Tag Archives: Friends

The Dot (The Dot That Couldn’t Sit Still)

Once upon a time there was a dot in the big broad universe.  One day, it gets tired of sitting still and starts to move around. The dot meets other dots and together they make shapes – squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles.  The shapes realize they can make a house. They are amazed by what they can make if they work together – highrises, the sun, the moon, and even a boy, a girl, and a cat.  The brief text is accompanied by stark black and white drawings with bright red, yellow, and orange accents.  The book is a celebration of creativity. mjw
Title: The Dot
Author: Gulnar Hajo
Illustrator
: Gulnar Hajo
Publisher
: Darf Children’s Books. London
Copyright
: 201
Original Language
: Arabic
Translator
: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
Original Title
: Hekayat Nuqta’ala dafter abyadh
Original Publisher
: Bright Fingers Publishing House. Damascus, Syria
Original Copyright
: 2014
ISBN
: 978-1-85077-329-0
Paperback pages
: 20
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Syrian
Author’s residence
: Istanbul
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Syrian
Illustrator’s residence
: Istanbul
Subjects
: Creativity, Shapes, Universe

A Boy And A House

This wordless book is the story of a boy wandering down dark Grimm Street past interesting street and window scenes.  When he gets to #34 Andersen Street, he sees a cat in an open doorway.  He follows the cat up a stairway where there are discarded drawings on the floor, which he collects.  The sepia-toned watercolor paintings are full of enticing details. The two mice on each page are especially fun.  The boy journeys through the house, drawn forever forward until he reaches a lovely surprise.  Each page in the book is more amazing than the last. mjw
Title: A Boy And A House
Author: Maja Kastelic
Illustrator
: Maja Kastelic
Publisher
: Annick Press
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: Slovenian
Original Title
: Decek in Hisa
Original Publisher
: Mladinska Knjiga Zalozba
Original Copyright
: 2015
ISBN
: 978-1-77321-055-1
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-7
Genre
: Wordless Picture Book
Book setting
: Slovenian townhouse
Author’s ethnicity
: Slovenian
Author’s residence
: Slovenia
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Slovenian
Illustrator’s residence
: Slovenia
Awards
: White Ravens List
Subjects
: Cats, Companionship, Discovery, Houses, Stories without words, Surprises

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
Subjects
: Emotions, Indigenous, Intergenerational friendship, Nature, Seasons

The Princess Dolls

In 1942 Vancouver, nine-year-old best friends Esther and Michiko spot Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret dolls in their local toyshop.  They hope they can have the dolls as presents for their shared birthday. But when Esther receives a doll and Michiko doesn’t, their friendship begins to fall apart.  The story is set during a time of increasing hostility and attacks upon Japanese Canadians.  Michiko and her family are sent away to an internment camp.  Esther is Jewish and her family worries about the fate of relatives who remain in Europe.  The story does resolve in a heartwarming way.  Charming black and white drawings complement this gentle story about friendship. mjw
Title: The Princess Dolls
Author: Ellen Schwartz
Illustrator
: Mariko Ando
Publisher
: Tradewind Books. Vancouver
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-926890-29-6
Paperback pages
: 224
Age range
: 8-11
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Vancouver, British Columbia
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Burnaby, British Columbia
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Illustrator’s residence
: Vancouver, British Columbia
Subjects
: Canadian history, Dolls, Injustice, Japanese internment, Racism, Toys, World War II

The Color Of The Sun

This story takes place in one day of Davie’s life in Tyneside, his small town home.  He takes off on a journey after what appears to be the murder of a boy he knows.  Half real and half imagined, he meets characters from his town, which has rival gangs,. Davie thinks he knows who the murderer is.  As the story progresses, it gets harder to fathom what is real.  The ending is brilliant and leaves readers feeling positive and hopeful.  The book is beautifully written. mjw
Title: The Color Of The Sun
Author: David Almond
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
Original Publisher
: Hachette Children’s Group. U.K.
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-1-5362-0785-9
Hardcover pages
: 224
Age range
: 12 up
Genre
: Fiction, Fantasy
Book setting
: England
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.
Awards
: Hans Christian Andersen Medal, Carnegie Medal
Subjects
: Adventure, Coming of Age, Death and dying, Violence, Young adult boys

Bilal Cooks Daal

Six-year-old Bilal helps his dad make his favorite food – daal.  The slow cooked dish from South Asia requires many ingredients and patience. Bilal’s diverse friends are excited to try the new dish.  They break naan around the table and share the steamy, garlicky, salty, sweet, creamy daal.  They all agree that it tastes great.  The colorful illustrations were rendered digitally. An author’s note explains that daal is known as lentils in English.  A recipe for chana daal with split chickpeas is also included. mjw
Title: Bilal Cooks Daal
Author: Aisha Saeed
Illustrator
: Anoosha Syed
Publisher
: Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-534418103
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Pakistani-American
Author’s residence
: Atlanta, Georgia. U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Pakistaani-Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Toronto, Canada
Subjects
: Bi-racial, Celebrations, Cooking, Cultural differences, Cultural traditions, Family relationships, Friendship, Lentils, Pakistani, Patience

Girl Of The Southern Sea

Fourteen-year-old Nia lives in the slums of Jakarta, Java, with her father and her little brother. She dreams of attending high school and becoming a writer, but school is too expensive.  Her father runs a banana fritter cart near the railway station, but the money he makes usually just supports his drinking habit.  He is an unhappy and weak man who disappears for days, so Nia has to raise her little brother.  A series of unfortunate events leads to Nia’s father’s plan to marry Nia off to a much older man.  Nia overcomes all the obstacles and determines her own future.  A map of Indonesia and a glossary are included. mjw
Title: Girl Of The Southern Sea
Author: Michelle Kadarusman
Publisher
: Pajama Press, Toronto
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77278-081-9
Hardcover pages
: 224
Age range
: 9-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Jakarta, Java, Indonesia
Author’s ethnicity
: Grew up in Melbourne, has lived in Indonesia
Author’s residence
: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Subjects
: Asian literature, Authors, Fantasy, Homelessness, Mythology, Poverty, Self-esteem and self-reliance, Slums, Teenage marriage