Children’s Book Reviews: Multicultural Children’s Books of Note

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As I am in my last semester of Library school you can imagine I have been one busy girl.  One of my projects this semester is to read 40 Young Adult and Children Multicultural books.  I absolutely adore this project (even though 40 may be a bit too much to read over a few months).  Anyways,  even though I usually only review YA literature, I have come across quite a bit a wonderful Multicultural Children’s Books that are very worthy of note, each receiving 5 stars:

 Four Feet, Two Sandals by Karen Williams (Dough Chayka, Illustrator)
Published: August 15th 2007
Publisher:  Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Rating:  5/5 Stars!!

Lina, an Afghani girl and a member of a refugee camp in Pakistan, finds a yellow sandal with a blue flower after relief workers drop cloths off at her camp. Lina finds another girl is wearing the other half of the pair of sandals.  Because she has not had any shoes to wear in the last two years she takes extra care in keeping her one sandal clean.  One day, the owner of the other sandal, Feroza, tries to give her half of the sandals to Lina. Instead, Lina suggests they share: they take turns in wearing them each day.  The two girls start to learn about how they each came to the refugee camp and soon become close friends.

One day Lina is chosen to go to America, Feroza is not.  Before Lina leaves, Feroza gives Lina her half of the pair of sandals so she would not go barefoot to America. Being given a new pair of shoes for her journey to America, she gives the sandals back to Feroza.  Feroza can not keep the whole and gives one of the sandals back to Lina so she can remember her and their friendship.

Williams’ and Mohammed’s book is very easy to read; sentences are simple and short, while full of meaning.  The tone of the book is very inviting.  Dough Chayka, the illustrator, has created lovely images of bright yellows, browns, and blues – this also invites the readers more as the pictures are warm and not somber.  While the setting is in a Pakistan refugee camp, the overall theme of this picture book is “sharing”. Even in the hardest of times and places, sharing still matters and counts.

This picture book is very uplifting and affecting, showing that friendships can be formed in any circumstance.

 Brothers in Hope; the story of the lost boys of Sudan by Mary Williams (Gregory Christie, Illustrator)
Published: May 30th 2005
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Rating:  4/5 Stars!!

Garang Deng is a little boy who grew up in southern Sudan. One day while tending to the animals his village is attacked; Garang manages to escape and hid in the forest. Garang is unable to find his parents but finds thousands of boys also looking for their families, unsuccessfully. Garang, being one of the older boys, is asked to lead a group of boys, as none of them have ever been on their own before. He is at first afraid to be a leader but then remembers his father’s advice as a young boy: to not fear. During a long and treacherous walk to Ethiopia, in search for help, the boys hide from the soldiers of war, travel by night and sleep by day. All the boys are hungry, tired, and thirsty. Garang assumes responsibility for a younger boy, named Chuti Bol. To help them take their minds off of their hunger and pain from being tired, they play games and tell stories. Finally they arrive at a refugee camp after crossing the Ethiopian border. At the camp they are fed and housed, and even receive an education. They are also taught religion and faith. War then comes to Ethiopia and the boys are forced to go back to Sudan; but they first have to cross the raging Gilo River. After crossing the river they arrive at another camp in Kenyon. There Garang meats Tom, the cam’s leader.  Garangs finds himself looking up to Tom but soon Tom has to leave the camp.  Garang is left in charge.  He works very hard to keep the boys fed, clothed and education.  His ‘adopted’ boy, Chuti, even helps him sometimes. Many years later Tom returns to the Camp to tell the boys that the United States have offered them a home. Afraid of the future, Garang remembers his father’s advice:  
“Your heart and mind are strong. There is nothing you cannot do”

The illustrations by Gregory Christie, are full of browns and greens, coming alive with visible brushstrokes The author has chosen to use very simple words and sentences to present grim and overlooked time of history. For children, this book does a wonderful job of presenting an uncomfortable but harsh reality other worlds while representing the characteristics that connect humans and children everywhere: help those in need and carry on. More so, Mary Williams maintains that with hope, perseverance and the desire to help others, anything is possible.

Read My Review… This Week, "America"

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Read My Review is hosted by A Trillion Books.  Each week a theme is focused on which you can link new and past reviews you have done.  This way, you can share your reviews!! 

This week the theme is America.  I have chosen to link my review of Little Women, as the author, Louisa May Alcott, was an American Transcendentalist and it is set in America. 

So head on over and check out my review along with many others, and get involved as well. 🙂

In My Mailbox (10)

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With the Holidays quickly approaching, I have been limiting my book buying to gifts. So this week the only book I bought for myself was at a huge discounted rate at Barnes.

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Rigler

This eagerly anticipated sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict asks the question, Can a nineteenth-century girl survive in today’s morally confused modern-day world?  (GoodReads)

** In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

2011 Debut Author Challenge


The 2011 Debut Author Challenge is almost here!  I highly recommend participating in this.  Head on over to Story Siren and sign up and also get more information.  She also offers a very well put together list of possible books/novels.

This post itself will also be updated as the year progresses.

  1. A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone  (Review)
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Review)
  3. Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harries  (Review)
  4. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally   (Review)
  5. Earth (Elemental #1) Shauna Granger  (Review)
  6. Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen  (Review
  7. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby  (Review)
  8. Remembrance by Michelle Madow   (Review)
  9. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey  (Review)
  10. Songbird by Angela Fristoe  (Review)
  11. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin  (Review)

    HUGE Giveaway @ Beyond Words

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    Beyond Words has reached over 100 followers and in celebration she is hosting a huge giveaway.  There are going to be 3 winners!

    1st Place Winner: 3 books Pre-Orders
    2nd Place Winner: 2 books Pre-Orders
    3rd Place Winner: 1 book Pre-Order
    Books include:
    Angelfire, Unearthly, Delerium, Vesper, Fall For Anything, Matched, A Touch Mortal, So Shelly, Across the Universe, and The Gathering
    Now How Can You Not Enter This????
    Ends January 1, 2011!!

    How Well Read Are You??


    During my blog hopping this weekend I found a very interesting post over at Dog-Eared & Bookmarked. Now I like to think that I have read a lot of books, even though I know there are many out there that have read more than me.  After doing this I found I have read 19 of these (but the Harry Potter series is 7 books so you could say 25 books).  What about You???
    The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

    • Copy this list.
    • Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
    • Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
    • Tag other book nerds.

    Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
    Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
    To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    The King James Bible
    Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte  

    Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
    His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
    Great Expectations – Charles Dickens 
    Little Women – Louisa M Alcott 

    Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
    Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    Complete Works of Shakespeare
    Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
    The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
    Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
    Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger 
    The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
    Middlemarch – George Eliot
    Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
    The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald
    War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
    The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
    Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
    Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
    Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll  
    The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
    Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
    David Copperfield – Charles Dickens 
    Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
    Emma -Jane Austen

    Persuasion – Jane Austen

    The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis 
    The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
    Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
    Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden  
    Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
    Animal Farm – George Orwell
    The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
    One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
    A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving 
    The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
    Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery 
     Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
    The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
    Lord of the Flies – William Golding
    Atonement – Ian McEwan
    Life of Pi – Yann Martel
    Dune – Frank Herbert
    Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
    Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
    A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
    The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
    Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
    Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
    The Secret History – Donna Tartt
    The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
    Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
    On The Road – Jack Kerouac
    Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
    Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
    Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
    Moby Dick – Herman Melville
    Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
    Dracula – Bram Stoker
    The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
     Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
    Ulysses – James Joyce
    The Inferno – Dante
    Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
    Germinal – Emile Zola
    Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
    Possession – AS Byatt
    A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens 
     Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
    The Color Purple – Alice Walker
    The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
    Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
    A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
    Charlotte’s Web- E.B. White
    The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
    Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
    The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
    Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
    The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
    The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
    Watership Down – Richard Adams
    A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
    A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
    The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
    Hamlet – William Shakespeare
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
    Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

    Review: Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

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    Return to Paradise (Leaving Paradise #2) by Simone Elkeles
    Publisher:  Flux
    Published:   September 1st 2010

    Paperback, 302 pages

    Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

    Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She’s determined to make a new life for herself.

    But then Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie’s accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them. 

     Caleb is arrested for conspiracy to sell drugs, even though he wasn’t selling drugs, he just happened to live with a bunch of guys that were (so he would not have to live on the streets).  Caleb’s old parole officer steps in and makes him a deal: he shares his story with others or goes back to jail, but this time not a Juvenile Detention Center, the real thing.  Meanwhile, Maggie Armstrong has finally started to believe in herself, limp and all.  Before she leaves out of the country on a study abroad program, she volunteers to share her story with a group of other teenagers.  These teenagers come from all different backgrounds: one is a pregnant teenager but has not told anyone, others have gotten in trouble with their parents and schools, while others have been in trouble with the law, and some are victims of acts of hit0and-runs.  However, they all have one thing in common: they made decisions or were affected by choices made that will affect the rest of their lives.  Unbeknowst to her, Caleb has agreed to go on the same trip, just for different reasons. 

    On the first day Caleb and Maggie see each other for the first time since Caleb left Paradise.  While both of them agreed to but the past behind them, and both of the act as if they longer have feelings for the other, they constantly find themselves arguing and talking.  While traveling and sharing their stories, Caleb still believes that Maggie does not know his secret. Maggie actually does know the truth but is waiting for Caleb to tell her.  By the end of the trip, Caleb and Maggie learn more about themselves than they thought possible. However, they find they may night be able to have a future together.

    Simone Elkeles does it again!  Her writing style and tone are amazing, wonderful and superb.  Her novels are very easy to read, while at the same time full of emotion and thought.  Both Caleb and Maggie grow as characters, both individually and together, even more so than in “Leaving Paradise”.  I only wish that Simone Elkeles continued this series and this was not the last of the series.

    My Rating
    Check out my review of the first installment, Leaving Paradise

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