First Readers

Rise and Shine MarikoRise and Shine, Mariko-Chan!
Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, Illustrated by Yoshiharu Tsuchida

What is morning like at your house?

For little Mariko and her Japanese/Japanese-American family it’s a busy and happy time.  She needs to get up, get washed and then there’s breakfast with her mom and dad, her two older sisters; Yuko and Yumi, and her “Oba-san” (grandmother).

This short book with bright and inviting illustrations is a wonderful multicultural read.  It shares an experience common to all children – getting ready for the day – while allowing young readers to discover unique aspects of Japanese culture such as special names used to show affection or respect and different foods that might be part of a Japanese meal.  Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, this book was originally published in Japan as: “Chiko-chan, Itterasshai”, meaning  “See You Later, Chiko-chan!”

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As an older mom, I grew up in a time when there were few choices for children’s books.  Nonetheless, I fell in love with the little bird that asked “Are You My Mother”, counted in English with “One Fish, Two Fish” and balked at the idea of eating “Green Eggs and Ham”.

Now there are Spanish language versions of many of these simple but meaningful books that captured the hearts of more than one generation.  Here are four of my readers absolute favorites:

good nite moon spanishGoodnight Moon/Buenas Noches, Luna
Written By Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrations By Clement Hurd

What a perfect bedtime book.  As comforting and lyrical in Spanish as it is in English!

Eres mi mama?Are You My Mother?  ¿Eres Mi Mama?
Written By P.D. Eastman
Translated by Desiree Marquez

A little lost bird searches for it’s mom.  The Spanish is a perfect translation making it a wonderful beginner’s book for learning Spanish or for developing general reading skills and a love of literacy!

Un pez - spanish coverOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish/
Un Pez, Dos Peces, Pez Rojo, Pez Azul
Written by Dr. Suess
Translated By Yanitzia Canetti

This is the Dr. Suess counting and colors classic.  Although it’s hard to translate the clever wordplay of Dr. Suess into Spanish and not everyone adores this particular Spanish version, the book is still a favorite of  bilingual families.

Screen shot 2014-09-21 at 8.32.17 AMGreen Eggs and Ham/Huevos Verdes con Jamón

Written and Illustrated by Dr. Suess
Translated by Aida E. Marcuse

Would you like to eat green eggs and ham – in a boat or with a goat?  Readers love this translation of the classic silly kids book that delights young readers in Spanish as much as it does in English!

Screen shot 2014-09-21 at 2.44.20 PMWin Some New Favorites Books In Spanish

We’re part of the MKB Hispanic Heritage Blog Hop.  Please check out our last post to see how you can enter to win some new favorite books in Spanish!

http://favoritemulticulturalbooks.com/?p=1932

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Quiero A mi mama coverWritten By Laurel Porter Gaylord
Illustrated By Ashley Wolff

A beautiful little “first book” for young children, especially those learning in both English and Spanish.  Colorful illustrations of animal families are used to share the concepts of loving and caring that children will relate directly to their own lives.

I especially appreciated how this book focuses on the simple interactions that are so meaningful to both parent and child: listening while a child talks, tucking them into bed, singing a song for them, etc.  Whether you’re adding this book for home or the early education classroom, you’ll get get hours of enjoyment from this wonderful board book for bilingual babies and toddlers!

Find This Book on Amazon.com here: Quiero a mi Mama Porque (I Love my Mommy Because Eng/Span ed) (Spanish Edition)

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Rechenka's Eggs (Paperstar) (Paperback)

By (author): Patricia Polacco

Old Babushka, known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs, is preparing her eggs for the Easter Festival when she takes in an injured goose. She names the goose Rechenka, and they live happily together until one day when Rechenka accidentally overturns a basket, breaking all of Babushka's lovingly crafted eggs.

But the next morning Babushka has a surprise awaiting her in the basket. She cries: "A miracle!" It is one of many in this charmingly told tale of friendship and caring.

With vibrant illustrations, Patricia Polacco has joyously re-created the flavor of Old Moscow and its festivals. The eggs, stunningly colored and intricately designed, are authentic reproductions of eggs painted in the Ukrainian style. Rechenka's Eggs is a timeless story of classic beauty.
List Price: $7.99 USD
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Written And Illustrated By Patricia Polacco

A kindly old woman named Babuska is famous for her special Easter Eggs.  Each year she wins first prize for the beautiful creations she has crafted over the long cold months of winter in Russia.  But this year may be different.  Babuska has rescued a goose with a wounded wing and; by mistake, it’s broken all her marvelously crafted eggs.  Can an Easter miracle brighten the life  of the little goose and sweet, patient Babuska?

The word “Babuska” in Russian and Polish can mean old woman or grandmother.  You’ll love this tale of a special grandmother and how her kindness and faith make for the most heart-warming Easter ever.

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Written by Jonny Zucker, Illustrations by Jan Barger

For Hindu people, Diwali is a very special holiday that celebrates the new year.  Although customs and practices vary from area to area and from North to South India, Diwali is a joyous occasion involving bringing in a new year, making and sharing sweets, gathering with friends and family and telling stories that have deep and powerful cultural significance.

How do people celebrate Diwali?  Beautiful, colorful patterns called rangolis are painted and small lights called “diya” are lit (or modern electric lights are sometimes used as well).  And then there are trips to the temple, small presents, fireworks and much more!  This book is perfect for children of any age. Beautiful pictures and easy to read text share the joy and fun of this special holiday in a way that is sure to appeal to any reader.




Books in the Festival Time series describe the activities of typical families as parents and children celebrate some of their culture’s major holidays. Attractive color illustrations on every page will appeal to younger children. The simply yet delightfully told stories describe the festivities while giving children background information about holidays in many different cultures. A two-page spread at the back of each book contains information for parents, and includes suggestions on ways to communicate the holiday’s meaning to kids. Diwali is the Hindu five-day festival of lights that welcomes in the lunar new year. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Ashwin, or Aasho, which occurs in October or November, depending on the lunar calendar. During the festival, parents tell stories that relate to the holiday, exchange gifts of sweets, light candles, and attend elaborate fireworks displays. The holiday is marked by an abundance of lights displayed in homes and businesses.
List Price: $8.99 USD
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Written By Ronald Roy, Illustrated by Vo-Dinh Mai

Can a small boy in a tiny fishing village rescue a huge beached whale?  Is it an impossible task? Impossible or not, Yukio looks into the eyes of the whale and promises that he will bring 1,000 pails of water to keep it alive until the tide comes back in.

Illustrations by Vietnamese artist Vo-Dinh Mai appear as wonderful woodcut images on the inside book cover.  The interior pages are gentle black and white drawings that share the urgency of the story and the powerful desire of this young boy to make a difference.

A tale of compassion in action, woven together with the story of a young child, his father and grandfather come together in an inspiring book you will want to read over and over again.




A Thousand Pails of Water (Hardcover)

By (author): Ron Roy, Dinh Mai Vo

A small boy's infectious determination saves the life of a whale beached near an oriental whaling village.
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Feb
22

Monkey Photo

Written By Gita Wolf, Illustrated By Swarna Chitrakar

Monkey Photo by Gita Wolf and illustrated by artist Swarna Chitrakar is another example of unique Indian folk art, this time the patua (Bengali folk style) from Bengal is showcased. The layers of stripes and dots and curls make the animals look exotic and fanciful, and my kids wanted me to read very s-l-o-w-l-y so they could pour over the illustrations.

This is a silly story of a monkey who is tired of being photographed by tourists. He grabs the camera, and begins to snap pictures of his other animal friends in the jungle. My son (4) says “I would call the police if he stole my camera!”

-Becky Morales, Kid World Citizen (www.kidworldcitizen.org).



Monkey Photo (Hardcover)

By (author): Gita Wolf

Monkey lives in a jungle that tourists love to visit. But he’s getting tired of them taking pictures of him all the time—especially since he never gets to see the results! So he decides to help himself to a camera and swing around the jungle, surprising friends and foes . . .

Here, Mr Monkey
Me too, please!
Look at my spots
I can say 'cheese'!

Illustrated by Swarna Chitrakar in the brilliant Patua style of folk art from Bengal, and featuring verse by Gita Wolf, Monkey Photo records jungle life at its hilarious best.

A unique "jungle" art gallery featuring portraits of animals caught off-guard, this is a show that is sure to delight young readers.

List Price: $16.95 USD
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Categories : Animals, First Readers, India
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Retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

A beautiful Mexican folktale about how a “useless weed” became a Christmas miracle and a special gift for the baby Jesus (el Niño Jesus). Tomie de Paulo has a gift for creating and illustrating wonderful stories that take you right into the culture he is sharing.  In this story you travel to rural Mexico and share a story about little Lucinda who wants to help her mother weave a special blanket for the town’s Nativity celebration.  But when her mom becomes sick and she can’t accomplish the task herself – she is downhearted.  Right then, a miracle helps save the day and shows the value of any gift that is given from the heart.

An inspiring tale about what it really means to give.



The Legend of the Poinsettia (Paperback)

By (author): Tomie dePaola

In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside.

This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl's unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Beloved Newbery honor-winning author and Caldecott honor-winning illustrator Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful.

List Price: $6.99 USD
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Written by Deborah M. Chocolate

Illustration by Cal Massey

What happens when it’s Kwanzaa time?  This book tells the exciting story of this holiday from the perspective of a young boy.  Throughout the days of Kwanzaa, this family dresses in special ways, greet relatives and visitors, listen to stories about the family and from Africa and share wonderful activities that bring everyone together in a very meaningful way.

A beautifully written story, this book for young readers shares special moments in a family’s celebration plus the seven principles of Kwanzaa and a history of the holiday that will inspire any reader.

Highly recommended!



My First Kwanzaa Book (Paperback)

By (author): Deborah Chocolate, Deborah M. Newton Chocolate

During the last week of December, Kwanzaa is a time to dress up in African clothes and gather together with relatives from all over the country. Grandma brings special things to eat, Grandpa lights the candles, and everyone in the family celebrates their heritage.
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Written by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

Illustration by Ellen Beier

Little Virginia is making her way from her house to the school in the cold South Dakota winter. Like her siblings and many friends, she’s excited about gifts of new coats and warm winter wear that will soon arrive from the East.  What is Christmas like on a Lakota Reservation?  This lovely book shares a warm story that Virginia remembers from the holidays of her childhood, complete with a Christmas miracle of a wonderful new coat that perfectly met her needs.

Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve was born on the Rosebud Reservation and writes beautifully about Native American culture.  She has won the Spirit of Crazy Horse Award and the National Humanities Medal for her outstanding work for both children and adult readers.

Suggested Reading Level – Ages 5 and up

 



The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood (Hardcover)

By (author): Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

Virginia's coat is too small and hardly protects her from the frigid South Dakata winter. As Christmas approaches, all the children on the Sioux reservation look forward to receiving boxes full of clothing sent by congregations in the East. Virginia spots a beautiful gray fur coat but holds back tears as it is claimed by one of her classmates. Later, virginia can't believe what Mama brings home. Based on an event from the author's childhood, this picture book captures the true spirit of Christmas.
List Price: $16.95 USD
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Nov
11

Rainbow Crow

Retold By Nancy Van Laan
Illustrations by Beatriz Vidal

There are many wonderful Native American stories of how the world began and how things we know got to be that way.  This is the legend of the courageous crow, as retold from Lenape (Leni Lenape) folk legends.  The books begins as all the woodland creatures find themselves engulfed in an enormous snowstorm.  Someone must step forward and help.  They must fly to the sun and bring back fire.  Who will take on this daunting task and what will happen to them in their quest?

This book is beautiful, exciting and a wonderful lesson about how courage and service to those you love can truly save the day!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS BOOK

Have you ever done something that required great courage?  What was it?

Was Crow a hero?  Why?

Do you think Crow was afraid when he set out on his journey?  If so, why did he continue?

If you were one of the other woodland creatures, could you come up with another way to save your family and friends?  Tell the story or write your own legend about it.

Suggested Reading Level – 4 and up (or preschool and up)



Rainbow Crow (Dragonfly Books) (Paperback)

By (author): Nancy Van Laan

Illus. in full color. This story of how the Rainbow Crow lost his sweet voice and brilliant colors by bringing the gift of fire to the other woodland animals is "a Native American legend that will be a fine read-aloud because of the smooth text and songs with repetitive chants. The illustrations, done in a primitive style, create a true sense of the Pennsylvania Lenape Indians and their winters."--School Library Journal.  
List Price: $7.99 USD
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Oct
27

Anno’s USA

Created by Mitsumasa Anno
As a young boy from Tsuwano in western Japan, Mitsumasa Anno always dreamed of faraway places.  This picture book of Mitsumasa Anno’s beautiful sketches tell a wonderful story of a journey across the land sharing the diversity of American cultures as seen through the eyes of a talented visiting artist.
Suggested Reading Level : This is a picture book, but engaging for all ages



Anno's USA (Paperback)

By (author): Mitsumasa Anno

Come along for a wonder-filled exploration of fabulous cities, picturesque villages and uniquely various inhabitants. Anno's USA is a true journey of surprise and discovery! A visual masterpiece.A wonderfully playful evocation of our history and culture. -- The New York Times Then and now are illustrated in scenes that tease the memory and will involve grownups with children in the zesty adventures of identifying commemorated events and people. -- Publishers Weekly, boxed review The book is a joyous paean to the homely details and glorious landscapes of our country; as such it rejoices both the mind and the heart. -- The Horn Book Mitsumasa Anno lives in Japan.
List Price: $6.99 USD
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Written by Debra Frasier
“On the eve of your birth … the Earth and her creatures with the Sun and the Moon all moved in their places, each ready to greet you the very first moment of the very first day you arrived.” Every child loves to hear the story of how they came into being.  This beautifully illustrated book tells a tale of the value and beauty of each new addition to the human family.
Reading Level – Baby – Preschool




Debra Frasier's modern classic On the Day You Were Born has been welcoming babies into the world for more than a decade--and has sold over a million copies. Now this favorite hardcover book comes to life with a musical CD featuring an original composition by Matthew Smith to accompany the author's moving narration.

The spinning earth, the glowing moon, the rising tides--each natural wonder appears in an evocative instrumental arrangement that makes for a moving and memorable gift, perfect to celebrate the arrival of every new baby.
List Price: $18.95 USD
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Categories : First Readers
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