Crucial Storytelling

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We had been taught not to look back. We had been trained to disconnect from family and our homelands. We had swapped our stories for a dream. To survive we need to find, and then share, our interlinking stories.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

Giggle Book Award: Ninja Family

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Every family needs that special play time that just brings the whole family together as a team. For some families it’s a game like football, baseball or soccer. For the family in the Ninja! books by Arree Chung, it’s pretending to be NINJAS!

I strongly recommend reading these books together because the two stories, combined, illustrate the Ninja bond within the family illustrated.

Ninja!

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Ninja! is about Max, a young boy, playing pretend-ninja and causing trouble throughout the house. He wakes up his dad, steals his sister’s cookie and causes her to accidentally fall on her bottom (it was not intentional), which earns the little ninja some punishment time.

Oddly enough, according to the children in my life, the punishment is one of the funniest parts of the book – and it consists of nothing more than a picture of mom’s arm pointing and the little ninja leaving the kitchen, clearly downtrodden, with the words:

I have been shamed.

As mentioned in previous posts, I tend to use children’s books as an opportunity to indulge in a little reader’s theater. In this case, I point to the hand with an ‘uh-oh,’ which is usually echoed by the children because ALL children know what the silent point means. Then I read the words  “I have been shamed” in a very dramatic ‘shamed’ voice.

Giggles galore.

Then the story takes a turn for the better as the little ninja makes amends with his little sister by giving her a costume and saying:

Baby sister, let me teach you the way of the ninja.

And they are off…

Ninja! Attack of the Clan

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Attack of the Clan features Max playing pretend-ninja alone but, this time, he doesn’t want to play alone – he wants someone to play with him. He trying to entice his sister, mother and father, but each one is fully absorbed in another task.

a misunderstanding between father and son leads Max to believe his father has agreed to play hide-and-seek when his father hasn’t even heard what Max was saying. End result? Max confronts his father, realizes the error, and returns to his room with hurt feelings.

This is a scenario most children fully understand.

Then, things change.

Maxwell, time for dinner!

So, Max heads downstairs, looking for the family, and finds dinner on the table but no one around – except the dog who is lapping up the soup. BUT, what Max does not know, but the reader DOES know, is that his entire family has bot on their ninja costumes and taken hiding places all over the dining room.

Surprise Attack!

The entire family jumps out and an epic pretend-battle ensues. First Max takes down dad by poking him in the belly button and tying him up with a jump-rope.

Then he give his mom a kiss and shouts:

The Kiss of Death!

Finally, it’s little sister’s turn.

The little ninja is elusive. She is small but powerful.

Little sister hides from Max long enough to jump on his back and lick his face.

SLURP!

I’ve been licked.

I love my ninja clan!

Between the drawings and the text,the readers theater opportunities are wonderful!

Giggles, giggles and more giggle!

The best part? The family is clearly having a wonderful time playing pretend and bonding through play.

The Little Things

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“Would you mind if I took this off?” she asked. Boy 412 shook his head. That’s what mothers were for. To fiddle about with your hat.

 

Septimus Heap, Book One: Magyk by Angie Sage

 

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Questions Are A Luxury

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Grimble sighed. He was going to miss these two. He might miss their questions most of all. It felt so luxurious to be able to ask and answer questions. He had once thought the sweetest taste in the world was that of a freshly killed vole, but now he knew differently. The sweetest thing was a question on the tongue.

 

 

The Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Book One: The Capture, by Kathryn N Lasky

Giggle Book Award: Ninja Bunnies Need Friends

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The Giggle Book Award goes to Ninja Bunny by Jennifer Grey Olson!

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This is the story about a young bunny who gets a copy of How To Be A Super Awesome Ninja and proceeds to follow the first 10 rules. The results are mixed but most of them result in rather funny failures.

Finally, the little bunny finds himself facing a truly dangerous situation in the form of a large angry bear – with nothing but his book and a broom. It looks bad until all of his bunny friends show up and help him scare off the bear.

This moment of teamwork based success inspires the bunny to toss away his book and rewrite the rule list:

Ninja Bunny’s Rule #1: A super Awesome ninja needs super awesome friends.

Admiration List: Rex Hohlbein

Rex Hohlbein started allowing homeless people use his office as a place to hang out during the day. This grew into a small and semi-official drop-in-center service where people could come to get out of the weather or pick up needed supplies.

That alone is admirable. Yet, what really stood out to me was the way this project got started because Rex took the time to get to know individuals. He didn’t just set up a charity, he started building relationships with poverty survivors and the network of donations grew out of those relationships. That is truly worthy of admiration.

 

 

Mermaid Explorer

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King Neptune beamed and hugged his smallest child. “My Minnow,” he boasted to he entire kingdom, “is a daring explorer!”

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell

True Selfishness

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Image source: Wordery.com

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.  And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them.

It is not selfish to think for oneself.  A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.

A red rose is not selfish because it wants to be a red rose.  It would be horribly selfish if it wanted all the other flowers in the garden to be both red and roses.

The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde (Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wild)

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Admiration List: Regina Calcaterra

Regina Calcaterra went from surviving an abusive mother and the foster care system to a career in law and politics. Her life is detailed in the memoir Etched In Sand, which I highly recommend reading.

This woman is a tough survivor who has made the best out of the absolute worst. She is also an excellent example of the fierce loyalty children have toward siblings – and just how positive that bond can be.

Ms. Calcaterra also regularly acts as the keynote speaker at various events and I would love to have the opportunity to attend one of these speeches.