Ninja Mouse: Haiku

Quietly, stealthily Ninja Mouse: Haiku, written and illustrated by J. C. Thomas, creeps into your heart.

It isn’t easy to know what to expect when you see the cover of this book. The fierce mouse in the ninja garb and the comic book/graphic novel illustrations might lead the potential reader to believe this will be an action-packed story full of conflict and violence. Instead it is an almost silent journey of discovery, beautifully delivered entirely in haiku.

The illustrations in this book are inspiring. There’s something about dignity of the mouse, set against nature scenes, the dark versus light, and the splashes of color that are mesmerizing. Each two-page spread consists of the left-hand page divided into thirds, with the haiku text spread throughout. The right-hand page is a full scene with the Japanese text down the right side.

The book trailer gives a taste.

Author J.C. Thomas has a degree in International Relations and East Asia studies and he is currently an elementary school teacher. He is also a sixth-degree black belt in Taekwondo. This combination assures that the book is authentic, detailed, and useful for the classroom. There is a note about haiku in the back that explains how it differs in Japanese.

Ninja Mouse:  Haiku would be perfect for poetry month and to accompany a unit on haiku, especially for reluctant readers who might be drawn in by ninjas and comics. It would also be a wonderful accompaniment for a unit on Japan and East Asia studies.

Suggested related activity:

This book is so inspiring, it begs to be accompanied by an activity for children to create haiku and then illustrate it. For example, Scholastic has a haiku lesson plan. The Exploring Nature Educational Resource has a number of drawing lessons, like this one for a grasshopper.  Please feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments, if you choose.

Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: SuperUltraGo! Press (October 16, 2014)
Language: English and Japanese
ISBN-10: 099132403X
ISBN-13: 978-0991324033

Disclosures:  This book was supplied by the author for review purposes. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Conflict Resolution and The Olive Tree

In the new picture book, The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston and illustrated by Claire Ewart, the main characters are having trouble sharing the fruit of an olive tree. Will they learn to resolve their differences?

Sameer had long enjoyed climbing in the old olive tree and gathering the fruit, although the tree technically was in the neighbors’ yard. The house next door has been empty for a long time, but now the neighbors are moving back in.  Although he would like to get to know their daughter, who is named Muna, she does not greet him. In fact, when Sameer starts to gather the olives that have fallen in his yard, as he has done so many times before, Muna gets angry and tells him to stop because the tree belongs to her family.

Set in Lebanon against the backdrop of a recent war, the story helps guide children through the process of resolving their conflicts. After Sameer and Muna’s initial differences about who should own what drive them apart, the two children learn their shared experiences may be more important and extensive than they first thought.

Elsa Marston studied Middle Eastern history and has traveled extensively in the Middle East. This background allows her to realistically capture subtle details of setting that others with less experience might overlook, such as the fact Sameer’s mother processes the olives in jars with salt and lemon. At the same time, Claire Ewart’s vibrant watercolors are awash with bright sunlight, giving the feeling of actually being in the Middle East, which you can see in this trailer for the book:

Being able to find common ground and to forgive someone for past disagreements are important skills for children to learn. The Olive Tree is a gentle, delightful book that helps bring this message to light and might bring some understanding of how arguments can arise, as well as how to begin to mend relationships. It would also be useful for children who are learning about the Middle East.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Wisdom Tales (November 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937786293
ISBN-13: 978-1937786298

olives-22

Disclosures:  This book was supplied by the publisher for review purposes. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

 

Latino/a Kid Lit Challenge: What Can You Do with a Paleta?

For the 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge:

2014-reading-challengeSummer is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a book and an ice cold paleta?

What Can You Do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla and illustrated by Magaly Morales is a playful tribute to the fruit-flavored icy treats so popular with Mexican-American children.

What Can You Do with a Paleta?

Probably the best way to get the “flavor” of the book is to listen to the marvelous Carmen Tafolla read it.

 

Things to love:

  • The over-sized paper paleta prop the author uses when reading the book. Too cute!
  • All the Spanish words incorporated in English text:  tortillas, fruta, paleta, sarape, barrio, Tio, senora
  •  The yummy acrylic illustrations in warm colors to complement the “cool” topic.

It is obvious that What Can You Do with a Paleta? is as much delicious fun as the treat itself. Help yourself to a copy today!

paletas-ps

Paletas are easy to make because all you need is some fruit, ice pop molds, a blender and a freezer. These watermelon paletas are some of our family favorites, made of seedless watermelon chunks, 1/3 cup orange juice, and a few Tablespoons of sugar (the sugar gives the pops a smoother texture, but may be omitted). Puree all the ingredients in the blender and pour into the paleta molds. Freeze for about four hours.

Looking for more paleta recipes? Visit our paleta Pinterest board for icy goodness!

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press (April 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1582462216
ISBN-13: 978-1582462219

Look for 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge books on the third Wednesday of each month. Interested in multicultural children’s books? Follow the our Multicultural Children’s Books pinterest board.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

 

Latino/a Kid Lit Challenge: Iguanas in the Snow/Iguanas en la nieve

For the April 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge,

2014-reading-challenge

and to honor National Poetry Month, we have the Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series by poet Francisco X. Alarcón and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez.

Starting the year is the Pura Belpre Honor Award book Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems / Jitomates Risuenos: Y Otros Poemas de Primavera. As with the other books in the series, poems in the book have both an English version and a Spanish version. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been to get the ideas and sounds/rhythm down pat in two languages? In the downloadable Teacher’s Guide (link at bottom) at Lee & Low books, Alarcón explains that some of the poems came first in Spanish, some in English and some he wrote in both languages at the same time.

Next, in From the Bellybutton of the Moon: And Other Summer Poems / Del Ombligo de la Luna: Y Otros Poemas de Verano Alarcón takes a slightly different track than the first book by revisiting a trip to Mexico that occurred during his childhood.

The third in the series, Angels Ride Bikes: And Other Fall Poems / Los Angeles Andan en Bicicleta: Y Otros Poemas de Otoño (The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series), explores the city of Los Angeles and activities families do there.

Winding up the year is Iguanas in the Snow/Iguanas en la nieve: And Other Winter Poems/Y otros poemas de invierno. In this book Alarcón moves to northern California. The Spanish poems are generally presented first except for the title poem, “Iguanas in the Snow.” In this intriguing poem, children experience snow for the first time. Their mother laughs, saying that their green cold-weather clothing makes them look like iguanas.

The books in this series would be useful for poetry units, as well as for learning languages.

Related:

The downloadable Teacher’s Guide (link at bottom)

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 1 and up
Series: The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books Inc; First Trade Paper Edition edition (March 10, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0892392029
ISBN-13: 978-0892392025

Look for 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge books on the third Wednesday of each month.

Interested in multicultural children’s books? Follow the our pinterest board.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.