It was fun to meet six KidLit authors and learn more about their newest books at Trident Booksellers and Café on Newbery Street in Back Bay, Boston. Despite having an office in Back Bay, I had never been to this book store before! It’s great with two good sized cafés.
All posts in Best Books for Kids
Please welcome my guest author today, Chitra Soundar of Pattan’s Pumpkin.
Pattan’s Pumpkin by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Frané Lessac
This reminds me of a Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater meets Noah’s Arc story. Pattan finds a yellow-flower vine wilting in his valley, and he replants and cares for it. It turns out to be a pumpkin of enormous size, growing as tall as the mountains. When a terrible storm rages across the valley, Pattan wonders if perhaps his pumpkin can save the seeds and grains and saplings, the goats and birds and bison, and protect them all as the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Chitra is sharing seven more wonderful folktales from India. We are giving away two copies of Pattan’s Pumpkin. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
Seven Amazing Folktales from India
As a child I grew up listening to folktales that my grandmother and her sister told me. Our summer holidays were spent picking tender mangoes from our garden trees, washing them and preparing them for pickles while listening to an epic story or funny trickster tales. As an oral storyteller and a writer, I love telling folktales – especially those that have been passed down generations, through word of mouth. I’ve chosen seven stories from India, because seven is a number that’s in most of our folktales (from seven seas to seven hills).
Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters
This is one of my absolute favourite because it brings to life a village in Bengal and evokes the thrill with the rhythm of the narration. It’s also a classic trickster tale that many Indian folktales are famous for. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Author Debbi Michiko Florence and I are creating a six-part Asian Culture Series with books, activities, and recipes. We are kicking off the series by looking at the Asian New Year.
Did you know that Japanese New Year and Korean New Year are celebrated on January 1st, but Chinese New Year and Tet, Vietnamese New Year, is celebrated based on the lunar calendar? (More Chinese New Year books here.)
Today, we are sharing:
- Making mochi the easy way by way of a microwave!
- A Chinese Red Envelope Craft
- A picture book list for Asian New Year
Thanks for coming on our Asian Culture series journey. Will you celebrate an Asian New Year this upcoming year? We hope this post will make it easier! Read more…
Please welcome author Dori Jones Yang, whose latest book is The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball. She presents ten middle grade chapter books to learn about Chinese culture. It’s a great list!
We are also giving away 3 copies of The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
How about you? What books with themes of China have you or your children enjoyed?
My newest book, The Forbidden Temptation of Baseball (age 10 and up), tells how another Chinese child adapted to life in America. This one takes place in the 1870s, when China’s government sent 120 boys to New England to study English and technology for fifteen years. While researching the Chinese Educational Mission, I was fascinated to learn that many of the boys loved playing baseball—despite the requirement that they wear their hair in a braid. That set my imagination on fire. My book tells of two fictional brothers; one adapts rather quickly and the other has a much harder time.
It’s clear to me when trying to create this list that there are not enough Lao and Hmong children’s books out there! They were hard to come by even through my public library system so I purchased Lao Folktales and The Hemp and the Beeswax: A Hmong Cinderella. If you need either for your home or classroom library, please leave me a comment about why you need it and I’ll send them to you.
How about you? Do you have any book suggestions for this list? They would be most welcome. Thank you!
Mali Under the Night Sky: A Lao Story of Home by Youme Landowne
This is the true story of Laotian American artist Malichansouk Kouanchao, whose family was forced by civil war to flee Laos when she was five. Mali lived an idyllic life in the country with her family until the war began. Forced to flee, Mali and her family are arrested for not having a home in this country. With her childhood memories to sustain her, Mali tells stories of home to her fellow refugees. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
A Different Pond by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui
A Hmong man is included in this story as a side character so I’ve included it in this list.
This is a gentle story that touches on more serious subjects. A boy and his father go on an early morning fishing trip but they fish for dinner not for sport. The boy asks his father why they need to fish since his father works two jobs. Fishing also reminds his father of his brother, another sad subject touched on since his brother who fought by his side in the Vietnam war never returned. This quiet story is like the pond itself, tranquil on top but teeming with possibilities including life or death underneath. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Funny fractured fairy tales are my jam, especially if you add in an Asian twist. What books have I left out? Thanks for your suggestions!
Funny Asian Fractured Fairy Tales
Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Swartz, illustrated by Dan Santat
The three little pigs started a ninja school and now the wolf can’t catch any prey. He joins the dojo to get some fighting skills and then goes out into the wood where he finds Little Red Riding Hood. Turns out she went to ninja school too. Because he can’t defeat Ninja Red, the wolf decides to go vegetarian and takes up yoga instead. There is also The Three Ninja Pigs, and Hansel and Gretel Ninja Chicks in this fun series.[picture book, ages 4 and up]
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Grace Zong
In this riff on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Goldy Luck is a Chinese American girl who upsets her panda family neighbors. She eats their congee, sits in their chairs, and messes up their beds. Her conscience gets to her and she returns to make amends, just in time to help the pandas celebrate Chinese New Year. This is a fun picture book for kids to compare with the original fairy tale. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
You might have missed the drama caused when Nancy Bo Flood was invited to join the “Indigenous Experience in Children’s Literature” panel. Native American children’s book blogger, Debbie Reese objected:
“As regular readers of AICL know, I’ve been studying the ways Native peoples are depicted in children’s literature for decades. In that time, I’ve come to know the work of many people who–like Flood–are not Native, but write books about Native peoples. Amongst that body of White writers, there are many instances in which the writer has done particularly egregious things.”
Her objection is well said. The United States was founded on Native American genocide, with their lands taken away, their treaties violated, and their cultural heritage stolen through forced a boarding school system. In my opinion, it’s not right that their stories are stolen or “retold” by non-Native Americans unless there is explicit permission from the specific tribe.
To the best of my ability, I make this Native American folklore list as part of my Folk Tales series with books by just Native American authors. What am I missing? Thanks for your help.
p.s. My other Folk Tales posts include:
Native American Folklore & Creation Stories by Native Americans
Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story told by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, illustrated by Sam Sandoval
“This story represents thousands of years of oral tradition. In Beaver Steals Fire, fire is a gift from the Creator brought by the animal beings for human beings who are yet to come.” from Acknowledgements
“For those who use this book in the classroom, this story should be read or discussed only during winter when snow in on the ground. The elders usually bring out the stories in November and put them away again when the snow is gone. It is said that snakes will come to those who do not follow this custom or that cold weather will come during the warm months.” from A Note to the Reader
Since I do not want to disrespect the Salish and Kootenai traditions, and this is July, I am not reading the book as snow is not on the ground here in Boston and I certainly don’t wish for cold weather to come sooner than it already does. Please enjoy this book at the first snowfall. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle (a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges (an artist of Cherokee ancestry)
Crossing Bok Chitto is a tribute to the Choctaws — and Cherokees and Creeks and Chickasaws and Seminoles — and Indians of every nation who aided the runaway people of bondage. from A Note on Choctaw Storytelling in the backmatter
In the days before the Trail of Tears, the river Bok Chitto was a boundary, separating the Choctaws from the Mississippi plantation owners. This river was the line between slavery and freedom for their slaves. When Martha Tom, a young Choctaw crossed the river in search of blackberries, she met Little Mo, a young black slave who helps her find her way home. Their friendship continued as the years passed, Martha Tom crossing Bok Chitto on her way to church and sitting with Little Mo’s family. When Little Mo’s mother was to be sold, Little Mo had a plan. His family, with the help of the Choctaws, would cross to freedom. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Following the singing of the Treaty of the Dancing Rabbit Creek in September of 1830, the government forced thousands of Choctaws from their homes in Mississippi. The Choctaws began the trek to Indian Territory, thus becoming the first travelers on the Trail of Tears. from Choctaws Today: Two Properous Nations, One Strong People in the backmatter
We are so thrilled to have fifteen coaches lending their wisdom to How To Coach Girls. The lineup of coaches is below. After the interviews were conducted, two of these coaches received recognition:
Acacia Walker, Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse, Boston College was named NCAA Division 1 Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the year!
Marc Gargaro, Boxing Trainer, Nonantum Boxing Club was selected as a national coach for both the men’s and women’s USA Boxing Elite National Team that competes in the Pan Am and Olympic games.
With 70% of kids quitting organized sports by age 13 and girls quitting at six times the rate than boys, it’s clear the the priority for coaches and parents is to keep their girls in sport!
The benefits of sports for girls are numerous: higher self esteem, higher high school graduation rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, less issues with body image, travel opportunities, overcoming adversity, setting and reaching goals, making new friends, and fitness for life.
We hope our book will help parents feel confident to volunteer as coaches, and coaches to feel like they have a resource that has practical ideas for creating team chemistry and keeping girls engaged in sport.
Ainslee Lamb on how to keep girls in sport:
And now for our lineup of coaches:
Fabian (Fabe) Ardila, President at MGA Sports Inc., and High Performance Court Coach, USA Volleyball
Fabian (Fabe) Ardila has coached volleyball for almost 30 years. In addition to having held the position of Assistant Coach for Harvard University, he has coached high school volleyball for both boys and girls at Newton South, Wellesley, Sacred Heart, and Weston High Schools. He currently coaches at the club level for Smash Volleyball, as well as at his own club, MGA. For the U.S.A. Women’s National Volleyball Team, Fabe was a coach for the setters who competed at the Rio Olympics under Coach Karch Kiraly. He is currently working at U.S.A. Volleyball with high performance athletes, training future Olympians. Last, but certainly not least, he coached his three daughters who all play at an advanced level.