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)

December 2011 Events

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Click on event name for more information

I Have a Dream | Writing for Social Change by Pooja Makhijani~ ongoing until Dec 2, Singapore

Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse~ ongoing until Dec 6, Montreuil, France

The Children’s Bookshow: Stories From Around The World~ ongoing until Dec 7, United Kingdom

Guadalajara Book Fair~ ongoing until Dec 4, Guadalajara, Mexico

The Original Art: Celebrating the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration~ ongoing until Dec 29, New York, NY, USA

Adventures in the Soviet Imaginary: Children’s Books and Graphic Art~ ongoing until Dec 30, Chicago, IL, USA

2012 South Asia Book Award~ entries accepted until Dec 31

16th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature~ ongoing until Jan 1, 2012, Concord, MA, USA

21st Annual Children’s Illustration Show~ ongoing until Jan 1, 2012 Northampton, MA, USA

Budding Writers Project~ entries accepted until Jan 6, 2012, Singapore

Growing Every Which Way But Up: The Children’s Book Art of Jules Feiffer~ ongoing until Jan 22, 2012, Amherst, MA, USA

A Journey Without End: Ed Young~ ongoing until Jan 28, 2012, Abilene, TX, USA

The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats Exhibition~ ongoing until Jan 29, 2012, New York, NY, USA

Exhibits of Winning Entries from the 2011 Growing Up Asian in America Contest~ ongoing until Feb 2012, USA

 Book Week 2012 Writing Contest for Kids & Teens~ submissions accepted until Feb 1, 2012, Canada

* * * * *

Primary Source’s Global Read: Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. Live, online chat and Q/A session with the author~ Dec 1

A Game That Calls Up Love and Hatred Both: The Child, the First World War, and the Global South~ Dec 1 – 4, Sydney, Australia

Malaysia Art Book Fair~ Dec 1 – 15, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

SCBWI France International Conference for Writers and Illustrators~ Dec 2 – 3, Paris, France

An Artist Remembers: Hanukkah Lamps Selected by Maurice Sendak~ Dec 2 – Jan 29, 2012, New York, NY, USA

The Reading Child: Children Literature & Reading Conference~ Dec 3, Chennai, India

Theatre Production Inspired by Mahashweta Devi’s story Kyun-Kyun Ladki / Why-Why Girl Published by Tulika Books~ Dec 3, Mumbai, India

Singapore Children’s Book Club Presents: Grant S. Clark, Author of Monkey Magic Series~ Dec 3, Singapore

The Children’s Literature Centre at Frostburg State University Presents Storybook Holiday~ Dec 3, Frostburg, MD, USA

Read Out Loud! Family Literacy & Book Festival~ Dec 3, New York, NY, USA

The Exquisite Conversation: An Adventure in Creating Books~ Dec 3, Cambridge, MA, USA

Look! The Art of Australian Picture Books Today~ Dec 3 – Dec 31, 2012, Australia

Best Books: Children’s Reading Series – A Chanukah Noel~ Dec 4, Gatineau, QC, Canada

SCBWI Israel Event: Illustrator Frane Lessac Visits From Australia~ Dec 4, Jerusalem, Israel

The Fourteenth Biennial Symposium on Literature and Culture in the Asia-Pacific Region~ Dec 4 – 7, Perth, Australia

SWET and SCBWI Co-present~ J-Boys: From Inspiration to Translation. The Story of Middle Grade Novel J-Boys: Kazuo’s World, Tokyo, 1965~ Dec 6, Tokyo, Japan

Translating the Wonderful: Children’s Literature in Translation~ Dec 6, London, United Kingdom

Summertime Stories~ Dec 10, Blacktown, Australia

The Best of the Best in 2011 with Susan Bloom~ Dec 10, Amherst, MA, USA

Chapter & Verse’s (A Book Club for Adults Discussing Children’s Lit) Mock Newbery and Caldecott Discussions~ Dec 15, USA

International Conference on Languages, Literature and Linguistics~ Dec 28 – 30, Dubai, UAE


Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre Exhibits and Programs~ Fremantle, Australia

Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art Exhibits~ Riddells Creek, Australia

Books Illustrated Events and Exhibitions~ Middle Park, Australia

International Youth Library Exhibits~ Munich, Germany

Newcastle University Programme of Talks on Children’s Books for 2011-2012~ Newcastle, United Kingdom

Seven Stories (the National Home of Children’s Books in Britain) Events~ Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Discover Children’s Story Centre~ London, United Kingdom

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art~ Amherst, MA, USA

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature Exhibits~ Abilene, TX, USA

The Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award Winner is Announced at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

In 2010 the National Book Development Council of Singapore announced the establishment of The Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award. The prize, valued at S$10,000, is to be presented biennially for an outstanding children’s book so as to recognize and to inspire excellence in children’s literature published in Singapore.

Mrs Hedwig Anuar was the first Singaporean Director of the National Library of Singapore, a position she held from 1960 until her retirement in 1988. Though she put in place the foundations of the modern library system in Singapore and made contributions to all aspects of library work, this award recognises her outstanding contribution to children’s librarianship and the promotion of books and reading for children. Mrs Anuar was particularly interested in drawing children to the library, especially the baby boomers of the 1950s and 1960s. These people had very little opportunities for education.

Mrs Anuar raised the reading levels of all sectors of Singapore society and especially the children and young people. Numerous programmes were organised to promote the joys of reading. Storytelling sessions for young children, lectures and classes for students and cultural events for the general public were daily affairs at the libraries even then. She was the key inspiration behind setting up the Asian Children’s Collection at the National Library which has now become an outstanding research centre for Asian Children’s Literature.

On May 27th the inaugural Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award winner was announced at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content. I was thrilled to attend the evening event which consisted of the Singapore Children’s Literature Lecture followed by the Awards Presentation. The ceremony took place in the historic Chamber Room of  The Arts House and was attended by approximately 200 including Mrs. Anuar. Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, H.E. Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta delivered an inspiring lecture and then presented the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award to The Book That was Handed Down written by Yixian Quek, illustrated by Grace Duan Ying and designed by Goh Caili.

The inaugural Scholastic Asian Book Award winner was also announced: Uma Krishnaswami. Uma was unable to attend the event so author Pooja Makhijani accepted the award on her behalf. Former Managing Editor of PaperTigers, Aline Pereira, was a member of the judging panel for this award. I’ll post more details about it in the upcoming days as unfortunately it is time right now for me to pack my bags and depart lovely Singapore. However, in the meantime, be sure to read  the blog tour for Uma’s new book  The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.

Asian Festival of Children’s Content Starts Today!

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Today is the day! The Asian Festival of Children’s Content starts in a few hours with the Keynote Speech “What is the Future of Children’s Publishing” by Stephen Mooser (USA). After that the day is jam-packed with events to choose from. I will be attending sessions by Christopher Cheng (Australia), illustrator YangSook Choi (Korea), author Holly Thompson (Japan/USA), Pooja Makhijani (Singapore/USA) and John McKenzie (New Zealand).

Last night’s pre-festival panel discussion that I hosted with Tarie Sabido (Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind) and Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal (Gathering Books) was a success. Over 40 people attended and took part in our discussion Building a Nation of Readers via Web 2.0: An Introduction to Kidlitosphere and the YA Blogosphere . Thanks to all those who attended and a special thanks to Tarie and Myra who were such lovely ladies to work with!











Poetry Friday: About Diwali and its Poetic Origins in the Ramayana

Friday, November 5th, 2010

This year the Hindu festival of Diwali is from Nov. 5-9.   Today marks its beginning.  I first heard about the festival from watching a National Film Board film called Lights for Gita in their Talespinners Collection (a series of short films for 5-9 year olds.)  In this story, eight year old Gita, who lives in Montreal is excited about celebrating Diwali in her new country, but something unexpected happens — an ice storm knocks out power in the city.  What will Gita do?  Will this holiday celebrated with lights now be ruined for  her?  Check out the DVD by ordering it, or finding it at your local library!  You can also check out the book on which the film is based written by Rachna Gilmore.  Rachna wrote three Gita titles and you can read an interview with her here.

PaperTigers with its focus on India this issue has a number of book suggestions about Diwali in a revisited Personal Views article by Chad Stephenson.  Pooja Makhijani also refers to Diwali in her Personal Views article entitled “A String of Bright Lights.”  She mentions her Diwali book picks in a post she did for the children’s lit blog Chicken Spaghetti awhile back.  In her post, she mentions how in northern India, Diwali is a celebration of the homecoming of Ram whose story can be found in her suggested picture book title Rama and the Demon King: An Ancient Tale from India by Jessica Souhami.  I found Souhami’s book at my local library; it was a bilingual one in Somali and English!   The story of Rama is found in the Hindu text The Ramayana which is a 24, 000 couplet poem written in Sanskrit by Valmiki around 300 B.C.   My daughter’s view of this ancient story of Rama was rather quaint; she said she liked stories where the good guy (Rama) and a bad guy (Ravanna) fight it out over a woman (Sita)  — although in this case, the bad guy is terrifying ten-headed demon!

Hope you have a happy Diwali this year!  Poetry Friday is hosted by JoAnn at Teaching Authors.

Pooja Makhijani's book Mama's Saris inspires a tree

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Earlier this week I blogged about an annual event that takes place in Concord, MA, USA: Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s LiteraturePooja Makhijani left a comment saying “My book – Mama’s Saris – inspired a tree in 2007. It was the best honor my book could have ever received.” She followed up by sending me two photos of the Mama’s Saris tree! Isn’t it beautiful!?


If anyone else has photos of a decorated tree from the event and would like to email them to me, I would love to share them with our readers.

And speaking of photos, don’t forget PaperTigers’ Around the World in 100 Bookshelves project. Send in a photo of your child’s bookshelf and you could win a selection of 5 age-appropriate books to add to your little one’s bookshelf! So far, we have heard from The Philippines, Canada, the UK, US, Sweden and India. We want to see bookshelves from all corners, though, and to hear about the books that inhabit them so next time you have your camera handy, snap a quick bookshelf photo and send it to me at corinne(at)papertigers(dot)org . Hopefully our combined photos will offer a glimpse of a big world made smaller through books and reading. Don’t worry about capturing the whole bookshelf/book collection in the photo. A partial image, along with a reading-related anecdote and/or a few lines describing the bookshelf’s content, should be enough to help us connect across languages and cultures.

For more details on how to submit a photo of your child’s bookshelf, click here.

Books at Bedtime: Cybils nominations and recommendations…

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

As we come to the end of another year (already?!?), all children’s/ya book blogging eyes will be upon the Cybils 2007 finalists lists, which are due out on January 1st and 7th… what a great way to celebrate all that’s been happening in 2007 and bridge to all we have to look forward to in 2008.

To get ready for the moment we’re waiting for, Bookbuds has issued a challenge and the chance to win a copy of the pop-up Narnia

There’s still time to catch Pam Coughlan‘s article in the latest The Edge of the Forest, which highlights nominations just asking to be read as bedtime stories …

…and nominations which have featured on PaperTigers this year include:

Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport and illustrated by Marion Eldridge;

Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch;

Cracker: The Best Dog In Vietnam by Cynthia Kadohata;

Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent;

Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins and illustrated by Jamie Hogan;

Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art;

The Arrival by Shaun Tan;

Twist: Yoga Poems by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by Julie Paschkis;

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – well, we’ll be featuring a review in our next update – I’ll put in the link when it’s available…

…and not forgetting Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani.

So now we wait with baited breath… We were a bit slow on the uptake with our own nominations for the Cybils this year but next year we’ll definitely be jumping on the band-wagon too – though choosing which books to nominate will likely be a struggle!

Before I sign off for this year, I just want to point you in the direction of Jen Robinson’s latest Literacy Round-Up – she highlights some wonderful initiatives in promoting literacy and reading aloud to small children, as well as providing much pause for thought, including Daphne Lee’s article about plans to label books in the UK with recommended age ranges… being based in the UK myself, I can see myself entering the fray there!

So, to all those of you who have supported us since the start of our PaperTigers blog in May this year, and to all those of you who have dropped in since (and maybe this is your first time), we wish you a Very Happy and Book-filled 2008!