Thursday, December 24, 2015

On Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Beni Montresor (Young Scott, 1961). 

Normally when I think of a book from my childhood, it's the illustrations that come back vividly. While the orange pages (which unfortunately my camera tried to make white in the images below) with blank ink definitely made an impression, what I really loved about this book as a kid was the ever talented Margaret Wise Brown's words.  A quiet tension runs throughout the book.  It's at once peaceful, with tranquil words describing children unable to sleep while snow falls softly in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, but it also combines that with the heart-pumping excitement and anticipation of Christmas.  It's a great classic to read the night before Christmas. This version is out of print, but it was republished in the 90s with new illustrations.

I've made updates to my list of multicultural picture books that I originally posted last year.  You can check that out here. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Who Built the Stable?: A Nativity Poem

Who Built the Stable?: A Nativity Poem by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum, 2012).

I was interested to read this book because I love Ashley Bryan's colorful illustrations.  I'm not religious so I was curious to see how he portrayed this nativity story.  This poem asks "Who built the stable where the Baby Jesus lay?... Was it made by human hands, was it built by God?" The answer Bryan gives is that "A child built the stable, a little shepherd boy."  This little shepherd boy shelters Mary and Joseph so that they can have their baby. In the end, the boy looks in the baby's eyes and knows in his heart that he will be a carpenter, and a shepherd, too.  A great nativity story and beautifully illustrated.

I was surprised to learn that Ashley Bryan is 92 years old now.  He has a great website here

Friday, December 18, 2015

My First Kwanzaa

My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz (Henry Holt, 2003). 

This is a super cute book that shows a family celebrating Kwanzaa and teaches the reader about the traditions involved. The story and illustrations are very sweet and colorful. 

For more information and activities for kids about Kwanzaa, see this website.

See my Pinterest board here for more Kwanzaa books.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hanukkah Moon

Hanukkah Moon by Deborah da Costa, illustrated by Gosia Mosz (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2007).

This is a lovely book about a young Mexican-American girl named Isobel whose Aunt Luisa invites her over to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah ("Januka" in Spanish) and see the Hanukkah Moon, or luna nueva, the new moon that appears ever Hanukkah. The illustrations are filled with warmth from family love, light, and the holiday. Aunt Luisa teaches Isobel, and the readers, about Latin-Jewish Hanukkah traditions.

If you're interested in learning more, I found a nice article about how Jewish Latinos celebrate Hanukkah in Los Angeles here.  

For more Hanukkah picture books, see my Pinterest board here.