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Simplicity in Numbers

OneGOrillaTake one look at this book cover and you’ll know why I couldn’t wait to open it up and read it. Look at that illustration! Plus I recently went to Miami Metro Zoo recently and observed gorillas for a while and was completely enamored as they were using sign language with the zookeeper. By the way, after that zoo visit I was compelled to find out why gorillas have that huge and strangely shaped head. The reason is that it needs to support their super-sized temporal muscles that are required to help them chew all the fibrous veggies they eat. They do not eat meat! Yet I digress …

One Gorilla: A Counting Book ($16.99, Candlewick Press, Ages 3-5) is simple, just like a counting book for wee ones should be. But it is also wonderful because the illustrations are extraordinary. Author/illustrator Anthony Browne, a recent Children’s Laureate in Great Britain, has penned and illustrated more than 40 books! His attention to detail makes these pictures worth lingering over for a really long time.

The book features 10 different primates, plus has a little bit of a clever ending. From the book jacket, colorful inside front and back covers to each and every page, it is a visual wonderland. Your little ones are sure to be motivated to learn how to count after reading One Gorilla. It may also invite you to open an initial discussion about evolution, if you so choose to do so.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

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  ©Photo by Debbie Glade

Feeding time at the Miami Zoo sure is entertaining. Look closely: this big guy has an orange in his mouth.

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Debbie Glade’s Indiegogo Project

The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Rica

20130423060916-Image_5 debbieglade1-150x150It’s not every day that I can help out my blog partner, Debbie Glade (that’s obviously not Debbie to the left but her poodle, Darwin! She’s the lady to the right). She is a tireless supporter of literacy, science and geography for children. Now she’s found a terrific way to get her book, The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly: Costa Ricainto the hands of children who can benefit from her experience on these subjects. If it weren’t for her book, she and I would never have met so I am slightly partial to all things  Lilly P. Badilly. Lilly happens to be a strong-willed millipede who, along with her funny family members, stows away on a flight to Costa Rica. Once there, the multi-leggers get caught up in all sorts of adventures sure to entertain youngters.

dsc_00211Just a few days ago Debbie launched an ambitious IndieGoGo crowd sourcing project to raise $18,500 to cover the cost of printing 3,000 (high quality 64-pages) books and CDs. With 47 days to go, Debbie’s goal is to be able to give away every last one of these books to underprivileged elementary school children in south Florida where she lives. After years of visiting schools, libraries and charities to educate children about geography, Costa Rica’s flora and fauna, and naturally, millipedes, Debbie realized so many children who wanted the book were unable to afford to purchase it despite the deep discounts she offered.

Let’s change that and get these books into the hands of eager kids who want to smile, learn and listen to the hysterical CD!

Click here to view the campaign.

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Heart and Soul, the History of African Americans

Debbie Glade reviews a remarkable ALA Notable Children’s Book, Coretta Scott King Author Award and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book for Black History Month.

Heart and Soul:The Story of America and African Americans ($19.99, Balzer & Bray, ages 9 and up) is an essential historical fiction book for children and their parents and teachers. It was written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, one of our nation’s most accomplished, multiple award-winning artists. You will undoubtedly be wowed by the 44 illustrations in this remarkable book and will want to covet every page to soak in all the details. Made from oil paintings on canvas, these pictures are so incredibly impressive that they alone are worth the price of the book – and then some.

In the Author’s Note, Mr. Nelson talks about how history was never a favorite subject of his. Yet he found himself illustrating many historical figures over the years and getting more and more fascinated by the subject. It’s a good thing he did, because through his fascination comes this incredible summary of the most important aspects of the history of African Americans through the time of Abe Lincoln’s presidency. Through the voice of a narrator, Heart and Soul is a concise account of the life of the narrator’s ancestors, who endured the wrath of slavery.

I like the way the story touches upon a wide timeline, covering a great deal of information, while not being overwhelming to young readers. From injustice and despair to hope and freedom, the story inspires readers to want to learn more about slaves – the very people who were the “Heart and Soul” of our great nation. A detailed timeline in the back of the book helps readers better understand the history of black America. There’s even a detailed index too.

This is not your every day children’s book. Heart and Soul is a book you should buy and keep, rather than borrow and return. Trust me on this one.

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