Tag Archives: Language

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

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

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

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

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

A Place To Belong

World War II is over and Hanako and her family – her father, her mother, and little brother Akira – are moving to Japan.  They have been in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans in America.  They have renounced their citizenship so they can leave the camp and return to Japan to live with Hanako’s grandparents on a tenant farm outside of Hiroshima.  They barely survive.  Hanako struggles to fit in as an outsider in her new home.  This is a moving book interspersed with black and white drawings. mjw
Title: A Place To Belong
Author: Cynthia Kadohata
Illustrator
: Julia Kuo
Publisher
: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English 
ISBN
: 978-1-481446648
Hardcover pages
: 416
Age range
: 10-14
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Hiroshima, Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: Japanese
Author’s residence
: California, U.S.
Subjects
: Emigration and immigration, Hiroshima, Multigenerational family life, Japan, Japan history 1945

Bounce Back: Zayd Saleem, Chasing The Dream

This is the third in a series about Pakistani-American fourth-grade basketball player Zayd Saleem. An ankle injury leaves him on the sidelines just as he is about to become team captain of the Gold Team. He is on the bench for several weeks and worries about how he can help his team win the championship.  Meanwhile, at home, his family is preparing Pakistani wedding festivities for his uncle. Specific cultural information is smoothly integrated into this universal story.  Black and white drawings enhance the text. mjw
Title: Bounce Back: Zayd Saleem, Chasing The Dream
Author: Hena Khan
Illustrator
: Sally Wern Comport
Publisher
: Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-534412057
Hardcover pages
: 144
Age range
: 7-11
Genre
: Fiction
Author’s ethnicity
: Pakistani-American
Author’s residence
: Rockville, Maryland. U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Subjects
: Basketball, Family life,Leadership, Middle schools, Muslims, Urdu, Weddings

I’m An Immigrant Too!

This book uses poetry to guide the reader though the journeys of several young people, as they immigrate from various countries around the world to Australia. Brightly colored computer graphics set the tone marvelously for this story of perseverance and hope. mm
Title: I’m An Immigrant Too!
Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator
: Ronojoy Ghosh
Publisher
: Beach Lane
Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-1-5344-3602-2
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture book
Author’s ethnicity
: Australian
Author’s residence
: Adelaide, Australia
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: Sydney, Australia
Subjects
: Australia, Family, Immigrants

This Is Me, Mayil

This is the diary of spirited sixteen-year-old Mayil Ganeshan.  She is curious and intelligent and wants to be a writer.  Also included are her rhymes and doodles.  The diary feels natural and is third in a series. mjw
Title: This Is Me, Mayil
Author: Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran
Illustrator
: Niveditha Subramaniam
Publisher
: Tulika Publishers.  Chennai, India
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-93-5046-996-5
Paperback pages
: 124
Age range
: 13 up
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: India
Author’s ethnicity
: Indian
Author’s residence
: India
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Indian
Illustrator’s residence
: India
Subjects
: Autobiography, Diary, Humor, Rhyme, Verse, Young adult

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