11/7 – 11/13 Children’s Book of the Week: Yoshiko and the Foreigner

Yoshiko and the Foreigner
by Mimi Otey-Little
Though the main characters of this story are young adults, the story is very beautiful, and the heroism and fortitude in it make it something of a fairytale!

Yoshiko, a proper young Japanese woman, has been raised to never speak to foreigners – especially soldiers. But when a young American officer tries to communicate with a train conductor and can only say phrases like “You see, I’m a boiled cabbage!”, Yoshiko helps the young man in spite of herself in perfect English, and so their courtship begins. Yoshiko is worried what her family will think of the American, who has been dutifully studying Japanese ever since he met Yoshiko and wants Yoshiko’s family’s approval to marry her. Through the many gifts and acts of kindness the American shows Yoshiko’s family, he demonstrates his profound respect for their traditions and his love for Yoshiko.

The end page of the book is a black and white photograph of the couple’s actual wedding. A truly sweet, touching story about love, perseverance, and embracing other cultures and ideas. Best for kids ages 5 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

9/26 – 10/2 Children’s Book of the Week: Corduroy

Corduroy
by Dan Freeman 
In this classic, Corduroy, a precocious teddy bear in the toy section of a huge department store, misses his chance at a real home when a little girl’s mother points out that he has a missing button on his overalls. Anxious to be adopted by the right child, Corduroy sets off on a night time adventure to find his button. He climbs a mountain (the elevator), finds a palace (the furniture department), and even thinks he has found a sea of his buttons, all tightly fixed to the top of a mattress! Though Corduroy’s mission is cut short by the night watchman, he is delighted to find that the same little girl the next day comes back – and she’s going to buy him, even without his button, with her own money.

A sweet, classic story. Best for ages 3 -8.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

6/13 – 6/20 Children’s Book of the Week: Camille and the Sunflowers

Camille and the Sunflowers: a Story about Vincent Van Gough
by Laurence Anholt A Story about Vincent Van Gough
Vincent, a strange but enigmatic painter, has just arrived in town – and Camille and his family are the only ones who don’t want to drive him out of it. Vincent doesn’t have any money or friends, but Camille and his family are kind to him. In return, Vincent paints them, the town, and even the sunflowers Camille gave him when he first arrived. Everyone finds Vincent’s paintings very strange and won’t buy them, but Camille thinks they are beautiful. Though Vincent must leave Camille’s town, Camille and his family are touched by the strange painter’s presence, and he in return by their unique kindness in a town full of hostile people.

A lovely story, based on some facts of Van Gough’s actual life. Though there is no mention of the ear incident, there is a very subtle allusion towards the end that might be fun for parents to spot. This book even has a little biography of Van Gough on the back flap. Beautiful book!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is a composer, writer, lyricist and children’s book author.  She founded Booksicals in 2009 to encourage a love of reading through the arts.  Too Many Visitors for One Little House is Susan’s debut picture book ~

4/25: Children’s Book of the Week; The Duchess of Whimsy

The Duchess of Whimsy
by Randall de Seve
illustrated by Peter de Seve
The Duchess of Whimsy is very particular about how things are done on her turf. Her friends must be fascinating, her clothes must be extraordinary, and food served must be the the most fabulous in the kingdom! In her court, there is no room for the hum-drum–which is too bad for the poor Duke of Norm, who the Duchess has dismissed as boring and plain, but who adores her nonetheless. One day though, the Duchess’ chef gets sick, and while the rest of the court goes digging for truffles, the Duke of Norm goes off and makes himself a nice grilled cheese sandwich. The Duchess in awe of the simple concoction, and wonders if there if something to this ‘ordinary’ business after all!

Illustrated by the famous New Yorker artist and author of the best-selling Toy Boat, this quirky love story is a “charming tale…This is a sure winner and a nice break from routine princess stories” (School Library Review), and I’m inclined to agree!

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the Founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts and the author of the book
Too Many Visitors for One Little House ~