Looking For Great Children’s Books About Disabilities: Check Out Charlie and Frog

Looking for a middle grade children’s detective book with strong male and female characters plus an in tune multicultural edge?  Just released, Charlie and Frog, written by Karen Kane, is one of many strong children’s books about disabilities. This Disney-Hyperion title will inspire and encourage young readers alike to listen with their hearts and embrace everyone in their community. Paired with a suspenseful mystery, follow along with Frog and Charlie as they help to save their older friend Aggie from two scary villains. What secret is Aggie keeping and why do these cinnamon gum-chewing ruffians want it so badly? It All Begins In A Murder Mystery Obsessed Little Town To say that Charlie’s parents are neglectful is a bit of an understatement. Two bathing suits in tow, they leave Charlie in small town, Castle-on-the-Hudson, with his equally apathetic and television-addicted grandparents. What is so important to the Ticklers that they’d…

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Review: The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner

The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner is an incredibly endearing and moralistic children’s read: The fox is terrible at being an intimidating and terrifying carnivore.  This lack of scare-factor is unfortunate because his appetite is insatiable. His frequent trips to the farm annoy the mother hen and prove the guard dog’s nonchalant laziness. The wolf suggests that fox stealthy steal eggs and hatch them into plump and tasty meals. A seemingly brilliant idea, the chicks hatch and assume fox is their momma. Reminiscent of Mother Bruce, fox raises the chicks.  He engages them in fantastical play such turnip tea parties and role-playing about the big bad fox. Predictably when dinnertime arrives, fox realizes that he loves his little chicks.  Since wolf has his own plans for chicken dinner, fox must seek sanctuary at the farm. Comical and sweet, The Big Bad Fox is a juvenile graphic novel for second to…

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Review: Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Based on Lai’s experiences as a 10-year-old girl growing up at the end of the Vietnam War, Hà and her family are forced to leave behind their beloved country full of markets and papaya trees. Heading out on a dangerous sea journey with an uncertain fate, the family is rescued by an American ship. They decide to start over in the United States and are adopted by a generous sponsor in Alabama. Many of the residents of Alabama are less than welcoming, and in diary-like entries written in broken English and verse, Hà chronicles the trials and tribulations of adjusting to America. A slightly heartbreaking story of loss, bullying, family, and adapting, Lai successfully captures and brings to life her own story in this award-winning, historical fiction piece. A Newbery Honor Book and National Book Award Winner for eight to twelve year olds, Inside Out and Back Again is touching and…

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Book Review: Moo- A Novel by Sharon Creech

Reena and her brother, Luke, move from the loud, bustling streets of New York City to rural Maine after their parents are both laid off from a failing newspaper. Once in Maine, Reena is surprised by how quickly she adapts to country life after her parents volunteer her to help Mrs. Falala, an older Italian woman, with her farm. Mrs. Falala is cranky and a bit eccentric with her cow, pig, parrot, snake, and seagulls. After finding a middle ground to work together, Luke teaches Mrs. Falala to draw, and Reena learns how to show Mrs. Falala’s prize and extremely ornery cow, Zora. Reena and Luke learn to love Maine (and they learn where their meat comes from). Moo is appropriate for third to sixth grade readers. Although I question how Luke’s apparent disability is left unaddressed, I closed this book really loving the characters and plot. I wanted to…

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Review: The Little Prince

The narrator is a pilot who finds himself lost in the desert with a broken plane. The little prince approaches looking for a friend as he travels across planets. Oddly at first, the little prince asks the pilot to draw him a sheep. Throughout their time together, the little prince explains how he leaves his planet behind because of a vain rose that he did not understand but most likely has grown to love. In his travels, the little prince visits a vain man who only hears compliments about himself, a king who takes pride on giving falsely reasonable orders, a businessman who claims that he owns the stars, an ashamed alcoholic, a tired lamplighter, and a geographer who never leaves his desk to explore. The little prince learns what it is like to create friendships with others, including a fox, and begins to mourn the loss of his little…

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Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman

Geared toward 8-12 year olds, Fortunately, the Milk takes readers on a wild ride as one dad tries to explain to his children what happened to him on the way home from picking up some milk. There are police space dinosaurs, time-traveling hot air balloons, aliens, pirates, and fortunately, some milk. Not only is this dad focused on getting his children their breakfast milk, but he also must save the world from being remodeled. There is a week-old prophecy and quite honestly, pretty much anything else nonsensical and random that one can write about for children. This book is like Roald Dahl meets a 2-year-old child who just ate a bag of candy. OK, maybe 2 bags of candy. I do not want to speak blasphemy since this is Neil Gaiman, but I just did not care for this story. I may have missed out since I chose the audiobook…

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