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Product Type: Books
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2007 Award
Henry's Freedom Box
(by Ellen Levine/illus. by Kadir Nelson, Scholastic $16.99 Score:) Told with an economy of words, this moving story does not miss a beat in capturing the powerful story of a slave family torn apart and the courage of a man who was determined to be free. This tale of the Underground Railroad is based on the true story of a man who mailed himself to freedom in a wooden box and lived to tell of it. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2008 Award
Great Joy
(by Kate DiCamillo /illus by Bagram Ibatoulline, Candlewick $16.99 Score:) Frances is getting ready for the Christmas pageant, but she is worried about where the organ grinder and his monkey, on the street corner, go at night. While adults, including her mother seem less concerned, Frances is more than curious. Set in the early 40’s this timepiece has a back-story that will not be apparent to children. Organ grinders are a thing of the past, as are the old fashioned cars, and fashions. The red, white and blue buntings mixed in with the Christmas decorations reflect the same era that only older grandparents will recall. Add to this, Frances’ father in his Naval uniform, who appears only in a photo on the shelf, but is never mentioned in the story. Paintings with a warm glow of another era add much to the power of this endearing story about the joy found in caring for others. A gem that connects the past and the present.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Look-Alikes Around the World
(by Joan Steiner, Little Brown $15.99 Score:) She’s done it again! This time Joan Steiner has made witty constructions of familiar sights around the world. Photographed as “postcards” they tease the eye to look for the unexpected…combs that are the blades of a windmill that turns out to be a metronome, leaves of tulips that are sting beans, cupcakes that are the huts in an African village and brussel sprout trees in front of the Taj Mahal with towers of clarinets and pears for minarets. It’s not just fun and games. Yes, there is a glossary of sorts. But at it’s heart, this is about creativity and seeing things in new ways. 5-9.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
The Wall
(by Peter Sis, Farrar Straus $18 Score:) A stunning autobiographical account of growing up behind the Iron Curtain. Told with drawings, journal entries and photographs, this oversized picturebook is not for the typical picture book crowd. It’s more like a graphic novel with not so many words. Young people who are studying that chapter in history will find an interesting view of the turmoil and longing to throw off the repression of the Cold War. This may be more of a book for adults than kids, but it opens a window to a past that many parents of today will recall.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Paper Fashions Fancy
(Klutz $21.95 Score:) Paper cut out books were never so open ended. Here the fashions are designed by using templates on a variety of papers that are supplied for inspiration. There are trims as well to add to the original designer clothes that kids can dream up. A goodly supply of fashion ideas are provided in the pages, but the real fun is in making them truly your own. This is a satisfying kind of kit for kids who are at that stage when their own drawings are sometimes not all they would want them to be. A supply of tiny metal hangers to hang your designs on. No scissor is provided, but tips on cutting are. They say 8 & up. We think this will challenge even slightly older kids.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Create YOur Own Fashions
(Klutz $21.95 Score:) Remember your Barbie Tracing kit? This is a non-Barbie version with plenty of possibilities for young designers. There are two models and lots of stick on clothes. The young designer puts the ensemble together on a template. There are faces, hairstyles, clothing and accessories. Then they trace their design and figure. Now they can add textures and color. Testers liked the open ended-ness of something that on the surface appears to be little more than a tracing kit. This is a satisfying kind of kit for kids who are at that stage when their own drawings are sometimes not all they would want them to be. Calls for a lot of fine motor skills that kids may be willing to apply when they like what they are doing. 8 & up, up, up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
My Dad, John McCain
(by Meghan McCain/ illus. by Dan Andreasen, Simon & Schuster $16.99 Score:) Told in the first person, this daughter’s telling of her father’s life story is kept simple and straightforward. Of course, the first marriage and family are left out of this telling. A surprising omission, given the huge number of kids who know all about divorces and having step siblings. The overriding message of this biography is that Meghan’s dad never gives up fighting for what he believes in.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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2008 Award
Abe's Honest Words
(by Doreen Rappaport/ illus. by Kadir Nelsonby Matt, Hyperion $16.99 Score:) Stunning illustrations add much to this telling of Lincoln's life and his memorable words. It is not an in depth biography, but gives young readers an overview of his life from boyhood on to the political stage and his views of slavery and his determination to hold save the Union. Kadir Nelson's illustrations are infused with light and drama that intensify the mood of Lincoln's inspiring words.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2008.

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