Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month

The month of May has been full of celebrations of Asian American Pacific Heritage Island month. I can’t say I often find much that highlights Pacific Island Heritage. It’s estimated that the Pacific Islands consist of 20,000-30,000 islands and is divided into three specific regions: Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Three blogs I would suggest following to keep up with children’s and YA lit in this region are the following.

Hawaiian Book Book

Asian in the Heart World on My Mind

Into the Wardrobe

And, you’ll never go wrong following Asian Pacific American Librarians Association’s website. In addition to highlighting members, they feature articles which answer “What’s Your Normal?”, sponsor literature awards, mentor new members, offer grants and scholarships and sponsor Talk Story , a literacy program that reaches out to Asian Pacific American (APA) and American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) children and their families.

 The following are a few of the recent books set in this region.

 Island boyz Graham Salisbury In this rich collection, Salisbury’s love for Hawaii and its encircling sea shines through every story. Readers will share the rush a boy feels when he leaps off a cliff into a ravine or feasts his eyes on a beautiful woman. They’ll find stories that show what it takes to survive prep school, or a hurricane, or the night shift at Taco Bell, or first love. Graham Salisbury knows better than anyone what makes an island boy take chances. Or how it feels to test the waters, to test the limits, and what it’s like when a beloved older brother comes home from war, never to be the same.

The Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer Minke is a young Javanese student of great intelligence and ambition. Living equally among the colonists and colonized of 19th-century Java, he battles against the confines of colonial strictures. It is his love for Annelies that enables him to find the strength to embrace his world.

Aloha, Kanani and Good Job, Kanani by Lisa Yee Kanani loves helping out in her family’s store and sharing the wonders of Hawaii with visitors. When her chic cousin Rachel from Manhattan comes to stay for a month, Kanani can’t wait to get to know her cousin and help Rachel feel at home. But a clash of cultures ensures, and Kanani feels ignored. She tries to extend hospitality but everything she does seems to make Rachel unhappy. How can she find a way to connect with her cousin and make things better? Sometimes people who want help the least need it the most– her mother tells her. After a mixup with a diary leads to a fight, Kanani reaches out to Rachel in an openhearted spirit of caring and good will, and discovers that she has misjudged her cousin. In the process, Kanani learns the true meaning of Hawaii’s aloha spirit.

Tall story by Candy Gourlay Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.

Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.

In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

Mister Pip by Lloyd Johnson (links to review on this blog)

Book descriptions from

 What other books or blogs have you found that highlight Pacific Island literature for children or teens?

May News from USBBY


We are excited about the upcoming IBBY Regional Conference in St. Louis,  October  18-20, 2013.  Early bird registration ends June 16.  Please spread the word so people can save $35-$40 if you are a member or non-member.  The line up of general session speakers is quite amazing and includes:  Ashley Bryan, Pat Mora, Katherine Paterson, Siobhan Parkinson, Peter Sis, Klass Verplancke, Mem Fox, Jacqueline Woodson, Bryan Collier, Gregory Maguire and more.  Conference details and registration/hotel information can be found at:

This month we wanted to share information about children’s book awards in Canada.  Here are some of the highlights from the 2012 Canadian children’s book awards.
The Governor General’s Literary Awards are given by the  Canada Council of the Arts.  A text and illustration award is given each year in both French and English.  The 2012 recipients:
Children’s Text Winner
Nielsen, Susin.  The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (Tundra)
Daigle, France. Pour sûr (Éditions du Boréal)
1329357-gfChildren’s Illustration Winner
Maclear, Kyo.  Virginia Wolf.  Illustrated by Isabelle  Arsenault (Kids Can)
Gravel, Élise.  La clé à  molette (Éditions de la courte échelle)

The Canadian Children’s Book Center awarded six major children’s book awards in 2012.
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award:  Kent, Trilby.  Stones for my Father (Tundra)
Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.  Côté, Geneviève.  Without You (Kids Can)
Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction:  Vande Griek, Susan. Loon (Groundwood)
Geoffrey Bilson  Award for Historical Fiction for Young People:  Cayley, Kate.  The Hangman in the Mirror (Annick)
John Spray Mystery Award:  Mills, Rob.  Charlie’s Key (Orca)
Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy:  Collins, P. J.  Sara. What Happened to Serenity? (Red Deer Press)

The most recent recipient of the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children is:  Pearson, Kit.  The Whole Truth (HarperCollins; awarded April 2012).

This content originally appeared in an email from USBBY to Edith Campbell.

Life’s Randomness

I was running just a little late yesterday, looking forward to meeting with a colleague for breakfast yesterday morning. I still swear I’m not a morning person, but I enjoy early morning workouts and breakfasts! I was a bit surprised to see that a tree had fallen overnight and was quite shocked when I stood next to my car and saw all the damage! I stayed home and spent the day working through insurance, car rentals and tree removal. My entire day was off!

When I finally made it to my email account this morning, I found several items of interest.

First, thanks to librarian friend Nichelle Hayes for sharing information about Dial-A-Pacer!

Children of all ages and families are invited to hear members of the Indiana Pacers read their favorite stories in children’s literature during “Read Like a Pro — Call-a-Pacer 2013″ on The Indianapolis Public Library’s 24-hour Call-a-Story telephone line.
By dialing 275-4444, or toll-free at 877-275-9007, callers will hear recorded stories from Pacers players who demonstrate their love of reading as a way to encourage young ones to develop the habit.
At New Augusta, the school library program and Lauren Kniola, the school librarian, help to fulfill this mission.  In the letter of support from Principal Mary Kay Hunt, she writes, “Under the leadership of Mrs. Lauren Kniola the library program flourishes. She prepares our students to become outstanding members of a global society. She works side by side with the classroom teachers to help the students learn in multiple ways: inquiry based projects, distance learning, in addition to help the students develop a love of reading. Mrs. Kniola has built a learning environment that is stimulating, student centered, and a flexible schedule so that our library can enhance their learning and be the hub of learning.”
My youngest son went to NAPA-South when it first opened, so I’m quite proud of this IN school.
From the ALA is a new resource I’m looking forward to getting my hands on, Diversity in Young Adult Literature.
Edited by Jamie Campbell Naidoo and Sarah Park Dahlen, this contributed volume presents chapters on the representations of culture groups that are often ignored in examinations of diverse youth literature, while also examining more common cultural groups through a new lens or perspective.
It feels good to have good news from right here in Indiana!
My pile of books for BFYA has settled at around 40 books. While there will be more to read after ALA in June, this serves as a chance to get caught up before discussions at Annual and then, it begins all over again. I still cannot discuss the books and still really would like more guest reviewers! So, if you’re interested in reading and reviewing for me, I have books available I can send you.
The language inside by Holly Thompson.
Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it’s the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma’s family moves to a town outside Lowell, Massachusetts, to stay with Emma’s grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment.

Emma feels out of place in the United States.She begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother’s urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena’s poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return home early to Japan.

Revenge of a not so pretty girl by Carolite Blythe.
  Girls who are pretty have a way of looking down their perfect noses at anyone they feel isn’t worthy of sharing the air with them. They have a way of making regular girls like me feel inferior for not winning the gene pool lottery. Tormenting them is my way of getting even.
Everyone knows that pretty equals mean, and Evelyn Ryder used to be a beautiful movie star—never mind that it was practically a lifetime ago. There’s no time limit on mean. So if you think I feel guilty about mugging her, think again.
But for something that should have been so simple, it sure went horribly wrong. See, I think I might have killed that old movie star. Accidentally, of course. And I’m starting to believe that my actions have cursed me, because nothing in my life has gone right since then.
That’s why I’m returning to the scene of the crime. To see if there’s any chance that old lady might still be alive. To see if I might be able to turn my luck around. Maybe my life can be different. But if I want things to change, I’m gonna have to walk the straight and narrow. And that means no more revenge.
Yacqui Dalgado wants to kick your ass by Meg Medina.
One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.
Please, email me if you’re interested!
crazyquilts at hotmail dot com


I put down roots in the Haute this weekend. We’ve finally had a sustained break from all the rain and hopefully there will be no morefarm morning frost so I got vegetables and herbs planted in my garden.

There are a couple of pieces of land close to campus that have been divided into plots for community members to grow crops each summer. Sounds nice, huh? Well, it gets even better! There are tool sheds on the grounds with gardening implements and wheel barrows. Leaf mulch and horse manure mulch is available and area farmers provide inexpensive straw to help the soil retain moisture. This wonderful deal isn’t free. There are dates by which certain progress must be made and a portion of the harvest must be donated to the local food agency. Nope, nothing is free, but this comes awfully close!

My sister drives over from Indy and we’re farming together. We’ve planted cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes (too many!), sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, turnip greens, okra, sage, dill, fennel, basil and catnip. While the herbs will be a welcome part of the harvest, they’re also strategically placed in the garden to ward off pests.

I’ll be balancing my time at the garden with the time needed to finish the few dozen books I have to finish for BFYA which will be at ALA in a few short weeks. I won’t do much there other than committee meetings and catching up with people I’ve probably never met before. If you’re going to be there, please let me know!

I do plan to see Kathy aka The Brain Lair and I’ll congratulate her in person for being named her local Teacher of the Year. This is an awesome accomplishment for any educator but, especially for media specialists/school librarians who most people don’t recognize as such. From the article, from knowing all the great things Kathy does, I know she’s more than deserved this award!

I never give a second thought about what I share here. I find information I enjoy and I look forward to sharing it. When it comes to the give-a-way on Anali’s First Amendment, I have had second thoughts. I so want to win one of those prizes that I hate to limit my chances! But I will, not only for the sake of my readers but also to help draw more support to The Arc.

Anali’s First Amendment is hosting the All Aboard the Arc annual fund raiser to benefit The Arc of Massachusetts, which serves men, women and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The blog has much more information about the Arc and ways you can donate to support this worthy cause. To help bring attention, there’s a giveaway and it ends Monday 20 May.

  • Firehouse Subs gift cards
  • Greyston Baker brownies
  • The Greyston Bakery Cookbook

Author Meg Medina (Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass) also recently blogged about one of her passions, Partners in Print, an organization which supports literacy development mostly for ENL students. In the post, Medina provides unique insights into what it’s like being bilingual.

I have a co-worker from Congo who often tells me what a disadvantage she has because she’s not a native English speaker. (I’m smiling because she often reads these posts.) She’s lived here some 40 odd years, but still translates in her mind. One wouldn’t know this because she never misses a beat, no matter it be a technical cataloging question or a casual conversation filled with U.S. idioms.

Most native born Americans only speak one language like me and will have a difficult time understanding the difficulties these adults and these students, face. I am so amazed by their linguistic abilities, that I don’t see the problems. Thanks to Medina’s post, I understand more.

Don’t miss artist Jimmy Liao  (The sound of color )in the Gallery on the PaperTigers website.

Have you looked at Google+Hangouts yet? Again I say: Google concerns me. I was listening to a piece about Google on NPR this past week about their new voice search. The story also mentioned Google Travel which will read information from peoples’ photos to help plan vacations. They’ll look at both faces and places to determine your ultimate spot. One more way for them to collect data. No, I’ll not be using an Android, Google Chrome or Google Glass. I want to think I’m making you work for my information.

I don’t watch Scandal; I’m an Elementary girl. I think it’s interesting that while Kerry Washington, an African American woman, can be promoted for her sexuality, Lucy Lui, an Asian American woman, cannot. Neither can Sandra Oh who preceeds Scandal in Grey’s Anatomy. Read Lucy Lui on this topic :” I kind of got pushed out of both categories. It’s a very strange place to be. You’re not Asian enough and then you’re not American enough, so it gets really frustrating.” MORE

If you have time to up your professional reading this summer, don’t miss Voya’s 5 Foot Bookshelf: Essential Books for Professionals Who Serve Teens.

I’m so glad to be getting my hands in the soil! So thankful to be growing my own food and for the people I’m meeting in the process. I’ve found one more thing to help fill my summers days, but there’s always time for the things we want to do!


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Steve Jobs









Do chefs and other food professionals remain able to enjoy their parents and grandparents home cooking?

I’m watching Guy Fieri cook with his mom today and these are his recipes, he’s in charge. Makes me wonder if he still likes his mom’s cooking.

He’s not the only one with his mom on the show, they’ve been on Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight and many, many other shows. There are the Mother’s Day sales, coupons, flower displays… So much to celebrate the holiday.

Does everyone do that much Mother’s Day celebrating with their family?

I’ve finally come to learn that not so many people do the New Years Eve parties. Most people I’ve talked to actually do quiet evenings at home or church. Yet, we would be led to believe everyone goes to parties. Perhaps it’s only the 10%.

Last Christmas, I brought a friend from Egypt to my sister’s home for the holiday. She was excited as this was her first Christmas dinner and, she was really looking forward to the singing. Singing?? Yes, in the movies everyone does Christmas carols. I don’t know anyone who does that, or who goes Christmas caroling! Oh, sure there are people who do those things, but those practices aren’t as pervasive and Hollywood makes people believe.

I hate to admit how many books I still have to read for BFYA. I should not be writing this post, should not have gone to the store this morning, should not be doing anything other than reading! I’ve received some very interesting boxes lately and see so many books I’d love to pick up, but I am required to have read everything nominated to the committee before we meet in June.

I have to say I’m really disappointed in the lack of ethnic diversity in the books I’ve received. Scholastic has stood out as the company whose selection has been the most multicultural.

While I look for ethnic representation, I am so aware of diversity in the broad sense while reading these books. I’ve seen very few books by male authors or with male protagonists. The numbers of books with autistic characters is growing. There are quite a few mysteries, a lot of historical fiction and paranormal seems to be dwindling. There is always death. There is little religion or spirituality and I find that intriguing considering the searching for meaning that young adults do.

There is a fair amount of LGBT, a surprising amount of animals and surprising few talents (excluding paranormal) or crafts.

There is violence, death, depression, bullying and abduction.  The trend is to deal with the act more than the consequences. Call me a prude, but I can’t bear to live through another mass shooting, stabbing or kidnapping; I don’t think access to guns is the root cause. I can raise this issue, but not let it deter me from recognizing a good book.

Diversity would extend to books that appeal to 13 year olds as well as to 18+, to books that recognize those who are embarrassed to read profanity as much as those who read expecting it. There are low ability readers and those who need complex, intricate story lines. Did I mention there is a lot of death?

Most librarians know this already and work hard to find all these different books, but the ones that are well written? I’ll be reading non-stop through 28 June to find them!



Saturday Trailer: Fat Angie

What better day for book trailers than a Saturday?

About the book:

Angie is broken — by her can’t-be-bothered mother, by her high-school tormenters, and by being the only one who thinks her varsity-athlete-turned-war-hero sister is still alive. Hiding under a mountain of junk food hasn’t kept the pain (or the shouts of “crazy mad cow!”) away. Having failed to kill herself — in front of a gym full of kids — she’s back at high school just trying to make it through each day. That is, until the arrival of KC Romance, the kind of girl who doesn’t exist in Dryfalls, Ohio. A girl who is one hundred and ninety-nine percent wow! A girl who never sees her as Fat Angie, and who knows too well that the package doesn’t always match what’s inside. With an offbeat sensibility, mean girls to rival a horror classic, and characters both outrageous and touching, this darkly comic anti-romantic romance will appeal to anyone who likes entertaining and meaningful fiction. (from the publisher)

e.E Charlton-Trujillo’s previous works include Prizefighter en mi casa and Feels like home.

Male Monday: Frederick McKissack

The Male Monday feature began with Ari at Reading in Color.

The world of children’s literature suffered a great loss on Sunday 28 April with the passing of Fred McKissack. In the books that he wrote, the stories he told and the life he lived, he paved the way!

Fred McKissack first worked as a civil engineer for the city of St. Louis and then with U.S. Army. mckissack_pat_fred_lgHe also owned his own general contracting company in St. Louis. In the early 1980s, he began writing children’s books with his wife, Patricia. Even when his name was not in the title, he was there in the research in the books his wife would write.

What was it that made their writing special? In reading through inteviews with the McKissacks, I find so many examples, both those stated directed and those implied through tone and sentiment 51m3DPrtWFL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_that explain why this couple managed to create over 100 books for children. Perhaps the most obvious explanation of what made them special is that they were always there, together  even for each interview. Once, an interviewer asked Frederick if only one could attend an award ceremony, who would go?

Neither one. Why? Because Pat wouldn’t dream of going without Fred and Fred wouldn’t go without Pat. We are a team, and a team is just that — we come as a package, and those who give awards know that. Now, Pat has won awards for her work, and Fred has won awards that have honored his work. That’s different. We go and cheer the other one’s success. But when we share an award we share it 50-50. Think of it this way. If we get a bad review or don’t win an award, that is certainly shared, then so should the rewards of our combined efforts.

If one can care that much for those inside their world, they can care almost as much for those of us on the outside as well.

What did they write about?

And our niche was that time period between 1800 and 1900 — that’s pre-Civil War, Civil War, post-Civil War, up through and until the Harlem Renaissance. And we just carved that out as our niche and we worked very, very hard to try to tell that story. And I hope that what we’ve done is to make our history a little bit clearer — something that doesn’t make the children feel ashamed or hurt.

It is not designed to point a finger or to make some child in a classroom feel responsible for all that happened back then, but we can’t shovel it under the rug and say that those things did not happen — they did. But let’s tell it by telling an even-handed, well-researched, well-documented story and that’s what we tried to do in Days of Jubilee, Rebels Against Slavery, and Goin’ Someplace Special. And even the whale men, White Hands, Black…I mean, Black Hands, White Sails.

“We could write 100 books a year for the next 100 years and still not scratch the surface of stories that have fallen through the cracks, ” says Pat McKissack.

Complete biographies can be found at Publishers Weekly or the St. Louis Post Dispatch.