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Multicultural Children's Literature
Transcript of Multicultural Children's Literature
This children’s picture book explores questions and concerns about disability in a simple and reassuring way. Younger children can find out what a disability is, and learn how people deal with their disabilities to live happy and full lives.
Willis, Jeanne (2000). Susan Laughs. Illustrated by Tony Ross. Henry Hold and Co.
The story describes a range of common emotions and activities experienced by a little girl, Susan. She swims with her father, works hard in school, plays with her friends, rides a horse. It is not until the end of the story that we discover that Susan is a wheelchair user. It delivers a powerful message and provides a positive image of children with a disability. It focuses on Susan’s abilities rather than on the things by which she is limited and shows that she is like all children, she is good, she is bad, she is strong, she is weak. Susan is an active, feisty little girl whose physical disability is never seen as a handicap. Lewis, Beverly (2007). In Jesse’s Shoes: Appreciating Kids With Special Needs. Illustrated by Laura Nikiel. Bethany House.
In Jesse's Shoes is a wonderful book about learning to accept those who are different from us. Jesse is autistic, but kids will be able to apply this to other children (and adults) with special needs as well. My own seven- and nine-year-old children have an autistic friend, and wanted to share this book with their classes at school. Kids have an amazing capacity for empathy and understanding, but they have to be taught how to handle the situations before they have a chance to demonstrate it. Beverly Lewis has written a book filled with love, to which children will respond positively.
Woloson, Eliza (2003). My Friend Isabelle. Illustrated by Bryan Gough. Woodbine House.
My Friend Isabelle teaches about difference and acceptance with simplicity and grace. Isabelle and Charlie are friends. They are the same age, but like most friends, they are different: Charlie is tall and knows "a lot of words," and Isabelle is short and sometimes her words are, "hard to understand." At the end of the story readers meet the real Isabelle, and author Eliza Woloson briefly notes how Down syndrome makes her daughter and other children special. Moore-Mallinos (2008). My Friend Has Down Syndrome. Illustrated by Marta Fabrega. Barron’s Educational Series.
When Tammy, who has Down syndrome, comes to summer camp, Ms. Theresa has prepped her group by talking about her condition and how it affects some children. Any fears of catching the disease or of not knowing what to say are effectively alleviated by Ms. Theresa’s planning ahead. The young narrator has been asked to be Tammy’s special friend and she is a bit nervous. But soon the two are best of friends, and Tammy teaches the girl many things and helps her with her stage fright at Talent Night.
Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie (1998). We’ll Paint The Octopus Red. Illustrated by Pam DeVito. Woodbine House.
As six-year-old Emma anticipates the birth of her new baby brother or sister, she vividly imagines all of the things they can do together. Then when the baby is born, her dad tells her that it's a boy named Isaac, and he has something called Down syndrome. As her dad shares this news, Emma senses his concern and wonders if Isaac will be able to go on all those adventures after all. In this story, Emma helps her father as much as he helps her to realize that Isaac is the baby they dreamed of. The book concludes with a set of commonly asked questions about Down syndrome with answers for children and how it might affect their sibling and family. Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie (2005). The Best Worst Brother. Illustrated by Charlotte M. Fremaux. Woodbine House.
In this sequel to WE'LL PAINT THE OCTOPUS RED, Isaac is almost three years old and Emma is in elementary school. Emma misses the adoring baby brother Isaac used to be. Now that he's older, he's a pain.
Emma used to be able to make Isaac laugh. He used to let her hold him without squirming. Now Isaac spits out his food and knocks down her blocks when Emma tries to play with him. Sometimes his behavior is embarrassing. Emma thinks Isaac would be more fun if he'd hurry up and learn some of the sign language she and her mom are trying to teach him.
Lears, Laurie (1998). Ian’s Walk: A Story about Autism. Illustrated by Karen Ritz. Whitman, Albert & Company.
Julie can't wait to go to the park and feed the ducks with her big sister. Her little brother, Ian, who has autism, wants to go, too. Ian doesn't have the same reactions to all the sights and sounds that his sisters have, and Julie thinks he looks silly. Thompson, Mary (1996). Andy and His Yellow Frisbee. Illustrated by Mary Thompson. Woodbine House.
A heartwarming illustrated children's book about Andy, a boy with autism. Like many children with autism, Andy has a fascination with objects in motion. It's Andy's talent for spinning his Frisbee combined with a new classmate's curiosity that sets this story in motion. Rosie, the watchful and protective sister, supplies background on Andy and autism, as well as a sibling's perspective.
Luchsinger, Dena Fox (2007). Playing By the Rules. Illustrated by Julie Olsen. Woodbine House.
When a long-distance relative comes for a visit, Jody and her brother Josh, who has autism, find themselves teaching Great Aunt Tilda the rules of the games they like to play. As the story progresses, Josh slowly warms up to Aunt Tilda as Jody helps her to understand her brother. But as with many board games, the rules of autism are complicated. Still, through Jody's humor, complaints, exuberance, and wisdom, PLAYING BY THE RULES shows how siblings of children with autism bridge the gap of understanding between their brothers or sisters and other people.
Van Niekerk, Clarabelle and Venter, Liezl (2008). Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome. Illustrated by Clarabelle Van Niekerk. Skeezel Press.
Answering the question Why is Sam different?, this story tells of the challenges of living with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. This firsthand view of the life of an undiagnosed child presents behaviors and characteristics that are common among children with this disorder. Sam doesn't like his pancakes to touch, his sister is annoyed with his repetitive song, and his new coat hurts his skin, but once he is diagnosed, teamwork-based support helps Sam's life become a little easier.
L.A. Goal (2004). Disabled Fables. Illustrated by people with disabilities. Star Bright Books, Incorporated.
A compilation of fables retold and illustrated by adults with developmental disabilities, this volume has the potential to serve a number of different audiences. Individuals with disabilities and those who live, work, or go to school with them will find much to interest and inspire them. The writer/artists' interpretations of the tales range from startlingly original to confounding, but the ways in which they relate the stories to their own life experiences are often touching and illuminating.
Vision, David and Vision, Mutiya (2009). Disabilities. Illustrated by Ignacio Alcantara. Soul Vision Works Publishing.
Experience life through the eyes of an extraordinary young boy born without arms. Equipped with a positive outlook, he focuses on developing his mind. Gehret, Jeanne (2009). The Don’t-Give-Up Kid: and Learning Disabilities. Illustrated by Michael LaDuca. Verbal Images Press.
Alex, a child with learning disabilities, has been updated with completely new illustrations and reflects the use of the latest tactile techniques used in schools. In this story, Alex is inventing a cookie snatcher, but his lack of reading skills and impatience means that he needs extra help. There are new discussion starters for parents and professionals, and positive solutions are presented to help build a positive image for the learning-disabled child.
Children with Disabilities Japanese Native american German Spanish Chinese Sakade, Florence (2003). Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories. Illustrated by Yoshisuke Kurosaki. Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd.
Japanese Children's Favorite Stories, ed. by Florence Sakade, covers a range of characters, human and animal, from the "peach boy" who grows up to conquer a tribe of ogres, to the badger whose nose grows so long it reaches into the sky. These folktales from Japan feature fascinating characters and lessons of kindness and honesty.
Dembicki, Matt (2010). Trickster. Illustrated by Matt Dembicki. Fulcrum Publishing.
These 21 folktales, created by pairing Native storytellers with a variety of artists, feature creatures explaining how things came to be, like islands or stars, or animals playing tricks on one another. Often, the trickster, while trying to take the lazy way, outwits himself, especially when it involves Coyote. In other tales, Raven does whatever people tell him not to do, but ends up with a free meal anyway, and Rabbit tricks some buffalo and wolves and is tricked by Fox into losing his tail. Crouch, Adele Marie (2010). How The Fox Got His Color. Illustrated by Megan Gibbs. Nook Book published by Adele Marie Crouch.
This delightful little story tells of a young girl's time with her grandmother as she relates a legend of how a mischievous little white fox with all his grand adventures going over and under and through became the red fox we all know today.
Eastman, P.D. (1982). Perro grande… Perro pequeno (Big Dog… Little Dog). Random House Children’s Books.
This book was written in both English and Spanish. Helpful in the primary-grade bilingual classroom.
Holub, Joan (2003). Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year. Illustrated by Holub Regan and Benrei Huang. Penguin Group (USA).
It's Chinese New Year and there are so many fun things to do! Shopping at the outdoor market for fresh flowers, eating New Year's dinner with the whole family, receiving red envelopes from Grandma and Grandpa, and best of all-watching the spectacular Chinese New Year's parade!
Reynolds, Betty (2006). Japanese Celebrations. Illustrated by Betty Reynolds. Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd.
After a brief general introduction, events are listed chronologically, with a single descriptive paragraph or a sentence or two of explanation. The first celebration of the year is O Shogatsu (New Year). Colorful illustrations show people participating in worship at temples and shrines, with a spread describing symbols of good luck and special foods. Other traditional pastimes are shown as well, such as card games and kite flying. An example of the zodiac calendar, which follows a 12-year cycle, is included. Other well-known festivals include Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival, or Girls' Day), Kodomo-no-hi (Children's Day), and O-Bon (Festival of Souls). Bruchac, James (2008). The Girl Who Helped Thunder and Other Native American Folktales. Illustrated by Stefano Vitale. Sterling Publishing.
Find out how stories first came to be, and how the People came to the upper world. Meet Rabbit, the clever and irresistible Creek trickster. See how the buffalo saved the Lakota people, and why the Pawnee continue to do the Bear Dance to this very day.
Tadjo, Veronique (2002). Oma Nana… Grandma Nana. Translated by Gisela Greatorex. Milet Publishing, Ltd.
Beloved by all children, Grandma Nana is known for telling wonderful stories and riddles that make everyone laugh. She also has a very special doll, unlike any the children have seen before, that is very close to her heart. Brown, Margaret Wise (1995). Buenos Noches Luna. Illustrated by Clement Hurd. Rayo; Tra edition.
Loyal to the original, this translation has retained the poetic and soothing tone that makes it a favorite read-aloud. It's as popular among Spanish readers as its original always has been among English readers.
Bishop, Claire Huchet (1996). The Five Chinese Brothers. Illustrated by Kurt Wiese. Penguin Group Publishing.
The classic story about five clever brothers, each with a different extraordinary ability is "a dramatic retelling of an old Chinese tale." (The New York Public Library)." . . . when Bishop makes the tall brother stretch, the sea-swallower work, or the robust one hold his breath, young children will laugh and laugh."
Hart, Christopher (2001). Manga Mania. Illustrated by Christopher Hart. Crown Publishing Group.
Manga art has many styles: the young Manga style, à la Pokémon; and the more mature style popular with teens and adults. Manga Mania covers them both. Big, splashy chapters demonstrate how to draw martial arts, special effects, and much, much more. Since the Manga style stresses character rather than anatomy, Manga comics are easier to draw. So a beginning comic-book artist can easily learn the tricks of the trade.
McDermott, Gerald (1978). Stonecutter. Illustrated by Gerald McDermott. Penguin Group (USA).
Relates the consequences of a stonecutter's foolish longing for power.
Ryan, Pam Munoz. Molinero, Nuria (2002). Esperanza renace (Esperanza rising). Illustrated by Bryan Selznick. Scholastic, Inc.
Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses; a beautiful home filled with servants in Aguascalientes, Mexico; and the promise of one day rising to Mama's position and presiding over all of Rancho de las Rosas.
But a sudden tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp.
There, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past as she confronts the challenges of hard labor, acceptance by her own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression, and ultitmately discovers the riches of family and community.
Ryan (2005). Yo, Naomi Leon. Illustrated by Ryan. Scholastic, Inc.
Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw has had a lot to contend with in her young life, her name for a start. Then, there are her clothes (sewn in polyester by Gram), her difficulty speaking up, and her status at school as "nobody special." But according to Gram, most problems can be overcome with positive thinking. And with Gram and her little brother, Owen, life at Avocado Acres Trailer Rancho in California is happy and peaceful...until their mother reappears after seven years, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.