Tag Archives: Schools

Beyond Me

This novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and damaged a nuclear power plant in March, 2011, through the eyes of eleven-year-old Maya.  Maya and her family were lucky. They didn’t lose their Tokyo home or the lives of family members, but Maya is still terrified. She feels helpless and hopeless. What can she do to help? She chronicles the 24 days after the quake, sometimes minute by minute. Maya and her friend Yuka fold paper cranes and ask for sunflower seeds to plant. She continues writing her journal for 113 days with interesting formatting and timelines. An author’s note tells more about the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011. mjw

Title: Beyond Me
Author: Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu
Publisher
: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-48143-789-9
Hardcover pages
: 304
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction, Verse
Book setting
: Japan
Author’s ethnicity
: U.S.
Author’s residence
: Tokyo, Japan
Subjects
: Earthquakes, Family life, Japan, Novels in verse, Paper cranes, Sunflowers, Survival, Tsunamis

From My Window

A boy looks out the window and sees in his favela (his district in Rio de Janeiro), patched roofs, rainbows, and people everywhere. He talks to his friends and starts a telephone game. He sees children playing soccer and going to school and he hears Brazilian funk, also called favela funk. He sees his favela and asks, “What do you see from your window?” Colorful, extremely detailed illustrations prepared in acrylics and finished digitally celebrate the boy’s diverse urban community. Back matter explains favelas in Brazil. mjw
Title: From My Window
Author: Otavio Junior
Illustrator
: Vanina Starkoff
Publisher
: Barefoot Books. Cambridge, MA
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: Portuguese
Translator
: Beatriz C. Dias
Original Publisher
: Companhia das Letras. Sao Paulo
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-1-78285-977-2
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: Brazil
Author’s ethnicity
: Brazilian
Author’s residence
: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Brazilian
Illustrator’s residence
: Brazil
Subjects
: Brazil, Cities, Favela, Soccer, South America, Urban community living

Catherine’s War

This teen Jewish French girl’s historical graphic novel is inspired by a true survival story. Rachel Cohen, whose passion is photography, lives at the Sevres Children’s Home outside Paris. As Hitler’s war escalates, she must go into hiding. She has to leave her friends, but she takes her camera as she is forced to move from location to location. The ink and watercolor illustrations capture beautifully the detail of the French setting. A map of Catherine’s journey through France is included, as well as photographs of the real Catherine, and an interview with the author. mjw
Title: Catherine’s War
Author: Julia Billet
Illustrator
: Claire Fauvel
Publisher
: Harper Alley, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers
Copyright
: 2020
Original Language
: French
Translator
: Ivanka Hahnenberger
Original Title
: La Guerre de Catherine
Original Publisher
: Rue de Sevres, Paris
Original Copyright
: 2017
ISBN
: 978-0-06-291559-7
Paperback pages
: 176
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel
Book setting
: France
Author’s ethnicity
: French
Author’s residence
: France
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: French
Illustrator’s residence
: France
Awards
: 2021 ALA Batchelder Honor Award
Subjects
: Cameras, Coming of age, Holocaust, Nazis, Paris, Photographs, World War II

Priya Dreams Of Marigolds And Masala

Young Priya and her family live in a house in a small city in the United States. It’s the only house on the street with an Indian family. As Priya’s Ba (grandmother) is cooking dinner, Priya asks, “What is India like?” Ba, in her colorful sari, describes special spices, beautiful fabrics, architecture, monsoons, strings of marigolds, and more. At school the next day, Priya tells about India and makes paper marigolds. Her classmates join her and make a long garland of marigolds for Priya’s Ba. “Sharing India with others is the best way to carry it with you.” The vibrant illustrations give readers a look into Indian life. Back matter includes information on meanings, definitions, and pronunciations. An author’s note provides even more information. mjw
Title: Priya Dreams Of Marigolds And Masala
Author: Meenal Patel
Illustrator
: Meenal Patel
Publisher
: Beaver’s Pond Press, Inc. Edina, MN. USA
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-64343-955-6
Hardcover pages
: 36
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Book setting
: U.S.
Author’s ethnicity
: Born in the U.S.. Family from Gujarat, India
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Born in the U.S.. Family from Gujarat, India
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Awards
: 2020 South Asia Book Award. Grade K-2
Subjects
: Asia, Flowers, Grandmothers, Multigenerational family life, Tradition

The Distance Between Me And The Cherry Tree

Ten-year-old Mafalda has Stargardt Disease, which causes progressive vision loss and eventual blindness. She has six months of sight left and she hides this fact from her family and friends. She keeps a list of all the things she cares about, like climbing the cherry tree near her school and counting stars. She makes a plan for when she can’t see and runs away to live in her favorite cherry tree.  This is a powerful, thought-provoking story of a young girl’s fears. mjw
Title: The Distance Between Me And The Cherry Tree
Author: Paola Peretti
Illustrator
: Carolina Rabei
Publisher
: Hot Key Books, London
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: Italian
Translator
: Denise Muir
Original Publisher
: Rizzoli
Original Copyright
: 2018
ISBN
: 978-1-4714-0755-0
Paperback pages
: 195
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Italy
Author’s ethnicity
: Italian
Author’s residence
: Verona, Italy
Translator’s residence
: Edinburgh and Abruzzo, Italy
Awards
: 2020 ALA Mildred Batchelder Honor Award, 2020 IBBY Honor List
Subjects
: Blindness, Cats, Emotions and feelings, Sight, Special needs, Stargardt disease, Trees

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

Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpre

Pura Belpre came to America from Puerto Rico in 1921.  She carried her cuentos folkloricos with her and became the first Puerto Rican to work at the New York Public Library. She hosted storytelling and puppetry sessions and shared her native folklore with children.  She also published many of her stories.  The Pura Belpre Award, which is given by the American Library Association, and which recognizes outstanding children’s books depicting the Latino cultural experience in the United States, is named in her honor.  An author’s note, a selected bibliography, a list of articles and films, and stories by Pura Belpre mentioned in the book are included as back matter.  The delightful digitally produced illustrations complement the fascinating story of this extraordinary woman who championed bilingual literature. mjw
Title: Planting Stories: The Life Of Librarian And Storyteller Pura Belpre
Author: Anika Aldamuy Denise
Illustrator
: Paola Escobar
Publisher
: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-06-274868-3
Hardcover pages
: 40
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book Biography
Book setting
: New York City
Author’s ethnicity
: Puerto Rican-Italian
Author’s residence
: Rhode Island, U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Colombian
Illustrator’s residence
: Bogota, Colombia
Awards: 2020 ALA Pura Belpre Author Honor Book
Subjects
: Biographies, Folktales, Hispanic and Latino books, Libraries, Multicultural, Puppets, Stories

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

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
Awards: 2020 USBBY Outstanding International Book List
Subjects
: Asian literature, Authors, Fantasy, Homelessness, Mythology, Poverty, Self-esteem and self-reliance, Slums, Teenage marriage

My Sweet Orange Tree

Zeze, a precocious five-year-old born to a poor family in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, taught himself to read at a very young age and wants to grow up to be “a poet with a bow tie.” Zeze is a naughty child with a heart of gold.  He plays clever pranks on his neighbors and is punished severely for them by his parents. Imaginative Zeze adopts a small orange tree that grows in his yard as his magical friend.  Inspired by the author’s childhood, the book is a Brazilian classic, adopted by schools and adapted for cinema, television, and the stage. It has been translated into nineteen languages. mjw
Title: My Sweet Orange Tree
Author: Jose Mauro De Vasconcelos (1920-1984)
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: Portuguese
Translator
: Alison Entrekin
Original Title
: Meu pe de laranja lima
Original Publisher
: Editora melhoramentos Ltda, Brazil
Original Copyright
: 1968
ISBN
: 978-1-5362-0328-8
Hardcover pages
: 272
Age range
: 14-17
Genre
: Autobiographical novel
Book setting
: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Author’s ethnicity
: Brazilian
Subjects
: Abuse, Imagination, Magic, Orange trees, Poverty

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

No Ballet Shoes In Syria

Eleven-year-old Aya has just arrived in Manchester, England, from Syria, with her Mumma and her baby brother.  She is an “asylum seeker, a would–be refugee, a poor little girl from Syria, a fatherless child from a war zone.” Her passion is dance.  One day she comes across a ballet class and the teacher recognizes her talent and thinks she might earn a position at the prestigious Northern Ballet School.  Aya is a powerful, brave character.  Her story engages in a series of flashbacks about her life in Syria.  There is a parallel story about her ballet teacher who had to flee the holocaust.  This incredibly moving, well-written story shows how dance transcends borders.  A map of Aya’s journey from Syria is included. mjw
Title: No Ballet Shoes In Syria
Author: Catherine Bruton
Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd. U.K.
Copyright
: 2019
Original Language
: English 
ISBN
: 978-1-78800-4-503
Paperback pages
: 272
Age range
: 8-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: Syria, Turkey, Greece, England
Author’s ethnicity
: English
Author’s residence
: England
Awards: 2020 Middle Eat Book Award for Youth Literature
Subjects
: Aleppo, Asylum seekers, Ballet, Dance, Prejudice and racism, Refugees