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English Titles About Multiculturalism French Titles About Multiculturalism

English Titles About Multiculturalism

ANANCY AND THE HAUNTED HOUSE
RICHARDO KEENS-DOUGLAS
ILLUSTRATIONS: STÉPHANE JORISCH

TORONTO: ANNICK PRESS, © 2002, 32 P.
ISBN 155037737X (BOUND)
ISBN 1550377361 (PAPERBACK)
AGES 5 AND UP

Stories of Anancy originate from the traditions of the Ashanti people of Ghana. Anancy is a symbol of survival, a theme that shines through in Richardo Keens-Douglasís tale. Anancy, the biggest and strongest spider in town, loves to boast about his great adventures to his spider friends.

At a party one evening, the spiders sing songs, jump rope and tell haunting stories about the house down the beach. The tales tell of an enormous rooster that dances on a table at midnight, and rocks that crash onto the roof.

Intrigued by these accounts, the boastful spider decides to visit the house despite his friendsí warnings. Upon entering, he sees strange things and hears frightening sounds.

Confronted by the flamboyant rooster, Anancy is challenged to dance on the table next to him. To impress his anxious friends peering through broken windows, the trembling Anancy dances wildly but is pinned by the rooster who, laughing wickedly, attempts to eat him. The humbled Anancy is rescued by his friends and carried to safety, reminding him of the true meaning of friendship.

The colourful illustrations of Stéphane Jorisch bring a Caribbean atmosphere to the book.

MM

ANNAíS GOAT
JANICE KULYK KEEFER
ILLUSTRATIONS: JANET WILSON

VICTORIA, B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, © 2000, 32 P.
ISBN 155143153X
AGES 6 TO 9

Annaís Goat is the story of a refugee family who have fled their war-torn land to live in a village in a northern country. Annaís father is soon sent to another village, and her mother begins working in a factory to help with the war effort.

Itís cold and thereís little food. The factory workers are poor, yet they manage to give Annaís mother a nanny goat to keep the infant Anna warm at night; the goat also provides milk for the familyís supper.

Time passes. Annaís a young girl now and the goat has become increasingly important to her  --  itís both nurturing and playful. At warís end, Anna must return her nanny goat to the needy villagers.

She and her family then travel back to their homeland, now ravaged from years of war.

From the rubble at their feet, they begin rebuilding their lives  --  Anna drawing strength and optimism from the memories of her nanny goat.

MSI

THE BOY IN THE ATTIC
PAUL YEE
ILLUSTRATIONS: GU XIONG

TORONTO: GROUNDWOOD BOOKS/DOUGALS & MCINTYRE, ?1998, 31 P.
ISBN 0888993307
AGES 6 TO 8

Shortly before moving with his family from a village in China to a North American city, Kai-ming discovers a mysterious butterfly on his shoulder.

Arriving in North America, Kai-ming finds himself in a new environment he cannot understand; noisy vehicles and strange signs discourage him from leaving the house, and, being unable to speak English, Kai-ming cannot make new friends. While his parents look for work in the city, he spends the lonely summer hours playing at home.

One day, while in his backyard, Kai-ming notices a boy about his age in the attic window. They become friends. The strange butterfly allows the two boys to understand each other when they speak, and Kai-ming learns that Benjamin is a ghost. All summer long they play together happily but secretly in the attic.

When it is decided that the family will move to a newer house, Benjamin must remain, and the two friends sadly part. Kai-ming gives the butterfly to his friend.

The friendship between the two boys provides Kai-Ming with the courage to face his new life in North America, and he looks forward to learning English at school.

Full-page watercolour illustrations accompany each page of text.

MS

CAGED EAGLES
ERIC WALTERS

VICTORIA, B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, © 2000, 256 P.
ISBN 1551431823 (BOUND)
1551431394 (PAPERBACK)
AGES 12 TO 16

Tadashi Fukushima and his family lived in a little fishing village on the northwest coast of British Columbia. Just like any 14 year old, he liked playing with his younger sisters, going to school, playing sports and spending time with his best friend, Jed. All this changed in 1942, however, when the Canadian government forced all Japanese Canadians to abandon their houses, their fishing boats and their lives to live in internment centres.

This story is told from the point of view of Tadashi. Undeterred by the passive nature of the elders in the World War II camp, who declare "Shikata-ga-nai" ("it canít be helped"), he and his friend Sam, another 14-year-old Japanese Canadian, help those around them maintain their traditions and dignity despite the uncertainty and racism with which they must live. Throughout the novel, Tadashi struggles to understand what is happening to his family, his life, his past and his future.

Caged Eagles is the sequel to War of the Eagles (Orca, 1998), winner of the prestigious Ruth Schwartz Book Award.

SG

THE CHINESE VIOLIN
MADELEINE THIEN
ILLUSTRATIONS: JOE CHANG

VANCOUVER, TORONTO: WHITECAP BOOKS, © 2001, 32 P.
ISBN 1552852059
AGES 4 TO 8

Lin Lin enjoys life in her small village in China. Often she listens to her father play his traditional violin while they boat on the river  --  sometimes she tries to play too. The young girl pretends to be excited when her father reveals that they are moving to Canada, but inside Lin Lin is frightened.

Arriving in Vancouver, Lin Lin is overwhelmed by new sights, new sounds, and a new language. To comfort them, her father plays his cherished violin.

Unfortunately, bad luck crosses their path, and the violin is broken beyond repair. Longing for the village she left, Lin Lin finds it difficult to concentrate at school, but her fatherís hard work inspires her to keep trying.

As a reward for Lin Linís efforts, her father surprises her with a new violin. The shy and quiet child feels comfortable playing violin for her friends, who are moved by her musical "voice." Improving on the instrument, Lin Lin eventually performs at the school recital. The violin once again provides peace and memories of home as the young girl and her father adjust to their new life.

The story is well represented through the luminous drawings of animation director and artist Joe Chang.

The National Film Board of Canada has produced a film version of The Chinese Violin.

MM

DAHLING, IF YOU LUV ME, WOULD YOU PLEASE, PLEASE SMILE
RUKHSANA KHAN

TORONTO: STODDART KIDS, © 1999, 206 P.
ISBN 0773760164
AGES 12 AND UP

Zainab, a Canadian Muslim, feels like an outsider at school. She wants to fit in but she doesnít wear the right clothes and doesnít look right. The most popular boy in school teases her, and she is often at odds with her parents and older sister.

In an attempt to instil Zainab with confidence and bridge the gap between her and her peers, her teacher proposes that Zainab direct the school play. Zainabís sister, Layla, suggests taking a story from their culture, a hadith, and adapting it into a play, but Zainab worries that the students will make fun of her. Discouraged, she wants to give up, but an incident involving one of her classmates helps Zainab realize that the approval of others is not important. She will do a play based on a Muslim story and finally come to terms with her beliefs and who she is.

Dahling, If You Luv Me, Would You Please, Please Smile won the Manitoba Young Readerís Choice Award and was short-listed for both the 2000 Red Maple Award and the 2000 Ruth Schwartz Award.

AC

FROM FAR AND WIDE: A CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP SCRAPBOOK
JO BANNATYNE-CUGNET
ILLUSTRATIONS: SONG NAN ZHANG

TORONTO: TUNDRA BOOKS, © 2000, 24 P.
ISBN 0887764436
AGES 7 AND UP

It is a snowy National Flag Day when Xiao, her mother and grandfather take their Canadian citizenship oath. They have been waiting for this day for four years, and Xiao is preparing a scrapbook for her unborn sibling. Aunt T gives her a pair of red shoes for luck and so she can wear Canadian colours on the big day.

The ceremony and reception are taking place at Xiaoís elementary school, and there are people from 13 different countries taking the oath. Everyone listens to Dr. Williamsonís speech encouraging all Canadians to work hard for their adopted country. Once the oath is taken, Xiao and her family receive their citizenship papers and sing "O Canada" together with the entire congregation. The celebrations continue when neighbours bring a buffet of international foods to Xiaoís home: lasagne, Greek ribs, perogies, and chocolates in the shape of maple leaves. At the end of the day, still wearing her lucky red shoes, Xiao falls asleep.

The pictures in this story are presented as though in a scrapbook, and the closing pages include the history behind the Canadian Citizenship Act: who may apply, what Canadian citizens are entitled to, and what responsibilities they share.

SGL

GRANDFATHER COUNTS
ANDREA CHENG
ILLUSTRATIONS: ANGE ZHANG

NEW YORK: LEE & LOW BOOKS, © 2000, 32 P.
ISBN 1584300108
AGES 4 TO 8

Helenís maternal grandfather, Gong Gong, is coming to live with her biracial family. Gong Gong knows only Chinese, Helen only English. How will they communicate?

To Helenís dismay, Gong Gong is given her room, which overlooks the railroad tracks. Now she will have to go outside if she wants to see the trains. Attempts to please Gong Gong are received warmly, but the differences between him and his grandchildren are still great.

One day, as Helen sits alone on the concrete wall, Gong Gong joins her and begins counting the passing train cars in Chinese. He encourages Helen to repeat the Chinese numbers after him, and she in turn teaches Gong Gong how to count in English. A bond begins to develop between them.

In the evening, they continue to learn from each other. Soon the rest of the family is sharing language and culture.

Chinese words are incorporated throughout the story in a natural, self-explanatory fashion. Ange Zhangís warm paintings illustrate the blending of Chinese and North American cultures.

A glossary and pronunciation guide is also included.

EA

HUEVOS RANCHEROS: A MEXICAN TALE
STEFAN CZERNECKI

VANCOUVER: TRADEWIND BOOKS, © 2001, 32 P.
ISBN 1-896580-23-8
AGES 3 TO 7

This colourful book tells the story of Marcelina, a hen who provides eggs for Señor Raulís cantina in Mexico City. Even though he serenades her nightly with his beautiful singing voice, Marcelina longs for the day when she will no longer have to live in a cage.

She soon escapes and travels to the faraway town of Coyotepec, where Padre Tomas desperately needs eggs to make his favourite breakfast, huevos rancheros. Upon arriving, much to her disappointment, Padre Thomas does not place her in a hen house but in a cage, just like before. A friendly mouse explains that the cage is for protection against the hen-eating coyote, who comes at night when the moon is full.

That evening, Marcelina hears the beautiful voice of the coyote somewhere in the distance. Reminded of Señor Raul and compelled by the sadness in the coyoteís voice, Marcelina enlists the aid of the mouse to escape her cage and seek him out. When she does find him, the feared coyote tells her of his loneliness and hunger. Marcelina convinces him not to eat her but instead to try her famous huevos rancheros. The two become fast friends and return to Padre Tomasís cantina to join in a fiesta celebrating all animal life.

The illustrations capture the feeling of Mexico.

A recipe for huevos rancheros is included.

SG

JESSEíS STAR
ELLEN SCHWARTZ

VICTORIA B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, © 2000, 108 P.
ISBN 1551431432
AGES 8 TO 11

Jesse had left his assignment until the last minute  --  again. He doesnít care who his relatives were, or how and when they came to Canada.

Scolding him for leaving his project so late, Jesseís mother tells him to explore his great-great grandfatherís old travelling case for clues. Climbing up to the attic, Jesse discovers the case and looks inside.

There he discovers a photograph of passengers on a ship, dated 1890, and a cloth bag containing a six-sided Star of David on a chain. The star feels warm in his hand and Jesse puts it on.

Suddenly and magically, Jesse finds himself in Russia in the late 19th century, able to understand both Russian and Yiddish. He had become his great-great grandfather Yossi when he was a boy.

It is a frightening time for Yossiís family and the people in the village. Yossi heroism saves the villagers from the Russian soldiers, enabling them to escape and come to Canada.

The next thing Jesse knows is he is back in the attic. What a fantastic story! He canít believe how lucky he is not to be living in such a difficult time. He feels greater respect for his heritage and the safety of Canada. Inspired by the experience, he is now eager to complete his project, which isnít so bad after all.

BM

KELEíS SECRET
TOLOLWA M. MOLLEL
ILLUSTRATIONS: CATHERINE STOCK

TORONTO: STODDART, © 1997, 32 P.
ISBN 0773730079
AGES 4 TO 7

Yoanes helps Koko, his grandmother, on the coffee farm in Tanzania by gathering eggs and taking them to market. Excited to earn the small reward he always receives, Yoanes searches all the peculiar places where the hens have laid their eggs, but Kokoís most unusual hen, Kele, is hiding hers. Determined to discover Keleís secret hiding place, Yoanes follows the hen all around the farmyard and even out to the coffee plantation. His heart begins thumping when Kele leads him through the coffee bushes and avacado trees to the rain shelter  --  a dark place made of dried banana leaves that stands next to a huge oreteti tree at the edge of the farm. Remembering Kokoís bedtime stories of Nenauner, a half-human, half-rock monster, Yoanes musters enough courage to venture inside ...

Illustrator Catherine Stock has more than 60 books to her credit. To research Keleís Secret, the author camped in a tent on the slopes of Tanzaniaís Mount Meru for two weeks.

ME AND MR. MAH
ANDREA SPALDING
ILLUSTRATIONS: JANET WILSON

VICTORIA, B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, © 1999, 32 P.
ISBN 1551431688
AGES 4 TO 8

When Ianís parents split up, Ian moves with his mother from a farm on the prairies to the city. He is lonely and misses his father. His new house has a small backyard which he plays in to keep out of the way while his mother is busy moving in and getting everything organized. Through a gap in the fence, Ian spots an elderly Chinese man gardening in his backyard and begins to copy his neighbour.

One morning, Ian discovers a package of sunflower seeds squeezed through the fence. Following what he has seen his neighbour do, he begins to plant and water them.

The old man, Mr. Mah, at last invites Ian into his garden. It is lush, with tall sunflowers and Chinese vegetables. Mr. Mah tells stories of living in China and shows Ian his memory box of Chinese souvenirs. Ian has a box too, filled with hay and toys from his fatherís farm. As they exchange stories of their lives, the two soon become friends.

Janet Wilsonís illustrations vividly capture both North American and Chinese cultures.

BM

MINAíS SPRING OF COLORS
RACHNA GILMORE

MARKHAM, ONT.: FITZHENRY & WHITESIDE, © 2000, 147 P.
ISBN 1550415492 (BOUND) ISBN 1550415344 (PAPERBACK)
AGES 9 TO 12

Spring has come and it is time for Mina and her family to host their annual Holi party, an Indian celebration of colour and forgiveness.

In the spirit of the celebration, the family invites friends and neighbours of all nationalities to throw and spray brightly coloured powders at each other. This year will be different because Minaís grandfather is living with them. Ashley, a new girl at school, makes fun of the old manís accent.

Furious, but obliged to invite her, Mina and a friend concoct a special colour to throw at Ashley. When she hits her grandfather instead, Mina realizes her mistake. She returns to the celebration having learned a valuable lesson in tolerance and forgiveness.

Minaís grandfather says to always "be aware," and Mina learns she needs to be aware of her own feelings and actions: she has been intolerant of her grandfather too, although in a different way than Ashley.

An entertaining and well-told story about being open minded about different generations, cultures and attitudes.

SGL

MULTICULTURALISM IN CANADA: IMAGES AND ISSUES
BARBARA SAMUELS, CHERYL CRAIG

CALGARY: WEIGL, © 1997, 144 P.
REV. ED. OF CULTURES IN CANADA BY NORMAN BUCHIGNANI AND JOAN
NGEL (WEIGL, © 1983).
ISBN 0919879691
AGES 10 AND UP

Multiculturalism touches all aspects of peopleís lives. By sharing the stories of Canadians from all walks of life, this remarkable publication covers the history, traditions, immigration and policies of today, and the communities of both today and the future.

Beginning historically with the Aboriginal people of Canada, this book documents the French and English settlements and the subsequent immigration by diverse peoples to this country.

Among the many cultural symbols that have been brought to Canada and included in Multiculturalism in Canada are the bee, which means life-giving for the Slavic and Romanian culture, and the cherry tree, meaning rebirth for the Chinese and Japanese.

Much of the information in Multiculturalism in Canada is provided through true stories of ethnically diverse Canadians and is accompanied by photos, detailed illustrations, full-colour explanatory maps, statistics and boxes containing glossary terms, thematic song lyrics and pertinent quotations. To initiate discussion, every chapter ends with five different opinions on the topic covered in the chapter. There are also questions and individual, group or classroom activities.

This book is an excellent reference text for any library. Although written for senior elementary students, all ages and cultures can benefit and relate to its issues and passion for Canada.

EA

NANAíS COLD DAYS
ADWOA BADOE
ILLUSTRATIONS: BUSHRA JUNAID

TORONTO: GROUNDWOOD BOOKS/DOUGLAS & MACINTYRE, © 2002, 32 P.
ISBN 0888994796
AGES 3 TO 7

Nana is visiting her children and grandchildren in Canada. The cold is almost unbearable for her; back in Africa it is warm all year round. Immediately, she buries herself under piles of sheets, blankets and comforters and does nothing but sleep. Papa, Mama, Rama and Ken all make attempts to get Nana up  --  first by enticing her with African music, and then by cooking her favourite plantain dish with spicy palaver sauce. Still, nothing makes her move.

They soon realize that Nana is sick; she has the croup. The doctor recommends some fresh air to cure her. Nana amazes everyone by getting up, dressing warmly, eating her plantains with palaver sauce, and going outside to make snow angels.

Nana and her family are able to overcome and enjoy the cold, harsh weather through family activity and Nanaís acceptance of the Canadian climate and culture.

Bushra Janaidís expressive collages are strong and vivid. The use of found material, the variance and facial expressions of the characters are especially accomplished. The textures used for the clothing are created from photographs of trees, vegetables and skies.

Educated as an architect, this is Bushra Junaidís first book.

JP

NAOMI: THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE OF PIPPU TOWN
KARMEL SCHREYER

WINNIPEG, MAN.: GREAT PLAINS FICTION, © 1999, 192 P.
ISBN 1894283058
AGES 12 AND UP

Twelve-year-old Naomi is in for a year of change. She is moving to Japan with her mother, who has accepted a one-year teaching position. There is so much to get used to  -  the language, the food and the customs. Overwhelmed by all the differences, she feels isolated, lost and alone. She misses her friends, her grandparents, her dog and Manitobaís prairie sky.

Happily, Naomiís experience slowly begins to change. She starts to master the Katakana script, the Hiragana phonetic alphabet, and the Kanji pictorial alphabet. Finally able to communicate with others, Naomi meets new friends Midori, Kiyoka and Ali; they help her to experience Japanís many festivals and traditions. Naomi is invited to share stories of her life in Canada with primary school children and attends junior high school classes with others her own age. She joins the Kendo Club (fencing) and the English Club and comes to realize how lucky she is to embrace the people, culture and traditions of Japan.

Karmel Schreyerís first book is sympathetic to culture shock and the hardships faced when one moves to a different country. It also enriches our appreciation of life in Japan, a country where the author spent three years teaching English as a second language.

ACM

NED MOUSE BREAKS AWAY
TIM WYNNE-JONES
ILLUSTRATIONS: DUäAN PETRIČIČ

TORONTO: GROUNDWOOD BOOKS / DOUGLAS & MACINTYRE, ©2003, 68.
ISBN 0888994745
AGES 8 AND UP

This is the incredible story of Ned the mouse, who was unjustly jailed for writing "The government is unfair to mice" in his plate of spinach. Ned is tormented by the unfairness of his situation, and obviously doesnít like living in a cell; the very resourceful mouse is constantly planning his escape. He builds a washing machine that resembles an airplane, hides in a vacuum cleaner, wears a disguise and digs a tunnel, all to no avail. The kind jailer always catches Ned and brings him back to his cell.

One day, Ned receives a letter from his long-lost friend Mort. The correspondence between them triggers yet a new plan to escape. Ned will send himself to his friend Mort piece by piece, like a puzzle. This subversive tale ends with a twist when the keeper, who is missing his jail companion, decides to "escape" from the system and quits his job to join his friend.

Delightful sepia-coloured pen-and-wash illustrations by distinguished editorial cartoonist Duöan Petričić depict Nedís various attempts to escape.

JP

OUT OF THE EVERYWHERE: TALES FOR A NEW WORLD
JAN ANDREWS
ILLUSTRATIONS: SIMON NG

TORONTO: GROUNDWOOD BOOKS/DOUGALS & MCINTYRE, ©2000, 95 P.
ISBN 0888994028
AGES 6 AND UP

Out of the Everywhere: Tales for a New World features folktales from around the globe that have been adapted to Canadian settings by author Jan Andrews. Stories from countries as rustic as Finland, sultry as Vietnam, expansive as Russia and elongated as Chile cover a mosaic of people and cultures, their themes migrating easily to Canadaís landscapes while maintaining the flavour and uniqueness of their home countries.

The 10 stories compiled here are classically concerned with greed and spite, selflessness and understanding; with characters exploitive and darkened, honest and sanguine.

The haunting Native tale "The Coupleís Journey" portrays the timeless epic of travel; the African story "Wise Father, Wise Daughter" reaffirms the inevitability of age and change; the Chilean "The Pincoyaís Child" and the Russian "Little Daughter of the Snow" address the universal longing for children; "Ti-Jean and the Calf" is drawn from a chillingly clever tale by the Brothers Grimm; and a Vietnamese boy outwits his parentsí greedy landlord in "The Fly."

Artist Simon Ng complements the prose with large, ethereal and intensely coloured paintings.

MSI

PIER 21: GATEWAY OF HOPE
LINDA GRANFIELD

TORONTO: TUNDRA BOOKS, ©2000, 48 P.
ISBN 0887765173
AGES 10 AND UP

Between 1928 and 1971, over one million people passed through the immigration facilities at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Many of these immigrants were leaving behind difficult lives and hoping for something better in Canada: some were fleeing poverty and political oppression in their own countries, while others came to seek a new life for their families.

Gathering together a great collection of black-and-white archival photographs, and ephemera such as meal coupons, identification tags and visas, Linda Granfield traces the history of Pier 21.

Among the hopefuls entering their new life in Canada were homesteaders, Dr. Barnardo's "home children" (sponsored orphans), refugees, war guests and war brides, as well as returning troops. Each one, if they could speak to us, would have a story to tell of their journey by ship, the fear of war, the uneasy wait before landed-immigrant status was granted and, for some, further travel by rail.

Quick facts have been added at the back of the book, including a brief chronology of the history of events at Pier 21, now a National Historic Site.

DS

RACHEL: THE MAYBE HOUSE
LYNNE KOSITSKY

TORONTO: PENGUIN CANADA, ©2002, 90 P.
ISBN 0143312081
AGES 8 TO 12

The Maybe House is the sequel to A Mighty Big Imagining, the story of Rachel, a runaway slave from South Carolina in 1783.

Rachel and her pregnant mother, Sukey, have come to Birchtown, Nova Scotia, to be with Rachelís stepfather, Titan, and to start a new life of freedom. The continuing story finds Rachelís family living in a pit-cabin  --  a hole in the ground  --  like many other families who were forced to live on government rations after the war.

Baby Jem enters the family and increases the desperation to survive the cold and hunger as Titan struggles to build them a house.

Through his incredible perseverance, Rachel and her family at last have a proper home. Rachel is determined to survive, to live free and, most of all, to learn to read.

Every day she faces challenges and setbacks. Like her stepfather, Rachel manages to endure and, out of sheer determination, confronts a boy from town and convinces him to teach her to read.

This is part of the Our Canadian Girl series, which tells the stories of girls in different periods of Canadian history.

BM

THE REUNION
JACQUELINE PEARCE

VICTORIA, B.C.: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS, ©2002, 92 P.
ISBN 1551432307
AGES 7 TO 10

Shannon is excited about being able to spend a week with her best friend, Rina, while her parents are away. As often happens, however, the close quarters cause a rift in their friendship.

Rina's grandmother, Jasminder, intervenes and relates the story of a quarrel she had with her own best friend, Mitsu, when they were young, and how she was never able to apologize.

Like Rina and Shannon, Jasminder and Mitsu were inseparable. Circumstances caused them to have a terrible fight one day. Within two days, Mitsu and her family were gone; taken from their home by Mounties when Canadians of Japanese descent were evacuated to camps for the duration of World War II. After the war, Mitsuís family moved to Toronto, and Jasminder never saw her friend again.

In a box of mementos, Shannon and Rina find the remains of a bracelet that Mitsu had given Jasminder back in 1942. The girls re-string it and give it to Jasminder in the hopes that her childhood friend will be attending the camp community reunion. Mitsu indeed appears, and Jasminder presents the repaired bracelet to her before they embrace. Moved by the elder womenís example, Rina and Shannon resume their friendship.

MMc

SHARE THE SKY
TING-XING YE
ILLUSTRATIONS: SUZANE LANGLOIS

TORONTO: ANNICK PRESS, ©1999, 32 P.
ISBN 1550375792 (BOUND)
ISBN 1550375784 (PAPERBACK)
AGES 5 TO 8

Fei-Fei lives in China with her grandparents. She loves flying kites with her cousin Yuan Yuan but is too young to fly one by herself. Someday soon though, she will fly just like a kite to be with her parents. They live in North America, a place Fei-Feiís grandparents believe doesnít even share the same sky and where people eat bread but no rice, uncooked vegetables and raw milk cakes. How different it must be!

One day, a letter arrives from Canada. The time has come for Fei-Fei to spread her wings and join her mom and dad overseas. She feels quite nervous on the plane, wondering if they will love and remember her.

Of course, Fei-Feiís parents are overjoyed when she arrives, and she discovers to her delight that there is rice in North America, and that salad (uncooked vegetables) and cheese (raw milk cakes) are tasty. Although her new life is very different, she is thrilled that her new teacher and classmates love kites too. The best surprise of all, however, is that she can fly one all by herself!

This lovely story is enhanced by vibrant illustrations that evoke a sense of place and contrast China and Canada.

ACM

THE TIGER AND THE DRIED PERSIMMON: A KOREAN FOLK TALE
RETOLD & ILLUSTRATED: JANIE JAEHYUN PARK

TORONTO: GROUNDWOOD BOOKS / DOUGLAS & MACINTYRE, ©2002, 30 P.
ISBN 0888994850
AGES 4 TO 8

One night a fierce tiger prowls into a village to steal an ox; but before he is able to, he hears a strange sound and discovers a mother trying to soothe her crying baby. She tries to scare the child into silence with threats of monsters, but to no avail.

Impressed that this small creature is so fearless, the tiger becomes terrified when a dried persimmon calms the crying child instantly. Reasoning that a persimmon must be the wildest, most dangerous creature in the forest, he attempts to run away.

Here enters a thief, who also plans to steal an ox but mistakenly jumps on the fleeing tiger instead. Believing he is under attack by the persimmon, the tiger runs off to his mountain, while the thief, realizing his error, runs in fear of the tiger. Neither the tiger nor the thief ever ventures into the village to steal oxen again.

Janie Jaehyun Park remembers her grandmother telling this ancient Korean folktale to her countless times as a child. It is retold here with simple language and beautiful illustrations of gesso and acrylic paint. Now children of all cultures can share in this amusing morality tale.

SGL

TREASURE FOR LUNCH
SHENAAZ NANJI
ILLUSTRATIONS: YVONNE CATHCART

TORONTO: SECOND STORY PRESS, ©2000, 28 P.
ISBN 1896764320
AGES 4 TO 8

Shaira is not used to eating her traditional food for lunch at school; but when Shairaís mother is away, this is what her grandmother prepares for her. Although she loves bhajias, kababs and samoosas, Shaira worries about the reaction of her classmates should they discover what is in her lunch.

When the school bell rings at midday, the imaginative Shaira thinks of an excuse to leave and hurries outside with her lunch bag. Enjoying the delicious bhajias too quickly and becoming full, Shaira buries the rest in the snow, pretending to be a pirate burying treasure. The next day is the same, only with kababs. Each day her friends wonder why she disappears at lunchtime, but Shaira cleverly avoids revealing her secret.

When spring comes, one of her friends, Michael, discovers a lunch bag in the melting snow. Shaira cannot deny it is hers. Curious, everyone asks her what she has brought for lunch today. Trembling, she pulls out some samoosas and offers one to Michael. He and the other students enjoy it, and soon they are all asking Shaira to bring more tomorrow.

This story reassures children that itís O.K. to be different.

Yvonne Cathcart provides full-page, detailed watercolour illustrations to accompany the text.

AC

ZACK
WILLIAM BELL

TORONTO: DOUBLEDAY CANADA, ©1998, 170 P.
ISBN 0385257112
AGES 12 AND UP

Zack Lane feels like an outsider. A transplanted urban teen, he is living outside a small Ontario town, where his racial diversity stands out. He is unhappy with the move to the country, which was primarily to benefit his parents, a university professor and a blues musician. He knows his fatherís family are Romanian Jews, but knows nothing of his motherís African-American origins, the "family mystery." Knowing only one side of his heritage leaves Zack without a sense of identity.

While gardening, he digs up an old box filled with curious artifacts. When his history teacher offers him a last chance to raise his mark by completing a special project, Zack decides to research the box and its contents. The box belonged to a former slave from Africa who cleared the land where Zackís house now stands. His findings about this former slave inspire Zack to investigate and travel to Mississippi in search of his maternal roots. Amid several adventures, Zack meets his grandfather, a bitter man with many biases, and can now understand why his mother does not speak of her family.

This engaging story can facilitate discussion on being a teenager faced with bridging two cultural and racial groups.

EA

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Date Created: 2004-01-29
Date Modified: 2004-01-29

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