It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree
Written by Jamie L. B. Deenihan Illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2019)
ISBN: 1454923814 (ISBN13: 9781454923817) Book borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
A young girl has listed down some of the things she is hoping to receive for her birthday, and predictably, they are gadget-heavy: a phone, robot dog, headphones just to cite a few. No books, no clothes, nor shoes in the list. However, unexpectedly, Grandma gives her a lemon tree instead.
The narrator of the story then proceeds to give very sound tips on how to be gracious with the gift: including not making a face, returning the gift back, or gifting it to somebody else. Apart from making a list of what not to do, the narrator listed down a few helpful suggestions on what to do with the lemon tree: the dos and donts of caring for this growing thing.
The story is witty and entertaining. While others may argue that the message can be fairly heavy-handed with the environmental bit pretty evident, it was done in such an engaging manner that didn’t take itself too seriously.
The transformation of this young girl at the end of the narrative was credible, and I also love seeing how the portrayal of girls in children’s books is gradually being redefined. Not so much princesses or damsels in distress, but little gardeners and environmentalists who are thoughtful, sensitive, and service-minded.
Written and Illustrated by Zoe Persico
Published by Running Press Kids (2019)
ISBN: 0762465247 (ISBN13: 9780762465248). Book borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
Georgia belongs to a family of artists. Unlike them, however, Georgia is fascinated with science, the cosmos, plants, and animals, and the lives and inventions of famous scientists.
I truly enjoyed the way Georgia was depicted throughout the story; her geeky nature evident with her nose continually buried in a book. Moreover, I loved her sense of fashion, with the big trendy eye glasses and the scarf that puts her voluminous hair back. The fact that she is also a brown-skinned young girl was not lost on me – and that it is not explicitly-central to the narrative made it even better.
When she decided to come up with her very own experiment, she was bombarded with many well-meaning suggestions by her family members. However, the strategies are all bent towards colour, sketching, and visual imagery – which frustrated Georgia to no end, making her stomp her way to her Science hut to be alone.
This is a remarkable story about a young girl whose fierce sense of individuality and intense curiosity has transformed her ideation into one that is refreshingly interdisciplinary, but also rooted in a sense of self-efficacy and connectedness. Buy these two books and share with your young readers, boys and girls alike.
#WomenReadWomen2019: United States of America.