Thursday, January 26, 2017

Broccoli Bilingual Kids Book Series

Looking to introduce children to a new language?  These bilingual books are perfect for Multicultural Children's Book Day or any day!

Little Frog Doesn’t Listen / Two Brothers  from

This softcover bilingual flip book has English on one page and Chinese on the facing page.  One side of the book tells the story of a busy little frog who doesn’t listen to his mother.  When the mother asks for a broom, baby frog brings a mop.  Mrs. Frog tries sending baby frog on an errand to a neighbor’s house to collect plates, but baby frog forgets and plays at the park.  Mrs. Frog loses her energy and gets very sick.  Eventually, baby frog gets hungry, but his mother cannot feed him she is so sick.  One day she dies and baby frog is remorseful for his poor behavior, and ends up burying his mother by the pond as she asked.  Little does he know that on her death bed she didn’t expect the troublemaker to follow her directions, so she told him the opposite of what she hoped which was to be buried on the mountain.  The mother’s grave washes away, and the son cries to realize that she told him to do the opposite of what she wished.  Dramatic artwork shows Mrs. Frog and the baby frog crying and sad eyed on many of the pages.  Children may learn a lesson from the book, though it is more serious in tone than many children will appreciate.  Families looking for a simple book to practice language learning may find the book more engaging than monolingual readers.  

On the flip side of the same book is the story of Two Brothers.  This side of the book is also English and Chinese on the facing pages from each other.  The story tells of two brothers, one poor and kind and the other well off and mean.  (This reads more like a traditional folktale than the flip side frog story.)  The poor brother and his family maintain their kind ways despite hardships, and one day the man helps a broken-winged bird heal.  When it flies away and returns, the bird has a seed in its beak for brother Heungbu.  Henungbu’s wife plants the seed and a vine of gourds is produced, and each gourd is filled with riches.  The other brother, Nolbu, sees this and is drawn into a jealous plot.  He too decides to help an injured bird, but Nolbu injures the bird himself before trying to heal it.  Animated and exaggerated illustrations support the text and will draw readers’ attention.  The mean brother does indeed get a seed from his bird, but it doesn’t produce as he hopes and as his brother’s seed did.  

This same book is available in and identical English and Spanish bilingual version.  An online app is available with one story in six languages entitled Magical Millstone.  The app offers the story in English, Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and French.  Readers can enjoy the story read aloud for them or text-only.    For more info go to

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I want to find the perfect books to inspire my students to respect and value diversity.  I also want to offer them books that they can identify with and in which they see their own values and cultures reflected.  It's a tall order sometimes to find these books, because mainstream publishers have not found these types of books and printed and promoted them enough.  Not to worry!  Now we have Multicultural Children's Book Day, and many small presses with eyes toward diversity.  One of these publishers, East West Discovery Press has a number of outstanding and award winning books to add to my library.  I bet you will find some you want to share!

I'm always looking for books on the water cycle, since my third graders study it as part of their curriculum.  I recently read It Starts With a Raindrop/Comienza con una Gota de Lluvia  by Michael Smith.

Short, rhyming text flows on each page in a lazy “S” curve describing the water cycle.  Readers are transported through the art and text to a forest, a house, creek, stream, river, and on to the sea.  Muted colors keep the focus on the natural world as two children go about their day playing in a lake, splashing in puddles, and using some test tubes and flasks for some science observations at home.  The book has two illustrators, Angela Alvarenga and Jonathan E. Goley (deceased before the book was published according to the short bio).  There might be an interesting back story about the art collaboration.  The pages of the book are a heavy gauge paper giving some heft and durability that typical picture books don’t have.  The book ends with a double page spread depicting arrows and labels within a landscape showing points for the processes of the water cycle -- evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration, evaporation and infiltration.  A glossary on that same page clarifies all terms.  A final spread gives a short narrative recap of the water cycle and the facing page repeats the contributors’ biographies from the dust jacket.  

I can't wait to share this book with my students!  Though I don't speak Spanish, I plan to have one of my Spanish speaking students read with me.  It will be so much fun to hear their language and try to learn some of the phrases from the book in Spanish.  


Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 bites...the dust...

I want to make a couple of plugs for my books read and reviewed this year.  Visit my goodreads profile at: or see a snapshot of cover art and data visualization here:

I also review for Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Media, and you can read my reviews and others at:  They tweet @pscbooktweets, and I am helping to moderate their feed so please follow us!

In 2017 I hope to read more diverse books and books about school gardens.  I also hope to start a youtube channel of book talks in 2017 -- stay tuned!  I'm currently reading Speaking Peace By Rosenberg, Marshall B.  Actually, I'm listening to it in a recorded book format, and I highly recommend it.  It gives a framework for us to think about our own "self talk" as well as communication with others.  The goal is nonviolent communication and learning to take an empathetic view of EVERYONE and their needs when communicating.  The key to changing behaviors of others and ourselves is to show ways to meet needs more efficiently.

You can find the school library twitter feed where I work @sunsetlibrary and my personal twitter feed @karenkline

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Welcome to my blog!

I'm a big fan of Mr. Schu and his blog.  I also love books, and you can read my fan responses to children's (and occasionally adult) lit here.  I also pontificate on all things educational including toxic testing, charter school monkeys, and legislators who should read more books by Diane Ravitch.

Today I'm wishing I were at ALA Midwinter in Chicago!