Tag Archives: Immigrants

The Underhills: a Tooth Fairy Story – Bob Graham

Standard

1561435496219

Walker Books Australia

October 1st 2019

ISBN: 9781406387612
Imprint: Walker
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

Always exciting to see a new Bob Graham story and this one which is a charming companion book to April Underhill, Tooth Fairy will similarly delight young readers of that much-loved title.

Mum and Dad need to be away working so the younger Underhills are having a sleepover with their grandparents and everyone knows what that means! Lots of fun and treats and special love abound.

When a rush job comes through to collect a tooth from a little girl newly arrived from Ghana, it falls to April, Esme and Grandma to sort it at the airport. As well as the tooth fairies there are also angels and cupids on duty – to welcome the happy arrivals and to soothe those who are sad and scared. Clearly we need some angels and cupids in our political ranks!

April and Esme proves themselves to be equal to the challenge of finding little Akuba in the bustling terminal and successfully complete their mission, much to the pride and relief of Grandma and the rest of the family.

As always Bob’s gentle but significant story with its layers of meanings and his inimitable illustrations are a tour-de-force and this will be a joy to many readers from around 4 years upwards.  Naturally, a read-aloud could easily develop into a simple discussion about kindness and the way in which newcomers might be embraced into our society.

Front Desk – Kelly Yang

Standard

frontdesk

Walker Books

August 2018

ISBN: 9781760650469
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $17.99
New Zealand RRP: $19.99

In a time when so many people are fighting so hard to achieve worldwide tolerance, empathy, inclusivity and acceptance seemingly against huge odds like powerful politicians, this book will bring to readers a real insight into the plight of immigrants.

Based on her own experience as the child of Chinese immigrants to the USA, Kelly Tang relates ten year old Mia’s account of the first few years for her family in America, wealthy land of the free and opportunity for all.

Mia and her parents come to America with high hopes after leaving the poverty of China behind. But the reality is far from their dreams. Despite having skills and qualifications Mia’s parents struggle to find even meanly-paid work in the US and the family live in their car while trying desperately to gain some foothold. When an opportunity to manage a small hotel with free accommodation comes along, the family are beside themselves with joy and relief. But owner, Mr Yao, is a mercenary exploiter who makes their lives incredibly difficult and at times even more impoverished. Along with this Mia is trying to fit in at a new school, where the boss’ son Jason is the only other Asian student in her class and like his father is unpleasant and nasty.

Her sojourn in the motel as she helps her parents by taking charge of the front reception desk opens Mia’s eyes to the extreme racism and exploitation exhibited by many Americans, including their own Asian boss. It is a sobering and depressing insight into a society that ostensibly prides itself on being the refuge of Liberty – “Give me your tired, your poor”.

One small girl is determined to overcome her language barrier, her lack of confidence and to make a stand against discrimination.  Mia’s journey is one of hope and inspiration and this novel would make a superb read-aloud for middle to upper primary classes paving the way for some deep conversation about equity and compassion.

This is beautifully written and Mia’s voice is compelling as she fights her battles with dignity and honesty.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards

Empathy and Books for Children

Standard

fb_adorasvitak-r333

At present our Junior School is focusing on developing empathy with our children and particularly the value of books/shared reading in this process (yay!) so it seems apt to collate some of my current review picture books that fit this agenda.

 

The Day War Came –   Nicola Davies/illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

warcame

Walker Books Australia

June 2018

ISBN: 9781406376326
Imprint: Walker
Australian RRP: $24.99

Nicola Davies’ #3000 Chairs campaign came about as a result of her poem published in The Guardian which highlighted the UK Government’s 2016 refusal to allow the entry of 3 000 unaccompanied child refugees as well as her notice of a refugee child being refused admittance to a school because ‘there was no chair for her to sit on’.

Since the poem was published the campaign has been taken up by hundreds of citizens in an unprecedented show of solidarity for the children whose lives have been torn apart by war, famine and persecution.

Now in this beautiful book form readers are invited to see for themselves the tragedy of other children for whom life has taken an almost hopeless turn. With the help of those who truly care and organisations such as Help Refugees and the Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Network we can all, each of us, make a difference.

Without being graphic or violent enough to distress young readers, this book gently shows the way in which an innocent child’s life can be completely and utterly turned upside down in a minute.

Highly recommended for young readers from around Year 1 upwards.

 

 

Waves – Donna Rawlins/Heather Potter/Mark Jackson

waves

Walker Books Australia

June 2018

ISBN: 9781925381641
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

In a similar vein and for older readers is this beautiful narrative nonfiction book which traces the often perilous journeys of child immigrants to our country from the arrival of First Australian Anak 50 000 years ago to Abdul, his mother and brother seeking asylum in the present time.

For each and every one the vast distance travelled, for some leaving behind not only home but family has been a tremendous and often fraught undertaking. The early European explorers and later settlers, including convicts, the child immigrants from the UK during World War II, the post-war Jewish families, Italians and Dutch assisted passage, the throngs of Vietnamese refugees and the continuing stream of those escaping deadly circumstances are all included. Though the characters are fictional their journeys are realistically described.

As well as each child’s short narrative the book includes factual information at the end making this a superb book for teaching units on Refugees and Immigration.  The glorious illustrations by Heather Potter and Mark Jackson are filled with rich and informative details. Teaching notes are available here.

This is a must have for any primary library and a worthy addition to the classroom curriculum

Ruby in the Ruins – Shirley Hughes

ruby

Walker Books Australia

April 2018

ISBN: 9781406375893

Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

Shirley Hughes brings her long expertise to this beautifully evocative picture book which focuses on a little girl’s experience in the aftermath of the London Blitz and the long separation from her daddy. Not surprisingly for so many children during the long years of the war, fathers were often a rather blurry mystery and the reality when they returned home would be quite confronting for little ones.  It would be very difficult for many of our students to even imagine this though there would be some in similar positions now if they have parents serving overseas.

Ruby feels shy with her father, she’s surprised how ‘large’ he is, she doesn’t like sleeping up in the shabby attic instead of with her mother and all in all perhaps is a little disenchanted.

But when she goes adventuring with her playmates amidst the rubble of bombsites and hurts herself it is Dad who rescues her, bandages her knee and doesn’t even rouse on her. For the first time Ruby realises what having a dad around can mean.

Filled with warmth and love this is destined to be another of Hughes’ classic picture books.

Highly recommended for readers from around Year 2 upwards.

 

 

Cloud Conductor – Kellie Byrnes/Ann-Marie Finn

cloudconductorsmall

Wombat Books

May 2018

ISBN: 978-1925563344

Price: $24.99 Hardback

 

Frankie is adventurous and busy and blessed with the gift of a wonderful imagination. This is an immense positive as she deals with her ongoing illness and not only can she imagine herself away from her bed and hospital room but realises she can also inspire the other children to create their own fantastical adventures.

Being a cloud conductor means you can create symphonies of animals running across the sky or listening to the music whispering on the air.

Healthy and hardy children can often find it hard to comprehend what it might mean to be chronically ill and may not always feel the level of empathy we might hope for from them.

This is a gentle and lyrical way to explore this idea and perhaps consider how we can also inspire our friends when things are not going so well.

Recommended for readers from around Year 1 upwards.

 

 

Visiting You : a  Journey of Love – Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg & Andrea Edmonds

visiting

Exisle Publishing

9781925335668

RRP $24.99

As a little child and his mother take their trip to visit their own loved one the child is curious about fellow travellers and asks them ‘Who are you going to visit?’.

Such a simple question which reveals to the reader one infallible truth – that love is everywhere. No matter how different people might look – large, young, old, tattooed – we are all connected in a universal human experience. And under a mother’s supervision, the child’s ingenuous conversations reveal this as a father explains how he loves to play with his little girl or an old man visits his much-loved wife in the cemetery or a mother goes to see her injured son at the hospital.

Such a story encourages readers to look past the differences and seek out what makes us similar and how we are part of a community wherever we live.

A beautiful exploration of acceptance and the power of love.

https://youtu.be/UclU7ouo6Ak

 

 

Along Came a Different – Tom McLaughlin

different

Bloomsbury

May 2018

RRP $21.99

ISBN: 9781408888926
Imprint: Bloomsbury

Children’s Books

 

Following on that theme of accepting differences this is a very lively and rather amusing take on this topic.

Reds love being red. Yellows love being yellow. And Blues love being blue. The problem is that they just don’t like each other.

Soon the sparring colours are establishing rules to keep everyone and everything separate so they don’t have to put up with each other and it’s all a bit silly really. But that all comes crashing down when yet another colour comes along who actually likes everyone  – no matter what they are!

And then before too long another and another and finally a whole rainbow of colours when everyone realises, just a little embarrassed, how ridiculous the whole separate thing was.

This is a really fun and light way to have children start a discussion about acceptance others no matter what their outward appearance or differences.

Highly recommended for Preps upwards.