Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

More Randomness

on December 23, 2012

The children from Sandy Hook Elementary will begin classes again soon. Their new school is a former middle school in nearby Monroe. The efforts for the survivors continue to be creative. It’s not too late to do something.

Did you notice Ann Curry stole my random acts of kindness? Just kidding, but I did mention it before she did.

One campaign, organized by the Connecticut PTSA (Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514), has children from across the country making paper snowflakes to hang in the new school to welcome the children.

Another campaign, partially spearheaded by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), is gathering age-appropriate books for the library. No word yet who will be coordinating this effort, but local chapters are gathering books as we speak.

Back to the business of books. Here are a couple of books I read recently.


Hoop GeniusHoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball

By John CoyFour stars

Illustrations by Joe Morse

When John Coy set out to tell the story of basketball, he may not have realized what a fascinating and totally relatable story it is. Apparently, James Naismith was unexpectedly thrown into a 1891 gym class with some very unruly students. Two of his predecessors had quit in frustration. It was only through desperation and quick thinking that Naismith was able to avoid injury to himself and the students and provide the students with some direction. He tried indoor football, soccer, and lacrosse before adapting a child’s game, Duck on a Rock. He used a soccer ball and peach baskets to get the game going. With penalties ejecting them from the game, the boys were so determined to keep playing that they soon adjusted to the rules. Basketball became popular very quickly. Morse’s illustrations realistically depict the atmosphere of Massachusetts in the 1890s and of rowdy boys trying to get the upper hand.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska

Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group, March 2013 release

Picture Book, History.

E-book, 44 pages

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6617-1


Tillie PierceTillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of GettysburgFour stars

By Tanya Anderson

When writing of war, it’s so very easy to forget that war involves people – not only soldiers but also people who live in the vicinity of the battle. Anderson reminds the reader about the residents during the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. The author manages to get in a lot of information without making the narrative dry. She begins with a long history of the town and of Tillie’s family and their neighbors. She also gives a good background of the war and its causes. Tillie’s own account exists, so we’re able to follow her from the time she first heard the shooting. Each time she and her companions tried to get away from the fighting, things got worse. Once they survived the battle, they had to deal with the wounded, dying, and dead and the destruction of property. Details of the destruction help make this palatable. For example, a lamb from a broken headstone had landed on top of a broken gun carriage. The entire town was devastated. The “Taking Tillie’s Path” section is a fun internet exercise.  The photographs accompanying the text are well thought out and instructional.

Reviewed by Sue Poduska

Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner Publishing Group, April 2013 release

Chapter Book, History.

E-book, 100 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0692-6


One response to “More Randomness

  1. ediehemingway says:

    Sue, my friend, John Coy, will be very happy to see this review of his latest book, and I look forward to reading about Tillie Pierce. Let’s keep those random acts of kindness coming through the holiday and beyond…

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