The world we live in today is not the same it was years ago. Our current world can be tough for anyone to live in, especially for children. Unfortunately, children see many negative things in the world, including rudeness, anger, and prejudice through a variety of sources. The series Learning Core Values is important for all, especially children, to help offset the negative behaviors seen. The reviewer read the titles Forgiveness and Honesty. Forgiveness is when a person who has been hurt makes the choice to stop being angry at another person and accept the mistakes that have been made. Using real life examples, Forgiveness uses examples at home and school where a person may feel hurt or upset and how we can use forgiveness to move forward. This book also describes how forgiveness may be difficult for all. Honesty simply means telling the truth. Being honest may not be easy, but it is the right thing to do. As with Forgiveness, Honesty uses real life examples at home and school about how we can be honest with others and yourself.
THOUGHTS: I found this series to be one that young readers may be able to relate to. Utilizing a variety of real world examples showcases the character trait in a way that many can connect to. Real photographs, easy-to-read text, and additional information in the back matter makes this series a must have!
Lang, Suzanne. Grumpy Monkey: Who Threw That? Random House Studio. 2022. 978-0-593-30605-5. $9.99. Grades K-3.
Grumpy Monkey just wants to share a magic trick with his friends, but that Oxpecker just annoys him! When a banana peel gets thrown at Oxpecker, naturally everyone thinks it is Grumpy Monkey. Grumpy Monkey promises it wasn’t him, but all of the animals banish him from the jungle to live in the desert. Will we ever know who really threw the banana peel at Oxpecker? How will Grumpy Monkey survive in the desert? Read this early-level graphic novel to find out!
THOUGHTS: This book is absolutely hilarious! Although the story does contain a great life lesson on coping with emotions, it is filled with humorous jokes, funny words like “fart,” and even parental advice on children and cooking!
Patterson, James. Ali Cross Like Father, Like Son. Little, Brown, 2021. 978-0-316-50013-5. 294 p. $16.99. Grades 5-8.
Ali Cross, son of Patterson’s famous literary detective, Alex Cross, is back in the second book of the series. Ali loves his father’s work, and when his friends are in trouble, he jumps into the situation, determined to use his own talents to solve the problem. Ali and his best friends are at a local D.C. music festival, waiting to see their friend Zoe’s mom perform, when gunshots ring out. Ali races to see if Zoe is OK. He eventually finds her in the backstage maze of semi trucks, RVs and trailers, only to realize she has been shot. Ali rallies his investigative team to discover what happened, but they run into a roadblock in Zoe, who seems determined to keep Ali from finding out the truth. Ali Cross is a delightful upper middle grade and middle school series. Ali is one of the most realistic characters in tween detective fiction. He lies to his Nana Mama and gets in trouble (then lies again). He feels guilty, he makes mistakes, and he loves his family. The plot embraces current issues such as homelessness, police violence, and the proliferation of black shooting victims, balanced with Ali’s personal experience with police work. Ali and Zoe are Black, and other friends are diverse.
THOUGHTS: A well-crafted story from a master storyteller. Patterson is the king of pacing, and the story will keep even reluctant readers engaged. Topical issues add some depth to the book. Mystery fans should enjoy the series, which will lead them to Alex Cross books when they’re older.