Monday, September 15, 2014

Book forty-eight: The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine

The Lions of Little Rock is another ORCA book nominee for 2015. Levine writes at the back of the book how and why she wrote the story about Little Rock a year after the Little Rock Nine went to school, and it is quite a fascinating reason. Much is known already of the Little Rock Nine and that school year when the high school became the first in the state to become integrated. Little is known about the following year, when the high schools chose to close rather than integrate their student populations.

Marlee is a girl without a voice. She's so shy she does not really speak except to her family members. Her sister's daily challenge for her is to say a specific number of words during the day. But then Liz, a new girl comes to school and she somehow manages to get Marlee to open up. They are friends. The more Marlee talks, the easier talking becomes. And that's a good thing, because Liz has a secret and the town is in the midst of a pretty big change.

This is a great read. Don't let the fact that it was written for middle school audiences keep you from it. Levine does a great job attempting to weave as much accurate historical information into her story as possible.

48 down plus 4 to go.

Similes, kindergarten-style

I'm going through last year's kindergarten work by Hen. I imagine he won't care to see any of this when he's older, and he'll likely think I'm a bit of a nut for saving so much of it, but how can I get rid of this fantastic work product?

The kids in Hen's class read Crazy Like a Fox by Loreen Leedy to learn about similes. They then had to choose a word to complete the simile. Here are Hen's…

It's as soft as a jellyfish.

It's as tough as a rhino.

It's amazing like an electric eel.

And the one he made up all on his own…

As pokey as a pufferfish.

There are little pictures he drew for each one that are all awesome. Needless to say, this will be an assignment I keep at least for a little while.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

School lunches, week 2

Left: Jasmine rice and roasted chickpeas, banana bread, cantaloupe and grapes, and edible flowers, cucumbers, radishes, and carrots.
Middle: Pizza with olives, pluots and plums, oatmeal cookie with dried cherries, chocolate, and sunflowers, cabbage, radishes, and bananas.
Right: Broiled salmon, banana bread, apple, vanilla yogurt, bulgar with mushrooms, and carrots.

Left: Black bean enchiladas, cucmbers and radishes, Z Bar (chocolate mint),  plums and grapes.
Right: Applesauce, latkes, cucumbers and radishes, pumpkin pie, and strawberries.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book forty-seven: Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport

It is a painful read.

But it is uplifting to read about those who defied the Nazis, to know that Jews and non-Jews worked together at great risk to themselves and their families in order to survive. These people were courageous and savvy and they had such an incredible will to live.

It states in the book that at some point during this madness the Nazi regime had reduced food rations to the Jews to just 184 calories a day.

Women took up arms and learned how to participate in military-like maneuvers against the Germans. Young Jewish kids spied on soldiers. Bombs were placed on railroads to stop the cargo ships from reaching the death camps. Escapes were planned and made, and some were even successful. An entire town sprang up in the middle of a forest, where the Jews had escaped to. Not only did they manage to survive there, they thrived.

This book should definitely be required reading.

47 down plus 5 to go.

Book forty-six: The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox

This book is a 2015 BCCCA nominee. Here's what Hen had to say about the book:
There was a rooster in the book that almost got took away. Peepers and Daniel are the main characters. Peepers is a rooster and Daniel is a boy. They met at school. Daniels wants Peepers and all the other chickens. He takes them to his home. He does not want to eat them. He wants to keep them as pets. Peepers is a rooster and it's against the law to keep a rooster as a pet. The police came to the house.

Would you vote for this book: Yes.

46 down plus 6 to go.

School cuties

These two are clearly trouble.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

School lunches

As the start of a new school year begins I once again make the pledge to bring more variety to Hen's school lunches. This year I am actively working to see how long I can pack lunches without repeat main dishes. I expect to make it three weeks before the ease of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich wins out over my efforts to seek new food combinations.
Left: PB&J circles with barbecue chips, cucumbers, red cabbage and cauliflower, mango, pluots and a plum with a chocolate treat.
Middle: Cheese quesadilla, spinach, red bell pepper and pine nut salad, nectarines, pluots and grapes, trail mix with a chocolate pudding treat.
Right: Orzo pasta with butter and parmesan, hard-boiled egg, cucumbers, red bell peppers, and radishes (teeny ones from our garden!), raspberries, watermelon and a plum, sunflower seed snacks with a yogurt-covered pretzels treat.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Book forty-five: Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

Another graphic novel for teens. This book is on the ORCA list for next year. It was good. Really good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first graphic novel I read last year.

A dad who is down on his luck has to get his son a birthday present. He finds a guy selling a magic cardboard box. But this cardboard box comes with rules. When those rules are not abided by things go horribly wrong. The rich kid, jealous that this magical box isn't his and that he can't buy it, does a bad thing and steals it. This is when things go from bad to worse.

45 down plus 7 to go.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

The world according to...

Me: What's the difference between dementors and zombies?
Henry: Dementors are from the magical world, and zombies are from the real world.

good to know.  also, gulp.