Day in and day out, Newsbee needs to be reminded of what he has to be “thankful for . . . ” Like many of you in Buzzville, your bee buddy takes too much for granted. With Thanksgiving around the corner, he thought all could benefit from a refresher course in gratefulness with books that celebrate our homes, family and freedom. Page On! Enjoy.
‘A Piece of Home’
By Jeri Watts
A young child muses about how different his life was in his native country of Korea in “A Piece of Home,” by Jeri Watts, a touching tribute to those transplanted from one country to another.
When they lived in Korea, the child’s grandmother, a teacher, was greatly respected by her students. A woman who loved gardening, she could “find the extraordinary held within the ordinary.”
But an abrupt change occurs when Grandmother and her family move to West Virginia. Overnight, the joy leaks from Grandmother’s soul as she pines for her native land and things she’s used to — her grandson suffers as well. In school he struggles with English, has trouble making friends because he can’t converse and hates that he looks different from his classmates.
“A Piece of Home” raises awareness of how difficult it can be to adjust to a culture different from our own — simple, emotion-packed illustrations by Hyewon Yum help drive that point home, in a book that ends on a hopeful note.
‘Her Right Foot’
By Dave Eggers
We all know about the grand lady that stands in New York Harbor, holding her torch to welcome all to America. But it seems there are many things about the Statute of Liberty that we don’t know.
Author Dave Eggers provides input certain to produce smiles and twang the heartstrings in “Her Right Foot,” a brilliant book that elicits a smorgasbord of feelings.
The text begins with a look back at the statue’s beginning in France, where the sculpture was designed by a Frenchman with an Italian name, detailing the steps he took for his creation, from making models to erecting the statue in Paris, where it stood for nearly a year before being shipped to New York City for reassembly.
Eggers offers light-hearted information about the characteristics of the statue, and halfway through his book drops a bombshell—teasing and tantalizing with a statement that makes us wonder about her feet — in particular her right one.
To say more would spoil the hook in this book about her foot, complemented by joyful, bold illustrations by Shawn Harris.
By Alan Gratz
Prepare to be blown away by “Refugee,” a timely, riveting book. This stellar read by Alan Gratz relates the stories of three children with like experiences despite living in different periods in history. These children are immigrants, fleeing their countries with their families, in an effort to make new lives in places where they will enjoy cherished freedoms.
Josef is a German Jewish boy in pre-World War II years. His father has been sent to a concentration camp, but is released under the condition that his family will leave Germany. They escape on “The St. Louis,” a ship bound for Cuba, a country believed to offer refuge to its passengers.
Years later, in 1994, Isabel, the second young person, is fleeing Cuba because Castro has made conditions there horrendous. Isabel and her loved ones build a boat and try to cross the shark-infested ocean, bound for Miami.
The last refugee, Mahmoud, is a Syrian boy, who in 2015, along with his family, faces death and being returned to his country, as they make the perilous trip by foot and boat to Germany, a country that will accept them once they reach its border.
Told in compact, alternating chapters, Gratz details the predicaments the characters face with vivid, heart-wrenching detail. “Refugee” is a story for our time, an unforgettable tale of courage.