By Grace Fell, Online Content Marketing Intern, Worlds of Words
The new year is almost here, and many people will set reading goals for 2018. In fact, “read more” was the second most popular resolution of 2017, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Those who find children’s literature critical to expanding global perspectives can resolve to stay current with news, trends and events by subscribing to Worlds of Words’ free new e-newsletter. Continue reading
This December WOW Recommends Bronze and Sunflower written by Cao Wenxuan and illustrated by Meilo So as our book of the month. The book won the Hans Christian Anderson award in 2016 and is translated from Chinese into English by Helen Wang. Wenxuan is a best-selling author for children in China and a philosophy professor at Peking University. Bronze and Sunflower is set during the Cultural Revolution in China. Continue reading
By Samantha Verini, The University of Arizona
“A story can tell the truth, she knew, but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.”
By Angel Stone, The University of Arizona
“It is easier not to say anything,” thinks Melinda Sordino, a high school freshman in the book Speak who feels she cannot share her story of rape. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s novel, which will soon release as a graphic novel illustrated by Emily Carroll, Melinda shows us the dangers of hiding our most difficult experiences and the importance of speaking about them openly. Melina is fictional, but the fear she faces is real and can have lasting effects. We hear her story in every corner of our world from high school to entertainment to politics. Each one of us at some point face challenges that we don’t know how to share.
By Angel Stone, Worlds of Words Intern, The University of Arizona
Politicians admit to using their status to take advantage of women. Movie directors and actors use their power to assault young people. Mental health concerns are at an all-time high for children and teens. The novels we look at this month, written by authors attending the 2018 Tucson Festival of Books, address the issues of assault, unfounded judgment and mental illness. These TFOB YA authors provide a way to initiate conversations on difficult topics between young people and those who care about them.
The colorful picturebook, All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle with illustrations by Mike Curato, is set in modern day Cuba. It focuses on a family celebration and how Cuban resourcefulness keeps American cars from the 1950s running. A boy narrates the trip his family takes from the country to Havana in their precious old car, Cara Cara, a 1954 Chevy. Before they can take off, Papa and his son have to fix the car. They try and try to fix the silly noises. “The rattling parts have ben fixed with wire, tape and mixed-up scraps of dented metal.” Finally, “Cara Cara once again begins to sound like a chattering hen!”
The illustrations depict the sights along the road to the big city. When they arrive the road is full of “noisy old cars of every color….” As the family travels through the city, they see the variations in architecture and shops along the way. When they arrive at Tia’s house, the boy greets his extended family and helps celebrate his cousin’s zero-year birthday. “After lunch, cake, music and a happy birthday fiesta” the boys needs a quiet siesta. The visit ends too soon and the family travels back to their village. The next morning the boy and Papa work on the car again and he learns the car will be his someday.
Don’t miss the author and illustrator’s notes at the end that give background information about the island and how old American cars are refurbished. The lyrical poem is filled with onomatopoeia that spark the text. The end papers picture 24 old cars kept in running condition by the ingenuous people of Cuba. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
PubDate: August 29, 2017
Each month a committee of Worlds of Words advisors recommends a book published within the last year. Our hope is to spark conversations on our website and on social media about the book that expand global understandings and perceptions. Please join us by leaving a comment. You can also share your thoughts with us by using the hashtag #WOWRecommends on social media.
By Yoo Kyung Sung, University of New Mexico and Junko Sakoi, Tucson Unified School District
This past spring, Junko visited a 6th grade classroom in Tucson, Arizona. She watched three girls having fun reading together. These readers kept reading and shared their thoughts from their reading any time and anywhere they could, like in the classroom or at recess. Holding their attention–Japanese comic books called manga. It didn’t take long for those manga fans to ask Junko any number of questions about Japan. Their knowledge was based on the popular Japanese manga they had read, so it was thoughtful. The 6th-grade manga fans were not shy about showing off that they read manga alongside other novels. The fact that they read manga whenever possible makes them similar to “book nerds,” except people wouldn’t call manga fans “nerds” because manga is meant for pleasure and fun. It is not traditionally considered as literature with a high literary value.
For this final week we wrap up talking about continuation through adaptability and change in children’s literature. In the last few weeks, we talked about The Tree in the Courtyard, My Grandfather’s Coat, and Seven and a Half Tons of Steel. Here, Dorea Kleker and Seemi Aziz discuss how all three books tie into continuation in children’s literature.
This brief but powerful non-fiction text projects the journey of continuation onto a steel beam from the World Trade Center. The beam lives on, becoming an integral and enduring part of the warship USS New York in the aftermath of September 11. The Governor of New York donates the steel beam and it is driven to a Louisiana foundry where the USS New York is being constructed, and the beam becomes its bow. Ten years after 9/11, it makes its way back to New York on September 11, 2011.
Written by Jim Aylesworth and illustrated by Barbara McClintock, My Grandfather’s Coat is an adaptation of a Yiddish folk song that weaves a tale of immigration and continuation in a new land. This retelling is full of joy, with a rhythm and rhyme that excites readers young and old. The story follows a single coat as it transforms and changes shape over the years, becoming something brand new. The song is also present in Simms Taback’s Joseph Had a Little Overcoat (Viking, 1999) and Phoebe Gilman’s Something from Nothing (Scholastic, 1992) and is reimagined once more in this charming picture book.