Mettle, Mitvah & Remembrance: The Diary of Laura’s Twin

Saturday, November 1, 2008.

The Diary of Laura's Twin (A Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers)Author: Kathy Kacer (on JOMB)
Published: 2008 Second Story Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1897187394

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Musings and melodrama of a modern twelve year old, careful chronicling of a young prisoner of the Warsaw Ghetto and dozens of potent photographs stitch together the present and the past in this engaging and educational look at bullying, bigotry and backbone.

Other books mentioned:

HOTLINE VOICES: Thank you to a former education instructor at University of Victoria for sharing her high opinion of Shimmerdogs (by Dianne Linden).

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.


November 2-9th, 2008 is the 28th Annual Holocaust Education Week. Coordinated by the Holocaust Centre of Toronto, UJA Federation, the event will offer more than 100 timely and thought-provoking educational and cultural programs, including a series of compelling, first-hand testimonies from survivors. For more information, click here.



Jeers, Cheers and Jeera: Treasure For Lunch

Wednesday, October 29, 2008.

Treasure for LunchAuthor: Shenaaz Nanji
Illustrator: Yvonne Cathcart
Published: 2000 Second Story Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 1896764320

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Bhajias, samosas and imaginative snowy play are front and centre in this appetizing tale of friendship, acceptance and the perceived risk of being seen as different.

Other books mentioned:

More flavours of The East on JOMB:

HOTLINE VOICES: Thanks to editor/author Sandhya Nankani for telling us about Divali Rose (by Vashanti Rahaman and Jamel Akib).

We’d love to hear your thoughts on a favourite children’s book. Leave us a voice message on our JOMB listener hotline, +1-206-350-6487.

Heeding Homelessness: Lily and the Paper Man

Wednesday, July 9, 2008.

 Lily and the Paper ManAuthor: Rebecca Upjohn (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Renne Benoit (on JOMB)
Published: 2007 Second Story Press (on JOMB)
ISBN: 189718719X

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

Fall rain surrenders to vividly blustering snow as a young girl thinks her way from fear through curiosity, empathy and finally into action in this heartwarming tale of hardship and humanity.

More books touching on homelessness on JOMB:

Fishy Water-Coloured Memories: When-I-Was-a-Little-Girl

Wednesday, November 28, 2007.

When-I-Was-a-Little-GirlAuthor: Rachna Gilmore (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Renne Benoit
Published: 2006 Second Story Press
ISBN: 1897187122

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

They say comparison is the source of all suffering. Yet, while we can usually resist comparing one child to another, most of us are guilty of the occasional contrast between our children and our former — possibly imagined — selves. This hilarious and delightfully ambiguous book allows us to chew on and chuckle at this perennial parental ploy.

Dispelling our Darkness: Lights For Gita

Wednesday, February 7, 2007.

Lights For GitaAuthor: Rachna Gilmore (on JOMB)
Illustrator: Alice Priestley (on JOMB)
Published: 2003 Tilbury House Publishers (on JOMB)
Original publisher: Second Story Press
ISBN: 0884481514

Chapters.ca Amazon.com

This carefully crafted tale of homesickness and hope combines the universal experience of long-awaited plans foiled by weather with the grief of a young girl pining for her far off home. This book leaves us with the powerful insight that its up to each of us to fill our darkness with light.

Other books mentioned:

Soup du Jour: Unwavering Self-Worth Inside and Outside the Box

Friday, October 2, 2009.

Today we look at a clump of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Ingredients (books discussed):

Jump into Today’s Soup (feedback):

Join the conversation by clicking the Comments link below or sending an email to justonemorebook@gmail.com.

Second Helpings (transcript of podcast):

In a society where the media, schools and, sadly, even parents often expect us to conform to prescribed,cookie-cutter ways of being, a common challenge for adults and children alike is to understand and appreciate out-of-the-box thinking or behavior in ourselves and others. With so much emphasis on conforming, being or even befriending a person who is viewed as different can be a scary and isolating experience.It’s not surprising, then, that we sometimes go to great lengths to reject or hide our unique selves — and to avoid those who don’t.

Many children’s books and, to a greater extent, movies attempt to reduce the social stigma against being different through boisterous victory-of-the-underdog themed stories in which the independent thinker saves the day and, to the rousing cheers of once-distant peers, instantly becomes the poster child of popularity. There is no denying that such victories feel great but I believe stories which present quiet appreciation, improved understanding or simply congenial co-existence go further to help children deal with different ways of being.

Before looking at the books, let me explain that I like to read to my two daughters in clumps. That is, I like to read in one sitting several books that are completely parallel in certain ways — offering similar characters, situations, or themes — but are different enough to make the clumped reading interesting. I clump by activity (riding a bike, say), by storyline (several variations on the Frog Prince story, for example) or, as in the case today, by explorations of a similar type of character (a girl that is viewed as being different). There are many books that deal with differences in, what I believe are, very constructive ways. Today we look at a clump of four books about independent thinkers who, without fanfare or animosity, disregard the judgements of others and are simply happy being who they are.

Odd VelvetOdd Velvet (Mary Whitcomb Illustrated by Tara Calahan King; 1998 Chronicle Books) tells the story of a happily independent school girl who has bypassed the consumer mentality of her peers and finds beauty and entertainment in the world around her. What I love about this story is that Violet’s unimposing enjoyment of life remains steadfast throughout… her self esteem easily withstands the taunts of her classmates and she remains true to her nature as she gradually gains the respect of her peers. Violet’s self worth is clearly not tied to her judgment by others.
The Recess Queen The Recess Queen (Alexis O’Neill Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith; 2002 Scholastic Press) relays, in snappy, what is it? Hip hop beat? the story of a school yard bully effortlessly felled by the teeny tiny independently minded Katie Sue, a kid you might scare with a jump and a boo!. Here again, the beauty of the story — for me — is in Katie Sue’s unwavering sense of self worth regardless of her noticeably different approach to life and in the fact that she takes in stride both the bullying and her offhanded deflation of the bully.
Suki's Kimono Suki’s Kimono (Chieri Uegaki Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch; 2003 Kids Can Press) is a refreshing celebration of individuality and joie de vivre. This first-day-of-school story contrasts the uninhibited and happily independent six year old Suki with her self-conscious, stiff and validation-seeking sisters — and their complete embarrassment that their little sister is wearing a kimono to school. Although I think Suki could do without the applause of her classmates, Suki’s sunny self-assurance remains constant throughout and she gains no satisfaction from the fact that her sisters’ preparation and preening brought them nothing but exasperation.
Annie Bizzanni Annie Bizzanni (Frances Halle Illustrated by Fil et Julie; 2006 Bayard Canada Books) introduces us to a creative, multi-tasking and impulsive free-spirit who lives life in large slices which she feels no pressure to complete. Although her friends are obviously amused, inconvenienced and, sometimes, scared by Annie’s quirky behavior what I love about this book is that Annie’s way of being is simply portrayed as being different — not better or worse — than that of her peers, that her friends love her for who she is and that she is very happy being herself.

Although society may expect it, we’re not cookie cutouts and we all fall inside and outside various different boxes. We might as well enjoy ourselves!

Thanks for listening. I’m Andrea Ross from the Just One More Book!! Podcast and we’ve been Swimming in Literary Soup.

 
 

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