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Staff Pick – The Secret River

Staff Pick – The Secret River

The Secret River

A young girl takes her dog to a river in a forest, where she catches enough fish to feed her neighbors, even after giving some to forest creatures she meets on the way home.

Children will enjoy this tale of enchantment written by Newbery winner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and wonderfully illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Main character Calpurnia and her dog Buggy-horse go off to explore a secret river in the forest, since the local river has gone dry, and fisherman like her father are not able to have any income. She encounters a number of animals in the back country of Florida, and learns a few life lessons. But the question is will Calpurnia find the secret river with the help of the wisest person in the forest Mother Albirtha? Readers will have to check this book out to find the answer.

Recommended by: Denyce Malone – Flanner House

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Water Around the World

Water Around the World

Websites:

Books:

Common Ground A Cool Drink of Water Not a drop to Drink One Well
Our World of Water Ryan and Jimmy A Tale of One Well in Malawi A Thirst for Home
Water World We Need Water

Selected by: Janet Spaulding, Selection Services


A Long Walk to Water

Part of this story is about a boy named Salva. He lives in Sudan, a country in Africa, during a Civil War that happened there in 1985. The other part of this story is about a girl namy Nya and takes place in Sudan right now.

When we say “The Civil War” here in America we are referring to our own Civil War that happened 150 years ago. The Civil War in Sudan was only 25 years ago. During the War in Sudan many people were killed, children were made orphans and families were separated. In order to get to safety many people WALKED to Ethiopia or Kenya.

When you are reading Salva’s part of the story you hear about how he slept on the ground at night and could hear lions hunting around him:

Marial was gone – vanished into the night. He would never have wandered away from the group on his own. His disappearance could mean only one thing. Lion. (page 40)

Salva even has to cross a river infested with crocodiles. Some of the people do not make it across the river. On the other side of the river is a desert…which the people also have to walk across. Can you even imagine surving a journey like that? I can’t.

Nya’s part of the story is about how she walks twice a day, EVERY DAY to a pond to get water. Nya carries the water in a plastic jug and balances it on her head to walk home. That’s what she does every single day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The pond is so far away from her home that she has no time to do anything else. No school. No playing. Just walking – carrying water to keep her family alive.

A Long Walk to Water shows you how Salva’s story and Nya’s story are related even though they take place 25 years apart.

There are parts of the book that are hard to read and very, very sad. Some parts are scary. In the end, though, this is a book about really good things. It is about people looking after each other – even if they are stangers to begin with. It is about trying hard and doing your part and it is about hoping for something better.

The really great thing is that A Long Walk to Water is based on a real boy named Salva – you can see his picture with the author on the book jacket or in the video below. (He’s grown up now.) At the end of the book there is a letter to you from Salva that I think you’ll like to read. The best thing he says is, “Stay calm when things are hard or not going right with you. You will get thorugh it when you persevere instead of quitting.” (page 117) Those are pretty powerful words when you realize they come from a kid who survived a situation much, much more difficult than anything we will probably ever face.

  • Amazon Look Inside A Long Walk to Waterwater-for-sudan-logo
  • Linda Sue Park’s Official Website
  • Linda Sue Park’s Blog
  • Watch the PBS Need to Know Episode “The Lost Boy of Sudan” – it’s about Salva himself.
  • Watch a Video of Salva talking to small children about his project.
  • Water for Sudan – Salva’s own organization that drills wells to provide water to people Southern Sudan.
Here are some more books about people like Salva who decide to DO something:
Wengari's Trees of Peace Three Cups of Tea Do Something Ryan and Jimmy and the Well in Africa That Brought Them Together
Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand A Gift from Childhood Making Change The Doggy Dung Disaster
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Workshop: Many Cultures, Many (Unusual) Instruments

Workshop: Many Cultures, Many (Unusual) Instruments

2014mayCulturesInstruments

Children of all ages and families are invited to enjoy a musical walk around the globe. Yurtfolk will play a collection of uncommon and unusual instruments that tell a story about different cultures. Registration is recommended. Limit 35 children per session. Schedule

Websites:

Books:

Playing the Spoons and Other Curious Instruments Play Piano in a Flash Musical Instruments A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
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