Monday, February 18, 2019

Book of the Week: We Are Here to Stay — Voices of Undocumented Young Adults



by Susan Kuklin

 

Published by Candlewick Press, 2019
182 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7884-5

 

Age 11 and older


Nine young adults with undocumented immigrant status in the United States share their individual, complex stories about how and why they came to this country, and their experiences since arriving. Each has made the decision to speak out, not only in this book but often in other contexts: courageous activism as they both live in and emerge from “the shadows” to share their stories and dreams. The young adults interviewed came originally from Colombia, Ghana, Independent Samoa, Mexico, and South Korea as children or young teens, usually with their parents, in one case because of trafficking. The book, originally slated for publication in 2017, was delayed after presidential action put the status of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in limbo. Changes were made to protect the young people’s identities, which are now indicated only by first initial and a dash (e.g. Y—), while Kuklin’s photographs of her subjects were eliminated—only empty frames remain. Each dash and empty frame is a sobering reminder that visibility is a risk for these young people, who deserve to be seen. Black-and-white photographs do appear in a chapter about the work of Reverend John Fife of Tucson, part of a group providing assistance to immigrants making the difficult desert crossing. End matter includes notes about each interview and resources. Kuklin writes, “These individuals remind me again and again that the American Dream is worth fighting for—and that the American dream is worth sharing.” ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, February 11, 2019

Book of the Week: Hands Up!



by Breanna J. McDaniel

Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Published by Dial, 2019
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-55231-4

Ages 4-9



Sometimes the young Black girl at the center of this story raises one or both of her hands as a simple part of moving through the day (stretching them over her head when she wakes in the morning, holding on to her parents’ arms and swinging, raising her hand in class, reaching for a book on the high shelf). Sometimes she raises her hands in moments of exuberance and assertiveness and living out loud (lifting them high in church as she sings, reaching for the basketball in a game, celebrating a victory, holding up a sign at a march). This celebration of selfhood, family, and community has a powerful subtext, intentionally reclaiming and recasting the phrase “hands up,” so frightening for Black and brown lives when it comes to encounters with police, by affirming the girl’s right to move through and occupy the space around her—and the world itself—without question. The bright mixed-media art has abundance of yellow, amplifying the joyful feel. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, February 4, 2019

Book of the Week: Dreamers



by Yuyi Morales


Published by Neal Porter Books / Holiday House, 2018

32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Ages 4-9


“…when we made it to the other side, thirsty, in awe, unable to go back, we became immigrants.” Yuyi Morales tells the story of her journey with her young son to the United States and what happened next in a picture book that pays tribute to love, resilience, books and reading, and dreamers everywhere. The text, spare and poetic, describes a physical journey but, more important, a journey of discovery when mother and son stumble on a place that was “Suspicious. Improbable. Unbelievable. Surprising.” A place that was full of stories. The books they found at the public library were home, and inspiration, and validation, affirming that their stories, their voices, their dreams, their gifts, matter. The lush, fanciful multimedia illustrations incorporate 48 children’s books that Morales was inspired by during that time. End matter includes more details about Morales’s immigrant journey from Mexico, as well as a bibliography of the books she incorporates into the artwork and a brief note on how she made the book. Highly Commended, 2019 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center