The Birthday Party Pledge

Building a New Generation of Readers

Global Fiction

A book can be a passport to another country! Introduce your child to the world by sharing these fantastic titles.

(Book descriptions from Amazon.com)

Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq. (Published by Just World Books, 2015. 128 Pages. Ages 12 and up)
Baddawi is a coming-of-age story about a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of the thousands of Palestinians who fled their homeland after the war in 1948 established the state of Israel. In this visually arresting graphic novel, Leila Abdelrazaq +-+716782054_140explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and ’70s from a boy’s eye view as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible uncertainty. Ahmad grows up in a crowded yet vibrant community amidst mounting unrest and violence in his host country, experiencing joys such as holidays and adventures with his friends, and facing heavy burdens, from a schoolyard bully to separation from his family during the Lebanese civil war. Ahmad’s dogged pursuit of education and opportunity echoes the journey of the Palestinian people, as they make the best of their present circumstances while remaining steadfast in their determination to one day return to their homeland.

Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins. (Published by Charlsbridge, 2015; 144 pages. +-+620603213_140Ages 7-10) When a tiger cub goes missing from the reserve, Neel is determined to find her before the greedy Gupta gets his hands on her to kill her and sell her body parts on the black market. Neel’s parents, however, are counting on him to study hard and win a prestigious scholarship to study in Kolkata. Neel doesn’t want to leave his family or his island home and he struggles with his familial duty and his desire to maintain the beauty and wildness of his island home in West Bengal’s Sunderbans.

FC9781927083239Haiti My Country in Poems by Haitian School Children by Rogé. (Published by Fifth House, 2014; 44 pages) For several months, Quebec illustrator Roge prepared a series of portraits of Haitian children. Students of Camp Perrin wrote that accompanying poems, which create, with flowing consistency, Haiti My Country. These teenaged poets use the Haitian landscape as their easel. The nature that envelops them is quite clearly their main subject. While misery often storms through Haiti in the form of earthquakes, cyclones, or floods, these young men and women see their surrounding nature as assurance for a joyful, confident future.

 

FC9780385738972The Queen of Water by Laura Resau (Published by Delacorte Books, 2011; 368 pages; ages 12 and up.) Born in an Andean village in Ecuador, Virginia lives with her large family in a small, earthen-walled dwelling. In her village of indígenas, it is not uncommon to work in the fields all day, even as a child, or to be called a longa tonta—stupid Indian—by members of the ruling class of mestizos, or Spanish descendants. When seven-year-old Virginia is taken from her village to be a servant to a mestizo couple, she has no idea what the future holds.
In this poignant novel based on a true story, acclaimed author Laura Resau has collaborated with María Virginia Farinango to recount one girl’s unforgettable journey to self-discovery. Virginia’s story will speak to anyone who has ever struggled to find his or her place in the world. It will make you laugh and cry, and ultimately, it will fill you with hope.

 

A Bucket of Blessing by Kabir Sehgal; Surishtha Sehgal and Jing Jing Tsong with and Afterward from Maya Angelou. (Published by Beach Lane Books, 2014; 32 pages; ages 4-8) A beautiful myth from India comes to life in this enchanting, New York Timesbestselling picture book. Near a majestic mountain in a vast jungle with many mango trees, it has not rained for weeks and weeks. The village well and pond FC9781442458703are dry. Monkey and his friends look everywhere for water, but they have no luck. And then Monkey remembers a story his mama used to tell him, a story about how peacocks can make it rain by dancing. So he sets out to see if the story is true… This little-known legend, told with dramatic rhythm and illustrated with the colors and textures of India, is sure to delight and inspire.

 

512YrmxQmgL._AA160_When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park. (Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, 2012; 208 pages; ages 9-12) Sun-hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, live in Korea with their parents. Because Korea is under Japanese occupation, the children study Japanese and speak it at school. Their own language, their flag, the folktales Uncle tells them—even their names—are all part of the Korean culture that is now forbidden. When World War II comes to Korea, Sun-hee is surprised that the Japanese expect their Korean subjects to fight on their side. But the greatest shock of all comes when Tae-yul enlists in the Japanese army in an attempt to protect Uncle, who is suspected of aiding the Korean resistance. Sun-hee stays behind, entrusted with the life-and-death secrets of a family at war.

 

FC9780763666804Boy on the Edge by Fridnik Erlings. (Published by Candlewick, 2014; 420 pages ages 12 and up.) Henry has a clubfoot and he is the target of relentless bullying. One day, in a violent fit of anger, Henry lashes out at the only family he has — his mother. Sent to live with other troubled boys at the Home of Lesser Brethren, an isolated farm perched in the craggy lava fields along the unforgiving Icelandic coast, Henry finds a precarious contentment among the cows. But it is the people, including the manic preacher who runs the home, who fuel Henry’s frustration and sometimes rage as he yearns for a life and a home. Author Fridrik Erlings offers a young adult novel that explores cruelty and desperation, tenderness and remorse, but most importantly, kindness and friendship.

 

Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales by Nelson Mandela (Published by W.W. Norton & Co, 2007; 144 pages; ages 8 and up.) In these beloved stories we meet a Kenyan lion named Simba, a snake with seven heads, and tricksters from Zulu folklore; we hear the voices of the scheming hyena, and we learn from a Khoi fable how animals acquired their tails and horns. Creation myths tell us how the land, its animals, and its people all came into existence under a punishing sun or FC9780393329902against the backdrop of a spectacularly beautiful mountain landscape. Whether warning children about the dangers of disobedience or demonstrating that the underdog can, and often does, win, these stories, through their depiction of wise animals as well as evil monsters, are universal in their portrayal of humanity, beasts, and the mystical. Translated from their original languages—Karanga, Nguni, Xhosa, and many others—these folktales are a testament to the craft of storytelling and the power of myth.

 

Abuelo by Arthur Dorros (author) and Raul Colon (Illustrator) (Published by HarperCollins, 2014; 32 pages; ages 4-8) Together, a young boy and his abuelo (grandfather) go camping, ride horses, and even confront a mountain lion. Soon, the boy’s family moves to the city from the country, away from Abuelo, and it is the boy’s memories that help him adjust to his new life. Arthur Dorros’s FC9780140562255skillful blend of Spanish and English and Raúl Colón’s poignant paintings illuminate how the special bond between an abuelo and a nieto (grandson) reaches across miles. Fans of Dorros’s Papá and Me and Abuela will delight in this bilingual and multigenerational picture book about a special family relationship.

 

 

 

 

 


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