Summer holidays are almost here and I’m sure if you ask my children what their summer plans are, “reading” and “playing” will be near the top of their lists. So for us (and many others I’m sure!) the timing and theme of PaperTigers’ newest issue How Children Play Around the World is perfect. In this bimonthly update, a diverse line-up of authors and illustrators share their memories of playtimes past and artwork of children at play, speak of the ways in which their childhood games helped shape them, and more. One of the many highlights in the Personal Views section is PaperTigers’ Managing Editor and Producer Aline Pereira’s article Favorite Picture Books about Creative Play.
A book for older readers which is multicultural in nature and deals with the theme of play is Chess Rumble by G. Neri, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson (Lee and Low, 2007). The main character, 11-year-old African-American Marcus, lives in a world of poverty and violence. Angered by his sister’s death and his father’s absence, and pushed to the brink by a bullying classmate, Marcus fights back with his fists. One punch away from being kicked out of school and his home, Marcus encounters CM, an unlikely chess master who challenges him to fight his battles on the chess board. Guarded and distrusting, Marcus must endure more hard lessons before he can accept CM’s help to regain control of his life.
Inspired by inner-city school chess enrichment programs, Chess Rumble, which is written in verse, explores the ways the strategic game of chess can empower young people with the skills they need to anticipate and calculate their moves through life. The book has received numerous awards and author G. Neri was recently announced as the 2010 winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins/ International Reading Association Promising Poet Award. To learn more about Chess Rumble check out publisher Lee and Low’s Booktalk, Video Interview and Book Trailer.