martes, 29 de marzo de 2016

A harmonica that makes more than music

A harmonica that makes more than music

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A harmonica that makes more than music
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by Pam Munoz Ryan
written for ages 11-14 | acceptable
published in 2015 | Scholastic Press | 592 pages

A shy child, Otto hopes to impress Mathilde by eluding capture in the village children's game of hide-and-seek. Settling down for a long wait in the forest, he begins to read a book he purchased earlier that day from a gypsy woman.

The story is about three daughters of a king, separated from their family and living with a mean witch. The story captivates Otto until the cold and damp of evening rouse him. Where are his friends? In a hurry to return home, the boy trips, hitting his head. When he awakens from the blow, he finds three young girls standing over him. Could they really be the three princesses from the book?

They promise to help him find his way home if he, in turn, helps them. They take turns playing his harmonica, commanding him to give it away when he finds someone in need. Otto suddenly hears the voices of villagers looking for him, and he returns home with his father, his adventure over. His harmonica, however, has only begun its journey.

Pam Munoz Ryan's fantasy/historical fiction novel spans several decades of the 20th century. Otto's enchanted harmonica visits Hitler's Germany, Philadelphia during the Great Depression and Southern California after Pearl Harbor. Each of its owners has a personal struggle to overcome: discrimination, poverty and family tragedy. The harmonica plays a special role in each of their lives.

Cliffhangers at the end of each part of the book leave the reader guessing as to whether tragedy will strike or be averted. The author manages to tie together the story of her characters in an unrealistic manner. Although the book is presented as a fantasy novel, there is little magical about the plot. It will appeal primarily to children who study music because Ryan includes detailed descriptions of several songs in each chapter.

A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother
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After Richard Nixon won 49 states out of 50 in the 1972 election, Pauline Kael, the legendary film critic for the New Yorker magazine, lamented, “I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken.”
Which is a bit the way media pundits feel about Donald Trump. If he is popular enough to win the Republican nomination, somebody must be voting for him. But who? And why? I predict that 18 months from now there will be dozens of books answering those questions. In the meantime, writing from New York, Alex Zubatov contends that the answer is that a flood of disenchanted Democrats into the Republican primaries has destabilized voting patterns.
The left has, in short, done everything in its power to demonize and alienate white people, especially those white people who are struggling the most. An epidemic of race-baiting and anti-white racism is driving white people out of the Democratic Party, which, in its effort to discern which way the wind is blowing and capture a growing minority demographic, has pandered to, embraced and egged on those trying to make everything about race.
It’s an interesting and controversial thesis. What do you think?

Michael Cook 



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Alexander Zubatov | FEATURES | 29 March 2016
Struggling white voters are defecting after being humiliated by a hostile elite culture

Gender ideology harms children

Quentin Van Meter, Paul McHugh and Michelle A. Cretella | CONJUGALITY | 29 March 2016
Conditioning children into impersonating the opposite sex is child abuse.

A harmonica that makes more than music

Jennifer Minicus | READING MATTERS | 29 March 2016
The magic of music changes the lives of several children.

“A small fact: You are going to die”

Shannon Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 28 March 2016
An ageing population may make us think more about our own deaths.

The growth of the Catholic Church

Marcus Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 25 March 2016
Is coming mostly from Africa and Asia.

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