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Bookie Blogger's Dynamic Elementary Reviews
Summary: Calvin is a vibrant story based on acceptance, confidence, and self-recognition. Born as a female and raised with loving and embracing parents he is unsure of how he should break the news to his family. Although, he has known for some time he still has reservations. Calvin tried to drop hints to his family through illustrations and his repeated request for low-cut haircuts until one day he blurts it out. How will his family react? Will this ruin his vacation? Will they educate him as he relates to his feelings? Will his family be kind and understanding of his identification as transgender? Will he be accepted at school? Will the opinions of others affect his own confidence and esteem? Strengths: This story is rich and colorful which reflects the family dynamics. The family is very supportive and reassures Calvin that he is loved no matter what his choices are. Weaknesses: There are no weakness. This story displays healthy family dynamics. It mutters the ideal family, however today the barriers are screeching with the lack of acceptance. Thoughts: This is a beautifully written story of love and support. It not only speaks to the transgender community but also to multiracial families. Acceptance of who and what people identify as is such a prevalent issue in society.
Summary: This biography is an awakening for Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch. Growing up as a girl who loved the beach the steady waves and soft skies provided her with an abundance of comfort. However, the period of the pre-civil rights movement enabled segregation to keep her from sulking in the sun from just any beach. MaVynee enjoyed spending the joyous moments of watching the harmonious blends of blue and green that she often viewed with her grandfather. He was exhausted and frustrated by the discrimination. Furthermore, he was saddened by its effects on his granddaughter. Surprisingly, one day her grandfather decided that enough had been endured and purchased a beach. That beach became known as “American Beach”. Although, growing up on the beach was a priceless venture with countless memories, MaVynee grew up and pursued her career in opera which removed her from the paradise that soothed her during her childhood. In a constant longing she never stopped dreaming of the beautiful place that was considered a part of “home”. Upon return, what will she discover? How will she react? Will there be challenges? Will she be heard? What will be the end results? Strengths: This book is beautifully illustrated. King tells the story but the illustrations by Holmes bring this book to life. Weaknesses: This book would have benefited from a real-life photo of MaVynee in the note section or on the very last page. In biographies, students like to make connections to the real world and photos provide that sense of reality. Thoughts: This story travels down the steep road that plagued so many. This is still a reality of so many in the land of the free. I can think of another local beach in the state of Maryland where this story parallels the deeply rooted history of “black owned” beaches that barely exists. This story is one that will stick out in the minds of students as they reflect on the history while visiting local and national bodies of water. Kudos to the author and illustrator for this collaborative effort.
Summary: Your voice is one of the most important things in the world. It does not matter if it is small or tall. It can roar like a lion or show its strength in a stream of mighty sound like a trumpet. It gives you the power to ask, tell and learn. It also allows you to wonder. Wow! Your voice speaks to others it tells how it feels using endless words. Did you know the power of the voice creates a beautiful song? Everyone uses their voice in a unique way. How do you use your voice? Strengths: This book is full of vibrant illustrations that sets the tone for the reader. Each page draws your imagination into the descriptive words that makes the pictures come to life. The theme encourages students to be who they are and use the power of their own voice. The diversity of the characters creates an all-inclusive atmosphere that exaggerates the message that there are no exclusions. Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses, but I would have loved to see this story written in a series. Perhaps this would be the first of the series. Thoughts: Students love this book. It empowers them to like themselves and respect others. It promotes several character traits that are a focal point in elementary school.