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T is for Thor: A Norse Mythology Alphabet

Virginia Loh-Hagan (author)Torstein Nordstrand (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781534167377

Otherworldly landscapes, thundering soundtracks, epic battles between superhero gods and monsters--current movies and book series have turned Norse mythology into popular commercial entertainment in recent years. But there's a lot more to this mythic universe than trickster Loki and his hammer-wielding god of thunder brother. T is for Thor: A Norse Mythology Alphabet takes readers beyond the movie screen and into the world of Scandinavian mythology, history, culture, and religion. Author Virginia Loh-Hagan not only examines Thor, Odin, Heimdall, and the famous Valkyries, but she also explains and introduces other inhabitants of this nine-realm universe. From learning about Ymir, the first frost giant, to Yggdrasil, the world tree holding everything together, mythology and fantasy fans of all ages will enjoy this alphabetical exploration. Fantastical artwork from Norwegian artist Torstein Nordstrand brings it all to vivid life.

A Fist for Joe Louis and Me

Trinka Hakes Noble (author) Nicole Tadgell (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781534146174

Gordy and his family live in Detroit, Michigan, the heart of the United States automobile industry. Every night after coming home from work at one of the plants, Gordy's father teaches him how to box. Their hero is the famous American boxer Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit. But the Great Depression has come down hard on the economy. Detroit's auto industry is affected and thousands of people lose their jobs, including Gordy's father. When his mother takes on work with a Jewish tailor, Gordy becomes friends with Ira, the tailor's son, bonding over their shared interest in boxing and Joe Louis. As the boys' friendship grows, Gordy feels protective of Ira, wanting to help the new boy fit in. At the same time, America is gearing up for the rematch between Joe Louis and the German boxer, Max Schmeling. For many Americans this fight is about good versus evil (US against Nazi Germany). Against the backdrop of the 1938 Fight of the Century, a young boy learns what it means to make a stand for a friend.

A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet

Richard Michelson (author), Ron Mazellan (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627536356

From Abraham to Zaydee, and from ancient times to modern day, A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet encompasses the history of Jewish traditions and customs and how they are practiced today. Following the alphabet, a poem identifies the letter topic while sidebar text provides background information. C could be the challah that my bubbe used to braid, or C could be the chicken soup, when I was sick she made, or chocolate coins on Chanukah we added to our coffers. But I say C should be for Chai "To Life" and all it offers. This joyful celebration of family and heritage includes the meaning behind celebrations such as the Festival of Lights, Passover, and Sukkot; important names and stories from the Old Testament; and how modern-day families continue to celebrate their heritage.

J is for Jack-O'-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet

Denise Brennan-Nelson (author), Donald Wu (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585366019

Who lit the first jack-o'-lantern? What creature of the night must return to his grave by dawn? And why do we holler "Trick or treat"? J is for Jack-O'-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet invites you to come along on this A-Z adventure and celebration of all things that "go bump in the night." Poetry and prose combine to entertain and educate. H is for Haunted House A haunted house; you better beware. Only enter if you dare. Monsters lurking, looking mean-- Just can't wait to make you scream! Classic autumn games, jokes, and recipes (including gooey deviled egg eyeballs!) help round out the Halloween festivities.

S is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet

Cynthia Furlong Reynolds (author), Pam Carroll (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535946

The Christmas story and the origin of many holiday traditions are thoroughly detailed in the text of S is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet. The first Christmas cards were printed and sold in the United States by a German immigrant in 1874. Long ago, eating pie was believed to bring good luck, and during the holidays they were baked in an oblong shape to look like a manger. The message of Christmas is a message to all the world and is beautifully conveyed and illustrated in S is for Star. Our tradition of gift-giving is based on the Wise Men's visit to Baby Jesus. Nearly every country has its own gift-giving traditions. In Great Britain, children eagerly await Father Christmas. In France, he is called Pere Nol. In Italy, Befana brings presents, and German and Austrian children wait for a visit from the Christkindl. Celebrate these and many other traditions of the holiday season with S is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet.

The Legend of Michigan

Trinka Hakes Noble (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535977

Long, long ago, the ancient people of the forest gathered around warm fires and told the tale of a time long past, when the land known as "Michigane" was covered with ice and snow. For thousands of years the cruel North Wind ruled the land North of Up North, chasing away the gentle, benevolent winds from the East, West and South. Winter stayed the whole year round, so nothing could live in Michigane. Not until an old warrior and a young boy traveled through the frigid cold with nothing but warm hearts and an old pair of mittens was there hope that the frozen land would eventually come to life.

The Legend of Papa Noël: A Cajun Christmas Story

Terri Hoover Dunham (author), Laura Knorr (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535984

Around the world Santa Claus has many names. But in a deep, swampy bayou of Louisiana, he's known as Papa Noël. In such a hot and humid place, there can be no sleds or reindeer, so Papa Noël rides the river in a boat that's pulled by eight alligators, with a snowy white one named Nicollette in the lead. On this particular Christmas Eve, it's so foggy on the river that even Nicollette's magical glowing-green eyes may not be enough to guide Papa Noël. The alligators are tired, grumpy and bruised from banging into cypress trees, and Papa is desperate to get all the gifts to the little children. Well, "quicker than a snake shimmies down the river," the clever Cajun people come up with a solution that saves the day. A colorfully inventive Christmas tale, Papa Noël is a lesson in fast thinking, as well as a witty introduction to a part of America that's rich in folklore and legend.

P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet

Carol Crane (author), Helle Urban (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531313

"Across the Atlantic Ocean, a lone ship on a vast sea. Ablaze with new hope, all praying to be free." From the lives of our early settlers, who established the foundations for American freedoms and ideals, to today's celebrations, P is for Pilgrim colorfully examines the history and lore of Thanksgiving. Educators will find the inclusion of the Core Democratic Values of valuable use for the classroom while kids of all ages will enjoy the bright, engaging illustrations and fascinating sidebar text. "Zippy bands zigzagging down the street, zebras trotting, zeppelin-like balloons afloat. Flags flying, banners waving, a Thanksgiving Day Parade playing a happy note."

B is for Buckaroo: A Cowboy Alphabet

Gleaves Whitney, Louise Doak Whitney (authors), Susan Guy (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531320

"L is for lariat or lasso, a loop of rope coiled just so. Swing it wide or swing it low. Hook those horns and yell whoa!" Hold on to your hat and strap on your spurs! Cowpokes and buckaroos of all ages will enjoy this A-Z gallop through the facts, feats, and folks of the cowboy way of life. Even greenhorns are invited to ride this fun-filled range!

Willow

Rosemarie Brennan, Denise Brennan Nelson (author), Cyd Moore (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531641

Miss Hawthorn's room is neat and tidy, not a pencil or paintbrush is out of place. And that's how she likes it. And she likes trees that are colored green and apples that are painted red. Miss Hawthorn does not like things to be different or out of the ordinary. Into Miss Hawthorn's classroom comes young Willow. She doesn't color inside the lines, she breaks crayons, and she sees pink trees and blue apples. What will Miss Hawthorn think? Magical things can happen when your imagination is allowed to run wild, and for Miss Hawthorn the notion of what is art and what is possible is forever changed.

Finn McCool and the Great Fish

Eve Bunting (author), Zachary Pullen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365821

Finn McCool is the largest giant in all of Ireland. He's a fierce warrior, even beating the giant Culcullan and saving Ireland from the Scots. Helpful and kind, he helps the farmers bring in the hay. And everyone in the village of Drumnahoon admires him. "He's the best-hearted man that ever walked on Ireland's green grass." But for all his strength, courage, and goodness, there's one thing that Finn lacks. He's just not smart. And he knows it. When a wise man living in a nearby village tells Finn about a magical red salmon with the wisdom of the world, Finn sets out to catch the fish. And he learns a thing or two about himself in the process

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook

Gloria Whelan (author), Steve Adams (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308207

La Bonne Vache (The Good Cow) is a little restaurant in the south of France. It takes its name from and is famous for its boeuf la mode, a delicious beef stew. Ten-year-old Pierre longs to follow in the culinary footsteps of his father, Monsieur Valcourt. Monsieur Valcourt is the chef and owner of La Bonne Vache. Pierre spends as much time as possible in the restaurant's kitchen, hoping for a chance to demonstrate his cooking skills. But his parents shoo him away and he is not allowed to cook. One day Pierre meets a visitor who is on his way to eat at the restaurant. This is no ordinary visitor but an important food critic. His experience at La Bonne Vache could bring great honor to the restaurant. At last, Pierre sees his chance to prove himself.

Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari

Dana Sullivan (author), Dana Sullivan (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537650

Kay Kay lives in the village of Bungoma in the country of Kenya. One day as he is passing by the Star of Hope School, the schoolchildren call out to him. They want to show off their brand-new classroom. When Kay Kay looks at the room with its white walls, he realizes it could use a little artwork.He promises the children that he will paint pictures of animals, from A to Z. That will help the children learn their alphabet. But first he needs to think about this project. So Kay Kay walks through the beautiful Kenyan countryside, looking for inspiration for his animal artwork. As he walks about, he is warmly greeted by many creatures. From the tiny Ant to the huge Hippo to the striped Zebra, everyone wants Kay Kay to stop and visit. But he tells them he is far too busy thinking about his art project to stop. It's only when Kay Kay reaches the end of his walk that he realizes his inspirations are all around him!

Waiting for the Owl's Call

Gloria Whelan (author)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365517

Eight-year-old Zulviya, her sister and her cousin, her mother and her grandmother... they all belong to the loom. For generations the women of Zulviya's family have earned their living by weaving rugs by hand. The rugs are valuable and the women are proud of their beautiful handiwork. But the work is hard. It takes months to weave a rug; each one contains hundreds of thousands of knots. Before one work day has passed, Zulviya will tie thousands of knots. As she sits at her work, Zulviya weaves not one but two patterns. The pattern on the loom will become a fine rug. She weaves a second pattern in her mind. There she sees the green of the Afghani hills, the bright blue of the nearby lake, and the vivid orange of the setting sun. And Zulviya takes comfort in the landscape in her mind.

Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky

Sandra Dallas (author)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537728

It's 1942: Tomi Itano, 12, is a second-generation Japanese American who lives in California with her family on their strawberry farm. Although her parents came from Japan and her grandparents still live there, Tomi considers herself an American. She doesn't speak Japanese and has never been to Japan. But after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, things change. No Japs Allowed signs hang in store windows and Tomi's family is ostracized. Things get much worse. Suspected as a spy, Tomi's father is taken away. The rest of the Itano family is sent to an internment camp in Colorado. Many other Japanese American families face a similar fate. Tomi becomes bitter, wondering how her country could treat her and her family like the enemy. What does she need to do to prove she is an honorable American? Sandra Dallas shines a light on a dark period of American history in this story of a young Japanese American girl caught up in the prejudices and World War II.

The Legend of Wisconsin

Kathy-jo Wargin (author), David Geister (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535991

The great Gitchee Manitou has sent Nanabush the Giant Hare to the new north country to give the first animals their names and special markings. But trickster that he is, Nanabush prefers to play silly games. When Ahmik the Giant Beaver lures Nanabush into a chase across the newly formed land and water, their game etches out a beautiful wonderland of islands and ponds and lakes. Readers young and old will enjoy the legend behind the creation of the state whose very name Wisk-on-sin means "place of the beaver."

Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic

Leslie Kimmelman (author), Victor Juhasz (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537315

In June of 1939, the United States played host to two very special guests. British monarchs King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were coming to America. As it was the first visit ever by reigning British royalty, it was a chance for America to build a stronger relationship with the British, especially in those challenging times. On the domestic side, many people didn't have jobs, housing, or food. Internationally, Adolf Hitler, Germany's leader, was threatening the countries around him and war loomed on the horizon. But First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw the visit as an opportunity for America to set aside its cares for a while and extend a warm welcome and hand of friendship to the royal guests. As part of the festivities, Eleanor hosts an all-American picnic that includes hot dogs, a menu item that shocks some people.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers

Gloria Whelan (author), Yan Nascimbene (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531665

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Japanese provincial governors had to travel between the cities of Kyoto and Edo (modern-day Tokyo). This 300+ mile journey on the historic Tokaido Road required the presence of one to three thousand attendants (carriers). Yuki's father has been called to Edo and she, along with her mother and pet dog, must accompany him in this royal procession. Yuki does not want to go. She will miss her home and her teacher. But she must not be disrespectful so Yuki captures her thoughts in haiku, a Japanese form of poetry. Once outside the gate How will I find my way back? Will home disappear?

A Girl Named Dan

Dandi Daley Mackall (author), Rene Graef (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535809

Ten-year-old Dandi (affectionately called "Dan" by family and friends) lives and breathes baseball. She may not be a fence buster but she can "hit 'em where they ain't" in the neighborhood pick-up games. The boys know she's a contender. And there's no bigger fan of the 1961 Kansas City A's. So when Charlie Finley, the A's new owner, announces an essay contest to get batboys, there's no doubt Dandi will enter the contest. Dandi not only enters the contest--her essay wins! However, her joy is short-lived when the contest officials enforce the For Boys Only rule. Long before the boundary-breaking ruling of Title IX, young women across the country used grit and determination to prove that barriers of gender have no place on a level playing field.

Twice as Good: The Story of William Powell and Clearview

Richard Michelson (author), Eric Velasquez (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627532020

To nine-year-old Willie Powell, there was no prettier sight than the smooth grass lawns of Edgewater Golf Cource. He had been so eager to see them that he'd run seven miles to where the course was situated outside of town. But his elation didn't last. When he asked two golfers if they'd teach him the game, one man responded by saying, 'Son, didn't anyone ever tell you that your kind is not welcome here?' In the 1920's there was no place for Willie, or any black person, on a golf cource. It was a game for white people only, at least in America. But his enthusiasm for golf and his belief in what he knew to be right drove Willie Powell to change that, and to change minds.

Junk Man's Daughter

Sonia Levitin (author), Guy Porfirio (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531603

Even before they immigrate to America, Hanna and her family dream of the new life they will have there. "You will see, Hanna," Papa said. "There are streets of gold." But when they arrive, they find life very different from what they had imagined. Their apartment is small and Hanna and her brothers must sleep on a mattress on the floor. Mama spends her days knitting shawls and sweaters to sell on the streets but no one stops to buy. And Papa can find no work. Hanna looks everywhere for the gold Papa promised them but it is not to be found. What will happen to their dream of a new, better life in America? One day a seemingly insignificant find on a slushy street leads to an opportunity for a brighter future. And like many others before them, Hanna and her family realize that through small steps and hard work they can make their American dream come true.

M is for Mountie: A Royal Canadian Mounted Police Alphabet

Polly Horvath (author), Lorna Bennett (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531498

From the pageantry of the Musical Ride to the movie-good looks of the fictional Dudley Do-Right, the image of the handsome and stalwart Mountie has long been part of popular North American culture. But there's more to being a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police than wearing a red coat. It's an important career law enforcement and public service

The Orange Shoes

Trinka Hakes Noble (author), Doris Ettlinger (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531528

Delly Porter has a happy life. She needs new shoes, but doesn't really mind because she loves the soft, silky feel of the dirt road beneath her bare feet. She's a good artist, too, even if she has to make her own art supplies. And she loves her schoolteacher, Miss Violet, who lets her help in the classroom. Life only looks brighter when Miss Violet announces the school will have a Shoebox Social to help raise funds for new art materials. But when what should be a festive occasion is threatened by prejudice and cruelty, Delly finds out that one must stay true to oneself to successfully navigate life's joys and sorrows.

Yatandou

Gloria Whelan (author), Peter Sylvada (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531375

Yatandou lives in a Mali village with her family and neighbors. And though she is only eight years old and would much rather play with her pet goat, she must sit with the women and pound millet kernels. To grind enough millet for one day's food, the women must pound the kernels with their pounding sticks for three hours. It is hard work, especially when one is eight years old. But as they work, the women dream of a machine that can grind the millet and free them from their pounding sticks. But the machine will only come when the women have raised enough money to buy it. Yatandou must help raise the money, even if it means parting with something she holds dear.

The Gift Of The Inuksuk

Michael Ulmer (author), Melanie Rose (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531399

Unique and as beautiful as a snowflake or footprint, an Inuksut (inNUKshuk,) is one of the stone figures that can be seen dotting the Canadian Arctic region. Many made by ancient hands, the Inuksuit (inNUKsweet) purposes are varied, from earthly uses such as navigation and message centers to those of the spirit, as sites of reverence.