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Journeys: Shared and Forced

by Seemi Aziz-Raina, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Sejal, her mother, and grandmother hold hands.As summer looms many of us think about travel, whether for pleasure or for work, and suddenly the long hot summer seems approachable and accessible. While travel can be exciting and relaxing, journeys and travel don’t always bode well for many. The world that we live in is changing at a very rapid pace due to global discord and accessibility, where news and world events impact us all. This month I look at journeys that are shared and/or forced within recent picturebooks. To do this, the focus will be on the following powerful exemplars while I share other intertextual examples that reinforce the same thematic threads. Continue reading

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MTYT: Story Boat

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH and Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ

Picking up from our discussion of Other Words for Home last week, we will be discussing another book that questions the concept of home. This week’s read, Story Boat by Kyo Maclear and Rashin Kheiriyeh, is sure to take us on a memorable journey.

bibliographic information for story boat located at bottom of post Continue reading

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MTYT: It Began with a Page

By Marilyn Carpenter, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA, and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

We’ve reached the end of our posts celebrating artists of both the visual and written word who inspire us and sustain us. Their works remind us of the beauty of the earth, the celebration of life itself and perhaps, most importantly, the possibilities we all contain to sustain each other through times of challenge. We started with a new picturebook about Emily Dickinson, moved on to discuss a book by Ashley Bryant and then a biography of Pura Belpré. This week we consider Gyo Fujikawa in It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way.

My Take header for It Began with a Page lists bibliographic information that is available at end of post. Continue reading

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Literary Insights to Social, Traditional and Cultural Aspects of Music

by Janelle Mathis, University of North Texas

Music is often a focus in literature as readers learn about this communicative art form. It is also a way of contextualizing a character, an event or a culture–revealing a diversity of insights into the daily lives and cultures of the people within the stories told. The books shared here, all published in 2019, represent just a few of the ways music exists in our lives. Three of the books are picturebooks sharing family joy that is supported and expressed through music.

Freedom Soup cover shows a Haitian grandmother in a head scarf dancing in kitchen with child in braids.Freedom Soup by Tami Charles and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara is a Haitian story told around the Haitian new year custom of making and eating Freedom Soup, a tradition reflecting the Haitian Revolution. As Ti Gran teaches Belle how to make Freedom Soup, readers experience the process as well as the music that enlivens the experience. The kompa not only provides music as they dance around the kitchen, but most importantly, it provides background for Ti Gran as she tells the story of the Haitian Revolution. Both text and illustration afford readers the jubilant feel of the music. Continue reading

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MTYT: Virginia Wolf

We continue our conversation about the portrayal of emotional and behavioral disabilities in picturebooks, specifically characters who wrestle with childhood depression, anxiety, and outbursts. Last week, we looked at The Red Tree. This week, we offer our take on Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault.

MTYT Virginia Wolf Continue reading