Nov 10, 2012

Read to Connect

Stories not only connect us with people, places, and symbols that are familiar and remind us of home, stories broaden our worldview by inviting us into the lives of others.  Travel back in time with these kids to learn about communism, explore other cultures, and best of all, have a dangerous adventure (or two):

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Lui and Andres Vera Martinez
In this graphic memoir, Liu takes us back to China after the death of Chairman Mao when she was just a small child.  In eight short stories, Liu concocts schemes to collect rat tails and rid China of pests, learns what her relatives ate to escape starvation (it’s gross!), and tells us the myth of the New Year’s dragon. 

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin
Sasha is about to become a Young Pioneer—a high honor for a ten-year-old boy living in the Soviet Union—when his father is arrested in the middle of the night as a traitor.  Sasha is left homeless and unqualified to become a Young Pioneer.  With his world turned upside down, Sasha is no longer sure Stalin is his hero…now he has choices to make.
(Sasha’s story is a great introduction to the Cold War.)

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis
Peter Sis was born in Czechoslovakia on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.  Find out how he risked his life, rebelling against the Soviet Union to achieve his dream of becoming an artist.

This picture book is full of beautiful illustrations that allow us a peek behind the Iron Curtain into Peter Sis's childhood.