Tag Archives: Families

Born Behind Bars

Born Behind Bars

Nine-year-old, low-caste Kabir was born in jail in Chennai, India, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He ends up living on the streets when a new warden decides that he is too old to still be living in jail. He meets Rani, a Roma girl, who helps him survive in the harsh, ugly outside world. He eventually finds his grandparents and a helpful lawyer who gets his mother released from jail. This story told through the lens of a young boy is both educating and entertaining. Kabir is brave and optimistic. Like Venkatraman’s other books, A Time To Dance, Climbing The Stairs, and The Bridge Home, this book is unforgettable. mjw

Title: Born Behind Bars
Author: Padma Venkatraman
Publisher
: Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0593-11247-2
Hardcover pages
: 273
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Chennai, India
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Awards
: 2022 NCSS Notable Books, 2022 South Asia Award Winner
Subjects
: Homelessness, India, Poverty, Prejudice, Prisoners’ families, School, Street children

Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)

Last witnesses

A very helpful Historical Context sets the scene for 65 short personal narratives told by those who were Russian children during World War II and survived terrifying war-time experiences. Nobel Prize-winning Svetlana Alexievich discloses the traumatic memories of children who were separated from their parents, most of them never to be reunited. This is the young adult adaptation of her masterpiece, Last Witness: An Oral History of the Children of WWII. The Russian perspective stories are fascinating as they portray terror, survival, and hope. The book also features a useful glossary. mjw

Title: Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)
Author: Svetlana Alexievich
Publisher
: Penguin Random House LLC
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Russian
Translator
: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Original Title
: Last Witnesses: An Oral History Of The Children Of WWII
Original Publisher
: Molodaya Gvardiya, Moscow
Original Copyright
: 1985
ISBN
: 978-0-593-30853-0
Hardcover pages
: 288
Age range
: 12-17
Genre
: Information book, Nonfiction, Oral history
Book setting
: Russia
Author’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Author’s residence
: Soviet Union, Belarus, Western Europe
Awards
: Author has won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature. 2022 NCSS Notable Books
Subjects
: Childhood, Death, Historical biographies, Hope, Military history, Oral history, Resilience, Survival, Terror, WWII, Young adult

Bharatanatyam In Ballet Shoes

BharatanatyamParo comes from a dancing family. She dances Bharatanatyam at home with her mother and now she is about to begin ballet lessons. She is worried because the two dance forms are so different. Ballet dances twirl and swirl like fairies and Bharatanatyam dancers move like queens. Paro tries to share the traditional South Asian dance with her new ballet classmates, but they just don’t get it. Paro’s mother comes to class to perform and then everyone loves Bharatanatyam. And Paro learns to dance like a fairy queen. Vibrant illustrations complement this encouraging story about cultural competency. Back matter provides more information about the two dance forms and instructions for making ghungroo, which are both anklets and musical instruments at the same time, an essential part of Bharatanatyam. mjw
Title: Bharatanatyam In Ballet Shoes
Author: Malak Jain
Illustrator
: Anu Chouhan
Publisher
: Annick Press, Toronto
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1773216164
Hardcover pages
: 36
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Born in Delhi, India
Author’s residence
: Toronto, Ontario
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Punjabi-Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Vancouver, BC
Awards
: Author has won the 2017 South Asia Book Award
Subjects
: Asian, Asian-American, Mother-daughter relationships, Parents, Self-esteem, Self-reliance

Lena, The Sea, And Me

Lena, The Sea, and Me

In this sequel to the OmniLibros post Waffle Hearts (Adventures With Waffles in the U.S.), Trille and Lena are growing up in Mathildewick Cove in Norway, where they have another year of adventures. They hoist Trille’s little sister up a flagpole, sail into a fjord on a flimsy raft, and go caroling during a hurricane. Trille becomes interested in a new girl in town and Lena plays soccer and takes music lessons. There is a smattering of Norwegian culture, which is interesting and lovely. mjw

Title: Lena, The Sea, And Me
Author: Maria Parr
Illustrator
: Lara Paulussen
Publisher
: Candlewick Press. Somerville, Massachusetts
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Norwegian
Translator
: Guy Puzey
Original Title
: Keeperen og havet
Original Publisher
: Det Norske Samlaget. Oslo, Norway
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-1-5562-0772-9
Hardcover pages
: 304
Age range
: 7-10
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Norway
Author’s ethnicity
: Norwegian
Author’s residence
: Norway
Subjects
: Best friends, Family life, Grandparents

I Hate Borsch!

i hate borsch

A young girl living in Ukraine hates the red, thick, disgusting beet and vegetable soup known as borsch. But all Ukrainians are supposed to love it. Even the grandmothers of Kiev cannot get her to change her mind about it. When she immigrates to the U.S., she finds that she doesn’t like American food, especially the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, flat and shiny square cheese, and the mysterious pumpkin spice latte. She then finds borsch recipes hidden in her suitcase and she is transported back home. She makes the soup and invites everyone to eat her borsch. Illustrations created with acrylic, pencils, and digital collage, with splashes of borsch-bright red add to the fun in this story of rejecting and then embracing one’s culture. An author’s note and a recipe for borsch are included. mjw

Title: I Hate Borsch!
Author: Yevgenia Nayberg
Illustrator
: Yevgenia Nayberg
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5580-0
Hardcover pages
: 56
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture book
Book setting
: Ukraine and U.S.
Author’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Author’s residence
: New York
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Ukrainian
Illustrator’s residence
: New York
Subjects
: Cultures, Eastern Europe, Emigration, Food, Heritage, Immigration, Picky eaters, Soup, Recipes, Sunflowers, Vegetables

Dulcinea In The Forbidden Forest

Dulcinea

It’s Dulcinea’s birthday and her father is making her pancakes with blueberries and whipped cream. However, they forgot to buy blueberries at the market. Dulcinea’s loving father knows that blueberries grow in the forbidden forest – the forest that he told Dulcinea to never go into because a witch, who is a hideous singer, lives in a castle there. He decides that nothing could happen to him in the forest, but then the witch sees him and turn s him into a tree. Dulcinea braves the dark forest, sneaks into the castle, finds the witch’s book of spells, and frees her father. The short chapters in this easy-to-read book are just right for young readers. The funny, inky black-outlined illustrations and the orange and brown palette perfectly enhance this hilarious, contemporary fairytale. mjw

Title: Dulcinea In The Forbidden Forest
Author: Ole Konnecke
Illustrator
: Ole Konnecke
Publisher
: Gecko Press. New Zealand
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Shelley Tanaka
Original Title
: Dulcinea im Zauberwald
Original Publisher
: Carl Hanser Verlag GmbH and Co. Munich
Original Copyright
: 2021
ISBN
: 978-1-776573-95-0
Hardcover pages
: 64
Age range
: 5-9
Genre
: Fairytale, Fiction
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Germany
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Subjects
: Birthdays, Fathers, Humor, Witches

A Gift For Amma: Market Day In India

A Gift for Amma

It’s market day in the author’s hometown of Chennai, India. A young girl is searching for a treasure for her mother. She looks at saffron rice: orange marigolds; pink lotus flowers; green peacock feathers, mint, and coriander; red-hot peppers; and many more colorful items. She finally decides on rainbow bangles as the perfect gift. Back matter includes information about the unique color words in the book, facts about markets around the world, and photographs taken by the author. The gorgeous illustrations, rendered in pencils, pastels, and water-based paints make the story come alive. mjw

Title: A Gift For Amma: Market Day In India
Author: Meera Sriram
Illustrator
: Mariona Cabassa
Publisher
: Barefoot Books, Cambridge, MA
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-64686-062-3
Paperback pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Chennai, India
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: Spain
Awards
: 2021 South Asian Book Award
Subjects
: Colors, Flowers, Markets, Mothers, Peacocks, Saris, Spices

Temple Alley Summer

Temple Alley SummerWhile watching a ghost story on TV one night, fifth-grader Kazuhiro Sada sees a pale figure in a white kimono sneaking out of his house. He sees the same figure in school the next day. She is Akari, a girl his classmates insist he has known since kindergarten. Then he finds out that his house sits on the exact location of an ancient temple called Kimyo. Legend has is that the name Kimyo implies the dead coming back to life. Kazu befriends Akari and they spend the summer trying to make sense of the mystery. This thrilling adventure filled with the living dead, a story-within-a-story, a meddling neighbor, and a black cat is illustrated with manga-like drawings. mjw
Title: Temple Alley Summer
Author: Sachiko Kashiwaba
Illustrator
: Miho Satake
Publisher
: Restless Books, Inc. New York
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: Japanese
Translator
: Avery Fischer Udagawa
Original Title
: Kimyoji Yokocho no Natsu
Original Publisher
: Kodansha Ltd. Tokyo
Original Copyright
: 2011
ISBN
: 978-1-6320-6303-8
Hardcover pages
: 240
Age range
: 8-13
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Author’s residence
: Iwate Prefecture, Jan
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Illustrator’s residence
: Japan
Awards
: 2022 Mildred L. Batchelder Award
Subjects
: Cats, Fairytales, Fantasy, Ghosts, Magic, Mystery, Paranormal, Supernatural, Suspense, Temple

The Words In My Hands

the words

The art journal of Deaf sixteen-year-old Piper, set in near-future Melbourne, Australia, is part coming of age story and part call to action. Piper is smart, artistic, and rebellious. Deaf since the age of three, she is told by her mother that she needs to conform, compensate and appear normal. She meets Marley, a CODA (child of a deaf parent), and a whole new world opens up for her. This is a time of food scarcity, environmental collapse, and political corruption. Piper is determined to build a sustainable food garden and communicate with her mom, friends, and community like she never has before. Back matter in this amazing book includes information on the Deaf community and various forms of sign language and ideas for journaling. mjw

Title: The Words In My Hands
Author: Asphyxia
Illustrator
: Asphyxia
Publisher
: Annick Press
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
Original Title
: Future Girl In Australia
Original Publisher
: Allen & Unwin, Australia
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-1773215280
Hardcover pages
: 388
Age range
: 13-16
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Australia
Author’s ethnicity
: Australian
Author’s residence
: Australia
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Australian
Illustrator’s residence
: Australia
Awards
: 2022 ALA Schneider Family Book Award for Teens, 2021 Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book of the Year for Older Readers 2021 White Raven
Subjects
: Activism, Auslan, Coming of age, Creativity, Deafness, Dystopian, Finger-spelling, Future, Gardens, Problem solving, Sign language, Special needs, Sustainability

A Kind Of Spark

A Kind of SparkEleven-year-old Addie is autistic, headstrong, and smart. She thinks differently from the people around her. She is on a campaign to have a plaque erected in her Scottish hometown in memory of the victims of the witch trials which happened there hundreds of years ago. She understands what it is like to be treated as an outcast for being different. The author is neurodivergent, too, and she insightfully tells about what it is like to be an autistic girl. She believably portrays Addie’s struggles and her beautiful friendship with a girl who is understanding and supportive. mjw
Title: A Kind Of Spark
Author: Elle McNicoll
Publisher
: Crown Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-593-37425-2
Hardcover pages
: 192
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Scotland
Author’s ethnicity
: Scottish
Author’s residence
: London
Awards
: 2022 ALA Schneider Family Book Award – Middle Grade Honor
Subjects
: Autism, Bullies, Disabilities, Neurodivergency, Sharks, Teachers, Witch trials

Red Stars: The Case Of Viktor And Nadya’s Notebooks

Red Stars- The Case...

Diary entries, maps, drawings, and historical photos tell this story of Viktor and Nadya, twelve-year-old twins who were evacuated from Leningrad when Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union. They were separated when they were put on trains that were meant to take them to safety. The story is told in three voices, alternating between Viktor (printed in red), Nadya (printed in dark blue), and an offstage voice of a Soviet Secret Police officer. His handwritten comments are written in the margins. Viktor’s train makes it to Moscow, where he is expected to do hard labor on a kolkhoz (farm). It is rumored that Nadya’s train was bombed with no survivors. Viktor doesn’t believe this and sets off through cold and harsh conditions to find Nadya. They eventually find each other and unravel a mystery of treason and betrayal at the highest level of Soviet leadership. mjw

Title: Red Stars: The Case Of Viktor And Nadya’s Notebooks
Author: Davide Morosinotto
Illustrator
: Simone Tso
Publisher
: Delacorte Press
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Italian
Translator
: Denise Muir
Original Title
:  La Stolgorante luce di due stelle rosse
Original Publisher
: Mondadori, Milan
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-1-9848-9332-1
Hardcover pages
: 432
Age range
: 10-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Soviet Union
Author’s ethnicity
: Italian
Author’s residence
: Italy
Subjects
: European historical fiction, Evacuation, Germany, Hitler, Leningrad, MIlitary fictioon, Siblings, Trains, World War II

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