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MTYT: Islandborn

April 2019 MTYT HeaderBy Mary L. Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson, New Mexico State University

Throughout April 2019, Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson give their take on the 2019 Pura Belpré award winners and honor books (awarded to Latino/Latina writer and illustrator). In their first installment, Mary and Violet discuss Islandborn authored by Junot Díaz and illustrated by Leo Espinoza. The picturebook won the Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Award for 2019.

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MTYT: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Mary Fahrenbruck, PhD, New Mexico State University and Prisca Martens, PhD, Towson University.

This is the first installment of March’s MTYT, Mary and Prisca discuss the middle grade novel Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. Author Dusti Bowling incorporates desert scenes of Arizona and a genetic disorder within a well-rounded story of everyday life and mystery.

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MTYT: Long Way Down

This month’s My Take/Your Take discussions focus on the 2018 American Library Association (ALA) award winners. Mary Fahrenbruck and Tracy Smiles continue with a discussion of the multi-awarding winning novel, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. The novel, written in free verse poetry won the Newbery Honor Book Award, the Printz Honor Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Honor Award and numerous other awards from organizations other than ALA.

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MTYT: Crown

Continuing our look at award winning-books, this week Mary Fahrenbruck and Tracy Smiles share their take on Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, awarded a John Newbery Honor, a Caldecott honor and Corretta Scott-King Honor in 2018. The story by Derrick Barnes and illustrations by Gordon C. James presents readers with, as the Huffington Post said when naming it among 2017’s best picturebooks, “a celebration of self-esteem and a thoughtful nod to the importance of stepping into the world with a touch of swagger.”

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MTYT: All Around Us

This month’s My Take/Your Take discussions focus on the 2018 American Library Association (ALA) award winners. Mary Fahrenbruck and Tracy Smiles begin with a discussion of All Around Us, winner of the 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book. The story by Xelena Gonzalez and illustrations by Adriana M. Garcia pair perfectly to give readers a sensual literary experience.

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MTYT: Six Dots

For our last My Take/Your Take discussion of Schneider Family Award winning picture books, Mary, Christopher and Leslie share their takes on Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. “Too small. He won’t survive!” cluck visitors looking into Louis’s bassinette. Readers follow along with Louis as he grows from a small baby into a healthy, curious toddler. Tragically, Louis’s curiosity leads to an accident that eventually results in him being blind.

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MTYT: The Pirate of Kindergarten

Mary, Christopher and Leslie have chosen another picture book with a young protagonist for this weeks’ My Take/Your Take. George Ella Lyon’s The Pirate of Kindergarten tells the story of Ginny and her struggles with double vision. Avril’s illustrations help readers experience for themselves what Ginny sees when she looks out into her world–two of everything. When she tries to read the words in a book there are twice as many words. Frustrated, but determined, Ginny desperately wants to read.

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MTYT: Back to Front and Upside Down

In this week’s My Take/Your Take Mary, Christopher and Leslie share their takes on Back to Front and Upside Down by Claire Alexander. The story begins with a morning visit from the school principal, Mr. Slippers, to Stan’s kindergarten classroom. It’s Mr. Slippers birthday and he invites the class to his birthday party that afternoon. Stan’s troubles begin when he tries to write “Happy Birthday” on a card for Mr. Slippers. The letters come out muddled and Stan is afraid to ask Miss Catnip for help. After some encouraging words from his classmate, Mimi, Stan asks for help. With instructions from Miss Catnip, Stan practices and practices and practices until he can write the letters conventionally on Mr. Slipper’s card. The story closes with Stan proudly telling Mr. Slippers that “I wrote it all by myself” (Alexander, 2012, n.p.).

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