Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘diverse-books’

Midwest Book Review calls Ben the Scaredy-Dog “wonderfully entertaining…”

Posted on November 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Midwest Book Review

“A wonderfully entertaining picture book with an important underlying message for children ages 3 to 6, Ben and the Scaredy-Dog is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”

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Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “reminds us…we should give things a chance,” says Kids’ Book Buzz

Posted on November 7th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama PressKids’ Book Buzz

“After I started reading about Max and Erv, I really liked the story….It’s a cute story that reminds us that no matter your size, we all have things we might be afraid of, but we should give things a chance.”
—Safiya, Age 9

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International Examiner calls Adrift At Sea a “powerful historical nonfiction story…”

Posted on November 2nd, 2018 by pajamapress

International Examiner

Adrift At Sea is a powerful historical nonfiction story…

Adrift at Sea is the true story of Tuan Ho, a young Vietnamese boy who escapes his country’s military regime in 1981 and becomes part of the wave of ‘boat people’ refugees hoping to reach America. Given no other options but to leave their homeland in hopes of a better life…

Seeing nothing but hopelessness, tragedy, and panic on the ocean floor, Tuan’s mother quickly realizes something lying beneath the ocean floor that would turn around their fortunes and deliver them a glimmer of hope. As Tuan and his family are delivered to safety, they can take comfort in knowing that it can only get better from here. Filled with colorful and vibrant drawings that engages readers from start to finish, Adrift at Sea is a powerful historical nonfiction story.”

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CanLit for LittleCanadians says "[this] is a story of survival, even if Van Ho was Too Young to Escape"

Posted on October 10th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Authors: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Van Ho Publisher: Pajama Press“When Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch co-wrote Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival with Tuan Ho, she began a family’s story of escape from Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and taking of power by the communists. In that picture book, illustrated by Brian Deines, a mother and her two daughters, Loan and Lan, and six-year-old son Tuan escape Vietnam by boat, hopeful of joining father and the eldest daughter Linh in Canada. But there was another story. Because four-year-old Van is left behind. Too Young to Escape is her story….

Van Ho, who lived this story, tells it through Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s pen of extraordinary writing which reflects both Van’s youthful point of view and her trauma. Her story is disquieting but it’s also uplifting, focusing on Van’s resilience. Told from her perspective, from Van explaining away her family’s absence before she learns the reason to her obligation to completing chores many of our culture might deem inappropriate for one so young to finding a friend in a girl less fortunate than herself, Van’s story of being left behind is heartbreaking.

Enhancing Van Ho’s story with photographs and interviews with her father, Nam Ho, and mother, Phuoc Ho, Too Young to Escape gives a snapshot of a different time and place, one of upheaval and loss, perseverance and endurance, that ends with a reunion and a good life in Canada. It is a story of survival, even if Van Ho was Too Young to Escape.”

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CM Magazine calls Too Young to Escape "a page-turner"

Posted on October 9th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Authors: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Van Ho Publisher: Pajama PressRating: 5…Van’s story is necessarily informed by Skrypuch’s research and imagination in addition to Van’s memories of her distant childhood as corroborated by other members of her family. The product, is an extremely engaging account of a childhood in challenging circumstances….

Van’s story is a page-turner. Children will relate to her sense of injustice….

Too Young to Escape is a welcome reminder of the post-Vietnam War refugee crisis that saw Canada, France, the United States and Australia welcome strangers in need. Readers will appreciate hearing this personal story from a child’s perspective. The book will include an eight page colour insert of photographs of Van and her family as children plus a recent photo of Vanessa (formerly Van) with her spouse and children and a final image of Vanessa and her beloved Bà Ngoąi taken in 1997. Skrypuch includes very brief interviews with Van’s parents, Nam Ho and Phuoc Ho, that help to explain the context of the time including the reasons for their difficult decisions.

Readers may have wondered why the telephone or e-mail was not used by Van’s parents. The paucity of telephones in Vietnam in the early 1980s and censorship of physical mail by government officials are two more challenges that Van’s parents note in their interviews. Modern technology may make it easier to communicate over long distances today, but civil wars, state-sanctioned or state-sponsored discrimination and persecution are enduring reasons for normal people to be transformed into refugees in the twenty-first century. Van’s story and those of her family members remain timeless as well as time-specific.

Highly Recommended
—Val Ken Lem is a librarian at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario

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Kirkus Reviews calls Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family "a truthful yet age-appropriate introduction to big issues"

Posted on September 17th, 2018 by pajamapress

“With simple but engaging language, Skrypuch recounts Van Ho’s true story of her lonely and hard life in Vietnam during the years she was separated from her family. Skrypuch offers readers myriad opportunities to identify with Van, who navigates school, friendship, bullying, and poverty, while also giving them insight into less-common American experiences such as political oppression and asylum. The story covers four years of Van’s life, including her reunion with parents and siblings in Canada and the immediate culture shock of arriving….This illuminating chapter book respects an often overlooked demographic, providing transitioning readers a truthful yet age-appropriate introduction to big issues that still affect people to this day. (Historical fiction. 7-11)”

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My Beautiful Birds is “both fascinating and heart-breaking” says The Crimson Review of Children’s & YA Literature

Posted on September 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: My Beautiful Birds Author: Suzanne Del Rizzo Publisher: Pajama Press“This refugee experience, written from the unique perspective of a small boy, is both fascinating and heart-breaking. While the story is lovely, the real successes are the polymer clay illustrations, done by the author. They are brightly colored, have wonderful detail and give the story some nice texture. This book is relevant and lovely, and is an excellent book to teach children about being a refugee.”
Reviewed by Lindsay Davis

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I Read Kids’ Books Journal says My Beautiful Birds “inspire[s] empathy and understanding…for young readers”

Posted on September 6th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: My Beautiful Birds Author: Suzanne Del Rizzo Publisher: Pajama Press“There is a fine line to walk when writing for children about the horror and deprivation of war, especially when that story is about a child of the same age. The author needs to inspire empathy and understanding without causing anxiety for the young readers. In My Beautiful Birds, Del Rizzo has done a masterful job of straddling that line and in doing so has not only given a beautiful story, but also a teachable moment for kids ages 4-10….

I am not even going to be shy about admitting that I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I simply judged this book as ‘need to read’ by the positively stunning artwork on the cover, art that has been perfectly described as dimensional illustrations. I am fond of using a euphemism for ‘leaping off the page’ when it comes to talking about art in children’s books, but that is such pale terminology for what this book offers. If there were no text to tell the reader what is happening in the story, the reader would still be pulled in to Sammi’s world; Birds fly, the smell of smoke fills the air, you can feel the grit of the sand and the hear the rasping of canvas tents. Sammi’s fears and hopes have been rendered in infinite detail with this beautifully textured sculpted art.

The war in Syria and other parts of the world are in the news almost nightly. In addition to being a wonderful story, this book can also be a tool to explain to little ones about the war and the people it affects. It is told in a way that is completely accessible to kids and adults alike….

I am looking forward to Del Rizzo’s latest release, in the fall, A World of Kindness.”

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Literacious calls Small Things “A truly powerful story”

Posted on September 4th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Small Things Author: Mel Tregonning Publisher: Pajama PressPersonal Reaction: This is an extremely powerful, wordless graphic novel about the anxiety and worry that affects one little boy and yet is so universal in its imagery. I think this would make a powerful addition to an older elementary and even middle school classroom and would be a great conversation starter for a class, book discussion or even one-on-one about anxiety, expectations, and self care….A truly powerful story that will resonate with many.”

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2 Pajama Press books featured on CBC Books “13 Canadian middle-grade books to watch for this fall” recommended reading list

Posted on August 23rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Swallow’s Dance by award-winning author Wendy Orr and Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family by debut author Van Ho with Marsha Skrypuch have both been featured in the 2018 CBC Books “13 Canadian middle-grade books to watch for this fall” reading list.