Apr 18, 2018

Time for a Trip to the TROPICS! (Snow, Snow, Go Away!)

If the view from your window is anything like mine, you're appalled by the incongruity of the date on the calendar and the snow covering your world. Today's forecast here calls for even more snow, possibly five more inches! 
Whew, I'm back in control. Yes, I'm an adult. I know that the snow will disappear fairly soon and when it does, spring will burst forth with a vengeance. I'll welcome that with open arms, as will the rest of the midwest and east coast residents who, like me, want to see the last of this frozen precipitation.

I regained my perspective because of a virtual tropical getaway. Two new picture books provided a perfect antidote to the remnants of winter that are plaguing much of the country. 

NORTHSOUTH Books, 2018

For a satisfying virtual visit to the Caribbean, open the covers of THE FIELD.
Author  Baptiste Paul  grew up in St. Lucia, speaking Creole and playing with his siblings and neighbors at every opportunity. The spontaneous, free-wheeling, all-out "living in the moment" captured in this simple circle story lands the reader smack-dab in the scene: rounding up playmates, shooing the side-eye-ing cattle, and empathizing with every step, slip, slush, and GOOOOOOAAAAL along the way to exhaustion. The immersive experience of image, language (both English and Creole), and action make it clear that the author and illustrator, Jacqueline Alcantara, drew on densely familiar and memorable island life in their own experience.

DIAL Books for Young Readers
Then read and compare that with ISLANDBORN, written by Junot Diaz and Illustrated by Leo Espinosa. Young Lola lives in a dense but diverse urban neighborhood, one teeming with former islanders, people like her who once lived on the unnamed island on which she was born. Lola's intensity and sincerity in trying to complete her assignment, to draw the place she's originally from- a place she was too young to remember. 

Between the covers of both books you'll find such vibrant and energizing island life that you'll want to recommend them to readers via a sunny, island postcard. Both merit the attention of a wide audience, and kids will respond to both with exuberance that matches the stories and images on the pages.

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