So please send me a brief review of a favorite book or a quick story about an idea you have or a super cool program you had, or a really great thing a kid said and we'll put it in the blog.
After the Cooperative Children's Book Center announced their Charlotte Zolotow Award, which is given to honor the best text in a picture book, I was even more excited to read the award-winner, which had been getting quite a bit of critical acclaim already. I wasn't expecting to love the book quite as much as I did. A Different Pond, by Bao Phi, illustrated by Thi Bui, is a gorgeously illustrated book about a Vietnamese American boy and his father on their pre-dawn fishing trip. I loved the matter-of-fact way the story dealt with both the loving relationship between the boy and his father (and the rest of the family, for that matter) and with the immigrant experience. The fishing trip is not recreational--they need the fish so they can have dinner that night. The book doesn't skirt around the economic challenges the family faces, or about the difficult losses they have faced, but they are all described as a regular part of a life that also includes close family ties, good food, and plenty of chances for a young child to participate in the life and work of the household. And the illustrations are so beautiful, they make me want to learn more about how to describe illustrations!
This book is a little long for storytime, but I would absolutely recommend for reading aloud to older kids, for just about any display (Midwest authors! Lakes! Fishing! Families! Fathers!), and for recommending to families and teachers.