I have never seen the movie made from this suspenseful adventure novel. Enjoyed Crichton's style and relevant stature (current events) relating to bot...moreI have never seen the movie made from this suspenseful adventure novel. Enjoyed Crichton's style and relevant stature (current events) relating to both technology & animal research (Amy). Well worth read! (less)
Looking forward to this one AND this book is out on itunes! http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/muddl... Here's a bit of the introduction: "Edward D. Wood,...moreLooking forward to this one AND this book is out on itunes! http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/muddl... Here's a bit of the introduction: "Edward D. Wood, Jr. has been called "The Worst Director of All Time" and is winner of the Golden Turkey Award. He has made some of the most laughable, and entertaining, films to ever come out of the Hollywood independent scene. With classics like the hastily constructed "Plan 9 from Outer Space" (1959) and the surrealistically autobiographical "Glen or Glenda" (1953)Wood has placed an indelible mark on the art of film production resulting in a big-budget life story by movie giant Tim Burton, titled "Ed Wood" (1994). There is a lesser known sidelight to Wood's career as a producer-writer-director-actor...."(less)
"Don't judge a village by the thief. If a dog steals, will you punish the goat?" That is one of several Nigerian sayings that are memorable! Winner of...more"Don't judge a village by the thief. If a dog steals, will you punish the goat?" That is one of several Nigerian sayings that are memorable! Winner of the 2000 Carnegie Medal, here is a very intimate look at the struggles faced by Sade, a 12-year-old Nigerian girl, and her 10-year-old brother when her father fled with them out of Nigeria, fleeing to London. Bullying, threats of deportation, and discrimination were all a part of the experiences of young Sade and her brother when they arrived in London. Due to the mysterious disappearance of their uncle, who could not be found, the pair ended up in foster care alone in the world. Touching tale. Well written.
**spoiler alert** 2000 Carnegie Medal winner "Don't judge a village by the thief. If a dog steals, will you punish the goat? Nigerian sayings.Book Sel...more**spoiler alert** 2000 Carnegie Medal winner "Don't judge a village by the thief. If a dog steals, will you punish the goat? Nigerian sayings.Book Selection: Naidoo, Beverley, The Other Side of Truth, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, 249 pages.
Type of Book: Multicultural fiction.
Grade level: The Other Side of Truth is most suited for 6th - 8th grade readers or older (Deep issues: Fate, death, political oppression, refugees) Plot Summary: A very intimate look at the struggles faced by Sade, a 12-year-old Nigerian girl, and Femi, her 10-year-old brother, who are quickly flown out of Nigeria for their safety by airplane to London to stay with their Uncle Dele Jagele, a Professor at the College of Art. Struggles, heartbreak at the loss of their mother’s death by shooting, and their resulting placement in the U.K. Foster Care System shortly after their upon arrival in London and abandonment by their smuggler. When their Uncle Professor Dele cannot be found they are thrown at the mercy of fate!
Book Thesis: Sade and her brother, Femi, learn the hard way the painful truth that reporting the truth (as their journalist father has done) may in some instances be politically incorrect and have tragic consequences. The meaning of death and life-altering consequences include for them: (1) the shooting death of their mother, (2) the imprisonment of their father upon his arrival in London to find them, whereupon a long time elapses before they learn this news (3) their own frightening experiences in the aftermath, including repairing the damage to their trust their smuggler (Mrs. Bangole’s) abandonment has created; and (4) entering the refugee status system to integrate into British society.
(1) How does Femi cope? (2) What are the roots of hatred? Why had the students at Sade’s new high school taken such an instant dislike to her?? (3) Why does their former foster care Mother’s son Kevin laugh and ridicule Sade and Femi? Why didn’t Kevin show more compassion first when they stayed in his house and later when Sade enrolls at his school/classroom? (4) Imagine any one or two of these experiences happening to you! How would you handle your circumstances? Could you survive without your family if left on your own?? (5) What was the reason Uncle Dele could not be found?
Supporting details: (1) Sade and Femi are forced to accept that their mother has been shot and killed because of their father’s journalistic reporting, an act of political oppression and retaliation because of an article Papa has written.
“…to no longer come home to her welcoming smile…” Sade is thinking yet the next day after she has died, as changes begin to come at her rapidly! ***SPOILER ALERT*** (2) Sade and Femi suffer frightening experiences in the aftermath: (a) Right at first after their arrival being taken NOT directly to their Uncle Dele but instead their “smuggler” insists first on going to meet her “husband,” then immediately realizing that Mrs. Bangole has left them in the café alone. (b) While searching for a safer, warmer place to get through the night encountering a bully and thief who steals their clothes; (c) Being held accountable to answer to the police by the owner of the video store where they have spent a few minutes. This is because while they were there a young black gang comes in and vandalizes the store. The video store owner is convinced that Sade and Femi were the gang’s decoys, something the police do not agree on.
(d) Ending up in the British foster care system because of being taken by the police for questioning in the video store vandalization incident. (e) Suffering ridicule, hostility, and discrimination as Nigerians in foster care living in London and immediately upon entering new schools in London as refugees; (3) The imprisonment of their father upon his arrival in London. It is not until they hear a news report about their father that they are aware he successfully fled Nigeria! Weeks have already elapsed before the news is heard on the media. Major concepts of the book: 1. Loved one’s (mother’s) death; 2 Further shock over being sent away to London then learning they are abandoned and their Uncle cannot be found; 3 Learning about the process of dying/experiencing the inevitable stages of grieving over a loved one’s death(s) 4 The damage to their trust from the circumstances of becoming first smuggled into a foreign country and then having to decide just how much truth they can safely share with the British government and protect themselves from Nigerian retaliation as well as their father who will try to follow them to London; Strong sense of honor, family, responsibility, sense of fair play. 5 Loss of contact with any family, and incredible resultant implications of change in their life, fate, even survival; 6 Learning the process of becoming a legal refugee in a foreign country; 7 Handling the bullying even from Kevin, the son of their first foster placement; 8 Sade must assume responsibility for both her and her brother’s fate; 8 Discovery of the process of reintegration and the nature of bullying from hateful classmates; and 9 Truths/parables from her upbringing, her homeland of Nigeria. Evaluation of how these major concepts are met (examples from the book): (1) The children draw strength from their memories of their mother following her sudden shooting death. The reader is, in particular, shown Sade’s memories of times together with her parents and her mother in particular are included in flash backs. Her memories are definitely something left for Sade to hang onto amidst the constant flux of her early days, weeks, and months after arriving in London. Sade’s recollections about her mother’s words are interwoven as they occur within the storyline and bring real comfort to Sade in her hour of crises. (2) Further shock over being sent away to London then learning they are abandoned and separated from their father, whose fate/safety remains uncertain. Mrs. Peacock (aka smuggler’s actual name Mrs. Bangole) cautions them just prior to abandoning them: abandoned and separated from their father, whose fate/safety remains uncertain their fate –from their mother’s death, abandonment by the woman (Mrs. Bangole) who flew them to London disguised as “her children.” The children accept this admonition as truth. “You must tell no one your real names. If you do, then we will not be able to help your father get out of Nigeria…”
..A very intimate look at the struggles faced by Sade, a 12-year-old Nigerian girl, and her 10-year-old brother when for their safety their father sends them by plane out of Nigeria, fleeing to London to stay with their uncle in London, but whom they are unable to locate. Struggles, heartbreak at the loss of their mother’s death by shooting, and their resulting placement in the U.K. Foster Care System are depicted. Book Thesis: Sade and her brother learn the hard way the painful truth that reporting the truth (as their father has done) can have tragic consequences. The meaning of death and life-altering consequences include for them: (1) the shooting death of their mother, (2) the imprisonment of their father upon his arrival in London to find them, and (3) their own frightening experiences in the aftermath, including the additional life-altering experience of foster care, bullying, discrimination.
(3) Learning about the process of grieving/experiencing the inevitable stages of grieving over a loved one’s death(s) includes: shock, denial, anger, acceptance. Coping with and accepting their fate. Mother’s words often ring in Sade’s head and give her direction while she is confronting obstacle and new experience after obstacle, . The advice of her mother kept coming to Sade’s mind. Admonitions like “Don’t let them see you’re afraid. Don’t show people why you are frightened. Don’t let them see it!” (pages 117-118, 124) Slowly Sade comes to feel acceptance of the loss of her mother. She takes comfort in memories of her mother and her mother’s advice, which give her something to draw upon as she faces challenge after challenge. The childrens’ rapidly changing circumstances cause Sade to seek refuge in her thoughts, her recollections of “safety” and “home.” This continues to be a theme throughout Sade’s continuing ordeals as we see Sade feeling the responsibility that her mother often had placed upon her to care for her brother. Femi, however, withdraws and comforts himself in television, video games, and comic books. (4) There is much damage caused to their trust from the circumstances of becoming first smuggled into a foreign country and then having to decide just how much truth they can safely share with the British government yet still protect their father who will try to follow them to London. They are now at the mercy of fate –now that their mother has died and they were abandoned at Victoria Station by the woman (Mrs. Bangole) who flew them to London disguised as “her children;” Desperate to regain Femi’s confidence after she has attempted for a second time with Aunt Gracie (her second foster parent) to contact someone in Nigeria, Sade gains the courage to attempt to telephone her home in Nigeria, saying she is trying to reach her Uncle Tunde. When their foster father asks Sade, “Do you know where he works in Lagos?” Sadie informs her foster parents that he was a lawyer and had an office, but that she had no idea where. (5) The loss of contact with any family mixed with their incredible changes keep the children in a state of frustration, panic, and mistrust of their new and former governments. They have begun to feel the implications of telling the truth. Their focus remains hopeful, and they are resolute upon continuing to offer any protection within their power to protect Papa Folarin Solaja until he is able to leave Nigeria and travel to London to meet up with them. “But with each passing day without news of her father, Sade began to feel even more fearful whenever she thought of Papa.” The foster care social workers and immigration attorney, “Mr. Nathan,” had been extremely patient with Sade and Femi. When the children were faced with more questions during fingerprinting where they had been brought to apply for temporary refugee status, Mr. Nathan had stepped in and indicated how fearful the children had originally been. Midway through the book, on page 138, Mama Appiah, their Afrikan social worker, again gently nudges Sade for more information.
AUTHOR'S TONE, POINT OF VIEW, AND MOOD TONE: From chapter titles, to the names invented by the children for the amazing array of individuals they encounter as they are exiled from Nigeria to London make for a bit of insight or even humor, a detached psychological technique for diffusing the foreignness and ludicrousness the children experience while reintegrating as refugees. This tone is helpful allowing the young reader to experience vicariously at least some of the myriad of emotions which these characters feel while still in the wake of such tragedy. Among these made up names are Cool Gaze, Eyes, Mr. Big Speech, Mrs. Peacock, Mr. Seven O’Clock, Brush Head (for his spiky hairdo), Hawk Man, and Hawk Woman.
Sand Dunes Lady was the name given by Sade to a woman at the Immigration office who was cradling her baby. When Sade is provided a fellow student to help her during her adjustment to her new high school, Sade’s daydreams and wandering thoughts show her distraction while beginning her studies at this uniform-wearing school.
“Miss Harcourt was trying to make her [Sade] feel at ease, but the more she said that she was sure, the less sure Sade felt about anything. Miss Harcourt signaled her to stay outside, while she opened 8M’s [her tutor classroom] door. . . .
“A girl with a blue headscarf, sweater and trousers came out of the room. Her face reminded Sade of the Sand Dunes Lady….”
Miss Harcourt introduces Sade to Mariam, “This is Mariam, one of my best students. Mariam came from Somalia less than a year ago. So, East and West Africa! I’m sure you’ll become good friends.” (Pages116-118)
POINT OF VIEW: The book is written from a child, Sade’s, perspective. Sade and Femi are two average siblings who experience this disaster somewhat differently. Sade had always been admonished by her late mother to “take care of Femi.” She takes courage in remembering the lessons from her Nigerian heritage, which I found myself moved by. These are some of the deepest, most heartfelt of moments Sade has to draw comfort, courage, and solace from. The more heartwarming of all of the writing, too, these small glimpses at Sade and Femi’s healthy and strong primary and secondary Nigerian socialization seem to help to regulate Sade’s moods and to aid her in keeping a level head. With so much change to deal with, her family’s endearing lessons are exactly the well of history with which Sade identifies herself. She will later have to “answer to Papa” for her actions, Naidoo writes. What would Mama say or do? Papa emphatically has described bullies as cowards. How Sade wished Papa were here to ask how she could thwart the bullies, since she encounters so many.
In her role as Femi’s protector as well as his older sibling, Sade naturally assumes the lead on most occasions. Perhaps this allows her to shift her concentration more on problem solving than overreaction or hysteria--as they face one after another challenge. These are some sayings used in her Grandmother’s village which come to Sade’s thoughts: "Don't judge a village by the thief. If a dog steals, will you punish the goat?" “A lie has seven winding paths, the truth one straight road.” Amidst their turmoil, they can still rely on each other. They each handle their misfortune in different ways, however. Femi holds his emotions tightly inside but explodes when they are required to be fingerprinted at Immigration. After waiting a very long time, when at last it was their turn to go into the fingerprint room, Femi refused to move. “They won’t give us our papers, Femi! We have to do it,” Sadie whispered. She was aware of people looking at them. Mr. Harris, their immigration attorney, accompanies the pair to the Immigration Department where they must among other things be fingerprinted. Femi’s reaction to even the idea of being fingerprinted is, ‘ “You think we’re thieves?” he muttered fiercely. “Many people say that children should not be fingerprinted,” said Mr. Nathan quietly. “But I’m afraid the rules allow it.” ‘Hawk Man now began with Femi. “You must relax,” he ordered. ‘But Femi held his arm so stiffly that the man had to struggle to raise her brother’s hand up to the pad. “This isn’t going to work unless you can relax,” he repeated. He appealed to Mama Appiah. “Can you tell him in his own language that I’m not going to hurt him?” ‘ (p. 101).
MOOD: This book is shocking and makes no attempt to either hide the truth of political oppression or the consequences in very real terms which necessitated the children being sent into exile—to prevent their murder! The Other Side of Truth becomes somewhat of a study of the idea of truth due to the circumstances these children encounter, which even arise from their journalist father’s courage to “write the truth” in their own country of Nigeria. The bond of family, the strength of the ties of family, and the incredibly deep primary socialization Sade has experienced sees her through her shocking and nightmarish experiences.
It is no surprise as to why author Beverley Naidoo’s fictional novel won the 2000 Carnegie Award. Her characterizations are rich and detailed. She has courageously presented many current and life-changing topics in a palatable form for young readers. The reader certainly can “feel” the struggle and heartache experienced by Sade and Femi, as well as her whole family undoubtedly. Torn from their loving, devoted family these two shine as excellent examples of the truth from their primary socialization remaining evident in their decision making as they tackle the hardest choices of their lifetimes. Surprisingly compassionate foster care parents are among the happier experiences of this brother and sister pair. All these carefully silhouetted and placed functions convey to the reader the experiences these children survive! Many possible uses of The Other Side of Truth in the classroom: (9 pts) 1. Intermediate ELL students – This book brings up so many of the struggles English Language Learners face or have faced, whether they are immigrants by choice or refugees. The Other Side of Truth fits into the multi-cultural fiction category and would benefit all immigrants with their self-identity, and, in particular, Afrikan immigrants and refugees. This book is a wealth of rich characters to pick from to study, from their homeland of Nigerian of the two main characters Sade and Femi, but also Mariam who is a refugee from Somalia. Other countries such as Ghana are mentioned. The lovely “Mama Appriah” herself emigrated from Ghana. Aunt Gracie and her husband, the children’s foster parents, were selected by their social worker due to their Afrikan heritage. (less)
The meaning of the three cups of tea is one of the most poetic and simplistic beliefs. An inspiring true story of Mortenson's accidental encounter wit...moreThe meaning of the three cups of tea is one of the most poetic and simplistic beliefs. An inspiring true story of Mortenson's accidental encounter with a benevolent tribe of people in Pakistan. Author Greg Mortenson never set out to become a builder of schools. However, fate stepped in and with a small Pakistani village people saving his life in a freak mountain climbing accident, he vowed to return and to build them a school! Mortenson gained the villagers' respect by keeping his promise--to returing a build this village a school! He grew to love this work and met his future wife during his “journey of fulfillment.” Though Mortenson is not perhaps the most eloquent writer his story is remarkable his talent for providing very personal characterizations give us the reader insight into a different peoples and their culture and religious beliefs. Sarah Thomson adapted Morsenson’s adult version for young readers (middle school). It is thoughtfully put together to show Mortenson’s struggles along the road to his accomplishment for hope and for peace for Pakistan and Afghanistan. What were the results of Mortenson’s efforts? Since completion of the school it has grown into the Central Asia Institute. Twenty-five thousand children have received an education because of his efforts. Interest Level: Grades 9-12. Reaction: This is a story I personally loved. I much preferred the young reader adaptation and recommend the audio version. The meaning of the three cups of tea is one of the most poetic and simplistic beliefs. Tea appears to be the universal beverage, that beverage here in the U.S. women are attributed to love. Do hope more people will read his interview posted here (with video) http://www.goodreads.com/interviews/s...(less)
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Sometimes it can be hard to separate one’s personal recollections from the subject matter within a picture book. I found this to be true with Adler’s...moreSometimes it can be hard to separate one’s personal recollections from the subject matter within a picture book. I found this to be true with Adler’s picture book of Thurgood Marshall. After many years working in the legal profession, I immediately recognized Supreme Court Justice Marshall among those picture book biographies available. I found myself becoming overwhelmed and crying, however, upon my first reading of this book. Yes, the illustrations convey to a large degree Justice Marshall’s intensity and studious nature. These beautifully painted, often full-page sized illustrations, range from the entire family seated on living room furniture with father William Marshall reading to his two sons, his mother seated nearby, to the two-page illustration with NAACP lead lawyer Thurgood Marshall standing in the middle of the room at the podium facing the Supreme Court Justices, presenting his first oral argument before the Supreme Court Justices in the Supreme Court courtroom. In this last illustration only Thurgood’s face is clearly portrayed, whereas the faces of the other attorneys are less detailed. In the background the large number of people in attendance are not given clear visages, adding to his presence and the drama of that moment and experience in time.
Since I grew up during this era, you can imagine my surprise when I was moved to tears at the beauty of this story. Just young enough perhaps to have missed segregation..(less)
"Mr. Rey's [author of Curious George] outlines of the contellations are the best I have ever seen."Sharing a review by Dr. Hayden Rice, NY Planetarium...more"Mr. Rey's [author of Curious George] outlines of the contellations are the best I have ever seen."Sharing a review by Dr. Hayden Rice, NY Planetarium. Some very useful astronomy tools, such as using an umbrella to locate Polaris, the morning star, and the other constelations. Very informative. (less)
The "Peace Queen," "Ten Brothers," and "The Legend of Poia (Scarface)," are just a few of an amazing collection of myriad myths and lore loosely organ...moreThe "Peace Queen," "Ten Brothers," and "The Legend of Poia (Scarface)," are just a few of an amazing collection of myriad myths and lore loosely organized by region. Myths range from [East of the Mississippi] The Muskogean Race (including 4 of the 5 "C's" (Choctaw, Chippewa....) to the Story of Pocahontas to Fettishism, Totemism, Medicine Men & Supernatural Peoples.
Peace is a loftier goal than continual battling or quarreling, especially among family members. The Iroquois and Five Nations took this concept to heart and in the past established a Mediator by appointing a “Peace Queen,” who could be sought out to settle disputes. This Native American myth gives us a glimpse at some common sense and survival skills of the Iroquois peoples. Like the poetic imagining that dreamt up an office they named “Peace Queen,” this Iroquois myth lends poetry in its descriptions of her thoughts and dreams, “Her thoughts went out to him [Oneida] as birds fly southward to seek the sun…For she could not forget the young Oneida brave, so tall, so strong, and so gentle.” (less)
CALDECOTT HONOR PICTURE BOOK 2011 Can colors feel? Author Sidman’s poetry fills our minds with the rhythm and movement of seasons in vivid Technicolor...moreCALDECOTT HONOR PICTURE BOOK 2011 Can colors feel? Author Sidman’s poetry fills our minds with the rhythm and movement of seasons in vivid Technicolor. Ms. Sidman’s kingly main character and his dog experience--as do we the reader--many moods, temperatures, and vividly illustrated rhythms of life as seasonal palettes change. Spring gives way to Summer’s vivid blues, yellows; and greens give way to Autumnal coloring. Even black and white each have their “dance” and let us “feel” their colors.
What is the theme? “As life and seasons ebb and flow their changing colors speak to us.” The child audience is appealed to by the themes of strolling and playtime experiences, such as building snowmen in the Winter and climbing trees and returning to school (a yellow school bus) in the Fall. Is the theme worthwhile? Almost mystical or enchanted our changing landscapes’ colors are “felt” and almost “heard” and awaken all our senses as we explore the rhythms of the earthly landscapes. Is it too obvious or overpowering? The theme is almost overpowering, definitely wistful. The writer and illustrator together create a “taken away” and vicarious learning results through this breathtaking experience. An affinity with nature including the main character’s little white spotted puppy whom she walks all the time is in every illustration. Personal Reaction. Sidman’s “Red Sings” touched my wistful side and catapulted me through lots of memories both forward and seemingly backward in time. Every word and every illustration delighted me! I carefully weighed my decision to select THIS book for my Book talk over several other contenders.
Illustrations. Both the front and back cover are as vivid as the inside illustrations. Trees, red birds singing from the treetops plus the changes in the trees hint at the colors and seasonal palettes. . The back cover uses trees in various seasons one budding, one in full foliage, the next one shows changing fall leaves, and the fourth the bare limbs of winter. What are the illustrations like? What medium does the illustrator use? I believe illustrator Zagarenski used a mixed media of acrylic paints and pen and pencil drawings. Each makes the other stand out even more so. She gives a goodly amount of detail in her drawings then broadly paints in a wide palette of changing intensity yet vibrant colors. Do the illustrations extend the text? Hmmm. Since the text is poetry illustrator Zagarenski vividly and colorfully paints her illustrations I believe in a mixed media of acrylic paints and pen and pencil drawings. Each makes the other stand out even more so. Are the words and illustrations woven together in any way? Yes, tightly woven together. Moods change with colors and seasons, and Zagarenski’s color palette is almost as free as the verse with which Sidman writes. She gives a goodly amount of detail in her drawings then broadly paints in a wide palette of changing intensity yet vibrant colors expressing waning and ebbing moods. Do they create "rhythm and movement" in any way? Yes strongly so. What colors are used and for what purpose? All of the primary colors + black, grey and white! Purple, Blue, Yellow, Red, and Red again! For example, we see how blue and green are one thing in Spring yet they evolve into other themes in Summer and Fall. What does the illustrator try to convey through his/her art? How precious each of these metamorphoses create yet another palette for the eyes, senses, and soul to feast themselves upon. These colors shift, and our moods shift with them. I do miss the stark changes in my own Midwest home town versus the paler palette changes here in the Gobi Desert. (less)
1991 CALDECOTT HONOR PICTURE BOOK MY SYNOPSIS: Many large, tall skyscrapers surround the George Washington Bridge, a lighted suspension bridge, which...more1991 CALDECOTT HONOR PICTURE BOOK MY SYNOPSIS: Many large, tall skyscrapers surround the George Washington Bridge, a lighted suspension bridge, which Harlem overlooks. Atop one of these buildings young Cassie, her brother, parents and Mrs. and Mrs. Honey enjoy potlucks, card games, and whimsy on the rooftop which they name “Tar Beach.” Here Cassie soars over the city wearing the lights of the bridge as a necklace. She learns to “fly” here and feels she can own anything! THEME: Cassie, a third grader, can envision an equality for her and her family through her nighttime magical imaginings on those nights at least when her family and their friends can “own” a piece of “Tar Beach” (Harlem tenement building’s rooftop). She shows us HOW to and that they CAN be overcome—prejudices. Is the theme worthwhile? Is it too obvious or overpowering? The theme is a powerful one! As Cassie determines through her own fantasies own that SHE can overcome anything we each feel somewhat more empowered ourselves. The child audience is appealed to by these themes of unlimited thinking and visions of a better world, an empowered world, through daydreaming (or nighttime day dreaming as in this case). As Ringgold writes and illustrates Cassie’s experiences this theme is woven together and carries us and her little brother BeBe away through Cassie’s vicarious Big-Sisterliness to learn about her very own breathtaking and inspiring experiences atop the roof on many a warm summer night. Personal Reaction. When I discovered that Ringgold chose her quilt which she also calls “Tar Beach” as an outer border of both her front and back covers of this book, it reminded me of something I recently learned—that quilt makers during the Civil War incorporated messages, directions, instructions. Faith Ringgold branched into story writing from quilt making. My delight at the author’s use of imagery served to emphasize her theme and makes me want to explore other 1991 Caldecott Medal winners because they MUST be even more better than Ringgold’s entry!
Content. What is the focus of the book? Through the nighttime magical imaginings of a young girl, Cassie, in the third grade, we are shown her world where prejudices CAN be overcome and in which she determines through her fantasies that she can overcome anything. Is the book appropriate for a particular age of student or child? What age would most appreciate the book? From early age 0 to 5 years (pre-readers) and beyond. These vivid inner city illustrations tell the message of life surrounded by high rises and the body of water bridged by the George Washington Bridge, which Cassie’s father helped to build. Does the book encourage curiosity and wonder about its topic(s)? Yes. How is it that children can “fly”? I can’t fly—or can I? Some people think this book is a good starting point for a discussion of wishes and vision. Is the book connected to any particular curriculum topic(s) in more than just a superficial way? Yes, occupations, class differences, family life, big city issues such as labor unions, and prejudice. Cassie’s father brings Cassie with him to his job site where he builds skyscrapers. What is the quality of the language? It is third grad-ish! After all, Cassie tells us that she is in the third grade. Ringgold includes many of Cassie’s own words or thoughts, such as . She flies over the George Washington bridge that she wishes she can wear as a necklace because her father helped build it. She also wishes that her father could be rich and build his own building and get the respect he deserves. In the end, she is happy that she can enjoy Tar Beach(the roof on top of the building she lives in)with her family and it allows her to daydream about so many things she would like in that world. A great book to teach students that anything is possible...even if it is in your dreams Is the vocabulary appropriate? Absolutely relevant vocabulary that includes some very “adult” concepts like, “But still he can’t join the union because Grandpa wasn’t member.” I am uncertain but believe that since the 1930’s (the setting of this book) unions now accept a diverse culture of workers’ applications. But Ringgold’s book does NOT go into The Civil Rights Act of 1962 (perhaps because this is quite a few decades prior to that! This book and its third-grade geared vocabulary encourage us to live vicariously through Cassie’s dreams and fantasies. • Illustrations. Both the front and back cover are as vivid as the inside illustrations. I loved that Ringgold chose her quilt which she also calls “Tar Beach” as an outer border of both her front and back covers of this book.—This books back cover shows simply the picture of Cassie “flying” in the sky. Her covers truly appeal to her child audience and equally delight, I feel, her adult audience. What are the illustrations like? What medium does the illustrator use? I believe illustrator/author Ringgold uses acrylic paintings. Ringgold’s rich detail and vivid, rich colors echo the vibrancy and intensity of young Cassie’s flights of fancy. Do the illustrations extend the text? Ringgold’s illustrations not only extend the text but further display her respect for children’s understandings, abilities and appreciations, a high measuring stick forCaldecott Honors and Medal winners. Are the words and illustrations woven together in any way? Yes, tightly woven together Ringgold’s prose and her city life illustrations work in synchronicity to depict the changing moods our little character Cassie feels for example, when she goes with her father to his worksite and when the whole family joins the Honey family on the “tar beach” rooftop at night. “They call him the Cat.” because he walks on steel girders many stories about the ground. Mood changing to magical at night with the vivid, intense nighttime palette of deep, majestic royal blue sky with the white lights of the bridge “like a giant diamond necklace,” she writes. Do they create "rhythm and movement" in any way? Ringgold’s paintings reflect the lack of motion of the buildings, their starkness against the day time sky and their illusory qualities in the night, starlit skies. It is then at night when the sky comes alive, and Cassie “flies” above the other buildings like the ice cream factory and daddy’s union building which she picks. “Well, Daddy is going to own that building, ’cause I’m gonna fly over it and give it to him.” What colors are used and for what purpose? Bold primary colors by night accented by the bright whites of the stars in the sky and the lights on the George Washington Bridge. What does the illustrator try to convey through her art? How magnificent a cascade of dormant colors becomes when the sky is morphed from dusk into night! Cassie almost instinctively comprehends that the limitations of her father’s half-black and half-native American ethnicity has made life harder for her father and her mother. Children can learn here that personal and cultural identity often in the past has created difficulties for people. Ringgold paints for us through her acrylic paintings an empathy for the suffering of Cassie’s family and hopefully influences young minds to consider these influences in their own future decision making. (less)