Kristin Hatch Reading Record



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Author: Tingle, Tim

Title: Crossing Bok Chitto

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Date/Awards: 2006

Multicultural Aspects? Choctaw/ Native American author (Native and African American Story)

Why Chosen? Recommended in “I is for Inclusion”

Synopsis: Advertised as a Choctaw tale of friendship and freedom. This story begins on the north side of the Bok Chitto river, in Mississippi. On the north side lived the Choctaw Indians but on the South side, were plantations with many slaves. One day a young girl from the north side crosses the river to pick berries and becomes lost and wanders in to a “slave church”. She enjoys the music so much that she continues and becomes friendly with many of the worshipers. One night she is even able to help a family cross the river into freedom. This book has beautiful illustrations also by a Native American artist (Cherokee). I felt that there was a unique friendship that was developed by two different yet similarly oppressed peoples. Excellent book!
Author: Tucker, Kathy

Title: The Seven Chinese Sisters

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Date/Awards: 2003/Bank Street College Best Books of the Year Award, 2003

Multicultural Aspects? Chinese -American

Why Chosen? I enjoy this illustrator (Grace Lin)

Synopsis: This is a great story of seven sisters each with an individual talent that all work together to save the youngest sister when she is kidnapped by a dragon. The story begins by explaining all the sisters’ talents one by one, then when all the sisters are busy, a non-scary dragon comes in and steals the youngest sister planning to eat her for lunch. All the sisters combine their talents to save the youngest one and they are successful. In the end they all sit down to a big bowl of noodle soup. This story was cute and the illustrations by Grace Lin were as charming as other books I have read. The story line was a little strange with the fact that one of the sister’s ability to communicate with animals means that she speaks “dog” but it is a story after all.
Author: Waters, Kate

Title: Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date/Awards: 2001

Multicultural Aspects? American Indians & Europeans

Why Chosen? Recommended in I is for inclusion article

Synopsis: This book tells the story of a “first Thanksgiving” between the English and Native peoples. It has been told from two viewpoints, one a Native boy and one an English boy. Each reflects on the situation from each different cultural perspective, and each boy is curious about the other one and the life they lead.

Even though it was recommend by the I is for inclusion article, I am not sure that it did not play into some Indian stereotypes. The Native people all wore a feather in their headbands, and they were even decorated with painted faces. I was also sad that the both the children were boys and that they did not talk about any women characters except for all the cooking that the English boy’s mother was working on.



This book was not illustrated but rather a series of photographs taken at the Plymouth Plantation, an outdoor history museum in Massachusetts. I think that kids would think that this book is more authentic when they can see pictures of other kids in the period costumes, but again this makes me wonder if they are an accurate portrayal of the Native people.

Author: Williams, Mary

Title: Brother’s in Hope

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Date/Awards: 2005 (2006 Coretta Scott King Award)

Multicultural Aspects? Tells the story of Lost Boys of Sudan. African Children.

Why Chosen? Coretta Scott King Award winner

Synopsis: The story of the experience of a Lost Boy of the Sudan. While tending cattle one day, 8 year old Garang hears the evidence of war in his village and returns home later to find everything destroyed. Soon he meets up with other boys and together they begin a journey first to Ethiopia and later to Kenya before being brought to the United States. This story was presented in a sad and yet hopeful (but not too scary) way for children to understand the actions, and also comprehend the magnitude of the events.
Author: Williams, Sam

Title: Talk Peace

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Date/Awards: 2005

Multicultural Aspects? World Wide call for peace.

Why Chosen? I liked the title

Synopsis: This was a cute story that rhymed at times all with the theme of building Peace and understanding around the world. This picture book was aimed at a young audience and I am sure that Peace is a hard concept for young children to understand, but I think that the author did a splendid job. I liked the fact that there was a mixture of the world integrated in to the story. City and countryside was mixed with above ground and below ground, and humans and animals all combined to make this an engaging story. This author had a very cute idea when designing this book.
Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: Angelina’s Island

Publisher: Frances Foster Books

Date/Awards: 2007

Multicultural Aspects? Jamaican in New York

Why Chosen? I like this Author

Synopsis: This is a great story of Angelina who is home sick for her native Jamaica. Each day she asks her parents when they can go home. The parents respond that they are home, New York is there home now. Angelina spends all day thinking of how the two places are different, and how she wants to return. One day her mother finds an newspaper article about a parade (Carnaval) for children to participate in. After Angelina participates in the parade, hears the Jamaican music, she starts to feel as if New York could really be home. This was another great book from illustrator Jeanette Winter.
Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book

Publisher: Harcourt Inc.

Date/Awards: 2004

Multicultural Aspects? Mexican American

Why Chosen? Cover looked interesting/ Day of the Dead celebration

Synopsis: This was a great story of the tradition of creating paper skeletons for Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. The story begins with how the skeletons are created and the family business that is famous for creating the best ones in Mexico. Then the Alphabet part of the book begins where each letter shows a skeleton depicting an alphabet letter. One example is the N- The skeletons are dressed up in wedding clothing for Novio and Novia. This was a cute story that explains an element of the Day of the Dead celebration. Great illustrations. At the end of the book there is a glossary of terms translating the English and Spanish as well as an Author’s Note that gives more information about fiestas and the Day of the Dead Celebration.

Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: Elsina’s Clouds

Publisher: Frances Foster Books

Date/Awards: 2004

Multicultural Aspects? Story from South Africa

Why Chosen? AlA recommended Author

Synopsis: This book is the story of Elsina and her desire to have the rainy season begin in South Africa. Her mother’s plants are drying up and her father’s goats are thirsty, but the real reason is that Elsina wants to pant the house after the rains wash away the old paints. Each year this cycle is repeated between the rainy season and the dry seasons, giving Elsina a new canvas to paint. This was another good story based on real events by Winter. I also thought her illustrations were wonderfully colorful and African-ish.
Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: Josefina

Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company

Date/Awards: 1996

Multicultural Aspects? Mexican folk artist Josefina Agular

Why Chosen? Ala recommended author

Synopsis: This is another Winter’s book that is loosely based on at factual experience. The book notes that this story was inspired by Mexican Folk artist Josefina Agular and her hand made clay art from the Mexican village of Ocotlán. Winter’s mixed the information about the artist with a fun counting book of the clay sculptures that Agular creates. I think that this story would appeal to a range of kids due to the mixture of story and counting book element.


Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: Mama: A True Story

Publisher: Harcourt Books

Date/Awards: 2006

Multicultural Aspects? Written after the 2004 Pacific Ocean Tsunami

Why Chosen? ALA recommended author

Synopsis: This book was written after the 2004 Pacific Ocean Tsunami and tells the true story of a group of hippopotamuses who were swimming in the ocean on the day the big waves came through. The mother and baby (indecently the only two words in the book) are separated and the baby washes up on shore, and taken to a wildlife refuge where he immediately bonds with an old giant turtle. Another Winter tale that is based on a true event. Wonderful illustrations.


Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: The Librarian of Basra: a true story from Iraq

Publisher: Hardcourt Books

Date/Awards: 2005 /ALA Notable Children’s Book

Multicultural Aspects? Iraq war story

Why Chosen? Recommended by ALA

Synopsis: This book tells the story of the head librarian in Basura, Iraq at the beginning of the US invasion of Iraq and her quest to protect the valuable books that were held inside the library. She is alone in her desires to protect her valuable books and begins to take them home, a trunk load at a time, to protect them. Once the bombing starts, she is able to enlist the help of a neighbor who assists her in removing many of the books before the library burns to the ground.

I thought this was an important story to tell, in light of the continuing war in Iraq. I thought it was very interesting that the impetus for the story came from an article in the New York Times in 2003. The book starts with a quote from that article, noting that “In the Koran, the first thing that God said to Muhammad was ‘read’”. Hopefully this children’s book about the destruction of the library will have a positive ending with the re-building of a new library in Basra.


Author: Winter, Jeanette

Title: Niño’s Mask

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

Date/Awards: 2003

Multicultural Aspects? Story from Mexico

Why Chosen? I love this Author/ Very colorful illustrations

Synopsis: This story is about a boy who wants to participate in the village ritual of wearing a wooden mask and catching the tiger who will ruin the corn crop. Each year Niño asks if he can join the hunt and each time his parents say when you are older. Niño decides to carve a mask himself and surprise his family. The parents are so proud of him, that the mother sews him a costume, even thought he is too young. Niño does participate in the hunt for the tiger, and eventually is successful in stopping the tiger from destroying the corn crop.

The illustrations of a Mexican village are nicely done and the author has included a glossary of terms and some more information about Mexican history.


Author: Woodson, Jacqueline

Title: Our Gracie Aunt

Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children

Date/Awards: 2002

Multicultural Aspects? African American

Why Chosen? Recommended by librarian Jane D.

Synopsis:

This was a touching story about two kids that were left alone one day so a neighbor called social services and a social worker came to take the children to their Aunt Gracie’s house. They did have a quick re-connection with the mother who it looks like is in a hospital or maybe a drug rehabilitation home, but who still is unable to care for the kids. The kids must retune to the safety and warmth of their Aunt’s house at the end of the day.

I thought this was a great book to have out in the word as this is a situation that happens to children of all cultures and again we all need a book to help get some conversations started.

Author: Yang, Gene

Title: American Born Chinese

Publisher: First Second Books

Date/Awards: 2006/ National Book Award Finalist

Multicultural Aspects? Chinese American students portrayed

Why Chosen? Recommended by classmates/ Professor

Synopsis: This was my first Graphic Novel and I found it more interesting than I originally thought. The book contains three stories that at first appear different, but at the end all merge into one complete thought. One story is a Chinese legend about a Monkey King and his challenges in earning respect. Another is based on a “typical” negative Chinese stereotype and the third is the story of a Chinese student just trying to fit in, in an American Middle school, and all the subtle and blatant racism that he encounters, just trying to make friends and please his parents as well. The message that I took away from the book was to just be yourself and accept who you are, a message that I think people of all ages will find meaning in.

I found the Graphic Novel to be as complex as “traditional” story (which I assumed would not be- as so many of the words were missing, but the pictures really do make up a strong form of communication in the book). I also liked the white space that was on the top and bottom of every page, so that there were not too many images to become overwhelmed by. In fact I would say that I remember the images that the book presented almost like a movie in my head, more so than the poetry of the words. Maybe that is why they are so popular??




Author: Yazzie, Evangeline P.

Title: Dzani Yazhi Naazbaa: Little Woman Warrior Who Came Home

Publisher: Salina Bookshelf, Inc.

Date/Awards: 2005/ Winner Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural N-F Teen Y-A

Multicultural Aspects? Story of the Navajo Long Walk

Why Chosen? Recommended by” I Is for Inclusion” reading

Synopsis: This was a very powerful children’s book that explains a tragic episode in the history of the US. The book sets out to give some background to the life of Dzani between the four sacred mountains that surrounded her home. When she is alone one day, US soldiers arrive and capture Dzani and some sheep, to use as ransom against her whole family. Eventually her family and many other families are forced to walk into New Mexico, a trip of 450 miles. Once in New Mexico, the prisoners are forced to live for 4 years in an area that cannot support the kind of agriculture that they are used to planting and are given foods from the soldiers that they are not used to easting. The prisoners however did give each other mutual support and encouragement and this is what keeps many strong. The family is eventually allowed to return to their homelands. I thought this book was hard to read, yet the subject was an important one to tell.

I also thought it retells an interesting set of values. Dzani’s father continued to plant corn so that the children would remember their ways, and yet another ceremony would not take place in the prison encampment, because it is too sacred. What a hard choice that would have been. What if they had not been allowed to return to their original lands? These ceremonies would be lost. Maybe I just understand what actually happened to many other Native American cultures??



Also I would have liked a map that showed where the walk took place. Did the family originally live in Arizona or Nevada? Where in New Mexico was the prisoner camp?
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