PaperTigers 10th Anniversary Extra! Top 10 Multi-Cultural Picture Books by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Just when we thought the party was over, hooray, thanks to a computer glitch (and with sincere apologies to Cynthia that her wonderful list got caught up in a computer saga too long to go into here), we are more than delighted to bring you a Top Ten of Favorite multicultural picture books from acclaimed author and blogger extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith – and we know you’ll love it too.

Cynthia’s most recent YA book is Diabolical (Candlewick Press, 2012), the fourth novel in her best-selling “Tantalize” gothic fantasy series that also includes the graphic novel Tantalize: Kieren’s Story illustrated by Ming Doyle (Candlewick Press, 2011).  Cynthia’s first YA novel was Rain is Not My Indian Name (HarperCollins, 2001), and her picture books include Jingle Dancer (HarperCollins, 2000) and  Indian Shoes (HarperCollins, 2002), which like PaperTigers celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. She has also co-authored the hilarious Santa Knows with her husband Greg Leitich Smith (illustrated by Steve Bjorkman; Dutton, 2006).

Cynthia has a vibrant website where you can find out all about her own writing and also explore invaluable resources about children’s and YA literature, including  a comprehensive celebration of diversity – and this is complimented by her sensational Cynsations blog, jam-pack full of kidlit news, author interviews, giveaways and more.

So on this day of Thanksgiving in the US, let’s say a big thank you to all those who enrich the lives of young people and the young at heart through their books; and a special thank you to Cynthia, alongside my apologies, for enabling us to continue our 10th Anniversary celebrations a little longer…

10 Favorite Multi-Cultural Picture Books by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship by Tim Tingle, illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges (Cinco Puntos Press, 2006)

Dona Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Big Heart by Pat Mora, illustrated by Raul Colon (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005)

~ Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan, illustrated by Lillian Hsu-Flanders (Little, Brown, 1998)

~ Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Henry Holt, 2006)

~ Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani, illustrated by Elena Gomez (Little, Brown, 2007)

~ Monsoon by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Jamel Akib (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003)

~ Muskrat Will Be Swimming by Cheryl Savageau, illustrated by Robert Hynes, featuring Joseph Bruchac (Rising Moon, 1996)

~ The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Putnam, 2001)

~ Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden, illustrated by Don Tate (Dutton, 2009)

~ Yo? Yes! by Chris Raschka (Scholastic, 2007)

PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: Top 10 Multicultural Children’s Books about Food – Double Helpings from Grace Lin and Jama Rattigan

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

We are extra lucky today as not one but two experts have concocted a gourmet feast of their Top 10 favourite multicultural stories about food.  It seems fitting that authors Grace Lin and Jama Rattigan should each select food as their theme, since they have both written stories revolving around tasty recipes – as you will discover by looking at each of their menus.  In fact, each has put a book by the other on her menu, while unaware that the other was cooking up their own recipe, so it seems fitting that we should bring you the whole spread for you to gorge on at a single sitting – and it’s also interesting to see which books come up as double portions…

Jama Rattigan is the author of Dumpling Soup illustrated by Lilian Hsu-Flanders (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1998);  The Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai’i illustrated by Carla Golembe (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1996); and Truman’s Aunt Farm illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Sandpiper, 1996).  As well as her website (check out the recipe for Dumpling Soup), Jama also hosts the truly delectable Jama’s Alphabet Soup, a must-visit blog for anyone interested in children’s books, food, or both at the same time.

Grace Lin‘s latest book is Starry River of the Sky (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012), the much-awaited companion novel to Newbery Honor Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009).  She has written and illustrated many books for a wide age-range of children, including The Ugly Vegetables (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1999) and Dim Sum for Everyone (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2001); and picture books she has illustrated include Where on Earth is my Bagel? by Frances and Ginger Park (Lee & Low Books, 2001).  You can read our 2010 interview with Grace here, and view some of her beautiful artwork in our Gallery here and here.  And do check out Grace’s website and blog, where she has a fantastic giveaway on offer in celebration of the launch of Starry River of the Sky.

Top 10 Favorite Multicultural Picture Books about Food by Jama Rattigan

Whether it’s a big platter of noodles, warm-from-the-oven flatbread, fried dumplings, or a steamy bowl of Ugly Vegetable Soup, there’s nothing tastier than a picture book about food. You eat with your eyes first, then step into the kitchens or sit at the tables of friends and family from faraway places, all of whom seem to agree that love is the best seasoning for any dish, and food tastes best when it is happily shared. These tasty tales always make me say, “More, please!”

~ Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong and Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt, 2002)

~ Aunty Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo and Beth Lo (Lee & Low, 2012)

~ Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee (Clarion, 2005)

~ Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and Kristi Valiant (Shen’s Books, 2009)

~ Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules and Kathryn Mitter (Albert Whitman, 2009)

~ Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low, 2007)

~ Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia and Ken Min (Lee & Low, 2011)

~ The Have a Good Day Café by Frances Park and Ginger Park, illustrated by Katherine Potter (Lee & Low, 2005)

~ The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin (Charlesbridge, 1999)

~ Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez (Putnam, 1993)



My Top Ten Food-Themed Multicultual Books by Grace Lin

In my family instead of saying hello, we say, “Have you eaten yet?” Eating and food has always been a successful way to connect us to culture, familiar as well as exotic–perhaps because it’s so enjoyable! So these books about food can be an appetizer to another country, a comfort food of nostalgia or a delicious dessert of both. Hen hao chi!

~ Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low, 2007)

~ Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes, illustrated by Sanjay Patel (Chronicle Books, 2012)

~ Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park,illustrated Ho Baek Lee (Clarion, 2005)

~ How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman, illustrated by Allan Say (Sandpiper, 1987)

~ Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt, 2002)

~ Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley, illustrated by Peter Thornton (Carolrhoda Books, 1992)

~ Yoko by Rosemary Wells (Hyperion, 1998)

~ Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie and Beth Lo (Lee & Low, 2012)

~ Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas by Pauline Chen (Bloomsbury, 2007)

~ Dumpling Soup by Jama K. Rattigan, illustrated by Lillian Hsu Flanders (Little, Brown, 1998)

Poetry Friday: Earth Magic

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Earth Magic by Dionne Brand (Kids Can Poetry, 2006), illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes of One Hen fame, is a delightful book of poems celebrating the childhood memories of acclaimed Canadian poet Dionne Brand.  Brand grew up in  Guayguayare, Trinidad.   The book was originally published in 1979 in homage to the Caribbean people whose lives Brand captures well in the poems.  In them, we meet, for example, the “Fisherman,” the “Bottleman,” and “Old Woman.”  We also meet the mystical forces of nature often personified — there’s the river of  “deep green face” in “River” or the ‘day’ coming in “on an old brown bus/with two friends” in “Morning” or the wind describing his/her actions in the first person:

I heard a song and carried it with me
on my cotton streamers,
I dropped it on an ocean and lifted up a wave
with my bare hands

Fernandes does a wonderful job of illustrating these personifications with her colorful signature imagery and style.   Check out some of the images from this book in PaperTigers Illustrator’s Gallery.   The combination of Fernandes’ art with Brand’s poetry makes for compelling reading and viewing.

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

Poetry Friday: See Saw Saskatchewan

Friday, May 14th, 2010

See Saw Saskatchewan is a children’s collection of poems about Canada by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Scot Ritchie (Kids Can Press, 2003.)  I found out about this delightful book from librarian Sue Fisher’s blog, Mousetraps and the Moon.  For National Poetry Month which was April, Sue featured various  children’s poetry books on her blog.

See Saw Saskatchewan is a playful collection of poems  that can be skipped to, ball-bounced to, or clapped to.  The poems are about life in Canada in various locations featuring activities, or animals, or sights particular to the locale.  There’s definitely a touch of Dennis Lee in these poems that’s detectable in such poems that play on Canadian place names like in  ‘Niagara Falls’:

Kapuskasing sings
Cornwall calls
Thunder Bay storms,
And Niagara

In fact there are a lot of playful references to famous children’s rhymes which you can tell by the titles of some of the poems like ‘Pick a peck of P.E.I.’ or ‘Take Toronto by the Toe’.  I had to laugh at the poem referring to my home city of Winnipeg: ‘Winnipeg Mosquitoes’. Yes, we do often have them and in enough abundance, to make them poetry-worthy! There’s a cute illustration of two besotted mosquitoes sucking blood out of a finger, which vaguely reminded me of a line from John Donne’s ‘The Flea’ — “wherein two bloods mingled be” — except in this case it’s the reverse with the blood of one Canadian ‘mingled’ into two lovelorn mosquitoes! Now if that isn’t an image of Canadian love, I don’t know what is.

Do you know of any good poetry books that celebrate your locale? Or play with the funny names of your towns and cities? In Canada, we have some great place names like Moose Jaw and Nipissing, Tumbler Ridge and Nanaimo. See Saw Saskatchewan does a nice job of making Canada a fun place to read about with its delightful poems set all over the land.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by jama at jama rattigan’s alphabet soup.

Grace Lin’s Blog Tour

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Yesterday was the official launch of Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. If you missed the virtual party, don’t worry – you can still join in the fun. Grace is offering a prize of $25 worth of merchandise from her new on-line store to three lucky people who send in a photo of themselves reading the book – draws will take place at the end of July, August and September (…and while you’ve got the camera out, send us a photo of your kids’ bookshelf too!).

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Grace’s wonderful Blog Tour, which we really enjoyed being a part of, draws to an end tomorrow – you can see the full schedule on Jama Rattigan’s Alphabet Soup here – and you just have to head over there and look at the amazing dishes she has concocted to join in Grace’s celebrations – carp-shaped dumplings and exquisite “Where the Mountain meets the Moon” cup-cakes!