My selection for originality in writing this week was Tomi Ungerer‘s “Otto The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear“. The book tells the story of a little bear that is given as a birthday gift to a young boy. His life starts out great, he spends all of his time with David (the boy who owns him) and his best friend Oskar. Their happiness does not last however, Oskar and his family are taken away in trucks, along with the rest of the Jewish families. David gifts Otto to Oskar. In the process of the war, Oskar loses Otto. Otto is found by an American soldier who uses him as a shield, when a bullet almost strikes his heart. Eventually Otto ends up in America where he miraculously is reunited with Oskar and David.
Book of the Week – The Mighty Lalouche
I decided to select one book this week for originality in illustration and writing – The Mighty Lalouche. The book is written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It tells the story of a postman named Lalouche who loves working as a postman. Unfortunately, one day his boss tells him they are going to have to let him go. Lalouche is devastated, because he loved his job. However, he has to figure out how to make money. He sees a boxing poster advertising the need for people with all the abilities he possesses (he is fast, nimble, and strong). He decides to try his hand at boxing (even though he is very small and thin). He ends up beating some of the biggest and strongest boxers. However, in spite of all his boxing trophies, he misses his old job. Eventually he receives a call from his old boss and he gets his job back as a postman. Once more, Lalouche is happy and feels fulfilled.
Book Review – Journey
Summary – Tells the story of a little girl who feels neglected and lonely. She finds a magic red color and draws a door in her bedroom which leads to a magical world. She takes her crayon along and uses it to draw modes of transportation (a boat, hot air balloon, and a magic carpet). The adventures she goes on are amazing. Eventually it leads her to a new friend and a life that is much less lonely.
Book Review – Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
Summary – This story tells the origin of how Winnie the Pooh came to be. A veterinarian named Harry Colebourn bought a cub on his way to help take care of horses during World War I. They develop a lifelong friendship. Eventually, Harry realizes that in order to keep Winnie safe, he can’t take her along with him anymore and he decides to take her to the London Zoo. Winnie is visited by Christopher Robin at the zoo and eventually they too become great friends. His father, Alan Alexander Milne, wrote about the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin.
Book Review – The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore
Summary – The book tells the story of the a young boy named Lewis Michaux Jr. and his father, Lewis Michaux Sr. Lewis Michaux Sr. is the owner of the National Memorial African Bookstore. It is a bookstore that he worked hard to make a reality. He started the bookstore in order to get black people to read and talk about things that mattered; however, the bookstore was open to anyone and everyone. Lewis Michaux Sr. wanted to create a space where different people could come together and learn. The bookstore became a place where people from all walks of life came, including celebrities like Muhammad Ali and Malcom X. It is a beautiful story about a father who is passionate about books and about sharing his passion with others. He encourages his son to read, learn, and to ask questions. The story is more touching because it is told from the son’s perspective – the love and respect he has for his father is beautiful.
Books of the Week – Spork & Virginia Wolf
This week’s selection for originality in writing was Spork by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. The author tells the story of a little spork who, although loved by his mother (a spoon) and his father (a fork), he does not quite fit in with any of the other kitchen utensils. To make matters worse, he is hardly ever used or allowed to participate in the humans’ dining experiences. Although he makes many attempts to change his appearance in order to fit in, he realizes he can’t change the essence of who he is or where he comes from. Eventually, the home where he lives, gets a new family member, who finds great use for a spork.
Book Review – Last Stop on Market Street
Summary – Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandmother take the bus to Market Street. CJ is not too thrilled and he asks his grandmother why they have to wait for the bus in the rain, why they don’t have a car, why they always have to go to Market Street after church, among other complains. His grandmother manages to explain things to CJ in a new way and have him see the beauty in everything. It is a very heartwarming story and a great insight on how to raise children that empathize and appreciate the everything they have.
Books of the Week – Dahlia and Ava the Monster Slayer
I chose Dahlia by Barbara McClintock as this week’s selection for originality in writing. This book was not at all what I originally expected. I am ashamed to say that at first glance I was expecting the book to be about a stereotypical little girl; however, I was pleasantly surprised. I almost did not check it out because I tend not to like books that show one-dimensional characters, but when I started flipping through the pages, I realized I was completely wrong.
Book Review – The Day the Crayons Quit
- Summary – One day in class, Duncan receives a stack of letters from each of his 12 crayons. They each explain why they are on the verge of quitting and what types of pictures they wish they would be used to draw and color, instead of the typical choices they are often used for. It is told in a very comical way and in the end there is a compromise and happy ending.