Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘diverse-kidlit’

Adrift at Sea will “help shed light on events of the past that share a similarity to those that are happening in the world today” says The Children’s War

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by pajamapress

AdriftAtSea_website“The plight of refugees have been in the news a lot these days because of the war in Syria. As more and more borders are closed to them, it might be a good time to remember another group of refugees who arrived on North America’s shores and have contributed so much to their adopted country.

When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and the communist government took over South Vietnam, daily life became so difficult and unbearable that families were willing to risk escaping their country in rickety boats not made for long sea voyages. But these boats were the only way out, unless you were rich….

Adrift at Sea
 is told from Tuan’s point of view, and aimed at readers about the same age as he was when he escaped Vietnam. Such a young narrator may not capture the truly difficult and risky trip in the kind of detail a book for older readers might, but he still very clearly depicts the fear, the hot sun, lack of water, and relief at being rescued at an age appropriate level that any young reader will be able understand.

Skrypuch has included a number photos of the Ho family, both in Vietnam and in Canada. She has also included a brief history of the ‘boat people’ as the refugees came to be called. The refugees faced not only the kinds of problems that the Ho family dealt with, but there were storms, pirates and always the threat of dying of thirst and hunger, and sometimes, they found that they were not welcomed everywhere.

Using a color palette mainly of oranges, yellows and blues, Deines’s highly textured oil on canvas illustrations capture all the secrecy, fear, and perils, all wrapped up in the dangerously hazy, hot, and humid weather that these refugees faced in their desire for freedom and a better life.

Adrift at Sea is a powerful historical nonfiction story that can certainly help shed light on events of the past that share a similarity to those that are happening in the world today.

This book is recommended for readers age 6+”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Children’s BookNews recommends When the Rain Comes for “a classroom setting to spark interest in Sri Lanka, its people, culture, geography, and climate”

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by pajamapress

WhenRainComes_website“…Alma Fullerton tells to tale in free verse. She successfully conjures up the sights and especially the sounds of a day in Sri Lanka—the song of the bullock-cart driver, the clop of the ox, the pounding of rain and the cracking of thunder. Kim La Fave’s illustrations magically transform a bedsheet into a flock of birds. He convincingly whips up the wind and slashes rain across the page to convey the frightening immediacy of a flash flood.

Young readers will identify with Malini’s trepidation in facing her new task, and they will cheer for her as she overcomes her own fear to save the day. When the Rain Comes is an engaging story in its own right but could also be used in a classroom setting to spark interest in Sri Lanka, its people, culture, geography, and climate.”
—Ildiko Sumegi

Read the full review on page 32 of the Spring 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

My Beautiful Birds “is a stunning tool to teach children about what goes on in the world outside their own backyards” says Canadian Children’s BookNews

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“Every year, more and more families find themselves forced to flee their homes and relocate. Recently, this has become more relevant than ever with the war in Syria displacing hundreds of thousands of families to nearby countries and refugee camps. My Beautiful Birds tells the story of a family escaping Syria from the perspective of a little boy named Sami….

This is a wonderful story for all children, as learning about the growing-up experiences of others is always helpful. The book would be especially useful, however, for children who are going through major life changes themselves. It contains not only lessons on relocation and moving, but also on making new friends, acclimatizing to new environments, moving on from the past, and much more!

Suzanne Del Rizzo weaves the story together beautifully with the help of her own illustrations…The images are multi-dimensional and seem to almost jump off the page. They are extremely captivating and add even more depth to the already engaging story that accompanies them. In addition to all of its many amazing aspects, My Beautiful Birds is a stunning tool to teach children about what goes on in the world outside their own backyards.”

Read the full review on page 29 of the Spring 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

When the Rain Comes is rated “Excellent” by Youth Services Book Review

Posted on March 16th, 2017 by pajamapress

WhenRainComes_websiteRating: (1-5, 5 is an excellent or starred review)  5

What did you like about the book? This is a story of a young girl who lives in Sri Lanka….The illustrations and the text both give the sense of gravity and danger to the situation. The blustery wind and the driving wind, along with the cries of Malini’s family urging her to leave the ox and come to safety show the drama of the choice Malini must make. I especially liked at the end of the book when the author explained just how important rice was to the poor people of Sri Lanka and it put Malini’s actions into a context.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To whom would you recommend this book? This is a great book to have in a library that fosters multi-culturalism. The story is engaging and children will learn about the culture of Sri Lanka through this book….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes”
—Sandra Pacheco, ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction says “Kids will happily accept an invitation to share their own stories of being afraid, and acts of bravery” after reading When the Rain Comes

Posted on March 16th, 2017 by pajamapress

WhenRainComes_website“A much anticipated sound awakens Malini! The ox cart driver is finally here with his very important load of rice seedlings. The rice is ready to plant; Malini is ready to help with that planting. The driver asks the young girl to ‘keep an eye’ on his ox while he takes a needed break. Malini is a bit frightened by its size and strength, but she takes the responsibility to heart and watches carefully….

Although she is frightened herself, she realizes that she must provide calm for the frantic animal. What a brave girl!

Readers will relate to Malini’s emotions, and feel great relief when her bravery ensures safety and success. Kids will happily accept an invitation to share their own stories of being afraid, and of acts of bravery.

Kim LaFave masterfully captures every nuance of the story through use of color and motion. They fully support the mood created by Ms. Fullerton’s telling free verse text. An author’s note places the story in Sri Lanka and provides plenty of interesting information about the island nation and the people who live there. Knowing more about the children of the world, their culture and the lives they live is cause for celebration.”

Click here to read the full review

My Beautiful Birds “provides a window into the life of a refugee while also being a pleasure to read” says Resource Links

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

mybeautifulbirds_website“…With its elegant prose and beautiful clay illustrations, this book tells a timely story through the voice of a Syrian refugee. It is important to provide readers with perspectives different than their own, and this book may be particularly relevant for Canadian readers due to the influx of Syrian refugees into Canada.

My Beautiful Birds is a very well-executed book that provides a window into the life of a refugee while also being a pleasure to read.

Thematic Links: Syrian Refugees; Birds
—Alice Albarda

Read the full review on page 5 of the February 2017 issue of Resource Links

Water’s Children “could be used as a stepping-off point for essays” says Youth Services Book Review

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

waterschildren_websiteRating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4…

What did you like about the book? Water is essential to life. This book travels around the world illustrating the different uses of water: bathing, drinking swimming, watering the plants. Sometimes it appears as snow or frost or ice. Water is the ocean where there is so much life, above which gulls soar. Water is essential to life – around the world beautifully illustrated here by Gerard Frischeteau.

Anything you did not like about this book? No.

To whom would you recommend this book? This book would work well as a storytime for kindergarteners through 2nd grade followed by discussion. It could be used as a stepping-off point for essays.”
Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Click here to read the full review

Water’s Children is “A tribute to the essential substance, washed free of preachiness or even faintly cautionary messages” says Kirkus Reviews

Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress

waterschildren_website“Twelve children from different areas of the world offer lyrical reflections on what water means to them. To Delaunois’ fictive cast water invariably sparks positive feelings…Though the specific locale of each young speaker is keyed only by a watermarked version of ‘Water is life’ embedded in the illustration that is translated into his or her script and language (identified in a list at the end), Frischeteau varies the skin color and, albeit in an idealized way, facial features of his human figures. He also often adds characteristic wildlife, national dress, or other cues to each locale.…A tribute to the essential substance, washed free of preachiness or even faintly cautionary messages.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review says French Toast “would be a good addition to a multi-cultural library”

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by pajamapress

FrenchToast_WebsiteRating: (1-5, 5 is an excellent or starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? This is a beautiful book about a little girl who is half Jamaican and half French Canadian….The illustrations are wonderful and the descriptions of the food are perfect.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.

To Whom Would You Recommend this book? This is recommended for children ages 4-7. It would be a good addition to a multi-cultural library. Kindergarten children will also enjoy the story read aloud to them. It will stimulate discussion on race.

Who should buy this book? This would be good for elementary school libraries and public libraries that have a children’s section….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes”
Sandra Pacheco ESL teacher, Washington, D.C.

Click here to read the full review

“The author [of French Toast] explains the concept of diversity in a positive life affirming way” says Resource Links

Posted on March 3rd, 2017 by pajamapress

FrenchToast_Website“…A gentle loving explanation of how everyone has different skin tones expressed in warm delicious ways. Bullying is part of the story but Phoebe’s approach of not letting her bullies know that their nickname bothers her helps to defuse any power they have over her.

The illustrations are beautiful and the illustrator does beautiful portraits of his characters using digital media and acrylic….The author explains the concept of diversity in a positive life affirming way that children and adults will appreciate.”

Thematic Links: Grandmothers; Self-esteem; Bullying; Racially Mixed People; Identity; Diversity; Immigration; Blindness
—Isobel Lang

Read the full review on page 12 of the February 2017 issue of Resource Links