parents have been planning something in secret that is making Clementine very nervous indeed. It’s not easy being the creative one in the family, but this is one gal who’s willing to be that person.”
Ms. Pennypacker is breaking new ground this year with a novel that’s very different from the Clementine series. I know a number of you out there have already had a chance to read her remarkable Summer of the Gypsy Moths. A Newbery contender in its own right, it proves that Ms. Pennypacker is not afraid to go places Clementine would dare not tread.
Booklist approved saying, “Sometimes touching and frequently amusing, this engaging chapter book is well suited to reading alone or reading aloud to a roomful of children.”
So did SLJ with, “A delightful addition to any beginning chapter-book collection.”
Personally I preferred how Horn Book put it, “Clementine’s first-person narration is fresh and winsome, and the episodic plot is accessible to young readers but includes details and layers that add a richness rare in short chapter books.”
Said <Add a Comment
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: September 1, 2011
Here’s the scoop on the most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review site, the most coveted new releases and bestsellers.
The most coveted books that release this month:
by Brian Selznick
by DK Publishing
(Ages 12 and up)
by Shel Silverstein
by Pseudonymous Bosch
by Dr. Seuss
(Ages 6-9)Add a Comment
PIERRE IN LOVE
Written by Sara Pennypacker
Pictures by Petra Mathers
Published by Orchard Books/Scholastic
PIERRE IN LOVE is a perfect book to read on Valentine’s Day because it’s all about L-O-V-E!
Pierre, the main character, is secretly in love with Catherine. He can think of nothing else. He can’t eat. His face melts “into a loopy smile” every time he hears her name. He daydreams of rescuing her from danger. He yearns to express his love for her.
Catherine, the object of his amorous feelings, is a ballet teacher. She is “exquisite, an angel of grace and beauty.” Pierre doesn’t have the courage to tell his beloved how he feels. He thinks he is not good enough for her because he is just an ordinary fisherman.
Pierre gathers treasures he finds when he is out at sea: a beautiful unbroken shell; a bouquet of wild roses from a small island; a piece of driftwood; a heart-shaped wreath of sea grass; and even a gourmet treat—a dozen fresh oysters. He plans to present them as tokens of his affection to the elegant lady of his heart.
But each time he brings one of the presents to Catherine, he chickens out and leaves it on her doorstep. Catherine is touched…and intrigued. Who could be leaving her these treasures from the sea? When she can stand the suspense no longer, she decides to hide in her lilac bushes one night to find out the identity of the mysterious gift giver. When Catherine leaps “gracefully from a bush," she surprises Pierre.
An excerpt from the book:
Pierre was so stunned he could only stare, his mouth hanging open like a haddock’s. This close to Catherine, he felt all bloopy and love-swoggled. (Don’t you just love that language?)
Pierre finally summons the courage to tell Catherine he loves her. And just when you’re expecting the I-love-you-too-Pierre-happily-ever-after-smoochy-ending, she informs him that as much as she appreciates his gifts she cannot return his feelings. Her heart belongs to someone else! YEOUCH! As hard as the news hits our love-struck protagonist, he tells Catherine he is glad that she is happy.
Well, tie me down and lash me with a bunch of wet tagliatelle noodles if Catherine doesn’t declare that she is lovesick over this fellow. She says she can’t bring herself to tell him because “he’s an adventurer, bold and brave, and I’m only an ordinary ballet teacher.” All she has been able to do is paint pictures of her secret love, night after night.
Even though Pierre is crushed and heartbroken, he sleeps well that night. He feels better the next morning and is able to eat. He realizes that keeping hold of his secret was what had made him feel so miserable. On his way to the dock that morning, he stops by Catherine’s studio with one more gift: some advice. He encourages her to tell her secret love about her feelings for him: “Feelings are like tides—you can’t hold them back!”
It soon comes to pass that readers—and Catherine—find out the identity of the bold adventurer hero that she has only admired from a distance. Yep…it’s Pierre. And so…we actually do have a happy fairy tale ending--just a little later than expected.
To be sure, PIERRE IN LOVE is a sweet story. Here are some of the things I like most about the book: Sara Pennypacker’s use of vocabulary and language, the gentle humor, the two likable lovesick characters, and the art of Petra Mathers. Mathers captures the atmosphere of the setting and the tone of the story with her illustrations. I especially like her two-page spread of Pierre in his boat chugging back into his small seacoast village. Though her folk-art style illustrations are uncluttered, some contain interesting little details—a copy of Moby Dick on Pierre’s night table and a poster of “Some Bony Fishes” on his bedroom wall.
PIERRE IN LOVE is a fine book to read aloud—especially on Valentine’s Day!
Will U B mine 2-morrow?
The Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education honors the following three books this month:
The 2007 Josette Frank Award (fiction) goes to Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Hyperion) and The Manny Files by Christian Burch (Atheneum)(excerpt). This award honors "a book or books of outstanding literary merit in which children or young people deal in a positive and realistic way with difficulties in their world and grow emotionally and morally."
The 2007 Flora Stieglitz Straus Award goes to Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman (Holiday House). This award honors "a non-fiction book that serves as an inspiration to young readers."
Learn more about the Bank Street Awards.
The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee. Hyperion. $14.99.
When “Clementine” arrived on the scene in 2006 it hit a nerve. Otherwise sane and rational adults began thwapping one another over the heads with the book screaming, “READ THIS! READ THIS! READ THIS!” Children were left abandoned as their parental units devoured the title. Kids, as it happened, quite enjoyed the book as well, but you could be forgiven for not noticing this through the swarm of “Clementine”-addled adults out there. Now the sequel has popped onto shelves everywhere and we are experiencing the calm before the storm. Copies are already flying off the shelves, but we won’t experience the true gale-force winds of the faithful until the summer months. Then watch those copies simply fly. Sequels come with their own set of rules and regulations, of course. Rule #1 tends to be, “Be As Interesting As Your Predecessor,” and is too often ignored by writers. Not Pennypacker. A worthy sequel and a perfectly packaged little gem, “The Talented Clementine,” will please the initiated and uninitiated Clementine-fans alike.
It’s talent show time! Yes, the third and fourth graders of Clementine’s school are gonna put on a production to beat the band and this puts our heroine in a bit of a pickle. Clementine has no talents. None. Zippo o’ talentos. Well, none that she can perform anyway. She cannot dance or sing or cartwheel or Hula-Hoop. Her best friend Margaret can do all of these and more but even with her “help” Clementine’s having some difficulty. And really, it isn’t until the day in question that she discovers something she can do that no other third grader seems capable of. Something that isn't flashy or even noticeable, but that quite positively saves the day.
The funny thing about this particular volume is that Pennnypacker has done away with a subplot. There’s no A story paired with a lesser B story for kicks. This pup’s A and only A from start to finish. You might think that would make the book tedious and slow, but the author appears to know what she’s doing. The concept of figuring out what you do best is infinitely difficult to write about for any extended length of time without sounding like a broken record. All the more reason then for the author to add in details like Clementine super-gluing beer bottlecaps to the soles of her shoes in the hopes learning to tap. I can probably say with certainty that I’ve never read a children’s early chapter book that contained a kid who stinks like a brewery. Other unique details include the presence of adults that aren’t villains. The Principal that Clementine is constantly excusing herself to talk to acts more like an infinitely patient psychotherapist than an authority figure.
I’d like to point out that what I’m doing right now (reviewing this book) is a dangerous thing. You have no idea the position I’ve placed myself in, do you? How easy it is, when reviewing a Clementine, to suddenly lapse into copying down quote after quote from the text without giving it a second thought. I might try to encourage you to read the book by typing something like, “And that’s when the worried feeling – as if somebody were scribbling with a big black crayon – started up in my brains.” That might work. Or I could slip in a little description of the school nurse that says, “She always looks bored, as if she’s just killing time until a really good disease hits the school.” I think you should count your lucky stars that I’ve too strong a sense of self-preservation to ever fall into that trap. Whew!
You know, if we’re going to be perfectly honest with one another here, you should probably know that some people do not care for “Clementine”. Such people have grown tired of the spunky-red-haired-female genre and equate Clem with Junie B. Jones and her pseudo-spunky ilk. Such people, nine times out of ten, have not physically sat down and read the book cover to cover, but some have and Clementine is just not their bag. I’ve also heard objections to Clementine’s maturity or lack thereof. Some people didn’t believe (as seen in the first book) that a third grader would be so immature as to cut off all of her best friend’s hair. But even if that’s your objection to “Clementine”, there’s nothing to stop you from loving its follow-up. Maturity varies with every individual. And if there's any way to describe this heroine, it's as an "individual" indeed.
So why do people like Pennypacker’s books so much? Maybe it’s because she’s damn good at nailing little truths here and there. We know what it’s like when a teacher is so excited by a program that they end up tacking on words to the Pledge of Allegiance like, “With liberty and justice for all and I know we’re all very excited to get to our big project.” Her characters feel believable. Clementine is self-involved, sure. What third grader isn’t? But she honestly feels a concern for her annoying baby brother. In fact, she’s so afraid that the babysitter will forget that he’s allergic to peanuts that she scrawls a, “NO PEANUTS FOR ME!” in blue permanent marker on his head so as to avoid any accidents.
One of the branches in my library system is mere days away from hosting an honest-to-goodness “Clementine” party. There will be a pin-the-bologna-glasses-on-the-face, a pigeon toss, and who knows what all. I was hoping there might be a wok spin, but no such luck. Now after having read the sequel, I wonder what additional crafts and ideas might come of this newest title. A howling contest? A bottle cap coloring station? The mind boggles. Whatever they decide upon, I know that they’ll need plenty of copies of this book when it finally reaches their shelves. Once again, the Clementine-shaped ball that is this book gets knocked cleanly out of the park. A worthy continuation.
Notes on the Cover: Uh, it's Marla Frazee, dude. Short of drawing this cover entirely in her own blood I can't think of a way she could have messed up this image. I also happen to love that Clementine's new shoes make the cover and that the image you see here hints broadly at the talent she eventually finds. Nicely done.
First Line: "I have noticed that teachers get exciting confused with boring a lot."
Previously Reviewed By: What Adrienne Thinks About That, MotherReader, and A Year of Reading. Please inform me if I have missed anyone.
Well, I didn't win the challenge. Sigh. Now I know what the standard of competition is-- y'all better watch out next year, is all I'm saying.
I liked the challenge of it though, so I'm having a self-challenge. Feel free to play along. The challenge is this:
Read all the books I have checked out and borrowed. Don't check out or borrow anymore books until the end of the challenge. Read a as-of-yet determined amount of books that I OWN. I currently have 19 books checked out and probably about 8 that are borrowed.
I buy books that I think I'll want to own. I can't help it. But, they often get waylaid because dude, the library books have to go back. So the books I wanted so much that I bought them languish on the shelves, unread. Time to change that.
But here are some library books:
Sara Pennypacker: Writing Chapter Books...
Something I love about attending SCBWI conferences is the opportunity to hear writers talk with so much passion about what they do. Sara Pennypacker is one such writer. I got a sense from her that she cares deeply about both her characters and her audience.
During her breakout session on writing chapters books, she told us as she works she keep in mind why she's writing chapter books and who she's writing them for. Before she began writing Clementine, Sara's first series was centered on Stuart, a boy who was afraid of everything. When she talked to second- and third-graders during school visits, she would ask them to write down something that they worried about. Their number one worry, it seemed, was that they wouldn't be able to find the bathroom. After 911, however, they began to worry about planes crashing into buildings. This made her think: Am I supposed to be doing something about this? She feels it's important that kids learn from books that in life there are choices. And there's no downside to telling kids they have choices. However, she says a book is not a place to preach and proselytize.
Sara feels that whatever it is you're writing, you have to believe it in order to be able to go the emotional distance otherwise your voice won't be authentic. She told us that she gets totally immersed in her characters when she's writing, almost becoming them in an altered-perception-of-reality kind of way. There are so many series at chapter book level, she says, because they are for new readers, "and we need to throw them a rope."
Recent Publishing News mostly from PW...
So, May is Asian-American Heritage Month. To celebrate, 10 children's and YA authors got together to spotlight "Ten new contemporary novels by Asian Americans aren’t traditional tales set in Asia nor stories about coming to America for the first time."
Check out the list at Fusion Stories.
I thought this was an awesome idea, so to join the party, I'm reading all the fusion stories this month, substituting earlier works if the highlighted story isn't published yet.
But, first I'm going to ramble on about myself for a while, because it's my blog! I can do what I want!
Mainly, the wedding I went to this weekend was wonderfully fun AND I got to meet some other kidlit dorks, including someone who knows David Levithan. And Rachel Cohn! My geeky heart just about died! My response was "Can I touch you?!" Initially, he thought I was being a bitch, when really, I was in total AWE!
And now I'm off to North Carolina for my sister's wedding!
Also, I want to give a shout-out to Lauren. She's my new-ish coworker and she is awesome. I don't think I've mentioned that yet. But who else would randomly burst into song with you on the reference desk? Especially when said song is a medley of the Simpson's musical version of Street Car Named Desire?
You can always depend on the kindness of strangers!
To buck up your spirits and shield you from dangers!
Now here's a tip from Blanche you won't regret:
A stranger's just a friend you haven't met.
You haven't met!
That's what too much story time can do to a person!
Also, here's a video I've been watching a lot of lately:
Because do you know what's better than a Kate Pierson muppet? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Also, how awesome is it when you look like a total moody rock star while rocking out on a banjo?!
Anyway, some reviews!
The Golden Kite Luncheon & Awards Presentation...
The conference Golden Kite Luncheon took place on Sunday (I'm posting out of order a bit--I used various notebooks that ended up in various places when I packed), during which lots of awards are given out (and I always cry).
After the food (the vegetarian dish was delish) we were entertained a capella by conference-goer Tyler McGroom, who participated in a contest involving singing during last year's event (for which I, as his table mate, got free SCBWI merch from the bookstore) and volunteered to croon once again.
Next SCBWI Illustrator Coordinator Priscilla Burris announced the winners of the portfolio showcase (which, as usual, she did a bang-up job of coordinating). Here they are:
The End of the Conference: Autograph Party Photos...
After half a chocolate cupcake and half a yellow cupcake, I got some shots of the autograph party (which I didn't have to participate in because the 2009 CWIM didn't make it to the bookstore which in a way was OK because I feel a little silly signing books).
Susan Patron, Sara Pennypacker, and Ann Whitford Paul look happy about autographing.
Washingtonians Holly Cupala (who is holding one of the roses from the gorgeous bouquet her husband sent in celebration of her very recent two-book deal!) with RA Jolie Stekly and her stack of books.
The awesome Paula Yoo listens to a conference-goer as she prepares to sign her first novel, Good Enough.
Authors Katherine Applegate and Jay Asher--both of whom I interviewed for Insider Reports in the 2009 CWIM.
Rachel Cohn happily passes one of her novels off to a conference goer (note the red "Reading Is Power" bracelet) while Bruce Coville concentrates on signing.
Marla Frazee and her line of autograph seekers. (I wonder if her hand got tired.)
SCBWI RAs/authors Esther Hershenhorn (Illinois) and Ellen Hopkins (Nevada).
Down the row: Linda Zuckerman, Paula Yoo, Lisa Yee, Mark Teague, and Adam Rex (who you can sort of see).
Just a random assortment from my TBR shelf this week folks. Enjoy!
With St. Patrick's Day coming up soon, I thought Lucky Tucker would be a good choice to have on the list this week. Tucker the dog has shown up in two other books, one about Christmas and one about Halloween, but this time he's trying his hardest to become the luckiest dog ever. Leslie McGuirk has created a fun-loving, adorable dog, that is appealing to everyone.
Waking up on the wrong paw is never fun for anyone, but Tucker is determined to change his luck. By rolling in a pile of four leaf clovers and then being told he is now the luckiest dog around by a real leprechaun, Tucker knows his luck has turned around and it boy has it! He gets a scoop of ice cream, gets to play with all of his friends, and gets a boxful of toys delivered just for him.
The Tucker books are simple enough for your younger kids and they'll enjoy the pure happiness that Tucker the dog exhibits. This would be nice book to have on your home shelves. Good for practicing reading too.
Sparrow Girl, written by one of my favorite middle grade authors, Sara Pennypacker, is a great example of an author branching out to different genres.
The tale of a young girl that loves the birds in her Chinese village, but finds out the farmers, including her father, want to kill all of the sparrows, as the tiny birds are eating up their grain. Devastated, Ming-Li attempts to stop the farmers, but is constantly told that she is just a young girl and that no one disobeys their leader.
When the sparrows have been run out of town, the farmers are surprised to learn that their grain is now being eaten by worms, grasshoppers, and locusts; all the insects that the sparrows used to eat and finally realize how wrong they were. Luckily, Ming-Li has a little secret to let the farmers in on.
A really beautiful story, with excellent illustrations by Yoko Tanaka. This selection would be great for older children (there is quite a bit of bird killing, but it's done subtly and gently) and would definitely do well in a library. I very much enjoyed this one.
My final selection this week is a title that I think every library could use a copy of. My Sister, Alicia May is an "issue" book, yes, but it's one of the best picture books written for siblings of Down's Syndrome children that I've seen yet. Enjoyable, simple, and educational.
My Sister, Alicia May is written by Nancy Tupper Ling and illustrated be Shennen Bersani and is based on the real story of two sisters just like Alicia May and Rachel. The reader is able to easily learn that Alicia May is very much like any other 6 year old girl, loving dogs and horses, and is annoying to her older sister. At times, Alicia May gets made fun of, needs breathing treatments, and doesn't like straying from her routines, but other than that, is just like any other little sister. She isn't different, she just has some amazing qualities that others lack.
Alicia May appears to be a joyful child, happy, and loving her older sister. The illustrations are nicely done and very life-like. This is a great title for libraries and home shelves and would make a great read aloud for a classroom or story time to educate children on Down Syndrome.
This one isn't being published until May, but it's available for pre-order from Amazon now.
My Sister, Alicia May
Nancy Tupper Ling
Pleasant St. Press
To learn more about any of the titles, or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Last Thursday, June 25th, I was lucky enough to join the President, the First Lady, and hundreds of Congressional family members to prepare 15,000 backpacks with books and other items for the children of servicemen and women. With the incredibly generous support of Random House Children’s Books and Disney Publishing Worldwide, First Book was able to donate 30,000 books (two for each backpack!) with a retail value of almost $250,000.
The service event highlighted ‘United We Serve,’ President Obama’s call to all Americans to engage in service projects and create meaningful impact in their towns and communities. The ‘United We Serve’ summer service initiative began June 22nd and runs through the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11th. The initiative is being led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency dedicated to fostering service in communities across the country.
Curious about the books the President and the First Lady helped us pack? Here’s the list — full of great choices for your own summer reading!
Two weeks ago, I talked about Judy Blume’s classic Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and about the recent controversy over book covers. As you can see, today’s Timeless Thursday book Ramona Quimby, Age 8 also has a new, modern book cover, but that’s not what I’m here to blog about today.
Beverly Cleary has created some of the most endearing child characters ever, and my favorite is Ramona. Some more modern writers have written stories about strong,funny, independent girls such as Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine series or Susan Patron’s award-winning character, Lucky. I love these new girl characters, but my heart still belongs to Ramona. I am an only child, and as much as Beezus and Ramona might have driven each other crazy, I wanted my Beezus. I also remember learning to write cursive and being as proud as Ramona was when she wrote Ramona Quimby, Age 8 carefully in cursive. I could relate to Ramona, and that is why she will forever remain timeless in my heart.
Why would kids today want to read a book written by Beverly Cleary in 1981? Why wouldn’t they? The answer is as clear as day on the front cover of the latest version of Ramona Quimby, Age 8–”Life as a third grader is tough!” Don’t all elementary kids think they have it the toughest? Don’t they want to read something written by an author who truly understands them? Yes and yes!
So, although there are new, wonderful books out, don’t forget to share the old classics with your children and your students, too. If they haven’t heard of Ramona Quimby yet, give them this first book and let them decide for themselves.
What’s your favorite Beverly Cleary book?Add a Comment
*Chapter book for second to fourth graders, realistic contemporary
*Third-grade girl as main character
*Rating: Clementine’s Letter is laugh-out-loud funny while being touching and so true to life at the same time!
Short, short summary: Clementine is back and in third grade. She is finally “in sync” with her teacher, Mr. D’Matz (be careful how you say his name–you might accidentally say two bad words, according to Clementine). Her principal visits are fewer. But one day, Mr. D’Matz sends Clementine to get the principal who has a special announcement about the teacher. Mr. D’Matz could be selected to spend the rest of the school year in Egypt. But Clementine can’t believe her ears, and she doesn’t think much of this special announcement. Mr. D’Matz promised to do all sorts of fun activities with his third grade students; and if he leaves, he will be breaking his promise. So, when Clementine has an assignment to write a letter of recommendation for her teacher to receive this chance of a lifetime, she decides to write quite a letter. She even asks her parents how to spell, “Menace to Society.” In Clementine’s Letter, Sara Pennypacker writes a funny tale once again with lovable, quirky Clementine in the middle–still searching for vegetable names for her brother and trying to help her mom organize her art supplies.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Clementine is angry at Mr. D’Matz for breaking his promise; but as he explains, he didn’t know that he was going to be up for this award or given the chance to go to Egypt. Ask students to write in reading sreponse journals if they think Clementine should be angry at Mr. D’Matz. Do they agree that he broke his promise? Have they ever made a promise that they had to break? Has someone else ever made a promise to them that was broken? Should people be careful when they use the words, “I promise”? If you are reading this book with your child at home, have a discussion with him or her about promises. This is often a hot topic between kids and parents, and Sara Pennypacker’s book can help you get the conversation started.
2. When Clementine writes her letter, the reader does not know everything that she says, but it is easy to guess that she wrote a lot of bad things about her teacher. Ask students to use their prediction skills and predict what they think will happen to Mr. D’Matz and Clementine because of her letter. Will Clementine’s letter stop her teacher from going to Egypt? Will she get in trouble for writing this letter? Ask students to base their predictions on book details or personal life experiences.
3. In Clementine’s Letter, she visits an Asian-American grocery store to find more vegetable names for her brother. Based on what she calls her brother after her visit, what are some vegetables she found at the grocery store? Ask students to make a list. If you (and your students) are really brave, you could bring in some of these vegetables for children to try. If you are at home with your child, maybe you could visit a grocery store similar to the one Clementine goes to in Boston.
Have you and your child or students read Clementine’s Letter by Sara Pennypacker? If so, what are your thoughts? What discussions or activities did you do?Add a Comment