Archive for the ‘Mrs. Raymond's favorites’ category

Where the Mountain meets the Moon by Grace Lin

March 16, 2010

Words that come to mind when describing this year’s Newbery Award runner-up: enchanted, elegant, exciting, timeless, beautiful…

Minli (whose name means “quick thinking”) and her parents live in the shadow of Fruitless Mountain, in China. They work hard in the rice fields yet they are still very poor, with barely enough rice to eat. Minli’s mother worries and complains about their hard life, but her father brightens their evenings with storytelling. One day Minli sets out to find the Old Man of the Moon, hoping he will tell her the true secret to good fortune. Along the way she makes new friends including a flightless dragon, an orphan, a group of greedy monkeys, and a king. Interwoven with Minli’s quest are tales told by her father and by those she meets on the way, which are drawn from traditional Chinese folklore. The author’s full-color illustrations are stunning. Grace Lin has created a strong, likeable heroine and a fascinating glimpse of another country.

I’ve heard your favorites: here are mine!

December 17, 2009

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden and illustrated by Maine’s own Barbara Cooney is one of my holiday favorites.  I remember reading it to my daughter when she was little, and this year I brought it in from home and shared it with a 2nd grade class.  It is a story about holiday wishing:  a Christmas doll wants a girl, an orphan girl wants a doll  and a home, and a childless woman wants a child.   Do wishes come true??

Addy’s Christmas by Samantha Porter is part of the American Girls series.  Addy is a young girl who ran away on the Underground Railroad, and in this second book in the series, she and her mother are celebrating their first Christmas “in freedom”, but without Papa, brother Sam, and baby Esther.  Have some tissues ready for the end of this one!

The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Hans Christian Anderson’s famous story of the proper toy soldier who loves a paper ballerina from afar, is one of my library read-alouds  every December.  Watching the look on the students’ faces as the beautiful dancer flies across the room to join the soldier at the end is always so powerful for me.

Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren (the author of Pippi Longstocking and other wonderful books) is the book that my children and I used to enjoy the most at this time of year.  It takes place in a tiny Swedish village with only three houses in it.  The children have so much fun preparing for Christmas and then celebrating the big day.  Every year my son and I say we are going to make the snowball lantern, which is basically a candle in the snow with a pile of snowballs around it. The light always looks so magical glowing through the snowballs.  Maybe this year we will do it!