Tag Archives: Arts

The Fox Girl And The White Gazelle

Twelve-year-old Reema is a Syrian refugee trying to find her place in Glasgow.  She struggles with a new language and culture and misses her older brother who got left behind in Aleppo.  Caylin feels completely alone.  She has to look after her alcoholic mother.  She bullies the other kids and steals from them so that she can eat. Reema and Caylin become friends when they discover an injured fox and her babies. The girls also discover that they both like to run. Told in alternating perspectives, this is a great story of friendship. mjw
Title: The Fox Girl And The White Gazelle
Author: Victoria Williamson
Publisher
: Kelpies, an imprint of Floris Books. Edinburgh, Scotland
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English 
ISBN
: 978-178250-490-0
Paperback pages
: 272
Age range
: 10-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Scotland
Author’s ethnicity
: Scottish
Author’s residence
: U.K.
Subjects
: Foxes, Glasgow, Poetry, Prejudice and racism, Refugees, Running, Syria

Mina Vs. The Monsoon

Mina, a young girl living in India, really wants to go outdoors to play soccer, but it’s monsoon season and she has to stay in.  Her mother prepares to celebrate the monsoon by making chai and samosas.  Mina plays her tabla (drum) to cheer herself up.  The doodh wallah (milkman) explains how important rain is for the rice paddies, but Mina is still sad.  When her mother asks her to get thread for stringing flower garlands, Mina discovers her mother’s soccer jersey. As her mother explains that she used to play soccer, the dark clouds disappear and they head outside together.  The bold, bright illustrations accompany the energetic text.  The book concludes with a glossary of Urdu and Hindi words and a note to parents and educators. mjw
Title: Mina Vs. The Monsoon
Author: Rukhsanna Guidrozz
Illustrator
: Debasmita Dasgupta
Publisher
: Yali Books, New York
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-949528-98-5
Hardcover pages
: 38
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Picture book
Book setting
: Bijar and Jharkhand, India
Author’s ethnicity
: Persian-Indian-Chinese
Author’s residence
: Hawaii
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: Singapore
Subjects
: Drums, Girls and women, Monsoons, Peacocks, Soccer

Outside In

Twelve-year-old Ram, who lives on the streets of Chandigarh in northern India, discovers a hidden garden full of sculptures.  He follows a man on a bicycle who seems to be collecting rocks and cast off materials. The man, Nek Chand, uses scraps of metal, bike tires, broken glass and dishes, old rags – junk according to Ram – to create a secret world of thousands of odd statues.  Ram and Nek become friends and learn how the story of the Ramayana parallels their story.  This heartwarming book was inspired by the true story of the famous Indian artist who was displaced from his home after Partition and illegally built an entire village in Chandigarh.  Today, Nek Chand’s Rock Garden is the second most visited site in India, after the Taj Mahal.  A glossary of Indian terms and an author’s note are included.  mjw
Title: Outside In
Author: Jennifer Bradbury
Publisher
: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.  New York
Copyright
: 2017
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-4424-6827-6
Hardcover pages
: 288
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Chandigarh, India
Author’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Author’s residence
: U.S., taught in Chandigarh
Awards: 2018 South Asia Book Award
Subjects
: Architecture, Asian, Chandigarh, Fables, Hindu, Homelessness, Legends, Myths, Nek Chand, Orphans, Poverty, Ramayana, Rock gardens, Sculptors

The Curiosity Cabinet

Ian Wallace’s wordless tribute to Canada on her 150thbirthday includes graphite illustrations of treasures from his forty years of traveling the country.  He has made thousands of school and library visits inspiring young readers to become artists and he has received many gifts from the students.  His cabinet of curiosities includes these gifts and other discoveries he has made. Each illustration is devoted to a province or territory – tamarack geese made by Cree artists in Ontario, a snow globe illuminating the moment he stood on the Arctic Circle, the English heraldic lion from Prince Edward Island, and much more.  A table of contents and an introduction set the stage and detailed illustrator’s notes provide much information. mjw
Title: The Curiosity Cabinet
Author: Ian Wallace
Illustrator
: Ian Wallace
Publisher
: Groundwood Books.  House of Anansi Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2017
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-55498-922-5
Hardcover pages
: 36
Age range
: 5-9
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Canada
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Brookline, MA
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Brookline, MA
Subjects
: Biography, Mystery and wonders, Pictorial works, Travel

The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, A Changing India And A Hidden World Of Art

Nek Chand was born in the village of Berian Kalan in the Punjab region near the Himalayas.  He grew up listening to stories and building a small world of his own out of sticks, clay, and rocks.  In 1947, with the Partition of India, the Punjab was divided into India and Pakistan.  His Hindu family no longer belonged where they lived and they resettled in Chandigarh, a modern city in India.  Nek found a job as a government roads inspector, but never felt like he belonged.  He found an abandoned forestland and, using natural materials, started building a secret kingdom.  He worked for sixteen years creating this secret garden of art from his imagination.  The gouache and watercolor illustrations are very detailed and there is a foldout of photos of the actual garden and sculptures.  An author’s note gives more background information about Chand’s life and the Nek Chand Foundation.  The book concludes with an extensive bibliography.  mjw
Title: The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, A Changing India, And A Hidden World Of Art
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator
: Claire A.Nivola
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-7636-7475-5
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 7-10
Genre
: Picture Book, Biography
Book setting
: Chandigarh, India
Author’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Awards
: 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Subjects
: Asia, Biography, Green living, Imagination, Mosaics, Partition, Recycling, Rock garden, Sculptures, Storytelling, Visual arts

Astrid The Unstoppable

Nicknamed “the little thunderbolt,” ten-year-old Astrid likes to spend her days skiing, sledding, singing, and drinking hot chocolate with her grumpy best friend and godfather, Gunnvald.  She is the only child living in the village of Glimmerdal and she wishes there were other children in the town.  When two children unexpectedly show up, and then another strange woman appears, Astrid’s life suddenly gets very exciting.  This hilarious book will charm fans of Pippi Longstocking and Heidi. A map of Glimmerdal sets the scene. mjw
Title: Astrid The Unstoppable
Author: Maria Parr
Illustrator
: Katie Harnett
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: Norwegian
Translator
: Guy Puzey
Original Title
: Tonje Glimmerdal
Original Publisher
: Det Norske Samlaget. Oslo
Original Copyright
: 2009
ISBN
: 978-1-5362-0017-1
Hardcover pages
: 320
Age range
: 9-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Norway
Author’s ethnicity
: Norwegian
Author’s residence
: Norway
Translator’s ethnicity
: Grew up in Scotland
Translator’s residence
: Scotland
Subjects
: Girls, Humor, Norway, Rural children, Songs

Swan Lake: A Retelling Of The Classic Ballet By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The ballet, Swan Lake, the tragic love story of Odette, a princess transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer, is reimagined in beautiful black, white, and red charcoal illustrations in this over-sized picture book version of the classic tale.  The story is briefly summarized at the beginning of each of the three acts. It is a story of first love, good and evil, and betrayal and loss. mjw
Title: Swan Lake: A Retelling Of The Classic Ballet By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Author: Anne Spudvilas
Illustrator
: Anne Spudvilas
Publisher
: Allen and Unwin Book Publishers.  Sydney, Australia
Copyright
: 2017
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-74331-845-4
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 10-14
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Murry-Darling riverscape in Australia
Author’s ethnicity
: Australian
Author’s residence
: Wentworth, Australia
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Australian
Illustrator’s residence
: Wentworth, Australia
Subjects
: Ballets, Birds, Dance, Fairytales, Love, Magic