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Masha and the Bear: A Tale from Russia
(Stories from Around the World #5)
Retold by Lari Don, illustrated by Melanie Williamson

Masha’s talent is baking tasty pies and cakes. One day while out picking berries, she gets lost in the woods. When a bear comes along and asks Masha if she wants to go home, she says “Yes!” The bear leads Masha to his home, not hers! The story is all about how Masha comes up with a clever plan to trick the bear and get back to her home and family. Masha and the Bear is part of a series, Stories from Around the World. Each book in the series tells a story from a different country. The stories feature short chapters, two main characters, and colorful pictures throughout. The target audience is middle grade students, but the books could be read aloud to younger children as well. What a great way to be introduced to other lands and their folktales!


Megan Megan

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Brightly Woven: the Graphic Novel
Alexandra Bracken

This book about a girl named Sydelle helping a wizard from the Wizard Guard named Wayland, also known as North, deliver a message and stop a war. When first reading the book, I was not a big fan. It starts off with Sydelle in a desert with her friend trying to mess with Sydelle’s brothers, then shifts to a storm hitting. At this point, her friend and the brothers leave for safety and Sydelle runs into Wayland. I was confused because it felt like the story was jumping from one thing to the next, but as I kept reading the plot became clearer. By page 33 the story got better and better with each page, and as I continued reading, the beginning of the story started to make sense. I would recommend this book for anyone over the age of 13. I would give the book an overall rating of a 7/10.


Sally Sally

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I Can Make This Promise

Christine Day

This middle grade novel is set in Seattle. Edie was used to being asked questions about her background because her mother was Native American. However, her mother was adopted and Edie didn’t know anything about her heritage. One day, while Edie and two friends were up in the attic, they found a box containing photos of a woman who looked just like Edie, and letters which were signed “Love, Edith.” Edie is consumed with curiousity, but isn’t sure how to discover more about her mother’s biological family. The presence of the box in the attic seemed to indicate that her parents have kept secrets from her. As the story progresses, family secrets are revealed, and Edie learns about the hardships her Native American family experienced, including having a child forcibly removed from the mother and adopted by someone else. All this happens in the context of Edie’s loving family. The story is heartfelt, engaging, and entertaining, as well as introducing historical facts about the treatment of Native Americans in our culture. Debut author Christine Day is Native herself, a member of the Upper Skagit Tribe.


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