Tag Archives: Arts

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

Lemon Butterfly

This abstract and artsy picture book is an amazing picture book because both the author and the illustrator have won the Hans Christian Andersen Award. A lemon butterfly searches for a field of flowers. To a butterfly, a field of flowers is the most beautiful thing in the world. The butterfly searches through real and imagined landscapes until it finally finds the water where it becomes a lemon butterfly fish.  There are many lessons along the way. Most of the illustrations are rendered in vivid colors, with a few being only black and white graphic forms. mjw
Title: Lemon Butterfly
Author: Cao Wenxuan
Illustrator
: Roger Mello
Publisher
: Reycraft Books. New York
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Chinese
Original Publisher
: China Children’s Press and Publication Group. China
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-1-4788-6975-7
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Chinese
Author’s residence
: China
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Brazilian
Illustrator’s residence
: Brazil
Awards
: Both author and illustrator have won the Hans Christian Andersen Award
Subjects
: Butterflies, Fish, Flowers, Horses, Insects, Mountains, Rivers

Catherine’s War

This teen Jewish French girl’s historical graphic novel is inspired by a true survival story. Rachel Cohen, whose passion is photography, lives at the Sevres Children’s Home outside Paris. As Hitler’s war escalates, she must go into hiding. She has to leave her friends, but she takes her camera as she is forced to move from location to location. The ink and watercolor illustrations capture beautifully the detail of the French setting. A map of Catherine’s journey through France is included, as well as photographs of the real Catherine, and an interview with the author. mjw
Title: Catherine’s War
Author: Julia Billet
Illustrator
: Claire Fauvel
Publisher
: Harper Alley, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: French
Translator
: Ivanka Hahnenberger
Original Title
: La Guerre de Catherine
Original Publisher
: Rue de Sevres, Paris
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-0-06-291559-7
Paperback pages
: 176
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel
Book setting
: France
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: France
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: French
Illustrator’s residence
: France
Awards
: 2021 ALA Batchelder Honor Award
Subjects
: Cameras, Coming of age, Holocaust, Nazis, Paris, Photographs, World War II

Five Sisters

An old couple cares for the woods they live in and desperately wants a family. The old man is given a magic branch from a great white oak tree from which he carves five beautiful Matryoshka dolls – Russian nesting dolls. The dolls come to life, paddle in the stream, and play in the trees. The old woman loves the dolls as daughters. One evening, the old man goes deep into the woods to thank the great white oak for its gift. While he is gone, a wolf stalks up to the cottage. The old man returns in time to rescue the dolls and he takes them to the hollow heart of the oak tree where they are replaced by a real and true daughter. The old couple receives the joy they had always longed for. Striking, traditional illustrations enhance this tale of heartache, hope, and love. mjw
Title: Five Sisters
Author: Stephanie Campisi
Illustrator
: Madalina Andronic
Publisher
: Familius LLC
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-64170-1570
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 3-8
Genre
: Picture book, Folktale
Author’s ethnicity
: Australian
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Romanian
Illustrator’s residence
: Puglia, Italy
Subjects
: Folktales, Matryoshka dolls, Myths, Wolves

Festivals And Traditions In Switzerland

This fascinating book takes you on a journey through a year in Switzerland. Starting with the New Year’s Mummers Procession in Appenzel Ausserrhoden with the Uglies, Pretties, and Pretty-Uglies costumes, which are made only of material from nature and ending with Christmas traditions like Yule log cakes,  bell-ringing, giant top hats, frankincense, and Christmas decorations. This amazing book thoroughly describes the many celebrations that occur throughout the year. On the journey, you’ll encounter brass bands, terrifying masks, shepherds, men dressed as trees, fast pigs, bareback riders, and much, much more. The illustrations are colorful, detailed, and entertaining. An Afterword explains even more. A section of Information and Tips provides dates and even times for travelers going to Switzerland. Also included is a list of customs and celebrations according to cantons, or states. mjw
Title: Festivals And Traditions In Switzerland
Author: Barbara Piatti
Illustrator
: Yvonne Rogenmoser
Publisher
: NorthSouth
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Mary Carozza
Original Title
: Feste & Brauche in der Schweiz
Original Publisher
: Nordsud Verlag
Original Copyright
: 2019
ISBN
: 978-0-7358-4416-2
Hardcover pages
: 96
Age range
: 4-12
Genre
: Information book, Nonfiction, Picture book
Book setting
: Switzerland
Author’s residence
: Basel, Switzerland
Illustrator’s residence
: Zurich, Switzerland
Subjects
: Celebrations, Holidays, Switzerland

The Lady With The Books: A Story Inspired By The Remarkable Work Of Jella Lepman

This story was inspired by true events and is the fictionalized retelling of how Jella Lepman brought a collection of international books to Germany after WWII in 1946.Anneliese and Peter wander the ruined streets of Munich and discover a great hall filled with books and they meet the lady who set it up. Jella Lepman founded the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and the International Youth Library. This book includes further information about Lepman and her work, and photos of her, the exhibition, and the library. The library in Munich today holds over 60,000 books in more than 130 different languages. The artwork in the book, mostly in blues and grays, was rendered in graphite pencil and colored digitally. mjw
Title: The Lady With The Books: A Story Inspired By The remarkable Work Of Jella Lepman
Author: Kathy Stinson
Illustrator
: Marie Lafrance
Publisher
: Kids Can Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-525301544
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Picture Book, Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Germany
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Ontario
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Montreal, Quebec
Subjects
: Books, European historical fiction, Girls and women, International children’s books, Libraries, Reading, World War II

Continue reading

One World Many Colors

“We share one world. We share many colors.” This beautiful book explores the world and its vibrant colors. White shines and sparkles in the deserts of Oman, in icy Antarctica, and in sunny Australia. Pink blooms and brightens in the blossoms of Japan, in a Paris bakery, and in the flamingos in Kenya. Other colors can be found all over the world. A map of the journey is included that highlights all the locations and objects seen. Color words are given in seven different languages. The vivid illustrations are loaded with small details that are fun to find. A note from the author explains about colors and that we all share the same world – a world we should cherish. mjw
Title: One World Many Colors
Author: Ben Lerwill
Illustrator
: Alette Straathof
Publisher
: Quarto Publishing, plc
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-7112-4983-7
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 5-7
Genre
: Picture Book, Nonfiction, Information Book
Book setting
: The world
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: Oxfordshire, England
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: French
Illustrator’s residence
: Paris, France
Subjects
: Cities, Colors, Cultures, Fauna, Flora, Nature, Rural, Travel books, World

Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey Of His Life

Through a magical conversation with a young girl in a horse-drawn carriage, Hans Christian Andersen tells his life story. “The most wonderful fairytale is life itself.” He was a cobbler’s son who left his town in Denmark, with thirteen coins in his pocket, to go to Copenhagen to seek his fortune. He wanted to be an actor or a dancer, but things did not work out for him. What he really enjoyed was writing. A sheet of paper became his stage. He wrote poems, stories, fairytales, and plays. He traveled around the country meeting people who loved the theatre – people like himself. Hans goes on to tell the girl some of his stories, such as The Flying Trunk, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, Clumsy Hans, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and The Snow Queen. The sumptuous illustrations use graphic novel elements to tell the story. In the illustrations, there are references to well-known authors of children’s books and some famous children’s book characters, like The Little Prince, Pinocchio, and more. An author’s note tells more about Hans Christian Andersen’s life. mjw
Title: Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey Of His Life
Author: Heinz Janisch
Illustrator
: Maja Kastelic
Publisher
: NorthSouth Books, Inc., New York
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: German
Translator
: David Henry Wilson
Original Title
: Hans Christian Andersen: Die Reise seines Lebens
Original Publisher
: NordSud Verlag AG> Zurich, Switzerland
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-7358-4388-2
Hardcover pages
: 56
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book Biography
Book setting
: Denmark
Author’s ethnicity
: Austrian
Author’s residence
: Vienna
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Born in Slovenia
Awards
: White Ravens Award – Illustrator
Subjects
: Biography, Denmark, European history, Fairytales, Literary biography

The Pencil

Based on the author’s childhood memories of growing up in an iglu, this story is about being responsible for belongings and community.  Susan, her sister Rebecca, and brother Peter are home with their father in their iglu. Mother has gone to help a neighbor.  The children get tired of playing games. Father brings out a pencil from the box where they keep special things. All of the children begin drawing and drawing until they start to worry about what Mother will say when she gets home. They are supposed to use things wisely. Mother just reminds them that they shouldn’t waste things because they are hard to get. They only have one pencil. But she is glad that drawing brought them such joy. The illustrations have a sketch-like quality and are done in pencil. mjw
Title: The Pencil
Author: Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula
Illustrator
: Charlene Chua
Publisher
: Inhabit Media Inc. Iqaluit, Nunavut
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77227-216-1
Hardcover pages
: 36
Age range
: 5-7
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Nunavut, Canada
Author’s ethnicity
: Avinngaq born in Nunavut
Author’s residence
: Both authors – Nunavut
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Hamilton, Ontario
Subjects
: Canada, Community, Drawing, Iglu, Inaktitut, Polar regions, Thrift, Writing

P Is For Poppadoms: An Indian Alphabet Book

This simple alphabet book introduces some Hindi words in an engaging manner.  Young readers will learn about the rich culture, delicious foods, and interesting animals of India.  The book begins with A is for Aam – mango and ends with Z is for Zaban – language.  More familiar words are also included.   C is for chai and Y is for yoga.  Whimsical digitally rendered illustrations enrich the text.  An author’s note provides background on the Hindi language. There is also a page showing how to write the Hindi words. mjw
Title: P Is For Poppadoms: An Indian Alphabet Book
Author: Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal
Illustrator
: Hazel Ito
Publisher
: Beach Lane Books.  New York
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-534421721
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 3-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: India
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: Kabir – New York,  Surishthna -Atlanta
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Scottish born
Illustrator’s residence
: Hawaii
Subjects
: Alphabet, India, Poetry

My Long List Of Impossible Things

Sixteen-year-old Katja, her eighteen-year-old sister Hilde, and their mother are forced out of their house in Germany when Soviet troops take over their village after WW II. German society has collapsed and there is much hardship and violence.  Their mother is killed and the two girls make a long and dangerous journey to another town on their own.  The story is told from the point of view of Katja and the German teenage post war perspective and is rarely examined in young adult fiction.  Katja questions so much about her country, but manages to make a new life for herself.  One thing that saves Katja is her love of the piano.  Interesting facts about famous composers are sprinkled throughout this brilliant novel. mjw
Title: My Long List Of Impossible Things
Author: Michelle Barker
Publisher
: Annick Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-77321-364-4
Paperback pages
: 360
Age range
: 9 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Germany
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Subjects
: Music, Musicians, Nazism, Piano, Soviet occupation, Violence, World War II

Brave With Beauty: A Story Of Afghanistan

This beautiful book is the extraordinary story of Queen Goharshad, a 15thcentury monarch. She was an Afghani woman who was the wife of Sha Rikh.  Together they ruled over the empire of Khorasan that stretched from Turkey to China. Goharshad loved all things of beauty, including art, poetry, music, architecture, calligraphy, and the sciences. She “didn’t care a fig for war.” She was a strong woman whose mission was to bring beauty into the world. Goharshad was instrumental in the construction of a mosque, a university, and a library.  The book is filled with elaborate period illustrations and poems.  There is a guide with pronunciations of some of the words used in the story, an author’s note, and a guide for parents and educators.  A downloadable Activity Guide is included on the Yali Books website. mjw
Title: Brave With Beauty: A Story Of Afghanistan
Author: Maxine Rose Schur
Illustrator
: Patricia Grush, Robin Dewitt, Golsa Yaghoobi
Publisher
: Yali Books. New York
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-949528-97-8
Hardcover pages
: 42
Age range
: 7-9
Genre
: Picture Book, Historical Fiction, Biography
Book setting
: Afghanistan
Author’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Subjects
: Architecture, Beauty, Biographies, History, Queens, Royalty