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1. PaperTigers’ Book of the Month: Dingo’s Tree by Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy

Our newest PaperTigers’ issue is now live and  focuses on cats and dogs in multicultural children’s literature – a topic that was suggested by my 12-year-old daughter, who is animal fanatic.

Among the many highlights in the issue is our interview with Aboriginal elder and storyteller Gladys Milroy, in which she discusses her children’s book  Dingo’s Tree, co-authored with her daughter Jill Milroy, who is currently Dean of the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia. Dingo’s Tree is published by Magabala Books, Australia’s oldest independent Indigenous publishing house, and is PaperTigers’  Book of the Month. Look for our review of the book soon and in the meantime enjoy this wonderful review that Emma Perry at My Book Corner has graciously allowed us to reprint.

Located in Australia, My Book Corner provides book reviews on an entire assortment of children’s literature and is a great place to visit and find out what is hot in the world of Australian kid and YA lit. We reprint some of My Book Corner’s reviews under the reviews tab of the PaperTigers website.

Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy,
Dingo’s Tree
Magabala Books, 2012.

Reviewed by Emma Perry at My Book Corner

Divided in to four short chapters entitled Dingo’s Tree, The Raindrop, The Tree That Walked and The Last Tree this is a poignant story about man’s destruction of the landscape and its impact on the landscape, natural resources and the animals who depend on them for survival.

Penned and illustrated by mother and daughter team Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy this is a picture book which gives voice to the very real threats on Australia’s landscape. Mining. The beauty of its narrative, combined with the Milroys’ warm illustrations ensure that Dingo’s Tree will leave a lasting impression.

This deceptively simple yet powerful parable begins when Dingo is unable to find a tree of his own. He draws one and so begins the magical yet sad centre of this parable. The tree grows and grows too tall even for the moon to view the top, then in the aftermath of a cyclone it disappears. As a single, beautiful raindrop appears on a tiny tree, arguments ensue as to who owns it, however a much more pressing matter soon emerges.

The selflessness of crow who flies for miles each day to supply Little Tree with water, is set in parallel against man …

“mining is cutting too deep for the scars to heal. Once destroyed, mountains can’t grow again and give birth to the rivers that they send to the sea.”

The character of the Dingo continues to emerge as one of wisdom and reason, the rain drop must be reserved, saved for Dingo who will know when the time is right.

The ending is gorgeous and poignant, you can not fail to be moved by the final poetic lines followed by Dingo and Wombat’s final conversation…

An ever timely message about environment and man’s role in preserving and maintaining it.

Dr Anita Heiss’ review of Dingo’s Tree can be enjoyed here.

0 Comments on PaperTigers’ Book of the Month: Dingo’s Tree by Gladys Milroy and Jill Milroy as of 12/18/2012 6:32:00 AM
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2. New “Cats and Dogs” theme on the PaperTigers website

Head on over to the PaperTigers website, where you will find hundreds of Cats and Dogs waiting to greet you.  I exaggerate only slightly for one of our new features is a Gallery of Korean artist Chinlun Lee‘s work, including illustrations from her delightful picture book The Very Kind Rich Lady and Her One Hundred Dogs.

Japanese illustrator Kae Nishimura also features in our Gallery; and we have new interviews with illustrator Meilo So from her home in the Scottish Shetland Islands and Australian Aboriginal elder and storyteller Gladys Milroy, co-author with her daughter Jill Milroy of our Book of the Month, Dingo’s Tree (Magabala Books, 2012).

Also from Australia, Susanne Gervay has written a Personal View about “The Images of Dogs in Ships in the Field” – Ships in the Field is her latest book and was a project close to her heart since it relates part of her childhood as the daughter of Hungarian refugees.

Our featured authors and illustrators all share stories and photographs of the dogs and cats in their lives.  In the early days of the PaperTigers Blog, Janet wrote a post about reading to her family’s huskies when she was a child.  In my own family, you will often find the dog curled up next to (or on top of) whoever is reading – and over the next couple of months we invite you to send us your photos and/or stories of reading time shared with a pet to be featured here on the Blog – please do email them to me, marjorieATpapertigersDOTorg – we’d love to hear from you.

0 Comments on New “Cats and Dogs” theme on the PaperTigers website as of 12/12/2012 10:46:00 PM
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3. Celebrate PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary with a Top10 of Tiger Themed Books!

Aline Pereira is an independent writer, editor and editorial consultant specializing in multicultural children’s books and was Managing Editor of PaperTigers from 2004 until January 2011. In honor of PaperTigers’ 10th anniversary Aline wrote an article entitled Celebrating  PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: What a Smilestone! which you can read here, and now offers up her Top 10 Tiger Themed Books.

One tiger, two tigers… ten tigers!  More tigers! by Aline Pereira

Children love to ask each other about their favorite animals, and their answers usually reveal much about themselves: what they fear, what they love, and what they need and want from the world.

In celebration of PaperTigers’ 10th anniversary, I put together a list of ten (plus one to grow on) multicultural books featuring tigers, a graceful, alluring and majestic animal– often mentioned as a “favorite” of children–which is a symbol of all that is splendid and powerful in nature. I thought PaperTigers’ 10th’ anniversary would be a good occasion to celebrate tigers and remind children and adults that, without the proper protective measures, tigers in the wild may disappear by 2022–within a decade!–the next Year of the Tiger.

Tigers are an important part of the reality and mythology of many countries, including Bangladesh, China, India, Korea and Thailand. Throughout history, tigers have been regarded as auspicious animals, as guardians and protectors. Indian mythology, for instance, has several stories where the tiger is believed to have powers to do everything from fighting dragons to creating rain to keeping children safe from nightmares. According to a 2010 statement by the Global Tiger Initiative, “The loss of tigers and degradation of their ecosystems would inevitably result in a historic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental catastrophe for the tiger-range countries [Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Russia].”

It’s my hope that this book list will help children learn more about tigers and the ways in which they feature, literally and metaphorically, in stories from far and near.

The tigers are ROARING!… Can you hear them?

Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Crouching Tiger
Candlewick, 2011
Age: 6+

In Crouching Tiger, an American boy learns to appreciate his Chinese heritage with the help of his grandfather, who is visiting from China.

Little Vinson is intrigued by grandpa’s Tai Chi routine: “He crouched like a tiger; he drew an invisible bow; he lifted a foot like a rooster and stood still,” but when grandpa tries to teach him how to do it, he thinks tai chi isn’t as interesting as kung fu, which he already knows. When grandpa calls him by his Chinese name, which happens all the time, Vinson finds it annoying, but little by little, he begins to understand and feel pride in his heritage.

Nascimbene’s gorgeous illustrations capture the excitement of the parade and convey the boy’s emotional shift from annoyance to curiosity to pride very well. An author’s note at the end adds depth to the story by explaining Chinese martial arts and Chinese New Year traditions.

James Rumford,
Tiger and Turtle
Roaring Brook Press/ A Neal Porter Book, 2010
Age: 4 – 8

A 2011 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, Tiger and Turtle is the retelling of an Afghani folktale.

Tiger and Turtle are not friends but have learned to live peacefully (“A tiger’s claws could not harm a turtle’s shell any more than a turtle’s feet could outrun a tiger’s.”). However, when a beautiful flower floats down from the sky and lands by their feet, the two animals start arguing about who should have it, who saw it first, and so on, and end up getting into a terrible fight… And it’s not until they accidently fall into a flower-covered field that they realize their foolishness and learn to be friends.

An author’s note explains how he discovered the folktale and talks about the cultural inspirations for the beautiful background patterns used throughout the book. Tiger and Turtle conveys an important message and makes for a perfect read-aloud for the younger crowd.

Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Frampton
Riding the Tiger
Clarion Books, 2001
Age: 9+

Set in the streets of a big city and illustrated with gorgeous woodcuts by David Frampton, Riding the Tiger is Eve Bunting’s powerful story about a ten year-old boy new to town who can’t resist the invitation of an alluring tiger to go for a ride. Cruising the city on the tiger’s back gives Danny a sense power, of being respected by children and adults alike—he no longer feels powerless and out of place. Soon, however, he realizes that what he thought was respect is actually fear, and that getting off the tiger’s back isn’t easy.

A wonderful metaphor for the power of gangs, drugs (or whatever harmful attraction children may find hard to resist at one point or another in their lives), this beautifully told story offers much food for thought. It should be a must-read in schools everywhere, where children may be feeling tempted to give up their freedom and inner strength in the name of acceptance and (pseudo) respect.

Lynne Reid Banks,
Tiger, Tiger
Laurel Leaf, 2007
Age: 12+

Two tiger brothers are taken from the jungle to Rome. One, Brute, is raised to kill slaves, criminals and Christians at the Colosseum; Boots, the other, becomes a pet to Emperor Julius Ceasar’s 12 year-old daughter, Aurelia.

While Boots is treated like royalty, Brute spends most of his time locked in a dark cage. When after a game gone wrong Julius, the slave who cares for Boots and harbor feelings for Aurelia, is sent to the arena to face the killer Brute, accused of letting Boots escape, things get very intense, and Aurelia must make difficult decisions whose consequences are beyond her years to fully grasp. The great mixture of adventure, romance and historical fiction in Tiger, Tiger will appeal to older kids and have them on the edge of their seats, rooting for a happy ending for Julius, Aurelia and Boots.

Helen Bannerman, illustrated by Valeria Petroni
The Boy and the Tigers
Golden Books, 2004
Age: 4+

In this retelling of Helen Bannerman’s controversial Little Black Sambo, little Rajani ventures into the jungle and runs into several tigers who, one by one, convince him to give them his belongings: a new red coat, a pair of blue trousers, purple shoes, and even his green umbrella! But resourceful Rajani devises a way to outsmart the tigers and get his things back. The lovely new illustrations by Valeria Petroni combined with non-offensive names and non-stereotypical character depictions make this story a treasure again.

Elizabeth Stanley
Tyger! Tyger!
Enchanted Lion Books, 2007
Age: 8+

Elizabeth Stanley’s Tyger! Tyger! is based on the true story of a sanctuary for endangered Indo-Chinese tigers in northwest Thailand.

For centuries Buddhist monks in their jungle monastery lived in harmony with neighboring animals, so when poachers begin killing the tigers, the monks protect these beautiful animals, beginning with two tiny cubs found hiding near the temple gate. Over time, more tigers are brought to or show up at the monastery. But poaching continues… One young monk’s vision offers a solution: a moat can be dug around the temple, creating a large island hermitage for the tigers. It is a formidable mission. “The moat must be deep, impassable. The monks’ tools were primitive and many of the men were old and weak. Only a miracle could create such a sanctuary.”

The monks in the story accomplish their goal, and see the moat filled during the next monsoon…[This is an excerpt from Charlotte’s review.]

Laura Manivong,
Escaping the Tiger
HarperCollins, 2010
Age: 12+

Twelve year-old Vonlai must try to escape communist Laos with his sister and desperate parents by crossing the Mekong River, “where soldiers shoot at anything that moves.” Their only hope is Na Pho, a refugee camp in Thailand, on the other side of the river.

When they finally get there, after a dangerous journey, life in Na Pho feels far from safe–their living quarters is cramped, dirty, and the guards who keep watch on them are all unfriendly. Vonlai tries to carry on as best as he can, eating his meager portion of rationed food, attending a makeshift school, and playing with other kids to pass the time. But things take a turn for the worse when someone inside the camp threatens his family and Vonlai must call on a forbidden skill to protect them until they can be resettled, hopefully in a safer place.

This powerful novel about escaping communist Laos in 1982 is based on the author’s husband’s experience as a child. Focusing on a chapter of history not often seen in children’s literature, Escaping the Tiger offers a realistic portrayal of the plight of Laotians who fled the country to escape the communist regime. It shows the plight of refugees living in limbo, as well as the resilience of the human spirit in the face of difficult situations.

Anushka Ravishankar,
Tiger on a Tree
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004  (originally published in India by Tara Books, in 1997)
Age: 4-8

The tiger in Anushka Ravishankar’s whimsical picture book means no harm. But his wanderings lead to a run-in with an angry goat, so he takes refuge in a tree. There, he is cornered by a group of excitable men who are quickly confounded by what to do. (“Send him to the zoo? Stick him up with glue? Paint him electric blue?”) Their solution brings this comical story rich with word and sound-play full circle, and will leave many young listeners requesting repeated readings.

The superb design of this singular book features dynamic text layout integrated into the striking two-color prints in black and orange created by Pulak Biswas. Even with stylized printmaking techniques, the illustrator has managed to create a cast of visually distinctive characters whose expressions (the tiger’s included) are a wonderful complement to the text. [This is an excerpt from the CCBC review.]

Sy Montgomery, photographs by Eleanor Briggs
The Man-eating Tigers of Sundarbans
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2001
Age: 8+

The Sundarbans Tiger Reserve, situated in the Indian state of West Bengal, is home to more tigers than anywhere else on earth. There are said to be some five hundred tigers there—more than anywhere else in the world. Nowhere else do tigers live in a mangrove swamp. And nowhere else do healthy tigers routinely hunt people. No one knows why. The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans is a mystery story, but it is also a story about science and myth, about people and tigers, and about different ways of seeing the natural world.

Sy Montgomery traveled to Sundarbans searching for answers to the mysteries surrounding these tigers. She listened to what scientists had to say about the unusual tiger behavior and to the stories of the villagers who revere the very animals who hunt them because they believe the tigers protect the forest they all depend on. Tradition has it that Daskin Ray, the tiger god, and Bonobibi, the forest goddess, rule Sundarbans. Every February there is a festival to celebrate their protection of the forest, and the reserve holds many rustic tiger shrines.  As Montgomery argues, “Sometimes what is true is hidden, as in a riddle. Even dangerous man-eating tigers may do us more good than harm.”

This fascinating book includes beautiful photographs by Eleanor Briggs, fast facts, a glossary of Bengali phrases, and a list of organizations doing work to protect tigers.

Alison Lloyd,
The Year of the Tiger
Holiday House, 2010
Age: 10+

In ancient China, the Great Wall is crumbling on the edge of the Han Empire. In the wall’s shadow, twelve-year-old Hu is starving. On the other side of the wall, China’s enemies are gathering strength. When an imperial battalion comes to town, Hu meets Ren, the son of the commander, and the two boys combine forces to train secretly for an archery tournament. For Hu, the contest offers escape from poverty and for Ren, the respect of his father. But the capture of a barbarian spy changes everything. With their trust at its lowest point, Ren and Hu must work together to evade the barbarians and save the empire. This exciting adventure story came out in 2010, the Year of the Tiger.

Antonia Michaelis,
Tiger Moon
Amulet Books, 2008 (originally published in Germany, in 2006)
Age: 14+

A princess in trouble, a thief with a heart of gold, and a sacred talking tiger with an unnatural fear of water are at the heart of this “story within a story” set in India in the early 1900s. 

In order to better endure her condition, Raka, the young bride of a violent merchant, tells a servant boy the story of Farhad, a thief and unlikely hero who is sent by Krishna on a mission to retrieve a famous jewel in order to save a kidnapped princess from a demon king. Farhad is accompanied on his journey by his friend Nitish, a white tiger who helps and advises him along the way.

The story gives an excellent overview of Hindu religious beliefs and of the conflicts India faced at the time of British occupation. Due to some implied sexual content, this novel is more suitable for young adults.

Anton Poitier,
Once I Was a Comic… But Now I’m A Book about Tigers!
Hammond, 2010
Age: 4+

With this fantastic earth-friendly book, kids get two unforgettable stories at the same time—one about tigers and one about recycling! Fun facts, quirky illustrations, and cute photographs give kids a close-up look at the tiger, one of the world’s most beloved endangered species. Kids will learn everything from how tigers hunt and how long their tails are to where they live and what they eat in this exciting, informative, and earth-friendly book.

A side panel on each page tells the story of how this book was made from the recycled paper of a comic book, teaching kids the process of recycling and showing them what they can do to help save the planet—and the tigers!

0 Comments on Celebrate PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary with a Top10 of Tiger Themed Books! as of 11/3/2012 12:48:00 PM
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4. What a lovely birthday present! Introducing Carrotiger!

In honor of PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary, Cathy Mealey (who blogs at Bildebok), sent  us a photo of  lovely tiger drawn by her 9 year old daughter Grace. Grace’s  “Carrotiger” was inspired by her love of children’s poet laurerate Jack Prelutsky’s  book Scranimals, illustrated by Peter Sis (Greenwillow Books, 2006).

We’re sailing to
Scranimal Island,
It doesn’t appear on
most maps….

Scranimal Island
is where you will find
the fragrant RHINOCEROSE,
the cunning BROCCOLIONS.
And if you are really, really lucky
and very, very quiet,
you will spot
the gentle, shy PANDAFFODIL.
(You may even hear it yawning
If the morning’s just begun,
Watch its petals slowly open
To embrace the rising sun.

Thank you so much for your lovely drawing Grace! With this submission,  Grace and her mom Cathy are entered in our 10th Anniversary give-away. The closing date for entries is midnight PST on Saturday Nov 10th with winners being announced here on the blog on Monday Nov 19th. There are 10 fabulous prizes to be won so don’t delay, get your entry in too. Click here for all the details!

 

0 Comments on What a lovely birthday present! Introducing Carrotiger! as of 11/7/2012 11:28:00 AM
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5. Multi-colored Threads of Home by Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal

Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal is a Lecturer/Teacher Educator at the National Institute of Education, Singapore and was just nominated for the NIE’s 2012 Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to teaching, Myra shares her passion for the written word through Gathering Books, a children’s literature and YA fiction website with a vibrant blog. At the 2010 Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore PaperTigers was honored to co-host a panel discussion with Myra and with Tarie Sabido of Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind. As part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations we asked Myra if she would send us her Top 10 list of multicultural books and she submitted to us this most wonderful and insightful article:

Multi-colored Threads of Home

When I first heard the term multiculturalism in children’s literature, my first thought was one of joyful celebration and anticipation. Enchanted as I am with the nature of storytelling and the lyrical beauty of words – I sensed that this celebration of diversity would give space to distinct and resounding voices, formerly silenced and marginalized. Little did I know how naïve I was. Reading the edited book by Dana Fox and Kathy Short entitled Stories Matter: The Complexity of Cultural Authenticity in Children’s Literature has provided me with a veritable spread of polemical issues, conflicting perspectives, not to mention the sociopolitical underpinnings that provide a tenable-yet-shaky frame for a more thorough understanding of multiculturalism in books for children. Gradually, I came to realize that there are multiple layers that permeate this deceptively-innocuous intention to bring the world to a child’s hands through a book. Issues range from insider-outsider perspectives (with Jacqueline Woodson’s plaintive Who can tell my story and Marc Aronson’s heartfelt A Mess of Stories) to questions of ethnic essentialism and problems of cultural authenticity. Needless to say, my views about my beloved picture books have now become more nuanced and textured as I begin to gradually appreciate the quiet struggles and the thinly-veiled tension that serve as the backdrop of these narratives for children.

When Marjorie very kindly invited me to share my top ten multicultural books for children, all these thoughts were raging through my mind. I knew that I wanted to steer clear of these thorny, hardly-resolved, and undeniably complex issues. At the same time, I wanted to go beyond folklore and festivals. I decided that I might as well develop my own criteria of picture books that spoke to me.

The list that I have here is made up of narratives with a pulse, with soulful characters who are confronted with inner demons yet are able to transcend the sordid realities of life through flights of fancies, quilting dreams, or the promise of spring. While life’s shadows take on a tangible form (be they rabbits or wolves), the reader feels a deep sense of faith with winged-hands that are unafraid to search, reach out, and ultimately discover home within one’s self.

In Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey, the reader gets to know the restless heart of a wanderer. In the review that I have written in GatheringBooks, I noted that:

Each page is filled with luminous paintings of places that Grandfather has been accompanied by sparse text that is one or two sentences long. While it is perfect for very young children, I envision that it would also be great for older kids who would wish to explore geography, develop a sense of space and time, while providing a means to understand one’s roots and cultural identity.

 While the story is linear, starting with grandfather’s leaving his home in Japan as a young man to “see the world” and ending in old age with grandfather’s longing left in the air for the reader to touch and grasp – each portrait seems to be filled with untold narratives, inviting the reader to sit back and imagine the possible labyrinthine stories the picture brings.

The book also touches on the concept of transnational identity as Say’s grandfather would miss the mountains of Japan while he is in California, yet he would also long for his ‘home’ in California while in Japan. There is that continual search for something elusive outside of one’s self – the search for home.

Shaun Tan’s The Arrival must be among everyone’s top ten list, as it provides a surreal and powerfully-moving representation of all the strange and odd experiences that moving to and living in another country (outside one’s own birthplace) might engender. Absolutely wordless, the monstrous scales and paper boats in the skies provide the reader with a glimpse of the various Ellis Islands of the world – human geese flying south to find refuge. The muted narratives of displacement are rendered even more compelling with the subtle snapshots of pain, inviting the readers to infuse their own ‘river of words’ as they ‘read’ through the wordless tales of deliverance.

This ‘wordless’ concept of home is also something that Jeannie Baker played around with in Mirror as the reader is regaled with the outstanding duality of what life is like in both Morocco and Sydney for two young boys. From a journey of bedtime and morning rituals as ingeniously portrayed in two different parts of the world – one is able to glimpse desert and dry land mirrored with cityscapes, cars, and airplanes. There is also the startling realization that despite the remarkable differences in appearances, there are things that connect us regardless of barriers in geography, language, cultural practices: there is always the night sky, the moon, family, food, and love.

This notion of kinship that goes beyond skin color and language is likewise evident in Brothers by the husband-and-wife tandem Yin and Chris Soentpiet. Ming, a young Chinese boy just arrived in San Francisco to live with his older brothers, who was among the first Chinese railroad workers in the city. Ming was immediately thrust into doing his family duty to mind the struggling store that they are renting to make ends meet. He was warned never to go past Chinatown, as their almond-eyed presence – while necessary for the country’s survival – was neither embraced nor accepted by the ‘locals.’ Things changed when Ming met Patrick, an Irish boy with “brown hair and eyes the color of the bright sky” as he found a friend who is like him in spirit. The two boys’ friendship illustrates how linguistic and cultural boundaries are oftentimes intangible walls of our own making.

These walls may actually prove to be insurmountable for some as could be seen in Armin Greder’s sparse-yet-intensely-gripping The Island. This picture book demonstrates how the pervasive fear towards people who are different could prove to be tragic and beyond redemption. There is darkness seeping through the pages of the book as the reader is confronted with the extent of man’s unfounded rage and haunted by the many atrocities people tend to commit in the name of fear, and how the voice of reason and compassion may easily be smothered by the shadows of what-ifs and relentless musings of the worst aspects of human nature.

In John Marsden’s The Rabbits as illustrated by Shaun Tan, the shadows are given allegorical and aesthetic form as one sees rabbits in suits and numbats in trees populating this metaphorical universe. This picture book allows the reader to take on a radical shift in perspective as one is privy to the sentiments of the locals – not the foreigner, not the immigrant who is struggling to fit in and belong – but a condensed view of colonization from the mistrustful and wounded eyes of the colonized. In the review that I have written in GatheringBooks, I noted that:

The straightforward, deceptively-simple retelling of Australia’s history is matched perfectly by Shaun Tan’s amazingly-stunning artwork that complements the narrative with dark black spaces, monochrome illustrations of how the rabbits have overtaken the entire country (“Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits. Millions and millions of rabbits. Everywhere we look there are rabbits.”), the sepia-toned undercurrents of loss and tragedy, and the deliciously-surreal representation of all that is right and unjust, pure and sullied, and what it means to stand one’s ground (regardless of how shaky and small and crumbling it is). The book is a reminder, as well, of what we value as we cry out in anguish and claim ownership of what is rightfully ours – as one’s entire world is overtaken, captured, and judged to be less than what it is.

This arbitrary yet heavily-pronounced judgment of the superiority of one cultural group as compared to another is clearly evident in Roberto Innocenti’s Rose Blanche as the reader gets to understand more clearly the gritty aspects of war through a child’s innocent eyes. I was struck by how young Rose Blanche proudly waved the Nazi flag as she and other German kids viewed the coming of the soldiers as a cause for celebration and festivity. The red-ribboned girl, however, discovered truths that even our adult minds are incapable of comprehending when she followed the soldier’s truck amidst the clearing – her innocence and youth stripped from her eyes as she sees gaunt and emaciated faces and bodies in striped pajamas. In my review of this book I wrote:

Rose Blanche is a heartbreaking reminder of the real costs of war – and the fact that nothing is worth the gaping black chasm that takes the place of youth, and friendship, and the lovely act of becoming. In war, there is nothing but abrupt ends, cut-off laughter, and discarded dreams. I invite you to open this book and celebrate the sweet song of spring – and perhaps, in time, we can indeed, create a world that is worthy of the beautiful children we have brought into this world. Collectively, we can strive to be the heroes and peacekeepers that our children have always regarded us to be.

This courage to face one’s fears and grit to go beyond one’s self is evident in Margaret Wild and Anne Spudvilas’ Woolvs in the Sitee. While the book begins with a sense of inevitable doom and resignation – a darkness that threatens to engulf – this does not overwhelm the reader who touches that bit of sunshine and warmth in the pages – primarily because it is rarely seen that it is even more apparent. There is that keenly-felt struggle to find meaning and transcend one’s pain to save another and a decisive invitation from the young protagonist, Ben, to “Joyn me” in facing one’s own ‘woolvs.’

Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach takes us on a different quest as the readers gets to fly among quilted stars together with Cassie Louise Lightfoot, as she ‘owns’ George Washington Bridge and New York through her flights of fancies. It is an evocative graphical representation of a young girl’s resilience amidst poverty as seen in Ringgold’s stunning story-quilts-transformed-into-picture-book. It is a celebration of a child’s indomitable spirit as she declares the world to be hers for the taking while she pursues her dreams in winged feet and star-filled eyes.

I end my list though with poetry as I share the amazing collaboration between Maya Angelou and the gifted graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in Life Does not Frighten Me. I must have read this book more than a dozen times as the lines sounded more like a whispered prayer to me – an antidote against things that go bump and creep in thine soul: ghostly clouds and barking canines, big old meanies and fire-breathing dragons. A perfect gift as well to the Paper Tigers ladies as they celebrate their tenth year anniversary. In this beautiful picture book, the reader is given a dream catcher, an amulet, a magic spell that would shatter the darkest of evils and make the shadows go crawling back where they come from – with the powerful words:

 I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

 

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6. Poetry Friday ~ PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: My Top Ten Picks by Sally Ito

[Time is running out to enter our Tenth Anniversary Draw - the deadline is tomorrow - so if you haven't already, take a look here for the chance to win some fantastic prizes for you or your school or library]

Sally Ito is a poet, editor and translator living in Winnipeg, Canada, where she also teaches Creative Writing; she is currently writer.  Sally was  a book reviewer and contributor to the PaperTigers blog until earlier this year and wrote many of our contributions to Poetry Friday during that time (which is why we decided to post Sally’s selection on a Poetry Friday day!).  So we are delighted to welcome her back with her Top Ten list of favourite books, encountered through her work with PaperTigers.

As a prelude, do listen to Sally reading the title poem from her collection Alert to Glory (Turnstone Press, 2011) in the video below.

My Top Ten Picks by Sally Ito

When I joined the Paper Tigers blog contributor team in 2008, the thing I was most excited about was getting to read and review great multicultural books for kids.  What I discovered was a plethora of wonderful books that reflected who I was culturally and who my community was, culturally, as well.  From my short time with PaperTigers, these are my ten picks of multicultural books for kids.  It’s a little Japan-heavy, I realize but I hope you indulge my bias!

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin, 2008) – I found this quirky picture book amazing and it was an inspiration for me when I was teaching to take my creative writing students out into our immediate neighborhood (an historic district called The Exchange) in Winnipeg to see what we could make of our environment in a creative way.

Naomi’s Tree by Joy Kogawa, illustrated by Ruth Ohi (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2008).  This book is about a cherry tree and a Japanese Canadian girl who grew up with it and was separated from it by the circumstances of the Second World War.  This book was a personal favorite since the author’s history reflects my own family’s in Canada.

Granny’s Giant Bannock by Brenda Isabel Wastasecoot, illustrated by Kimberly McKay-Fleming (Pemmican, 2008).  This is one hilarious book about a Cree-speaking grandmother and her grandson Larf who accidentally bakes a giant bannock by misunderstanding his grandmother’s instructions on how to make the doughy confection from scratch.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, translated by Cathy Hirano (Scholastic, 2009).  This book is a translation of a popular fantasy series that was also made into a TV series.  The story is set in early imperial Japan and features a woman warrior named Balsa who protects the son of the emperor, Chagum, as he carries within him a spirit from another dimension who must lodge in a human host in order to survive.

The Song of the Cicada by Shizue Ukaji.  This is a Japanese book, yet untranslated into English, that I discovered while living in Japan in 2011.  It’s an Ainu folktale illustrated with textile creations made by Ukaji herself.  It’s the story of a woman who prophesies disaster – namely a tsunami – to her people and what becomes of her as a result.  A timely read for the year I was visiting the country.

The Fox’s Window and Other Stories by Naoko Awa, translated by Toshiya Kamei.  This is a collection of short stories spanning a career of writing by Japanese author Naoko Awa.  Magical, enchanting and absorbing are the words I’d use to describe these stories, which have also been referred to as ‘modern fairytales.’

David’s Trip to Paraguay by Miriam Rudolph.  A bilingual book with German and English text, this story is about a young Mennonite boy named David who travels to Paraguay from Canada in the late 1920s.  Rudolph, an artist, charts the arduous journey with vivid and colorful illustrations of the things David sees on the trip.

Gifts: Poems for Parents edited by Rhea Tregebov (Sumach Press, 2002).  We say we read to our children for their sake, but it’s just as true that we read to feed ourselves, too.  Poetry is a kind of bread for the soul, and this particular treasury of poems by Canadians really fed me as a poet and a parent.

Bifocal by Deborah Ellis and Eric Walters.  This is one book I read in part with my son, who later went on to have the book assigned to him for his English class in junior high school.  It’s about two teenagers – Haroon and Jay – who have to negotiate their cultural identities during a tense lockdown situation at their high school.

Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie.  I started covering graphic novels for PaperTigers a few years ago as I felt this was a developing trend in books for young people.  And this book was one of my favorites!  Aya is about a young woman growing up in Cote D’Ivoire, looking to become a medical student, but whose life is inevitably shaped and influenced by those around her with less lofty goals than her.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Ed at Think Kid, Think – head on over.

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7. Poetry Friday: Billy Collins Action Poetry – “Now and Then” animated by Eun-Ha Paek

On Wednesday we launched our 10th Anniversary celebrations – and we hope you’ll join us for some special features over the coming month. One of our new features is a catch-up Gallery of Eun-Ha Paek’s artwork (we first featured her in our early days back in 2002).  Eun-Ha is not only our web designer but she is also an artist, and she often combines her two talents to create very special digital animations. While researching her work for our feature, I came across this beautiful animation of the deceptively simple poem “Now and Then” that forms part of Billy Collins Action Poetry:

Billy Collins has given a TED talk about the Action Poetry project that includes viewings of some of them (plus a bonus original poem that I loved – anyone with teenage children, daughters especially, will empathise!).

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Betsy at Teaching Young Writers.

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8. PaperTigers 10th Anniversary ~ Top 10 “Books that Open Windows” selected by Deborah Ellis

Today we bring you the first in a series of “Top-10″ posts as part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations.  First up is a selection of “Books that Open Windows” by award-winning writer Deborah Ellis.

Deborah’s latest novel came out last month: My Name Is Parvana (Groundwood Books, 2012) is the long-awaited sequel to her acclaimed The Breadwinner Trilogy.  As well as fiction, Deborah has written non-fiction highlighting global social issues from children’s perspectives, such as war, AIDS and bullying, and giving affected children a voice.  You can read PaperTigers’ interviews with Deborah here and here.

 

Top 10: Books that Open Windows by Deborah Ellis

Jean Little is a wonderful Canadian author of books for young people. She has a special place in my heart because when I was a child, my parents were friends with a friend of Jean’s – Jane Glaves – and I would get Ms. Little’s books for Christmas. One of my favorite Jean Little books is Look Through My Window, where one character talks about looking through someone’s window into who they are and what their lives are like.

The following books are ten I would recommend to anyone interested in seeing what’s inside someone else’s window.

1.   From Anna, by Jean Little ~ Novel for young people about a German family who comes to Canada just before the start of World War 2. The youngest, Anna, has struggles with her eyesight, her awkwardness and figuring out where her place is in her family and in this new world.

2.   All of a Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor ~ First in a series of books for young readers about a Jewish family in turn of the century Brooklyn. As the girls go about the adventures of their lives – such as earning money to pay for a lost library book – the family celebrates the calendar of holidays. As a Protestant-raised small-town girl, this was my first window into a different religion, and set off a respect and fascination for Judaism that continues to this day.

3.   Obasan, by Joy Kogawa ~ Moving telling of a young girl’s experience in a Japanese internment camp in Canada during World War 2.

4.   Nobody’s Family is Going to Change, by Louise Fitzhugh ~ Novel for young people about a girl in New York who can’t make her father see her for who she is. She grows to learn about other kids in other families and their struggles.

5.   A Dog on Barkham Street and The Bully of Barkham Street,  by Mary Stoltz – Look at the same story from two points of view. They taught me how to look for more than one side of the story.

6.   Mighty Be Our Powers, by Leymah Gbowee ~ A powerful memoir of a woman who survived the Liberian civil war and won the Nobel Prize for her work to rebuild the country.

7.   Amazing Grace, by Jonathan Kozol ~ About homelessness and poverty in America and the power of the education system to hurt or help the children in its care.

8.   Shannen and the Dream for a School, by Janet Wilson – part of the Kids’ Power Book series for young activists, this is a profile of Shannen Koostachin and her First Nations community of Attawapiskat as they try to get a safe school built.

9.   Bury Me Standing, by Isabel Fonseca ~ A moving, detailed history of the Roma people.

10.   Grey is the Color of Hope, by Irina Ratushinskaya ~ Prison diaries of the Soviet poet who spent seven years in the Gulags. One of the few records we have about what that time and place was like for women.

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9. PaperTigers 10th Anniversary – “PaperTigers at 10″ by Founding Producer Elisa Oreglia

We have a new Personal View by Elisa Oreglia, the founding Producer/Editor of PaperTigers in 2002.  Elisa is currently a PhD student at the University of California Berkeley School of Information researching the circulation and use of mobile phones and computers in China, especially in the countryside.  You can read articles written by Elisa in PaperTigers’ early days here and here.

Elisa recently produced this reading list for the Ethnography Matters blog – plenty to get your teeth into there – and she still loves children’s books, especially ones about elephants.

“PaperTigers at 10″ by Elisa Oreglia

Happy Birthday, PaperTigers! And what a great age to be, ten years old. When I was ten years old, that was my golden age of reading: a treasure of picture books still behind me, to consult secretly from time to time, and a whole new world of books for young adults and grown-ups slowly opening up. Around that time, my grandmother gave me a book of legends, myths, and stories from around the world which, at least according to the family lore, shaped a lot of my future interests. At the time, legends and myths from other countries were about as far as multicultural literature had gone, and I drank it up. I read the book in one go, and kept going back to the different stories, especially the legend of the dragon boat festival from China… see where this is going?

I can’t say that I thought about these stories a lot or became obsessed by dragon boats in the following years, but when, years later, Peter Coughlan asked me if I’d be interested in working with him to create a website centered around children’s books and the Pacific Rim, the dragon boats came back to my mind. I wondered what had happened in the years since I stopped reading children’s books: were kids still reading myths and legends from around the world? Were there more books about faraway cultures now that the internet was seemingly shortening the distance between countries? What did children’s books look like in China and India and other Pacific Rim countries? How could I say no to such a tempting adventure?

Read the rest of the article…

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10. PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: Top 10 Multicultural Children’s Books about Food – Double Helpings from Grace Lin and Jama Rattigan

We are extra lucky today as not one but two experts have concocted a gourmet feast of their Top 10 favourite multicultural stories about food.  It seems fitting that authors Grace Lin and Jama Rattigan should each select food as their theme, since they have both written stories revolving around tasty recipes – as you will discover by looking at each of their menus.  In fact, each has put a book by the other on her menu, while unaware that the other was cooking up their own recipe, so it seems fitting that we should bring you the whole spread for you to gorge on at a single sitting – and it’s also interesting to see which books come up as double portions…

Jama Rattigan is the author of Dumpling Soup illustrated by Lilian Hsu-Flanders (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1998);  The Woman in the Moon: A Story from Hawai’i illustrated by Carla Golembe (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1996); and Truman’s Aunt Farm illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Sandpiper, 1996).  As well as her website (check out the recipe for Dumpling Soup), Jama also hosts the truly delectable Jama’s Alphabet Soup, a must-visit blog for anyone interested in children’s books, food, or both at the same time.

Grace Lin‘s latest book is Starry River of the Sky (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012), the much-awaited companion novel to Newbery Honor Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009).  She has written and illustrated many books for a wide age-range of children, including The Ugly Vegetables (Charlesbridge Publishing, 1999) and Dim Sum for Everyone (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2001); and picture books she has illustrated include Where on Earth is my Bagel? by Frances and Ginger Park (Lee & Low Books, 2001).  You can read our 2010 interview with Grace here, and view some of her beautiful artwork in our Gallery here and here.  And do check out Grace’s website and blog, where she has a fantastic giveaway on offer in celebration of the launch of Starry River of the Sky.

Top 10 Favorite Multicultural Picture Books about Food by Jama Rattigan

Whether it’s a big platter of noodles, warm-from-the-oven flatbread, fried dumplings, or a steamy bowl of Ugly Vegetable Soup, there’s nothing tastier than a picture book about food. You eat with your eyes first, then step into the kitchens or sit at the tables of friends and family from faraway places, all of whom seem to agree that love is the best seasoning for any dish, and food tastes best when it is happily shared. These tasty tales always make me say, “More, please!”

~ Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong and Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt, 2002)

~ Aunty Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo and Beth Lo (Lee & Low, 2012)

~ Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park and Ho Baek Lee (Clarion, 2005)

~ Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore and Kristi Valiant (Shen’s Books, 2009)

~ Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules and Kathryn Mitter (Albert Whitman, 2009)

~ Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low, 2007)

~ Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia and Ken Min (Lee & Low, 2011)

~ The Have a Good Day Café by Frances Park and Ginger Park, illustrated by Katherine Potter (Lee & Low, 2005)

~ The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin (Charlesbridge, 1999)

~ Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez (Putnam, 1993)

 

 

My Top Ten Food-Themed Multicultual Books by Grace Lin

In my family instead of saying hello, we say, “Have you eaten yet?” Eating and food has always been a successful way to connect us to culture, familiar as well as exotic–perhaps because it’s so enjoyable! So these books about food can be an appetizer to another country, a comfort food of nostalgia or a delicious dessert of both. Hen hao chi!

~ Hiromi’s Hands by Lynne Barasch (Lee & Low, 2007)

~ Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes, illustrated by Sanjay Patel (Chronicle Books, 2012)

~ Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park,illustrated Ho Baek Lee (Clarion, 2005)

~ How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman, illustrated by Allan Say (Sandpiper, 1987)

~ Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Harcourt, 2002)

~ Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley, illustrated by Peter Thornton (Carolrhoda Books, 1992)

~ Yoko by Rosemary Wells (Hyperion, 1998)

~ Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie and Beth Lo (Lee & Low, 2012)

~ Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas by Pauline Chen (Bloomsbury, 2007)

~ Dumpling Soup by Jama K. Rattigan, illustrated by Lillian Hsu Flanders (Little, Brown, 1998)

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11. Happy Birthday PaperTigers! Here’s my contribution to the Top 10 Lists!

Happy 10th Birthday PaperTigers!

I’ve been blessed to be a part of the PaperTigers’ team since December 2006 when I took on the role of Eventful World Coordinator just prior to the launch of the PaperTigers blog. As the years passed and PaperTigers continued to grow, evolve and expand (most noticeably with the launch of our Spirit of PaperTigers Book Sets and Outreach Program) my role within the  organization changed too. In 2010 I was offered the job of Associate Editor and since then have worked closely alongside our wonderful and very talented editor Marjorie Coughlan to produce PaperTigers’ three components: the website, the blog and the Outreach site .

I consider myself so lucky to be doing a job that I love in a field that I love! Children’s literature has always been my passion and during my years with PaperTigers I’ve not been the only one in my family to benefit from the pile of  books that just have to be read for work. (Insert a big smiley face here because really…how wonderful is it to have to read books!) When I started working at PaperTigers my children were in elementary school so naturally we focused a  lot of our reading time at home on children’s and junior books. However as PaperTigers and my kids grew I found myself developing more and more interest in Young Adult books. Now I have to say that although children’s picture books will always hold a very special place in my heart , Young Adult books tug strongly at my heart too!  So when it came time to do a Top 10 list for PaperTigers’ anniversary celebration, it only made sense for me to select my favorite Young Adult books. Drum roll please….in random order I present:

1.  Secret Keeper  by Mitali Perkins (Delacorte Press, 2009)

When her unemployed father leaves India to look for work in America, Asha, her mother and sister move in with family in Calcutta. When news comes that her father is accidentally killed in America and her family’s financial difficulties intensify, Asha makes a heartwrenching, secret decision that solves many problems and creates others.

2.  Borderline by Allan Stratton (Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2010)

When Sami catches his father in a lie, he gets suspicious as does the FBI who descend on his home, and Sami’s family (the only Muslims in the neighbourhood) becomes the center of an international terrorist investigation.

3. Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth (Hyperion Books for Children , 2008)

12-year-old Leela’s husband unexpectedly dies and custom requires her confinement at home for a year, “keeping corner.” Prohibited from ever remarrying, Leela faces a barren future: however, her brother has the courage to buck tradition and hire a tutor to educate her. This powerful and enchanting novel juxtaposes Leela’s journey to self-determination with the parallel struggle of her family and community to follow Gandhi on the road to independence from British rule.

4. I am a Taxi by Deborah Ellis (Groundwood Books, 2006)

12-year-old Diego is deep in the Bolivian jungle, working as a virtual slave in an illegal cocaine operation. As his situation becomes more and more dangerous, he knows he must take a terrible risk if he ever wants to see his family again. As well as being a great read, I am a Taxi  packs in a store of information about Bolivia and the exploitation of children in the drug-trade, and raises polemics about the growth of the coca plant.

5. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Harper Collins, 2011)

During the Vietnam War  Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.

6. Karma by Cathy Ostlere

On October 31, 1984, Indira Gandhi is gunned down by two Sikh bodyguards. The murder sparks riots in Delhi and for three days Sikh families are targeted and killed in retribution for the Prime Minister’s death. It is into this chaos that fifteen-year-old Maya and her Sikh father, Amar, arrive from their home in Canada. India’s political instability is the backdrop and catalyst for Maya’s awakening to the world. Karma is the story of how a young woman, straddling two cultures and enduring personal loss, learns forgiveness, acceptance and love.

7. Orchards by Holly Thompson

After a bullied classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg – a half-Japanese, half-Jewish American- is sent to her family’s home in Japan for the summer. Kana wasn’t the bully, not exactly, but she didn’t do anything to stop what happened, either. As Kana begins to process the pain and guilt she feels, news from home sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again.

8. Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books, 2010)

Andi hasn’t seen her brother  for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He’s tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL. But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell. In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

9. Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Lee and Low Books, 2011)

As the oldest of eight siblings, Lupita is used to taking the lead—and staying busy behind the scenes to help keep everyone together. But when she discovers Mami has been diagnosed with cancer, Lupita is terrified by the possibility of losing her mother, the anchor of her close-knit Mexican American family. Suddenly Lupita must face a whole new set of challenges, with new roles to play, and no one is handing her the script.

10. Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan (Groundwood Books, 2009)

Set in war-torn Afghanistan, post-Taliban and just after the American invasion in 2001, Wanting Mor brings a ravaged landscape to life and portrays the effects of war on civilians caught up in conflict, especially on children. Based on a true story about a girl who ended up in one of the orphanages Rukhsana sponsors in Afghanistan through the royalties of her book The Roses in My Carpets.

 

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12. PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary GIVEAWAY – A Pyramid of Prizes! – Spread the Word!

To celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we are hosting a fabulous, not-to-be-missed giveaway of books, posters and book marks – 10 PRIZES to celebrate 10 years!

The books are all taken from our Outreach Book Sets for 2012, 2011 and 2010 – and the stunning poster was created by artist John Parra and generously gifted to PaperTigers by Aline Pereira, our former Managing Editor (you can read her recent article for our 10th Annniversary here).

And so, unveiling our tottering pyramid of prizes:

1st Prize: ALL the books from the 2012 Book Set AND the 2011 Book Set AND the 2010 Book Set PLUS the PaperTigers 10th Anniversary Poster AND some bookmarks. 1 Winner

2nd Prize: ALL the books from the 2012 Book Set AND the 2011 Book Set PLUS the PaperTigers 10th Anniversary Poster AND some bookmarks. 2 Winners

3rd Prize: ALL the books from the 2012 Book Set PLUS the PaperTigers 10th Anniversary Poster AND some bookmarks. 3 Winners

4th Prize: A SURPRISE book AND the PaperTigers 10th Anniversary Poster AND some bookmarks. 4 Winners

To enter, complete one or more or all of the following:

Leave a comment at the end of this post (see Rules below for nominating individuals, schools and/or libraries).

 Friend us on Facebook (all our current Friends are also automatically entered for 1 ticket in the draw).

 Tag PaperTigers on Facebook and earn an entry. Each tag = 1 ticket in the draw to a maximum of 10.

Tweet about the Giveaway – make sure you include the #pt10giveaway so we know about it.  Each tweet = 1 ticket in the draw to a maximum of 10.

Link to this post on your blog/website etc. and leave a link in the Comments below.

Take part in our Reading the World Challenge 2012 (all current participants who have signed on to the Challenge are automatically entered for one ticket in the draw).

Send us a picture for our Round the World in 100 Bookshelves.

Download and make our Paper Tiger, and send us a photograph.

Rules:

The closing date for entries is midnight PST on Saturday 10 November.

Winners will be announced on the PaperTigers Blog on Monday 19 November.

Each entry will be allotted a numbered ticket, which will then go into the draw.

You can enter the draw for yourself – and/or you may also nominate schools and/or libraries around the world. Each school /library will receive one numbered ticket in the draw per person nominating it. Each individual may nominate more than one school/library; and each school/library may receive more than one nomination. One nomination = 1 ticket; two nominations = two tickets etc.

Different people can nominate the same school/library, which will be eligible for as many tickets as there are nominations.

The draw is open to all and prizes will be sent internationally as required.

These are all fantastic books and there are lots of prizes – ten in total, including a top prize with fourteen, yes FOURTEEN books – so please do spread the word and galvanise your families, friends, colleagues, communities, schools, libraries to action…

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13. PaperTigers 10th Anniversary – My Top 10 Multicultural Ghost Stories

I thought I’d counted very carefully, honest guv’nor, but somehow one extra ghost snuck in there – I’m not sure which one – and I’ve ended up with a ‘Reader’s 10′. (If you’re not sure what a Reader’s 10 is, you’ll need to look at Janet Wong’s Top 10: Multicultural Poetry Picks (2002-2012)). So here’s a list of my favorite ghost encounters – they cover a range of age-groups and genres. Some of the ghosts are friendly, some make you ponder, and some are just plain terrifying…

~ The Young Inferno by John Agard, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura – I’ve blogged about this modern take on Dante’s Inferno for a teen audience here and here.  It sends shivers down my spine every time I read it.

~ Takeshita Demons by Cristy Burne – Miku has just moved from Japan to the UK and it soon becomes clear that several yokai demons have followed her there.  When her little brother is kidnapped, her empty, snow-bound secondary school unexpectedly becomes a battle-ground… this will have you on the edge of your seat!

~ Ship of Souls by Zetta Elliott – I read this earlier this year on a very choppy ferry crossing and was so riveted that I remained oblivious to the scene of sea-sick desolation around me – yes, I loved it.  Read my review here.

~ Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara – it was love at first sight here with both the illustrations and the sweet story of a witch and her cat who move into a new house that’s full of ghosts.  Imagine putting ghosts through the washer and hanging them up as curtains!

~ Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan – Hannah meets more than she bargained for when she goes to stay with Japanese family friends for the winter – and readers might just have to sleep with the light on after being carried along through the pages into the small wee hours!

~ Just In Case by Yuyi Morales – in this gorgeous sequel to the equally funny and delightful Just A Minute, the ghost of Zelmiro “helps” Señor Calavera to find twenty-two (Spanish Alphabet) presents for Grandma Beetle’s birthday – and tricks him into giving her what she wants most…

~ Requiem for a Beast by Matt Ottley – there are many ghosts in this tour de force combining spoken and written text, graphic narrative, and music that blends Australian Aboriginal song and movements from the Latin Requiem: both in the lost memories of the stolen generation, and at the end of a young man’s physical and psychological journeys to come to terms with his family’s past.

~ Home of the Brave by Allen Say – a man’s kayaking excursion suddenly brings him into a bewildering, dreamlike encounter with the ghosts of Japanese-American children incarcerated during the Second World War, and jolts him into insight of his own family history.

~ The Barefoot Book of Giants, Ghosts and Goblins retold by John Matthews, illustrated by Giovanni Manna – as might be expected from a Barefoot anthology, this is a beautifully presented and the nine stories from all over the world make great read-alouds. Most notable among the ghosts is the love-sick Cheyenne “Ghost with Two Faces”.

~ The Secret Keepers by Paul Yee – I have to admit, I had real difficulty deciding which one of Paul Yee’s ghost stories to choose for this list… They are all compelling books that are impossible to put down so I’ve gone for The Secret Keepers for purely personal reasons because I was there at the launch and heard Paul reciting the opening.

~ The Ghost Fox by Laurence Yep – a small boy has to use his wits to save his mother from the evil Ghost Fox intent on stealing her soul.  Vivid descriptions and attention to detail; plkenty of tension and some humor too.  Favorite quote: (Fox speaking to servant) “Fool, you don’t celebrate a great victory with turnips.”

And P.S. If you haven’t yet seen our fabulous 10th Anniversary Giveaway, announced yesterday, go here right now!

 

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14. PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: Top 10 YA/Crossover Books with a Religious Theme, by Rukhsana Khan

 

Rukhsana Khan’s award-winning novel Wanting Mor (Groundwood Books, 2009) was one of the books on Corinne’s YA Top 10 posted last week (and it would be on mine too!).  One of the themes that runs through the book is the main character Jameela’s faith, and Rukhsana evokes great depth of feeling and understanding about Jameela’s culture growing up in post-Taliban Afghanistan.  Her other YA novel Dahling, If You Luv Me, Would You Please, Please Smile (Stoddart Kids, 1999) focuses on a Muslim Canadian teen Zainab’s journey towards self-acceptance in the face of peer pressure.  Rukhsana has also written  several acclaimed picture books, including Big Red Lollipop (illustrated by Sophie Blackall; Viking Children’s Books, 2010) and The Roses in My Carpets (illustrated by Ronald Himler).

You can find out more about Rukhsana’s books on her website and keep up-to-date with her news on her Khanversations blog; and do also read our interview with her.

 

Top 10 YA/Crossover Books with a Religious Theme, by Rukhsana Khan

1.   The Autobiography of Malcolm X — This book absolutely moved me as a teen! It’s about a man who succumbs to a sort of personality cult (Nation of Islam)—but emerges as a truly noble man! I wanted to be like Malcolm X!

2.   Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson — A real classic! Absolutely adored this book! It’s full of quotations from the Bible and there’s a really mean and sanctimonious grandmother!

3.   A Single Light by Maia Wojcieschowska — Read this as a girl and found it haunting!

4.   Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Fanny Price is no Elizabeth Bennet! I loved that Edward chooses Fanny for her faith and good moral character.

5.   Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare — A story about tolerance but also about differences in faith. I’d never heard of the Quaker religion before this!

6.   Does My Head Look Big in This? Randa Abdel Fattah — The first book I ever read that made you root for the girl to keep wearing her hijab.

7.   Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte — Read this book as a kid and it actually confirmed my belief in Islam—Mr. Rochester and Jane would have had no problem marrying if they were Muslim!

8.   The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain — Loved how Mark Twain explored the ways in which the status quo—slave ownership—was justified by the establishment. And I wrestled alongside Huck as he struggled to do the *right* thing!

9.   The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson — A lyrical beautiful book about a woman who falls in love with Egypt and the Muslim faith.

10.  The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham — I only recently read this book and realized how way ahead of its time it was! It’s about a guy who goes and finds himself, and particularly about him exploring his faith.

I know a lot of the books aren’t exactly kids’ books. I couldn’t help it. I do really like all these books! Although Randa Abdel Fattah’s book annoys me a little because it’s about a girl you’re rooting for, who has the courage to wear hijab, and yet she, as an author, no longer wears hijab; and there’s a spot in that book when they go to the cinema during Ramadan while they’re fasting and there’s no mention of prayer!!! *grrr*

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15. New Gallery Feature: Shirin Adl

Head on over to the PaperTigers website to find out more about talented artist Shirin Adl and to see a selection of her work, including illustrations from our current Book of the Month, Let’s Celebrate! Festival Poems from Around the World.  Shirin grew up in Iran, and now lives in Oxford, UK.  Her work combines exuberance of color and media (find out in our Q&A, for example, how she used cling film to good effect in Let’s Celebrate!), and we will soon be able to enjoy her writing in print also – in the meantime, visit Shirin’s website for a taste of her unique story-telling voice.

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16. Excitement in London, excitement at PaperTigers!! 33rd IBBY International Congress!

Excitement is building in London, England as the city gets ready to host some once in a lifetime events this summer! Athletes from over 200 countries will converge in London July 27 – August 12  to take part in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Two weeks later (August 23 – 26) children’s literature enthusiasts from around the world will gather at London’s Imperial College for the 33rd IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) International Congress. Here at PaperTigers excitement is also building as we have just learned our editor, Marjorie Coughlan, has been chosen to present her paper at the 33rd IBBY International Congress Parallel Sessions!

The main theme of the 2012 Congress is Crossing Boundaries: Translations and Migrations. Participants will explore how books and stories for children and young people can cross boundaries and migrate across different countries and cultures. The congress will look at issues such as globalisation, dual-language texts, cultural exchange and the art of translation. The programme outline has just been released and can be seen here.

Marjorie’s paper, Escaping Conflict, Seeking Peace: picture books that relate refugee stories, draws attention to picture books in English from around the world about children and young people who have been forced from their homes because of conflict. These are important stories that need to be told, whether they are biographical or fictionalised accounts, for understanding of the past, healing in the present, and hope for the future. Her paper arose in part from PaperTigers’ August 2010 issue that focused on Refugee Children and the abstract for her paper can be read here….

These days we hear statistics bandied about for every aspect of our lives. We have become inured to ever-larger numbers being thrown at us on both domestic and international news. It is often hard to envisage what these figures actually represent in real terms – and when they represent people caught up in a disaster somewhere far away on the other side of the globe, the sheer size of what we are hearing can be insidiously numbing. How, then, to make sense of them? And how do we help children to take on board their human significance, without inflicting on them their trauma-inducing enormity? The answer is books. Thankfully, there is an increasing availability of quality writing for children and young adults, which draws out individual stories of young people caught up in disasters not of their making. These books provide a well-researched background giving readers insight into events that can either be pinpointed in history or are a realistic representation of what it means to be a refugee. They promote empathy, a thirst to know more and an urge to do something. Picture books provide visual impact: illustrations often provide a link with the cultures represented, through the style or artistic techniques adopted and in some cases take the place of words. Picture books provide access to difficult stories, not only for young children but also for older children and teenagers: in recent years, there has been a noticeable growth in picture books aimed at teenagers, with high quality artwork that challenges and demands a reaction.

This paper will draw attention to both the narrative and artwork in picture books about children whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict. Examples will be given of books set in different cult

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17. New Gallery on PaperTigers: Li Jian, author/illustrator of The Water Dragon

Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on the theme of Water in Multicultural Children’s Books here on PaperTigers.  Our first feature is an online Gallery of talented artist Li Jian‘s work, including illustrations from his first book to be published in English, The Water Dragon (Better Link Press, 2012).  We’ll be posting a full review soon – in the meantime, head on over to our Gallery to view a selection of his illustrations and to find out more about his work in our Q&A.

 

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18. PaperTigers Interview with Award-Winning Author Linda Sue Park


 Continuing our theme of Water in Multicultural Children’s Books, new on the PaperTigers website is an interview with author Linda Sue Park, in which she talks to us about her novel A Long Walk to Water, awarded the 2011 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award in the Books for Older Children category. Here are a couple of snippets to whet your appetite:
 

But of course, hope alone is never enough. In my experience, smart choices and hard work are essential as well, and my stories reflect that. It’s up to young readers to decide whether those values become important to them too. Hope, smart choices, hard work—that’s a pretty good formula in my opinion.

The most common reaction from young readers is that they want to meet Salva. I’m always sorry to have to disappoint them—Salva is now living in South Sudan, and working so hard that he doesn’t have much time to visit the U.S. At the same time, I find this response from readers truly moving. So often the people they dream of meeting are movie stars or professional athletes or rock musicians, and it’s terrific that Salva is right up there on that list!

When Water for South Sudan puts in a well, the knock-on effect is staggering. [...] Most important of all, nearly every village that has received a well has started a school for the local children, who no longer have to spend their days fetching water. Clean water directly linked to education—that was a real eye-opener for me!

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19. Poetry Friday/Week-end Book Review: Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So

I’m posting my week-end book review a day early to clock in with Poetry Friday as a couple of days ago I received a review copy of Kate Coombs and Meilo So‘s new book Water Sings Blue, which Kate gave us a glimpse of back in January when her first copies arrived (and if you don’t know Kate’s blog, Book Aunt, it’s well worth a read).  It arrived just in time to squeeze it into our Water in Multicultural Children’s Books theme…

Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Dori at Dori Reads…


 

Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So,
Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems
Chronicle Books, 2012.

Ages 4-11

The finely tuned observation in both the poetry and illustrations of Water Sings Blue draws young readers into that world of the shoreline where time just seems to disappear and exploration offers up endless possibilities for discovery.  Kate Coombs’ poems are satisfyingly memorable, with their cohesive patterns of meter and rhyme that, nevertheless, contain plenty of surprises – like, for example, the alliteration and internal rhyming at the end of “Sand’s Story”, in which mighty rocks have turned to sand:

Now we grind and we grumble,
humbled and grave,
at the touch of our breaker
and maker, the wave.

… Not to mention the witty pun on “breaker”: and the gentle wit of Coomb’s verse also lights the imagination throughout this collection.

Turning the pages, readers encounter a vast array of sea characters, starting in the air with the seagull; then listening to “What the Waves Say” before diving down to meet the creatures of the deep: like the shy octopus author (think ink…), or the beautiful but self-absorbed fish whose tail and fins act as brushes, and who concludes his/her soliloquy with the wonderfully evocative: “I’m a water artist. / You wouldn’t understand.”  As well as creatures like sharks and jellyfish, there are poems about fascinating, less well-known fish – “Oarfish”, “Gulper Eel” and “Nudibranch”: they could become a follow-up project by themselves!  There’s also a deep-sea shipwreck, and back on the sea shore, a gnarled “Old Driftwood” telling stories “to all the attentive / astonished twigs”, and a property agent hermit crab with a salesman’s patter.

Bringing all the poems together in a visual feast are Meilo So’s gorgeous watercolors.  As well as her depiction of jewel-colored corals and waves in every shade of blue imaginable, her illustrations are clearly also influenced by direct observation of the shoreline around her Shetland Isle home, from fishermen’s cottages to diving gannets.

Just like in real beachcombing, young readers will lose track of time as they pore over So’s seashores for

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20. New on the PaperTigers site…

Continuing our Water in Multicultural Children’s Literature theme, we have two new features on the PaperTigers website.

A River of Stories: Water-Themed Stories for Multicultural Readers, a Personal View by Alice Curry, in which she discusses the superb anthology A River of Stories: Tales and Poems from Across the Commonwealth, she compiled recently, illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski and published by the Commonwealth Education Trust.  Here’s the opening to whet your appetite:

On the southern-most tip of Africa, the lonely Zulu goddess of rain, Mbaba Mwana Waresa, searches for love amongst mortal men, rainbows glistening in her wake. On the northern-most tip of Canada, the solitary Ice King guards his wintry lair yet dreams, secretly, of warmer climes. On the tropical shores of Australia, old man Mookari, god of the storm, rattles into town before stealing, quietly, away. In Nigeria, the impetuous water god, Olokun, paces the shining floors of his underwater palace, whilst in Ghana, the goddess Mawu transforms herself into a waterfall to nourish the parched and thirsty earth.

Water gods and goddesses, spirits and deities have fuelled our imaginations and nourished our beliefs since the beginning of time. Not only is water a vital physical presence in our lives, but also a powerfully imaginative and symbolic source of inspiration for writers and storytellers everywhere. In our increasingly threatened world, in which climate-related natural disasters are a daily reality for much of the world’s population, water-themed stories are an important and relevant way of encouraging sustainable, respectful and empathic attitudes towards the environment. It is currently estimated that half of the world’s population will be living under severe water stress by 2030; for today’s children, the conservation of a healthy natural environment has become a development issue of the highest priority.

Now head on over and read the rest of the article

View work by acclaimed artist Pulak Biswas in our Gallery, including illustrations from his most recent book The Flute written by Rachna Gilmore (Tradewind Books, 2011)…

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21. Poetry Friday: Taco Anema and his Tales of Water: A Child’s View photographic project

 

 

We have a new interview on the PaperTigers website, with Dutch photographer Taco Anema, the author of a superb book called Tales of Water: A Child’s View/Cuentos del agua: Una visión de un niño.  Taco travelled the world photographing children interacting with water; and he spoke to them about what water means to them – how they use it, their joys and their concerns.   Sponsored by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Taco visited at least one country in each of continents.  In the interview, Taco has given us some fascinating insight into the project and I urge you to read it.  In the meantime, for this Poetry Friday post, I want to share with you an unexpected aspect of the project:

In the book, as well as quotations from children about water, there are some poems typed over some of the photos. Can you tell us about them?

A little while ago, I read somewhere that an emotion hits the brain a thousand times faster than a word or a line of text. Photography is nothing but emotion, but regularly I find it hard to relate to the people in the picture. Sometimes it’s just not enough to know what they look like and to understand the situation they are in. I would still very much like to know something personal about them. And this is typically where the text comes in.

As mentioned earlier, we were very keen on recording the language children use to put their ideas, feelings and thoughts into words. That reinforces the message. So we talked extensively with them about their own experiences in their daily lives. Nobody had at that point thought of poems and the like.

Many people, teachers, parents, mayors and so on, attended our conversations and most likely – I can’t remember exactly – one of them suggested adding a poem by a well known poet or the lyrics of a local song. A really great idea. So we did. Together with the children we picked the ones they liked the best. The poems were important to the children. They suggested putting them in the book. So we did.

Isn’t that wonderful?  I love that poetry spontaneously became an integral part of the project.

And Taco has kindly given me permission to share some of his stunning photographs with you.  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do, and then feel prompted to seek out the book, which has something in it for everyone, children and adults alike. And I should also point out that the text in the book is bilingual English-Spanish (and one of the reasons for that is mentioned in the interview…).

There is actually a pdf of the whole book on the IUCN website, here

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Heidi at My Juicy Little Universe

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22. 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content Project Splash Asia!

With our current PaperTigers issue focusing on the theme of Water in Multicultural Children’s Books and with water playing a crucial role in our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach (read yesterday’s post to learn more), I was thrilled to learn that water-themed children’s stories will also by highlighted at next year’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore!

Project Splash Asia! AFCC 2013

Next year will be the United Nations International Year of Water.

Community and school programmes in many countries will include reading, performing and creating water-themed stories.

Share your favourite stories that have water as a theme, such as Wave by Suzy Lee (California US: Chronicle Books, 2008), Amansinaya-Goddess of the Sea, by Eugene Evasco and Jomike Tejido (illustrator) (Philippines: LG&M, 2007), The Wakame Gatherers by Holly Thompson and Kazumi Wilds (illustrator) (California US: Shen’s Books, 2007), and Water Tales From Around the World (India: Tulika Publishers, 2010).

Project Splash Asia! aims to publish a bibliography and collection of favourite water-themed children’s stories from or about the region for AFCC 2013.

The National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) hopes the compilation of a bibliography of children’s stories around a universal theme will be a regular project for AFCC to showcase the diversity of talents and children’s literature in the region.

For suggestions and enquiries, please email afcc@bookcouncil.sg.

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23. New PaperTigers Gallery: Joung Un Kim

Continuing our Asian-North American theme, we are delighted to welecome artist Joung Un Kim to the PaperTigers Gallery.  Joung uses what she herself calls a “mix-and-match collage style” in her art, and through the course of her career she has illustrated many delightful picture books.  These include Sumi’s First Day of School Ever by Soyung Pak (Viking Juvenile, 2003) and, most recently, Neighbors: The Yard Critters Book 1, poems by George Held (Filsinger & Company, 2011).  Its sequel Neighbors: The Yard Critters Book Too will be coming out next year.

I love the way Joung incorporates printed paper in her work – in our Gallery you will see examples that include printed text, and also graph paper, music and a map.  My favourite work among the selection presented here is “Snow Birds”, a personal piece.  What’s yours?

PS Early in the year, Pragmatic Mom included Sumi’s First Day of School Ever in her great (Updated 5) list of “Top 10: Books That Teach Kids Compassion (ages 2-14)

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24. New on PaperTigers: Debbie Ridpath Ohi Gallery Feature

If you are a regular devotee of the kidlitosphere, you have no doubt come across Debbie Ridpath Ohi‘s inspiring writing and cartoons, whether on Inkygirl or another of her various and varied blogs, or indeed her website.  We are delighted to welcome Debbie to our online Gallery, with a selection of artwork that includes the first page spread from her short story for the Tomo anthology, our current Book of the Month; illustrations from her imminent picture book I’m Bored (written by Michael Ian Black and published by Simon & Schuster on 4 September…); and a selection of personal pieces.

Here’s a taster from our Q&A, in which Debbie’s excitement about illustrating I’m Bored is infectious:

So hard to choose just one part! The most exciting in terms of specific moments:

My meetings with Justin Chanda (editor/publisher) and art director Laurent Linn at the Simon & Schuster offices in NYC. I remember that for the first few minutes, all I could think was OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH I’M AT SIMON & SCHUSTER!!! To talk about a book that *I* was illustrating!! But then I realized that I needed to focus, so forcibly dragged my thoughts out of gush nirvana and back to the meeting.

Seriously, though, I learned so much from Justin and Laurent, and it was incredibly exciting to see I’m Bored progress from early sketches to the final proofs.

Another highlight for me: the first time I read Michael Ian Black’s manuscript. I laughed out loud and was so delighted….and then it hit home. *I* was going to be illustrating this story.

Yeay!  And we are excited that Debbie has two more books with Simon & Schuster in the offing.  So head on over to Debbie’s PaperTigers Gallery now – and keep an eye out at your local bookstore on 4 September – we’re sure you won’t be bored and you may never be able to look a potato in the eye in quite the same way again!

 

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25. Celebrating PaperTigers’ 10th Anniversary

 

Today we are launching the celebrations of our 10th Anniversary with this stunning poster created by artist John Parra.  Thank you, John!

John features in our Gallery as part of our celebrations over on the main PaperTigers website – and you will also find another Gallery featuring our talented web-designer Eun-Ha Paek, as well as new articles – one by me:

Looking Forward to the Next Ten Years of PaperTigers, and Beyond;

and another:

Celebrating PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: What a Smilestone!
by PaperTigers former Managing Editor Aline Pereira

There’ll be plenty more to look forward to over the coming month, including some Top 10s from a number of our friends around the Kidlitosphere so come on in and join the party!

 

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