Children’s Book News: September 2019

Movie Time! Twenty-eight new videos have been added to the juvenile video collection. Additions include The Lion King, The Black Stallion, Balto, Tangled, Wall-E, Curious George and many more. Come in and see what’s available! You will find them in baskets marked “Children’s New Videos”

School is now in full swing having started on August 12. In the world of literature, and the imagination, schools can come in many forms – a school on a sailing ship or even a school for magical maidens. On the other hand, books about real schools around the world today and throughout history provide insights as to similarities and fascinating differences, giving us a valuable perspective. 

School Ship Tobermory

by Alexander McCall Smith, illustrations by Iain McIntosh

Suggested ages: 8–10 years

Alexander McCall Smith is best known for the popular adult series, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, as well as the Precious Ramotswe Mystery series for Young Readers. Recently, McCall has embarked on a new series for middle grade readers set on a schooner filled with adventure and mystery. The sailing ship, Tobermory, is a boarding ship for boys and girls from around the world that provides children with a standard curriculum as well as a sailing education, from checking the sail rigging to reading a nautical map. Twins Ben and Fee, who have been homeschooled on a submarine, are new to the Tobermory. They quickly make friends as they are immersed in the intricacies of sailing. Besides learning to cope with three rather unpleasant students, Ben and Fee learn of the nearby Albatross where a movie is being filmed. Ben is lucky enough to have his name drawn as one of the films extras, but it isn’t long before he and others suspect that all may not be as it seems. This book is a light, fun read grounded in principled choices.

A School like Mine, A Unique Celebration of Schools around the World

written and edited by Penny Smith and Zahavit Shalev

Suggested ages:  6–12 years

No matter where one may open this book, one is met with fascinating information and photos about a child, his country and the school he attends. We are introduced to 41 children representing a variety of countries on 5 continents throughout this photographic journey. Each continental section begins with a map showing the location of the schools that are highlighted. Not only do we learn about a student’s family but are provided a window into her school day. We discover how the student gets to school, what the classroom is like, what the student studies, what she might eat for lunch and so much more. Often a quote from the student is included helping us to get a better feel for her. Children who explore this fascinating book will discover there is much that is similar in schools across our world but will also learn of many intriguing differences. This is a book a child can return to day after day with a guarantee that he will discover new bonds with children around the world.

Hannah’s Day at School

by Norma Libman, illustrated by Vera Padilla

Suggested ages: 6-9 years

Hannah’s Day at School is written by one of our very own Placitas residents.  However, its setting is Russia in the 1890s, a period when girls were not permitted to attend school.  Hannah along with her parents and her three brothers and three sisters lived in a small Russian village.  Her brothers attended school, but Hannah and her sisters remained at home with their mother busy with such chores as cleaning, cooking and sewing. Hannah envied her brothers’ opportunity to learn to read and, more than anything else, wanted to be able to read as well.  Finally, one day, Hannah’s burning determination led her on a risky venture. The true story of Hannah’s quest and its ramifications for her whole family is an inspiring tale.

Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded

by Sage Blackwood

Suggested ages: 8-11 years

Here is a well-crafted fantasy filled with compelling characters along with an intricate plot. Miss Ellicott’s School is one attended by maidens eager to develop into sorceresses.  It will be their future responsibility to protect the city of Lightening Pass and its citizens from the Marauders as well as other potential threats.  The tale’s main character, Chantel, whose “familiar” is a snake, finds proper “deportment” a bit challenging. However, being a determined and clever maiden, Chantel soon finds herself in a position of leadership when Lightening Pass is threatened. Miss Ellicott and the sorceresses have disappeared and the school itself is in dire straits. Chantel, along with her friends must face a dragon, a Marauder boy with a crossbow, powerful patriarchs and a queen of long ago.  With exciting escapades, magical turns, and mystery, Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded should be a hit read for children who are drawn to fantasies.