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Blacker the Berry

Joyce Carol Thomas (2008), 32 pages
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Audience: 3rd Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Multicultural, Poetry
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This wonderfully tender collection of poetry reflects on the many beautiful shades of black skin. Eloquent text and powerful illustrations fill the page. The first poem questions 'What shade is human?'. She proceeds in other poems to use phrases such as 'I am biscuit brown', 'I am raspberry black', 'I am as light as snowberries in fall', and 'I am toasted wheat berry bread' to characterize the rich colors.
Awards won: Coretta Scott King Award (Illustrator)
Reviewed by: rn
Date read: 12/18/2009
ISBN-10: 0060253754
ISBN-13: 9780060253752
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Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It

Sundee T. Frazier (2007), 196 pages
Audience: 4th Grade - 8th Grade
Category: Multicultural, Realistic Fiction
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Brendan Buckley has developed a question notebook because of the encouragement of his fifth-grade teacher. He calls the notebook, 'Brendan Buckley's Book of Big Questions About Life,the Universe and Everything in It.' He has questions like, Do centipedes really have 100 legs? and Do boys fart more than girls? He answers the questions in his notebook by putting up his EXPERIMENT IN PROGRESS sign on his bedroom door and using his scientific methods to answer the questions. Brendan loves collecting rocks. One day on a visit to the mall with his grandma Gladys, Brendan stops to talk to a man with a rock collection display named Ed DeBoses. Grandma Gladys is shocked when she sees him talking to the man and ushers him away. Brendan pieces information together and discovers that this man is his grandpa(his mother's father) that he has never met. In his notebook, he writes down the questions he has about why he hasn't ever met his grandpa. Try as he may, Brendan just can't answer these questions. Just as he is about to give up and try to forget about Grandpa Ed, answers and forgiveness come!
Awards nominated: 2013 Bluestem Nominee
Reviewed by: jb
Date read: 6/8/2012
ISBN-10: 0385734395
ISBN-13: 9780385734394
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Cats in Krasinski Square

Karen Hesse (2004), 32 pages
Illustrated by Wendy Watson
Audience: 2nd Grade - 4th Grade
Category: Fiction, Historical, Multicultural, Picture Books
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'The Cats in Krasinski Square' by Karen Hesse recounts a little-known event, conducted by the brave men and women of the Jewish Resistance in Poland during World War II. Having invaded Poland, the Gestapo displaced its Jewish residents behind giant walls establishing the Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. These walls prevented safe living conditions, adequate food, quality medical care, and personal freedom. The Gestapo continually patrolled this area to prevent food and supplies from being smuggled into the ghetto to the starving people imprisoned there. In a brave attempt to help these people, Mira and her little sister devised an ingenious plan. They used the homeless cats of Warsaw to outwit the Gestapo and foil their plan to intercept these much needed supplies. This story gives testament to the courage and determination of many young men and women who risked their lives to fight the Nazis. Due to the subject matter of this book, younger readers should read this story with an adult.
Similar authors: Amy Littlesugar; Sharon Jennings
Similar books: One Yellow Daffodil: A Hanukkah story by David A. Adler; Star of Fear, Star of Hope by Jo Hoestlandt; The Doll with the Yellow Star by Yona Zeldis McDonough; Willy and Max: A Holocaust Story by Amy Littlesugar; A Chanukah Noel by Sharon Jennings
Reviewed by: mb
Date read: 7/15/2011
ISBN-10: 0439435404
ISBN-13: 9780439435406
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Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

Jenny Han (2011), 160 pages
Illustrated by Julia Kuo
Audience: 2nd Grade - 4th Grade
Category: Especially for Girls, Fiction, Multicultural
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Clara Lee is competing to become Little Miss Apple Pie and ride the float in her town's yearly festival. Her grandfather tells her a recent dream brings good luck, but she must contend with a classmate who claims her 'American as apple pie' heritage makes her more deserving of the title than Clara Lee. Join Clara Lee as she figures out whether her dream was lucky enough to make her wish come true!
Reviewed by: emc
Date read: 7/6/2011
ISBN-10: 0316070386
ISBN-13: 9780316070386

Coolies

Yin (2001), 40 pages
Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
Audience: Preschool - 8th Grade
Category: Adventure, Fiction, Historical, Multicultural, Picture Books, Realistic Fiction
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'Coolies' by Yin is an historical accounting of the Chinese contribution to the building of the transcontinental railroad in the United States of America in the mid-1800's. Beautifully told through the eyes of Shek and his little brother Wong, the author is able to describe the immense prejudice, (being called Coolies), the grueling and dangerous working conditions, and the poor pay that the Chinese workers were subjected to. Through the realistic illustrations of Chris Soentipiet, we are told the story of the enormous contribution and sacrifice made by many Chinese workmen in the building of a railroad and in the expansion of the United States.
Similar authors: Laurence Yep; Lila Perl; Karen Hesse, Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert; Eve Bunting; Shirin Yim Bridges
Similar books: The Transcontinental Railroad by John Perritano; Dragon's Gate by Laurence Yep; To the Golden Mountain: The Story of the Chinese who Built the Transcontinental Railroad by Lila Perl; Pop's Bridge by Eve Bunting; Papa's Mark by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert
Reviewed by: mb
Date read: 7/27/2011
ISBN-10: 0399232273
ISBN-13: 9780399232275
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