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!

Poetry Friday: Poetry for Young Adults

Friday, April 17th, 2009

April is National Poetry Month in Canada and the U.S. so poetry will be my focus for this post this month.  As one of my creative writing students gleaned from an exercise she found in Maxine Hong Kingston’s To Be A Poet,  poetry is about feeling and seeing, and of course, putting all that into words!  Adolescence is a time of life where one is particularly aware of, and sensitive to, sights and feelings, and it is a conducive time for many for the writing of poetry.  How wonderful then for the fine model of a book put out by well known Canadian poet Dennis Lee (of Alligator Pie fame) called SoCool (illus. Maryann Kovalski.)   The book covers the range of adolescent experiences in that distinctively playful way with words Lee has always exhibited in his poetry. There are humorous poems about acne like “Popping Pimples in the Park” and “Pimples and Zits” and wistful poems about impending adulthood like “Back When I Never Knew.”  There are poems about sexuality like “French Kissing with Gum in Your Mouth” and “The Ultimate Sensual Experience.”  But the poems I liked best were the ones that spoke  about living in the present like “Enough.” In “Enough,” after writing a short list of wonder-ful things like a ‘lungful of air,’ a ‘handful of friends’ and a ‘tongueful of music,’ Lee ends the poem with this stanza:

If I ever lose
The knack of wonder
Just shovel a grave
And dig me under.

Having the knack of wonder is what being a poet is all about and Lee has captured this essential truth in this poem.  What is so wonderful about SoCool is this kind of zany Lee wisdom, befitting the audience to whom the book is addressed.

This week’s Poetry Friday host is at Becky’s Book Reviews.

Books at Bedtime: Winter Where You Live

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Winter can pack a wallop where I live in Canada.  Because it can be so severe, stories are often about survival.  The people who immigrate here learn to adjust to winter in often unique ways that contain traces of their origins and yet orient them to this climate.  In Thor, by W.D. Valgardson (illus. Ange Zhang,) we see an Icelandic Canadian boy go out with his grandfather who is a fisherman on Lake Winnipeg, to fetch fish from his nets.  It is the dead of winter.  “The snow was at the top of the fences, as high as the windows.  The snow was so cold it crunched under their feet like dried bread under Grandmother’s rolling pin.  Their breath made white clouds.”  Thor must wear two sets of clothing and a bushy, fur-lined hat with earflaps before they set out in his grandfather’s Bombardier.  While outside, Thor and his grandfather notice some snowmobilers driving recklessly over thin ice.  One of them falls in.  It is up to Thor to to rescue him.  Will he be able to do it?

In The Big Storm by Rhea Tregebov (illus. Maryann Kovalski,) we meet a Jewish girl named Jeanette and her cat, Kitty Doyle.   It is winter in north end Winnipeg.  On the day of a snow storm, Jeanette forgets about Kitty Doyle who comes to pick her up from school every day.  After school, Jeanette plays in the snow and goes over to her friend Polly’s for latkes.  At Polly’s, she suddenly remembers that Kitty has been waiting for her all this time.   She hurries out only to find Kitty huddled under the snow in an alleyway.  Is Jeanette too late?  Will Kitty Doyle survive?

Thor and The Big Storm are stories about winter where I live.   What about where you live?  What is winter like for you and your children?