I read a lot of wonderful books this week. I wish I could walk through the classroom door and hand them to you and tell you exactly why I think you’d love them. I hope you’ll go to the library to find some, or you stop by the classroom next year on your way upstairs to borrow some. I’ll review a couple favorites today, and a couple tomorrow. There are pictures of some of the other books I’ve read and recommend in the sidebar. I hope you’ve found some great books this summer. Let me know what you are reading in the comments below.
I discovered a new mystery series from England this week. Fabio is the world’s greatest flamingo detective, who along with his friend and associate, Gilbert Giraffe, are known around Lake Laloozee as the go to pair when an emergency arises. Business is not going well at the Hotel Royale – the best place around for refreshing pink lemonade – and so one of the owners is thinking of trying something new. They are going to host a talent show. They hope this will boost business. Fabio and Gilbert listen to the plans while sipping their lemonade, but something seems amiss. The dive of a hippo splashes the customers completely. The rhinoceros dramatically claims illness and backs out as talent show judge, begging Fabio to replace her. He reluctantly agrees, but doesn’t see how he fits in with the other two judges – a used car salesman and a dance instructor. The show must go on. Some acts are bad, others are atrocious and yet. all seem to make it through to the next round. At last there is one act that actually seems to have some talent. The power flashes out and the act disappears. Read Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective in The Case of the Missing Hippo to find out what happens. You’ll find some funny antics, silly adventure and perhaps you’ll locate some clues before Fabio does and solve the case early.
A Friendship for Today takes place in Missouri in 1954 through 1955. It is a fictionalize story of the author’s, Patricia McKissack’s life. The book begins on the last day of school, Report Card Day, when Rosemary, J.J. and the rest of their friends are saying good-bye to each other on their last day at Attucks, a segregated school. Over the summer they prepare for their 6th grade year in new integrated schools. As the year begins, Rosemary find herself the only African-American child in 6th grade – on top of that, J.J. her best friend in the world is struggling miles away with paralysis caused by polio and Grace Hamilton, one of the few white girls in her neighborhood, is assigned to sit beside Rosemary. Friendless, and seated beside one of her worst enemies, Rosemary has to figure out how to deal with prejudice and find it in her heart to learn what it means treat everyone with kindness and generosity. There is so much more in the book. Read it and let me know what speaks most loudly to you.
Here’s one of my favorite parts. I like Mr. Bob, the owner of the corner store. He wise and he shares this with gentle loving-kindness.
School lets out at 12:30 – not a moment too soon. I kick off my shoes and dash home. I’m anxious to tell Mama I want to transfer and to hear how J.J. is doing. But first, I stop off at Mr. Bob’s to buy myself a treat. I deserve one.
“There’s a storm brewing in your face,” he says. “Was the first day that bad?”
“Mr. Bob, it was awful. Way, way awful.”
” A lot of name-calling?”
“Some. But it could have been worse. The hardest part is not having any of my friends there with me, especially J.J.
“My wife and I heard about J.J. and we’re sick at heart. The whole community is praying for him,” says Mr. Bob. “Hang in there,” Mr. Bob adds. “Your a pioneer in the real sense of the word, Rosemary. Whenever you are the first, you’re going to have it hard. I was in the Army-Air Force during World War II. They said colored men couldn’t fly airplanes, especially in combat. but we Tuskegee pilots proved ourselves repeatedly. So, I say this to you so you’ll maybe gather strength from my words. Be the best you can be, and that’s all any can ask.”
“Thank you, Mr. Bob,” I say and hurry home.
It will help your understanding grow beyond Freedom Summer, Uncle Jeb’s Barbershop, The Other Side and Let the Children March.