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Elevate kids’ mood with feel-good books

by Kendal Rautzhan

Just like adults, children can get mired down in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sometimes what we all need to relieve the tensions of the day is a laugh, a smile, and something to make us feel warm and happy.

Books can provide that salve, such as the ones reviewed today. Whether it’s a book about friendship, the joy of life, or the bond of sisterhood, each of today’s selections offer something light and happy.

But don’t stop here – find dozens of others by asking your local librarian; a treasure-trove of information.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

“Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia” by Barbara O’Connor, Farrar Straus Giroux, 122 pages

Read aloud: age 10 and older. Read yourself: age 10 and older.

The moment Bird saw the new kid, Harlem Tate, she knew they were a lot alike – misunderstood, treated like dirt, and avoided like they were invisible. Bird could tell Harlem needed a friend just as much as she did, so she made it her mission to be his friend, no matter what it might take. It wouldn’t be easy, though; Harlem had a thick, protective wall around himself.

When the state spelling bee was announced with some big prizes for the winners, Bird asked Harlem to be her partner. Reluctant at first, he finally agreed and they began to study together every day. Their command of spelling grew, and so did their friendship. When the day of the spelling bee arrived, neither one had any idea that they’d come away with the best prize of all Ð true friendship.

Fast, funny, and full of moments that tug at the heart, this selection excels.

Librarian’s Choice

Library: Carson City Library, 900 N. Roop St.

Library Director: Sally Edwards

Youth Services Librarian: Cory King

Choices this week: “The Three Javelinas” by Susan Lowell; “Danny and the Dinosaur” by Syd Hoff; “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

“I’m a Duck!” written and illustrated by Teri Sloat, Putnam, 2006, 32 pages, $15.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 2-3 and older. Read yourself: age 7 and older.

“… by some magnificent stroke of good luck, I’m a duck!” And this feisty little duck really means it! He loves his wings and flying, his webbed feet and the way he can quack. As this duck grows, he thinks nothing in his life could be better until the day another duck lands in the water next to him – a beautiful girl! “There’s a strut in my waddle now. I’ve got a wife! I tell you, this girl has changed my whole life.”

Told in rhyme, this charming and heartfelt story will have young readers feeling warm all over.

“The Lemon Sisters” by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss, Putman, 2006, 32 pages, $16.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 5 and older. Read yourself: age 7 and older.

Three sisters are playing in the snow in the front yard of an old woman’s house. The woman watches the girls play and it warms her heart, for they remind her of herself and her two sisters when they were young.

The woman hasn’t seen her sisters for years, and today, her 80th birthday, she feels particularly lonely. She remembers making lemon ice in the snow with her own sisters, and decides to offer the three girls some lemon slices and sugar so they can make lemon ice, too. They accept, and the woman wishes her sisters were there to share a cup of tea with her.

Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. Who could it be?

A tender and joyful look at the bond between sisters, this lovely book will have readers, both young and old, smiling on every page.

— Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be e-mailed at kendal@sunlink.net.