Tag Archives: Families

The Village By The Sea

Thirteen-year-old Lila and her twelve-year-old brother Hari live in a small village called Thul in western India.  They also have two younger sisters.  They live with their mother, who is ill and bed-ridden.  Lila and Hari manage the family because their father is an alcoholic. Their life is hard.  Hari decides he has had enough and leaves for Bombay to find work.  He gets a job in a restaurant and befriends Mr. Panwallah, the watch repairer.  Back home in Thul, a rich family offers to help them and their mother is taken to a hospital for treatment.  And their father turns over a new leaf.  Hari returns to the village with plans to open a repair shop. Together, the whole family starts a small chicken farm. A helpful list of Indian words is included. mjw
Title: The Village By The Sea
Author: Anita Desai
Publisher
: New York Review of Books
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
Original Publisher
: Heinemann. London
Original Copyright
: 1982
ISBN
: 978-1-68137-351-5
Paperback pages
: 263
Age range
: 12 up
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Thul and Bombay, India
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: U.S.A.
Awards
: 1983 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
Subjects
: Asia, Brothers and sisters, Family life, Family problems, Poverty, Rural life, Siblings

Child Of St. Kilda

Norman John Gilles was one of the last children born on St. Kilda, a group of islands with high cliffs off the Scottish coast.   People lived there for over four thousand years, thriving in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. They survived on sea birds, eggs, and potatoes. There was no crime or need for money.  They had no automobiles.  They trusted and cared for each other. The community came to an abrupt end in 1930 when the remaining St. Kildans begged the British government to evacuate them to the mainland. No one knows what happened. Today, the islands have become a World Heritage Site, recognized for their unique wildlife and vanished culture. The book concludes with a St. Kilda Sketchbook that provides more information and a map.  The stunning images were created by hand using monoprinting techniques. mjw
Title: Child Of St. Kilda
Author: Beth Waters
Illustrator
: Beth Waters
Publisher
: Child’s Play. Auburn, Maine. USA
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-78628-188-3
Hardcover pages
: 64 
Age range
: 4-9
Genre
: Picture Book, Information Book, Nonfiction
Book setting
: Scotland
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: Cambridge, U.K.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: English
Illustrator’s residence
: Cambridge, U.K.
Subjects
: Birds, History, Immigration, Mystery, Storms, Survival

The Girl Who Stole An Elephant

Chaya is a rebellious and fearless schoolgirl.  She steals from the rich in her Serendib (Sri Lanka) village to help the poor.  One day, she goes too far and takes some of the Queen’s jewels and, consequently, gets her best friend arrested.  She and her friends, loyal Neelan and clever Nour, escape to the jungle where they have amazing adventures.  She also manages to steal the King’s elephant Ananda.  This fast-paced novel is full of gorgeous and vivid imagery and bits of interesting information about jungle flora and fauna. The book ends with a little twist. mjw
Title: The Girl Who Stole An Elephant
Author: Nizrana Farook
Publisher
: Nosy Crow Ltd. London
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-78800-634-7
Paperback pages
: 247
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Serendib. Sri Lanka
Author’s ethnicity
: Born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Author’s residence
: Hertfordshire, England
Subjects
: Adventure, Bandits, Elephants, Girls, Jungles, Royalty, Theft

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

Song Of The River

Cam the mountain boy wishes he could go to the sea.  He follows the river from its source as a trickle of water running through pine trees all the way to the coast.  He follows it through the forest, farmlands, and towns.  Rich, detailed landscape illustrations explore the world of the river. mjw
Title: Song Of The River
Author: Joy Cowley
Illustrator
: Kimberly Andrews
Publisher
: Gecko Press. New Zealand
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English 
ISBN
: 978-1-776572-53-3
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: North America
Author’s ethnicity
: New Zealander
Author’s residence
: Wellington, New Zealand
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: New Zealand
Subjects
: Grandfathers, Rivers, Sea, Stream

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

A Grain Of Rice

Thirteen-year-old Yen and her family live in rural Vietnam. A flood destroys their village.  Famine and persecution because they are of Chinese ancestry lead the family to flee from their war-torn homeland after the fall of Saigon.  They become boat people and are eventually rescued by the Malaysian Coast Guard. There is a glossary of Vietnamese words. The story is based on events from the author’s childhood. mjw
Title: A Grain Of Rice
Author: Nhung N. Tran-Davies
Publisher
: Tradewind Books. Vancouver
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-926890-25-8
Paperback pages
: 154
Age range
: 12 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Vietnam
Author’s ethnicity
: Vietnamese
Author’s residence
: Edmonton, Alberta. Canada 
Subjects
: Famine Food, Persecution, Poverty, Prejudice, Refugees

You’re Strong With Me

A new baby giraffe bounds through the grasslands and her mother tells her not to wander off on her own. The mother explains the oxpecker bird, fire, baby fish in the creek, and always proclaims, “…you’re strong with me.” Shades of brown and gold and triangle and diamond shapes are reminiscent of African textiles.  The original artwork was created with ink on paper and completed digitally.  Companion books are You’re Safe With Me and You’re Snug With Memjw
Title: You’re Strong With Me
Author: Chitra Soundar
Illustrator
: Poonam Mistry
Publisher
: Lantana Publishing Ltd.  London
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-911373-75-9
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book, Folklore
Book setting
: African Grasslands
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian born British
Author’s residence
: London
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: U.K.
Awards
: 2019 Kate Greenaway Shortlist
Subjects
: Baby animals, Giraffes, Grasslands, New experiences, Parents

Maison Rouge: Memories Of A Childhood In War

 

Liliane Leila Juma was sixteen years old when her home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was destroyed by rebel soldiers.  In her memoir, she tells about her life before and after her family was torn apart by militia invasions and civil war.  Through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Leila and her family were able to relocate to Canada.  An introduction gives facts about Congo.  A helpful map of the region is included. mjw
Title: Maison Rouge: Memories Of A Childhood In War
Author: Liliane Leila Juma
Publisher
: Tradewind Books. Vancouver
Copyright: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-926890-30-2
Paperback pages
: 126
Age range
: 12 up
Genre
: Nonfiction, Information Book, Biography
Book setting
: Congo
Author’s ethnicity
: Congolese
Author’s residence
: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Subjects
: Canada, Civil war, Congo (Democratic Republic), Invasion, Refugees, Social conditions, Survival

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
Subjects
: Arakan, Buddhists, Burmese, Human trafficking, Muslims, Persecution, Rakhine State,Refugees, Rohingyas, Soldiers

Patience, Miyuki

A young Japanese girl Miyuki anxiously awaits spring with her grandfather.  One sleepy flower doesn’t bloom and Miyuki goes in search of the finest water to awaken the precious and delicate flower.  Her grandfather suggests that she just sit in the sunshine with him and watch and wait.  The magical illustrations with bold origami floral patterns are rendered in watercolor and colored pencils.  They invite children to pay attention to the natural world. mjw
Title: Patience, Miyuki
Author: Roxane Marie Galliez
Illustrator
: Seng Sound Ratanavanh
Publisher
: Princeton Architectural Press. New York
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: French
Original Title
: Attends Miyuki
Original Publisher
: De La Martiniere Jeunesse. Paris
Original Copyright
: 2016
ISBN
: 978-1-61689-843-4
Hardcover pages
: 28
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: Saint-Etienne, France
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: French
Illustrator’s residence
: Paris, France
Subjects
: Flowers, Gardens, Grandfathers, Kindness, Patience, Spring, Water

Captain Rosalie

Five-year-old Rosalie lives with her mother in a French village during World War I.  Her father is away at the front.  She keeps a secret notebook and is on a mission. She is Captain Rosalie, spying on the enemy.  Her mother reads aloud Father’s letters and they all look forward to the war’s end and Father’s return home.  One day, a letter arrives that Rosalie’s mother does not read.  Watercolor, pen, and ink illustrations in muted grays with soft spots of orange, pink, and blue contribute to this quiet, emotional story of hope and courage. mjw
Title: Captain Rosalie
Author: Timothee De Fombelle
Illustrator
: Isabelle Arsenault
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: French
Translator
: Sam Gordon
Original Publisher
: Walker Books Ltd.
Original Copyright
: 2014
ISBN
: 978-1-5362-0520-6
Hardcover pages
: 64 
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction, Novella
Book setting
: France
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: Paris, France
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Quebec
Subjects
: Fathers and daughters, Letters, Loss, Military fiction, Reading, School issues, World War I