It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. Nonfiction Monday also occurs today.
Meltzer, Brad. I Am Jackie Robinson
January 8th 2015 by Dial
Copy received from Penguin Young Readers
This fifth book in the Ordinary People Change the World series is a good overview of the life of Jackie Robinson, with more text than one might imagine. (Other books in the series have an Accelerated Reader reading level of 3-3.5, and are worth half a point.) It covered the challenges he faced because of prejudice in a way that younger students can understand, and showed how Robinson helped pave the way for baseball teams to be integrated. The amount of text and placement of the pictures is just right for my struggling readers-- I've been showing a lot of pages of books to students to gauge what catches their eyes, and I think this will engage them. I wasn't thrilled with the characters on the margins opining about what the "b" on Jackie's hat stood for, or the fact that the cartoon version of the child Jackie appears even in the scenes where he is an adult, but I don't think students will care. I may have to investigate the rest of the series. The pictures in this are better than the ones in the Scholastic series of biographies, and there is less information, which will appeal to some students.
Paul, Miranda. One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
February 1st 2015 by Millbrook Press
In the 1990s, plastic bag pollution was causing many problems in Isatou Ceesay's village-- goats would eat them and die, they would collect water and breed mosquitoes, and the bags would let off toxic chemicals when they burned. Ceesay could see that the bags had their uses, but since there was no good place to discard them, she started collecting the bags, washing them, and crocheting strips of the bags into purses. She sold these in the market and started a small business.
This is a great book to teach children to be more globally and ecologically aware!
I loathe plastic bags and never take them at the store. Whenever I go shopping, I carry my own bag, and have a large collection of cloth bags useful for any number of purposes. In this country, I think that the plastic bags that bread comes in are a bigger threat, because they are harder to recycle. Back in 1989, I attempted to crochet with those, but since I can't crochet very well, I didn't get very far! My only quibble is the timeline in the back of the book that says that plastic bags became a problem in Gambia in the 1970s. I don't know anything about the introduction of plastic bags in Africa, but they weren't used widely in the US until the 1990s. I will assume that Ms. Paul did her research, but it struck me as odd.