Grandparents Get a Day Too!

How are you celebrating National Grandparents Day, this Sunday, September 10? Grandparents can be amazing! As the caretakers of decades of wisdom, trusted perspectives, and tested values, they share great human riches with their families. Grandparents can be the keepers of communities. Daily, they nurture younger generations to encourage authentic and thoughtful people. Grandparents sometimes create communities under their own roofs, too, opening their homes and hearts to relatives who need a place to stay, whether it be for a short or extended amount of time. Grandparents can also be nurturing, adventurous, inspiring, and make lovable books to share across generations, and we want to celebrate them today.

Here are some books from our publishers for you and your little ones to enjoy for Grandparents Day.

I Love You, GrandmaTT_Love Grandma
This lyrical board book from Tiger Tales Books, with illustrations by Rory Tyger, pays tribute to the tender relationship that youngsters have with their grandmothers. Simple text on each page combines with soft illustrations to compose a beautiful poem about the undying love a grandmother has for her grandchild.

 

TH Melena's JubileeMelena’s Jubilee: The Story of a Fresh StartThe morning after a particularly bad day, Melena awakes with a new song in her heart. At breakfast, she shares the song with Gramma, and Gramma, in turn, shares some songs of her own. A story about forgiveness and second chances, Melena’s Jubilee is written by Zetta Elliot, illustrated by Aaron Boyd, and published by Tilbury House.

 

CP Ossiri and the Bala MengroOssiri and the Bala Mengro
After her parents explain that they can’t afford to buy Ossiri a musical instrument, the determined Traveler girl decides to create her own musical contraption. She calls it the Tattin Django, and despite the cacophony that emanates from its rustic body, Ossiri’s grandparents encourage her to keep practicing and playing what she feels is in her heart. Published by Child’s Play, this picture book is written by Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby, with illustrations by Hannah Tolson.

How Nivi Got Her Names
Written by Laura Deal and illustrated by Charlene Chua, this story from Inhabit Media introduces traditional Inuit naming and Inuit custom adoption. Nivi’s mom tells her stories of the people for whom she is named, including the grandmother of one of her moms, the grandpa of her anaana (her other mom), and the grandmother of her puukuluk, or birth mother.

IM Nivis NamesPJ Waiting for Sophie

Waiting for Sophie
Liam relies on the creativity and carpentry skills of his grandma in this illustrated chapter book from Pajama Press, written by Sarah Ellis and illustrated by Carmen Mok. While Liam impatiently waits for his baby sister to grow into a playmate, Nana-Downstairs teaches him the basics of building and helps him to create a very special machine.

GP_GrandmaWhere Is Grandma?
This story of one boy’s odyssey through the hospital is written and illustrated by Peter Schossow and published by Gecko Press. While his nanny is distracted taking a phone call, Henry sets off on his own in search of his grandmother. He interacts with all kinds of people and overhears all sorts of conversations on his journey, but he won’t let anything stop him until finds his grandma.

 

FL_Top SecretTop-Secret Grandad and Me: Death by Tumble Dryer

Middle grade readers looking for a befuddling mystery and a good laugh can delight in a new series by the ever humorous David MacPhail and published by Floris Books. Eleven-year-old Jay Patel is off to solve the hilarious (no, really!) and wacky murders with the help of his (top-secret) ghost sidekick—who is none other than Jay’s grandad, Sanjeev!

 

Take a moment today to encourage children to spend time with their grandparents. Reading would be a great activity for them to do together. Make sure to snap a photo and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Feel free to tag us (@pubspotlight) and make sure you use #grandparentsday to show off your favorite intergenerational moments with books!

PRIDE in Our Publishers

June marks the celebrations of a number of events commemorating release from historic oppressions that come with the need to keep newfound respect alive. Juneteenth, for one, marks the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaching African Americans whose slave holders failed to pass along the news when Abraham Lincoln first signed the law. Teens can download for free and to keep the  audiobook of W. E. B. DuBois’s classic The Souls of Black Folks through June 21 to hear about this period, as well as the period of Reconstruction, from the viewpoint of an African American Harvard scholar. This free audiobook, and another this week and two more each week through August 17, come courtesy of AudioFile Magazine. You can visit the program’s AudiobookSYNC site for full information.

BB_Baby's First WordsBarefoot Books celebrates inclusivity with Baby’s First Words, a board book that follows one busy baby and her two dads through a day full of exploration. Also available in Spanish as Mis primeras palabras, this title by Christiane Engel introduces younger audiences to a variety of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and phrases, giving a new spin to a classic first word book.

CP Clive and his Babies

Jessica Spanyol, author-illustrator of Child’s Play’s Clive series, offers early readers stories that gently challenge gender stereotypes. In these board books, Clive, a little boy with a big imagination, spends his days caring for his dolls, adding to his hat and bag collections, and pretending to be a librarian when his friends come over to play.

CP_Quiet

Child’s Play continues to sensitively handle gender with Quiet!, which pubs this fall. The picture book never designates a gender for its main character, a toddler who explores the range of sounds they hear as their day comes to an end. Auditory landmarks help all children to become familiar with daily routines, and can be particularly important to those who are blind or partially sighted. Inventive and inclusive, Quiet! is great for parents on the hunt for a picture book that doesn’t gender its protagonist.

TT_We Are Family

In We Are Family from Tiger Tales, sweet verse takes you through moments in the life of ten families, celebrating diversity through shared experiences. The families may look different—there is a single parent, a child in a wheelchair, a boy raised by his grandparents, two same-sex couples, and a variety of ethnic backgrounds represented—but through thick and thin, these families are all there for one another.

IM Nivis NamesHow Nivi Got Her Names is published by our friends at Inhabit Media and is a valuable exploration of traditional Inuit naming that also touches on Inuit custom adoption. Nivi, her mother Laura, her anaana (mother) Jesse, and their entire extended family are actual people; the picture book includes an introduction from Nivi’s birth mother Aviaq, and short biographies of the people for whom Nivi is named.

TH Real Sisters Pretend

In Tilbury House’s Real Sisters Pretend, written by Megan Dowd Lambert and illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, people often mistake Mia and Tayja as friends rather than sisters. Throughout this heartwarming picture book, Mia and Tayja spend the day playing make-believe and are comforted by the fact that adoption has made them and their two moms a “forever family,” and that they will always be sisters, even after playtime is over.

AL_Raven

Action Lab Entertainment offers readers another graphic novel adventure from the Princeless universe in Raven: The Pirate Princess, Book Three. After a violent confrontation on the Island of the Free Women, Raven and her crew are badly beaten, with one of their own near death. As Raven risks her life to find a legendary healer who may be able to save Ximena before it’s too late, her unspoken love for Ximena propels her onward.

oni_princess princess ever after

Princess Princess Ever After is all about girl power and flipping gender stereotypes on their head. From author-illustrator Katie O’Neill and Oni Press, this middle grade graphic novel follows princesses Sadie and Amira as they join forces to bring out the very best in one another and perhaps find a happily ever after together. Did we mention there are dancing trolls?

ONI_Tea Dragon Society

Also coming soon from Katie O’Neill and Oni is The Tea Dragon Society, a graphic novel about discovering the value in tradition and the strength in found families. A warm partnership between the two men who make up the Tea Dragon Society and a touch of flirting between protagonists Greta and Minette make this a great choice for readers looking for heartwarming, smile-inducing representation.

PJ Moon at Nine

Moon at Nine from Pajama Press tells the story of two girls who dare to dream of a life and future together. Stuck in a world that sees their love as a crime, Farrin and Sadira must keep their growing relationship a secret. Written by award-winning author Deborah Ellis, this novel is based on true events that took place in 1980s Iran.

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Have you ever looked at our Book Activities?

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Here’s a sample….

What the book’s about

The legends relating  creation and prehistory that are passed between Inuit generations are collected into a picture book in both English and Inuktitut, displaying the images of a highly regarded First People’s illustrator.

Two Activities for ages 7 up, by Francisca Goldsmith

Activity 1: Origin Stories

Readers select one of the brief stories in the collection and retell it two ways.

Supplies

Writing equipment with which readers are accustomed to working

Activity

After reading the collection and having the opportunity to revisit legends that struck particular chords with each reader, each youth composes two reflective narratives.

The first narrative is a an original retelling of a legend from the reader’s own culture that treats the same theme as the one selected from the book, such as the characters who might be creating the sounds of nature or giant animals that are mistaken for places.

After sharing these narratives, each reader returns to the original legend in the book and, using her own cultural narrative of the same theme, weaves an original story using details from both cultures into a longer short story.

Note: For groups in which speakers and readers of languages besides English are participating, encourage work in multiple languages.

Activity 2: Storyboarding the Tale

Readers select one of the legends and, using the illustration as a guide, create a multi-paneled interpretation.

Supplies

  • Drawing paper or bristol board, depending on group’s expertise
  • Pencils and, where appropriate, inking pens

Activity

Each reader selects a legend to use as the foundation for his project.

Storyboard the sequence of events as they are told in the text, using the accompanying book illustration as a guide to attributes not described by the text, such as clothing and shapes of the landscape and the characters.

Stories, combining text and images that reveal more content about mood, activity, and consequences, can range from four to ten or more panels depending on the degree of experience and engagement with cartooning work of the group members.

Note: For storyboarding support templates, see Comics Pages from Printable Paper (printablepaper.net/category/comics).

A note about using picture books with older readers

This book is an excellent example of how rich the experience of encountering a picture book can be for older readers. This is an authoritative look into an indigenous culture, recounted and depicted by members of it rather than by outsiders. Because the content is fairly slim, we have the basic concepts and rhythms and the opportunity to expand and build out from these seeds.

To have the text presented in the language and the lettering of its origin is also important and invites discussion of how translation and interpretation can be highly complex. Consider using this book, and these exercises, in teacher training as well as with youth.

Using picture books with English language learners

Many picture books offer opportunities for children, and even adults, new to English to explore both the written and spoken language they are acquiring. How picture books are put to this purpose requires sensitivity to potential learners and wise choices of books to use.

English language learners represent a wide range of ages, life experiences, literacy levels in their home languages, and–just as important–linguistic and cultural histories. Many speakers of Latin American Spanish dialects, for example, may indeed be learning English as a second language. However, those coming to North American English from the Indian subcontinent and some Northern African cultures probably are conversant in multiple languages already and thus have a different skill set to use when learning yet another–third, fourth, fifth–language.  Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.01.10 AM

Working with English language learners who are present in classes with native speakers also draws attention to the need to be inclusive, rather than focusing attention on the use of specific books as a means of gaining English fluency. With these varying potential student needs in mind, how and why can picture books become part of the learning experience?

A number of the Book-based Activities we develop for this site address the potential uses of titles with English learners. What do these books share?

  • They offer content that makes use of general life experience that is not culturally bound
  • They provide opportunities for relatively sophisticated discussions of the theme, plot technique, character development, or art presented
  • They introduce culturally specific tall tales or geography information that builds out the English language learner’s general acquisition of idiomatic expressions, local history and/or physical environment, and vocabulary used in a contextually engaging manner

One example of how such picture books can expand upon the English language learner’s current strengths is the Neighborhood Map activity described for Detective Gordon: The First Case. This activity works well for the English language learner who is mainstreamed with native speakers and can even allow her to excel in undertaking the exercise, which is based on observation and documentation through drawing.

A group of English language learners, who may within the group share no language other than beginning English, may find that the What If…? activity, suggested for The Incredible Plate Tectonics Comic, provides the opportunity for sharing information about their own experiences with earthquakes, work together to create a model that expresses possibilities, and expand their academic understanding both of STEM-related content and articulating ideas in their new language.

Building empathy into the experience of sharing picture books in a group that includes English language learners and native speakers can also expand everyone’s horizons. Inhabit Media, a wholly owned Inuit publisher, includes titles that are published in Inuit as well as English. The written language is unlikely to be familiar to anyone in the group, giving all a level playing field for understanding how an old language may be new to this reader.

What activities do you find comfortable for new English speakers and readers when you share and expand their reading choices? We’d love to hear from you!

Amautalik Identification

Does that sound like a scary new science to you? It may well be! Inhabit Media, our favorite Inuit publisher, has a new picture book available that’s stuffed full of scary stuff! You can share with readers five to seven all the gruesome facts about The Dreaded Ogress of the Tundra–and then turn them loose to create helpful posters illustrating how to avoid being eaten by these Inuit folklore creatures! Jessica gives you all the tips you’ll need in our Book-based Activities section.

And if you want to expand the story, Inhabit also has some very short animated films to help stimulate the imagination regarding Tundra ogres.  Check out their site at Taqquit Productions for these multiple award winning films.

Acclaim from USBBY

The United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) released its annual list during the opening of the 2015 Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association. Among the books touted on the new list are several from our own publishers:

  • Gecko’s The Day My Father Became a Bush, written and illustrated by Joke Van Leeuwen
  • Pajama Press’ Graffiti Knight, by Karen Bass
  • Kids Can’s Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, by Chieri Uegaki and  illustrated by Qin Leng
  • Kids Can’s If…: A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers, by David J. Smith, with illustrations by Steve Adams
  • Gecko’s My Heart Is Laughing, by Rose Lagercrantz and illustrated by Eva Eriksson
  • Lemniscaat’s Surprise, written and illustrated by Mies Van Hout
  • Inhabit Media’s Sweetest Kulu, by Celina Kalluk, with illustrations by Alexandria Neonakis

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