Thursday, April 3, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

Pay It Forward Kids: Small Acts, Big Changes by Nancy Runstedler, 64 pages.
Meet 12-year-old Maria of Minnesota, who set a goal of collecting and distributing one million books to underprivileged children in six years to “make the world a better place, one book at a time.” (At publication time, she had already acquired over 800,000 books!) 
Meet Ethan and Noah of St. Catherines, Ontario, ages 12 and 9 years, who, aware that many children can’t play hockey because their families can’t afford the necessary equipment, collected and donated a number of vans full of new and gently-used hockey equipment to underprivileged families. Later, they even expanded their project to include soccer equipment.
Meet Tyler, a teen who lives in California. When he discovered that children are still today being sold into slavery in some parts of Africa, he not only raised the money needed to rescue and free over one hundred such children, but he also established a Kids Helping Kids organization.
These are some of the “ordinary” kids who have done extraordinary things to “pay it forward”, helping to make the world a better place. Many other young people have been impelled to join their causes or even to start their own.
This inspiring book demonstrates how even the smallest acts of kindness and generosity can ripple, creating a chain reactions from which big changes can happen.
Author Nancy Runstedler lives in Paris, Ontario.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

In Lucia’s Neighborhood, by Pat Shewchuk, 30 pages.
Seven-year-old Lucia’s neighborhood is a busy, vibrant place. Families and people of all ages live, play, socialize and attend school there.  They shop there, take walks, visit the park and chat to others. Many residents also work within the community, and people know most of their neighbours. 
Each summer, the community comes together to celebrate the Senhor Da Pedra Festival with various activities, including a parade through the neighborhood streets.  For weeks, young and old look forward to the joyous festivities.
Lucia loves her neighborhood, and in this book she recounts a typical day there for readers as she walks to and from school, visits her grandmother, plays with friends, and shops with her mother. 
Based on an actual Toronto neighbourhood (“Little Portugal”) where the author, Pat Shewchuk, and illustrator Marek Colek live, this picture book is a celebration of community and diversity within our cities.  The book is also a tribute to Jane Jacobs, the late urban activist, visionary, Toronto resident (from 1968 to her death in 2006) and author of such books as The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
Children will be inspired to look again at their own neighbourhood and think about what makes it feel like home to them.

** Recommended for ages 3 to 7 years.  

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on April 3, 2014. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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