Archive for the ‘Reading the World Challenge 2010’ Category

Reading the World Challenge 2010 – Update#5, wrapping it up

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Reading The WorldI have not been as up-to-date as I might have been with posts about what is now last year’s Reading the World Challenge.   This is partly due to time generally running away with me, and also being unable to keep proper track of our three Challenges running at once… So did we manage it? Well, I have to admit that unless we put all our efforts together, we didn’t quite; and we also went over on the time… reading aloud time is sadly having to jostle with other evening activities, and Saturday morning Book Sessions are now relegated to the holidays for the same reason. But that’s okay – we certainly read a broad range of books that might not have got to the top of the to-be-read pile otherwise…

Here are details of the rest of the books we all read (you’ll have to go back to here, here and here to find out the first ones…)

Together we read Goodbye Buffalo Bay by Larry Loyie with Constance Brissenden (Theytus Books, 2008). Even though I’d read it before, it was very hard to keep my composure for some of this traumatic but ultimately uplifting story, all the more engaging because it is both autobiographical and narrated in “Lawrence’s” engaging teenage voice. The first half of the book deals with Lawrence’s last year at a Residential School for First Nation children in Canada; and the second part is about how Lawrence then sets about finding himself again after leaving. It was the first time my two had become aware of residential schools and it provoked a lot of discussion about the treatment of First Nation people both in Canada and elsewhere. And as well as the ethical discussion, there was also plenty to talk about as regards Lawrence’s actual, individual experience. We all loathed Sister and we loved Sister Theresa. Then later, Lawrence’s different itinerant jobs, such as firefighting and working at a sawmill, were heroic in the boys’ eyes, and they were delighted at the end that his ambition to become a writer had so obviously come to fruition. We all of us cannot recommend this beautifully written story highly enough – and I would say that it would be a perfect book for reluctant readers, boys especially, as it is fairly short and succinct.

We also read and enjoyed Golden Tales: Myths, Legends, and Folktales from Latin America by Lulu Delacre (Scholastic, 2006) and Myths and Legends of Aotearoa, which I blogged about recently; and Little Brother and I read together the powerful and moving Grandfather’s Story Cloth/ Yawg Daim Paj Ntaub Dab Neegwritten by Linda Gerdner and Sarah Langford, illustrated by Stuart Loughridge (Shen Books, 2008).

Older Brother and Little Brother both read Señor Cat’s Romance: and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America by Lucia Gonzalez and Lulu Delacre, as I mentioned here. Older Brother is just coming to the end of Where in the World by Simon French (Little Hare, 2002); Little Brother read American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (First Second Books, 2006), filched from Older Brother, and he’s still quoting it; The Rabbits by John Marsden, illustrated by Shaun Tan; and Animal Poems of the Iguazu by Francisco X. Alarcón, illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez (Children’s Book Press, 2008).

So we were very nearly there in terms of reading – it was the time limit that really got us. Let’s see how we do this year. I’ll be posting details of the 2011 Reading the World Challenge soon…

And very well done to all of you who managed to complete it; I hope you’ll be joining us again – and it would also be great for readers to persuade the young people in their lives to take part. The 2010 Spirit of PaperTigers book set would definitely make a great springboard – and there’s still a chance for you to win one in our 1,000th Post Draw taking place next week. The deadline is Wednesday 19th January and you’ll find full details here.

Reading the World Challenge – Update #4

Monday, October 18th, 2010

PaperTigers Reading the World ChallengeI’m a bit behind on posting the updates of our Reading the World Challenge but we are getting there…

Together we read The Amazing Tree by John Kilaka (North-South Books, 2009). It had captured my imagination when we met John at the Bologna Book Fair and, indeed, we all enjoyed this fable, which demands a certain amount of audience participation. The story is about how the animals are hungry and there’s only one tree that has fruit on it – but the animals can’t get at the fruit. Rabbit has what they all agree is an “excellent idea”, to go and ask wise Tortoise. Only, they won’t let her go as she’s too small. A succession of delegates chosen from among the larger animals fails to return with the simple answer that wise tortoise gives them, and in the end, Rabbit herself goes and is, of course, successful. We absolutely agreed that they should have managed the task, which was to “call the tree by its name” – but we could also empathise with the animals as we had some difficulty in remembering the Kiswahili name ourselves, although we certainly had it off pat by the end of the story.

The Amazing Tree by John Kilaka (North-South Books, 2009) John Kilaka originally collected the story from the Fipa tribe of southwest Tanzania and translated it into Kiswahili; his son Kilaka Kenny then translated it into English, ready to be adapted by North-South books. The story is narrated with verve and a freshness about the dialogue that make it a great readaloud. However, what really had us riveted were the illustrations. John Kilaka has developed his own style that combines bright colors and traditional patterns. The animals were intriguing not just because they were dressed in clothes, but because the shapes under the clothes were distinctly anthropomorphic, so that the illustrations make you do a double-take. We enjoyed John Kilaka’s thought-provoking afterword too, where he talks about “Collecting African Stories”.

Little Brother (9½) read Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Sarah Young (HarperCollins, 2009):

Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Sarah Young (HareperCollins, 2009) When Will’s father dies, his grandmother thinks he and his mother need a holiday so they go to Indonesia for Christmas, where his mother’s family comes from. But it’s 2004, and on Boxing Day the Tsunami struck. Oona, an elephant, stampeded up the beach into the jungle away from the tsunami’s dangers into the jungle’s with Will on her back. With only Oona to help him, Will must survive in the jungle, where he saves some orangutans from hunters who also capture him, and meets other jungle animals: not all of them ones you’d like to encounter. Will Will survive?

Running Wild is an excellent book. I loved the story and I liked the idea of Will being able to communicate with Oona, as they seem to understand each other. I thought that when the odd picture turned up, the style suited the story and I liked how they were simple but detailed at the same time. Michael Morpurgo makes what living in the jungle would do to you very lifelike. There are some moments which are essential in the plot, which show why so many animals are endangered by human causes.

And Older Brother (just turned 12) read Hazel EdwardsAntarctica’s Frozen Chosen (which she talks about in her interview with PaperTigers):

Antarctica's Frozen Chosen by Hazel Edwards (Lothian Books, 2003)Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen is about a man called Kyle who goes to Antarctica to research eles (elephant seals) on an Australian base. Actually, the ship gets stuck in ice so they never get there. They see some poachers who are after rare fish to sell and then some other bad things start happening – but that’s for you to find out…

I really enjoyed Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen because although I found it quite hard going at the beginning and I didn’t think I was going to like it, I soon got into it and by the end, I couldn’t put it down.

Reading the World – Update #3

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Our summer holidays are nearly over and the Reading the World Challenge is nearly running away with me in terms of posting about the books we’ve read – so without further ado, here’s the latest installment, including the long overdue catch-up with our fellow readers…

Together we have read the delightful Lulie the Iceberg by Her Royal Highness Princess Takamado, illustrated by Warabe Aska (Kodansha America, 1998)Lulie the Iceberg by Her Royal Highness Princess Takamado and illustrated by Warabe Aska (Kodansha America, 1998), which Sally wrote about a while ago – her post prompted us to get hold of it: and we did, indeed, love it. We read the actual story one evening and then spent several evenings after that reading the factual information at the end, while hunting again and again for the various creatures mentioned in the gorgeous illustrations. Read Sally’s post for a synopsis of the story…

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Clarion Books, 2001)Meanwhile, Older Brother has read Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard (Clarion Books, 2001):

A Single Shard is about a young boy called Tree-ear in 12th Century Korea, who loves watching a potter called Min making vases grow from the wheel. Then Tree-ear starts working for Mon (but he’s not allowed to actually make things) and goes on a long journey to the emperor with some pottery to seek a commission – but he is tricked by robbers on the way…

It’s a very exciting story. It made me feel happy and sad at different times: and the ending was probably the saddest part of all, though it did eventually turn out to be for the best.

Little Brother has also read a book set in Antarctica – but I have to confess that I have mislaid the notebook in which he wrote his mini-review, which he will be quite unimpressed about. I will try and remedy the situation asap.

In the meantime, what of everyone else in all these weeks that have elapsed since my last update?

Corinne has read Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, of which she says, “It won Honorable Mention for Adult Fiction in the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature. I loved Lisa’s previous book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and this book did not disappoint either. Highly recommend it especially for all those “historical novel” lovers like me.”

Olduvai at Olduvai Reads has completed the Challenge – Hooray! You can find links to her reviews for all the books she read here

Tiina of A Book Blog of One’s own has read The Lovers of Algeria by Anouar Benmalek and The Birthday Boys by Beryl Bainbridge…

And I’m so glad Jama at Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup has joined in too. She’s been reading a wonderful selection of picture books about Asia and Asian Americans, focusing on Korea, China and Japan – definitely not to be missed.

And welcome, too, to Nora at Reading My Way Through The Classics, who has read Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

There are only four and a bit months left of the year but if you’re happy to squash your reading up a bit, you could still join in our Reading the World Challenge of seven books from or about each of the seven continents… And I promise it won’t be quite so long till the next write-up!

Reading the World Challenge – Update #2

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Well, we’ve finally started this year’s Reading the World Challenge in our household!

As our together-read, we’re “doing” Europe at the moment. We’re about half way through Dickens’ Oliver Twist, which I’m really enjoying, since it’s a good few years since I read it, and the boys are revelling in. I suggested it because I was getting a bit fed up with continued allusions to Oliver via the musical Oliver! and felt (poor kids, purist that I am!) that they needed to get back to grass roots here… Oliver Twist by Charles DickensI did wonder if we were biting off a bit more than we could chew but in fact they are completely caught up by the narrative and Dickens would be happy with his effect on their social consiousness/consciences! It’s definitely proving to be one of those books that they wouldn’t read on their own but that, with frequent, unobtrusive asides to gloss the meanings of words, they are more than able to enjoy having read to them. It’s just very long and now that term-time is back in full swing, it’s hard getting the sustained reading time all together that we would like.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John BoyneWe have also read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (David Fickling Books, 2006). This is an extraordinarily powerful book about a nine-year-old German boy, Bruno, who becomes an unwitting witness of the Holocaust when his father becomes the Commandant of “Outwith” concentration camp (as Bruno mistakenly calls it), and who makes friends with a Jewish boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the perimeter fence. If you have read this breath-taking, punch-in-the-stomach book, do take a look at the discussion that Janet got underway here on PaperTigers on the Tigers Bookshelf. Although it says on the back cover that despite being a book about nine-year-olds, “this is not a book for nine-year-olds”, and I therefore, again, had some reservations of reading it with the boys, I was glad we did. Because we were reading it together (and not at bedtime – this is definitely not a book to read just before you go to sleep), we couldn’t read it in one sitting as has been recommended – but we all mulled over it deeply and all brought our own ages to it. I know that Little Brother’s nine-year-old perspective was very different to mine (as, indeed was Older Brother’s), but it was still valid; and I hope they will both read it again independently when they are older.

Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter SísLittle Brother’s own read was also focused on Europe with Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei by Peter Sís – this is what he says about it:

I liked The Starry Messenger because you could always recognise Galileo in the pictures because there were always (more…)

Reading the World Challenge – Update #1

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

PaperTigers Reading the World ChallengeWe have yet to start the PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge in our household – the boys are getting geared up to have their first book read by the end of this month for their individual reads, but I’ve decided to wait till April to start on our readaloud together, to take advantage as much as possible of school holidays. They both seem to have so many different evening activities during term-time that reading to both of them at the same time has become a challenge in itself!

However, it is definitely time for a round-up of those people who have been reading already – and it’s great that the Challenge has been taken up for “grown-up” reading too. Sometimes I get so immersed in children’s books that I lose sight of books written for “my age” – but there are some fantastic booklists appearing on various blogs, which means that I now have an enormous list of books I want to read!

Susan at Black-Eyed Susan, from Detroit, Michigan, US, leapt in straight away with two books – Faith by Maya Ajmera, Magda Nakassis and Cynthia Pon (a Global Fund for Children Book/Charlesbridge, 2009) – which was recently a PaperTigers Book of the Month; and 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy, Thomas Gonzalez, Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah (Peach Tree, 2009).

PaperTigers’ own Corinne, in Vancouver, Canada, has read The Shepherd’s Granddaughter by Anne Laurel Carter (Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2008).

Eva at A Striped Armchair, who lives in the U.S. Rockies, has already chosen the countries she is going to focus on in each continent and has put together what she calls a pool of books to choose from – I would call it a sparkling lake – if you’re looking for inspiration, dive in – so far, she has read The God Who Begat a Jackal by Nega Mezlekia. And an aside – just take a look at the wonderful maps Eva produced of the books she read in 2009…

Tiina at A Book Blog of One’s Own, in Helsinki, Finland, has posted reviews of her first two reads – she covered Asia in January with Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree by Tariq Ali and Europe in February with The River by Rumer Godden.

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Edi at Crazy Quilts has also ticked off a couple of continents with one of my favorite reads of 2009, Rukhsana Khan’s Wanting Mor; and a new one to me that has gone onto my to-be-read list: The Other Hand by Chris Cleave – which she points out is published as Little Bee in the US.

Olduvai at Olduvai Reads, in the Bay Area of San Francisco, has also, like Eva, produced an extensive reading list for the countries she has chosen: Antarctica remains as Antarctica, then Morocco, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Portugal, Canada and Argentina… She’s already taken a couple of books out of the library and is reading Terra Incognita by Sara Wheeler.

And what about you? If you haven’t joined the Reading the World Challenge yet, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time. Find out about how it works here, and let us know what you’re reading..

PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge 2010

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

PaperTigers Reading the World ChallengeA very Happy New Year to all our readers old and new – in the words of our current editorial over on the PaperTigers website, all of us on the PaperTigers team wish you a 2010 filled with books, peace and understanding!

…And in order to help you ensure that you have plenty of books to read, it’s time to launch our Reading the World Challenge for 2010. You may have noticed that this year we have a wonderful new widget (Thank you, Eun Ha!): please do use it on your blog if you have one; and if you don’t, do let us know about your book-choices – we would love to feature them here. I know there are many book-challenges out there but do join us if you can.

The criteria will be the same as last year, with one slight difference. You can choose at what point between January and June your 7-month period begins, in order to have completed the Challenge by the end of the year. So here’s what we have to do:

Choose one book from/about/by or illustrated by someone from each of the seven continents – that’s:

North America
South America

Have the books read aloud to you or read them yourself; share them as part of a book-group or in class. Combine your choices with other reading challenges.

The books can be picture-books, poetry, fiction, non-fiction… the choice is yours.

You can find lots of ideas in the PaperTigers Reviews and Reading Lists sections – and if you have any ideas you’d like to suggest to people joining in from different continents, please do!

Happy Reading!

And P.S. If anyone would like the code for adding the button to their blog, please email me – marjorie(at)papertigers(dot)org – and thank you to all of you who have already taken it for getting the word out…