Oh my goodness, this book broke my heart. Jacobson's tale of brother and sister, Arianna and Gabe, and their struggle to stay together no matter what is guaranteed to at least make you tear up. These siblings lose their father, their mother, and then their home when things are no longer working out between Gabe and Jana, Ari and Gabe's rules-loving guardian.
But surprisingly, this novel isn't an overwrought tear jerker. The author doesn't go for the easy cry. For me, the book was so moving because of how skillfully Jacobson conveyed how homelessness can make the small everyday tasks of living so difficult. For Ari, a lost library card means missing yet another deadline for her research paper. A forgotten backpack means she won't have a clean school uniform the next day and it will be that much more likely that her classmates will complain about her smell.
I read Paper Things solo in just a few days. I plan to read it again outloud to my 7 and 9 year old boys. This year one of them had a classmate that experienced a period of homelessness and both boys had lots of questions about how that could happen and what they could do to help. At the time we had several discussions about this issue but I think reading Paper Things will be another way for them to think about homelessness and family while enjoying a compelling and well written story.
Stella lives in the segregated South; in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can't. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn't bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they're never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella's community - her world - is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don't necessarily signify an end.
East Lansing Public Library - North Foyer Art Gallery
Art from East Lansing school age artists will be on display at the East Lansing Public Library's North Foyer Art Gallery until March 4. A reception for the artists will be held on February 21 from 1-3pm.
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
This group meets every two weeks and welcomes all ages and all skill levels. Bring supplies if you have a project already started. If you haven't yet begun a project you can start one with the basic supplies available in the maker studio. The group meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. No registration is necessary.
Upcoming sessions of the Knitting and Crochet group:
When little Mica Mouse is scared by thunder booming outside her cozy home, Papa Mouse reaches for just the right story to comfort her. Hugging her close, he begins to read The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. In this poetic book-within-a-book, a happy little rhinoceros is overwhelmed by a storm that sweeps away everything he loves. Swallowing the storm just makes him feel worse, so Rhino sets off on a whimsical journey toward healing. Along the way, he meets many friends, including a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale. With their help, Rhino lets go of the storm inside and learns to see the light in a world turned gray. Mica Mouse is soothed by the story and Papa's gentle reminder that even though bad things sometimes happen, the world is full of people who care.
In his first children's book, longtime Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton gives us an engaging resource to help children express their feelings and navigate through difficult experiences. The "Take a Deeper Look" page at the end of the book even provides discussion questions to facilitate a healing dialogue.
"We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful" is the motto of Deza Malone's family.
Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up in Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie's beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father.
The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.
No discussion of the civil rights movement of the 1960s is complete without a close look at Martin Luther King Jr. This book is an invaluable source of biographical information that uses King's own immensely powerful words to tell the story of his life and the fight for equality. The Montgomery bus boycott, the March on Washington, and the Civil Rights Act are just some historic events described. Readers will find that King's words still resonate today, years after his tragic death.
On August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, Martin Luther King gave one of the most powerful and memorable speeches in our nation's history. His words, paired with Caldecott Honor winner Kadir Nelson's magnificent paintings, make for a picture book certain to be treasured by children and adults alike. The themes of equality and freedom for all are not only relevant today, 50 years later, but also provide young readers with an important introduction to our nation's past. Included with the book is an audio CD of the speech.