Showing posts from June, 2015

When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit written and illustrated by Judith Kerr, 192 pp, RL 4

  Because my mother taught fourth and fifth grade for almost two decades I have known about Judith Kerr's book When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit for almost as long as I have known about her Mog the Cat  books. For some reason, though, I never put two and two together and it wasn't until I sat down to write about one of my favorite childhood books, Mog the Forgetful Cat , that I discovered that the author and illustrator of this series is the same Judith Kerr who wrote this amazing memoir that follows the two years of her childhood her her family spent as refugees from Hitler and their native Germany.  I have to admit, I am not an adventurous reader and it is rare that I challenge myself with a book that might be emotionally wrenching. Because of that, I had read very few of the amazing children's books set during the Holocaust like Lois Lowry's Newbery winner, Number the Stars , and Markus Zusak's bestselling, powerful book for young adults and adults, The Boo

Secret Letters From 0 to10 by Susie Morgenstern, translated by Gill Rosner, 137pp RL 4

First reviewed on 11/16/08, Secret Letters from 0 + 10 left a great impression on me. A wonderful, quiet story, Morgenstern's writing is superlative. Your children will remember this book long into adulthood. Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Susie Morgenstern is a gem of a book. It turned up on the shelves of the bookstore one day and I was drawn to the cover, its length and the fact that is is set in France. After reading the author information in the back I learned that Morgentstern is an American who was born in New Jersey and has lived in France for more than thirty years. It is interesting to note that she does not translate her own work. Published in 1996, Secret Letters from 0 to 10 won France's equivalent of the Newbery Award, as well as awards in America. With its large cast of unique characters and a profound, emotional story folded neatly into brief chapters, I am reminded of Polly Horvath's  remarkable young adult novels Everything on a Waffle and

The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont

If I didn't know that The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont , wonderfully written by  Victoria Griffith  with gorgeous pictures by  Eva Montanari , was a work of non-fiction, I would have thought I was reading a fascinating story about two very creative, inventive friends set in turn of the century Paris. That would be a great book. Even better than that? Finding out that these two friends are real people who did some truly amazing things in their time. I had no idea who Alberto Santos-Dumont was when I opened   The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont . Griffith's Author's Note at the end of the book tells a terrific story of how she came to know of Alberto Santos-Dumont. Griffith's writes,  I asked my daughter Sophia,"What did you learn in school today?" "We learned how the Wright Brothers invented the airplane," she answered. It was an unremarkable response to an unremarkable question. So I was unprepared