Start the new year with books that have important messages

Telling the truth. Fighting injustice. Standing up for what is right. Being courageous. These are some of the important issues covered in today's reviewed books, and without a doubt, are issues that we should be teaching our children.

Remember, too, that it's not good enough to simply teach children these values. Our actions as adults must be consistent with what we teach. Marian Wright Edelman hits that nail precisely on the head when she said, "What's wrong with our children? - Adults telling children to be honest while lying and cheating. Adults telling children not to be violent while marketing and glorifying violence ... I believe that adult hypocrisy is the biggest problem children face in America." (from "Americans Who Tell the Truth" - see review below)

Heady stuff. Important stuff. Take a look for yourself.

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"That's Mine, Horace" written and illustrated in color by Holly Keller, Greenwillow Books, 24 pages

Read aloud: age 4 and older. Read yourself: age 7Ð8 and older.

One day Horace found a toy truck in the schoolyard. It was the best truck he had ever seen. It was also small enough to fit in his pocket, so when the bell rang to return to the classroom, Horace waited a moment for someone to claim the truck. No one did, so he stuffed it into his pocket.

Later at snack time, Horace took out the truck and Walter saw it. "Hey, that's mine!" Horace slid the truck back into his pocket. When his teacher questioned him, Horace lied and said the truck was his. His teacher said she knew Horace would never tell a fib. But in his heart, Horace knew he was wrong, but he didn't know how to undo what he had done. Fortunately, Horace had some help from the one he least suspected.

Perfectly balanced, this story teaches right from wrong and the power of forgiveness.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Douglas County Public Library, 1625 Library Lane, Minden

Library Director: Linda Deacy

Youth Services Librarian: Kathy Echavarria

Choices this week: "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems; "Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom" by Bill Martin; "Midnight for Charlie Bone" by Jenny Nimmo

Books to Buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"Americans Who Tell the Truth" written and illustrated by Robert Shetterly, Dutton, 2005, 46 pages, $18.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 11-12 and older. Read yourself: 11Ð12 and older.

Profound on every level, "Americans Who Tell the Truth" may be one of the most important books older children are ever exposed to. Each of the fifty striking portraits are accompanied by a brief thought-provoking quote from that featured American.

These truth tellers challenge readers to think deeply about the truth, our government, what democracy should be, what is right and wrong, injustice, the importance of taking an active role, and the danger of conforming.

Included are 50 brief biographies of the featured Americans at the end of this remarkable book and a Web site ( that provides curriculum support, information on how you can bring the portraits to your community, and much more.

A must-read for adults and older children, this selection provides a powerful springboard for thought, discussion, and hopefully, action.

"Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students" by Suzanne Jurmain, Houghton Mifflin, 2005, 126 pages, $18 hardcover

Read aloud: age 8Ð9 and older. Read yourself: age 9 and older.

In 1833, the villagers and town authorities in Canterbury, Ct., considered Prudence Crandall a criminal. Her "crime" was opening and operating one of the first African-American schools in America. Filled with such hate for Miss Crandall and her students, people threw rotten eggs and rocks at the school windows, screamed insults and pounded on the doors with iron bars, threw manure in the school well, and tried to burn the schoolhouse down. Miss Crandall was hauled off to jail and put on trial for breaking the law.

Throughout it all, Prudence Crandall persisted because she knew she was right.

An extraordinary true story of a courageous woman and her equally courageous students, this important selection is rich on many levels.

n Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached by e-mail at,


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