Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pennies for Elephants by Lita Judge

I've been a fan of Lita Judge's since reading her book One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II, the beautiful story of how a community in the U.S. came together to send care packages to post-WWII German citizens. See my review here.

I was naturally excited to receive a copy of her latest book, Pennies for Elephants, and I wasn't disappointed.

This book, based on a true story, tells the story of two siblings, Dorothy and Henry--just two of the many children who helped raise $6,000 so the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston could buy three retired circus elephants in 1914. The kids had two months to raise the money before the circus extended the offer to other zoos in the nation. In today's standards, that would be nearly $130,000.

The lush illustrations take you right back to this time period, and newspaper clippings sprinkled throughout detail the progress the kids are making and build a sense of urgency as the deadline grows near. It will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end, where kids will be likely to clap and cheer.

But the best thing about this book is its inspiring message. Kids from a city that was ethnically and racially divided joined together for a common cause. They gave every cent they had and organized fund-raising events, and without everyone's participation, they would have never achieved their goal.

Lita Judge is an extremely talented artist and storyteller, and Pennies for Elephants is a true gift to children's literature.

Download activities, get a timeline, look at old photographs and more at the author's site for Pennies for Elephants.

ISBN: 978-1423113904 | Hyperion Books for Children | June 9, 2009 |
Source: Copy from author

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