My Heart Glow: The Birth of American Sign Language

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My Heart Glow: Alice Cogswell, Thomas Gallaudet, and the Birth of American Sign Language

by Emily McCully

A warm retelling of how one small deaf girl’s need opened up the first school for the deaf in America. Picturebook.

Ages 5-10

Recommended

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

 

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Silent Night: The Song and its Story  

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by Margaret Hodges

History comes to life in this picture book with lovely illustrations throughout. The story is well-told and children will learn of how the Austrian priest Father Mohr’s dilemma one Christmas season brought the world this carol.

Ages 4-12

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

 

 

Helen Keller’s Dog Belle

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Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M Barry

This was a unique story about Helen Keller and her love for dogs. It tells the life story of Helen in a picturebook style, but focuses on how her dogs helped her feel loved and encouraged during her struggles. Although the title makes Belle sound like a main character, the story is mostly about Helen’s life. There is a page at the back of the book that tells you all the different kinds of dogs she owned during her lifetime. It is quite the list!

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Picturebook

Ages: 2 and up

Recommended

Available at the public libraries

Reviewed by Meagan

Evangeline

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Evangeline written by Helene Boudreau

Evangeline is a wonderful story based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s fictionalized Evangeline. The story follows the life of Evangeline and Gabriel as they grow up in Acadia. Right after Evangeline and Gabriel’s marriage, the British arrive and the Acadians are forced to abandon their homes and villages.  Gabriel and Evangeline as well as many others are separated from their families. The rest of the book is about Evangeline’s search for Gabriel.

At the back of the book there is a brief history on the Acadians.

Picturebook

Age: 4 and up

Recommended

Reviewed by Meagan

Available from the public libraries

William of Orange: The Silent Prince  

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by W.G. Van de Hulst

Here we have the story of a Protestant hero told by a master story-teller. Sure to capture older children’s interest.

Ages 7 and up.

Available from Inheritance Publications, and Reformed Book Services

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

In Flanders Fields

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by Norman Jorgensen

This beautifully-illustrated picturebook provides a rather unsoftened look at war. Intended for older kids, it has somewhat graphic pictures in ink (some dead bodies, a skull, rats) which give a look at real life in trenches. The story follows an act of mercy and a brief glimpse of hope is portrayed by the bright bird and the Christmas carol with which it ends.

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Picturebook

Ages 8 and up

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Misty of Chincoteague

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By Marguerite Henry

Here is an adventure for horse-loving children that will introduce you to a wild horse band on two real islands off the coast of North America. The story focuses on the efforts of a brother and sister to get a pony of their own, and speculates a little on the history and legend of how the first wild ponies got to North America. The children’s success in the story may seem a little too-good-to-be-true, but the author assures her readers at the beginning that though the order of the events in the book may have been shuffled, the events did truly happen!

Bonus: There are many more “horse” books written by this author. It is too bad that public libraries don’t seem to carry many of others.

Recommended for horse-adventure lovers

Chapter Book or Unabridged Audio Book

Available from public libraries

Ages 6-12

Reviewer: Doreen

Castle Under Siege!: Simple Machines

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By Raintree Fusion

The author and science consultant of this book call it “science concepts with a high-interest twist.” And it is! At first glance this is just a non-fiction book with great castle and knight photos, and some diagrams. But reading the text makes it clear that while you will learn about a castle’s defense and how it was attacked, at the heart of the book are some physic lessons. Middle school kids will start understanding the physics, but younger kids that want to know how things work will still benefit from the clear explanations and diagrams of all the simple machines.

It’s a neat way to write a book and apparently there are more of them put out by Raintree Fusion!

Nonfiction

Ages 6-13

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

 

 

 

Mary’s First Thanksgiving: An Inspirational Story of Gratefulness

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By Kathy-jo Wargin

A beautiful thanksgiving picture book to enjoy! On one level, this is just another account of the Pilgrim’s first hard years here in America, and their first Thanksgiving in the 1600’s. But perhaps less known is the five corn kernels used at Thanksgiving to remember the five things the Pilgrim’s were thankful for: five things kids can still be thankful for today!

Given just as much page space in this picturebook, is the story of Mary, an Irish immigrant girl to America, in the 1800’s, who is resentful of her family’s poverty. The author skillfully weaves the two stories together, and Mary’s parents both encourage a thankful spirit for the care God shows throughout the book, and encourage her to see what God has given. As for the paintings–or should I say portraits, for  their life-likeness–they are really beautiful!

Ages 5 and up

Historical Fiction

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Silent Observer

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By Christy Mackinnon

This is not your traditional picture book…I think it took ½ an hour to read aloud! Instead, the diary notes and artwork for Silent Observer was discovered by Christy Mackinnon’s niece among her late aunt’s things, and she worked at getting it published. It is a book worth publishing, as it rings true, like Laura Ingalls’ childhood accounts.

This story about the author, however, takes place in Nova Scotia in the late 1800’s, and centres on the childhood years of Christy who becomes deaf at age two after a bout of whooping cough. The picturebook chronicles her struggle with deafness and her triumphs and features a brief real-life meeting with Alexander Graham Bell as well as Helen Keller. But it also brings to life in a small home with 8 kids, an energetic hard-working grandma, a mile-long walk while singing to school, and newborn twins that arrive in the doctor’s black bag 🙂

Ages 5 and up

Autobiography/nonfiction

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen