Humans are capable of much more than they first realize. In the face of great adversity, people have shown time and time again that they have the determination and courage to do whatever it takes to survive.
Reading real and fictional stories that demonstrate bravery is a great way to encourage children to dig deep and find their courage even when the odds seem insurmountable. Such is the case with the books reviewed today.
True stories include a young boy in Cleveland who in 1798 saved the lives of early settlers, and a woman who didn’t let polio get in the way of her dreams. On the fiction side, a story that shows that even a little cat is ready to do anything to try to save his person.
As always, there is power to be gained by reading good books to children. Start today and keep going. The benefits of your efforts are truly enormous.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
“The Boy Who Saved Cleveland: Based on a True Story” by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Michael Dooling, Henry Holt, 64 pages
Reading aloud: 5 years and up.
Do you read: 8 years and up.
In 1798, Cleveland was nothing more than three log cabins and a small cornfield in the middle of a forest. Young Seth Doan and his family lived in one of the cabins, and despite the constant work that had to be done, Seth’s favorite activity was reading.
Unfortunately, the only book the family had room for when they moved from Connecticut was the family bible, and Seth delved into the stories time and time again. But Seth had no choice but to put his reading aside when his family and the few other settlers fell ill with a form of malaria. Their very survival depended on Seth.
Based on a true story, this compelling and gripping book is full of courage and heroism.
The librarian’s choice
Library: Muhlenberg Community Library, 3612 Kutztown Road, Laureldale
Assistant Library Manager: Eileen Simms
Youth Services Coordinator: Melissa Adams
Picks this week: “Buffalo Soldiers: Heroes of the American West” by Brynn Baker; “For the Right to Learn: The Story of Malala Yousafzai” by Rebecca Langston-George; “Terrible Typhoid Mary” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Books to buy
The following books are available at preferred bookstores.
“Splash!: Ethelda Bleibtrey Makes Waves of Change” by Elisa Boxer, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, Sleeping Bear Press, 2022, 32 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Reading aloud: 6 to 10 years old.
Read it yourself: 7 to 10 years.
In Brooklyn in 1917, 15-year-old Ethelda was struck down with polio. His whole body ached, the disease exhausted him, made his limbs heavy and it was very painful to walk. Her doctor suggested that swimming might be good for her, and despite Ehelda’s doubts, she was willing to give it a try.
Much to Ehelda’s surprise, swimming made her feel light, strong, and like she was flying. Being in the water was where Ethelda found her power. But it didn’t stop there. Two years later, Ethelda removed the then-mandatory modesty socks women had to wear while swimming, encouraged legions of other women to do the same, and revolutionized women’s swimwear.
Ethelda went on to win three gold medals and set three world records in women’s swimming at the 1920 Olympics in Belgium. Eventually, Ethelda became a nurse, caring for children with polio and introducing them to the freedom that swimming brought to each of her patients.
A remarkable true story of one woman’s courage and tenacity, “Splash!: Ethelda Bleibtrey Creates Waves of Change” will inspire readers to face their own challenges and find their inner peace, strength and personal power.
“Haven: A Small Cat’s Big Adventure” by Megan Wagner Lloyd, Candlewick, 2022, 132 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Reading aloud: 8 to 12 years old.
Do you read: 8 – 12 years old.
Haven was a stray kitten in the forest until Ma Millie rescued her. Life with Ma Millie as an indoor cat was bliss – lots of good food to eat, lots of love from Ma Millie, and a safe place to sleep when Haven wanted it.
When Ma Millie became seriously ill, Haven knew it was up to her to find help. This meant that she would have to leave the safety and comfort of her home and venture into the forest and try to find her way to the city.
But there was danger at every turn, and although she teamed up with an unexpected ally, the two animals were hunted by a hungry bobcat that was determined to make it its next meal. Will they be able to outsmart the bobcat and find the help Haven needs for Ma Millie?
A gripping story about courage, loyalty, love, loss, and learning a new beginning, “Haven: A Little Kitty’s Big Adventure” is a wonderful read.
Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be contacted at [email protected]