Since my last update on this year’s PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge, we have added some great books to our list.
Together, we have read two new autobiographical picture books: Allen Say’s Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011) and Ed Young’s The House Baba Built (Little, Brown and Company, 2011) – both wonderful, and I’m not going to say much more about them here as we will be featuring both of them more fully on PaperTigers soon. Those are our reading-together non-fiction books for the Challenge.
As our local book, we tried reading a book of folk tales from the North York Moors, where we live in the UK, but discovered the stories formed part of a tourist guide, including instructions for getting around… we extracted what we could but it wasn’t a very satisfactory read. It has made us not take beautifully illustrated and retold folk tales for granted!
Older Brother has read Rainbow World: Poems from Many Cultures edited by Bashabi Fraser and Debjani Chatterjee , and illustrated by Kelly Waldek (Hodder Children’s Books, 2003). He dipped in and out of it through the summer break and we had to renew it from the library several times…
Older Brother has also been totally captivated by A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness. After reading the story of Sadako for the Reading Challenge way back in its first year, he’s wanted to know how to make the cranes but I have two left hands when it comes to origami – or at least I thought I did, until I received a review copy of A Thousand Cranes from Stone Bridge Press. Recently revised and expanded from the original book by renowned origami expert Florence Temko, it’s a super little book, with good clear instructions for beginners like us, and giving background about both the offering of a thousand origami cranes as a symbol of longevity, and specifically the story of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes. Older Brother, now that he is older, enjoyed reading this factual account here, and learning more about the Peace Park in Hiroshima. He is now determined to make a string of 1,000 cranes himself and send them to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial: full details of how to do this are included in the book. There are also lots of ideas for other craft projects, though I’m not sure any of us is quite up to making anything like the amazing example shown of pictures made with 1,001 cranes as wedding gifts. But with such clear instructions, the only difficulty now is choosing which of the 48 pieces of beautiful Japanese chiyogami paper included to make the next crane with… And we’re thinking of taking up the book’s suggestion of encouraging our local community to create a string of 1,000 cranes together.
Over the last few months, Little Brother has probably read more than all of us put together, but for the purposes of the Reading Challenge, he has read the Spirit of PaperTigers book set as one item on his Challenge list. He loved Biblioburro, and then finding out more about the library via internet videos etc; A Child’s Garden has touched him profoundly; and he has read and reread as many of James Rumford’s books as he can lay his hands on, thanks to Rain School.
He has also read Manolito Four-Eyes by Elvira Lindo, illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga and translated by Joanne Moriarty (Marshall Cavendish, 2008). Here’s what he say about it:
Manolito Four-Eyes is ten years old and he lives in Carabanchel, Madrid, Spain. He says that he wouldn’t manage to write about the first ten years of his life in the next ninety! He’s always falling out with his best friend Big Ears López. Manolito says he can sometimes be a dog or a traitor and sometimes a dog-traitor. He eventually makes friend with Ozzy the school bully.
My favorite bit was in the chapter called “A Pretty Original Sin”, when Manolito and his grandfather meet a mugger who turns out to be from Grandpa’s village.
Manolito Four-Eyes is extrememly funny and if you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you’ll enjoy this too.
I, meanwhile, have read what I realise is my third non-fiction book set in the Second World War: The Zoo-Keeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman, based on the journals kept by the wife of the head of Warsaw zoo before and during the war. It’s beautifully written and a very powerful read – shocking and terrifying, and intensely moving. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I’ve also included Uma Krishnaswami’s glorious The Grand Plan to Fix Everything as one of my books – I loved it, and if you missed my interview with Uma as part of her blog tour when the book came out in May, you can read it here.
Uma has herself signed up for The Reading the World Challenge – you can read her book list here on her own blog, Writing with a Broken Tusk, and why she chose some of them here, in a great Guest Post Uma wrote over at The Brain Lair about being a book traveller or a book tourist …
And Sandhya over at My Handful of the Sky has posted about the books she has read with her daughter: Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine as their non-fiction book, and Oranges in No Man’s Land by Elizabeth Laird, set in Lebanon during the 1975-1990 civil war. Sandhya has scooped the non-fiction, poetry and local categories of the challenge into one book for her own read, A Poem for CRY - CRY being the non-profit Child Rights and You.
If you are taking part in the Challenge (and there is still probably just about time to squeeze it in before the end of the year, if you haven’t started yet!), do tell us what books you’ve read and leave a link to any posts you write about them.