Week-end Book Review: Sora and the Cloud by Felicia Hoshino

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Felicia Hoshino, Japanese translation by Akiko Hisa,
Sora and the Cloud
Immedium, 2012.

Bilingual: English/Japanese

Ages: 3-8

Sora and the Cloud is award-winning illustrator Felicia Hoshino’s debut as an author. Featuring Sora, a little boy whose name means “sky,” this very delicate, whisper-like story in English and Japanese is about Sora discovering the world with the help of a fluffy cloud friend. And how appropriate that cloud and sky should come together!

While Sora and Cloud float around town dreaming up adventures, little Sora gets to see many familiar places (some readers will recognize the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Chinatown) and to learn more about his Japanese heritage. “Like a mobile in the breeze, Sora’s sky adventure spins all around him,” until he drifts gently into sleep and back down to earth, where more adventures await. The last page shows Sora and his family relaxing together under a big tree – the image of his little sister looking up to the sky and saying hello to a cloud fittingly pointing to the universality of children’s sense of wonder and boundless imagination.

Fans of Hoshino’s illustration work in A Place Where Sunflowers Grow and Little Sap and Monsieur Rodin will find the watercolors/mixed media in this bilingual treat a treasure trove to pore over and marvel at. The double spread of cute ants busily moving around town, matching Sora’s impression of people as tiny ants when seen from up above, is priceless. It adds a touch of sweet humor to a story that is all warmth, delicacy and gentle embrace.

Sora and the Cloud soars in more ways than one, and is a perfect story to share with very young ones who are starting to look at the world with wonder and amazement.

The short Japanese phrases and cultural references sprinkled throughout the book are translated and explained in the end matter, where we also learn that a portion of the book’s proceeds go to the Japan Earthquake Relief.

Aline Pereira

December 2012

PaperTigers Tenth Anniversary: Top Ten Authentic Historical Picture Books by Sherry York

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

We are delighted that Sherry York has taken us up on our invitation to our readers to submit a Top Ten list of their choosing for our current series in celebration of our 10th anniversary.  Sherry is a retired librarian and works now as an editorial consultant.  She is also the author of a number of guides for librarians and teachers including Ethnic Book Awards: A Directory of Multicultural Literature for Young Readers and Tips And Other Bright Ideas For Elementary School Libraries , as well as guides to children’s and YA literature by Latino and Native American writers.

My Top Ten Authentic Historical Picture Books by Sherry York

These titles represent ten of my picks of authentic historical picture books.  They all present U.S. history from points of view not often seen in “mainstream” lists.

Thanks for allowing me this opportunity to look through my picture book collection and think critically.

Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso illustrated by Diana Bryer (Clerisy Press, 2005)

Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheau Nelson illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Carolrhoda Books, 2009)

Coolies by Yin illustrated by Chris Soenpiet (Philomel, 2001)

Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges (Cinco Puntos Press, 2006)

Malian’s Song by Marge Bruchac illustrated by William Maughan (University Press of New England, 2006)

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai illustrated by Felicia Hoshino (Children’s Book Press, 2006)

Rivka’s First Thanksgiving by Elsa Okon Rael illustrated by Maryann Kovalski (Margaret K. McElderry, 2001)

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac illustrated by Greg Shed (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2000)

The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos by Lucía González illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Children’s Book Press, 2008)

Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora illustrated by Raúl Colón (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1997)

Of course there are others that I could easily include. I’m sure your readers will know of others…

..and if you do, and would like to send us your Top Ten list, do email it to me, marjorieATpapertigersdDOTorg.

Also, if you haven’t yet entered our 10th Anniversary Draw, make sure you read this!

Children’s Book Press Appeal

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

At the same time as celebrating 35 years of publishing beautiful books under the banner Many Voices, One World, Children’s Book Press has recently launched an appeal to raise money to sustain the organisation. Children’s Book Press is a non-profit whose Vision is worth quoting at length:

Children’s Book Press is the only nonprofit, independent press in the country [US] focused on publishing first voice literature for children by and about people from the Latino, African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American communities. We promote lived and shared experiences of cultures who have been historically under-represented or misrepresented in children’s literature while also focusing on promoting inter-cultural and cross-cultural awareness for children of all backgrounds. Children’s Book Press literature provide tools that help build healthy children, families, and thriving communities for generations to come.

If you want to find out more, read this, and our interview with Dana Goldberg, Children’s Book Press Executive Editor, in which she said this:

As a nonprofit publisher, we really do need the support of our community not only to publish the kinds of books we do, but also to keep them in print. Buying our books and/or making tax-deductable donations go a long way in helping us achieve our goals, of course, but donations of items from our Wish List, or of volunteer time, also help tremendously.

I have a special fondness for Children’s Book Press because one of the first (of many!) picture books I fell in love with after we started producing our own book reviews was one of theirs: A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai and illustrated by Felicia Hoshino. Last year, The Storyteller’s Candle/La velita de los cuentos by Lucía González, illustrated by Lulu Delacre, was one of the books selected for our Spirit of PaperTigers 2010 book set. To take a couple of books at random, other recent titles that have garnered praise are Tan to Tamarind: Poems about the Color Brown by Malathi Michelle Iyengar, illustrated by Jamel Akib, and My Papa Diego and Me: Memories of My Father and His Art/ Mi papá Diego y yo: Recuerdos di mi padre y su arte by Guadalupe Rivera Marín and illustrated by Diego Rivera. With writers and illustrators like Toyomi Igus, Francisco X. Alarcón, René Colato Laínez, Maya Christina Gonzalez, and… well, I could go on but really, you should head on over to the Children’s Book Press website and take a look at their fabulous catalogue for yourselves.

And I urge you to read Publisher & Executive Director Lorraine García-Nakata recent letter of appeal, published on the Children’s Book Press blog. $47,000 is a lot of money to have to raise by March but it’s not impossible – take a look at the website and think about buying a book; and if you’re in San Francisco next Wednesday, 23rd February, you have the opportunity to show support and have a great night out with some of their authors and artists. Don’t miss it – and then come here and let us know what a great time you had!

January/February update now online!

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Our new bimonthly update focuses on the world and the art of illustrators. If “every childhood lasts a lifetime,” as they say, so does the undoubted influence of picture books, and the world views they convey, in children’s lives. Translating stories into a language that needs no introduction to children, even when the subject matter is complex, children’s book illustrators communicate with their audience in a very unique way: being the language of imagination, the art of illustration lends itself perfectly to direct communication, without cultural or language barriers.

Through these new features, you will have a glimpse of how the highlighted artists work, what art means to them and how it transformed their lives. Please enjoy them. And while enjoying what they have to offer, chances are, you’ll also deepen your understanding of the important role their work plays in developing our children’s imaginations.

Featured artists include: Felicia Hoshino, Sally Rippin, Anne Spudvilas, Maya Christina Gonzalez and Amelia Lau Carling.

Long live children’s book illustrators and their picture books!…

Books at Bedtime: Peace

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Yesterday was Peace Day – thousands of people around the world stopped to stand together for a world without conflict, for a world united:

PEACE is more than the absence of war.
It is about transforming our societies and
uniting our global community
to work together for a more peaceful, just
and sustainable world for ALL. (Peace Day)

There is an ever-increasing number of children’s books being written by people who have experienced conflict first hand and whose stories give rise to discussion that may not be able to answer the question, “Why?” but at least allows history to become known and hopefully learnt from.

For younger children, such books as A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai and illustrated by Felicia Hoshino; Peacebound Trains by Haemi Balgassi; and The Orphans of Normandy by Nancy Amis all The Orphans of Normandyfocus on children who are the innocent victims of conflict. We came across The Orphans of Normandy last summer. I was looking for something to read with my boys on holiday, when we were visiting some of the Normandy World War II sites. It is an extraordinary book: a diary written by the head of an orphanage in Caen and illustrated by the girls themselves as they made a journey of 150 miles to flee the coast. Some of the images are very sobering, being an accurate depiction of war by such young witnesses. It worked well as an introduction to the effects of conflict, without being unnecessarily traumatic.

The story of Sadako Sasaki, (more…)