The 2001 Skipping StonesHonor Award Winners
Best Books to Read!
Contact:Arun Narayan Toke', editor; email: ">; tel: (541) 342-4956
Dear Educators, Publishers, Editors, Parents and Children's Book Lovers:
Looking for exceptional multicultural and nature books? Each year Skipping Stones recognizes outstanding books, teaching resources and educational videos from both large and small publishers and media producers.
Titles selected for our 2001 awards encourage close relationships with nature and promote respect and understanding for cultural diversity in our world. The selection committee was comprised of over 20 reviewers: editors, librarians, parents, students and teachers. Reviews of the Eighth Annual Skipping Stones Honor Award winners appear in the summer issue (Vol.13, no. 3) available 1 May 2001.
We are pleased to present the honored titles below in four catagories for your educational entertainment!
Promoting an understanding of natural systems, specific species or habitats, human, plant and animal relationships, resource conservation, environmental protection and restoration efforts, community projects and sustainable living.
Do Animals Have Feelings Too? by David Rice, illustr. Trudy Calvert. Ages 4-12. $7.95. Dawn Publications, www.DawnPub.com. Until recently most scientists thought that animals behave instinctively-that they don't have feelings such as happiness, sadness, grief, vengeance or compassion. Now, scientists and many others are changing their minds and expanding their limited perspectives. This collection of true animal behaviors is both heart warming and thought-provoking.
Swimming With Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins, and Seals by Anne Collet, translated by Gayle Wurst. Upper grades. $22. Milkweed Editions, www.worldashome.org. Originally published in French, this is a potent blend of personal discovery, adventure and scientific facts. Collet vividly describes her encounters with whales, dolphins and seals throughout the world, while conveying her passion for the animals and her work as a marine biologist.
Oil Spills: The Perils of Petroleum by Jane Duden and Susan Walker. Elem. and middle grades. $14.95. Perfection Learning, www.perfectionlearning.com. In March 1989, the people of Alaska awoke to a nightmare-millions of gallons of crude oil had blackened the clean waters of Prince William Sound. The crippled Exxon Valdez lay grounded in the water. Thousands of birds and sea animals were dying. The book explains the issues and lessons learned.
What's the Difference?: 10 Animal Look-Alikes by Judy Diehl and David Plumb, illustr. Vlasta van Kampen. Elem. grades. $6.95. Annick Press, www.annickpress.com. Readers will love discovering the differences between 10 often-confused animal pairs such as: bees and wasps, frogs and toads, dolphins and porpoises, crows and ravens. A refreshing way to learn information-by comparison and contrasts.
Pass the Energy, Please! by Barbara McKinney, illustr. by Chad Wallace. Elem grades. $7.95. Dawn Publications, www.DawnPub.com. Each of nature's creatures "passes the energy" in its own unique way. In this upbeat, rhyming story, the food chain connects herbivores, carnivores, insects and plants in a fascinating circle of nature.
Focusing on cultural or ethnic diversity or sustainable intercultural and/or global relationships, these books build bridges of communication, understanding, social justice and peace.
My Very Own Room / Mi propio cuartito by Amada Irma Perez. Elem. grades. $15.95. Children's Book Press www.cbookpress.org. Five little brothers, two parents and a house full of visiting relatives make a young Mexican American girl feel crowded. She loves her family, but how can she get a little space of her own?
Elegy on the Death of Cesar Chavez by Rudolfo Anaya, illustr. Gaspar Enriques. Middle grades. $16.95. Cinco Puntos Press, www.cincopuntos.com. This poem celebrates the life of Chavez, the legendary labor and civil rights leader, and encourages others to follow his path. Outstanding illustrations and a historical timeline.
Shades of Black by Sandra Pinkney, photos by Myles Pinkney. Ages 3-9. $14.95. Scholastic, www.scholastic.com. Through brilliant photographs of African American children and poetic descriptions of their varied skin tones, hair texture and eye color, this book evokes a strong sense of pride in heritage. A gracious invitation to readers of all cultures to explore the rich diversity of African Americans.
SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, illustr. Brian Deines. Ages 4-10. $15.95. Kids Can Press, Canada. This powerful story, set in the Canadian woods, captures the chill of a northern night, the warmth of sisterhood and the radiance of a child's wonder. It's a realistic tale about a contemporary Ojibway family, the First Peoples of Canada, but it touches a chord of timelessness.
Stories for a Winter's Night: Fiction by Native American Writers edited by Maurice Kenny. Upper grades and adults. $14. White Pine Press, www.whitepine.org. These stories and poems by indigenous writers of North America cover a wide number of tribal affiliations and include well-known fiction writers as well as young, upcoming authors.
The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang by Dori Jones Yang. Ages 10-15. $12.95. Pleasant Company, www.americangirl.com. Jinna Zhang vows to be the new "Gina" when her family moves to America from China. Instead, overcome with shyness at school, Jinna loses the ability to speak in any language and retreats into her own private fairy tale world. With the help of a school friend she gains the confidence to overcome her fears.
All educators, be they parents, teachers or librarians, will find these books extremely helpful in their work with students and children to develop multicultural and nature awareness.
Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall. For parents. $24.95. Perspectives Press, www.perspectivespress.com. Creative, confident, proactive and provocative, yet practical, guidance for parents who are experienced veterans and also for those who are considering transracial adoption. This book will help build close, loving families of individuals who are proud and culturally competent members of differing races.
Hate Hurts: How Children Learn and Unlearn Prejudice by Caryl Stern-LaRosa and Ellen Bettmann. $9.95. Scholastic, www.scholastic.com. This book presents tools for adults to teach children not to hate, and it encourages the celebration of diversity. It examines how prejudice affects children and offers sound advice for confronting and conquering bias and for helping parents respond when their children have been the victims or perpetrators of hate.
Hands-On Nature: Information and Activities for Exploring the Environment with Children by Jenepher Lingelbach and Lisa Purcell. Elem. and middle grades. $24.95. Univ. Press of New England, www.UPNE.com. This book provides complete instructions, accurate drawings and background information for teaching over 40 natural science units. This easy-to-use, beautifully-illustrated environmental education resource offers creative new approaches for experienced educators and enables novice leaders to teach nature subjects successfully.
Lesbian and Gay Voices by Frances Ann Day. $35. Greenwood, www.greenwood.com. This excellent resource offers detailed annotations of more than 275 books including picture books, young adult fiction, short stories, nonfiction, biographies and books for educators and parents. Also included are profiles of writers who have made outstanding contributions in this field. Contains evaluation guidelines and helpful resources.
Engaging and mindful videos for use in the classroom to foster respect and understanding of all people and communities.
Being Hmong Means Being Free by Larry Long. All Ages. $195. Newist / Cesa #7 and Wisconsin Public TV, www.uwgb.edu/newist. This 60-minute documentary provides a look at the culture and rituals at the heart of Hmong culture. It explains why the Hmong are in the United States, the problems they are facing, and how they are overcoming these obstacles and adapting their culture to a new environment. Teacher's guide.
That's A Family! by Debra Chasnoff. Elementary grades. $75/$150. 35 mins. Women's Educational Media, www.womedia.org. This entertaining documentary breaks new ground in helping kids see and understand many of the shapes that families take today. Kids take us on a tour of their lives explaining concepts like birth mom, mixed-race, guardian, gay and stepdad. With its vibrant graphics, the film gives children and adults an inspiring look into family diversity in contemporary culture. Accompanied by a teaching/discussion guide.
Walk This Way: Exploring Tolerance, Diversity and Difference by Jane C. Wagner and Tina DiFeliciantonio. Elem. and middle grades. $245. Human Relations Media, www.hrmvideo.com. Three videos (52 mins. total) and a printed curriculum show how acts of discrimination can be turned into positive lessons of affirmation and hope. We are introduced to children who are blazing their own trails by understanding and appreciating what it means to be different.
The selection committee was impressed by the quantity of multicultural / nature books and educational videos that are currently being produced. Many of these notable titles will be reviewed in upcoming issues.
Skipping Stones Magazine