Needed: multi-layered texts about about Muslim women, girls, and children #JACBA Newsletter 11Aug2017

Q&A: Kidlit scholar Heba Elsherief on the problematic representation of Muslim girls in children’s literature

Q: When it comes to The Breadwinner, which is often found in North American classrooms and will soon to be an animated film, executive produced by Angelina Jolie, what would you say to teachers using the text?

A: “My research on The Breadwinner is cursory, but I do know that if you’re a teacher who wants inclusivity [then] you get The Breadwinner [about an 11-year-old girl living in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan]. Others have done research on how it reinforces the care ethic and the plight narrative of Muslim girls in children’s literature. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be on the syllabus, but if you’re going to critique these books, you have to ask yourself how the book is working on you as a teacher and how you can demonstrate to your students a form of critical reading, questioning and problematizing the text – especially when it’s a narrative that is so popular and so taken up in non-interdisciplinary ways. You don’t have black women, poor women, intersectional feminism endorsing a book like that.”

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Irish Movie To Get World Premiere At Prestigious Film Festival

The new major animated feature The Breadwinner, executive produced by Angelina Jolie, will have its world premiere at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in September 2017, it was just announced.

Based on the award-winning and best-selling young adult novel by Deborah Ellis, ‘The Breadwinner’ is directed by Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey, co-director of ‘The Secret of Kells’ alongside Tomm Moore.

“Millions of girls around the world have to grow up before their time, working to provide for their families at a very young age and in difficult circumstances. They have the strength to do what no one should ask little girls to do,” Angelina Jolie told The Hollywood Reporter at the time the film was announced. “I hope this film is able to bring this discussion to a broader audience.”

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The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis 2005 Awardee

The Breadwinner Trilogy, three books by Deborah Ellis 2004 Awardee

Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis 2003 Awardee

A new book about architect Zaha Hadid teaches kids to be independent thinkers

The late “starchitect” Zaha Hadid should be a role model to many beyond the world of architecture-but her genius is often hidden in the dry and impenetrable language of architecture textbooks. The first solo female architect to receive her field’s highest prize, Hadid punched through all sorts of glass ceilings and stereotypes.

Years ago, photos of Hadid’s dazzling, swoopy architecture instantly sparked the imagination of children’s book author Jeanette Winter. She spent the next seven years creating a gorgeous book about the headstrong Pritzker Prize-winning architect. In “The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid,” the 78-year-old writer and illustrator depicts Hadid’s upbringing in Iraq, her studies in London, and her travails as a boundary-breaking visionary. It is the first children’s book about Hadid.

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Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter 2010 Awardee


Authors at the Aldrich: Tanya Lee Stone: Girl Rising, Changing the World one Girl at a Time.

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Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone 2010 Awardee

The Grown-Up Joys of Reading Children’s Books [Subscription]

We are living through an extended golden age for children’s books, a product of America’s astonishing prosperity-and growing child-centeredness-in the long postwar era. Think of the roster of brand-name authors, from Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak and Beverly Cleary to Eric Carle, Judy Blume, Jacqueline Woodson and on and on. Or visit the section for new picture books at your local library or bookstore, where an ever-lengthening shelf of tomorrow’s classics brings together ingenious storytelling and dazzling art.

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Each Kindness written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis 2013 Awardee

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson 1996 Awardee

I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson 1995 Awardee

Texas Teen Book Festival Announces Lineup

Fierce Reads will present authors Mitali Perkins, and more. The Texas Teen Book Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, from 8:30am to 6:30pm at St. Edward’s University and is free to the public.

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Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins, illustrations by Jamie Hogan 2008 Awardee


This week, Disney is releasing a YA prose novel about one of Marvel’s most popular characters, Miles Morales. Miles is Spider-Man. Created by Brian Michael Bendis, Miles takes on Peter Parker’s mantle after his death in Marvel’s Ultimate universe in 2011.

Until this year, no author of color has consistently written Miles, a half-black, half-Latino kid from Brooklyn, New York. Penned by acclaimed YA author Jason Reynolds and with a striking cover illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Miles Morales changes all of that.

KADIR NELSON: I was excited to paint Spider-Man. He’s one of my favorite superheroes – certainly the first character I loved to draw as a kid. He kind of favors my 9-year-old son, so I was happy to create the artwork.

KN:I felt the character was very new to being a superhero and was feeling his way through it. Sometimes it’s a bit scary to try something new, especially for teens. Miles has very big shoes to fill, so that is why his expression is so serious. He’s hyper-aware of what he’s doing, and very present in the moment.

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Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson 2012 Awardee

The Village That Vanished written by Ann Grifalconi and illustrated by Kadir Nelson 2003 Awardee

Beauty, magic and sibling love – in three new books for young readers

In Forest World (Atheneum, ages 10 and up), Margarita Engle, the young people’s poet laureate, introduces readers to 11-year old Edver, as he returns to the Cuba he left as a baby.

The forest springs to vibrant life, thanks to Engle’s vivid descriptive images. Like Edver, readers will be fascinated by the bee-sized hummingbirds, butterflies like “miniature angels” and feathery ferns.

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Middle Grade: New Titles from J.K. Rowling, Margarita Engle, & More | August 2017 Xpress Reviews

Forest World by Margarita Engle

A novel in verse told from two perspectives. Eleven-year-old Edver is reunited with his family in Cuba after the reestablishment of relations with the United States.

This well-timed and accessible work of eco-fiction should readily find its way into classrooms and libraries as an opening to learning more about the familial ties between the United States and one of its nearest neighbors.

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Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle 2015 Awardee

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle 2009 Awardee

Tulisoma: South Dallas Book Fair

Tulisoma: South Dallas Book Fair returns on August 26, 2017, at The African American Museum in Fair Park. The event will feature more than 25 authors/illustrators for readings and book signings.

Literary icons Sonia Sanchez and Haki Madhubuti will featured as will Dr. Kenneth M. Hamilton, author of “Booker T. Washington in American Memory;” Carole Boston Weatherford, New York Times bestselling children’s book author; and Sanderia Faye, author of “Mourner’s Bench.”

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Birmingham, 1963 by Carole Boston Weatherford 2008 Awardee

Salut au Monde: Native American Story Telling with Joseph Bruchac

Organization: Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

Joseph Bruchac will present a 60 minute program on Native Indian storytelling. Sandi Brewster-Walker will speak on her story as a Long Island Native American and feature her book, “The Colored Girl From Long Island.” Q&A and book signing to follow. Free and Open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
“Make a Dream Catcher” Children’s Program to follow.

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Hensley co-chairs Power of Words

The 14th annual Power of Words conference will be held Aug. 18 through 20. The 2017 conference keynoters include Joseph Bruchac, storyteller, poet and author of books relating to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, and more.

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The Heart of a Chief by Joseph Bruchac 1999 Awardee

‘The Banana-Leaf Ball’ aims to teach children through play

When children’s book author Katie Smith Milway was looking for inspiration for her next project, she found a life lesson worth sharing in the form of a banana-leaf ball.

Made from twine and banana tree leaves, a banana-leaf ball can be as small as a softball or as large as a soccer ball, and is used as a homemade replacement for manufactured sports balls among East African boys and girls.

Through Right to Play, Milway forged a long-distance connection with former refugee Benjamin Nzobonankira from Burundi. She adapted Nzobonankira’s story of play with a banana-leaf ball for her latest children’s book “The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World” (illustrated by Shane W. Evans).

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Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2016 Awardee

We March written and illustrated by Shane W. Evans 2013 Awardee

Flint “booming in the literary world” as writers convene, commiserate, celebrate

The Flint Public Library, in collaboration with East Village Magazine and Gothic Funk Press, hosted the first ever Flint Literary Festival.

The event celebrated writers Kelsey Ronan, Rice, and Christopher Paul Curtis, all with Flint roots, and gave several local and regional writers a chance to share their work.

The festival ended with a reading from acclaimed author Christopher Paul Curtis, born and raised in Flint. Curtis attended the University of Michigan – Flint upon graduating from Flint Southwestern and worked 13 years in “the shop” at General Motors before quitting to write full time. Curtis has used the city as the setting for many of his novels, including Bucking The Sarge, Bud not Buddy and The Watsons Go To Birmingham-1963, which he said is his favorite work to date.

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Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis 2008 Awardee

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis 1996 Awardee

Basquiat is in songs, movies and on Uniqlo products, but not in museums

“One could argue that in the years since his death, Basquiat’s presence is more emphatic in popular culture and mass media than in art museums,” said Saggese.

There’s even a children’s book, written by Javaka Steptoe and called The Radiant Child, to introduce him to the next generation. “Children love him because his artwork and their artwork is similar,” says Steptoe. “He gives them permission to be what they are.”

Holman says his friend changed not only the art world, but street art and fashion.

“He’s given so many young people, especially young people of colour, in this city the license to believe that they could be important artists,” he said.

“He’s a hero to young people the way Warhol was to my generation.”

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Hot Day on Abbott Avenue by Karen English, with collage art of Javaka Steptoe 2005 Awardee

Choate Cabin recognized for its place in history

The historic 1867 Choate Cabin in Indianola is part of the Indian Territory and Oklahoma Statehood Settlement. Several local residents recently celebrated the cabin’s 150th birthday on Saturday, May 27, with a day filled with festivities and activities.

A follow-up evening event is being planned with guest Choctaw author, speaker and storyteller Tim Tingle who will unveil his painting of the Choate cabin and tell a story involving the Choate cabin as well.

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Crossing Bok Chitto: told in written form by nationally recognized Choctaw storyteller Tim Tingle 2007 Awardee

The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award annually recognizes children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.

Read more about the 2017 Awards.

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