WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: A Big Mooncake for Little Star

A Big Mooncake for Little StarA Big Mooncake for Little Star, by Grace Lin, will become a classic read aloud to children for generations to come. The endpapers show Little Star and her mama making a Big Mooncake. When it is baked, Little Star’s mama lays it in the night sky to cool. Little Star’s Mama says “your Mooncake took us a long time to bake, so let’s see if you can make it last awhile. Can you remember not to touch this Big Mooncake until I tell you to?” Little Star replies, “Yes, Mama.” “But in the middle of the night, Little Star woke. She forgot what her mama had said and only remembered the Big Mooncake.” So her little feet went “Pat, pat, pat.” across the sky to take a tiny nibble of the brilliant yellow Mooncake. Over the next nights she takes nibbles out of the Mooncake until it is a narrow crescent. A two page spread shows twelve phases of the shrinking moon with Little Star taking a nibble out of each one until it is a crescent. One night Little Star’s mama goes to look for the Big Mooncake and finds it is gone. Mama asks Little Star, “You ate the Big Mooncake again, didn’t you.” “Yes, Mama,” says Little Star. “Now let’s go make another one.” On the final endpapers, the story ends as it began with Little Star and her mama making a new Mooncake to place in the sky. It is a circle story. The story started with the making of the Big Mooncake and finishes with a new cake being made. Continue reading

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MTYT: When the Rain Comes

In September’s MTYT, Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson discuss the last of four books that topped USBBY’s Outstanding International Books list. The common theme between these books is the need to escape. In When the Rain Comes, the main character needs to escape a natural disaster. This story shows how a young girl must deal with the immediate crisis and do what she can to save her own life and the livelihood her village.

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MTYT: Escape from Syria

In the second installment of September’s MTYT, Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson discuss the second of four books that topped USBBY’s Outstanding International Books list. The common theme between these books is the need to escape. In Escape from Syria, a young girl and her family desperately try to escape the Syrian civil war. This story shows how they escape and how they adapt to living in a new country as refugees.

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MTYT: Peter in Peril: Courage and Hope in WWII

In the second installment of September’s MTYT, Jean Schroeder and Holly Johnson discuss the second of four books that topped USBBY’s Outstanding International Books list. The common theme between these books is the need to escape. In Peter in Peril: Courage and Hope in WWII, the main character needs to escape persecution as a result of a world war. This story shows how young Peter is able to survive and stay hopeful against insurmountable odds.

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Forced Journeys in Children’s Literature, Part II

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

Middle Eastern regions and Muslims have been unfailingly in the media and news. Children’s literature and Young Adult literature also tap into this trend and brings forward concerns faced by these regions, presently. Turmoil within the regions has become a predominant global concern since the refugee crises has brought the impact to Western shores, impacting their economy, balance of power, and in some cases, law and order. Most earlier books were written by people outside of the regions, thus, not true insiders to the cultures, raising concerns of authenticity. Commonly held trends as well as issues in literature about Muslims is that of migration, refugees, Muslim people at the center of strife and Muslim people as violent, blood thirsty terrorists. There is an issue when these assumptions, generalization, and stereotypes are taken as truths.

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Forced Journeys in Children’s Literature, Part I

By Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona

Comic books have been popular. Black and white comic strips have been present in newspapers. Cartoon comic strips have been popular due to being funny and also due to their political and social commentary. Presently, movies take the ideas and books and project them for a larger audience thus emphasizing their impact. Graphic novels are popular and have made a recent comeback and continue this narrative discourse that is highlighted in popular films and comic books.

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