Happy 10th Birthday PaperTigers!
I’ve been blessed to be a part of the PaperTigers’ team since December 2006 when I took on the role of Eventful World Coordinator just prior to the launch of the PaperTigers blog. As the years passed and PaperTigers continued to grow, evolve and expand (most noticeably with the launch of our Spirit of PaperTigers Book Sets and Outreach Program) my role within the organization changed too. In 2010 I was offered the job of Associate Editor and since then have worked closely alongside our wonderful and very talented editor Marjorie Coughlan to produce PaperTigers’ three components: the website, the blog and the Outreach site .
I consider myself so lucky to be doing a job that I love in a field that I love! Children’s literature has always been my passion and during my years with PaperTigers I’ve not been the only one in my family to benefit from the pile of books that just have to be read for work. (Insert a big smiley face here because really…how wonderful is it to have to read books!) When I started working at PaperTigers my children were in elementary school so naturally we focused a lot of our reading time at home on children’s and junior books. However as PaperTigers and my kids grew I found myself developing more and more interest in Young Adult books. Now I have to say that although children’s picture books will always hold a very special place in my heart , Young Adult books tug strongly at my heart too! So when it came time to do a Top 10 list for PaperTigers’ anniversary celebration, it only made sense for me to select my favorite Young Adult books. Drum roll please….in random order I present:
When her unemployed father leaves India to look for work in America, Asha, her mother and sister move in with family in Calcutta. When news comes that her father is accidentally killed in America and her family’s financial difficulties intensify, Asha makes a heartwrenching, secret decision that solves many problems and creates others.
When Sami catches his father in a lie, he gets suspicious as does the FBI who descend on his home, and Sami’s family (the only Muslims in the neighbourhood) becomes the center of an international terrorist investigation.
12-year-old Leela’s husband unexpectedly dies and custom requires her confinement at home for a year, “keeping corner.” Prohibited from ever remarrying, Leela faces a barren future: however, her brother has the courage to buck tradition and hire a tutor to educate her. This powerful and enchanting novel juxtaposes Leela’s journey to self-determination with the parallel struggle of her family and community to follow Gandhi on the road to independence from British rule.
12-year-old Diego is deep in the Bolivian jungle, working as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. As his situation becomes more and more dangerous, he knows he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again. As well as being a great read, I am a Taxi packs in a store of information about Bolivia and the exploitation of children in the drug-trade, and raises polemics about the growth of the coca plant.
5. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Harper Collins, 2011)
During the Vietnam War Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.
On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi is gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards. The murder sparks riots in Delhi and for three days Sikh families are targeted and killed in retribution for the Prime Minister’s death. It is into this chaos that fifteen-year-old Maya and her Sikh father, Amar, arrive from their home in Canada. India’s political instability is the backdrop and catalyst for Maya’s awakening to the world. Karma is the story of how a young woman, straddling two cultures and enduring personal loss, learns forgiveness, acceptance and love.
After a bullied classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg – a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American- is sent to her family’s home in Japan for the summer. Kana wasn’t the bully, not exactly, but she didn’t do anything to stop what happened, either. As Kana begins to process the pain and guilt she feels, news from home sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.
Andi hasn’t seen her brother for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He’s tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL. But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell. In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.
As the oldest of eight siblings, Lupita is used to taking the lead—and staying busy behind the scenes to help keep everyone together. But when she discovers Mami has been diagnosed with cancer, Lupita is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit Mexican American family. Suddenly Lupita must face a whole new set of challenges, with new roles to play, and no one is handing her the script.
Set in war-torn Afghanistan, post-Taliban and just after the American invasion in 2001, Wanting Mor brings a ravaged landscape to life and portrays the effects of war on civilians caught up in conflict, especially on children. Based on a true story about a girl who ended up in one of the orphanages Rukhsana sponsors in Afghanistan through the royalties of her book The Roses in My Carpets.