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MTYT: The Day Saida Arrived

Janine Schall, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX, and Jeanne Fain, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN

This month in My Take/Your Take, Janine Schall and Jeanne Fain focus their discussions on the book The Day Saida Arrived by Susana Gómez Redondo and Sonja Wimmer, translated from the original Spanish by Lawrence Schimel. Along the way we’ll mention related books. In this first installment, Janine and Jeanne talk about the use of Arabic within the text.

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MTYT: Never Look Back

Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

In the fourth and final MTYT installment for April 2021, Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson provide their take on Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera. The Young Adult novel was the winner of the Pura Belpré Award.

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MTYT: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance

Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

In the third MTYT installment for April 2021, Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson provide their take on Lupe Wong Won’t Dance written by Donna Barba Higuera. The middle school novel was the 2021 Pura Belpré Award Winner.

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MTYT: Efrén Divided

Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

In the second MTYT installment for April 2021, Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson provide their take on Efrén Divided written by Ernesto Cisneros. The middle school novel was the 2021 winner of the Pura Belpré Award.

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MTYT: We Are Not From Here

Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

During the month of April, Mary Fahrenbruck and Violet Henderson give their take on the 2021 Pura Belpré award winners and honor books. Readers will recall that the award is named after the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré award “is presented annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth” (ALSC, 2021).

In the first installment, Mary and Violet discuss We Are Not From Here written by Jenny Torres Sanchez. The Young Adult novel was a Pura Belpré honor book.

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MTYT: Charlotte and the Quiet Place

by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and Melissa Wilson, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

Rounding off the first month of 2021, we discuss Charlotte and the Quiet Place and take one last look at how mindfulness may help us during this stressful times.

The texts discussed this month may offer readers (and listeners) some peace during these most turbulent times. They are books that thematically deal with the concept of mindfulness through a narrative. There are many new books being marketed for children that are guides to mindfulness practices. A quick browse on Amazon yields pages of “activity books” that offer to help children process feelings, step-by-step manuals for doing meditation with children, and even books to help teach children “growth mindsets”.

Sometimes the best way to deal with a difficult present and an uncertain future is to lose yourself in someone else’s story. Through reading, or being read to, you can experience different ways of living on a deep level. These experiences can give much succor and “practice runs” at figuring out how to live a life well.

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MTYT: After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again

by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, and Melissa Wilson,Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK

Happy New (Gregorian) Year! To welcome in 2021, we, Seemi and Melissa, are going to explore the concept of mindfulness through critical readings of powerful children’s picture books. We have come to understand that visual and written narratives work simultaneously to add to the understanding and comprehension of children and adults in the present, increasingly visual, world. As the worldwide pandemic of Coronavirus rages on, we all need resources to cope with constant disruptions and uncertainty. Mindfulness is a resource that may benefit both adults and children and one that can be explored through picture books.

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally… it’s about knowing what is on your mind.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

The above quote nicely defines mindfulness for our purposes. Rooted in ancient religious practices, mindfulness came to the United States in the 1970s as a secular way to help people through the work of Kabat-Zinn. In the ensuing half century, the concept has become part of western culture.

Throughout this month we will discuss specific picture books to explore mindfulness with children. The specific texts are: After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty got back up again by Dan Santat, Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin, and The Three Questions by Jon Muth. As we unravel the narratives, we will add other titles that reinforce the concept of mindfulness. Continue reading

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MTYT: Picturebooks That Highlight Kindness

Marilyn Carpenter, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA, Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH and Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ

As we end this month, and 2020, there is more to say about kindness. There is still more to think about in respect to both small and large decisions and actions made. The decisions we have made as individuals, as communities, as societies, will be written about and scrutinized for many years to come. A lot of it will be negative, sad, and horrific. We must remember, however, in the hopes that we will learn to do better as we move forward.

It should also be remembered that throughout this year there have been countless acts of kindness, and those must also be allowed to shine. They, too, have much to teach us. While we focused on novels from areas around the world, we end this discussion with a list of picturebooks for considering kindness and the potential for it.


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MTYT: 28 Days: A Novel of Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto

Marilyn Carpenter, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA, Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH and Jean Schroeder, The IDEA School, Tucson, AZ

This week, Marilyn, Holly, and Jean discuss the harrowing story of Mira in 28 Days: A Novel of Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto by David Safier and discuss how even in the darkest of times, the smallest act of kindness can change things.


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