It’s Native American Heritage month, and do we ever have recommendations for you! You can go to our site and see all our Native American titles, but we’re going to highlight a couple of them today.
Sky Dancers is a majestic story of the Mohawk steal workers who built the skyscrapers of New York City, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. On weekends, John Cloud lives with his parents on the reservation in upstate New York, but during the week his father is off in the city. When his mother takes him to New York, John Cloud is proud to see his father high above the city on a crossbeam of the Empire State Building. The Art Deco-influenced art and John Cloud’s independent mind make this book stand as tall as a skyscraper.
Amazing Faces, one of our new spring books, is a collection of poems celebrating the amazing people and faces that surround us every day. We asked the poets to share the stories behind their poems. Here are some of their responses:
Jane Yolen, “Karate Kid”
A number of years ago, Lee Bennett Hopkins asked me to write a poem for a sports anthology. “How about karate?” I said. There is a dojo near my house. I had some friends who had kids in karate and a granddaughter who was just starting into the martial arts. Also, I find some of the Chinese martial arts movies fascinating in a balletic sort of way.
And so I wrote “Karate Kid.” It has taken on a life of its own. Sometimes (if a writer is very lucky) that happens.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich, “Amazing Face”
I am, and will always be, fascinated by children. Especially very young children. I look at them and a million dreams and possibilities run through my mind: the person they will become, the journeys they’ll take, the hobbies they’ll choose, the crafts they’ll learn, the billowed joys they will experience, the heartache and heartbreak they will ultimately and unfortunately experience too. I want each child on this Earth to know they are loved by someone, that they are valued, and that they are truly and downright amazing. I hope my poem sends this message, whoever is listening.
Mary Cronin, “Firefighter Face”
White Americans tend to raise children in nuclear families—just parents and kids—but in many cultures and many immigrant groups, extended families are deeply involved. Only One Year, one of our new Spring books, is about a Chinese American family sending their two-year-old boy to live for a year in China, with his grandparents and surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins. In a new BookTalk, author Andrea Cheng talks about the families who inspired her to write this book, as well as cultural differences, siblings, and her own family.
“I love the freedom of writing fiction. Still, to be believable, fiction has to be grounded in some reality.”
Illustrator Bill Farnsworth shares a wonderful oil painting demonstration, using Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer as his subject. This painting demonstration shows the skill and attention to detail that goes into illustrating our picture books.
Some of our authors and illustrators share their memories of summer reading to inspire kids to cool down with a good book on hot summer days.