This last week, some of the books that we read were a little heavier than our fun and light-hearted picture books we previously read. The one book that I read that was eye opening was “The Poet Slave of Cuba” by Margarita Engle.
This book was a book of poems that told a story. It was a really unique book. The story bounces from the young boy to his “mama” (his owner) to his real mother and so on. The woman that he worked for doted him around and made him call her mama. He called her his ghost mama. She makes him sing and perform for her friends. I feel like this book would be eye opening to young kids. Most times that we learn about slavery, it is from the eyes of an adult. I know that as a kid I would have been touched by the fact that it is from a young boy’s perspective. How heartbreaking!
“The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain” by Peter Sis was another beautifully unique book.
It was laced with maps and cartoon style writings. It took a bit of time to fully read this book because it wasn’t just a simple story. There were captions for the pictures and details on the map that kept you reading. There were pages that had words spiraling around the pictures. This was a great read and would be fun for kids to read when they are able to focus very well. Another hard hitting, heavy hearted story.
The third book that I read was “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia. Yet another eye opening book, even for children. The three sisters must travel from New York to California alone to see their mother that doesn’t want them. The girls have a horrifying experience with their mother as she doesn’t hide the fact that she doesn’t want them.
For my Golden Sower book, I read “Piggins” by Jane Yolen. I must applaud Jane Dyer’s illustrations. This book won in 1989 and the illustrations are creepy but fabulous. Honest. The illustrations are honest. For instance, in many books about pigs, the pig is portrayed as cute and pink (because, duh, they are?) and smooth. The latter is not true. Grown pigs are not smooth and sleek and shiny like illustrations. Jane Dyer demonstrated that. Piggins, the serer, is lumpy, bumpy, hairy, yet ( in my eyes at least) still cute. The illustrations for his book were true to each animal. Bravo, Jane and Jane.
The last book I read was “A Boy and a Jaguar” by Alan Rabinowitz. This is a story of a young boy that struggles to speak. Throughout the book, he connects with animals. He finds his voice when he connects with the animals. This story was beautiful and the illustrations were too.