Happy Birthday PaperTigers! Here’s my contribution to the Top 10 Lists!

Friday, October 26th, 2012

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:

1.  Secret Keeper  by Mitali Perkins (Delacorte Press, 2009)

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.

2.  Borderline by Allan Stratton (Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2010)

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.

3. Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion Books for Children , 2008)

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.

4. I am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books, 2006)

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.

6. Karma by Cathy Ostlere

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.

7. Orchards by Holly Thompson

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.

8. Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books, 2010)

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.

9. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Lee and Low Books, 2011)

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.

10. Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan (Groundwood Books, 2009)

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.


2012 ALA Youth Media Awards Winners Announced!

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Earlier this morning the American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2012 youth media awards winners. A full list of the winners can be found here.

Highlights from the list include:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: Dead End in Norvelt, written by Jack Gantos.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named: Inside Out and Back Again, written by Thanhha Lai; and Breaking Stalin’s Nose, written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: A Ball for Daisy, illustrated and written by Chris Raschka.

Three Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Blackout, illustrated and written by John Rocco; Grandpa Green, illustrated and written by Lane Smith; and Me … Jane, illustrated and written by Patrick McDonnell.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults: Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of  Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.

Two King Author Honor Book recipients were selected: Eloise Greenfield, author of The Great Migration: Journey to the North,  illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist; and Patricia C. McKissack, author of Never Forgotten,  illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award: Shane W. Evans, illustrator and author of Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom.

One King Illustrator Honor Book recipient was selected: Kadir Nelson, illustrator and author of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement: Ashley Bryan.

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience: Diego Rivera: His World and Ours, written and  illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.

Two Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were selected: The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred illustrated by Rafael López, written by Samantha R. Vamos; and Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match /Marisol McDonald no combina, illustrated by Sara Palacios, written by Monica Brown.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award: Under the Mesquite written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

Two Belpré Author Honor Books were named: Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck written by Margarita Engle; and Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller, written by Xavier Garza.