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Thursday, August 16, 2012

China: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book (by Debbi Michiko Florence, Illustrated by Jim Caputo)

I submitted this 5-star review on Amazon.com on April 11, 2008. It's my pleasure to showcase it here on our family review blog.
An Engaging and Colorful Introduction to China

Author Debbi Michiko Florence invites young readers to explore China, "a country of contrasts and extremes and one with a lot of 'firsts.'" ChinaAlong the way, she sheds fascinating light on the jaw-dropping landscape (e.g., Mount Everest, the Gobi Desert, the Yangtze River), the "daily life" of children in China, inventions that paved the way for the modern world (e.g., paper and printing), China's rich culture and history, cuisine, and more.
CHINA not only shows young readers how to say "tea" in Mandarin, it provides a step-by-step guide to having a "Tea Tasting" of their very own. Readers can also make a compass, practice the art of Chinese calligraphy, sculpt a jade figure, and learn how to "integrate feng shui to create harmony" in their life (there are "over 40 activities" to try!).
This book is a relevant and entertaining addition to any classroom or home library.

*Note*: In my original review (since edited), I neglected to mention the delightfully whimsical artwork by Jim Caputo that brings the activities and China's multi-layered culture to life in a way that readers of all ages will find accessible.
© Haemi Balgassi

Visit the author at her website.
Visit the illustrator at his website.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rain Is Not My Indian Name (middle grade novel by Cynthia Leitich Smith)

Adria wrote this review on April 25, 2002, and Rain Is Not My Indian Name remains a favorite in our home library.

5-star Review by Adria Balgassi

Believable Rain

I read this book almost a year ago, but it still lingers with me. I think the main reason is Cassidy Rain Berghoff, the fourteen-year-old title character. Rain is Not My Indian Name
After losing her best friend, Galen, in a tragic way, Cassidy shuts out the world. Months pass before she grows to realize that she has to get in touch with the world again, even if it's through a job. I was really impressed by Cassidy's bravery and strength. The author did a great job making this character REAL. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew Cassidy. The author made me care about her - about what would happen to her.The book doesn't make it easy for Cassidy to work things out. For example, while working as a photographer in an Indian camp run by her Aunt Georgia, Cassidy finds herself torn between getting involved in an emotional issue and staying professional and objective. Kids are faced with hard decisions all the time, so I found it very easy to relate to Cassidy and what she goes through.

I recommend RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME to anyone who loves a good story and good characters. This book has both!

© Adria Balgassi

You can visit Cynthia Leitich Smith's website to learn more about Rain Is Not My Indian Name and her many other books for children and young adults.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coming soon!


Our family is looking forward to sharing reviews of our favorite purchases from Amazon.com on this blog.

See you soon. :)