Category Archives: Peachtree Publishers

Review: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (February 1, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 1561456276
  • Source: Publisher

Many of us have basic details about the Birmingham Children’s March in 1963 in which 4,000 students boycotted school in a march to protest segregation. Yet never before have we stepped inside the shoes of those students who stepped up to fight for rights which should have been guaranteed but were not.

We’ve Got a Job follows the stories of four children who participated in the march. Nine-year-old Audrey Hendricks was the youngest to participate. Her parents stood behind her decision, as did her teachers and close friends. Washington (Wash) Booker grew up among poverty and a strong fear of the police. It wasn’t uncommon for parents to threaten their children, ordering them to behave or “the police are gonna come and get you.” James Stewart was an excellent student, opting not to let the color of his skin determine how well he did in school. He lived in a large house with a pool, his parents were lucky enough to have successful jobs. Arnetta Streeter had light skin and could have passed as white, but instead went so far as to attend young activist training so she could stand fight to end segregation. She grew up being called names due to the light color of her skin, even by other black children. Her desire for change was so strong that she started a club at school called the Peace Ponies. Among the stories of these young, brave, individuals, readers get a glimpse of other powerful individuals from both sides of the battle lines  involved in this fight, from Martin Luther King, Jr to Reverend Shuttlesworth and Bull Connor.

Breaking up the text are large black and white photos that allow readers to visualize the intensity of this battle, from the fear in the eyes of those individuals being attacked by police to the shrouded faces of the Ku Klux Klan. Detailed sidebars heighten the intensity, adding even more information to this detail-rich chronicle of a pivotal time in our nation’s history. Words cannot express how moved I was by this book. This is a title that should be added to curriculum in schools around the country so that it may educate and inspire this generation of children to work for further change not just in our own country but world-wide.

I chose to read this book with my boys. Justin is seven, just two years younger than the youngest student in this march. At this point in his schooling, while he he has learned about the great acts of Martin Luther King, Jr., his curriculum hasn’t delved into the deeper and more dark aspects of that time period. He was shocked and horrified to learn of the treatment of children his own age, the crimes that be committed against blacks without fear of punishment from the authorities (and in some cases, at the hands of authorities). So gracious that he will never have to endure this treatment, I still felt it was important for him to learn at an early age just how far our country has come.  John-John is thirteen and well-informed about this pivotal time in our nation’s history. Still, he was unfamiliar with the Children’s March and was devastated to learn about what those young children went through to stand up for what they believed in.  Given the fact that we are a biracial family, I felt it was important that the boys understand just how lucky we are and appreciate just how much those before us did in order to guarantee the freedoms we now have.

Highly, highly recommended.

Review: Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 9781561455638
  • Source: Publisher

In Planting the Wild Garden, young readers learn how humans, plants, & animals all help great the lavish wild garden known as the planet Earth.    Starting with a gardener and a boy, readers follow the path of plants from seed to full grown plant through vivid, colorful illustrations (by Wendy Anderson Halperin) and light, lyrical prose.  Young children learn the many ways seeds are spread and plants grow.

My five year old son loved to read this book aloud with me.  The text was easy enough that he could read most of it himself, requiring minimal assistance.

As with A Place for Fish, which I reviewed earlier this week, Planting the Wild Garden is the perfect book to add to your Earth Day reading list. Highly recommended!

Thank you once again to Peachtree Publishers for providing me the opportunity to participate in this tour!

Review & Giveaway: A Place for Fish by Melissa Stewart

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (March 1, 2011)
  • Source: Publisher
  • Fish make our world a better place.

    But sometimes people do things that make it hard for them to live and grow.

    In A Place for Fish, Melissa Stewart explains to young children how certain acts of humans can affect the fish population.  For example, scientists discovered the migrating paths of hammerhead sharks.  They notified fishing crews to avoid this paths during the sharks’ migration time and now the sharks have a better chance of surviving.

    If farmers find new ways, other than dangerous chemicals, to improve crops, fish can thrive.  In the Chesapeake Bay,  chemicals the farmers used to increase their crops seeped into the bay, causing algae growth to increase, taking away valuable oxygen from the seahorses & fish that lived there.   In 2003, the farmers started reducing the amounts of fertilizer used.  It’s still too early to see how this has affected the creatures living in the bay, but scientists are hopeful.

     A Place for Fish is the perfect book to read during Earth Day celebrations. Not only does it introduce children to fish life around the country, it shows the impact that humans have on their survival. As with her Stewart’s previous books, the colorful & detailed illustrations (by Higgins Bond) really add to the book.

    The book concludes with some fascinating fish facts, a few of which my eleven-year-old science genius was unaware of.  Here are a few:

    • Most brands of lipstick contain ground-up fish scales (ew!)
    • Most young fish are caled fingerlings, but young shark and sawfish are called pups.
    • The smallest fish on Earth is the stout infantfish.  It is so small it could sit on top of a pencil eraser.  The largest fish is the great whale shark, larger than a school bus.

    A Place for Fish is the perfect addition to your home, school & public library!  My boys & I enjoyed this book so much we plan on donating a copy to their school library.

    Thank you to Peachtree Publishers for providing me a copy of this book.  To celebrate Earth Day, Peachtree has organized a two week tour entitled “Fins, Wings and Other Things!”  Following are the stops on this week’s portion of the tour:

    Tuesday 4/12:
    A Patchwork of Books – Guest post by Melissa Stewart, author of A Place for Fish
    Abby the Librarian – Review of Bring On the Birds

    Wednesday 4/13:
    Simply Science – Review of At the Sea Floor Café
    Book Dads – Review of Planting the Wild Garden
    Archimedes Notebook – Interview with Kathryn O. Galbraith, author of Planting the Wild Garden
    There’s a Book – Review of A Place for Fish

    Thursday 4/14:
    Book Dads – Interview with Wendy Anderson Halperin, illustrator of Planting the Wild Garden
    A Word’s Worth – Review of About Habitats: Grasslands
    Abby the Librarian – Interview with Susan Stockdale, author/illustrator of Bring On the Birds

    Friday 4/15:
    There’s a Book – Interview with Melissa Stewart, author of A Place for Fish
    Jenn’s Bookshelves – Review of Planting the Wild Garden

    Saturday 4/16:
    Devourer of Books – Review of Bring On the Birds
     

    Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of the book to give away! To enter, please fill out the form below.  As this is a publisher-sponsored giveaway, entries are only open to US residents.  The winner will be announced on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd.  Good luck to all who enter!

    Review: Where Teddy Bears Come From by Mark Burgess

    • Reading level: Ages 4-8
    • Hardcover: 32 pages
    • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (August 1, 2009)
    • ISBN-10: 1561454877
    • Source: Publisher

    There was once a little wolf who couldn’t fall asleep. Mother Wolf tried everything: a glass of milk, snuggling, even reading little wolf his favorite teddy bear story three times in a row.  Nothing worked.  The little wolf was wide awake.

    As the morning light shone on his story book, little wolf discovered what would help him sleep: a teddy bear!  He asks his mother where teddy bears came from.  She wasn’t certain and suggested he ask Wise Owl.  Wise Owl didn’t know either, & suggested he ask the Three Little Pigs.

    Soon the little wolf is on an adventure asking various characters from fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks.  Along the way, he literally runs into a rosy-faced old man driving a big red truck. The truck’s tire is out of air, so the little wolf helps by huffing and puffing into the tire. The old man stops the little wolf with a “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

    The cheery old man tells the little wolf that if he runs home, he’ll find the answer to his question in the morning.  The little wolf falls asleep as soon as he gets home, sleeping through the night.  He awakens to find a present at the food of the bed. Inside? A soft, cuddly teddy bear!

    WHERE TEDDY BEARS COME FROM is an adorable tale perfect for not only the holiday season, but any time of year.  My five year old enjoyed the appearances of some of his favorite fairy tale characters.  And teddy bears? Who can resist teddy bears?

    The illustrations, by Russell Ayto, are quirky and cute and really add a bit of spunk to the story!  This book would make a great addition to any picture book collection!

    Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of Where Teddy Bears Come From to give away.  To enter, please fill out the form below.  US & Canadian residents only, please.  The winner will be announced Friday, December 31st!  Good luck to all who enter!

    Review: Santa’s Eleven Months Off by Mike Reiss

     

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (September 1, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 1561454214
  • Source: Publisher
  • What does Santa do the other 11 months he’s not working? He goes to Hollywood, sumo wrestles in Japan, attends the Summer Reindeer Games, & is even a secret agent!  Continuing his education is also paramount, so Santa takes courses like Cookie Baking, Elf Esteem, Basic Reindeer Labor Laws, etc.  But by November he’s already preparing for December so he spends the entire month sleeping!

    Santa’s Eleven Months Off may be my youngest son’s favorite book of this season! We’ve read it at least a dozen times.  He loves the rhyming & lyrical text.  The illustrations, by Michael Montgomery, are both classic & comical! 

    The great thing about this book is that it’s not season specific-you could easily pull it out and read it at any point in the year.  It goes through the year, month by month, describing Santa’s activities for that particular month. It’s a great way for young children to learn the months of the year!

    The author is known for his children’s books, but parents may recognize him as a former writer for the Simpsons! His comical side clearly shows in his writing!

    I highly recommend this book as an addition to your home or public library.  It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

    Thanks to the publisher, I have an extra copy of this book to give away!  To enter, please fill out the form below.  The winner will be contacted on Wednesday, December 22nd. In the spirit of the holidays, this giveaway is open worldwide!

    Review & Giveaway: Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart

     

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (September 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1561454931
  • Source: Publisher
  • Where do animals go in the winter?   Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Constance Bergum describes the hidden world of animals during the cold wintery months. 

    For example, ladybugs pack themselves together to keep warm. Chipmunks burrow & sleep for up to a few days at a time. Bumblebees, under the cover of a rotted log, remain silent and still until Spring. Did you know that a wood frog can freeze solid & still survive?

     Under the Snow is the perfect book for yoru budding biologist or any child interested in animals.  It details, through lyrical text & elaborate illustrations, how nature’s smallest citizens survive the cold. While geared for 4-8 year olds, I think children of all ages would enjoy this one. My eleven-year-old enjoyed it as much, if not more, as his five year old brother.  My boys were very familiar with the concept of hibernation, but had no idea of the number of animals “awake” during the cold months.

    I plan on giving our copy of this book to my son’s teacher to accompany their studies of winter.  I think it’s a book that should have a place in every library, it’s so full of information, relayed in a way that interests children.

    I’m excited to have an extra copy of Under the Snow to give away to one reader.  To enter, please fill out the form below.  The winner will be announced Friday, December 17th. As I will be shipping the book myself this contest is open to citizens of the US & Canada only.  Good luck to all who enter!