Becoming Babe Ruth written and illustrated by Matt Tavares and published by Candlewick, 2013.
Tomato-stealer, inmate, rule-breaker—not necessarily words that
immediately come to mind when we think of Babe Ruth. Indeed, Babe Ruth's
meteoric rise in baseball came from humble beginnings. In the first
part of the 20th century, Babe was indeed a troublemaker and
his parents were at their wits' ends. Although not truly an orphan, Babe
found himself in a children's home with little to look forward
too. Nevertheless, it was at Saint Mary's, this children's home, where
Babe met Brother Matthias and was introduced to his destiny: baseball.
The watercolor and pencil illustrations combined with the baseball
stats sheets had students commenting on how real and engaging the
illustrations were – truly adding to the story.
Matt Tavares has a true gift for humanizing our heroes making us love them even more. As he did in There Goes Ted Williams,
Tavares shares some less then savory truths about Babe Ruth. Children
ages eight through twelve were fascinated to learn pieces of information
about Babe that they had not been exposed to before. Children
immediately concluded that a rough start does not necessarily mean a bad
end and that one person (Brother Matthias) can make a difference in a
young person's life.
From Boston, Matt Tavares is the author and illustrator of several
books and illustrator only of several more. Tavares' books frequently
earn starred reviews in various publications including School Library Journal, Booklist, and The Horn Book.
His books have also garnered numerous awards including the Oppenheim
Gold Seal, the Orbis Pictus Award, and the Parents' Choice Gold Award.
Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears
written by Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff and illustrated by Gijsbert
van Frankenhuyzen and published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2013.
Moon bears are named for the crescent-shaped cream-colored marks on
their chests. This emotionally-charged true story describes the rescue
of these moon bears after long periods of confinement. Moon bears are
taken from the wild and caged in farms so their bile can be extracted
and used in traditional Asian medicines. Jasper is a moon bear that had
been confined for 15 years in a small metal cage and subjected to this
cruel practice. Jasper is rescued from captivity and cared for by the
Animals Asia Rescue Group. He is returned to full health and begins his
new life in the Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu, China.
In the sanctuary, Jasper befriends each new bear as it arrives and he serves as a guide and mentor. Everyone who reads Jasper's Story will
be touched by the lessons of healing, forgiveness, kindness, and
love. One class of fourth graders responded to this story by each
writing individual statements of support for the book.
Co-authors, Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff, have drawn attention to
the plight of the moon bears in China by creating this provocative and
heart-warming story. The acrylic illustrations rendered by Gijsbert van
Frankenhuyzen capture the beauty and strength of the moon bears. The
close-up images of Jasper and the other bears thoughtfully convey their
agony and then their serenity as they adjust to life in the sanctuary.