November Book Buzz Picks - The Missourian: Newspapers In Education

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Can-Do Characters November Book Buzz Picks

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Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012 2:45 pm | Updated: 2:53 pm, Fri Nov 2, 2012.

Courage, perseverance and grit are traits Newsbee would like to emulate. This month your bee buddy introduces you to three “Can-Do Characters” who don’t back down, no matter what. This trio has plenty to teach us about being the best we can be.

Youngest Pick:

‘Black Dog,’

By Levi Pinfold

A black cat crossing your path is bad enough, but imagine, if you will, a dark pooch on the loose in your neck of the woods. That’s the setup for “Black Dog,” by Levi Pinfold, a fantastical story with equally clever illustrations.

It’s a snowy, gray night when Mr. Hope sees a strange black dog about the size of a tiger outside. What’s a dad to do? Call the police, of course, who advise with a laugh, “Don’t go outside.”

Mrs. Hope spots the mongrel next. Shocked she drops her teacup. The dog has grown to the size of an elephant, a phenomenon that continues as each of the Hope children catch a glimpse of the beast.

Only Small Hope has been spared the scene. To her family’s surprise she marches outside. Rather than being afraid she tackles the hairy problem headon. With a song on her lips, and a zip in her step, the plucky tyke reduces the situation to manageable size. Sometimes courage comes in small packages.

Middle Pick

‘Noah Webster & His Words,’

By Jeri Chase Ferris

Seize the day — set your mind to doing what you want and forge ahead. There’s plenty of gumption in “Noah Webster & His Words,” by Jeri Chase Ferris.

Born in Connecticut in 1758, Noah had oodles of confidence. What he didn’t have was a passion for farming, a fact that stuck in his dad’s craw like chewing gum to a gym floor.

Hardheaded Noah wasn’t going to have any of plowing and planting. He wanted to use his brain and go to college. That cost money — and his dad footed the bill, with the thought in mind that Noah would pay him back. That never happened because the Revolutionary War broke out, but Noah didn’t fight. He put his book learning to practice and became a teacher.

In those days, no one had heard of a dictionary, in fact with the birth of America lots of new words were being used, with no consistent spellings. Noah thought that was a crying shame. He set to work writing the “blue-backed speller,” and eventually compiled his “American Dictionary of the English Language.”

It wasn’t an easy task — in fact it turned out to be Noah’s life work. His dictionary wasn’t published until 1828, when Noah was 70. He ages quite well in this book about stick-to-it-tiveness, entertainingly illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch.

Oldest Pick

‘Sophia’s War, A Tale of Revolution,’

By Avi

Prolific author Avi scores again with a patriotic flag waver that centers on our nation’s fight for freedom. Get set to burn the midnight oil with “Sophia’s War, A Tale of the Revolution.”

Sophia Calderwood is just an ordinary girl living in New York City when the Revolutionary War begins in 1776. Her beloved brother is off fighting with the patriots. Who knows if he’s dead or alive?

Hangings are common in the city as the British tighten their hold on citizens and demand their alliance. Her brother might be dead or have been taken prisoner, subjected to horrors at the hands of cruel guards and housed in deplorable conditions.

Under threat of grave danger, Sophia and her father promote the patriotic cause, but in secret because they’ve been forced to take in a guest — a higher-up with the British army, a dashing young man that Sophia becomes attracted to, full well knowing he’s the enemy, yet falling victim to his charms.

Ashamed of her feelings, Sophia proceeds with her undercover activities, and agrees to serve as a spy, gathering information from the officer and finally uncovering a plot that could spell disaster for America.

Based on an actual event, and peopled with real historical figures “Sophia’s War” features an admirable girl with grit who does the right thing, despite her heart.

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