Friday, December 9, 2011

The Wonder of it all ( A look at picture books and Young Adult)

The Holiday season is approaching fast, the streets of New York City all decorated in lights. I love this time of the year. A walk down 5 ave or Madison ave or anywhere in New York, you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste the holiday season. There are all kinds of fun things to do. What is the wonder of it all? Christmas celebrates Jesus's Birthday while Hanukkah celebrates a wonderful story about how a small amount of oil good for one day ended up burning for eight. This was the miracle of God. Both of these holidays are very different from each other. Then there Kwanzaa I am not sure what that celebrates but it also involves lights. What are these holidays about. I believe all three are about family, communication and a love for your religious beliefs. 

 There is lots of wonder in these holidays. They have been celebrated for many centuries but do people truly know there meaning? Our children see them as a way to get gifts. Doing this time shopping is encouraged by all stores. I believe it is much more important to learn about these holidays instead of making them just another way to make an extra buck. Sit down with your children, tell them what the true meaning of the holidays are and do not buy the latest gadgets on the market. Here is a good idea for a gift give your children books about the holidays instead.


Picture Books

One Candle - "One Candle" By Eve Bunting. Illustrated by K. Wendy Popp. Published by Joanna Cotler Books an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. 2002. Summary: "Every year a family celebrates Hanukkah by retelling the story of how Grandma and her sister managed to mark the day while in a German concentration camp." This book has wonderful illustrations and a very powerful story about one family's celebration of Hanukkah. This book is a great example of something that should be taught to your children on this wonderful holiday. The Jewish people believe in family and community and this wonderful books looks at both. I highly recommend it to your kids and to you as well. It has lots to teach everyone.

Talia and the Rude Vegetables- "Talia and the Rude Vegetables." By Linda Elovitz Marshall. Illustrated by Francesca Assirelli. Published by Kar-Ben publishing a division of Lerner Publishing Group Inc. 2011. Summary: "City-girl Talia misunderstands her grandmother's request that she go to the garden for "root vegetables" but manages to find some she thinks are rude, as well as a good use for the rest she harvests. Includes a recipe for Rude Vegetable Stew."  This picture book has lots of fun pictures and a wonderful Jewish story line. When I read this book it touched me. It is about the Jewish tradition of charity, family, community, and holidays. This is a must have for any young child in your family. The holidays are not about gifts, shopping but about family, charity and love. This books combines all three. The best part is it comes with a very tasty vegetable stew now that cannot be beat. Make it a must have for every child and adult. 

The Littlest Frog- "The Littlest Frog." By Sylvia Rouss. Illustrated by Holly Hannon. Published by Pitspopany Press. copyright 2001 Printed in Israel and sold in New York. This is a funny twist on the bible story of Exodus. A long time ago the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. It is believed they build huge pyramids, cities and castles. It is written like a Jewish folk tale. This time is celebrated doing Spring in a holiday known as Passover. The name is taken from the timer when every Jew living in Egypt took lamb blood and placed it on there door. When God's angel of death killed all the Egyptians first born he passed over the houses marked with blood. This folk tale uses one plague known as frogs to tell a story. It has fantastic illustrations and a fun story that anyone can enjoy. It can be used to teach your children about the history of the Jewish people and give them a taste of the of the bible. It is a Fun read for everyone. 

Young Adult Books

Orchards- "Orchards a novel." by Holly Thompson. Illustrated by Grady McFerrin. Published by Delacorte Press an imprint of Random House. Copyright 2011. Summary: "Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate's suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home." I really loved this book very much and highly recommend it for your Young adult. It looks at very common features  in a young teen's live. This includes bullying, suicide, moving to a new place for a visit and not fitting in with the crowd. It is a struggle many teens face. Another unique thing about this book that I found very cool is that it a novel written in poetry verse that makes it very different from other Young adult books. The verses are beautifully written and are full of vivid visions. On another level it takes a strong look at both the Jewish culture and Japanese one. It is a fun read not only for young adults but adults as well. 

The Maze Runner- "The Maze Runner." by James Dashner. Published by Delacorte Press an imprint of Random House. Summary: "Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape. This is the first book in a trilogy. It is a story of a Destopian world and survival. Thomas finds himself in a controlled environment with all boys from 12- 18 years old. he has to learn to work together with them and survive. This young adult book looks at several factors that a teen lives with. This factors include violence, bullying, survival and the importance of working together. Another aspect of "The Maze Runner." is a love story and a extraordinary communication technique. It is a fun read full of adventure, growth and relationships. I highly recommend this book to everyone. 

I will have some new book reviews in my next update. I hope to grow and expand on my blog and maybe add some children author interviews for your enjoyment. Happy holiday season everyone. Please become a follower and add your commends here.