Kristin Hatch Reading Record

Title: When Heaven Fell Publisher

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Title: When Heaven Fell

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Date/Awards: 2007

Multicultural Aspects? Vietnam –American story of Adoption

Why Chosen? Cover looked interesting

Synopsis: Nine year old Binh is the narrator of the story that tells of her life growing up in a rural part of North Vietnam. To help support the family, Bihn sells sodas and fruit cups on the street and also to the other children her age that are lucky enough to be able to afford the uniforms and books to go to school. Her whole world changes the day that her Grandmother tells her that she has another daughter, by an American soldier during the war who was a part of “operation baby lift”. This daughter has now made contact with the family and wants to come for a visit. The families’ expectations of the visitor are high and they all debate who will go back to America and live with the daughter. At first they both disappoint one another, but as the visit progresses, they both come to some new understandings about family and one another. At the end, the family is thankful when the American daughter wishes to pay for school for Bihn and her cousin Cuc.

This story addressed the many feelings that occur on both sides of the adoption process and would be a good book to include in a collection about adoption. The back of the book also has a glossary of terms in English and Vietnamese which are sprinkled throughout the story.

Author: Medicine Crow, Joseph

Title: Counting Coup: Becoming a Crow Chief on the Reservation and Beyond

Publisher: National Graphic

Date/Awards: 2006

Multicultural Aspects? Crow Indian Tribe/ American Indian Culture

Why Chosen? Recommended by “I is for Inclusion” Article

Synopsis: This was an interesting book that gives the reader insight into the stories of the Crow Indians as well as the personal story of Joseph Medicine Crow. I thought his personal stories of growing up on the reservation and then going away to both high school and college (thanks to an interested Baptist minister) were really the most interesting. Especially the attitude about school and other Indian cultures in the 1930’s and 1940’s. And also brings up how this author became interested in recording the stories of the Crow and other Indian people.

Author:Mobin-Uddin, Asma

Title: My Name is Bilal

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, Inc

Date/Awards: 2005/ Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (grades.4-6)

Multicultural Aspects? Muslim-American

Why Chosen? Recommended by U of Iowa Celebrating Diversity pdf.

Synopsis: This story was about a Muslim boys struggle with his identity at a new school where he feels afraid to show that he is different. When Bilal and his sister (Ayesha) arrive at the new school the other students are pointing and staring at Ayesha’s headscarf. The first time she is harassed, Bilal does nothing, but with the help of his Muslim teacher, Bilal stands up to the bullies when they harass his sister for the second time.

While I did think that this book was good and could open up a dialogue about different religions, I thought that this book did contain some stereotypes. For example, in the Bilal must make the first move and offer friendship to the bully that is harassing his sister. Why does it seem like the non-white student must always be more understanding? Second, I thought it was interesting that Bilal wanted to hid and not tell anyone that he is Muslim, yet his sister is proudly wearing the headscarf and not hiding at all. I wish that the book had focused on Ayesha rather than Bilal and portrayed a strong, Muslim women character for a change.

Author: McDermott, Gerald

Title: Anansi the Spider

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date/Awards: 1972/ Caldecott Honor Book

Multicultural Aspects? Story about the creation of the moon. Ghana Folktale

Why Chosen? Recommended by a friend in an African Art class

Synopsis: This story is a folktale from Ghana, about the adventure of Anansi the spider and his sons. All of the six sons were named after their own special skill. One could see trouble and another was a stone thrower, etc.. When the father, Anansi, becomes lost and is eaten by a fish, the son’s work together to save the father’s life. The Anansi finds a white glowing ball and wants to give it to his son’s for saving his life, but does not know which one is the most deserving of the gift. All of the son’s argue over who will receive this gift and eventually it is placed in the sky at night so that all are able to view and appreciate this wonderful object.

Author: Montes, Marisa

Title: Los Gatos Black on Halloween

Publisher: Henry Hold and Co., LLC.

Date/Awards: 2006/ Pura Belpre award winner

Multicultural Aspects? Mexican- American

Why Chosen? Pura Belpre award list

Synopsis: This was a wonderful creepy and slightly scary Halloween book that mixes English and Spanish together in fun rhymes that lead the ready in a pleasant way into the fun of spooky Halloween. The moon lit night was just the right setting for this party and we are given great details with only 4 lines of rhyming text per page. The monster’s ball is recreated in wonderful details until it is horribly interrupted by children at the door! I liked how it was able to mix not only the English and Spanish but also the Day of the Dead into Halloween. I loved the illustrations by Yuyi Morales. They really complemented this book.
Author: Morales, Yuyi

Title: Just A Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Date/Awards: 2003/ Pura Belpre Award

Multicultural Aspects? Latino

Why Chosen? Recommended author


Sr. Calavera has come to collect Grandma Beetle, but before she agrees to go with him, she has a few jobs to do. The chores all are explicitly counted in both English and Spanish to move the story along. The chores all add up to the preparations for Grandma Beetle’s birthday party in which Grandma invites Sr. Calavera to join in the fun. When the party is over, and Grandma is now ready to go, Sr. Calavera had disappeared. He only left a note that he enjoyed the wonderful party and he will be back to celebrate with Grandma Beetle next year.

Beautiful illustrations and fun are intermixed with both Spanish and English and all combine to create a beautiful book.
Author: Mora, Pat

Title: Confetti: Poems Para Niños

Publisher: Lee & Low

Date/Awards: 2006

Multicultural Aspects? Latino culture

Why Chosen? Recommended by World of Words Multicultural Library

Synopsis: This book was a collection of simple poems for younger children in Spanish. They were not translated, rather presented with colorful illustrations. There were notes from the author in the back in English and Spanish to explain the importance of poetry in the lives of young children.

Author: Moriarty, Kathleen

Title: Wiil Waal: A Somali Folktale

Publisher: Minnesota Humanities Center

Date/Awards: 2007

Multicultural Aspects? Somali Folktale

Why Chosen? Part of the book choices at the Valencia library on class trip

Synopsis: The wise man in the village sets out a riddle that someone should bring him the most important part of the sheep that is able to divide and unite men. One man follows his daughter’s advice (with reservations) and the results will change her life. Nice illustrations. I am now wondering about the message in the story—respect you elders? Listen to you children, as they too can be wise? Or listen to your women? I found it interesting that the father listened to one of his children, especially a girl.
Author: Mora, Pat

Title: Dona Flor

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Date/Awards: 2005/ Pura Belpre Medal for Illustrations

Multicultural Aspects? Latino

Why Chosen? Recommended by classmate, Lisa D.

Synopsis: This is a beautifully illustrated book about a very LARGE woman, who must be 25 feet tall. She stays near the village where she was born and helps out her fellow villagers who rely on her to help them out. One funny way that she helps them is by making tortillas and the villages then use these super sized tortillas to float on the river and as shelter. Dona Flor is able to also help the village in a serious matter, of finding the very large panther that is terrorizing the village with its screeching. Dona Flor is friends with all the creatures of the valley as well as the clouds and with everyone’s help eventually discovers the source of the screeching and calms the village down. The illustrations in this book are amazing, very relaxing colors and big clouds. I thought this book was one of the better ones that I have read.
Author: Myers, Walter Dean

Title: Jazz

Publisher: Holiday House Books

Date/Awards: 2006/ ALA notable children’s book

Multicultural Aspects? History of African American Jazz music in the US

Why Chosen? Cover looked inviting

Synopsis: This book was a good introduction to the sounds of Jazz as well as some historical highlights of the music’s development. Each page was a tribute to one performer (like Lou Armstrong) a form or a style. Some pages are just poems, and others talk about the Jazz-style memorial services that take place in New Orleans. This book also uses the fun way of presenting the pages the “long” way rather than always the “short” way. I thought this book would be good for an older student who was going to study Jazz as there was quite a bit of reading that would go over the head of a smaller child. (maybe 10-12?) Great illustrations portraying very powerful musicians and their instruments.
Author: Nikola-Lisa, W.

Title: Can You Top That?

Publisher: Lee & Low Books Inc.

Date/Awards: 2000/ 2000 Choices", Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

Multicultural Aspects? Children of many ethnic backgrounds

Why Chosen? Recommended by librarian at Valencia

Synopsis: This is a fun counting book which uses a lot of imagination. Each child that comes to the playground and they all sketch out animals with “extra”, imaginative features. The first boy starts drawing a fish with only one fin, and then the next child says how about a mouse with two tails! And the animals escalate from there until they reach the number 10.

This tale not only highlights a variety of multicultural children and their drawing talents but also the power of a good imagination. The illustrations were very good with goat with 10 horns and other imaginary creatures.

Author: Nilsen, Anna

Title: My Best Friends

Publisher: McGraw Hill

Date/Awards: 2003

Multicultural Aspects? Shows friends from a variety of different cultures

Why Chosen? Cover was appealing

Synopsis: This is a cute story about friends and the variety of feelings that kids have with their friends. This book really gives a positive backing to all those feelings, like being mad and then making-up. One illustration that was particularly fun was the “friends play dress up together” and the kid’s feet were shown in adult shoes. Very cute! I was disappointed with the amount of time spent on the white friends, but some of the kids were in inter-racial friendships. Overall a great book, and had great illustrations.
Author: Nolen, Jerdine

Title: Pitching in for Eubie

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Date/Awards: 2007

Multicultural Aspects? African American

Why Chosen? Cover looked good

Synopsis: Lilly wants to contribute when the whole family gets together to save enough money for big sister Eubie’s college expenses. Lilly makes iced tea to sell by the side of the road, and digs up worms to sell after church, but it is only when she is offered a real job looking after a family friend does she feel as if she is really contributing to the goal. This is a great story about working together as a family and the goals that can be accomplished when you do.
Author: Novesky, Amy

Title: Elephant Prince: The story of Ganesh

Publisher: Mandala Publishing

Date/Awards: 2004

Multicultural Aspects? Tale from India

Why Chosen? Cover was inviting

Synopsis: This story was a cute interpretation from a famous Hindu story of the origins of the god Ganesh was created and how he became such a good story teller. The illustrations and text use many words from India (like sari) and are true to many of the traditions and gifts of the culture. I am worried that it is one of those “exotic” books but as the story is supposed to be talking about a historical event, I am not sure that the “exotic” stereotype really works in this case. There is an author’s note in the back of the book that explains the story more clearly for older readers.

Author: Olson, Sylvia

Title: Yetsa’s Sweater

Publisher: Sono Nis Press, Canada

Date/Awards: 2006

Multicultural Aspects? Coast Salish Indians in British Columbia Canada

Why Chosen? Recommended by librarian Jane D.

Synopsis: This was a cute story that tells the tale of the beautiful hand crafted sweaters from the Coast Salish Indians, in British Columbia, Canada. Yetsa and her Mother arrive at the Grandmother’s house and assist with all the chores of preparing the freshly sheered wool to make the sweaters. First the pick out all the debris, then wash it, card it and finally spin it into balls of yarn. Between all these preparations, they snack on Grandma’s blackberry jam and fresh bread. Soon there is enough yarn for Yatsa to have a new sweater. Grandma has included her favorite patterns, of jam and bread and fluffy clouds into the knitting of the sweater. The illustrations are nice in this story, though they seem at times a bit out of focus. There is an explanation at the end of the book about the sweaters and how they came to Canada.

Author: O’Neill, Alexis

Title: Estela’s Swap

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Date/Awards: 2002

Multicultural Aspects? Mexican American

Why Chosen? Cover looked good

Synopsis: This book was the story of Estela’s first time at the Swap meet where she is trying to earn $10 more so she can take dancing lesions (ballet folklorico). Everything is going along well, until a strong Santa Ana wind blows threw the Swap meet, destroying the woman’s stall across from Estela. Estela runs to help, and then gives the women her music box to cheer her up during the week. The woman turns around and swaps Estela with the skirt she has been sewing for her to wear when she takes her dancing lessons. This was a cute, California story about an event that I am sure that many children are a part of.
Author: Orozco, Jose-Luis

Title: Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Me

Publisher: Orchard Books

Date/Awards: 2005

Multicultural Aspects? Spanish English song book

Why Chosen? Recommended by World of Words Multicultural Library

Synopsis: This book was a series of cute rhyming poems with beautiful illustrations from different parts of the day. For example wake up, eating, playing and getting ready for bed. One rhyme goes like “ABC Say letters to me!” and shows an illustration of a child and a grandfather getting ready to play together. There is an author’s note in the back that reminds parents about the importance of pointing out literacy at a young age for all children.
Author: Pikney, Sandra L.

Title: I am Latino

Publisher: Little Brown and Company

Date/Awards: 2007

Multicultural Aspects? Latin American/ Multicultural children

Why Chosen? Cover looked interesting

Synopsis: This book celebrates Latino children and has a wonderful assortment of pictures of children smiling and enjoying life. The book asks the question (in English) “Can you sense the beauty?” a number of times and is asking you to see the beauty in everyday situations with the children in the photographs. There are many affirming statements in the book such as “I am Latino. I am the Beauty.” Some words are in Spanish and the book asks the reader to “hear my language” in Spanish. The book focuses on the senses and shows many pictures of food, family photos and photos. This is a great book to share with younger children.
Author: Pollak, Barbara

Title: Our Community Garden

Publisher: Beyond Words Publishing

Date/Awards: 2004

Multicultural Aspects?

Why Chosen?

Synopsis: Audrey and her multicultural friends are all working on the garden near their home in San Francisco. Each child is growing something good to eat. Tomas is growing peppers and tomatillos for Salsa and Allison is growing special beans for a tofu stir-fry. At the end when all the veggies are ready to harvest, the children sit down together and celebrate. This was a cute book that even has a website to go to for more information about how to start a community garden.

Author: Faller, Rodger

Title: The Adventures of Polo

Publisher: Neal Porter Book

Date/Awards: 2002

Multicultural Aspects? A world traveling dog

Why Chosen? Recommended by the World of Words Multicultural Library

Synopsis: Polo the dog has many adventures that happen to him when he leaves his Island home. My favorite parts of his adventure included going underground where mushrooms grow- then turning the mushrooms into a rocket ship and flying to the moon. This book had no words and could be read by a person of any culture. This was a fun tale with lots of imagination.

Author: Powell, Patricia Hurby

Title: Zinnia: How The Corn Was Saved

Publisher: Salina Bookshelf

Date/Awards: 2003

Multicultural Aspects? Navajo tale

Why Chosen? I is for inclusion article

Synopsis: This book is a Navajo tale about how this Native American group developed the custom of planning complementary crops together; in this case, it was Zinnia flowers combined with the corn and bean crops.

The story goes that after three unsuccessful crops, the Navajo people were worried about the future of the corn and bean crops and sent a young boy (12 year old Red Bird) to search for the Spider Woman in order to save the people. Red Bird walks all over the area talking to many other creatures before finding the Spider Woman who instructs him to plant the flowers with the crops and then the plants will ripen the next day and everyone will have food. When Red Bird returns to the village he relays the information and plants the flowers with the crops. Just as the Spider Woman predicted, the crops ripen overnight and the people are saved.

This was a bilingual book written in both Navajo and English. There is a disclaimer at the beginning explaining that Navajo is traditionally an oral language and that the singing or chanting keeps the story intact.

Author: Ramirez, Antonio

Title: Napi

Publisher: Groundwood Books

Date/Awards: 2004

Multicultural Aspects? Mazatecal Indians/ Oaxaca

Why Chosen? Cover looked interesting.

Synopsis: This book was beautifully illustrated with watercolors and the cover drew me to the book from across the library. The story is told from the daughter’s point of view, Napi who tells about her life as a Mazatecal Indian in the Oaxaca area of Mexico. This story is centered around a large tree in the yard where the family goes to hear stories and dream and imagine the evening away. Napi even tells us about the tradition in which her birth placenta was buried beneath the tree to make sure that she can find her way back to be with her people. Napi even dreams that she is a bird and flying “happy and safe” above the big tree in one of her visions.
Author: Ramirez, Antonio

Title: Napi Goes to the Mountain

Publisher: Groundwood Books/ House of Anansi Press

Date/Awards: 2006

Multicultural Aspects? Mazatecal Indians/ Oaxaca Mexico

Why Chosen? The Sequel to Napi

Synopsis: This is the second book about Napi a Mazatecal Indian who lives in the Oaxaca area of Mexico. The last book gave an account of her life and all her imaginary dreams and traditions living near her family tree. In this story Napi wakes up to find that her father Nami did not return from working in the fields yesterday and instead of going to school like she tells her Mother, she and her little brother, Nicle, go off in search of the father. The two children have a number of adventures trying to locate the father, including being turned into deer.

The children ask each animal that they encounter if they have seen the father, and get a variety of hopeful responses that say that they will find what they seek. When they come to a family of armadillos, the Mother armadillo tells them that the family is united again and the children are so happy that they run as fast as they can back to their homes.

Just as in the first book the watercolor illustrations are beautiful a mixture of browns that have a sepia tone that makes them look like an old-fashioned photograph combined with a brightly colored figure or part of the page which really draws your attention to the subject. Wonderful books
Author: Ransome, James E.

Title: Visiting Day

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date/Awards: 2002

Multicultural Aspects? African American

Why Chosen? Recommended by librarian Jane D.

Synopsis: This is a very touching story of a young girl and her grandmother planning, preparing and visiting her father in Jail. First thing in the morning they wake up and prepare for the journey. Grandma makes fried chicken for lunch and they also take some gifts from a neighbor who can’t go. Then they board the bus with the other families and take the long drive together to the Jail. This visit with her father is short and she and Grandma are melancholy on the way back home.

I thought this book was interesting because I have not come across this theme in a children’s book before., and as we have said in class, by not addressing these issues they become secret and silent and kids cannot talk about them to anyone.

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