NEIFPE Book Reviews

Ackerman: Song and Dance Man •
Grandpa once danced on the vaudeville stage, and as he glides across the floor, the children can see what it was like to be a song and dance man.
Alexander: The High King ••
In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.

In this final part of the chronicle of Prydain the forces of good and evil meet in an ultimate confrontation, which determines the fate of Taran, the Assistant Pig-Keeper who wanted to be a hero.
Applegate: The One and Only Ivan ••
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.
Cleary: Dear Mr. Henshaw ••
In his letters to his favorite author, ten-year-old Leigh reveals his problems in coping with his parents' divorce, being the new boy in school, and generally finding his own place in the world.
Curtis: Bud, Not Buddy ••
When 10-year-old Bud decides to hit the road to find his father, nothing can stop him.
Cushman: Midwife's Apprentice ••
From the author of "Catherine, Called Birdy" comes another spellbinding novel set in medieval England. The girl known only as Brat has no family, no home, and no future until she meets Jane the Midwife and becomes her apprentice. As she helps the sharp-tempered Jane deliver babies, Brat-who renames herself Alyce-gains knowledge, confidence, and the courage to want something from life: "A full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world."
Darling-Hammond: The Flat World and Education: How America's Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future
As America enters the 21st century, U.S. students continue to slip behind in the world's rankings in science and math. Yet, at the same time, state prison budgets are increasing nearly three times as fast as budgets for education. Linda Darling-Hammond explores how America's performance globally is linked to the minority-majority achievement gap at home.
DiCamillo: Flora and Ulysses •
It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him.
Fieldman: Lincoln: A Photobiography ••
A description of the boyhood, marriage, and young professional life of Abraham Lincoln.
Fleischman: Joyful, Noise, Poems for Two Voices ••
Here is a collection of irresistible poems that celebrate the insect world, from the short life of the mayfly to the love song of the book louse.
Floca: Locomotive ••
It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean.
Gantos: Dead-End in Norvelt ••
Jack's plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents.
Henkes: Kitten's First Full Moon •
What a night!
The moon is full.
Kitten is hungry and inquisitive and brave and fast and persistent and unlucky . . .
then lucky!
What a night!
Kadohata: Kira-Kira ••
Chronicles the close friendship between two Japanese-American sisters growing up in rural Georgia during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and the despair when one sister becomes terminally ill.
Klassen: This is Not My Hat •
When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not like he’ll ever know what happened...Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.
Kohn: Feel-Bad Education
Alfie Kohn argues that our schools are currently in the grip of a “cult of rigor”—a confusion of harder with better that threatens to banish both joy and meaningful intellectual inquiry from our classrooms.
Kozol: Letters to a Young Teacher
Jonathan Kozol's most personally insightful and revealing work to date takes the form of encouraging letters to Francesca, a young classroom teacher, offering advice, personal stories, and a shared sense of outrage at the inadequacies of America's educational system.
Kozol: The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America
Filled with the passionate voices of children, principals, and teachers, and some of the most revered leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.
Lowry: Number the Stars ••
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.
Meier and Wood, Eds.: Many Children Left Behind
Far from improving public schools and increasing the ability of the system to serve poor and minority children, No Child Left Behind is doing exactly the opposite.
McCully: Mirette on the High Wire •
Mirette lives in a boarding house surrounded by actors, dancers, jugglers and mimes. Her life is filled with exciting stories and fascinating people. None as magical as the stranger Mirette discovers crossing the courtyard on air--a tightrope walker. Mirette becomes the stranger's pupil and learns to walk the wire.
Ohanian: What Happened to Recess and Why Are Our Children Struggling in Kindergarten?
Susan Ohanian explains the misguided mania for testing children, why a child's success or failure is currently determined by a set of tests, and what parents are doing to change public policy on education.
Provensen: The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blerot ••
This book recounts the persistence of a Frenchman, Louis, to build a flying machine to cross the English Channel.
Raschka: A Ball for Daisy •
Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy's anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog.
Rathman: Officer Buckle and Gloria •
The children at Napville Elementary School always ignore Officer Buckle's safety tips, until a police dog named Gloria accompanies him when he gives his safety speeches.
Ravitch: Death and Life of the Great American School System
Ravitch critiques today’s most popular ideas for restructuring schools, including privatization, standardized testing, punitive accountability, and the feckless multiplication of charter schools. She shows conclusively why the business model is not an appropriate way to improve schools.
Ryan: A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.
Both inspiring and pragmatic, A Mindful Nation shows how the benefits of mindfulness apply to the current challenges that affect each of us in our own lives and in our communities, and thus have implications for our society as a whole. With a hard-nosed understanding of politics, government budgets, and what it takes to get something done, Ryan connects a practical approach—lead with the science, show the savings and show how this can help us educate our children to be competitive in the world arena—with a hopeful vision for how mindfulness can reinvigorate our core American values and transform and revitalize our communities.
Rylant: Missing May ••
When May dies suddenly while gardening, Summer assumes she'll never see her beloved aunt again. But then Summer's Uncle Ob claims that May is on her way back--she has sent a sign from the spirit world.
Sahlberg: Finnish Lessons: What can the world learn from educational change in Finland?
Pasi Sahlberg recounts the history of Finnish educational reform as only a well-traveled insider can. He details how the Finnish strategy and tactics differ from those of the global educational reform movement and of the North American reforms in particular.
Stead: A Sick Day for Amos McGee •
When zookeeper Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide to help him get well.
Steig: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble •
On a rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his true self makes a story that is beautifully tender and filled with true magic. Illustrated with William Steig's glowing pictures, this is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere.
Talback: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat •
Joseph had a little overcoat, but it was full of holes—just like this book! When Joseph's coat got too old and shabby, he made it into a jacket. But what did he make it into after that? And after that?
Vanderpool: Moon Over Manifest ••
Abilene Tucker's father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Veltri: Learning on Other People's Kids
This work captures the voices of TFA novices who offer candid accounts of their experiences in becoming Teach For America Teachers. Previously unanswered questions are addressed: Why do recent college graduates apply to Teach For America? How are they recruited, trained, and hired?
Yolen: Owl Moon •
The touching story of a child and parent finding magic and adventure in a simple, snowy nighttime search for the great horned owl.
Young: Lon Po Po •
Three sisters staying home alone are endangered by a hungry wolf who is disguised as their grandmother.

• Caldecott Medal Winner

•• Newbery Medal Winner