25 December 2017

25 Christmas Books

The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood
written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, images by Ellen Beier

A Christmas Tapestry
written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

Christmas Wombat
written by Jackie French, images by Bruce Whatley

Coal Country Christmas
written by Elizabeth Ferguson Brown, images by Harvey Stevenson

Coyote Christmas: A Lakota Story
written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson

Deck the Walls: A Wacky Christmas Carol
written by Erin Dealey, images by Nick Ward

Dumpy Saves Christmas
written by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton, images by Tony Walton

Elf Help: http://www.falala.com
written by Margie Palatini, images by Mike Reed

Eloise at Christmastime
written by Kay Thompson, images by Hilary Knight

The Forgetful Bears Help Santa
written by Larry Weinberg, images by Jason Wolff

Gifts of the Heart
written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

The Gingerbread Pirates
written by Kristin Kladstrup, images by Matt Tavares

Guess Who's Coming to Santa's for Dinner?
written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

I See Santa Everywhere
written and illustrated by Glenn McCoy

"I'm Not Santa!"
written and illustrated by Jonathan Allen

The Knights Before Christmas
written by Joan Holub, images by Scott Magoon

The Librarian's Night Before Christmas
written by David Davis, images by Jim Harris

Little Rabbit's Christmas
written and illustrated by Harry Horse

The Lump of Coal
written by Lemony Snicket, images by Brett Helquist

Madeline in America and Other Holiday Tales
written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans and John Bemelmans Marciano

Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear!
written by Don and Audrey Wood, images by Don Wood

Merry Christmas, Splat
written and illustrated by Rob Scotton

Merry Un-Christmas
written by Mike Reiss, images by David Catrow

Milly and the Macy's Parade
written by Shana Corey, images by Brett Helquist

Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve
written and illustrated by Janet Morgan Stoeke

12 December 2017

12 Books About Peace #resist

14 Cows for America
written by Carmen Agra Deedy with Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah, images by Thomas Gonzalez

Can You Say Peace?
written and illustrated by Karen Katz

Gandhi: A March To the Sea
written by Alice B. McGinty,images by Thomas Gonzalez

Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving
edited by Katherine Paterson, images by Pamela Dalton

Grandfather Gandhi
written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, images by Evan Turk

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
written by Robbie Robertson, images by David Shannon

Jubilee! One Man's Big, Bold and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace
written by Alicia Potter, images by Matt Tavares

A Little Peace
written by Barbara Kerley

Manneken Pis: A Simple Story of a Boy Who Peed on a War
written and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

Nobel's Women of Peace
written by Michelle Benjamin and Maggie Mooney

Once a Shepherd
written by Glenda Millard, images by Phil Lesnie

One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists
written and illustrated by Janet Wilson

11 December 2017

11 Books About Mexico

Under the Lemon Moon
written by Edith Hope Fine, images by René King Moreno

Uno, Dos, Tres / One, Two, Three
written by Pat Mora, images by Barbara Lavallee

Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

The Ancestors Are Singing
written by Tony Johnston, images by Karen Barbour

Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children's Day / Book Day
written by Pat Mora, images by Rafael López

Cactus Soup
written by Eric A. Kimmel, images by Phil Huling

Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Dream Carver
written by Diana Cohn, images by Amy Cordova

El Cucuy: A Bogeyman Cuento
written by Joe Hayes, images by Honorio Robledo

Elena's Serenade
written by Campbell Geeslin, images by Ana Juan

Erandi's Braids
written by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal, images by Tomie dePaola

Playing with Barbies

I had a conversation with a co-worker recently about Barbies we had as children. As the conversation turned from the dolls we had (Peaches and Cream Barbie for the win!) to the various accessories we acquired (Town House! Corvette!), we began discussing how we played with our Barbies.

She was more interested in decorating their spaces -- crafting furniture from catalog photos, using images from magazines to decorate walls, cutting down carpet samples and Contact paper for flooring.

I was more interested in telling their stories.

One of the best presents I ever got was a Barbie doll house that was made by my parents and grandparents. It was wooden and had four rooms, furniture, carpet -- everything. I got it when I was about five years old, and I loved it! Several years later I got Barbie's Town House. While the Town House was cool (it did have an elevator, after all), it did not replace my homemade doll house in my heart. Eventually, the Town House collapsed into a pile of plastic and paper. Survivors included the Barbies who must have been inside at the time and the furniture.

The homemade doll house, the Town House, and several other "houses" around my room were the settings for elaborate stories. All of my Barbies had names -- most of which came from soap operas or the TV show Five Mile Creek. Because of the names I chose for the dolls, some of their backstories came from those shows as well. I couldn't very well have my doll named Eden interested in anyone other than my doll named Cruz (fans of Santa Barbara will understand).

The names only guided me in the relationships and connections of my Barbies -- Maggie and Kate were friends; Hannah was Maggie's daughter. The stories were entirely my own. School, work, parties, swimming, working with horses -- these were all options.

Sometimes the dolls went on trips, and I would stick them in the Corvette and drive from my room through the living room, kitchen, dining area and back to my room. Sometimes the dolls went to "Europe," and I would pack up the ones I was playing with at the time along with the suitcase full of Barbie clothes (yes, a whole suitcase) and head over to my grandmother's house to play. New setting, new stories.

I know some people think of Barbies as anti-feminist, but I could not disagree more. My Barbies were outspoken, hardworking and adventurous. Through my Barbies, I could express myself in ways I was only beginning to comprehend in real life. I loved my Barbies. I still do. I wish I had all of them to this day, but I've only kept a few (and the suitcase of clothes).

Homemade Barbie doll house
destroyed by Hurricane Cat.
photo by me

As for the homemade Barbie house, I had it until 2016. It survived a move to the Houston area and to Indiana, but it did not survive one of the cats jumping onto the second floor. I won't lie; I cried when I found this. It still took about a year for me to actually haul it to the curb for trash pick-up.

The furniture, however, is still with me. And the stories live on in my imagination.

06 December 2017

6 Books About Cats

Do you really need a reason to read a book about a cat?

Puss In Cowboy Boots
written by Jan Huling, images by Phil Huling

Romeow & Drooliet: With a Wag of the Tale to William Shakespeare
written and illustrated by Nina Laden

Rupert Can Dance
written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer

That Bad, Bad Cat!
written by Claire Masurel, images by Ture Kelley

Tiptop Cat
written and illustrated by C. Roger Mader

The Twenty-five Mixtec Cats
written by Matthew Gollub, images by Leovigildo Martinez

24 November 2017

11 Books About Evolution

Today is Evolution Day in honor of the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species on this date in 1859. Since that work is important to Katrien in After the Ashes, here are some other books about evolution.

The Mystery of Darwin's Frog
written by Marty Crump, images by Steve Jenkins and Edel Rodriguez

The Skull In the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins
written by Lee R. Berger and Marc Aronson

Billions of Years, Amazing Changes: The Story of Evolution
written by Laurence Pringle, images by Steve Jenkins

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do
written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, images by Steve Jenkins

Island: A Story of the Galapagos
written and illustrated by Jason Chin

Life On Earth: The Story of Evolution
written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Shell, Beak, Tusk: Shared Traits and the Wonders of Adaptation
written by Bridget Heos

Egg: Nature's Perfect Package
written by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, images by Steve Jenkins

Weird Birds
written by Chris Earley

Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure
written by Eileen Campbell, images by Peter H. Reynolds and FableVision

Totally Human: Why We Look and Act the Way We Do
written by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson, images by Dianne Eastman

23 November 2017

23 Books About Native Americans

Alice Yazzie's Year
written by Ramona Maher, images by Shonto Begay (Navajo)

Bad River Boys: A Meeting of the Lakota Sioux with Lewis and Clark
written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Sioux), images by Bill Farnsworth

Bears Make Rock Soup and Other Stories
written by Lise Erdrich (Ojibway), images by Lisa Fifield (Oneida)

written by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki), illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story
written by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, images by Sam Sandoval (Salish)

Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story
written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux)

Caribou Song / Atihko Nikamon
written by Tomson Highway (Cree), images by John Rombough (Dene)

Chukfi Rabbit's Big Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale
written by Greg Rodgers (Choctaw), images by Leslie Stall Widener (Choctaw)

Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two
written by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki)

Coyote Christmas: A Lakota Story
written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux)

A Coyote Columbus Story
written by Thomas King (Cherokee), images by William Kent Monkman (Cree)

Dance In a Buffalo Skull
written by Zitkala-Sa (Yankton Dakota), images by S.D. Nelson (Standing Rock Sioux)

Enduring Wisdom: Sayings from Native Americans
written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Sioux), images by Synthia Saint James

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message
written by Chief Jake Swamp (Mohawk), images by Erwin Printup, Jr. (Cayuga/Tuscarora)

The Good Rainbow Road / Rawa 'kashtyaa'tsi hiyaani: A Native American Tale in Keres and English, Followed by a Translation Into Spanish
written by Simon J. Ortiz (Acoma Pueblo), images by Michael Lacapa (Apache/Hopi/Tewa)

Grandmother's Pigeon
written by Louise Erdrich (Chippewa), images by Jim LaMarche

Hands of the Maya: Villagers at Work and Play
written by Rachel Crandell

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
written by Robbie Robertson (Mohawk), images by David Shannon

Home to Medicine Mountain
written by Chiori Santiago, images by Judith Lowry (Maidu/Pit River)

How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story
written by Tim Tingle (Choctaw)

Jingle Dancer
written by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee Creek), images by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu

The Legend of Lightning & Thunder
written by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt (Inuit), images by Jo Rioux

Dzani yazhi naazbaa / Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home: A Story of the Navajo Long Walk
written by Evangeline Parsons-Yazzie (Navajo), images by Irving Toddy (Navajo)

Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids
edited by Deborah Ellis, foreword by Loriene Roy (Anishinabe)

13 November 2017

13 Books About Fathers

Today would be my daddy's 85th birthday, so here are some books about fathers.

written and illustrated by Kevin Luthardt

Following Papa's Song
written and illustrated by Gianna Marino

Fortunately, the Milk
written by Neil Gaiman, images by Skottie Young

Giddy Up, Daddy!
written and illustrated by Troy Cummings

The Giggler Treatment
written by Roddy Doyle, images by Brian Ajhar

Happy Feet: The Savoy Ballroom Lindy Hoppers and Me
written by Richard Michelson, images by E.B. Lewis

written by Mike Lupica

Higher! Higher!
written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli

Hold This!
written by Carolyn Cory Scoppettone, images by Priscilla Alpaugh

I Dream of Trains
written by Angela Johnson, images by Loren Long

I Want My Daddy!
written by Tracey Corderoy, images by Alison Edgson

If My Dad Were a Dog
written and illustrated by Annabel Tellis

Interrupting Chicken
written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

12 November 2017

12 Books About Medical Care #resist

Mimi's Village and How Basic Health Care Transformed It
written by Katie Smith Milway, images by Eugenie Fernandes

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell
written by Tanya Lee Stone, images by Marjorie Priceman

Bleed, Blister, Puke, and Purge: The Dirty Secrets Behind Early American Medicine
written by J. Marin Younker

Don't Let the Barber Pull Your Teeth: Could You Survive Medieval Medicine?
written by Carmen Bredeson, images by Gerald Kelley

For the Good of Mankind? The Shameful History of Medical Experimentation
written by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

Tuskegee Experiments: Forty Years of Medical Racism
written by Michael V. Uschan

Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine
written by Leslie Dendy and Mel Boring

Mary Walker Wears the Pants: The True Story of the Doctor, Reformer, and Civil War Hero
written by Cheryl Harness, images by Carlo Molinari

The Diary of Susie King Taylor, Civil War Nurse
edited by Margaret Gay Malone, images by Laszlo Kubinyi

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
written by Tracy Kidder, adapted for young people by Michael French

Angels of Mercy: The Army Nurses of World War II
written by Betsy Kuhn

Clara Barton: Healing the Wounds
written by Cathy East Dubowski

11 November 2017

11 Books About World War I

Although Americans now call November 11 Veterans Day, it was originally Armistice Day. The day that ended the Great War on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour.

Women Heroes of World War I: 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and Medics
written by Kathryn J. Atwood

I Don't Know How the Story Ends
written by J.B. Cheaney

Crossing Stones
written by Helen Frost

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear
written by Lindsey Mattick, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Fly, Cher Ami, Fly! The Pigeon Who Saved the Lost Battalion
written by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Robert MacKenzie

The Great War: Stories Inspired by the Items from the First World War
written by various authors, illustrated by Jim Kay

Hattie Big Sky
written by Kirby Larson

In the Shadow of Blackbirds
written by Cat Winters

Jenny: The Airplane That Taught America to Fly
written and illustrated by David Weitzman

Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story
written by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia

written by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Frané Lessac

31 October 2017

10 Books About Halloween

The Little Green Witch
written by Barbara Barbieri McGrath, images by Martha Alexander

Los Gatos Black on Halloween
written by Marisa Montes, images by Yuyi Morales

Luther's Halloween
written by Cari Meister, images by Valeria Petrone

Minerva Louise on Halloween
written and illustrated by Janet Morgan Stoeke

One Witch
written by Laura Leuck, images by S.D. Schindler

Only a Witch Can Fly
written by Alison McGhee, images by Taeeun Yoo

Over In the Hollow
written by Rebecca Dickinson, images by Stephan Britt

Perfect Pumpkin Pie
written and illustrated by Denys Cazet

Piggie Pie
written by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Howard Fine

written by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by David Jarvis

24 October 2017

Books I Love: The Dollhouse Murders

The Dollhouse Murders
Betty Ren Wright
I first read this book
in fourth grade, approximately 1986

This book was one of those delicious stories that one person in the class reads and then recommends it to someone else who recommends it to someone else until it seems like everyone you know has devoured it.

The Dollhouse Murders is one of the scariest books I have ever read. It's the story of Amy, a teen girl who has to look after her mentally challenged sister Louann. While the two of them are staying with their Aunt Clare in their great-grandparents' large, old home, Louann becomes fascinated with a model of the home. The model even includes dolls that resemble the girls' great-grandparents. Amy finds the dollhouse creepy, especially because the dolls seem to be moving on their own and possibly even re-enacting the night their real-life counterparts were murdered. Will Amy summon the courage to watch the dolls and solve the mystery?

This story has everything – a dollhouse any girl would envy, cookies, stormy nights, a moody aunt. Best of all, Amy's and Louann's relationship is honest and real. Amy resents her sister and resents the attention she receives, but she loves her, too. This was probably the first book I ever read that featured a mentally challenged character. The first time I read this, I was just as resentful and angry as Amy. Later, after I got to know someone like Louann, I felt more sympathy for her when I re-read the book.

Despite the premise of dolls acting out a murder, the book has a reality to that grounds it. The chills and thrills keep you turning the pages, but it's the relationships and characters make The Dollhouse Murders memorable.

23 October 2017

12 Books About Racism #resist

Music for the End of Time
written by Jen Bryant, images by Beth Peck

Navajo Long Walk: The Tragic Story of a Proud People's Forced March From Their Homeland
written by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki)

Peaceful Protest: The Life of Nelson Mandela
written by Yona Zeldis McDonough, images by Malcah Zeldis

Pink and Say
written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
written by Amy Lee-Tai, images by Felicia Hoshino

The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
written and illustrated by Will Eisner

Prisoner B-3087
written by Alan Gratz

Remembering Manzanar: Life In a Japanese Relocation Camp
written by Michael L. Cooper

Ron's Big Mission
written by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden, images by Don Tate

Ruth and the Green Book
written by Calvin Alexander with Gwen Strauss, images by Floyd Cooper

Black Like Kyra, White Like Me
written and illustrated by Judith Vigna

The Enemy Has a Face
written by Gloria D. Miklowitz

09 October 2017

9 Books About Native Americans Today

Some cities have begun to call today Indigenous Peoples' Day. I think this should be nationwide.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
written by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Ellen Forney

Arctic Thaw: The People of the Whale in a Changing Climage
written by Peter Lourie

The Dark Pond
written by Joseph Bruchac, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport

Dreaming In Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices
edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

The Good Luck Cat
written by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Paul Lee

Grandpa's Girls
written by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Kim LaFave

Hungry Johnny
written by Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Wesley Ballinger

Indian Shoes
written by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Jim Madsen

Less Than Half, More Than Whole
written by Kathleen and Michael Lacapa, illustrated by Michael Lacapa

08 October 2017

8 Books About Grandfathers

My grandfather would have been 101 years old today. Happy birthday, Papaw!

Bartleby Speaks
written by Robin Cruise, images by Kevin Hawkes

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
written by Brandon Sanderson

Anna's Corn
written by Barbara Santucci, images by Lloyd Bloom

Beautiful Bananas
written by Elizabeth Laird, images by Liz Pichon

Behind the Mask
written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi

written and illustrated by Simon James

The Blue Roses
written by Linda Boyden, images by Amy Córdova

Bumpety Bump
written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins

30 September 2017

9 Books About the Ancient World

My mother was a history teacher for more than 20 years, and ancient history is one of her favorites.

written by Clifford W. Mills

Of Numbers and Stars: The Story of Hypatia
written by D. Anne Love, illustrated by Pam Paparone

Rama and Sita: A Tale from Ancient Java
written and illustrated by David Weitzman

Voices of Ancient Egypt
written by Kay Winters, illustrated by Barry Moser

Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story
written by Bryce Milligan, illustrated by Helen Cann

The Emperor's Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China
written by Jane O'Connor

Gladiator: Life and Death in Ancient Rome
written by John Malam

Goddess of Yesterday
written by Caroline B. Cooney

5,000 Year Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt
written by Claudia Logan, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

12 September 2017

12 Books about Schools #resist

The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students
written by Suzanne Jurmain

Freedom's School
written by Lesa Cline-Ransome, images by James E. Ransome

written by Marianna Baer

Gift Days
written by Kari-Lynn Winters, images by Stephen Taylor

The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement
written by Teri Kanefield

Gooney Bird Greene
written by Lois Lowry, images by Middy Thomas

Green Wilma
written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold

Griff Carver, Hallway Patrol
written by Jim Krieg

Here Lies Linc
written by Delia Ray

Hickory Dickory Dog
written and illustrated by Alison Murray

Hooway for Wodney Wat
written by Helen Lester, images by Lynn Munsinger

Josias, Hold the Book
written by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren, images by Nicole Tadgell