Last summer I had the pleasure of visiting Lee and Low books while in New York City for BEA13. Thanks to my roomie Thien-Kim From Left to Write for letting me tag along. Here’s a snap of us. I don’t know why I look like a GIANT Amazon woman person in this photo but whatever!
While we were there, were were graciously gifted with goodies! Here are my brief but nonetheless heartfelt reviews posted previously on GoodReads.com
Three children and their grandfather pick fresh vegetables in his garden and then cook and share a meal of healthy vegetable stew.
MY REVIEW: Is there a better way to spend the day than with your Grandpa? No! The story is made even better because children of color will see themselves as the main characters. And finally, African American grandpas are shown as young and vibrant; not old, crotchety, and boring.
Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji
Aneel’s grandparents have come to stay, all the way from India. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world s best stories. When he was a boy, adventurous, energetic Dada-ji had the power of a tiger. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir! He could shake mangoes off trees and wrangle wild cobras. And what gave him his power? Fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle. Does Dada-ji still have the power? Aneel wants to find out but first he has to figure out how to whip up a batch of hot, hot roti Overflowing with family, food, and a tall stack of fun, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is sure to warm the heart and tickle the tummy. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir!
MY REVIEW: Quirky tale of young Aneel who lives to spend time with his grandfather. I love the mixture of cooling into the story, as kids often relate to food. There’s a certain magical realism about Indian storytelling that is delightful. So many teachable moments in this book.
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow
Under the harsh summer sun, Mari’s art class has begun. But it’s hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows especially a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari’s family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari’s parents, and in the smile of a new friend. Amy Lee-Tai’s sensitive prose and Felicia Hoshino’s stunning mixed-media images show that hope can survive even the harshest injustice.
MY REVIEW: This title is an easy way to teach even the smallest child about Japanese history, internment, and human dignity.
I just realized that besides the main characters being children there is a strong grandparent presence in the books. SWOON!
Have you read any of these titles? Are there other multicultural titles you can share?