Category Archives: reading

Best Books: The One and Only Ivan

In a world where we are being faced with bullying, loneliness, and school shootings it is hard to completely understand the fears, isolation, and loneliness that children and teens are dealing with. As adults we see the world as it is, but children are still learning how the world functions, and how to deal with the emotions that result from living in that world. Sometimes children need help to understand those emotions.

Katherine Applegate’s book, The one and Only Ivan introduces a lonely and isolated Gorilla that has lived in captivity for 27 years. Ivan meets a baby elephant named Ruby that has been taken from the wild. Throughout the novel the two interact on a human level, they share their fears, their hopes, their dreams. As readers we get to see the world from Ivan’s perspective. It details the essence of childhood. The limits of understanding, the boxed in protection that becomes a cage, the loss of innocence as the real world takes shape around them, but through it all is a friendship and humor that helps them to navigate this strange world. The world that Applegate has created allows children to place themselves in Ivan’s place and follow him on his journey of self-actualization and his quest in to the real world of adult-hood. Throughout this journey the readers are able to confront their own emotions and reconcile their own experiences with loneliness and isolation.

The book brings humor, joy, and sadness as it tells the story of Ivan and Ruby. Readers will enjoy the friendship and humor as they learn some deeper lessons. It makes for an excellent read, and if parents read it as well it can open up doors and opportunities for discussion about what kids are really going through today.

Best Books: She Persisted

You may be wondering why we are highlighting two books this month. Well, the answer is simple, because they pair well together, and they are important books that all boys and girls should read.

This month we want to highlight the books written by Former First Daughter, Chelsea Clinton. She Persisted, and She Persisted Around the World, are two books about important women that have influenced our world here at home and abroad. Why is it important for boys to read books about women that have changed our world? Because one day those boys will become husbands, they will become fathers, and they will work and learn in this world alongside strong women. It is important for boys and girls to see women succeed, thrive, incite change, and be seen as equal to their male counterparts. When women thrive, men thrive. We live alongside one another, and we work together. So when one person makes the world a better place they do not make it better just for them, they make it better for everyone. The ripple it causes throughout civilization touches everyone.

The She Persisted books each highlight important women who have incited change in education, science, civil liberties, healthcare, and literature. The books show the strength and the determination it takes to continue to drive forward in a world that tells you no. This is a message every child needs to learn. Although things may seem tough, and we may struggle, we should never let that stop us from doing something we want to do. We need to keep moving forward. These books make a great gift. Try reading them together with our kids and start a discussion on the importance of trying, learning, and not giving up.

She persisted around the world She persisted

Books that Teach

February is Black History Month. This is a very important part of our nation’s history. Many important people in history are sidelined for being a minority, but their contributions to this nation and society should never be ignored. Black History month is supposed to be a way to give light to those that have been hidden in our history.

In today’s world especially we want our sons and our daughters to know that ANYONE is capable of making an impact on this world. That we are all equal in our abilities to make a difference. For decades psychologists have said how important it is to show our young girls strong female role models, but it is just as important to show our sons strong female role models. It is also important to break down barriers and show them that there is no difference between a man, a woman, and someone who may come from a different culture, or background.

books that teach

So this month let’s highlight a book that will do just that. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History highlights many women of color that have made an impact on the world today. These women have been sidelined in history, but they will not be in the here and now.  

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History highlights 40 women and the amazing thing they have accomplished. From women like Abolitionist Sojourner Truth who fought barriers and helped the fight to free slaves, to women like politician Shirley Chisholm who broke down barriers in politics serving her community in a very strong and life-changing way. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History also highlights women in everyday life and how they have accomplished amazing things and shattered people’s expectations.

This book is meant for children ages 8-11, but it carries an impact that could be felt by readers of all ages. Be sure to check it out, it is a book that should be read by everyone.