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)

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!

Diwali, Festival of Lights

Monday, November 5th, 2007

DiwaliChad Stephenson, San Francisco Friends School librarian, has been working on an extensive school project about Diwali, the Hindu winter Festival of Light, celebrated on November 9 this year. In a ‘Personal View’ piece he’s contributed to the PaperTigers website, Chad gives us the scoop on the celebration of Rama’s victorious return from Lanka with his kidnapped wife, Sita. His article is chock full of great Diwali-related reading recommendations, including Hanuman, by Erik Jendresen and Joshua M. Greene, illustrated by Li Ming, and, for background and context, Uma Krishnaswami’s award-winning Monsoon, illustrated by Jamel Akib. Here’s a PaperTigers review of another book on Chad’s list.

Canadian Rachna Gilmore‘s Lights for Gita isn’t on his list, but it will shed yet more light on the Diwali’s real meaning: Gita’s difficulties settling into her life in Canada are exemplified by not being able to celebrate the holiday the same way she would have back home.