The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero by Amalia Hoffman, illustrated by Chiara Fedele, 40 pages, pub. 2019.
This story of Gino Bartali, two-time Tour de France champion is for the older elementary child. There is a lot of story, each page having a paragraph or more, but it takes it’s time with the fun stuff first to draw the reader in. From his childhood working to save money for a bike to his heroic efforts to save Jewish Italians during WWII, this was an inspiring story. We both loved it and Gage did share parts of the story with his dad, but because it was so long and at the end of a Friday afternoon of school, I only made him write one sentence about it.
Gino Bartoli helped save Jewish lives by delivering fake IDs on his bike.
Enormous Smallness: A Story of E.E. Cummings by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, 64 pages, pub. 2015.
“It takes Courage to Grow up & become Who you Really are.”
EE stands for Edward Estlin. He writes poetry. His first poem at age 3 was, “Oh my little birdie, Oh with his little toe, toe, toe.” He liked to make new words and squished others together. When he was 11 a teacher noticed how good he was. He started Harvard when he was 16 years old. After he moved to New York City we entered World War I and he became an ambulance driver (in the war). His first book was The Enormous Room. He didn’t follow writing rules.
Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream For Me by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, 40 pages, published 2013.
Most reviews we might work on together, some are based on a series of questions he writes the answers to and some, like this, are what he comes up with himself. Can you tell he hates to write? We paired this book with this video of the author.
His dad knock knocked on his door and came onto the bed and sat down and the boy jumped in is arms. One day his dad didn’t knock and he was sad. A letter was on his desk and it said, dear son I will not knock knock on your door so you have to knock for yourself.
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, art by Hatem Aly, 36 pages, published 2019.
This is a Wonderbook that first reads the story aloud and then asks questions at the end. Gage’s review is the answers to those questions. I think this is a good book for the younger set. It’s an introduction to the hajib.
What did you like best about the book? the illustrations
Who was your favorite character and why? Asiya because she is strong when people make fun of her.
What was your favorite picture and why? I liked the cover page because of the detail.
Do you want to write a book one day? maybe
What would it be about? a fairy tale
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale retold by Verna Aardema, pictures by Leo and Diane Dillon, 32 pages, published 1975
This Caldecott Medal Winner was a hit with both of us. Gage still loves stories told from the animals point of view and this one was fun. Until the death, that hit me hard! For the record, mosquitoes love Gage and each bite swells up terribly. We went to the botanical garden this week and he came home with about a dozen bites all over. It was after we read this book and he’s made jokes about the mosquitoes since.
The iguana puts sticks in his ears because a mosquito was talking about nonsense, so he doesn’t answer the python. The python gets scared and hides in the rabbit hole. Mother Owl was sad because her owlet died and she wouldn’t wake the sun. King Lion called a meeting of the animals.
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell, 97 pages, published 2008.
We spent about a week reading this one. The book itself with the abundance of gorgeous illustrations is one worth buying for the bookshelves. We both loved it. And it’s a great introduction to Thor, Loki and Odin for newbies.
Odd is a boy who ran away from his family. He went to his dad’s cabin. A fox led him to a bear that was trapped. The bear, an eagle and the fox went back to his cabin. He discovered they were gods when they started talking. They needed to go to Asgard because Thor’s hammer was stolen. Odd beat the Frost Giant so they were allowed in Asgard.
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell, 100 pages, published 2001.
So, we’re not exactly horror experts here, but I liked the shortness of the stories so we read this over a few weeks, culminating with Gage writing his own scary story on the last day. The stories themselves were hit or miss for both of us and some of them were brutal. I had him choose his two favorites and he chose one in which the heads were chopped of two dead men and exchanged for the funeral, and the other was about a butcher who ground up people as the special ingredient in his sausage. Yeah. A good read for October if your older kid can handle it.