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
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.
To wrap up October’s My Take/Your Take, we discuss The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy. In a town where silence is law, a rowdy rooster enters the scene and demands to be heard. We will discuss how this playful picturebook illustrates individuality, voice and opposition in relation to the other stories we’ve explored this month.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a story that focuses on the relationship between Quinn, a white boy, and Rashad, an African American boy who is violently beaten by a white police officer. This week, we discuss the racial issues of this book and how they relate to society today. We will also discuss how bullying in this book compares to what we observed in The Hate U Give and Wolf Hollow.
This week, we look at Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk, a story focused on bullying and friendships in a rural Pennsylvania town in 1943. We will also compare and contrast this book with last week’s book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Both books contain elements of bullying, abuses of power, and the choice to do what is right. However, these books also have a number of differences worth discussing.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a powerful young adult novel that centers on the death of Khalil, an African American teenager who is shot by police after a traffic stop. Starr Carter, a witness to the shooting, frames the story as she watches the chaos and controversy erupt from Khalil’s death. Starr is caught in the middle of a conflict: she must either speak out about what she saw, or let the rumors speak for themselves. It’s a book full of controversy, tension, community and heart that takes a long look at relevant issues and movements, including the Black Lives Matter movement.
Book of the Month, August 2017
The Rooster Who would Not be Quiet! by Carmen Agra Deedy with illustrations by Eugene Yelchin
This allegoric tale demonstrates the power of resistance when a rooster challenges a unjust law. Even when the mayor chops down the rooster’s favorite tree, imprisons him, separates him from his family, and puts him in the dark, the rooster will not obey. The lively illustrations and text combine to demonstrate how injustice can be overcome. Don’t miss the essential Afterward. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
Book of the Month, June 2017
Dive! World War II Stories of Sailors and Submarines in The Pacific by Deborah Hopkinson
These engrossing, fascinating stories focus on particular sailors, skippers and submarines that operated in the Pacific for some years as practically the only part of our navy that survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Special sections such as Dispatch, Briefings, Submarine School (operating the head should be a hit), Skippers Recommendations, Timelines, Maps, and Photographs deepen the telling of the stories and add historical facts without being didactic. The After section is superb with more fascinating information. The whole book is a page turner. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
Book of the Month, April 2017
Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Comport
Ada lives next to a landfill where people comb the trash looking for items to sell for recycling. There is little hope or stimulation in her life until a teacher offers music lessons. Inspiration flows from this true story of how children in a orchestra with instruments made from the trash becomes a international sensation. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter
Book of the Month, March 2017
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson
Sachiko, was 6 years old when the bomb was dropped on her city. This book tells how she survived when her four siblings did not. The story is heart rendering and is based on five interviews the author did with Sachiko. Maps, photographs, sidebars about the period give more information. Sachiko is a finalist for the National Book Award. -Recommended by Marilyn Carpenter