Books for Children

By Hannibal, Mary Anne | Childhood Education, Annual 2009 | Go to article overview

Books for Children


Hannibal, Mary Anne, Childhood Education


In keeping with the theme of this issue, the books reviewed for this column focus on the physical and emotional health of children. The books about ballet, yoga, and basketball are examples of the many available to encourage children's engagement in fitness activities. Other books reviewed focus on social-emotional health, including acceptance of one's own and others' differences, dealing with life's disappointments, and coping with serious life events, including illness in the family. We offer these as a few examples from the abundance of well-written books relevant to all aspects of children's well-being.

FICTION

Brown, Jason Robert, and Elish, Dan 13: A Novel. ISBN 978-0060787493. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 208 pp. $15.99. Evan Goldman has a speech problem. He has many problems, really--his dad has left the family for a stewardess; he and his morn have left their lifelong home in Manhattan; and Evan has started junior high in Indiana, where he vacillates between the cool crowd and the outcasts. Number one on his mind, though, is turning 13, pulling off his bar mitzvah without becoming "the weirdo fatherless New York Jewish freak," and describing to anyone who does show up to the ceremony what it means to become a man. Author Jason Robert Brown is a Tony Award-winning lyricist who also composed the Broadway musical 13 with Dan Elish. Ages 10 and up. Reviewed by Gina Hoagland, Ellicott City, MD.

Calvert, Pam PRINCESS PEEPERS. II. by Tuesday Mourning. ISBN 978-0-7614-5437-3. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2008. 30 pp. $16.99. Princess Peepers is a charming book about a young princess with glasses. Although the princess loves her glasses, the other princesses make fun of her unique spectacles. On the day of the highly anticipated royal ball, Princess Peepers throws away all of her glasses in preparation for the arrival of the Grand Prince. Although the princess vows that she does not need her glasses, her comical mistakes prove otherwise. After a "run-in" with the Grand Prince, she discovers that they share a common need for glasses. Princess Peepers dons her glasses again and it is love at first sight. Princess Peepers can be enjoyed by spectacled and non-spectacled readers alike, reminding us to appreciate our differences. Ages 5-9. Reviewed by Erin Carpenter, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA.

Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf THE SMART PRINCESS AND OTHER DEAF TALES. ISBN 1-896764-90-8. Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2006. 50pp. $9.95. This is a collection of five short stories, each written by a child with a hearing impairment, as part of the Story Swap Program in Canada. In each story ("The Smart Princess," "Earth 2," "My Life Changed," "My Tiger," and "Best Friends"), the characters face communication barriers that they creatively overcome. Several tales depict heroic figures communicating nonverbally, such as by using American Sign Language. Young readers will meet characters with varying abilities and disabilities, reflecting our everyday experiences, and learn to appreciate someone else's perspective and worldview. Ages 5-9. Reviewed by Jennifer Mui, York University, Toronto, Canada.

Gary, Meredith SOMETIMES YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT. Il. by Lisa Brown. ISBN 978-0-06-114015-0. New York: HarperCollins, 2008. 32 pp. $16.99. This book may remind you of All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Using simple language, a positive tone and situations relevant to young children, Meredith Gary delivers an important life lesson--sometimes you can do what you want, but sometimes you can't. For example, "Sometimes you can wear what you want, sometimes you can't. Sometimes it's your turn, sometimes you have to wait. Sometimes you can stay awhile, sometimes you have to go home." Each of these examples, and the seven others in the book, will likely prompt discussion as children inevitably ask, "Why?" The illustrations depicting children interacting in a preschool setting clearly convey the text and serve to enhance children's understanding of the concept. …

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