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Take Time To Read!

The Rag Coat, writ­ten by Lau­ren A. Mills, was a favourite of mine to read to my class­es at Thanks­giv­ing Time. Our Cana­di­an Thanks­giv­ing is in a cou­ple of weeks, with the hol­i­day south of our bor­der in less than a month’s time. What will Thanks­giv­ing mean to you this year? In the time of this pan­dem­ic, we are to be remind­ed to look for bless­ings, how­ev­er small.

The focus in my class­room in Octo­ber was on being thank­ful what you had and the need to be kind to oth­ers in need. The father’s com­ment in the book that “Peo­ple only need peo­ple, and noth­ing else.” is a valu­able les­son indeed. As Kiwa­ni­ans, we are always in need of increas­ing our mem­ber­ship to help oth­ers less for­tu­nate than ourselves.

The young girl in the sto­ry is called Min­na. Her fam­i­ly couldn’t afford a coat for her but her Papa kept her warm in win­ter with a burlap sack and her Mama’s patch­work quilt wrapped around her. Lit­tle eight- year-old Min­na start­ed school after her father’s pass­ing but she had no coat to wear. Her neigh­bors con­tributed scraps from their fam­i­ly rem­nants to make a patch­work coat, lined with the old sack her father would wrap her in. Her class­mates teased her about her unusu­al coat but soon learned what bits of their his­to­ry were apart of it.

This is a touch­ing sto­ry, ide­al for 7 to 10 years old. I made a mis­take in select­ing The Rag Coat one year as our club’s dona­tion and Readaloud for our local ele­men­tary schools. One Kiwan­ian scold­ed me after vol­un­teer­ing in a class­room, say­ing that he couldn’t get through read­ing the sto­ry to the chil­dren with­out tear­ing up…I took that as high praise!

Hap­py Reading,

Julia Levine 

 

Author and Illus­tra­tor Ash­ley Spires has cre­at­ed a pic­ture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who hap­pens to be a dog. 

For those who are strug­gling dur­ing this time of Covid and feel­ing frus­trat­ed in your efforts to achieve your goals, this fun­ny book for young chil­dren offers a per­fect exam­ple of the rewards of per­se­ver­ance and creativity. 

The pro­tag­o­nist has a won­der­ful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” 

But mak­ing some­thing hap­pen isn’t easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeat­ed­ly. Even­tu­al­ly, she is so mad, in fact, that she quits. Her dog con­vinces her to return to her project with renewed enthusiasm.

The sto­ry deals hon­est­ly with the feel­ings expressed, while at the same time reas­sur­ing us that it’s okay to make mis­takes. While this book is intend­ed for young­sters, the mes­sage speaks to us all, 

Hap­py Reading,

Julia Levine 

 

This month I am rec­om­mend­ing a book for the times, My Hero is You! It is free for all.

Dur­ing the ear­ly stages of this book project, more than 1700 chil­dren, par­ents, care­givers and teach­ers from around the world shared how they were cop­ing with the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic. The input was invalu­able to script writer and illus­tra­tor Helen Patuck and the project team in mak­ing sure that the sto­ry and its mes­sages res­onat­ed with chil­dren from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and continents.

The book is intend­ed pri­mar­i­ly for chil­dren aged 6–11 years old. It is a col­lab­o­ra­tion of Unit­ed Nations agen­cies and inter­na­tion­al agen­cies pro­vid­ing men­tal health sup­port in emer­gency settings.

In order to reach as many chil­dren as pos­si­ble, the book is wide­ly trans­lat­ed. It is released as an online prod­uct and I have your links below. Many oth­er lan­guages are also avail­able to be downloaded.

Here is your free down­load in Eng­lish.

Here is your free down­load in Span­ish.

Be Well,

Julia Levine

 

This month I am rec­om­mend­ing a lit­er­a­cy web­site for ele­men­tary ages chil­dren from Kinder­garten through to Grade 8. There are a num­ber of free books avail­able to read online or down­load with relat­ed activ­i­ties at Free­KidsBooks.org.

The site is divid­ed into grade cat­e­gories and age rec­om­men­da­tions. As well, there is an ESL area and books in a vari­ety of lan­guages. As our glob­al e‑club is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing chil­dren with read­ing this free site of books will help enter­tain them through­out the sum­mer months no mat­ter where they live.

Bil­ly Saves The Day is the sixth title in the Bil­ly Books series. Each book address­es a unique topic—bullying, arro­gant pride, jeal­ousy, lying, steal­ing, lack of self-belief, under­stand­ing mon­ey, and secrets. Writ­ten to help par­ents, guardians and teach­ers deal with the issues that chal­lenge pre-teen chil­dren; each top­ic is pre­sent­ed in a gen­tle way through sto­ry­telling. Set­ting the issues in a mean­ing­ful con­text helps chil­dren to under­stand the chal­lenges, and to see things from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. The books act as ice­break­ers allow­ing for dis­cus­sions of dif­fi­cult sub­jects. Addi­tion­al­ly, each title is sup­port­ed by a free activ­i­ty book to rein­force the learn­ing, while hav­ing fun.

I would love to hear from those who make use of it.

Be Well,

Julia Levine

This month I am rec­om­mend­ing The Unde­feat­ed, by New­bery Award-win­ning poet and author Kwame Alexan­der and illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son. The Unde­feat­ed won the 2020 Calde­cott Medal, the 2020 Coret­ta Scott King (Illus­tra­tor) Book Award, and a 2020 New­bery Honor.

The Unde­feat­ed is a trib­ute to African Amer­i­cans through­out Amer­i­can his­to­ry, from the time of being cap­tured, though slav­ery, the civ­il rights move­ment, and high­lights achieve­ments in sports, lit­er­a­ture, music, pol­i­tics, and oth­er fields. A poem that forms the text cel­e­brates those who sur­vived as well as those who did­n’t, an acknowl­edge­ment of the painful his­to­ry that should not be forgotten. 

It’s a trib­ute to African Amer­i­can heroes and reg­u­lar folks who faced strug­gles, prej­u­dice and those who suc­ceed­ed despite their hard­ships. From the bold pic­tures to the poet­ic words, this book is well worth read­ing. You can see it being read on You Tube.

From one read­er to another,

Julia Levine

 

Each of us is strug­gling with stay at home orders. Chil­dren are as well. Par­ents and grand­par­ents may be deal­ing with chil­dren that are lone­ly, bored or unhap­py. The book I am rec­om­mend­ing this month is 100 Things That Make Me Hap­py writ­ten by Amy Schwartz. It is most suit­able for the young ones, ages 3 to 6 but I con­fess it makes me hap­py as well.

It is a cel­e­bra­tion of 100 every­day things that will make you smile. The book is writ­ten in rhyming cou­plets from slip­pery floors to dinosaurs, from gold­fish to a birth­day wish and every­thing in between. Amy Schwartz cre­ates a won­der­ful syn­er­gy between the art and text that is sure to please. The pages are over­sized, draw­ing the child’s imag­i­na­tion into the book. 

Be Well,

Julia Levine

 

This mon­th’s book is Wher­ev­er you go: My love with find you by Nan­cy Tillman.

In hon­our of Valentine’s Day, this month I am going to rec­om­mend a Read Aloud for you to share with your son, daugh­ter or grand­child. I just mailed two copies to my grand­ba­bies in Canada.

Love is the great­est gift we have to give our chil­dren. It’s the one thing they can car­ry with them each and every day. If love could take shape, it might look some­thing like these heart­felt words and images from the inim­itable Nan­cy Tillman.

Wher­ev­er You Are is a book to share with your loved ones, no mat­ter how near or far, no mat­ter how young or old, they are.

Hap­py Valen­tine’s Day and shar­ing the love of reading!

Julia

The book I am rec­om­mend­ing to you this month is a sto­ry based upon a true sto­ry. The Grade Twos I read this book to were eager to iden­ti­fy all the ani­mals inside the front cov­er before I began to read the sto­ry. This book is quite time­ly know­ing the ter­ri­ble fires now roar­ing through Australia.

The young boy, Anto­nio Willie Giroux, loved to explore the woods and look for ani­mals, but they always remained hid­den away. One hot, dry sum­mer dis­as­ter struck: a fire rushed through the for­est. Every­one ran to the lake to stand knee deep in the water as they watched the fire. Slow­ly, ani­mals emerged from their for­est home and joined the peo­ple in the water. Mirac­u­lous­ly, all sur­vived but Anto­nio nev­er for­got the time when he watched the dis­tance between peo­ple and ani­mals disappear.

Hap­py Reading!

Julia Levine

 

EOT mem­ber, Mary Jo Brubak­er, spoke to the club about their 42nd Wool­ly Worm Fes­ti­val in North Car­oli­na. In the Amer­i­can North­east, it is believed that if the wool­ly worm has more brown on its body than black, it will be a fair win­ter. If the wool­ly worm has more black than brown, the win­ter will be harsh. Who knew?

The fes­ti­val is a 2 day event being held in Ban­ner Elk. This fam­i­ly event is co-host­ed by the Avery Coun­ty Cham­ber of Com­merce and the Kiwa­nis Orga­ni­za­tion of Ban­ner Elk.They wel­come more than 16,000 peo­ple to the com­mu­ni­ty to make fam­i­ly mem­o­ries and the chance to earn the pres­ti­gious hon­or of pre­dict­ing the high coun­try winter.

The prof­its from the Wool­ly Worm Fes­ti­val sup­port coun­ty-wide projects as well as the chil­dren of Avery County. 

Thank you Mary Jo for shar­ing your won­der­ful event with us!

As this is the month of Decem­ber, I would like to share one of the best Christ­mas books to read to a child, The Christ­mas Mir­a­cle of Jonathan Toomey. The premise of the book is the clash of inno­cent per­cep­tions of a young boy with the down­cast spir­it of a griev­ing wid­ow­er. The ensu­ing con­fronta­tions are humor­ous and poignant.

It is a touch­ing sto­ry that cap­tures the beau­ty of the sea­son as seen through the eyes of a young child. It is a book that high­lights the trans­for­ma­tion of a man dis­il­lu­sioned with every­thing to grad­u­al­ly find­ing the joy of life. 

The real­is­tic, beau­ti­ful­ly drawn illus­tra­tions make it a believ­able tale. If there is no child to read to, I sug­gest you read this one to your­self. You won’t be sor­ry you did.

While many of us may have dif­fer­ent tra­di­tions and cel­e­bra­tions, our hope is that we all find joy in this hol­i­day season.

Mer­ry Christ­mas or Hap­py Hanukkah to all!

Julia Levine