Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘diverse-middle-grade-books’

Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family is included in CBC Books list of “12 Canadian books to commemorate Remembrance Day”

Posted on November 12th, 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 PressToo Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family has been recommended by CBC Books in a list of 12 Canadian books which “describe the experience of war and its impact on human life.”

Click here to see the full list of recommendations.

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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Canadian Children's Book News calls The Theory of Hummingbirds an "endearing story"

Posted on June 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“In her first middle grade novel, author Michelle Kadarusman skilfully uses emotional honesty to capture the turmoil of not fitting in and the hard journey to acceptance in terms children can easily understand. Alba’s spirited nature keeps her afloat through the tough times having a clubfoot has caused, but she is not immune to wanting to be like her classmates, or dreaming of breaking free from her disability.

Alba and Levi’s friendship is a joy to read about. Able to ground each other when needed, they also support putting aside skepticism and doubt for the sake of the other….Drawing on a tale from Peru, Kadarusman ends The Theory of Hummingbirds with the constructive message that all we can do is what we can do. Even a hummingbird dropping beads of water on a raging fire makes a difference, and Alba’s endearing story is sure to change readers as well.”
—Amy Mathers

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Slug Days is included in A Mighty Girl‘s list of “20 Books About Autistic Mighty Girls”

Posted on April 30th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Slug Days Author: Sara LEach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press“Author Sara Leach’s experience teaching kids with ASD allows her to create a realistic portrayal of life through their eyes. This empathetic chapter book, filled with black and white illustrations on nearly every page, is perfect for sparking conversation with elementary school children about understanding and embracing differences.”

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“Using Lauren’s voice to tell her story gives it an immediacy and honesty” says Sal’s Fiction Addiction of Slug Days

Posted on April 7th, 2018 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“Using Lauren’s voice to tell her story gives it an immediacy and honesty that make it easier for readers to feel the frustrations she sees in her world. Those slug days are hampered by outbursts, confusion, and a lack of patience all around. Lauren also experiences butterfly days when many things go right – her teachers, the kids at school, and her family enjoy her humor, her growing ability to communicate and find joy in some activities….This perceptive and sensitive tale chronicles a week in the life of a young, determined girl who thinks differently than many others. She is learning and we are learning with her.”

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Red Canoe Reader calls Slug Days an “amazing book”

Posted on March 30th, 2018 by pajamapress

SlugDays_Website“We all need to feel that we’re not alone; that there are others in the world who feel the same way and experience life as we do. This amazing book offers just that mirror to kids with ASD. It offers the comforting truth that other kids with ASD have slug days when nothing goes the way it should, as well as butterfly days when everything is in its place, nothing’s changed and you feel safe and secure….Slug Days is an easy to read story for children in late first, early second and older. The charming illustrations add so much to the story and will keep even a reluctant reader reading. This book is one that needs to be in every public and elementary collection and is a book that not only children need to read, but also every parent and teacher.”

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Children’s Books Heal calls The Theory of Hummingbirds “a powerful and captivating story”

Posted on February 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“Why I like this book: Michelle Kadarusman has crafted a richly textured story about [Alba], who has a leg that is directionally challenged. It is a powerful and captivating story about differences and abilities and ‘learning to love who you are and what you can do.’ It is emotionally honest and filled with heart.

It is important for readers to see themselves in realistic characters like [Alba]….

The author’s use of hummingbirds as a poignant metaphor to help Alba embrace her life in a meaningful way and pursue her big dream. ‘Hummingbirds don’t sit around moaning about their tiny feet and that they can’t walk,’ she says. Like [Alba], the author was born with talipes equinovarus (CTEV), more commonly called club foot.

The plot is paced well with the perfect amount of tension to keep readers intrigued, engaged and guessing.  This is an excellent book for any school library.”

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“The reader readily identifies with Alba’s efforts” in The Theory of Hummingbirds says Winnipeg Free Press

Posted on December 23rd, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_Website“In this book for a middle-grade audience (eight to 12 years), the reader readily identifies with Alba’s efforts. Kadarusman also provides plenty of information on hummingbirds, which have such small feet that they only perch, never walk.”

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The Theory of Hummingbirds is “a sweet, gentle novel says Youth Services Book Review

Posted on November 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheTheoryOfHummingbirds_WebsiteRating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

Everything works out in the end, but in a way that feels natural and realistic. A glossary of hummingbird facts and an author’s note add dimension to the story. This is a sweet, gentle novel about friendship….Recommend to readers who are moving beyond early chapter books into middle-grade fiction. Also recommend White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan and Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.”
—Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA

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