Category Archives: USBBY Books List

189 Canaries

189 CanariesYellow canaries sing melodies to the silver miners in the Harz Mountains in Germany. Today, a bird dealer has come to put the canaries into individual wooden cages and take them on a voyage by train and then by steamship across the Atlantic Ocean to bustling New York City. Beautiful mixed media illustrations enhance this fascinating story about the little-known history of the canaries and their lovely melodies. Back matter includes notes on the history of canaries and the ways they were used and transported by humans in the 1800s. In the year 1882 alone, 120,000 canaries were shipped to New York City. A map of their journey is featured on the book’s endpapers. mjw
Title: 189 Canaries
Author: Dieter Boge
Illustrator
: Elsa Klever
Publisher
: Eerdmans Book for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Laura Watkinson
Original Title
: 189
Original Publisher
: Aladin Verlag, an imprint of Thienemann-Esslinger. Stuttgart
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5574-9
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 6-10
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Germany and United States
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Germany
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List. Author has won the German Youth Literature Prize and has been included in the White Ravens Catalog
Subjects
: Birds, Canaries, Harz Mountains, Home, Miners, Voyages

How War Changed Rondo

How War Chaged Rondo

The Ukrainian husband and wife, author/ illustrator team created this book as a response to their experiences of war in Ukraine. The story is set in the fictional town of Rondo, which is known for its greenhouses of musical flowers. Everyone who lives there speaks to birds and plants, paints pictures, sings, and writes poetry. Rondo is perfect. The three protagonists are Danko who glows like a lantern and has a shining heart, Fabian who resembles a dog-shaped balloon animal, and Zirka who has a bird-like origami body folded from maps and newspaper articles about war. War comes to Rondo bringing its darkness and destruction. Together, the three friends rally their town to devise a plan using light, community, and song to halt war and restore peace. The stunning mixed-media illustrations undergo dramatic shifts in color when war enters and then finally leaves Rondo. mjw

Title: How War Changed Rondo
Author/Illustrator: Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv
Publisher
: Enchanted Lion Books. New York
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Ukrainian
Translator
: Oksana Lushchevska
Original Publisher
: Vydavnytstvo Starohoo Leva (The Old Lion Publishing House) Lviv, Ukraine
Original Copyright
: 2015
ISBN
: 978-1-59270-367-8
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Author’s residence
: Ukraine
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Illustrator’s residence
: Ukraine
Awards
: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Book
Subjects
: Death, Flowers, Nature, Peace, Music, Violence, War

Soul Lanterns

Soul Lanterns

Set 25 years after the bombing of Hiroshima, twelve-year-old Nozomi discovers that the long-term emotional and physical effects of the bombing continue. Her art class project is to learn more about the experiences of students’ families on August 6, 1945. Book chapters focus on individual heartbreaking narratives told by survivors. This powerful story from a Japanese perspective shows the impact on the city and emphasizes the message of peace. mjw

Title: Soul Lanterns
Author: Shaw Huzki
Publisher
: Delacorte Press
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Japanese
Translator
: Emily Balistrieri
Original Title
: Hikari no utsushie Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Hiroshima
Original Publisher
: Kodansha, Ltd. Tokyo
Original Copyright
: 2013
ISBN
: 978-0-593-17436-4
Hardcover pages
: 175
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Author’s residence
: Kamakura, Japan
Awards: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Art, Atomic bomb, Ceremonies, Grandparents, Hiroshima, Lantern floating ceremony, Peace, World War II

The Story Of Bodri

The Story of BodriHedi and her friend Marika spend their days playing in the park with Hedi’s dog Bodri. Hedi is Jewish and Marika is Christian, but that doesn’t stop them from being friends. All is well until Adolf Hitler ’s frightening voice is heard on the radio saying that he hates Jews. His soldiers come and round up Hedi’s family and all the other Jews and put them onto a train for the camps. Bodri is left behind. Hedi dreams of Bodri for the many months that she and her sister are separated from Bodri and their parents. They are cold and hungry in the camp. Their heads are shaved and they have to wear dirty uniforms and hard shoes. The sisters survive and they are reunited with Bodri. Carefully chosen language tells this difficult story. The author, who was born in 1924, is a Holocaust survivor who experienced the horrors of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and several work camps. The illustrations, which were created with watercolor, ink, and digital media, evoke the time and place perfectly. mjw
Title: The Story Of Bodri
Author: Hedi Fried
Illustrator
: Stina Wirsen
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Swedish
Translator
: Linda Schenck
Original Title
: Historien om Bodri
Original Publisher
: Natur & Kultur. Stockholm, Sweden
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5565-7
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 6-10
Genre
: Picture Book. Historical Fiction
Author’s ethnicity
: Swedish-Hungarian
Author’s residence
: Stockholm, Sweden
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Illustrator’s residence
: Stockholm, Sweden
Awards: 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Concentration camps, Dogs, Germany, Adolf Hitler, Holocaust, Jews

War

WarWar spreads like a disease. It hears nothing, sees nothing, and feels nothing. It feeds on hate and spite. It saddens, crushes, and silences. It destroys everything in its path. This eye-opening book with sparse text reveals the many sides of war. The watercolor illustrations in black, grays, and browns are stunning and surreal. War is the perfect book for starting important discussions between children and their parents and teachers. mjw
Title: War
Author: Jose Jorge Letria
Illustrator
: Andre Letria
Publisher
: Greystone Kids. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Portuguese
Translator
: Elisa Amado
Original Title
: A Guerra
Original Publisher
: Pato Logico Edicoes. Lisbon, Portugal
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-1-77164-726-7
Hardcover pages
: 64
Age range
: 9 up
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Portuguese
Author’s residence
: Lisbon, Portugal
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Portuguese
Illustrator’s residence
: Lisbon Portugal
Awards
: Nami Concours 2018 (Grand Prix), White Raven 2018, 2022 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Conflict, Value of peace, War

The Elevator

downloadA girl and her dog Roco want to go on their afternoon walk. They get on the elevator on Floor 4 and the girl pushes the down button, but the elevator goes up. It stops at Floor 7 and Ms. Paula gets on. She is afraid of dogs. She presses the down button, but the elevator goes up again. On Floor 8, old Mr. Miguel gets on with his walker. He presses the down button and the elevator stops on Floor7 and Cora and the twins in their stroller get on. After pressing the button again, the elevator stops between Floor 5 and Floor 4. Then Ms. Paula opens the box that she is carrying and gives everyone a slice of birthday cake that she was planning to give to her friend. Next, Mr. Miguel tells a story called Who Cares? about a bear that always said he didn’t care when he really did. All of a sudden the elevator starts to move, though no one pushed the button. It stops at Floor 4 and everyone gets off and has tea at the girl’s apartment. At the end of the book, in a real envelope, there is a surprise mini-book titled Who Cares? The playful black, white and red illustrations were created with drawing, collage, and photography all assembled digitally. The tall and slender format of the book resembles an elevator. mjw
Title: The Elevator
Author: Yael Frankel
Illustrator
: Yael Frankel
Publisher
: Tapioca Stories. Huntington, New York.
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Spanish
Translator
: Kit Maude
Original Title
: El ascensor
Original Publisher
: Limonero, Argentina
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-1-7347839-0-2
Hardcover pages
: 44
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Argentinian
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Argentinian
Awards
: 2021 Outstanding International Books USBBY, 2020 White Raven Award
Subjects
: Apartment buildings, Dogs, Elevators, Pets, Twin

Amrita Sher-gil: Rebel With A Paintbrush

This beautiful, well-researched book tells the story of modern Indian artist Amrita Sher-Gil’s short, but fascinating life. She was born in Hungary in 1913. Her mother was a Hungarian pianist and her father was an Indian Sikh. Amrita was raised in Hungary and trained in France. She was inspired by writers, musicians, artists, and the time she lived – world wars, the Indian freedom movement, and major changes in the art world. The set-up of the book is amazing. The text that tells Amrita’s story is woven around pictures and boxes of information. Political events and artistic movements that shaped her life are found in other boxes. Real photographs, sometimes taken by her father, are included in the margins, and reproductions of Amrita’s gorgeous paintings are also spread throughout the book. Back matter provides a section called Why Was Amritas’s Art Important? and another section of interesting references. mjw
Title: Amrita Sher-gil: Rebel With A Paintbrush
Author: Anita Vachharajani
Illustrator
: Kalyani Ganapathy
Publisher
: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Copyright
: 2018
Original Publisher:
Harper Collins Children’s Books. India
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-93-5277-473-9
Hardcover pages
: 184
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Information book, Biography, Nonfiction
Book setting
: Hungary, India, France, Pakistan
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: Mumbai
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: Nilgiris
Awards
: 2020 USBBY Honor List
Subjects
: Art Biography, India, Indian freedom, Hungary, Painting

Thukpa For All

Young Tsering can’t wait to taste his grandmother’s thukpa – noodle soup.  On his way home, he invites many friends, neighbors, and family members to join him.  Just as his grandmother is preparing the soup, the power goes out. Tsering helps with the soup-making steps by identifying spices and other ingredients by their smells. The power comes back on and everyone can enjoy the thukpa.  Told from a blind child’s perspective – Tsering is blind – this story is enhanced by beautiful illustrations that teach about the Ladakhi culture which is not often depicted in picture books.  Alliteration and onomatopoeia make it a fun read.  A Glimpse into Ladakhi Life gives information about the culture and geography of Indian Ladakhi. A glossary and a recipe for thukpa are also included. mjw
Title: Thukpa For All
Author: Prada Ram and Sheela Preuitt
Illustrator
: Shilpa Ranade
Publisher
: Karadi Tales. Chennai, India
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-81-9338-898-3
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Ladakhi, India
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: Mumbai
Awards
: 2019 IBBY Catalog of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, 2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Blind, Cooking and food, Culture, Diversity, Family life, Grandmothers, Sense and sensations, Special needs

Crossing The Farak River

Fourteen-year-old Hasina, her younger brother Araf, and her thirteen-year-old cousin Ghadiya are forced out of their home in the Rakhine province of Myanmar when the Sit Tat Myanmar Army invades one night.  They become separated from their parents.  They know to flee because they are persecuted Muslim Rohingyas. They run deep into the Rakhine forest to hide, but when they return to their village, it has been burned and mostly destroyed.  Their house is still standing, but their family is gone. Hasina is a strong, courageous character who fights for her family in this captivating account of the crisis in Myanmar. mjw
Title: Crossing The Farak River
Author: Michelle Aung Thin
Publisher
: Annick Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
Original Title
: Hasina
Original Publisher
: Allen and Unwin. Australia
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-1-77321-396-5
Paperback pages
: 224
Age range
: 11 up
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Myanmar
Author’s ethnicity
: Born in Burma, now Myanmar
Author’s residence
: Australia
Awards: 2021 South Asia Book Award, 2021 USBBY Outstanding International Book List.
Subjects: Arakan, Buddhists, Burmese, Human trafficking, Muslims, Persecution, Rakhine State,Refugees, Rohingyas, Soldiers

Lubna And Pebble

Lubna lives with her father and brothers in a world of tents.  Her best friend is a shiny, smooth, gray pebble.  She draws a happy face on it and keeps it warm wrapped in a tea towel in a shoebox.  She tells the pebble about home, the war, and that she loves it.  Soon, a little boy arrives.  At first, he has no words.  He coughs, sneezes, smiles, and says his name is Amir.  Lubna and Amir become friends.  One day, Lubna’s daddy announces that they are leaving because they have found a home.  Lubna feels happy, then sad.  Amir cries. Lubna gives Amir her pebble.  He needs it more than she does.  Larger-than-life, stunning illustrations complement this powerful story. mjw
Title: Lubna And Pebble
Author: Wendy Meddour
Illustrator
: Daniel Egneus
Publisher
: Dial Books for Young Readers. New York
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-052-5554-165
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Middle East
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: England
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Illustrator’s residence
: Athens, Greece
Awards; 2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Refugees

Birdsong

In spring, Katherena and her mother pack up their belongings and move from their home in the city by the sea.  Their new home sits on a hill overlooking a field and another home.  An older woman named Agnes lives in that home.  In summer, Katherena visits Agnes, whose yard is filled with berries, flowers, and birds.  In fall, Katherena visits Agnes again and again and they talk about the moon and the seasons.  In winter, it’s harder for Agnes to get around and Katherena draws pictures.  In the next spring, Agnes has grown weaker and Katherena decorates Agnes’s room with all of her drawings.  The textured illustrations in this book were rendered in TBC.  They warmly depict the story of a young girl and an elderly woman who share their love of nature and art.  A glossary explains Cree words that are integrated into the text. mjw
Title: Birdsong
Author: Julie Flett
Illustrator
: Julie Flett
Publisher
: Greystone Books Ltd.
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77164-473-0
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 3-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Cree-Metis
Author’s residence
: Vancouver, Canada
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Cree-Metis
Illustrator’s residence
: Vancouver, Canada
Awards: 2020 ALA American Indian Literature Award, 2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Emotions, Indigenous, Intergenerational friendship, Nature, Seasons

Vanishing Colors

In this haunting story, a young girl and her mother take shelter in their roofless house to sleep. The mother tells the story of a large bird that flies from the mountains to protect them.  Dark illustrations show that the city is ravaged by war.  The bird reminds the girl of happy memories and colors that were there before.  The girl and her mother can leave when the girl sees all the colors in the rainbow, which makes a bridge across the sky.  The book ends with the mother and child walking on, holding hands, under a rainbow. They will stay together and help each other. mjw
Title: Vanishing Colors
Author: Constance Orbeck-Nilssen
Illustrator
: Akin Duzakin
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: Norwegian
Translator
: Kari Dickson
Original Title
: Fargene som forsvant
Original Publisher
: Vigmostad & Bjorke
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5518-3
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-9
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Eastern Europe
Author’s ethnicity
: Norwegian
Author’s residence
: Norway
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Turkish-Norwegian
Illustrator’s residence
: Norway
Awards:  2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Subjects
: Destruction, Emigration and Immigration, Homelessness and poverty, Migration, Parents, Refugees, Social issues