The illustrations show music as magic spells affecting those with open hearts. Masterful use of colour coupled with a story based on true events makesThe illustrations show music as magic spells affecting those with open hearts. Masterful use of colour coupled with a story based on true events makes for a brilliant picture book....more
Red Kite, Blue Kite takes place during the Cultural Revolution in China, when chaos reigned and families were broken up when members were sent to labour camps or labour farms or were just disappeared. Tai Shan is separated from his father, but at first it is so close that he can walk home on Sundays to share their favourite activity of kite-flying. But when that isn't possible, Tai Shan flies the kites for both of them so that they would look up at the sky and know the other one was looking too.
The Cultural Revolution is pretty heavy stuff for early elementary school students. But Jiang breaks it down into parts that any child could understand. Missing a parent is something that many children can understand, whether they are separated due to divorce, relocation, or one of the many conflicts going on in the world right now (I'm thinking of the children of the lawyers rounded up in Turkey these past weeks).
Focusing on the good in a situation (or the beauty in an area of pollution) is a very Asian concept, although not particular to Asia. It reminds me of the child-parent bond in the film Life is Beautiful. Two horrible situations, but you still have to live your life and might as well find the good parts- like two kites flying high above human worries....more
When I Was Eight is a younger version of 2010's USBBY Outstanding International Book, Fatty Legs. The story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's time in a residential school is more detailed in the middle grade novel, but this picture book has the same message of the triumph of the individual no matter the circumstances....more
This is an extremely simple math concept book that introduces fractions and cooking to kindergarten-aged children. My son has been borrowing math concThis is an extremely simple math concept book that introduces fractions and cooking to kindergarten-aged children. My son has been borrowing math concept books from his school library in Japanese, and I found this in English to match his interest.
The premise of this book is simple- two kids eating various foods and figuring out how to share them, by dividing them in halves, thirds, and fourths. There are only a few words on each page- which definitely agrees with my first grader! It is not by any means a book to help kids who are actually learning fractions at school in Grade 2 or 3, just a basic introduction.
The colours are bright and there are a variety of foods, mostly in the dessert category, and they are all vegetarian-friendly. The appendix gives recipes for all as well as ideas on how to involve the kids while cooking so they can see fractions at work (with half teaspoons etc.), which is very helpful.
The book has a mix of basic illustrations and photographs. This is an early 90s book and the photographs are dated. I think that might be a minus for some but I quite enjoyed it, as it reminds me of my childhood (and yes, I had a haircut exactly like one of the two kids!). I really like that the boy is wearing pink. I doubt that would happen in a book produced in this day and age. Sometimes we are not always moving forward.
The other part which might be a minus is that one of the foods, a Wiggle Pear Salad, looks absolutely disgusting. But that makes it hilarious to my kids. So I'll knock another one into the plus column. ...more