21 April 2000. Eugene, Oregon Looking forward to a great reading adventure? Skipping Stones magazine has announced the winners of the Seventh Annual Awards for multicultural and nature books, teaching resources, and educational videos. Titles selected this year encourage close relationships with nature and promote cultural diversity in our world. Reviews of these exceptional works for youth appear in Vol. 12, no. 3 (available June 1, 2000. Click here for ordering information). We had received 131 entries for the 2000 Awards. Our multicultural selection committee consisted of twenty reviewers (including teachers, librarians, parents, students and editors). We recommend these exceptional books and videos in four different categories.
Multicultural and International Books
These titles focus on cultural or ethnic diversity, sustainable intercultural and global relationships, encouraging communication, understanding, social justice, and peace.
Geography of Hope: Black Exodus from the South after Reconstruction by Jim Haskins. Lured by the promise of freedom and land for establishing homesteads, many African-Americans left the former Confederate States in the 1870's and headed west. This book draws on the rich resources of the period to establish the atmosphere and immediacy of their experiences. Middle grades and up. 1999. $29.90. Millbrook Press, 2 Old New Milford Rd., Brookfield, CT 06804; www.millbrookpress.com
Honoring Our Ancestors: Stories and Pictures by Fourteen Artists edited by Harriet Rohmer. This remarkable book brings together outstanding artists from various cultural backgrounds to honor the ancestors who most touched their lives. A playful tribute to the influential and loving people who came before us. All ages. 1999. $15.95. Children's Book Press, 246 First Street, Suite 101, San Francisco, CA 94105; firstname.lastname@example.org
In Search of the Spirit: The Living National Treasures of Japan by Sheila Hamanaka and Ayano Ohmi. Since World War II, the Japanese government has recognized over one hundred men and women who have devoted their lives to traditional Japanese crafts and performing arts. We visit six of these extraordinary artists to learn about their art forms. Ages 9 and up. 1999. $16.00. Morrow Junior Books, 1350 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10019; www.williammorrow.com.
It Doesn't Have to be This Way: A Barrio Story / No tiene que ser as': una historia del barrio by Luis Rodriguez, illustrated by Daniel Galvez. A powerful tale of a young boy's encounter with gangs. Through the mesmerizing bilingual story and dynamic illustrations, we see how the boy is both attracted to the community of gang life and repelled by its violence. Ages 9 and up. 1999. $15.95. Children's Book Press, San Francisco, CA.
Magic Windows / Ventanas mágicas by Carmen Lomas Garza. The magic windows of Garza's cut-paper art reveal her family, her life as an artist, and legends of her Aztec heritage. A tribute to family and community as well as a way to connect future generations to their ancestors through this traditional Mexican folk art. All ages. 1999. $15.95. Children's Book Press, San Francisco, CA.
Molly Bannaky by Alice McGill. For a woman to stake land was unheard of in the 17th century; for her to marry an African slave was even more so. Yet Molly prospered, and with her husband Bannaky, she turned their small country cabin into a thriving farm. And one day she had the pleasure of writing her new grandson's name in her Bible: Benjamin Banneker. Elementary grades. 1999. $16.00. Houghton Mifflin, 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116; tel. (617) 351-5903.
To Be A Drum by Evelyn Coleman. Daddy Wes whispers to his two young listeners the story of the drum, the pulse which has always moved through the African people. To Be a Drum celebrates the spirit that has sustained this community over the centuries. Elementary grades. 1998. $16.95. Albert Whitman, 6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053; tel. (847) 581-0033.
Ecology & Nature Books
These titles promote an understanding of natural systems, specific species or habitats, human, plant, and animal relationships, resource conservation, environmental protection and restoration efforts, and sustainable living.
El Bebé más dulce del Mundo by Montse Gisbert. In Spanish. El Bebé tells the story of Zzum, a baby bee, and her life inside the hive. As an adult, she "gives birth" to honey thanks to the magic juice she collects. Includes facts and details about the bees. Elementary and middle grades. 1999. $15.90. Isbn: 84-8131-238-X 5 Tándem edicions, C/. San Vincente, 93, 1a, 46007 Valencia, Spain. (English & French translations available from the author: email@example.com).
One Child by Christopher Cheng. One Child demonstrates how much a single child can do to help save our environment. Using the imagery of a grimy stained glass window being cleaned to reveal its hidden beauty, this story is a moving and empowering message for children and adults. Elementary grades. 2000. $14.95. Crocodile Books, (an imprint of Interlink Publishing) 46 Crosby Street, Northampton, MA 01060; tel. (413) 582-7054; website: www.interlinkbooks.com
One Good Apple by Catherine Paladino. With eloquent words and photographs, the author makes an urgent case for healthier agricultural practices, exploring everything from the destructiveness of pesticides and fertilizers to the smallest organisms and the water we drink. Middle grades. 1999. $15.00. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.
All educators, be they parents, teachers, or librarians, will find these resources extremely helpful in their work with students and children to develop multicultural and nature awareness.
Jasmine and Coconuts: South Indian Tales by Cathy Spagnoli and Paramasivam Samanna. Tales of tricksters, heroes, and sages, as well as modern jokes, true stories, and teaching tales-forty-two stories total-are included in this unique anthology. Storytelling notes and a historical overview of the region bring added depth to this enticing resource for teens and educators. 1999. $24.00. Libraries Unlimited, P.O. Box 6633, Englewood, CO 80155-6633; www.lu.com
Multicultural Voices in Contemporary Literature by Frances Ann Day. This updated teaching resource celebrates the lives and works of forty multicultural authors and illustrators. Included are biographical profiles, photographs, lists of books, annotations, suggestions for the classroom, helpful appendices, extensive indexes, and evaluation guidelines. 1999. $26.00. Heinemann, 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912; www.heinemann.com
Return of the Wolf by Steve Grooms. With beautiful color photos, this book helps us understand wolves and how to protect their health and safety. Approved by NWF. Upper grades. 1999. $16.95. Creative Publishing Intl, 5900 Green Oak Dr., Minnetonka, MN 78759; tel. (612) 932-0335.
These engaging and mindful videos for classroom use foster respect and understanding of all people, communities, and natural resources.
Keepers of the Water by Al Gedicks. The Wolf River is one of the few pristine rivers in the Midwest, flowing through the homeland of the Chippewa and Menominee tribes in Wisconsin. The video recounts how tribal leaders and white residents worked together to halt a plan to build a copper mine and dump toxic waste at the river's headwaters. Middle and upper grades. 1998. $99. Lucerne Media, 37 Ground Pine Rd, Morris Plains, NJ 07950; tel. (973) 538-1401.
Recycled, Re-Seen by Museum of International Folk Art. This thirty-five minute video follows artists in five countries who work with old and used materials. The accompanying teacher's guide illustrates that creativity with recycled materials spans cultures across the globe. Lesson plans, background information, and hands-on projects for middle and upper grades. 1998. $85. Crystal Productions, 1812 Johns Drive, Glenview, IL 60025; tel. (847) 657-8144.
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Notable titles that did not win an award will be reviewed or recommended in the regular departments of Skipping Stones, an award-winning, nonprofit, multicultural magazine in its twelfth year.
Skipping Stones Magazine