Hurray for Parents' Choice!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

“A book is a science laboratory, an art museum, a guided tour through history, a great friend. Books put the magic in the carpet ride.”

~quoted from the Parents’ Choice Foundation website.

Established in 1978 by author and educator Diana Huss Green with the goal of providing parents with information to participate wisely in their children’s learning outside the classroom, the Parents’ Choice Foundation is the oldest non-profit guide in the US to quality children’s media. Its panels of parents, educators, scientists, librarians, artists, as well as kids themselves, identify the very best products available to help kids and parents connect: “books with honesty and integrity of characters; illustration of elegance and imagination; toys with staying power; music that families can sing together; storytelling that teaches us lessons from lands and cultures close and far away; magazines that do not mask editorial content in advertising; television that teaches with civility and not chaos.”

In addition to lists of award winners and recommended books (and other products), the website, whose unofficial motto is “Read More. Play More. Learn More.”, also offers internet safety and media management guides and a variety of themed articles, including What-Kids-Who-Don’t-Like-To-Read-Like-To-Read and Have you Hugged an Ugly Book Today?. “Until the time when parenting road maps are issued with birth certificates, these guides should make [navigating the terrain of children’s media] a little easier.” And with summer upon us, in the Northern Hemisphere, what could be better than some “guided” fun?… Jammed full of information and flavor, this website should be bookmarked and consulted time and again by parents and caregivers alike.

The following books have been awarded the Spring 2009 Parents’ Choice Seal in the picture book, fiction and non-fiction categories, respectively: A Party in Ramadan; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life. And a shout-out is also in order for the multi-award winning Kahani Magazine, for its selection as a “2009 Parents’ Choice Recommended” children’s magazine.

Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

This year PaperTigers celebrates Earth Day by kicking off Jan Reynolds’ blog tour of Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life: A Story of Sustainable Farming.

Author/photographer of Celebrate! Connections Among Cultures and the “Vanishing Cultures” series, Jan is no stranger to turning world cultures and natural environments into beautiful and educational books for children. With this new title, Cycle of Rice, Cycle of Life, she has put together a fascinating photo essay that explains sustainable farming by using the Balinese traditional system of rice farming as an example of “growing food while being conscious of the needs of other people and the well-being of the planet.”

The book shows us how rice farming in Bali has been practiced for a thousand years (“from seeds to rice-bearing plants to cut stalks that go back into the soil”), and how its cycle is closely connected to that of community life in the island. For the Balinese people, the natural rice cycle involves a hierarchy of water temples; community rituals performed by high priests to thank the goddess of water and the goddess of rice; careful planning of water-sharing schedules to meet everyone’s needs, allowing for a fallow period between growing cycles to keep the fields fertile; the help of ducks to eat worms and bugs and to fertilize the soil naturally with manure; and more. But in the end, the essence of the process, i.e the spirit of a connected community sharing water to ensure a rice harvest and a good life for all, comes through quite clearly (more…)