Keena’s second grade class is going on a field trip to the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. On the night before the big trip Keena is playing around with scissors and accidently cuts one of her braids clean off! To cover up this little mistake (she doesn’t want to get in trouble for playing with scissors) she makes a yarn braid to replace the lost one.
“Something everyone should know about yarn is that it looks different after you sleep on it. …It looked like the hair of this doll I saw in a move one time, when this girl was very, very poor, and she lived in an old barn.”
Since the braid isn’t looking so good Keena has to make do with a patriotic scarf. When one of her classmates yanks it off right in front of Representative Ford, Keena thinks this might be the most embarrassing moment of her life. But nooooo, there’s more. With Keena Ford, there is so much more! Author: Melissa Thomson
In 1955 kids were afraid that they might get a disease called polio. Polio is a virus that can cause paralysis. The paralysis can be so bad that it doesn’t just mean not being able to move the arms or the legs, it also means the body not being able to breath on its own. (Now, all kids get a vaccine for polio so you don’t have to worry about getting it anymore.)
Back in the 50s, if a kid couldn’t breath right because of polio, the kid had to live in an iron lung – a big machine the kid laid inside. This meant no standing up, no sitting, no playing. This was the time before much TV and definately no DVDs or video games or computers. Can you imagine? The kids in this story that live inside iron lungs can read a propped up book…but they have to wait for a nurse to come by to turn the pages.
The story begins when adventurous coonskin cap wearing, popgun toting Dickie moves in down the street and lonely Laurie finds in him a true kindred spirit. They play and pretend and explore all over their neighborhood all day and into the evenings. Laurie is devastated when Dickie is stricken with polio and confined to the hospital. Laurie’s Dad won’t let her visit because he’s afraid she could get polio too. Laurie obeys…for awhile. When she can’t stand it any longer Laurie sneaks into the hospital to visit Dickie and finds that he isn’t alone. Dickie, Chip and Carolyn all have polio and all three live in the hospital inside iron lungs.
During her visits, Laurie begins a story about Jimmy, a little boy destined to become a big hero fighting a giant. Each time Laurie returns to the hospital to visit she adds more to the story. A story about a little person fighting a great big giant is something these kids can relate to. Besting the giant requires all of Jimmy’s skills. He survives with the help of his friends.
The realistic part of the story about kids dealing with polio was really eye opening. It really is hard to imagine yourself living trapped in an iron long like that. The part of the book that is the story Laurie is telling about, the part about Jimmy the giant-slayer, was just fun to read. Laurie is a great storyteller and you can understand why the kids enjoyed her stories so much. Author: Iain Lawrence
Zoe is eleven and she’s tough as nails. She’s taken care of herself for as long as she can remember because the grown-ups in her life have either been gone (her dad) or unreliable (her mom, and her mom’s string of boyfriends).
Zoe knows how to grocery shop, vacuum, scrub toilets, do laundry, drive a stickshift & place bets at the track. What she doesn’t know, is how to be a kid.
Now, Zoe’s Mom is dead and the next person in line to take care of her is an old Uncle she never even knew she had, Uncle Henry. Zoe isn’t expecting much. She figures this new grown-up will probably be just as useless as all the others before him. “What grown-ups said and what they actually did never matched or even came close.”
But this grown-up, this Uncle Henry, he’s different. He’s the first trustworthy adult Zoe has ever met. Sometimes he’s so competent and reliable he makes her really mad – like when he makes her go to school. Zoe’s been in charge of herself for so long it’s hard for her to let Uncle Henry be in charge. And Uncle Henry, he’s been alone for so long it’s hard for him to be in charge of somebody else.
The two of them are independent, moody, stubborn, smart…and they both need a family. So they make one: the street smart, sarcastic, wise-cracking Zoe and the reclusive, grizzly old doctor turned metal sculptor. With their good friends Fred & Bessie, Maud, Father Phillip and Zoe’s teacher Ms. Avery, a stray cat and a mysterious boy – Sugar Hill, North Carolina turns out to be a really fine place to grow up. Author: Clay Carmichael
Yes, this one is just as funny as the other ones! This time Greg is happily looking forward to summer vacation.
“The way I like to spend my summer vacation is in front of the TV, playing video games with the curtains closed and the lights turned off.”
You know Greg’s Mom, she isn’t going to go for that plan. In fact, she has all kind of things lined up to keep Greg busy and none of her choices include staying inside playing video games. He tries to reason with her:
“I tell her that I’m just trying to protect my skin so I don’t look all wrinkly when I’m old like her…”
Huh. Of course, that argument doesn’t go very far with Greg’s Mom! He doesn’t get to laze in front of the TV all summer playing video games, he is forced outdoors and as usual, he finds a heap of trouble.
In A Dog’s Life: the Autobiograpy of a Stray, Ann Martin wrote about Squirrel, a stray dog. It’s a really emotional look into the life of a dog as it struggles to find the right home. If you liked that one, you will surely like Everything for a Dog. It is the story of Squirrel’s brother, Bone.
Bone’s story is also the story of two boys: Charlie and Henry. The chapters alternate between the three as Bone and the two boys tell their stories. Charlie is having a tough time because his older brother RJ died and his parents are all but falling apart. His only consolation is RJ’s dog Sunny, who has attached herself Charlie. Henry is a boy without a dog, and he wants one more than anything. Bone just needs a home. As the stories of the three unfold they don’t really seem related, except that they are about the attachments that occur between people and their pets.
Toward the end of the book the stories of Charlie, Henry & Bone come together in a really surprising way that fits just right. I love it when a story does that and it’s even better when I don’t see it coming. If you have ever wanted or loved a dog this story will speak to you. Author: Ann M. Martin