PaperTigers Theme: Journeys

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Illustrations by Nilesh Mistry (top) and Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard (bottom)

“…travel is important, not only because we can meet new people and see what amazing cultures there are around the world, but also because by doing so we can come to appreciate how similar we all are.”

~ Nilesh Mistry

 

Do you agree with the maxim that there are only seven stories in the world? It’s a bit of a conundrum, isn’t it, but our new theme, Journeys, has got me thinking about it, because, really, every story involves some kind of journey.

So we have flung the theme wide open to embrace both physical and spiritual journeys. The authors and illustrators we profile in this issue have all created books that narrate some kind of journey; do join us as we ask them about their own voyages of discovery in creating their books…

Demi, picture-book creator extraordinaire. Find out about her biographies of famous historical figures and spiritual leaders, and join herin her studio, where she works close by her Buddhist altar…

Nilesh Mistry, illustrator of many children’s books including Stories from the Silk Road. Read also about his artistic encounter with elephants…

paw_sm3

Award-winning author Na’ima B. Robert takes us on a journey of exploration into her latest gripping YA novel Black Sheep

paw_sm3Author Gabrielle Wang talks about her journey as a writer…

Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard, illustrator of Adventures of the Treasure Fleet and the newly released Chinese Fables: The Dragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom. Find out about some of the more unusual media she incorporates into her work…

paw_sm3Jimmy Liao shares some moments from his vibrant “journeys of the Imagination”…

paw_sm3Nilesh Mistry takes us on a journey through his work that encompasses book illustration, design, and painting elephants…

It’s Not the Destination. It’s the Journey” by author and illustrator James Rumford

paw_sm3The Journey of Translation: Walking with Jimmy Liao’ by Sarah L. Thomson

Escaping Conflict, Seeking Peace: Picture books that relate refugee stories, and their importance” by PaperTigers Editor Marjorie Coughlan

And do join us here on the PaperTigers blog, on Facebook and on Twitter to share news about your own reading journeys across the world of children’s and YA books…

Happy reading!

The Tiger

 

Image credit: top, © Nilesh Mistry; bottom © Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard

The Girl, the Old Man and the Book, animation by James Rumford

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Watch this charming and thought-provoking animation, The Girl, the Old Man and the Book by James Rumford – and you can read a bit of background from James’ blog here.

James is the creator of Rain School, one of our 2011 WaterBridge Outreach Book Set – you can read our interview with him here, and visit our online Gallery of his work.

New Feedback on our WaterBridge Outreach Site from Laguna BelAir School, Santa Rosa City, Philippines

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

New on our WaterBridge Outreach site (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach) feedback from Laguna BelAir School in Santa Rosa City, Philippines. Laguna BelAir School has participated in our Outreach program for the past two years and and recently sent us their feedback  on the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set which was comprised of the following three books:

Biblioburro, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane Books, 2010);

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Walker Books/Candlewick Press, 2009);

Rain School, written and illustrated by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010).

Head Librarian Ms. Vin Del Rosario wrote:

I am pleased to inform you of our on-going library reading program using the PaperTigers books you have donated to our school. This reading program involves the students from 2nd grade to 6th grade.

I initiated the PaperTigers reading program to create an avenue to encourage our students to read the books in a fun way. It is also the library’s way of helping the English subject teachers to get feedback on the PaperTigers books.

This reading program is a class effort. It encourages class participation. The more these students read in a class, the faster they can reach their reading goal. Reading points were assigned to different PaperTigers books. Class advisers and Reading teachers encourage students to participate in the reading program.

The students visit the library to read the PaperTigers books during their snacks and lunch break. After reading a book, the student is given a “book completion form”, which is a small piece of paper with two or three questions about the book. Students earn points for each form they complete and are awarded a “mini book certificate”.

Originally, I had intended to run the reading program up to November 2012. However, due to the overwhelming responses of the students, we completed it by the end of September!

For our teachers, you will be pleased to know that our Academic Team Head has given the instruction that each one must choose a PaperTigers book for integration in their lessons within this school year.

To learn more about the WaterBridge Outreach program and to read feedback from the participants, click here.

Highlighting Feedback from 2011 WaterBridge Outreach Participant: Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library, Sri Lanka

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Our WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water Nourishing the Mind and Body program (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach)  seeks to further the overall goals of the PaperTigers Program: bridging cultures and opening minds, promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. More specifically, WBOutreach works to advance education through books and reading, and development through clean and accessible water.

Today on the blog we are highlighting feedback from WBOutreach participant Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library located in the Dharma Chakkra Children’s Home in Weedagama, Sri Lanka. Established in 1998, the home provides housing and education for approximately 100 orphaned boys as well as for boys from unstable homes. In 2008 a second children’s home was opened exclusively for girls. Nia Murphy was instrumental in getting a 2011 Book Set to the Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library and  for providing us with this feedback:

The books were put in the children’s shared library. Dharma Chakkra has two hostels, one for the girls and then another, about 200 metres away and behind a wall, for the boys. The library is in the boys’ hostel. When I was last at the home the library was open in the evenings for the boys to use freely. Since then they’ve decided to shut it except at weekends when they have library time and English classes. I was told the books were used by the English teacher during these classes. However it was felt the books were a bit difficult for some of the children at the home, many of whom are still struggling with Sinhala, the local language. This is mostly true of the boys but the girls, who unfortunately have less access to the library, are at a higher standard. In hindsight I think a donation only for the girls’ hostel might have been a good idea. This was my mistake.

The overriding feedback was actually about the visuals: that the books showed children things they don’t normally see in ‘normal’ (read affordable) English or Sinhala books. Many of the books they have in the library are very old and extremely out of date. The affordable English books on the market in Sri Lanka are often things like The Radiant Way, which is a very dated old English sort of publication with smiling white children in high socks. Very simply, seeing children in picture books with brown skin is a rarity. So they were particularly excited about this, and the fact the children were seeing worlds not too dissimilar to their own but ones not normally presented in children’s books.

Click here to read the rest of Nia’s report.

Highlighting 2011 Book Set Feedback from Talisay School in the Philippines!

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

It’s been a busy month here at PaperTigers with our 10th Anniversary celebrations in full swing as well as receiving lots of feedback  from  schools involved in our WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water Nourishing the Mind and Body (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach). It’s always exciting to receive a package in the mail or open an email and see images of students involved with the Book Sets and to read their thoughts and comments on the books.

Today we are highlighting feedback from Talisay Elementary School. Talisay Elementary School is located in a barrio in Barangay Talisay in the Northern Mindanao Area of the Philippines. A significant number of students at this school have parents who are unemployed and the school’s mission is to provide “the best quality education to everyone who enters the gates.”  Talisay has participated in our Outreach program for the past two years and when reflecting on the 2011 Book Set, teacher Brenda Abao commented:

When my pupils saw the pictures in the books, they were so attracted with the color presentation. Some laughed at the illustrations. Most of them enjoyed best the story Biblioburro.

The books you sent me were a big help in my class especially during the “DEAR” (Drop Everything And Read) period. The students took turns reading since I had 29 pupils and there were only 15 books. They felt for the children in the countries mentioned in the stories but they couldn’t search for more about these countries since only a few of them have access to the internet.

After all of my pupils were able to read the 3 stories, I discussed each story with the whole class. One pupil commented that they were so lucky since their schools are not made of mud and that they do not need to build their school every year. That’s after we talked about the story Rain School.

To read all the feedback from Talisay School and to see more photos click here. To learn more about the 2012 Book Set, click here.

New 2011 Feedback from Mount View School in India!

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Mount View School, administered by Mr Hotoshe Sema, is a Nursery to Class 10 school located in rural Suruhuto, in Nagaland, India. This school has participated in our WaterBridge  Outreach: Books + Water project for the past two year and we recently received students’ and administrators’ reactions on the 2011 Book Set.  Here is a brief selection; click here to read all.

Selected students’ feedback:

P:  Rain School – This is the first time I have heard of students and teachers building a school and I admire they way they did it. The language is quite simple and easy to understand. The main character Thomas’s eagerness to learn and read and his aim to have a new school was very inspiring as he had many obstacles but succeeded in overcoming all these with great determination.

A: Biblioburro – Through this book I come to know that without education, even a rich man is nothing. This is a good lesson for me in life.

K: A Child’s Garden teaches us not to give up in anything, especially when it is for good.

Selected teachers’ feedback:

Mr. Mughaka:
Biblioburro - Pleasant and inspiring, with sweet, little pictures.
Rain School – Rumford’s Rain School is an encouraging story which will bring smiles to the readers and listeners. Appropriate for kids of any age.
A Child’s Garden – It is a heartening story. It reminds us that hope and determination, and even little things, can do wonders.

Mr. Abenito:
A Child’s Garden – An appreciable illustration about a never ending (undying) hope and concern for that which matures in a person’s mind and soul for a better living and freedom.
Biblioburro – An inspiring and well illustrated story that imparts the significance an individual can play through books.
Rain School – Rumford’s depictions emphasizing a teacher in inspiring and molding a child are quite amazing and interesting.

New Feedback On Our Outreach Site From Shanghai, China

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

New on our Outreach site….photos from Pingliang Road No. 3 Elementary School in Shanghai, China. This school has participated in our Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set project for the past two years. Their latest feedback consists of photos of students’ work based on books in the 2011 Book SetA Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman; Rain School, written and illustrated by James Rumford; and Biblioburro, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.

Here’s a sneak peek…..click here to see all the photos.

 


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Celebrate PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary with a Top10 of Tiger Themed Books!

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Aline Pereira is an independent writer, editor and editorial consultant specializing in multicultural children’s books and was Managing Editor of PaperTigers from 2004 until January 2011. In honor of PaperTigers’ 10th anniversary Aline wrote an article entitled Celebrating  PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: What a Smilestone! which you can read here, and now offers up her Top 10 Tiger Themed Books.

One tiger, two tigers… ten tigers!  More tigers! by Aline Pereira

Children love to ask each other about their favorite animals, and their answers usually reveal much about themselves: what they fear, what they love, and what they need and want from the world.

In celebration of PaperTigers’ 10th anniversary, I put together a list of ten (plus one to grow on) multicultural books featuring tigers, a graceful, alluring and majestic animal– often mentioned as a “favorite” of children–which is a symbol of all that is splendid and powerful in nature. I thought PaperTigers’ 10th’ anniversary would be a good occasion to celebrate tigers and remind children and adults that, without the proper protective measures, tigers in the wild may disappear by 2022–within a decade!–the next Year of the Tiger.

Tigers are an important part of the reality and mythology of many countries, including Bangladesh, China, India, Korea and Thailand. Throughout history, tigers have been regarded as auspicious animals, as guardians and protectors. Indian mythology, for instance, has several stories where the tiger is believed to have powers to do everything from fighting dragons to creating rain to keeping children safe from nightmares. According to a 2010 statement by the Global Tiger Initiative, “The loss of tigers and degradation of their ecosystems would inevitably result in a historic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental catastrophe for the tiger-range countries [Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia].”

It’s my hope that this book list will help children learn more about tigers and the ways in which they feature, literally and metaphorically, in stories from far and near.

The tigers are ROARING!… Can you hear them?

Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Crouching Tiger
Candlewick, 2011
Age: 6+

In Crouching Tiger, an American boy learns to appreciate his Chinese heritage with the help of his grandfather, who is visiting from China.

Little Vinson is intrigued by grandpa’s Tai Chi routine: “He crouched like a tiger; he drew an invisible bow; he lifted a foot like a rooster and stood still,” but when grandpa tries to teach him how to do it, he thinks tai chi isn’t as interesting as kung fu, which he already knows. When grandpa calls him by his Chinese name, which happens all the time, Vinson finds it annoying, but little by little, he begins to understand and feel pride in his heritage.

Nascimbene’s gorgeous illustrations capture the excitement of the parade and convey the boy’s emotional shift from annoyance to curiosity to pride very well. An author’s note at the end adds depth to the story by explaining Chinese martial arts and Chinese New Year traditions.

James Rumford,
Tiger and Turtle
Roaring Brook Press/ A Neal Porter Book, 2010
Age: 4 – 8

A 2011 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, Tiger and Turtle is the retelling of an Afghani folktale.

Tiger and Turtle are not friends but have learned to live peacefully (“A tiger’s claws could not harm a turtle’s shell any more than a turtle’s feet could outrun a tiger’s.”). However, when a beautiful flower floats down from the sky and lands by their feet, the two animals start arguing about who should have it, who saw it first, and so on, and end up getting into a terrible fight… And it’s not until they accidently fall into a flower-covered field that they realize their foolishness and learn to be friends.

An author’s note explains how he discovered the folktale and talks about the cultural inspirations for the beautiful background patterns used throughout the book. Tiger and Turtle conveys an important message and makes for a perfect read-aloud for the younger crowd.

Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Frampton
Riding the Tiger
Clarion Books, 2001
Age: 9+

Set in the streets of a big city and illustrated with gorgeous woodcuts by David Frampton, Riding the Tiger is Eve Bunting’s powerful story about a ten year-old boy new to town who can’t resist the invitation of an alluring tiger to go for a ride. Cruising the city on the tiger’s back gives Danny a sense power, of being respected by children and adults alike—he no longer feels powerless and out of place. Soon, however, he realizes that what he thought was respect is actually fear, and that getting off the tiger’s back isn’t easy.

A wonderful metaphor for the power of gangs, drugs (or whatever harmful attraction children may find hard to resist at one point or another in their lives), this beautifully told story offers much food for thought. It should be a must-read in schools everywhere, where children may be feeling tempted to give up their freedom and inner strength in the name of acceptance and (pseudo) respect.

Lynne Reid Banks,
Tiger, Tiger
Laurel Leaf, 2007
Age: 12+

Two tiger brothers are taken from the jungle to Rome. One, Brute, is raised to kill slaves, criminals and Christians at the Colosseum; Boots, the other, becomes a pet to Emperor Julius Ceasar’s 12 year-old daughter, Aurelia.

While Boots is treated like royalty, Brute spends most of his time locked in a dark cage. When after a game gone wrong Julius, the slave who cares for Boots and harbor feelings for Aurelia, is sent to the arena to face the killer Brute, accused of letting Boots escape, things get very intense, and Aurelia must make difficult decisions whose consequences are beyond her years to fully grasp. The great mixture of adventure, romance and historical fiction in Tiger, Tiger will appeal to older kids and have them on the edge of their seats, rooting for a happy ending for Julius, Aurelia and Boots.

Helen Bannerman, illustrated by Valeria Petroni
The Boy and the Tigers
Golden Books, 2004
Age: 4+

In this retelling of Helen Bannerman’s controversial Little Black Sambo, little Rajani ventures into the jungle and runs into several tigers who, one by one, convince him to give them his belongings: a new red coat, a pair of blue trousers, purple shoes, and even his green umbrella! But resourceful Rajani devises a way to outsmart the tigers and get his things back. The lovely new illustrations by Valeria Petroni combined with non-offensive names and non-stereotypical character depictions make this story a treasure again. (more…)

New Spirit of PaperTigers feedback: Woodlands School, Montevideo, Uruguay

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Have you ever stopped to think in all the people that live in a poor country? Well, I was born in a poor country so I know in which conditions people in Chad live. I was born in a place called Cabo Verde, there are 10 islands and they live in poor conditions so I know how those children feel.

Today we read a book about children that live in Chad and it talks about how children in Chad go to school. A child called Thomas was going to his first day of school and he was very ANXIOUS, EXCITED and NERVOUS. When he arrived, there was no school. The teacher was standing there and said ‘Our first lesson is to build our school.‘

Find out more about this AWESOME and INTERESTING book and discover the ending.

I give 10 HUGE stars to this book and I would like to say ‘thank you PAPERTIGERS for giving us this FABULOUS BOOK!’

This wonderful review of Rain School by James Rumford, one of the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set, was written by 4th Grader Lucia F. from Woodlands School in Montevideo, Uruguay.

You can read the rest of the school’s Feedback on all three books here

Week-end Book Review: Tiger and Turtle by James Rumford

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

James Rumford,
Tiger and Turtle
Roaring Brook Press, 2010.

Ages 4+

Tiger and Turtle live in the same forest and stay out of each other’s way.  They may not always agree, but they have learned there is no use arguing or fighting.  After all, “a tiger’s claws could not harm a turtle’s shell any more than a turtle’s feet could outrun a tiger’s.”  Then one day, the tiniest of flowers drifts down from the sky and changes their relationship forever.

Turtle wants to eat the flower, but Tiger has other ideas, and, while they may not be able to hurt each other (at least not very easily) they can sure fight over a flower!  For instance, Tiger can swipe at the flower and send it soaring out of Turtle’s reach.  And Turtle, once she is angry enough, learns that biting Tiger’s leg is actually pretty effective.  The two go back and forth escalating their efforts to control each other and gain the flower.  It seems as though disaster will surely befall them both, but at the last minute, we learn there was never anything to fight about as Tiger and Turtle narrowly escape a gruesome fate—together!  It is no surprise at all that after this, Tiger and Turtle move beyond mere tolerance to become the best of friends.

This gorgeous book, with a strong message about resolving conflict and the futility of fighting is, perhaps fittingly, dedicated to the author’s brother.  It is likely that the sibling relationship is the first place many children learn such lessons, and they will doubtless relate to the silliness and extremes Tiger and Turtle go to, to get their own way.  The art, inspired by Indian and Pakistan designs for shawls, rugs, and jali windows and rendered on handmade Chinese paper, is simply beautiful.  Indeed, gazing at Rumford’s warm colors, transcendent designs and the boldly drawn yet slightly dreamy Tiger and Turtle is likely to make anyone feel peaceful and at ease.  A book that can bring children to laugh, dream, calm down and think about important lessons is certainly a treasure.  Parents and children, perhaps for different reasons, will both want to reread Tiger and Turtle many times.

Abigail Sawyer
November 2011