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MAGIC TREE, THE: A FOLKTALE FROM NIGERIA The Magic Tree: A Folktale from Nigeria
by T. Obinkaram Echewa, Earl B. Lewis (Illustrator)

Reminiscent of the Cinderella stories, this tale is about Mbi, an orphan boy who is ostracized and abused by his whole village. Not only do the children taunt and tease him and exclude him from their games, but he is expected to work all day and is awakened from his sleep at night with demands from villagers to "do this" and "do that". He is never rewarded for his work and, always feeling the pangs of hunger, must eat only the scraps left on villagers' plates. One day when he is very hungry, he discovers a udara tree bearing the most delicious fruit out of season. A seed from the udara grows into a gigantic tree, which not only bears incredible fruit, but obeys Mbi's commands that result in changing his fortune and gaining villagers' respect.

I LOVE SATURDAYS y DOMINGOS I Love Saturdays y Domingos (Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Commended (Awards))
by Alma Flor Ada, Elivia Savadier (Illustrator)

A young girl delights in weekends, because on Saturdays she visits her Grandma and Grandpa and on domingos, she visits her abuelita and abuelito. Her experiences with her decidedly Caucasian grandparents is completely in English; however, when she tells of being with her other grandparents, the text is generously sprinkled with Spanish words whose meanings can usually be gleaned contextually. In this delightful book the little girl, who prefers smaller things, is adored by both sets of grandparents who, in spite of their cultural differences, also enjoy each others' company. The text and illustrations in this language rich, intergenerational story presents warm, respectful family relationships.

by Robert D. San Souci, Brian Pinkney (Illustrator)

Based upon his impeccable research and marvelous storytelling skill, San Souci offers this literary masterpiece of myths and tall tales about American women whose lives and deeds parallel those of Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and other male legendary heroes. The superwomen in this superb collection are of highly diverse cultures, regions and powers. They are miraculous survivors of major catastrophes, defyers of fire and lightning, tricksters of their counterparts, giant slayers and saviors of their peoples. This author and illustrator have given powerful voice and presence to 20 legendary American women of African, Native American, Mexican and European descent who have remained silent and invisible for much too long.

Come Sunday
by Nikki Grimes, Michael Bryant (Illustrator)

Through the wonder-filled eyes of a young African American girl named LaTasha, the reader experiences the joyous sights and rousing, syncopated sounds of a Sunday spent in her church. Grimes' simplistic poetry and Bryant's lush paintings capture the warm exuberance of the child and other congregates, as well as the strong sense of community and pride within this beautiful edifice. People of any age can enjoy this nostalgic "hymn" to the Paradise Baptist Church.

by Dee Parmer Woodtor, Dolores Johnson (Illustrator)

Poignant memories of Big Meeting, a summertime family celebration common to many African Americans, will be enjoyed by adults and children. Although the focus of this celebration is religious, held usually at Southern Methodist or Baptist churches, the reunions of families, incredible food, intergenerational encounters, country playtimes and explorations with young cousins from many places are as nostalgic as the very long, spirited services. Woodtor and Johnson truly revive the wondrous spirit of Big Meeting.

by Bryan Collier

A marvelous marriage of watercolor collage and simple text convey the lusty sights, sounds, and moods of the one-time Black Mecca of the nation. For present and former New Yorkers, favorite haunts, such as the Apollo Theater, 125th Street's bustling shopping district, Rucker's Park, arouse pride and nostalgia. Museums, the Harlem Boys' Choir, and brownstones which seem to be "made of chocolate" trigger memories or beckon visitors to this unique part of the "Big Apple". It is clear that our young male tour guide unconditionally loves his Uptown world, which is truly home. For this dazzling book, the author/illustrator won the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration in 2000.

by Joyce Carol Thomas, Curtis James (Illustrator)

This stunning collection of stories and poems by stellar, culturally diverse personalities - such as this author, Eloise Greenfield, Jerry Spinelli, Lois Lowry, and Ishmael Reed - who describe the sweeping effects of the crucial Brown vs. The Board of Education decision. Author Quincy Troupe reminds us that, although this monumental decision greatly increased educational and professional employment opportunities for African Americans, it inadvertently caused a decrease in Black entrepeneurship, the rise of urban ghettoes and, ultimately, the segregation of impoverished urban schools throughout the nation. This powerful book also introduces to young folks the superb pastel illustrations of fine artist, Curtis James.

Just Like Josh Gibson
by Angela Johnson, Beth Peck (Illustrator)

In addition to learning about the legendary Josh Gibson of the Negro Baseball League, readers will meet and admire the author's Granny, who excelled in baseball in the early forties, when Black girls were not even allowed into the Negro or women's leagues. Mentored by her dad, Granny became a great player, although she had only one opportunity to play with and against men. The color illustrations exude motion, strength and Granny's reverence for the game. Although her one day of real glory came as the result of a male players' injury, the memories of her brief stardom, achieved in a pink frilly dress and sneakers borrowed from the injured player, lasted for a lifetime. A biographical sketch of Josh Gibson is appended.

A to Zen
by Ruth Wells

Covering a wide spectrum - from A to Zen - of Japanese history and culture, this book is designed to be read from back to front in keeping with oriental structure. The pictures were painted with dyes on silk cloth, enhancing the book's beauty and Japanese quality.

Happy Birthday Mr. Kang
by Susan L. Roth (Illustrator)

Brilliant, ingenious collages contribute greatly to the telling of this lovely intergenerational story. Mr. Kang has been a celebrated cook for 43 years at the Golden Dragon Restaurant. At age 70, after blowing out the candles at his birthday party, Mr. Kang announces his retirement by telling the guests that his 3 wishes are to read the New York Times and "paint poems" every day and to own a hua mei (a Chinese bird) in a cage, like the one his grandfather had. His grandson, Sam, is disturbed by Mr Kang's wish to own a caged bird, since there are so many birds flying free in the park. All of Mr. Kang's wishes come true, as we share his moving poetry, warm relationships, and a splendid, touching, surprise ending.

Where Are You Going? To See My Friend!
by Kazuo Iwamura, Eric Carle (Illustrator)

A visual and linguistic treat is in store for children who experience this lovely, lilting celebration of friendship and camaraderie. From the front of this delightful book to its middle, Carle writes the text in English and illustrates each page in his distinctive collage style. From back to middle, Iwamura's saucy watercolors illustrate the same text written in Japanese with pronunciation help for the reader. Then in the middle of this uniquely designed book the 2 friendly bands of animals and their 2 human friends merge in a spirited dance and rousing song with both English and Japanese lyrics. What a marvelous intercultural experience!

The Spirit of Tio Fernando
by Janice Levy, Morella Fuenmayor (Illustrator), Teresa Mlawler (Translator)

Young Nandito and his mother prepare to celebrate the Day of the Dead - a Mexican holiday on which they will honor his beloved, recently deceased Uncle Tio. As the many parts of the celebration unfold, Tio - who closely resembles his favorite uncle - has many questions about the meaning of this holiday and whether he will really see his departed uncle's spirit when they take his favorite items to his grave. His questions are not answered until the end of the grave site celebration. This story offers a delightful explanation of this centuries old Mexican holiday which combines traditional Aztec traditions and traditional Catholic customs.

This Land Is My Land
by George Littlechild

Readers of this beautiful book, with its unusually bold, dazzling color illustrations, will be informed, entertained, delighted, and will sense the reverence with which the author regards his ancestors and his land. Especially moving is his chapter called "Red Horse Boarding School", in which Littlechild, now an internationally renowned artist, tells of the physical and mental abuse he and other Indian children suffered at the hands of white educators.

Rattlesnake Mesa
by Ednah New Rider Weber, Richela Renkun (Photographer)

In her powerfully moving storytelling voice, Weber narrates her childhood and coming of age, beginning with the death of her beloved grandmother, with whom she had always lived. Suddenly, at age 7, she is uprooted from her familiar, beautiful surroundings and must live miles away on an Indian reservation with her previously unknown father and his family. Just as EdNah begins to adjust to her new family and the natural wonders of Rattlesnake Mesa, she must go to live in an Indian school. Her descriptions of her life there and her return to Rattelesnake Mesa for vacation are testaments to her resilience, maturity, and pride in her rich Native American cultural and natural heritage. Superb black and white photos enhance this lovely story.

Amongst My Best Men: African Americans and the War of 1812
by Gerard T. Altoff, Robin O. Lilek (Illustrator)

Admiral Perry had initially complained bitterly about being sent a substantial number of Black seamen, whom he regarded as savages and untrainable. Following his winning the decisive Battle of Lake Erie, he reported that these African American seamen had fought bravely with skill, dignity and distinction and were, indeed, "amongst my best men". Although the exact numbers may never be known, the author estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of the seamen in this crucial battle were African Americans. He provides well-documented information about the lives, deeds, and survivors of some of these valiant men who fought to insure rights and freedoms which they were not privileged to enjoy.

The Journal of Jesse Smoke
by Joseph Bruchac

Written as a diary, this historical novel is narrated by an intelligent, literate teenager named Jesse, whose family is snatched from their home and forced to walk the treacherous, humiliating Trail of Tears to unfamiliar land west of the Mississippi. Jesse's story includes real people, places and events related to this brutal treatment of a civilized, literate, hardworking, well-governed people, who had been ruthlessly exploited prior to their banishment. Their journey resulted in thousands of deaths from disease, fatigue, hunger, or severe weather. The courage and stamina of members of Jesse's family is typical of the Cherokee families who survived this brutality. Bruchac's story is carefully documented with notes and photos.

WALKING ON SOLID GROUND Walking on Solid Ground (Aesop Accolades (Awards))
by Shu Pui Cheung, Shuyuan Li, Aaron Chau, Deborah Wei (Editor), Debora Kodish (Editor), Ming Chau (Photographer)

Philadelphia's thriving, bustling Chinatown is lovingly and honestly described as seen through the eyes of the community's activist teacher of the Lion Dance and kung fu, a recently arrived 4th generation opera singer, and a 13-year-old student of these 2 artists. An overview of this resilient community's history - including its struggles against racism as well as political and social marginalism - reveals that at the heart of its sustenance and triumphs is the continuing performance of and reverence for the wondrous music, art, and dance of their ancient Chinese forbears. The lens of Ming's camera plays a major role in this honest and fascinating photo essay.

Knockin' on Wood
by Lynne Barasch

From childhood, Clayton Bates had always loved dancing, and danced all the time. Sometimes to his mother's dismay, he danced for white patrons of a barbershop in town, and they tossed coins to him. Hating work on the farm where his mother was an underpaid sharecropper, he begged to be allowed to work in a cottonseed mill. On his 3rd day there, he lost his right leg during a machinery accident. Because he was Black, no hospital would accept him, so the amputation had to be completed in his home. Soon Clayton was walking, then dancing on his homemade crutches. His uncle whittled him an artificial wooden leg, which allowed him to perform astounding original routines. This charming book tells more of "Peg Leg's" remarkable story.

by James W. Loewen

Subtitled "Everything Your American Textbook Got Wrong", this book not only critiques leading American history textbooks, but corrects the gross information about a wide variety of significant events, movements, eras, and policies in our nation's history. These exciting retellings demand that history be taught and learned in a more honest, exciting way with a more socially just citizenry as the main expected outcome.

The Culturally Proficient School
by Randall B. Lindsey, Laraine Roberts, Franklin CampbellJones

A clear definition and thorough examination of cultural proficiency is presented as the authors' background for their postulation of its powerful effect on the creation and sustenance of an equitable, productive, empowering, component of educational institutions. They also examine those entities and behaviors - often self-imposed - which discourage or prevent the development of cultural proficiency in schools. Stories are told about their work and extensive observations in model schools that meet their criteria for culturally proficiency.

Womankind: Faces of Change Around the World
by Donna Nebenzahl , Nance Ackerman (Photographer)

For nearly 10 years, this feature writer and award winning photographer have traveled worldwide to document the incredible work of celebrated and little known women who have have contributed immeasurably to the healing of an ailing planet. Their diverse work toward improved health care, ecology, social and political rights, education, safety, political freedom and other hard-won human rights are powerfully narrated - often in the words of these activists. Marvelous duotone photographs highlight the formidable challenges and remarkable achievements of 54 exemplary women of color. One flaw is the absence of stories about Middle Eastern women, who have risked their lives in order to bring about change in their communities and institutions.