“Rise of the House of Culligan”

  • By Adam G. Goldman
  • Illustrated by Tami Boyce
  • Best for ages 7 – 11

A book that touches on the importance of our elderly and the history they can share with our youth, combined with a strong anti-bullying message, sounds like a great idea. Goldman’s first children’s book offers a valiant attempt to bring these two important subjects together. The story is endearing and believable. Charleston, South Carolina, illustrator Tami Boyce engages readers with a deft use of color and charm. The warm images are enough to encourage you to continue turning the pages. While the message is important, it may be lost on some readers. The text is wordy, making it a difficult read-aloud book for any story time. Caught between a picture book and an early reader chapter book, the text gets dragged down by awkward phrasing.

This book, however, offers important messages about bullying and the place our elderly have in society. It will also be an introduction for many to the Stand for the Silent organization.

What’s good: A great anti-bullying message and charming illustrations

What’s bad:The text is far too long and contains some awkward phrasing.

“Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille”

  • By Jen Bryant
  • Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
  • Best for ages 5 – 10

Name the greatest inventions in history. The Gutenberg press, the computer and the phone would all likely be on the list. All of these deal with communications. Braille should probably be on the list as well. But more fascinating than the Braille alphabet is the story behind it.

Bryant’s second book about Louis Braille follows the same basic telling of his middle-grade biography. In this case, the action and relevant plot points are condensed and Kulikov’s illustrations help us to see the transformation and longing in Braille’s life.

“Six Dots” is an excellent addition to classroom shelves and a wonderful read aloud when students need to learn a lesson on determination and overcoming obstacles.

What’s good: The questions and answers in the end notes are perfect for classroom study.

What’s bad:There is no actual Braille on the pages of the book.

“Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy”

  • By Richard Michelson
  • Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
  • Best for ages 6 – 11

What happens when a young boy follows his dreams? In this warm telling of the late Leonard Nimoy’s life, we see that you can accomplish your dreams.

Although his parents didn’t understand his fascination with it, Nimoy always wanted to be an actor. When his opportunity came, he went to Hollywood, taking acting lessons and making the most of every role that came his way. In the meantime, he made ends meet with odd jobs. He was driving a taxi when Congressman John F. Kennedy told Nimoy to never give up. And he didn’t. Thirteen years later, Nimoy was offered the role of a starship science officer on a science-fiction television show. Generations have since come to know Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.

As the title suggests, this is a fascinating tale. Young readers may become a little bored with the slow pacing and parents may want to hear more about the “Star Trek” years. But his story is as Nimoy’s family has described the man — thoughtful and gentle.

What’s good: An excellent addition for every Trekkie’s book shelf.

What’s bad: The slow pacing could lose some younger readers.

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