Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Christmas Around the World
Written by: Mark D. Langford
Illustrated by: Karen Dugan and Irene Norman
"This book looks at the rich diversity of Christmas traditions found in 12 distinctly different cultures. A small amount of pertinent background information serves as an introduction to each entry, but the majority of the text discusses the special ways each culture celebrates the holiday. The book's attractive layout effectively uses repetition of color and theme, with each double-page spread of text and art surrounded by a decorative border. In addition to an extensive bibliography, the book features a small selection of craft activities (with step-by-step instructions and diagrams), a helpful pronunciation guide, and an interesting selection of Christmas superstitions. Useful for homes or schools wanting a multicultural perspective of the holiday season."
The Sound of Kwanzaa
Written By: Dimitra Tokunbo
Illustrated By: Lisa Cohen
"Here is a perfect book for reading aloud during the upcoming holiday season. THE SOUND OF KWANZAA is a sort of call back and answer pattern lets readers know about the facts behind the holiday. Why the candles of different colors? What does Kwanzaa signify? Bold illustrations and text combine to convey the excitement and joy of the celebration."
Reviewed by: Teri Lesesne
Annika's Secret Wish
Written and Illustrated by: Beverly Lewis
"In turn-of the-century Sweden, finding the almond hidden in the rice pudding is the Christmas Eve highlight for many children, since it means a chance to wish for a new pair of snowshoes, a mountain of truffles coated with cocoa, an adorable kitten. For ten long years Annika has dreamed of discovering the almond in her own pudding. Will this be her year?
A beautiful book that will become part of a family’s Christmas heritage, Annika’s Secret Wish inspires young and old to freely give and share even long hoped-for gifts. The final page features Swedish Christmas traditions that your family may choose to include in your own holiday celebration."
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
My First Ramadan
Written and Illustrated by: Karen Katz
"Katz uses a small child's viewpoint to explain the essentials of a traditional holiday. With his father, a young boy reads in the Qur'an about Ramadan, the most sacred time of year for Muslims all over the world. He learns about the prophet Muhammad and what he taught his followers. Clear words and simple, colorful collage illustrations show the family together as the boy learns the meaning of Muslim customs, prayers, and practices. He decides that he is old enough to fast every day of the holy month, so after a big breakfast, he does not eat again until it is time for iftar, the evening meal; then the family goes to the mosque to pray. Children will appreciate the warm, personal narrative, as well as the connections with Muslims all over the world."
Fasting and Dates: A Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr Story
Written By: Jonny Zucker
Illustrated By: Jan Barger Cohen
"A simple and delightful introduction to the Islamic festival of Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr — suitable for even the youngest child. Follow a family as they fast each day, go to the mosque on the Night of Power, and enjoy a delicious feast."
Night of the Moon
Written By: Hena Kahn
Illustrated By: Julie Paschkis
"The new crescent appears, marking the first day of the month of Ramadan. Yasmeen, a seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl, is confused because "it's only the seventeenth." Her mother explains that the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. At sunset, the family enjoys a special dinner. The following week, her family prepares food to be distributed at a mosque. One night, Yasmeen sees that the moon is full, and realizes that the observance is half over. Other events include a family barbecue and a celebration of the "Night of the Moon" at the community center, where stalls sell clothes, jewelry, toys, snacks, and gifts. Then Ramadan is over, and the next day is Eid. Yasmeen awakes to her brother's greeting of "Eid mubarak," and the children receive gifts of money. Paschkis's beautiful paintings incorporate Islamic tile art, adding to an authentic sense of the culture. Suitable both for independent reading and reading aloud, this book also serves as an excellent resource for teachers and librarians."
School Library Journal Review
Monday, December 7, 2009
A Calendar of Festivals
Written by: Cherry Gilchrest
Illustrated by: Helen Cann
"Legends and folktales associated with eight different festivals from around the world are arranged in chronological order. Each story is introduced by a single page of background. Holi is represented by "How Krishna Stole the Butter." "The Life of the Buddha" is the story for Vesak, while the tale of "The Oxherd and the Weaving Maiden" accompanies the Japanese festival of Tanabata. The tale of Jamie Freel, here called "The Halloween Changeling," is the selection for Halloween. Kwanzaa is represented by a Caribbean story, "How the Warau People Come Down to Earth." Finally, the Russian "Father Frost" rewards a poor girl and destroys her greedy, rude stepsister in an offering for the New Year.
The retellings are fluent and readable, and could be used for storytelling. This handsome book has detailed watercolor illustrations on every page. Sources for the stories are given at the back. Louisa Campbell's A World of Holidays (Silver Moon, 1993) includes celebrations in Japan, Pakistan, Namibia, Canada, and Mexico, but the stories deal with contemporary children. A good addition to folklore and holiday sections, and especially valuable for the less-familiar festivals included."
School Library Journal Review