The graphic novel The Cardboard Kingdom is a cheerful story capturing children’s imagination and creativity, friendship and exploration of conflicts with families, friends and even their own identity. Chad Sell created this book in coordination with ten other writers, including Jay Fuller, David DeMeo, Katie Schenkel, Kris Moore, Manuel Betancourt, Molly Muldoon, Vid Alliger, Cloud Jacobs, Michael Cole and Barbara Perez Marquez. Continue reading
Japanese author and illustrator, Taro Gomi, first published I Really Want to See You, Grandma in Japan in 1979. Finally, it has been published for the first time in English so preschool children can enjoy the simple story and the humorous illustrations. The beginning words and illustration set up the story: “Yumi’s house is on a hill. It has a pink roof. Grandma’s house is on a mountain. It has an orange roof.” Continue reading
In Drawn Together, written by Min Lê with illustrations by Dan Santat, a young boy is dropped off to visit his grandpa. The boy looks reluctant. The Grandpa greets him with joy. The Grandpa speaks Thai, the boy, English. The Grandpa prepares an Asian dish for himself and a hot dog for his grandson. They try to communicate but are unable to cross their language divide. That awkward silence is broken when the boy brings out his drawing pen and his markers. The Grandpa is inspired to bring out his own art supplies, a sketch book, ink and pen. Together they create a new story. The boy says, “Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. And in a FLASH–we see each other for the first time. All the things we could never say come pouring out.” Through their collaboration in drawing scenes together they build “a new world that even words can’t describe.” Continue reading
A 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
The sparkling picture book, Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow with illustrations by Ebony Glenn, is a delightful, warm story about an African-American, Muslim family. The girl who tells the story celebrates her love for her mother and the khimar that her mother wears. On the first page she tells us, “A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head.” The girl loves to play dress-up or pretend games wearing her mother’s yellow khimar. She becomes a queen with a golden train, a shooting star, a mama bird or a super hero in a cape, “dashing from room to room at the speed of light. Daddy snatches me up and I fly. Mommy can’t stop laughing when his bristly beard tickles my cheek with a kiss.” Sometimes Mom-Mom (her grandmother) visits after her Sunday service when the girl wears the khimar, Mom-Mom “sings out ‘Sweet Jesus’ and calls me Sunshine. Mom-Mom doesn’t wear a khimar. She doesn’t go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do. We are a family and we love each other just the same.” Continue reading
In this spicy picturebook biography, Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, authors Jacqueline Biggs Martin and June Jo Lee and illustrator Man One celebrate immigrants and offer a love letter to the remix of cultures through food in Los Angeles. The first lines offer a promise of the zesty text to come. “Chef Roy Choi can chop an onion in an instant, carve a mouse out of a mushroom. He’s cooked in fancy restaurants, for rock stars and royalty. But he’d rather cook on a truck.” Continue reading
In this week’s MTYT, Holly and Marilyn discuss how different books with similar themes connect to one another in meaningful ways. When these connections are recognized, separate pieces of literature are able to be looked at together. This creates the opportunity for younger readers to further educate themselves on the different cultures within these books.
This week we discuss Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai as one of the books that present situations of pain and bravery. Each book we looked at this month offers surprises and controversy. Each is thought-provoking. As we said when we recommended Escape from Aleppo as our book of the month, the novel seems right out of the headlines.
As Marilyn and Holly share their thoughts on books that present situations of pain and bravery as young people learn to negotiate the difficulties of life, they consider The Book of Dust, Volume I, La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. Like the books discussed previously, this book offers surprises and a bit of controversy. It is worthy of reading time, but waiting for the next book may be tough.
Continuing our discussion about books that present situations of pain and bravery as young people learn to negotiate the difficulties of life, Holly and Marilyn consider The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. Like Bronze and Sunflower, which we discussed last week, this book offers surprises and a bit of controversy. It is thought-provoking and worthy of our reading time.