Joffo, Joseph. (2013). A Bag of Marbles. Minneapolis: Graphic Universe.
Based on the 1973 memoir by Joseph Joffo, this graphic novel recounts and visualizes the true story of Joseph and his older brother Maurice’s dangerous journey from Nazi-occupied Paris to a free zone in which their other brothers reside. Through the use of watercolor and narrative blurbs, this visualization reads more like a comic and less like a picture book, however it does not make its contents any less endearing. By following the journey of these two young boys, not only does this book provide a visual experience for children who are learning about historical occurrences such as the Holocaust and WWII, but may appeal to those who also feel they are trying to find a way to be true to themselves while still trying to understand perceptions of their identity.
Thong, Roseanne. (2015). Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Written by the author of Round is a Moon Pie, this multicultural children’s book encourages there reader to find shapes in the different portrayals of food and objects of Hispanic origin. Not only is it great for children in learning shapes, but this book allows children to learn Spanish words such as paletas, masa, and sandia–encouraging an early learning of a second language. Scenes featuring different Latino traditions and cultural objects allow children to gain a greater understanding of the different cultures that not only are present within America, but all over the world. Bonus to this? There’s a glossary located within the back of the book that parents and children can utilize in order to look up the Spanish terms that occur throughout this bilingual piece of literature.
Beaty, Daniel (2013) Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream For Me. New York: Little Brown and Company.
This children’s book tells a powerful and moving story of a young boy’s growth into a man when his father does not knock on his bedroom door as expected. What makes this book so intriguing in the realm of diverse children’s books, is that it explores the emotions and strength development a child goes through when experiencing the loss or absence of a parent. Here I feel that loss and/or absence is interchangeable. When first reading this book, I interpreted the situation to be that the father voluntarily left the boy and his mother, and that he had either decided to write and send the response letter himself, or that the boy’s mother had written it posing as his father. But now I see that there are other interpretations that can be gained from this reading–perhaps the father died, was incarcerated, etc. It makes the story flexible so that children that are dealing with loss such as this can relate.
Sheth, Kashmira (2013) Tiger In My Soup Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers
When a young boy is left in the care of his older sister for the day, he asks her several times to read one of his favorite books that, as the reader can infer from the illustration on the drawn book and the boy’s description, is about a tiger. However, as the sister is preoccupied with her own reading, she refuses him for all the different times he asks. The boy then gives up, asking for lunch, and the sister provides him with a hot bowl of soup in which she does not notice the tiger rising from the steam–but her brother does, provoking a journey of survival and adventure. This novel does not only appeal to children who have ever been baby-sat by their older sibling, but reiterates the idea that although some children may not be able to read their favorite stories, illustration and imagination can be just as exciting, continuing to promote a love of reading.