Kulling, Monica. 2010. All Aboard! Elijah McCoy’s Steam Engine. Ill. by Bill Slavin. Ontario, CA: Tundra.
One of the things that I love about reviewing children’s nonfiction is the number of new things that I learn every day. Today I learned a little-known, but interesting and inspirational life story, as well as an interesting tidbit of etymology, the origin of the phrase “the real McCoy.” Get on Board!
we hear our conductor
the song she uses
to let us know
now is the time
to get on board...
the midnight train
we hide and pray
not to be found
we risk our lives
to stay on board...So begins All Aboard! But All Aboard! is not the story of the Underground Railroad, rather it is the culmination of the Underground Railroad's greater purpose - a self-determined, productive life, lived out in freedom. Elijah McCoy was the son of slaves who escaped to Canada on the Underground Railroad. His determined and hardworking parents saved enough money to send Elij…
Lowry, Lois. 1993. The Giver. New York: Random House Audio. ISBN 0807286095.
Plot Summary: Jonas is about to turn twelve years old - an age of importance and responsibility. At a special ceremony, he will receive his role for life in this futuristic community where discomfort, want, and uncertainty are unknown. But Jonas does not receive the duty that he expected. He is apprenticed to "The Giver," and his life and that of his community's may never be the same.
Critical Analysis: This unabridged audio book version of The Giver consists of four CDs that run for a total of 4 hours and 47 minutes. The reader is Broadway actor, movie star, and television actor Ron Rifkin. Rifkin is the only reader, although background instrumental music is played to underscore important scenes. The packaging claims the book to be appropriate for ages 10 and up.
Rifkin did a wonderful job of giving voice to Lois Lowry's story narration and the male characters of the story. His portrayal of fema…
Nelson, Kadir. 2008. We are the ship: The story of Negro League Baseball. New York: Jump at the Sun.
If you have ever watched Ken Burns' landmark documentary, Baseball, then you will have heard of the Negro Leagues. In fact, it was Burns' documentary that inspired author and artist, Kadir Nelson, to create We are the Ship, to document the rise and fall of America's all-black baseball league.
The story is told, appropriately, not in chapters, but in "innings," beginning with the exclusion of blacks from major league baseball and ending with the bittersweet success of Jackie Robinson - bittersweet because while it opened baseball to other black players, it also signaled the death knell of the Negro Leagues.
The Negro League teams had more than just colorful baseball players, they had a colorful style of play - faster, looser and more inventive than that of MLB.
"There was a catcher, Chappy Gray, who used to catch Satchel when he was in his prime. One time they …