Tag Archives: Schools

Different: A Story Of The Spanish Civil War

DifferentSiblings, seven-year-old Socorro and nine-year-old Paco tell their story of Spain during the turbulent Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Fascist dictator Francisco Franco persecuted everyone who opposed him, and consequently, the children’s father had to flee Spain because of his political beliefs. The children and their mother remain in Spain and have to keep their secret. A letter arrives from their father in Venezuela that results in the family being reunited in Caracas, where they are still different but safe. Oil-pastel illustrations portray the worlds of the family. Based on the author’s family history, this middle-grade novel is supplemented with more information about Spain and the war, wartime refugees, a new life beyond Spain, and the lives of refugees today. A glossary of Spanish words and resources for children, young adults, and older readers are also included. mjw
Title: Different: A Story Of The Spanish Civil War
Author: Monica Montanes
Illustrator
: Evan Sanchez Gomez
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: Spanish
Translator
: Lawrence Schimel
Original Title
: Los distintos
Original Publisher
: Ediciones Ekare. Barcelona, Spain
Original Copyright
: 2020
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5598-5
Hardcover pages
: 88
Age range
: 9-14
Genre
: Historical fiction
Book setting
: Spain, Venezuela
Author’s ethnicity
: Venezuelan
Author’s residence
: Madrid
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Spanish
Illustrator’s residence
: Spain
Awards
: 2021 White Raven, 2023 Batchelder Award
Subjects
: Brothers and sisters, Caribbean and Latin America, Emigration and immigration, Military and wars, Refugees, Spain Civil War 1936-1939, Survival, Venezuela

Girl On The Run

Girl on the runIt’s 1933 in Berlin, and thirteen-year-old Amelie is beginning to feel the effects of Hitler’s rise to power. At school, she is picked on by her teacher for being Jewish, and her friends snub her for not joining the Aryan Youth Group. Her father remarries, and her new cruel stepmother plans to expose Amelie’s Jewish heritage to the Nazis. Amelie is a strong heroine who is also bright, courageous, and quick thinking. The novel is a real page-turner. A sequel, The Doktor’s Daughter (2022), brings Amelie back to Berlin after four years in Paris when questions arise about her father. This is another engaging read.  mjw
Title: Girl On The Run
Author: Nancy McDonald
Publisher
: Iguana Books. Toronto
Copyright
: 2021
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77180-517-9
Paperback pages
: 174
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Historical fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Berlin, Paris
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Stratford, Ontario
Subjects
: Coming of age, Germany, Holocaust, Jewish persecution, Nazis, Stepmothers, World War II

Our Own Little Paradise

Our Own Little Paradise

On the last day of sixth grade, all of Nora’s classmates tell about their exciting summer plans – Italy, Croatia, Florida, Denmark, Paris, Portugal, and Spain. Nora lies and tells the class that she is going to the tropics. She keeps the lie growing through social media. The problem is that a new boy, Wilmer, has moved into the neighborhood and finds out that she has not gone to the tropics. Nora and Wilmer secretly build their own “tropics” in an abandoned apartment. By the end of summer, her whole class finds out that she lied, but the resolution is satisfyingly happy. This wonderful middle age story, with short chapters, addresses the struggles of trying to fit in, finding true friends, and different social classes. mjw

Title: Our Own Little Paradise
Author: Marianne Kaurin
Publisher
: Arctis Books. Stamford, CT, USA
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: Norwegian
Translator
: Olivia Lasky
Original Title
: Syden
Original Publisher
: H. Aschehoug and Co. (W. Nygaard) AS
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-1-64690-018-3
Hardcover pages
: 300
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction, Novel
Book setting
: Norway
Author’s ethnicity
: Norwegian
Author’s residence
: Oslo. Norway
Translator’s ethnicity
: US
Translator’s residence
: Oslo, Norway
Awards
: 2021 German Youth Literature Prize
Subjects
: First love, Holidays, Lies, Peer pressure, Relationships, Social media, Summer, Vacations

It’s So Difficult

It's So Difficult

A child leaves the house and everything is so difficult. The school day is overwhelming. Counting things or calculating relaxes him. His mother tells him not to rush, that someday words will happen. But the noise makes everything so difficult. The book was inspired by the author’s experiences as a secondary school teacher in Spain. Interesting line illustrations created with collage, pencil, gouache, and digital media enrich this look at anxiety and overstimulation. mjw

Title: It’s So Difficult
Author: Raul Nieto Guridi
Illustrator
: Raul Nieto Guridi
Publisher
: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: Spanish
Translator
: Lawrence Schimel
Original Title
: Lo Dificil
Original Publisher
: Tres Tigres Tristes
Original Copyright
:  2020
ISBN
: 978-0-8028-5584-8
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 5-9
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Spanish
Author’s residence
: Spain
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Spanish
Illustrator’s residence
: Spain
Subjects
: Anxiety, Math, Overstimulation, Special needs

Fly

FLYFourteen-year-old Felix Landon Yarrow – F.L.Y., or Fly has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. He carries around his father’s worn copy of Don Quixote to prove that there is a brain inside his uncooperative body. His first-person narrative in engaging free verse tells of his fascination with knighthood and chivalry. He fears that Carter, the school villain, is a danger to his crush/damsel in distress, Daria. Using his cleverness and invisibility – his superpower – he constructs a plan to save Daria. Fly is a courageous, kind, and funny character on a “quest/ for a noble life.” mjw
Title: Fly
Author: Alison Hughes
Publisher
: Kids Can Press Ltd., Toronto
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1525-305-832
Hardcover pages
: 197
Age range
: 10-14
Genre
: Fiction, Novel in verse
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Edmonton, Alberta
Subjects
: Cerebral palsy, Courage, Don Quixote, Free verse, Poetry, Wheelchairs

The Library Bus

The Library Bus

Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during the civil war and Taliban regime of 1996-2001. His story was inspired by the first library bus in Kabul that brought books to girls in remote villages and refugee camps who had no other access to education. Five-year-old Pari is starting her first day as her mother’s helper on the library bus. The girls in the villages and camps are learning English, but Pari cannot even read or write in Farsi yet. She is lucky that she will attend school next year. Her mother had to learn in secret because not long ago, girls were forbidden to read. The captivating watercolor and digital media artwork portrays the girls’ smiling faces, the rich landscape of Afghanistan, and the power of education. Included are notes about refugee camps and the author’s experiences in Kabul. mjw

Title: The Library Bus
Author: Bahram Rahman
Illustrator
: Gabrielle Grimard
Publisher
: Pajama Press. Toronto
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77278-101-4
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture book
Book setting
: Kabul, Afghanistan
Author’s ethnicity
: born in Kabul, Afghanistan
Author’s residence
: Ontario, Canada
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: born in Montreal
Illustrator’s residence
: Canada
Awards
: 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award, 2021 Middle East Book Award Winner, 2021 Sout Asian Book Award – Highly recommended book
Subjects
: Books, Education, Libraries, Homelessness, Middle East, Poverty, Reading, Refugees

Leilong’s Too Long!

LeilongEvery morning, Leilong the brontosaurus shuttles through the city, picking up children for school. But he is longer than a tennis court, and he weighs as much as five elephants. He breaks bridges and knocks over houses. He feels awkward in the city. There are so many complaints that the school is forced to take its brontosaurus bus off the road. The children find a way to help Leilong fit in. He becomes the city’s most popular playground. The imaginative cartoon illustrations are rendered in crayon and watercolor and have a child-like quality. This book follows the bestselling Leilong the Library Bus (2021). mjw
Title: Leilong’s Too Long
Author: Julia Liu
Illustrator
: Bei Lynn
Publisher
: Gecko Press. New Zealand
Copyright
: 2022
Original Language
: Chinese
Translator
: Helen Wang
Original Title
: Riding A Brontosaurus To School
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-1-77657-433-9
Hardcover pages
: 28
Age range
: 2-5
Genre
: Picture book
Author’s ethnicity
: Taiwanese
Author’s residence
: Taiwan
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Taiwanese
Illustrator’s residence
: Taiwan
Subjects
: Brontosaurus, Bus, Dinosaurs, Imagination, School bus, Transportation

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

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

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