Monday, June 18, 2018

Book of the Week: The Book of Pearl



The Book of Pearl

by Timothée de Fombelle
Translated by Sarah Ardizzone and
    Sam Gordon from the French
Published by U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2018
355 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9126-4

Age 12 and older


A young prince, Ilian, in love with a fairy, is banished to another world--our world, in late 1930s France. A Jewish couple, the Pearls, take in the homeless young man who appears outside their Paris shop. He becomes like a son to them. When French officials don’t believe the Pearl’s late son is dead, the exiled prince takes the place of Joshua Pearl and joins the French army. As time passes and his losses in this world mount, the prince’s/Joshua’s driving passion becomes tracking down relics from the place he came from as proof that the world of stories is real in hopes they will help him find his way back. This astonishing work moves between our world and Prince Ilian’s, and between present and past in both places. It includes the story of Olia, the fairy in love with the prince, also banished to our world but who agreed never to let Ilian know she was there in exchange for his life. And it includes the story of a heartsick French teenager who has a memorable encounter with the eccentric, middle-aged Joshua Pearl and grows up to become the masterful teller of this tale, one he finds it impossible to believe even as he is telling it. This extraordinary account of love and exile, cruelty and kindness, loss and longing honors the power of story to hold it all, and all of us, in place. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, June 11, 2018

Book of the Week: Puddin'



Puddin'

by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzar + Bray / HarperCollins, 2018
448 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-241838-8

Age 12 and older


Summer may be months away, but Millie Michalchuk is planning ahead: This year she’s applying for broadcast journalism camp. Millie is fat, and she’s comfortable with it—unlike her mother, who persistently fills the fridge with diet foods and can’t believe Millie doesn’t want to spend another summer at Daisy Ranch Weight Loss Camp; or classmate Callie Reyes, who treats Millie with contempt. Callie is co-assistant captain of the school’s highly accomplished competitive dance team. When a local gym is forced to withdraw funding for the team, Callie and her teammates retaliate by vandalizing the gym, where Millie happens to work. Millie identifies Callie in the security footage, and Callie takes the fall for the team, agreeing to pay off the damages by working at the gym for free. Outgoing and forgiving, Millie befriends a suddenly friendless and dance team-less Callie, even inviting her for weekly sleepovers with her friends, and seeking Callie’s advice on making a move with her crush, Malik. Biracial Callie, who feels alone both at school and at home, where she is the only brown Latina living with her white mom, stepdad, and little sister, begrudgingly finds herself enjoying Millie’s company. This funny and endearing companion novel to Dumplin’ (2015) champions young women in all their glorious flaws and complexities. Fat or thin, bubbly or cynical, asexual or boy crazy, the important thing is to support one another. (MCT) ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, June 4, 2018

Book of the Week: On the Other Side of the Garden



On the Other Side of the Garden

by Jairo Buitrago
Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
Translated by from the Spanish by
    Elisa Amado 
Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press,  
    2018
54 pages
ISBN: 978-1-55498-983-6

Ages 4-7


On her first night at her grandmother’s house in the country, Isabel is lonely and uncertain. She doesn’t know her grandmother and she doesn’t know how long her father will be gone. Then an owl, a frog and a mouse appear at the window lead her out into the moonlit yard. The owl is a gentle caretaker, the frog forthright and full of questions, the mouse shy and hoping for a snack. They tell her about her grandmother, who is kind, and perhaps a little lonely, too. She tells them about her mother, who lives in another country and writes her letters, and her dad, who is looking for work. The dark night eventually becomes a bright morning, and waiting for Isabel back at the house is her grandmother, offering matter-of-fact reassurance. The warm colors and rounded shapes of the three animals against the dark-sky pages, the small moments of humor throughout the striking digital illustrations reminiscent of pen-and-ink, and the brightening palette mirroring Latina Isabel’s shifting outlook all contribute to the sense of comfort this picture book provides. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Friday, June 1, 2018

A Closer Look at 2017 Latinx #OwnVoices Books

With the ever-growing call for #OwnVoices books in youth publishing, we delved deeper into the CCBC's 2017 diversity stats, with a particular focus on 2017 #OwnVoices books. We started by examining the African/African American stats; in this post, we take a look at the Latinx #OwnVoices books and consider creator roles, book type, and countries and cultures that are represented.

First, a bit of background: To compile the CCBC diversity stats, we consider the race/heritage of primary characters, and of secondary characters who appear throughout the story and have a strong bearing on the plot. Consider, for example, Jason Reynolds's Miles Morales: Spider-Man. The primary character, Miles, is Afro-Latino, so this book belongs in both the African/African American and Latinx categories. Miles's Korean American best friend, Ganke, is a signficant secondary character, so this book is also included in the Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific American category.

For picture books, we also note the number of times a character appears in the illustrations. For instance, if a book with a white primary character has an African American secondary character who only appears on 3 out of the 32 pages, it is unlikely that we will count that book in the African/African American category.

Apart from characters, we consider other significant content. If a book is set in Tanzania, for instance, it is included in the African/African American category. Likewise, a Mexican folk tale with animal characters would be included in the Latinx category, and possibly, depending on the origin of the tale, in First/Native Nations.

Each book is, of course, different, and the process is somewhat subjective. We always consider characters and content within the context of each individual book, and we strive for consistency in our counting.

As of our most recent count, we received a total of 216 books with significant Latinx characters and/or content published in 217. Of these, 73 are #OwnVoices, meaning that they have at least one author and/or illustrator who is Latinx.


Creator Roles

Of the 73 #OwnVoices books, 38 are illustrated. Of these 38 illustrated books:

  • 11 have a Latinx author and a non-Latinx illustrator
  • 5 have a non-Latinx author with a Latinx illustrator
  • 21 have both Latinx authors and illustrators

Of the 73 #OwnVoices books:

  • 68 have Latinx authors
  • 26 have Latinx illustrators


Type of Book

Of the 73 #OwnVoices books:
  • 25 are picture books
  • 36 are fiction
  • 12 are nonfiction


Percentage of #OwnVoices in Countries/Cultures Represented

Below is a list of countries/cultures represented in the books received by the CCBC. The percentage is the number of #OwnVoices books out of the total number of books representing that country. For example, we received a total of 34 books about Mexican Americans. 16 of those (47.06%) were #OwnVoices (OV).

We recognize that everyone living in the Américas is American. For the sake of clarity, we will specify various Latinx peoples living in the United States by using the word "American", e.g. Venezuelan American indicates a character or book creator of Venezuelan descent in the United States. 

  • Unspecified/General Latinx topic: 14 of 26 (53.85% OV)
  • Unspecified Latinx in the United States: 13 of 77 (16.88% OV)
  • Argentinian American: 0 of 1
  • Brazilian American: 0 of 2
  • Colombian American: 1 of 3 (33.33% OV)
  • Cuban American: 5 of 5 (100% OV)
  • Dominican American: 1 of 2 (50% OV)
  • Mexican American: 16 of 34 (47.06% OV)
  • Nicaraguan American: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • Peruvian American: 1 of 2 (50% OV)
  • Puerto Rican American: 3 of 8 (37.5% OV)
  • Salvadoran American: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • Trinidadian American: 2 of 3 (66.67% OV)
  • Venezuelan American: 0 of 1
  • South American (Unspecified or multiple countries): 0 of 1
  • Colombian: 0 of 1
  • Dominican: 0 of 1
  • Unspecified Latinx in Canada: 0 of 4
  • Jamaican Canadian: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • Mexican Canadian: 0 of 1
  • Latin American (Unspecified country): 0 of 4
  • Belizean: 0 of 1
  • Bermudan: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • Bolivian: 0 of 1
  • Brazilian: 1 of 5 (20% OV)
  • Caribbean (unspecified location): 0 of 1
  • Chilean: 2 of 2 (100% OV)
  • Colombian: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • Costa Rican: 0 of 2
  • Cuban: 3 of 7 (42.86% OV)
  • Ecuadorian: 0 of 1
  • Salvadoran: 0 of 1
  • Haitian: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • Jamaican: 1 of 5 (20% OV)
  • Mexican: 4 of 7 (57.14% OV)
  • St. Lucian: 0 of 1
  • Peruvian: 0 of 2
  • Brazilian British: 0 of 1

Observations

Our observations of books with Latinx content and characters are similar to those of books with African/American content or characters. First, books written by non-Latinx authors often include a diverse, ensemble cast that includes one or two Latinx characters. This happens most often in fiction (e.g. Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail; The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone), and especially in chapter book series (e.g. "Girls Who Code" series by various authors; "The Hidden World of Changers" series by H.K. Varian).

Picture books written and/or illustrated by Latinxs more often include culturally specific details (e.g. Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas by Yuyi Morales) than do picture books by non-Latinx authors and/or illustrators.

The percentage of picture books with Latinx content and/or characters that are #OwnVoices is quite high. Out of 28 picture books about Latinxs, 25 of those (89.29%) are #OwnVoices. Conversely, the percentage of fiction that is #OwnVoices is low: only 36 out of 156 (23.08%).

Nonfiction about particular locations, which often includes series or "formula" nonfiction, is more often written by non-Latinx authors than by Latinx authors (e.g. Let's Explore Cuba by Walt K. Moon). Nonfiction written by Latinxs is often about historical or contemporary Latinx people (e.g. Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López; Martí's Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Beatriz Vidal; Danza! Amalia Hernandez and El Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh).

We'll continue our examination of #OwnVoices books here on the CCBC blog over the next couple of weeks by looking at the First/Native Nations and Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific American books we received in 2017.

Last updated 6/11/2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Join us October 13 at the Charlotte Zolotow Symposium: Illuminating Experience


Registration is now open for the Charlotte Zolotow Symposium: Illuminating Experience
 

Saturday, October 13
Pyle Center, UW-Madison Campus

 

  • Angie Thomas  
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz   
  • Candace Fleming  
  • Crescent Dragonwagon  
  • Eric Rohmann  
  • Javaka Steptoe   
  •  
and editors Anne Hoppe and Neal Porter

Zolotow logo
Logo by Philip Hamilton based
on original design by Harriett Barton
The CCBC established the annual Charlotte Zolotow Award and the annual Charlotte Zolotow lecture to honor UW Madison alumni and distinguished children’s book author and editor Charlotte Zolotow.

We’re celebrating more than 20 years of the award and lecture with a daylong symposium that pays tribute to Charlotte’s legacy. As a writer and editor, Charlotte was forward-thinking, insightful, and committed to exploring and illuminating the experiences of childhood and young adulthood with honesty and grace.  

The same is true of our panel of speakers:
  
Charlotte’s daughter, author Crescent Dragonwagon, will reflect on Charlotte’s career to kick off an inspiring day. 

We hope you can join us!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book of the Week: Mary's Monster



Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein

by Lita Judge
Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2018
312 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62672-500-3

Age 13 and older


“She conceived me. / I took shape like an infant, / not in her body, but in her heart, growing from her imagination / till I was bold enough to climb out of the page / and into your mind.” Frankenstein’s monster speaks the Prologue, but it’s Mary Shelley’s voice that cries out across fictionalized, first-person poems recounting her life from childhood up until shortly after writing Frankenstein when she was barely more than 20. Raised with her father and late mother’s feminist ideals but abused by her controlling stepmother, Mary left home as a young teen to live with Percy Bysshe Shelley, a passionate (married) writer who struggled with severe mental illness. She was deeply in love, and soon pregnant. The years that followed were marked by turmoil, betrayal, and loss, all of which contributed to the conception of her literary masterpiece, which was crafted over a period of 9 months. Full-page grayscale ink wash illustrations throughout set the perfect mood, while notes and documentation at volume’s end provide additional information, as well as commentary on how Judge, who drew on Mary’s letters and diaries as well as other sources in her research, navigated the space between fact and fiction. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Closer Look at 2017 African/African American #OwnVoices Books

With the ever-growing call for #OwnVoices books in youth publishing, we delved deeper into the CCBC's 2017 diversity stats, with a particular focus on #OwnVoices books. In this post, we examine the African/African American #OwnVoices books and consider creator roles, book type, and countries and cultures that are represented.

First, a bit of background: To compile the CCBC diversity stats, we consider the race/heritage of primary characters, and of secondary characters who appear throughout the story and have a strong bearing on the plot. Consider, for example, Jason Reynolds's Miles Morales: Spider-Man. The primary character, Miles, is Afro-Latino, so this book belongs in both the African/African American and Latinx categories. Miles's Korean American best friend, Ganke, is a significant secondary character, so this book is also included in the Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific American category. 

For picture books, we also note the number of times a character appears in the illustrations. For instance, if a book with a white primary character has an African American secondary character who only appears on 3 out of the 32 pages, it's unlikely that we'll count that book in the African/African American category.

Apart from characters, we consider other significant content. If a book is set in Tanzania, for instance, it is included in the African/African American category. Likewise, a Mexican folk tale with animal characters would be included in the Latinx category, and possibly, depending on the original source of the tale, First/Native Nations.

Each book is, of course, different, and the process is somewhat subjective. We always consider characters and content within the context of each individual book, and we strive for consistency in our counting.

As of our most recent count, we received a total of 355 books with significant African or African American characters and/or content published in 2017. Of these, 111 were #OwnVoices: They had at least one author and/or illustrator of African descent.



Creator Roles

Of the 111 #OwnVoices books:
  • 95 had African/African American authors
  • 41 had African/African American illustrators

Of the 111 #OwnVoices books, 62 were illustrated. Of these 62 illustrated books:

  • 24 had an African/African American author, a non-African/African American illustrator
  • 15 had a non-African/African American author, with an African/African American illustrator
  • 25 had both African/African American authors and illustrators

Type of Book

Of the 111 #OwnVoices books:
  • 26 (23.42%) were picture books
  • 54 (48.65%) were fiction
  • 31 (27.93%) were nonfiction (including one graphic novel)

Percentage of #OwnVoices in Countries/Cultures Represented

Below is a list of countries/cultures represented in the books we received. The percentage is the number of #OwnVoices books out of the total number of books representing that country/culture. For example, we received a total of 4 books about Haitian Americans, and 1 of those (25%) was #OwnVoices (OV).

  • Characters of African descent (unspecified fantasy setting): 0 of 2
  • African American: 88 of 261 (33.72% OV)
  • Haitian American: 1 of 4 (25% OV)
  • Nigerian American: 0 of 1
  • Trinidadian American: 2 of 3 (66.67% OV)
  • African Canadian: 2 of 5 (40% OV)
  • Jamaican French Canadian: 1 of 2 (50% OV)
  • Caribbean (unspecified location): 0 of 1
  • Cuban: 0 of 7
  • Haitian: 0 of 2
  • Jamaican: 1 of 4 (25% OV)
  • St. Lucian: 0 of 1
  • West Indian: 0 of 1
  • African British/Irish: 1 of 7 (14.29% OV)
  • Ethiopian British: 0 of 1
  • Jamaican British: 0 of 2
  • Nigerian British: 2 of 2 (100% OV)
  • African Brazilian: 0 of 1
  • African French: 0 of 2
  • African Australian: 0 of 1
  • African (unspecified or multiple countries): 5 of 16 (31.25% OV)
  • Congolese: 0 of 3
  • Egyptian: 1 of 7 (14.29% OV)
  • Ethiopian: 0 of 2
  • Kenyan: 1 of 3 (33.33% OV)
  • Liberian: 0 of 1
  • Nigerian: 3 of 4 (75% OV)
  • Senegalese: 1 of 1 (100% OV)
  • South African: 2 of 4 (50% OV)
  • Tanzanian: 0 of 2
  • Ugandan: 0 of 1
  • West African: 0 of 1
  • Zambian: 0 of 1

Observations

We observed that books with African/African American characters written by non-African/African American authors often feature diverse casts of characters that include one or two characters of African descent. This is true for both picture books (e.g. Hats Off to You! written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by LeUyen Pham) and fiction (The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood), although it is most noticeably a common characteristic of chapter book series (e.g. "Girls Who Code" series by various authors).

Picture books with authors and/or illustrators of African descent more often contain cultural identifiers or address race in some way (e.g. In Your Hands, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Brian Pinkney; and Justice Makes a Difference, written by Dr. Artika Tyner and Jacklyn Milton and illustrated by Jeremy Norton and Janos Orban) than do picture books by non-African/African American authors and illustrators.

There were also quite a few picture books written by non-African/African American authors and illustrators with a protagonist who definitively appears to be of African descent in the illustrations, although cultural and racial identifiers are absent from the text (e.g. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall; and We Love You, Rosie, written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Linda Davick). 

Additional posts providing further detail about the CCBC's Latinx, First/Native Nations, and Asian Pacific/Asian Pacific American stats are to come, so keep an eye on this blog in the near future.