WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Beast Rider

Beast Rider cover is yellow with an orange zigzagging train with a rider on top.The clear voice of Manuel narrates his powerful story of how, as a 12-year-old, he left his family in Oaxaca, Mexico to join his older brother, Toño. In Beast Rider by Tony Johnston and Maria Elena Fontanot de Rhoads, Toño has gone North to Los Angeles on the freight trains know as the Beast. “The Beast is a network of freight trains that move from southern Mexico to the U.S. border. La Bestia is a deadly way to travel. Getting on and staying on are hard in themselves. Sometimes a rider goes to sleep and falls from the train, to be maimed or killed. … Gangs swarm the tops of train cars looking for victims” (from the Authors’ Note). Continue reading

My Take Your Take Banner

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

My Take Your Take Banner

MTYT: Planting Stories

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

As we continue to celebrate artists of the visual and written word who inspire us and sustain us, this week we focus on the book Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. This work also reminds 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.

My Take Header for Planting Stories shows bigliographic information also available at end of this post. Continue reading

My Take Your Take Banner

MTYT: Infinite Hope

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

This month we celebrate 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. This week, we provide our takes on a book by Ashley Bryan.

My Take/Your Take Infinite Hope banner includes bibliographic information also available at the end of this post. Continue reading

My Take Your Take Banner

MTYT: On Wings of Words

MTYT header decorativeBy Marilyn Carpenter, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA, and Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

This month we celebrate 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 selected three biographies and one autobiography that contain both the written and the visual, allowing for the richness picturebooks and illustrated pieces present to readers. We start with a new picturebook about Emily Dickinson, a comforting global presence, and move on to discuss a book by Ashley Bryant and biographies of Pura Belpré and Gyo Fujikawa in the following weeks. What lives these artists/authors/storytellers lived! What legacies they have given the world, and what joy it was to read these works that celebrate their lives.

MTYT Header with Wings Of Words bilbiographic information that is also listed at the end of this post. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: Cinderella Liberator

Cover of Cinderella Liberator which depicts the silhouette of a woman with a cake in hand, jumping, and a mouse at her feet on a pale blue background.Many years ago when I was reviewing children’s books for the Los Angeles Times, I was approached by a producer who wanted to do a series for PBS centered on Cinderella stories. The series never materialized but in the process of investigating the proposal, I discovered many different Cinderella stories from all over the world. Since then, I have eagerly read any new book that centers on that traditional story. This new title by Rebecca Solnit presents a much-needed lively and thoughtfully updated version of the familiar fairy tale. Continue reading

WOW Recommends: Book of the Month

WOW Recommends: B is for Baby

B is for Baby CoverB is for Baby is delectable story begins on the title page where an adorable baby is being cuddled by her mama. The background shows an African village and a boy rocking to music on his headphones. He turns out to be baby’s brother. The adventure starts as baby plays with her toes on the first page with the simple accompanying text – “B is for Baby.” Each page highlights another B word with an accompanying illustration as Baby’s journey takes off. “B is for Basket,” and when baby opens the basket inside are bananas – “B is for Banana.” When baby reaches for a Banana she falls into the basket and the text reads, “B is for Breakfast,” as she peels the banana. Her be-bopping brother comes along, jiving to the music on his headphones, “B is for Brother.” He does not notice Baby in the basket of bananas, which he loads on his bicycle to take to their grandpa. Then “B is for going to see Baba.” Everything along the way that starts with B is highlighted – “Bumpy, Baobab, Big, Butterfly, Bird, Beautiful, Baboon, Bus, Bridge, Bougainvillea, Bungalow,” and at the end of the journey, Baba is surprised and delighted to find baby in the basket of bananas on the back of the bicycle. After a treat of biscuits and a bottled drink, the two siblings return home to Mama’s loving arms. A double-page spread shows in small pictures all the sights along way from the return home. Finally, Mama cuddles her baby again and the text ends with “B is for Baby.” Continue reading

My Take Your Take Banner
My Take Your Take Banner

MTYT: The Day You Begin

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati and Marilyn Carpenter, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University

In the third MYTYT of April, Holly and Marilyn reflect on kindness through the lens of different picturebooks. This week, they read award-winning Jacqueline Woodson’s newest picturebook, The Day You Begin, which was illustrated by Rafael López. They also consider the order of this month’s text set and how to present these stories to a class.

The Day You Begin Continue reading

My Take Your Take Banner

MTYT: The Day War Came

By Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati and Marilyn Carpenter, Professor Emeritus, Eastern Washington University

In April’s MTYT, Holly and Marilyn chose the theme: kindness is always an alternative and perhaps the only realistic alternative for survival. This week, they look at The Day War Came to consider the tragedy of war, displacement and how to present these realities in a classroom.

The Day War Came Continue reading