19 June 2018

19 Books about Slavery #resist

Because it's Juneteenth, I thought it appropriate to list some books about slavery so we remember the horrors of that practice.

My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth
written by Ann Turner, images by James Ransome

Night Boat to Freedom
written by Margot Theis Raven, images by E.B. Lewis

Philip Reid Saves the Statue of Freedom
written by Steven Sellers Lapham & Eugene Walton, images by R. Gregory Christie

Phillis's Big Test
written by Catherine Clinton, images by Sean Qualls

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton
written and illustrated by Don Tate

Slaves Who Dared: The Stories of Ten African-American Heroes
written by Mary Garrison

Stolen Into Slavery: The True Story of Solomon Northrup, Free Black Man
written by Judith & Dennis Fradin

The Daring Escape of Ellen Craft
written by Cathy Moore, images by Mary O'Keefe Young

The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington's Slave Finds Freedom
written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Brick by Brick
written by Charles R. Smith, Jr., images by Floyd Cooper

Alec's Primer
written by Mildren Pitts Walter, images by Larry Johnson

American Slave, American Hero: York of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
written by Laurence Pringle, images by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

Frederick's Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass
written by Doreen Rappaport, images by London Ladd

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan

I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery
written by Cynthia Grady, images by Michele Wood

I Want To Be Free
written by Joseph Slate, images by E.B. Lewis

Lift Your Light Higher: The Story of Stephen Bishop, Slave-Explorer
written by Heather Henson, images by Bryan Collier

Light In the Darkness: A Story About How Slaves Learned in Secret
written by Lesa Cline-Ransome, images by James E. Ransome

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
written by Angela Johnson, images by E.B. Lewis

16 June 2018

6 Books about Alaska

Akiak
written and illustrated by Robert J. Blake

Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights
written by Debbie S. Miller, images by Jon Van Zyle

Arctic Thaw: The People of the Whale in a Changing Climate
written by Peter Lourie

I Would Tuck You In
written by Sarah Asper-Smith, images by Mitchell Watley

Kumak's House: A Tale of the Far North
written and illustrated by Michael Bania

My Coyote Nose and Ptarmigan Toes: An Almost-True Alaskan Adventure
written by Erin McKittrick, images by Valisa Higman

06 June 2018

Cynthia Rylant: An Appreciation

I was first introduced to Cynthia Rylant by a dear friend of mine. She was an elementary teacher and lent me a number of her personal children's books to read, basically re-introducing me to a world of literature that I had missed during my teen and college years.

She placed Missing May in my hands and told me to read it. It was a paperback with that familiar gold Newbery medal on the cover, and it was thin. I probably read it during one lunch break at my summer job.

What a stunning little book! In so few pages, Rylant describes a girl who has lost many people in her life but doesn't let that stop her from forming a new family and learning to live with those losses. It is the perfect book for a child to read who has lost a loved one. It reassures children that it is okay to miss someone but also encourages them not to wallow in that grief. It's one of the most realistic depictions of a child recovering from a loved one's death that I've ever read.

I've since read many other books by Rylant, and each one is a gem. I'm especially fond of her poetry book God Went to Beauty School. It's full of poems about God celebrating what we would consider mundane pleasures in life and finding the absolute beauty, the true awesomeness of life. Take this segment from the title poem:
He got into nails, of course,
because He'd always loved
hands—
hands were some of the best things
He'd ever done
and this way He could just
hold one in His
and admire those delicate
bones just above the knuckles,
delicate as birds' wings,
and after He'd done that
awhile,
He could paint all the nails
any color He wanted,
then say,
"Beautiful,"
and mean it.
Isn't that wonderful? I adore Cynthia Rylant's work. Take some time and enjoy her work for yourself.