It’s Not All Black and White: Multiracial Youth Speak Out

Black, white, and everything in between . . . Through poems, interviews, and short essays, a group of young people describe being biracial, multiracial, or of mixed race. These poignant firsthand accounts reflect the unique and varied voices of the writers, whose backgrounds range from Caribbean, Vietnamese, and Latin American to Native American, Spanish, and Irish, among others. With devastating honesty, these youth tell what it’s been like to make their way in the world with their roots in many places and in many cultures. Themes include navigating mixed-race relationships, dealing with prejudice and the assumptions people make based on appearances, and working through identity confusion to arrive at a strong and positive sense of self. Includes a section with suggestions for parents and caregivers who are raising children of mixed race.

Kiwi Moon

Created by well-known children’s writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop, this is the story of a little white kiwi. When he is born his mother doesn’t recognise him because he’s not brown. Little Kiwi looks to the moon as his mother instead because it is white and bright and round. In the background of this story we see the changing times of a nearby pa. Through illustrations only we see intertribal warfare, the death of the chief, English soldiers arriving and then the burning of the pa. This fire spreads and the two stories become one as the white kiwi’s habitat is razed to the ground.On the surface this is a very simple story but it also contains themes of intertribal warfare, European colonisation of New Zealand, Maori/Pakeha relations, and conservation. There is a lot to savour on each page – with Gavin’s stunning illustrations of the main kiwi story, the on-going images of the pa, plus close-ups of insects and plants.

Irena’s Jars Of Secrets

Irena Sendler, born to a Polish Catholic family, was raised to respect people of all backgrounds and to help those in need. She became a social worker; and after the German army occupied Poland during World War II, Irena knew she had to help the sick and the starving Jews who were imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto. She began by smuggling food, clothing and medicine into the ghetto, then turned to smuggling children out of the ghetto. Using false papers and creative means of escape, and at great personal risk, Irena helped rescue Jewish children and hides them in safe surroundings. Hoping to reunite families after the war, Irena kept lists of the Children’s identities.

Motivated by conscience and armed with compassion and a belief in human dignity, Irena Sendler confronted an enormous moral challenge and proved to the world that an ordinary person can accomplish deeds of extraordinary courage.

Bloodline

Warring kingdoms, bloody feuds, and a boy’s battle for survival. Step back into the Dark Ages with this riveting epic adventure.In the wilds of Dark Age Britain, a bard abandons his son, Essa, in a village trapped between two feuding kingdoms. As the once-nomadic boy grows rooted in the life of the Wolf Folk, forging allegiances and young love, King Penda of Mercia threatens to attack, thrusting Essa into the violent and cunning world of the tribal rulers. Joined by unlikely friends, unsure of whom to trust — or even of who he is — Essa sets off on a dangerous journey, using his newfound intuitive gifts to guide them as a deadly battle brews. Will his desperate efforts to save his loved ones bring him closer to understanding why his father has never returned?

Spirit of the Maya: A Boy Explores His People’s Mysterious Past

Kin, a 12-year-old Lacando boy living in a Mexican town, is descended from the ancient Maya. Wearing contemporary clothing yet sporting the style of long hair traditional to his people, he is clearly rooted in both the past and the present. After his grandfather shows him a book about Pacal, a Maya who became king in 615 A.D. when he was 12, Kin eagerly accompanies his father to the site of Pacal’s tomb. The boy “feels a twinge of sadness” watching his father sell his handmade replicas of Maya hunting arrows to tourists “at the gates of the great city that his ancestors once ruled.” Kin explores the Maya ruins and locates Pacal’s tomb, but afterwards he feels lonely and distant from his ancestors. Then, on the ride home, he has an improbably sudden change of attitude when he spies a statue of the king. All at once Kin realizes that he and Pacal are “brothers” and, for the first time in his life, Kin “knows how it feels to be a king.”

The Remembering Stone

A surprising journey of self-discover. In early fall, the blackbirds creak like rusty wheels behind our apartment. “One day I will return like you,” my mother tells the birds. “But for now, you go. Que les vaya bien. Safe journey.” Ana doesn’t understand the pull of this faraway place until one night she puts her favorite thing, a stone spit from the volcanoes of Costa Rica, underneath her pillow. She imagines herself a blackbird flying to this country her mother longs to see again. This evocative picture book with its striking, bold art celebrates the importance of hope, dreams, and cultural roots, and will have special resonance for all thos who find themselves at the crossroads of two cultures.