Tuesday, November 20, 2018

We Are Grateful

This week in the United States, we emphasize giving thanks. Many of us realize that we should give thanks year 'round, not for only one day. That is the premise behind Traci Sorrell's new award-winning picture book, We Are Grateful. This book was just named a National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Honor Book (non-fiction award) for 2019!

Sorrell and illustrator Frané Lessac take us through a year with Cherokee people, showing us the things for which they are grateful, teaching Cherokee words along the way. This focus gives us non-Cherokees a peek into a different culture, leading to conversations about similarities and differences. The colorful artwork shows modern Cherokee people, not caricatures or stereotypes of long-ago Native Americans.  I am grateful for We Are Grateful!

This book makes me think of my own  heritage. My great-grandparents came from Denmark, and my grandma spoke Danish with her women friends throughout her life. When I was a little girl, I asked Grandma to teach me something in Danish. "Tak," she said. "That means 'Thanks.'"  There's no better word she could have taught me. Since then, I have learned "thanks" in several languages, an important word to know and an important emotion to express.

Enjoy the book trailer:

Have a happy Thanksgiving Day, and remember to say "thanks," "tak," or "otsaliheliga" throughout the year!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Scarlet's Magic Paintbrush

In the fall, trees look as if they have been painted with a magic paintbrush.  Just a couple of weeks ago, the leaves on our deciduous trees blazed gold and red. 

Which brings me to Melissa Stoller's debut picture book, Scarlet's Magic Paintbrush. Who wouldn't want a paintbrush that painted perfect pictures of whatever you commanded? Masterpieces made easy! That's what Scarlet had until she lost her paintbrush. Other paint brushes didn't contain the magic. Scarlet even tried improvising with cotton balls and sticks. What happens in the end is better than a magic paintbrush--Scarlet finds and embraces her own talent and style. Are the pictures as perfect as the magic paintbrush's? Yes, but in a different way. 

This book would be a confidence builder for any budding artist. The illustrations by Sandie Sonke show an eager Scarlet finding her own way with kid-desired paintings of unicorns, castles, and princes. See a sample of plot and pictures in this book trailer:

I blogged about Melissa's Enchanted Snow Globe chapter book series in January.  Watch for more in this series and more picture books to come! Meanwhile, apply your metaphorical paintbrush to life with your own special style and see what happens!