White Ravens: International understanding

487 books      

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1995 - 46
McKay, Hilary
The exiles at home
London: Victor Gollancz, 1993.
ISBN 0-00674644-6
(Paperback: London: Lions/HarperCollins, 1994. 173pp)
Siblings - School - Africa - Charity - Grandmother - Elderly
This is an engrossing and well-paced family story in the excellent British storytelling tradition. The four Conroy sisters, aged between thirteen and six years, have not changed a bit in this sequel to the Guardian award-winning title The Exiles (1991). The thread running through the narrative revolves around the girls' efforts to acquire £10 month after month to send to a 10- year-old African boy whose education the girls have decided secretly to sponsor. They get involved in numerous escapades by sitting for the baby next door, selling packed lunches at school, robbing the postbank, selling their mother's books, or gardening for an elderly couple. Each of the girls has a distinctive personality within the family, and alone or together their actions and idiosyncratic reasoning ensure the reader one laugh after another. (9+) ☆ ☼
(Overall winner, 1994 Smarties Award)

India (English) - 1995 - 48
Kapur, Jusum (text)
Sumaty, N. (illus.)
Stories from Ladakh
New Delhi: Indus/HarperCollins, 1994. 112 p.
ISBN 81-7223-115-6
Ladakh/Folk tales - Greed - Love - Cleverness
This is a collection of nine long tales from a district in the northern-most province of India. While the names and places are distinctly Indian, the morals of the stories are universal. Alongside the human figures, talking animals play a notable role in most of the tales. While the good or evil character of the protagonists plays a certain role in the development of each tale, twists of fate, whim or chance luck sometimes lead to surprising outcomes. Some tales, such as that of the three brothers who inherit equal shares from their well- intentioned father, will call to mind the morals of well-known folk tales, while others help to illuminate Indian thinking and life. This is a well-written volume which will enrich any folk tale collection. (8+) ☆

India (English) - 1995 - 49
Mitra, Rathabali (text)
Harichandan, Deepak (illus.)
Kalapani
New Delhi: Children’s Book Trust, 1993. 64 p.
ISBN 81-7011-656-2
Andaman Islands - Nicobar Islands - Holiday
This book is essentially a non-fictional social geography of India's Bay Islands which stretch over 900 square kilometers in the Bay of Bengal between Burma and Indonesia, but the factual information is framed within a fictional story about an Indian family visiting the islands on holiday. The children's questions throughout the four-day ship journey and on the islands help them to learn about the many animals they encounter, the sea- and landscapes, the tropical rain forest, endangered species and even the historical background of an infamous prison which is now a National Monument commemorating the struggle for Indian independence. This travelogue reads very smoothly and entertainingly, allowing the reader to absorb a wealth of information. A number of pen-and-ink illustrations depict the Indian family's sightseeing stops. (8+) ☆ ☼
(Second Prize, Natural History category, WWF/CBF Competition)

India (English) - 1995 - 50
Stories from Premchand
New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1986 (repr. 1994). 112 p.
(Madhuban Supplementary Readers)
ISBN 0-7069-8228-2
India/Hindi/Short Stories - Human nature
Munshi Prernchand (1880-1936), a school teacher, was one of India's most important Hindi writers in the 20th century, but his works have not been easily accessible in English. His over 300 short stories deal in particular with the common people and injustice. Though these ten tales are gathered in a supplemental educational reader for young adults and are followed up with several comprehension questions, the narrative style and content of the stories warrant their being made available more widely. Each one deals with a key event in the life of a child, of a family or among friends, by force of which a small kernel of life's wisdom - about friendship, love, rivalry, hypocrisy, or reconciliation - becomes clearer to those involved. Prernchand's style is descriptive, even somewhat flowery, and filled with lively dialogues; yet it is easy to follow and suitable for the intermediate reading level. (12+) ☆ ☼

Ireland (English) - 1995 - 51
Parkinson, Siobhán
No peace for Amelia
Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1994. 215 p.
ISBN 0-86278-378-X
Ireland/World War I - War - Ireland/Easter uprising - Friendship
Decisive personal decisions in the lives of two young men (and their families) in Dublin in the spring of 1916 are depicted here in alternating chapters from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old Quaker girl, Amelia Pim, and that of her friend, the household servant, Mary Ann. While Frederick, Amelia's best beau, has patriotically signed up in the British army to fight in the Great European War, Mary Ann's brother, Patrick, is a Volunteer for the cause of Irish independence. The author skillfully uses this constellation to present two types of armed struggle and show how the different positions taken depend on the individual positions in life. The characterizations are strong and convincing, the interjection of historical facts into the plot judicious. This suspenseful sequel to "Amelia", which was short listed for Ireland's Bisto Book of the Year Award, will leave the reader most eager for the next sequel. (12+) ☆

New Zealand (English) - 1995 - 52
Barnett, Rosalyn (selector)
Bowics, Trish (illus.)
Sun days & moon nights
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1994. 63 p.
ISBN 0-90806-98-2
New Zealand/Short Stories/Anthology - Folktales/New Zealand - Everyday Life/New Zealand
This anthology of ten stories for young readers and read-aloud storytelling ranges from light-hearted adventure tales to episodes of family life to special moments in a child's life to folk and fairy tales. Underlying each story are elements of human nature such as greed or ambition or the human condition which require learning to appreciate differences. The water-color illustrations enhance the volume with humor and imagination. Some of the stories have Maori characters and vocabulary, while others could be set almost anywhere on earth, making this a volume attractive to school and library collections around the world. (6+) ☆ ☼

South Africa (English) - 1995 - 53
Randall, Isobel (text)
Sothoane, Zacharia (illus.)
Busisiwe's bicycle
Mazini: Macmillan Boleswa Publishers, 1993. 30 p.
ISBN 0-333-59103-8
Africa/Rural life – Grandparent/Grandchild – Dream/Bicycle – Child/Money
A young Black girl's dream of owning her own bicycle seems unattainable until, with the help of her grandfather, she earns money by selling vegetables from her own garden. When her little brother needs to be hospitalized, she instead gives this money to her grandparents. Again raising money with handmade toys to be sold in the big city, the dream is finally fulfilled after a long wait. The ambitious black-and-white pencil sketches on each page of text realistically depict the steppe-like rural landscape and the very simple life-style of the farming family in a manner which may appeal to the child's eye more than the eye of the professional art critic. This is an authentic story of rural Africa which draws on everyday life rather than on folk-tales or social problems. (7+) ☆ ☼

South Africa (English) - 1995 - 54
Robson, Jenny
Mellow Yellow
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1994. 138 p.
ISBN 0-624-03297-3
Cape Town/Street life - Orphan - Reading - Friendship - Survival
For several years the abandoned child and runaway. Mess (nicknamed Mellow Yellow), has been fending for himself in the streets of Cape Town. He survives through his association with a gang of street kids, whose teenaged leader, Space Gun, who sets down strict rules that give order to their lives. Mess's dream, his life-motivation, is to learn to read in order to understand the piece of green paper, the key to his real identity, which he wears hidden in a tin box around his neck. One day on a whim he asks a posh schoolboy, Henry, at the train station to teach him to read and through their ensuing friendship ultimately finds his grandfather. Henry's encounter with Mess and the street gang brings about dramatic changes in each of their lives and leads to a happy end in this fast-paced, compelling novel. (12+) ☆

USA (English) - 1995 - 55
Arnold, Katya (adapt./illus.)
Knock, knock, Teremok! A traditional Russian tale
New York: North-South Books, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 1-55858-329-7
Diversity - Co-existence - Story in verse
One after another eight different animals, each seeking a new home, join a fly who has taken up residence in a wooden hut, a teremok. But when the bear tries to fit in, too, he causes the roof to collapse on them all. The humorous, repetitive text is composed in a sing-song manner, ideal for reading aloud and letting young listeners participate. In a note for adults Arnold mentions that she also sees her text as an allegory of the collapse of the socialist ideal, which she also eludes to with a portrait of Lenin in the teremok. The illustrations are a cumulative collage of bold water-colors with contrasting black outlines perfectly supplementing the text. (4-7) ☆ ☼

USA (English) - 1995 - 56
Dorris, Michael
Guests
New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1994. 119 p.
ISBN 0-7868-00477-X
Identity - Family conflict - USA- /lndians/Whites/Friendship
Opening oneself to new knowledge, finding the answer to "who am I?", the power of cultural patterns and expectations are the underlying themes of this fictionalized historical novel. Key experiences in the lives of a young Indian boy and Indian girl are set against the background of one of the first significant encounters of their Indian tribe with white English colonists (possibly the Plymouth Rock colony in 1620). The narrative explores both the clash between the two cultures, the impatience of a young boy who yearns for acceptance into adulthood and the turmoil of a young girl of the same age who wants to escape the female role expectations she soon will be forced to fulfill. The Indian way of life is portrayed as one of respect for nature and for the tribe's long-standing traditions; and both are linked by the wisdom passed down through oral storytelling. Though it covers only one day, the highly readable narrative includes a series of encounters between persons and generations in the village and the natural surroundings to portray the adventure of growing up in those days in a compelling manner. (10+) ☆ ☼

USA (English) - 1995 - 58
Freedman, Russell
Hine, Lewis (photos)
Kids at work. Lewis Hine and the crusade against child labor
New York: Clarion Books/Houghlon Mifflin, 1994. 194 p..
ISBN 0-395-58703-4
USA/Children/Work - Social Reform - Hine, Lewis (1874-1940)
This is in fact two stories of differing scope, but inextricably bound up together and excellently related by one of the USA's leading authors of non-fiction. On the one hand, the social, political and economic conditions which led to the appalling exploitation of millions of children between three and sixteen years of age by industry and commerce in the 19th and 20th century is an aspect of social history which has received little attention up to now. The courageous efforts of individuals and organizations to engender moral indignation and legal barriers against this form of child abuse makes up the other side of the story. In 1908 Lewis Hine became an investigative photographer in the service of one of most important causes of his time and undoubtedly contributed to the gradual progress in this area of social justice. Using dozens of Hine's moving photos on full- page spreads throughout the book, Preedman smoothly interweaves the course of this still incomplete social reform movement and Mine's own biography in a highly readable and unforgettable text. (10+) ☆

USA (English) - 1995 - 60
Kurtz, Jane (text)
Lewis, E.B. (illus.)
Fire on the mountain
New York: Simon and Schusler, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 0-671-88268-6
Folktale/Ethiopia - Cleverness - Rich/Poor
As is common to all folktales, this brief story describes an aspect of human nature, a conflict of interests, its resolution. Here a greedy rich man takes pleasure in lording over his servants until he is challenged by a young shepherd boy who speaks the truth instead of kowtowing to the boastful, haughty master. The boy wins a wager with the master, who however refuses to pay the agreed price until the boy's sister and the other servants jointly outwit him, finally risking to show their defiance and demand for justice. The well-drawn watercolor illustrations set the tale in rural Ethiopia, giving the reader a glimpse into another way of life. (6+) ☆ ☼

USA (English) - 1995 - 61
LʹEngle, Madelaine
Troubling a star
New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1994. 296 p.
ISBN 0-374-37783-9
Antarctica - Ecosystem - Love - Friendship
Many of the story elements which characterize LʹEngle's young adult novels are present here once again: intelligent, upper class protagonists; strong, unusual individuals belonging to an older generation; scientific topics; mystery and a touch of romantic love. Sixteen-year-old Vicky is given the opportunity to join an excursion to Antarctica where a young man whom she is very fond of, is completing a research internship. But some other members on her ship are involved in high- level political intrigue and crime. Due to her connections, Vicky is suspected of knowing too much. Once again LʹEngle succeeds in weaving a story of suspense around a wide cast of characters caught up in a challenging situation. At another level, this suspenseful, fictional story allows her to comment on the current real-life political wrangling over a vast undeveloped continent which can effect the world's environment and safety. (14+) ☆

USA (English) - 1995 - 62
Lewis, J. Patrick (text)
Spirin, Gennady (illus.)
The frog princess
New York: Dial/Penguin, 1994. 32 p.
ISBN 0-8037-11624-9
Fairy tales/Russia - Frog/Princess/Curse
These exquisite, finely detailed illustrations in rich dark pastel tones portray the opulence of the tsar's court and immeasurably enhance this Russian folk tale about Vasilisa the Wise. Commanded to marry whoever finds the arrows they shoot out, two of the tsar's sons bring home wealthy, but otherwise ordinary women. But the third son returns home with an ugly frog, whom he nonetheless must marry. When the tsar sets the three brides various tasks, the two ordinary women make fools of themselves while Vasilisa is able to work wonders overnight, much to the delight of the tsar. The prince, however, nearly loses her forever when he secretly burns her frog skin before the curse has been broken. Only his persistence and the help of animals whose lives he spared enable him to return with his bride from the Kingdom beyond Blue Kingdoms. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1995 - 65
Bolden, Tonya (ed.)
Johnson, Charles (forward)
Rites of passage. Stories about growing up by black writers from around the world.
New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1994. 208 p.
ISBN 1-56282-688-3
Blacks - Racial discrimination - Self- discovery
The syntax, vocabulary and content of these seventeen stories is uniquely rooted in the so-called black experience without making them any less universal, inspiring and entertaining for readers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. The manifold effects of belonging to a minority which collectively has been economically and socially disadvantaged for so long are sometimes blatant, sometimes quite subtle elements in these poignant and finely tuned tales about crucial moments in the process of coming of age, of learning to see the real world from a new perspective. This international anthology includes authors who grew up and still write today about contemporary life in North America, Latin America, Africa, England, or Australia. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1995 - 66
Robinet, Harriette Gillem
Mississippi chariot
New York: Atheneum, 1994. 117 p.
(A Jean Karl Book)
ISBN 0-689-31960-6
USA/Racism - Friendship - Father/Prison
In this story about one hard-working black sharecropper family suddenly caught up in the wheels of injustice, racism in rural Mississippi in the 1930s is depicted realistically but without bitterness. The protagonist, twelve-year-old Shortning, is quite capable of recognizing and verbalizing his disadvantaged situation but seeks anyway to get his father released from the chain gang. By chance he saves the life of a white boy, Hawk, who begins to recognize his own prejudices and misconceptions of blacks. Though they are each still bound by strict social conventions. Hawk helps Shortening succeed in his plan. The solid plot and natural, honest dialogues create an authentic, gripping story of resilience and solidarity in the face of adversity. (10+) ☆

Austria (German) - 1995 - 67
Egli, Werner J.
Nur einer kehrt zurück
(Only one will return)
Wien: Ueberreuter, 1994. 192 p.
ISBN 3-80000-2407-1
Eskimo - Polar Bear/Hunt - Death
Three Eskimos set off on a polar bear hunt. The American girl, Angie, a visitor in the village, involuntarily joins up with them. The hunt goes badly and two of the men die in the drift ice, the third one can be rescued but is seriously injured. While the young white girl successfully battles against death with all her remaining strength, the Eskimo men give themselves up to fate with a certain resignation. The dramatic events of this novel are thrilling up to the last page. The reader gets a glimpse into the ethnological aspects of Eskimo life and learns the differences between white and Eskimo culture in terms of their attitudes to life and death for man and animal. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1995 - 70
Kusterer, Karin (text)
Edita Dugalic (text)
Heimat ist nicht nur ein Land. Eine bosnische Flüchtlingsfamilie erzählt
(Home is not only a land. The story of a Bosnian refugee family)
Wien: Dachs, 1994. 127 p. With maps and tables
ISBN 3-85191-007-9
Bosnia/War - Refugee/Germany
The Bosnian Edita Dugalic (now 17 years old) lives with her family in Germany. In this book she relates her experiences of war in the former Yugoslavia, her childhood in her hometown of Zvornik on the Drina River - which is not lost to her - and her escape, the confusion. Her contacts to her friends in Bosnia with whom she went to school - whether Serb or Muslim children - are not broken off. This book deserves particular attention not only because of its current relevance - about which the media is full of necessarily one-sided and short journalistic reports. Here is a report of the personal experiences of younger and older people, completely lacking in sensationalism. They try to understand and survive their involuntary entanglement in the catastrophe of war. There is no mention of the gruesome acts which happened and are still happening, only of the wish of the civil population to live in peace in their homeland. The editor and co-author has included notes of history-making dates and geographical names. (12+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1995 - 71
Recheis, Käthe (text)
Holländer, Karen (illus.)
Wolfsaga
(The wolf saga)
Wien: Herder, 1994. 507 p.
ISBN 3-210-25075-8
Wolf- Dictatorship - Utopia
The great black wolf Schogar Kan, stronger than all the other wolf leaders, wants to create heaven on earth for his pack. He wants there to be only one great pack of wolves whose lives and survival is to be ensured with force against the rest of nature and other animals. He tolerates no opposition. Fighting and war crop up in Arcadia. Nonetheless or precisely because of it, the dictatorship must fall. His negative utopia of life, based on despotism, stands in contrast to the traditional, nature-given rules and to Waka, the eternal laws of creation. Schogar Kan is not conquered by counterforce, but rather loses his power through the gentle art of persuasion of a weaker one. In this narrative the author portrays the laws which nature herself has created. The animals decide for or against anti-nature and violence in the form of the great wolf and bear the consequences of their decision. Kathe Recheis impressively presents a mighty question here. With her protagonists of her saga of the natural world she dreams of an ideal, and above all of an achievable ideal world. (10+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 73
Abdel-Quadir, Ghazi (text)
Buresch, Bettina (illus.)
Das Blechkamel
(The tin camel)
München: Klopp, 1994. 110 p.
ISBN 3-7817-0109-3
Arabia/Tribal culture - Poverty - Technology - Community - City life
Samira is one of the Arab children who live in the tin-roofed hovels on the edge of a large city, near the garbage dumps. Hence the stories her grandmother tells about life years ago seems like a fairy tale. Their tribe had been affluent, there were camels, goats and chickens for them all. And although the children didn't go to school, when they grew up they knew how to get along in life, This was the way it was until the civil engineers watered the wasteland around the village, spreading artificial fertilizer and claiming ever greater portions of the harvest for themselves. Tribal disputes broke out among the neighbors, and the survivors were finally forced to move to the cities. That was how their impoverishment began. For all their greed, the members of the tribe had not listened to the warnings of the wise elders, but instead destroyed nature and hence their own life by the misguided use of technology. With tangible sadness, but without bitterness, the author tells a realistic story as a piece of fiction. The text also represents the possibility for acquainting children with socio-cultural aspects of life without writing a "problem book." (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1995 - 75
Belli, Gioconda (text)
Erlbnuch, Wolf (illus.)
Schwarzer, Anneliese (transl. from Spanish)
Die Werkstatt der Schmetterlinge
(The Workshop for Butterflies)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1994. 40 p.
ISBN 3-87294-607-2
Creation - Butterfly - Imagination
For the "maker of all things" there exists from the creative point of view certain limitations: the animal and plant kingdom must remain strictly separate from one another. There is no place for a "tree that sings like a bird...or.. a bird that lays apples instead of eggs...". And yet, young people in particular have their dreams. Rodolfo wants to invent a creature which "is like a bird and like a flower at once." In memory of his grandfather, the inventor of the rainbow, he composes the wings of this creature from grains of pollen and then gives it legs and a body with a long tongue so that it can feed itself from this pollen. He calls it Butterfly and invents butterflies for all regions of the world. Even the Wise Old One, a mother figure like those in the creation myths of primitive peoples, impressively appearing in a huge scarlet gown, is enchanted by this unexpected beauty. The young inventor is given permission to summon together a jury of all creators to decide about the necessity of a separate workshop for the butterflies. The story is fully of fantasy and intelligence, the text (which is not available in this form in Spanish) holds an exotic type of brilliance; and Eribruch's pictures are as fascinating as ever. Seriousness and caricatural humor intersect with one another also at the formal artistic level. Inspite of the naturalistic portrayal of figures and objects on the page, the artist sensitively and accurately conveys the atmosphere of the both tedious and pleasurably creative task of designing. The large-sized, prize-winning book deserves all the attention it will receive. (6+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 76
Boie, Kirsten
Erwachsene reden. Marco hat etwas getan
(Adults talk. Marco has taken action)
Hamburg: Oetinger, 1994. 100 p.
ISBN 3-7891-3108-3
Right-wing radicalism - Society/Violence - Murder - Germany/Foreign residents
Friends and classmates, teachers, school principal, neighbors, social workers, pastor and mayor talk here about the "Marco case". Their comments range from "no comment" to wordy statements, more or less precise, more or less burdened with self-reflection and the question of adult guilt in regard to Marco's behavior. Marco killed two people, Turkish children. Those witnesses questioned name the places of other recent murders, such as Mölln and Solingen. Even Marco had spoken aloud about the possibility of a similar deed, but no one paid attention to him - as had been the case throughout his childhood. To achieve just that, namely to achieve recognition, he took action. There was also a group of youth in this small, unpossessing place, who wanted to distance themselves from the deeds of Mölln and Sollingen with a chain of lights. But when the asylum seekers arrive, problems between the local residents and the foreigners arise. Using a very adept narrative technique the author brings in all the usual arguments and pseudo-arguments about the issue of enmity toward foreigners. Based on an isolated incident, the social setting for the potential origins of misanthropic and xenophobic acts become better understandable. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 81
Hetmann, Frederik
Reise bis zum Ende der Welt. Aus dem Leben des Robert Louis Stevenson
(Journey to the end of the world. The life of Robert Louis Stevenson)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1994. 281 p.
ISBN 3-473-35138-5
Stevenson, Robert Louis/Biography
Ever since childhood Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis. In this fictive biography he confesses his remedy against the disease to his stepson, the narrator: try to imagine a journey that one wants to make at all costs. In fact Stevenson did succeed in drawing out the deadly course of his illness until his 44th year through many changes of climate and location. In this biography Hetmann combines fictitious passages with original texts by Stevenson, including those from the lesser known homo politicus. The reader experiences the birth of the novel "Treasure Island" as a joint idea of Stevenson and his stepson. Both enjoyed combining their fantasies of adventure and observations of unusual contemporaries into a story which the adult writes while the youth spurs it onwards when it begins to slacken. Precise biographical research and detailed portrayals of Stevenson's places of residence endow the book with a convincing atmosphere. (10+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 82
Kordon, Klaus
Die Zeit ist kaputt. Die Lebensgeschichte des Erich Kästner
(Time out of order. The life story of Erich Kästner)
Weinheim: Beliz & Gelberg, 1994. 224 p.
ISBN 3-407-80729-5
Kästner, Erich/Biography
Thirty-seven years after the appearance of Kästner's famous autobiography "When I was a little boy" (German ed. 1957) Klaus Kordon puts the life of this writer into its cultural-historical context. He reflects on Kästner's writings using the current knowledge of personality psychology and doesn't stop short of chipping away a little at the Kästner monument. The political events of the first part of this century, which by now are thoroughly documented, are referred to in statements by those alive then and in photographs of Kästner's encounters with them. In a generally more rational tone than is usually expected of Kästner admirerers, Kordon makes a vehement case for a rediscovery of his socially critical works, which especially in Germany have been seriously neglected in favor of his children's books. Kästner is still highly regarded as an author of political texts in other countries. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1995 - 85
Schins, Maric-Thérèse
Wagner, Stefan
Budweg, Peter
Vergitterte Jugend. Innenansichten aus dem Jugendknast
(Youth behind bars. Inside a juvenile detention center)
Recklinghausen: Bitter, 1994. 173 p.
ISBN 3-7903-0515-4
Youth/Criminal behavior - Prison/Youth - Writing
The author, translator, teacher and journalist Marie-Thérèse Schins and two students got involved with the inmates of a juvenile detention center in the hopes of furthering reading and writing skills. With this program she hoped to give even the functional illiterates there a sphere in which young criminals would be able to name and deal with their own difficulties. Some of those interviewed were even prepared to participate in the newly founded reading club in the center. Some, such as the co- author Wagner, a young gypsy, recognized writing as an opportunity to develop a feeling of inner freedom even in a non-free situation. In general the work with the inmates took place on a friendly level. The author contributes her own texts in this volume; the inmates began to interest themselves for their own life only after they had begun to write about their feelings and thoughts. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1995 - 87
Tschinag, Galsan
Der blaue Himmel
(The blue heavens)
Frakfurt a. M.: Surkamp, 1994. 177 p. With glossary
ISBN 3-51840596-9
Tuva Autonomous Region - Nomads/Mongolia - Everyday life/Mongolia - Dog - Family life
A Tuvinian child - the Tuvinians are a Mongolian tribe - learns how to behave without actually being raised. At least that is how it used to be. The word "education" is not part of the Tuvinian language. Children learn the rules of behavior for specific situations as part of a group; everything else is learned by listening, observing, imitating and helping. The most important beings in the life and surroundings of the young narrator are his "grandmother," an unknown older woman who came once upon a time into the tent village. Ail, and stayed on because the child "chose" her and they no longer wanted to part, and the dog Arsylang, leader of the pack and their faithful companion, "my brother-instead-of- a-brother" as the author calls him. The climax and end of this narrator's childhood is a long hard winter which the little family barely manages to survive along with a very few of their herd. For the dog Arsylang the new period, with its technical possibilities, brings a fateful danger when he eats the poison that the father sets out for the maraurading predators. The boy threatens to succumb to his despair over his dog’s death and in a dramatic protest he turns to the highest Tuvanian healer, the Gük Deeri, the "blue heavens", who gives the book is double-meaninged title. The enormous force of the text lies in its long "inner wind," which challenges the imagination and con- veys the rhythm of tension and restfulness in the life of the Ail. The author of this autobiographical memoir, Galsan Tschinag, was born into a Tuvinian family of nomadic animal-herders in the Mongolian People's Repubulic in 1944. He studied German in East Germany between 1962 and 1968, and wrote this novel in German. In 1992 he was awarded the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize in Munich. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1995 - 88
Tuckermann, Anja
Muscha
(<Proper name>)
München: Klopp, 1994. 218 p.
ISBN 3-7817-2080-2
Germany/History 20th century - Sinti (Gypsy) - Racial persecution
When he entered school in 1938 Josef, called Muscha, was confronted with the Nazi contempt for human life and racial hysteria. Betrayed by his physical appearance, he is beaten up, teased, and finally taken away and sterilized by doctors. His parents are able to save him just before deportation and hide him for many long months in a lonely garden house. Only at the end of the war does he learn that he was a child of gypsies and had been taken in by a foster family. Muscha's story is told from the perspective of another school boy and the reader, as Muscha himself, is kept in the dark about the real grounds for his suffering until the end of the novel. Only in an epilogue does it become clear that the story of Muscha is absolutely authentic. (B.S.) (10+) ☆

Switzerland (German) - 1995 - 91
Hauff, Wilhelm (text)
Čapek, Jindra (illus.)
Die Geschichte von Kalif Storch
(The story of Caliph Stork)
Zürich: bohem press, 1994. [36] p.
ISBN 3-85581-271-3
Metamorphosis - Stork - Love - Modern fairy tale
Fairy tales involving metamorphosis are traditionally loved by children. In the tale of Caliph of Bagdad and his Great Vizir present themselves her in a new form. The illustrator gives them the unmistakable features of storks and men; he does the same for the magicians who give the impetus for the whole plot and are punished for their evilness in the end. Full-page illustrations reflect the splendor of the Orient and the expanse of its landscape. The generous type-setting is pleasing to the eye, delicate initial vignettes grace the beginning of each chapter. The large-sized book represents, without being designed at an unusual expense. Not only in content but also in its imagery, an imaginable Oriental world which is by tradition dedicated to leisure and pleasure. The splendor of the pictures upholds the childlike joy of reading and telling stories. The traditional figura- tiveness of the Orient appears at times cari- catural, surpassing the textual content of the story. In this way the frames obtain their own authenticity, which at once interprets and depicts the Hauff tale. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1995 - 95
Elzbieta (text/illus.)
Clown
(Clown)
Paris: Pastel/L ʹEcole des Loisirs, 1994. [28] p.
ISBN 2 211 018 94
Clown - Toy - Dream - Personal Property
In his dreams a young boy sees a clown dressed in white against an alternately dark yellow and an orange background. On the right side pages the text describes all the things he owns, on the reverse side it tells what he has lost. He had a pink rose ... it was eaten up by a sheep. He had a purple pair of pants ... the dog ran away with it. He had a nice red nose ... a blackbird snatched it off. But when the clown wakes up the next morning he finds all his treasures gathered around him. Vivacious and expressive drawings betray the illustrator's gentle humor. She has succeeded in creating an enchanting book for the very young reader. (2+) ☆

Canada (French) - 1995 - 99
Plante, Raymond (text)
L'étoile a pleuré rouge
(The star cried red tears)
Montréal: Boréal, 1994. 160 p.
(Boréal Inter 28)
ISBN 2-89052-613-5
Youth/Gang - Violence/Gang - Murder - Love - Friendship - Prostitution
Violence on the streets, violence for violence's sake among youth people is the theme running through this story. The author depicts 55 hours in the life of Guts, Yannick, Man, Big, their girlfriend Lori and the real hero of the story, Esther. The story begins with the preparations for a nighttime attack in a city park, to which Esther is by chance a witness, and ends with the murder of a member of the group. Reading like a slow-motion thriller, this novel is in reality a refined, masterful literary description of a state of being - without delving into the psychological background: for these youth there is no way out. The author succeeds with his picturesque sentences in creating an atmosphere of intensity. (13+) ☆

France (French) - 1995 - 101
Begag, Azouz (text)
Quand on est mort, c'est pour toute la vie
(When you're dead, its for the rest of your life)
Paris: Gallimard Jeunesse, 1994. 122 p.
(Page blanche)
ISBN 2-07-058425-9
Lyons - Algeria - France/Immigrant - Homelessness - Social power - Social injustice - Identity crisis
The first-person narrator of this young adult novel, Amar, is a writer. He is a "beur," the French name for the second generation of Algerian immigrants. His younger brother, Murad, is shot by a taxi driver because he cannot pay the fare for the ride to the airport. Murad had dreamed of flying to America. The reader sympathizes with Amar's desperation, which leads him to perform irrational acts in attempt to provoke the Lyons police. He wonders whether Murad's death was not prosecuted because he was a "beur." To get some rest Amad travels again to Algeria, the land in which he was not born and has not seen for thirteen years. Finding everything completely changed, he hastily leaves his family village. In an adventure-filled return trip by bus through the desert, he is a powerless witness to the undercurrent political fighting that is destroying the land. Police and spies are omnipresent. But nothing happens to him, the rich "beur." Amar observes the contradictions in this country, its inner conflicts. He would like to help, but feels that he doesn't fit in there. (14+) ☆
(Prix Cercle dʹ Or Livres Hebdo 1994)

France (French) - 1995 - 106
Dedieu, Thierry (text/illus.)
Yakouba
(<Proper name>)
Paris: Seuil Jeunesse, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 2-02-021478-4
Africa - Initiation - Lion hunt - Test of Courage - Peace Pedagogy - Non-violence - Self-discovery
Powerful, almost frightening black-and- white illustrations depict the story of Yakouba, a young African boy, who has the courage to resist the cruel tradition of his tribe. When the lion, whom he is to kill as the test of courage during his rate of initiation, begs him to be merciful, Yakouba grants his wish. He is thus faced with the social contempt of his people. As punishment he is appointed to a passive post as the guardian of the village herd. Yakouba has proven his courage in a different manner, by making a decision on his own and he receives a different kind of reward. From that time onward, the herd is never again attacked by any lion. Yakouba's courage of self-responsibility and non-violence were of benefit to the entire village. (7+) ☆ ☼

France (French) - 1995 - 107
Delval, Jacques (text)
Salut bahut!
(So long, old school!)
Paris: Castor Poche Flammarion, 1994. 195 p.
(Castor Poche Senior 445)
ISBN 2-08-162294-7
Trade school - Social inequality - Generation conflict - Theft - Friendship - Teacher - Solidarity - Lovesickness
Everyday life in the last year of a trade training school in a suburb of Paris forms the background of this story. The pupils are bored, have no goal, are easily seducible. The parents are unsympathetic. The inexperienced young teacher Bancourt, who actually had higher ambitions, stands helplessly in front of his first class. Yet he succeeds in getting the class on his side. He befriends Jed, who like him is searching for an identity. Jed becomes involved in a case of car theft, for which not he but his classmate Diellez is guilty. This novel ends with a glimpse of hope when Brancourt and Jed together attend to Diellez. The author, himself a teacher for many years, has a special talent for conveying the school atmosphere, poised between indifference and discipline, and the varying attitudes of the teachers. (13+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 110
Gutman, Claude (text)
Rue de Paris
(A Street in Paris)
Paris: Gallimard Jeunesse, 1994. 187 p.
(Page blanche)
ISBN 2-07-058265-5
Paris/World War II - Jews/Persecution - Homelessness - Palestine - Emigration - Search for identity
This is the last volume of a trilogy about the fate of Jews in France during the Second World War. David is filled with the desire for revenge when he learns the fate of his parents at the end of the war. He leaves Paris and the people who had given him a home. Searching for a new meaning to his life, he takes care of Jewish orphans, falls in love with Sarah, and follows her to Palestine on an adventure-filled crossing of Mediterranean by ship. But Palestine is still under British control. He experiences the hard and anonymous life in the refugee camps and kibbutz, the struggles against the occupying powers. In short, clipped sentences he tells of his bereavement, his anger, his sense of being lost, his inner vacuum. But he is drawn into the tumultuous events around him. His love of literature, his feelings for the totally committed Zionisten Sara, the solidarity of the comrades are highlights in the struggle for survival. In a final identity crisis, he decides to return to France. Claude Gutman grew up in Israel; his descriptions of the arrival of Jewish refugees and the precarious daily life in Palestine are most impressive. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1995 - 113
Pernin, Muriel (text)
Wintz, Nicolas (illus.)
Famine: l' arme des tyrans
(Famine: The weapon of tyrants)
Paris: Syros, 1994. 134 p.
(J' accuse...!)
State/Misuse of power - Oppression - Famine - Ukraine/History 1931-33 - Kosovo/History 1993 - Traveller's journal
This is one of the first titles in a new, daring and elegantly designed series focusing on human rights. The name of the series is taken from Zola's famous outcry "J' accuse!" in the French press on January 13, 1898. Its principle is simple. Two stories frame an extensive documentary middle section. In this case, the first historical report deals with the events in the Ukraine during a great famine in 1933, which was precipitated by the Soviet Union to gain access to power. The author draws on documents and eye-witness accounts of refugees in France and survivors in the Ukraine. The second historical report is a diary of a humanitarian aid project in Kosovo in 1993. Because the author succeeds in maintain a distance to the events being described, the reader is able to deal with the gruesome suffering in an objective manner. The elegant design of the volume contrasts with its content and weakens its effect to some extent. (15+) ☆

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 1995 - 117
Pef (text/illus.)
Je m' appelle Adolphe
(My Name is Adolf)
Paris / Genéve: La Nacelle, 1994. [42] p.
ISBN 2-88393-025-2
National Socialism – Hitler, Adolf - Peace/Pedagogy - Right-wing radicalism
Well-known in France for his humorous books, the author-illustrator Pef ventures to take on a serious subject, a treatment of his childhood memories during and immediately after the Second World War. Somewhere in France there is a boy named Adolf who bears a fatal resemblance to a historical figure. His easy-going parents have no time for him. He leaves home and goes alone into the woods where he meets a group of Neonazis having a wild party and a woman who survived the concentration camps. Both encounters are nearly fatal. Only when the old woman has explained to him the historical background does he begin to understand. This parable of the unreliability of memory, misleading appearances, and the necessity of passing on historical knowledge is consternating and foiling. The narrative seems to be fragmented, and little Hitler is a tragicomical figure. Nonetheless, or precisely therefore, it is a book which has a feeling of immediacy - enhanced by the style of the illustrations - and forms an important addition to the literature on this subject. (9+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 119
Alberti, Rossella (text/illus.)
Racconti dal Camerun
(Tales from Cameroon)
Pasian di Prato: Campanotto, 1994. 173 p.
(Campanotto Narrativa; 40)
Cameroon/Fairy tales - Cameroon/Fables
Due to its multifaceted environment and heterogeneous population, Cameroon is also known as "little Africa." It also has a literature based on a rich, oral tradition. Fairy tales, fables arid stories from this corpus have been gathered together here by Rosella Alberti and arranged in capitals subsumed under different animals. The last chapter deals with human stories. Quite understandably, typical African animals (turtles, hyenas) play major roles but as in other cultures they embody certain basic archetypes (e.g. good and evil) and behaviors. (8+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 121
Lazzarato, Franecsca (text)
Costa, Nicoletta (illus.)
L'esilio di re Salomone : storie, leggende e fiabe della tradizione ebraica
(King Solomon's banishment: Stories, legends and tales from the Jewish tradition)
Milano: Mondadori, 1994. 80 p.
(Fiabe Junior; 8)
ISBN 88-04-37722-4
Jews/Tales
These short, sometimes anecdotal tales, legends and stories on a variety of themes are derived from the rich Jewish storytelling tradition. Nicoletta Costa has contributed simple and happy, at times poetic illustrations. An appendix contains concise details of the history, cultural tradition and current situation of Jews all around the world. Among the volumes already published in this paperback series, which was initiated to acquaint young readers with tales of many different cultures, are also, for example, tales from Senegal, the Philippines, etc. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1995 - 122
Panini, Giorgio P. (text)
Atlante di Mitologia
(Atlas of Mythology)
Milano: Mondadori, 1994. 128 p. With illustrations
ISBN 88-04-38977-X
Mythology - Legend
This illustrated volume takes an unaccustomed glimpse at the mythology of various cultures and epochs by placing the mythological figures - the heroes - in the foreground. Two aspects of this work make it especially attractive: first, the term "myth" is interpreted so broadly that no only classic, e.g. Greek or Germanic, myths are included, but also new, literary ones, such as the heart-breaker Don Giovanni. (It would have made sense to include still-living myths of our modern society such as film stars). Secondly, the author has dispensed with a geographic or chronological order and instead arranged the figures of various origins together by theme or motif. This creates quite surprising cross-sections and allows interesting comparisons. For example, Achilles is to be found alongside Siegfried in the group of "the vulnerable;" and among the group of "those born in an unusual manner" one finds Orion and also Pinocchio. The volume is richly illustrated with pictures of art works, famous book illustrations, or scenes from films. Picture symbols make it easy for the reader to associate a figure with its origin. (14+) ☆

Italy (Ladin) - 1995 - 125
Rossi, Hugo de (text)
D'Este, Alessandra (illus.)
Chiocchetti, Fabio (transl.)
La ziriola de Saslonch
(The Nightingale of Saslong)
Vich/Vigo di Fassa: Istitut Cultural Ladin, 1994. [28] p.
(Conta Conties; 19)
ISBN 88-86053-08-8
Fairy tale/Italy/Ladin - Princess - Metamorphosis - Nightingale - Knight - Lovesickness - Unrequited Love - Death
A knight falls in love with a nightingale - in reality a princess who possesses the power of metamorphosis. The knight senses that something else is hiding within the bird, but because the princess does not reveal herself to him, his longings remain unfulfilled and he dies of lovesickness. Upon his death the princess loses her ability to change back into her human form. Hugo de Rossi, who did much to preserve the Ladin cultural heritage, wrote down this old tale in German at the turn of the century. The Ladin translation is graced with colored, naive illustrations by Alessandra d'Este. The publisher of this series, the Institute Cultural Ladin, has set itself the task of translating well-known and lesser-known tales and stories into the minority language of Ladin, thus making them available to a broader readership. (4+) ☆

Argentina (Spanish) - 1995 - 127
Shua, Ana María (text)
Dias Costa, Mariza (illus.)
Cuentos Judíos con Fantasmas & Demonios
(Jewish tales of ghosts and demons)
Buenos Aires: Shalom, 1994. 168 p.
Jews/Mythology - Fantasy
In writing the eight tales in this collection Ana María Shua let herself be inspired by stories, themes, motifs and characters from the rich Jewish oral tradition, such as the legendary and mysterious figures of the Golem or the Baalshem. On the basis of familiar folktales she has created new fan- tasy tales in order to emphasize what is un- usual and particularly Jewish about them. Various ghosts and demons are first intro- duced in a foreword and at the end of each tale, the author gives the details of the ori- gin and history of the content. An unusual book which introduces the reader to an unfamiliar, fascinating world. (12+) ☆

Mexico (Spanish) - 1995 - 130
Libura, Krystyna (text)
Burr, Claudia (text)
Urrutia, María Cristina (text)
De lo que contaron al fraile
(What they told the monk)
México: Tecolote: SEP, 1994. [32] p.
(Colección Ya verás)
ISBN 968-7381-06-X
Mexico/History - Aztecs
The series "Colección Ya verás" offers glimpses into various epochs and events in Mexican history. The editors and authors have turned to historical texts and pictures from the respective periods in order to make their portrayals as authentic as possible. In this volume Aztec society is depicted on the basis of Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España by Bernardo de Sahagún. The book's content of short, adapted texts from the original, accompanied by illustrations from the Codex Florentinus. As in the other volumes of the series, only some of the historical highlights can be presented, but an interested reader will be stimulated in any case to find out more about the subject. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1995 - 136
Lindo, Elvira (text)
Urberuaga, Emilio (illus.)
Manolito Gafotas
(Manolito Four-eyes)
Madrid: Alfaguara, 1994. 136 p.
(Manolito Brillenschlange)
ISBN 84-204-4856-7
Madrid - Family/Boy - School - Everyday life/Metropolis
Manolito Gafotas, a clever youth living in a not so posh suburb of Madrid, has an energetic mother, an eccentric grandfather, good friends, a little brother he calls "Imbecile", an overworked school psychologist and, above all, lots of things to tell about. He passes through life with his eyes and ears wide open, snapping up words adults use and endowing them with his own meaning, telling the reader about his experiences and thoughts as best he can. With staggering logic and a dry humor he depicts the various episodes of his daily life in a style reminiscent of Goscinny's "Little Nick, " With Manolito Gafotas, the hero of a favorite Spanish radio program since 1987, the reader learns in an entertaining manner much about a child's life in a Spanish metropolis. (12+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 139
Janer Manila, Gabriel (adapt.)
Montserrat, Pep (illus.)
Això era un gegant
(That was a giant)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1994. [36] p.
(el sac de la Galera I sac de gegants; 1)
ISBN 84-246-4205-8
Spain/Catalan/Fairy Tale - Giant - Gargantua < Motif >
Renown Spanish authors and illustrators were commissioned to contribute to the series "el sac de la Galera", which intends to show how richly endowed the world of fairy tales, legends and myths is with giants, fairies, dragons and similar creatures. Each subseries focuses on one of these classic figures with adaptations of well-known themes such as the Catalan version of Rapunzel or, in this volume, a retelling of Gargantua. A short postscript gives the source and history of the motif as it is found in different forms in various countries. Its unusual design gives this new series a characteristic image and offers considerable reading pleasure. (6+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 1995 - 140
Luna, Marta (ed.)
Losantos, Cristina (illus.)
Cançoner de Nadal
(Christmas carol book)
Barcelona: La Galera, 1994. [28] p.
(la Galera popular; 16)
ISBN 84-246-1436-4
Christmas Carols/Catalan/Anthology
Each double-page spread of this volume presents a traditional Catalan Christmas carol. On the left side the verses, on the right side the illustrations pen-and-wash drawings which give a humorous interpretation of the text by means of witty associations with modern times. The book invites the reader to read and look, but also to sing and make music, since the two-part songs are reprinted in the appendix with music and guitar chords. What makes this small collection so unusual is the way in which it presents Christmas costums which are otherwise so often introduced in an unimaginative and traditional manner. The series "la Galera" received an honorable mention for the Prernio Grafico at the 1994 Bologna Children's Book Fair. (4+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 141
Jensen, Jørn (text)
Raagaard, Kirsten (illus.)
Spis din burger, Musa!
(Eat your hamburger. Musa!)
København: Forum, 1994. 24 p.
(Musa bøgerne)
ISBN 87-55 3-2108-9
Islam - Christianity - Eating habits - Foreigner - Tolerance
In this short tale for beginning readers about the Moslem child Musa and his concern that there may be pork in his hamburger, children are shown how to tolerate religious practices of other cultures without having to approve them ("We too have a God," says Susi. "He doesn't get involved in our choice of food.") The attractive black-and-white drawings, though making up a great portion of the book, are subordinate to the text. (6-8) ☆ ☼

Denmark (Danish) - 1995 - 144
Christiansen, Ole E.
Mimers brønd: opslagsbog om nordisk mytologi
(Mimers fountain: dictionary of Nordic mythology)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1994. 196 p.
ISBN 87-411-5744-3
Mythology/Northern Europe - Dictionary/Mythology
Anyone who craves to know exactly which figures are based on real historical and mythological material when they have finished devouring all the fantasy literature by writers from Tolkien to Hohlbein would be grateful for this little dictionary, if it were available in other languages. Whether one wants to know about Asgård, Midgård, Niflheim oder Walhall, the mysterious Ygg- drasil (well known to crossword puzzlers or players of the game "Categories") and its strange inhabitants Hugin, Munin, Garm, or whatever their names are, there are short entries included here for each of them. In an introduction one learns about the Germanic system of beliefs. The only thing lacking is more informative visual material. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Greenland - 1995 - 147
Maqe, Elisa (reteller)
Rosing, Jens (illus.)
Tunumiit mersertini oqalittuaat
(East Greenlandic children's stories)
København: Atuakkiorfik, 1994. 75 p.
ISBN 87-558-1040-3
East Greenland/Short stories/Anthology
The lack of literature for Geenlanders and their children is often complained of in the Danish press. Only a few books are being published in Greenlandic, an Eskimo language, leaving the children of Greenland dependent upon books in Danish. Thus the efforts of a few publishing houses which take an interest in Greenland's children's literature are to be commended. Even the dialect of East Greenlandic is given a place in this collection of folk tales for children. Because it is hardly spoken anymore, these eight tales, retellings of old fairy-tale like traditional stories, are also printed in West Greenlandic, Danish and English. Knowledge of the dialect had nearly disappeared; the only one able to pass down the dialect today is the farmer Elisa Maqe, born in 1916 and granddaughter of a shaman. The realistic, slightly grotesque illustrations by a Greenland artist retain the authentic landscape of these fairy tale-like episodes. (6-10) ☆

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 155
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Sprang Olsen, Ib (illus.)
Lilla Geo eller Flickan som kunde lura döden
(Little Geo, or the girl who fooled death)
Stockholm: Bromberg, 1994. 63 p.
ISBN 91-7608-652-6
France History 1900-1950 – Illegitimate child-Vitality
In this pleasantly short book one has all the world in a nutshell: love, death poverty, war, mercy, child-like hope, courage and good fortune. In so few pages the author unfolds, as in passing, a virtual Comédie humaine in which each episode is short story, an embryonic novel. The foil to a chunk of real family history in France, as befits our century, could hardly be more dismal than that against which Georgette, a child born out of wedlock and soon orphaned, makes her way into a secure middle-class existence. Stimulating and impressive are the illustrations - the work of an old master - which through their authenticity (he traveled to France especially for this purpose) take on an urgency that no reader, no child can escape The extremely reticent form of these black and-white pencil drawings are surprising for their concentrated atmosphere and dramatic force, which is enhanced in every sense by a nervous line of seldom found finesse, even by Spang Olsen himself. Turn-of-the-century atmosphere, cityscape, tender mother-love, but also human baseness even to exhibitionism in action (in the background, but clearly visible) - everything that makes the eye keen and the imagination winged is found in abundance on these few pages. (8+) ☆ ☼

Greece (Greek) - 1995 - 164
Manthopulos, Demetres (text)
Eieutheriu, Bangeles (illus.)
Meres tes Alkyones
(Frosty Days)
Athens: Psychogios, 1993. 204 p.
(Pankosmia neanike bibliotheke)
Handicap - Father/Son - Family life - Self- discovery
This novel deals with the problems of a youth who is handicapped, a topic which is seldom found in Greek literature. Bound to a wheelchair, Jiannis feels himself condemned to loneliness because he is different than the others. He lives entirely within the circle of his family and his burdened with the professional problems his father is having. After going to the country because the family doctor recommends a change of surroundings, Jiannis' whole life changes. Through his new friends and his father's professional success, he begins to have faith in life again. Returning home, be keeps up his contacts and decides he wants to make a success of his life. (12+) ☆

Iran (Persian) - 1995 - 170
Mohammadi, Mohammed (text)
Iravani, Sara (illus.)
Afsaneye Derakht-e-Khorma va Bozi
(The tale of the date palm and the goat)
Mashad: Astane Ghods, 1994. 16 p.
Folktale/lran - Date palm - Goat - Rivalry
This tale is one of the most ancient stories found in Persia's ancient Pahlavi language. A datepalm and a goat each compete verbally with the other to prove the superiority of his own abilities and usefulness. In the end the goat is considered the winner because he is able to move about, while the datepalm is bound to one place. The writer has taken the tale from an ancient manuscript which also appears in the background of each illustration of the book. He retells the Farsi version of the manuscript in a finely-tuned poetic prose. The illustrator enriched the text by incorporating significant elements of the story, key traditional colors and ancient motifs such as the symbol of the goat's horns in the illustrations, allowing the rea- der to become acquainted with ancient Iranian culture. (4-8) ☆
(Special Prize and Third Prize, Tehran International Biennale of Illustrators (TIBI), 1993.)

Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 9
Mizuki, Shigeru (text/illus.)
Emaki ehon. Yōkai no mori
(Emaki Picture Book. The Forest of Demons, Spirits and Ghosts)
Tokyo: Kogumasha, 1995.
ISBN 4-7721-0129-2
Demons - Spirits - Ghosts - Oral tradition/Japan - Folk beliefs/Japan
While making an excursion a young boy and girl enter the forest kingdom of demons and spirits. In a very entertaining manner his 280cm long fold-out book presents their helter-skelter encounters with 170 figures and beings who have their origins in Japanese folk beliefs and Buddhist beliefs of the soul and the afterlife, or were created by the author himself. The ethnological background of these figures iscommented upon in a supplemental booklet. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 12
Nasu, Masamoto (text)
Nishimura, Shigeo (illus.)
E de yomu Hiroshima no gembaku
(The Atomic Bomb of Hiroshima in Pictures)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. 84 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1265-4
Hiroshima - Atomic bomb - World War 2 - Nuclear Physics - Peace movement
The title tells the reader straight away that this is no easy reading. But whoever opens up this over-sized, oblong picture book will be overwhelmed by the splendid interaction between text and illustration and by their expressiveness. The reader will be filled with a desire to learn more about this event. The text provides a wealth of information about the Second World War, the atomic bomb, radiation damage, the world-wide escalation of nuclear armaments after Hiroshima, current issues about atomic energy and about the anti-nuclear energy and peace movements. This broad and diverse subject matter is given meticulous treatment, interspersed with drawings, tables and graphic art work to make it easily understandable by anyone. Parallel to the very well-structured text segments scenes of life in the old castle town of Hiroshima before, during and after the bomb was dropped, are depicted in full-page illustrations. In all these pictures floats the soul of a victim of the atomic bomb, accompaning the reader along the »stations of this ordeal.« With their diversity and simplicity the illustrations touch the emotions through their diversity and simplicity, allowing each reader a very personal experience. This informative book includes only drawing, setting it apart from most other documentary works based on photographs. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 13
Ochi, Noriko (text)
Masai, Kei (illus.)
Terifuriyama no somemonoya
(The Dyer of Terifuri Mountain)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1995. 138 p.
(Wandârando 12)
ISBN 4-03-540120-X
Colors - Plants - Nature - Japan/Fairy Tale
During an artistic crisis a young man takes refuge in the mountains in order to begin anew his work, colors and weaving. His efforts to win the beautiful colors of nature from plant sources are intensified when he makes the acquaintance of a young girl and her father, the »dyer of Terifuri Mountain«, who has a wonderous way of performing his craft. Through this encounter and by experiencing a festival of the mountain inhabitants in moonlight he develops his very own art of coloring which makes him famous. Finally he himself becomes known as the »dyer of Terifuri Mountain.« This fictitious fairy tale is marked by a sensibility to nature, the Japanese aesthetic, and illustrated with graceful, simple pictures. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 15
Ozawa, Toshio (reteller)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no mukashibanashi. Zen 5 kan
(Japanese Folk Tales. Vols. 1-5)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995. Each 368 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1324/5/6/7/8
Folk tales/Japan - Ainu/Oral tradition - Folk tales/Okinawa
The 301 tales collected here by the leading folk-tale researcher in Japan, T. Ozawa, give a comprehensive picture of Japanese folk tale tradition. In order to give todays's children this rich store of tales in its original form, this edition has been edited with a view to the ethnographical background and literary style of oral folktales. Furthermore, the local dialects have been trans-formed into standard Japanese and the rhythm of speech adapted to enable smooth-flowing story-telling. The tales are grouped according to the four seasons and excellently illustrated with pictures by the Hans Christian Andersen prize-winner Suekichi Akaba. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 17
Segi, Shinichi (text)
Kayama, Matazō (ed.)
Kokoro ni nokoru Meigabijutsukan. Zen 5kan.
(The Gallery of Famous Pictures. Vols. 1-5)
Tokyo: Kin no hoshisha, 1995. Each 48 p.
ISBN 4-323-02051/52/53/54/55-X
Painting - Children - Animal - Nature - Love - Pleasure -Mourning - Imagination
These five volumes contain all together 216 famous paintings from artists all over the world. The volumes are dedicated to the following themes which children are most concerned with: 1: Father, mother and child; 2: The world of animals; 3: Beauty and grace in nature; 4: Love, joy and mourning; 5: Wonderous world of dreams. This makes it easier for children to enter into the world of artistic painting. Short commentaries describe the artists, their works and the historical context. In volumes two and three the differences between the painting techniques and styles in European and Japanese art are given special emphasis. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 18
Tang, Yaming (text)
Yu, Dawu (illus.)
Saiyūki
(The Journey to the West)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1994. 69 p.
ISBN 4-06-132207-9
China - Buddhism - Ape - Demons - Adventure
The fantasy- comedy »Hsi-yu chi«, written in 1592 and recounting the travels of the monk Xuanzang to India in the 7th century, has been retold in this impressive artistic picture book. The dynamic protagonist of this classic Chinese work is the apeking, Sun Wukong, who was born from a stone. Endowed with supernatural powers, he even pushes his way into heaven where he is turned into a stone by Buddha. After 500 years he is freed by another monk whom he accompanies and helps to fight against demons who hinder believers making their pilgramage. This is a selection of the most popular episodes from the complete work consisting of 100 chapters, each accompanied by a short preface. (6+) ☆ ☼
(42nd Sankei Cultural Award for Children's Books & Publications - JR Prize, 1995)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1996 - 19
Yosano, Akiko (text)
Takabe, Seiichi (illus.)
Kingyo no otsukai
(The Gold Fish Couriers)
Tokyo: Kakusha, 1994. [24] p.
ISBN 4-906268-61-7
Goldfish - Help - Humor
Three brothers and sisters of a Tokyo family send their gold fish as couriers to another quarter of town. The fish are able to walk and speak like people, but possess all the characteristics of a fish. Thus they encounter all kinds of difficulties along the way, but are repeatedly assisted by friendly people. The notable illustrations by Seiichi Takabe for this naive-absurd story for children by the wellknown poet Akiko Yosano (1878-1942) contain a certain surreal humor in a commercial art style that was common in Japan at the beginning of this century. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 26
Deall, Alanna (text/illus.)
Kensani's Kite
Sandton: Mike Jacklin/Knowledge Unlimited, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 1-86839-374-7
Old Man/Boy - Friendship - Kite
An old man sits under a tree carving animal figures, peaceful but lonely. Then a little boy suddenly comes out of nowhere, flying a plastic bag as a kite. The two of them make it into a real kite and spend a mutually enjoyable day together. The gentle, poetic narrative is accompanied by pen-and-watercolor drawings which capture the character of the protagonists, their feelings and their immediate surroundings. The book is designed in an very attractive style. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1996 - 27
King, Georgiana (text)
Eloff, Friedel (illus.)
Zolani Goes to Yeoville
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1995. 48 p.
ISBN 0-624-03394-5
Father/Son - Friendship
When Zolani recovers slowly from a debilitating bout of measles, his mother decides that a change of setting would help him and decides to invest all her savings - instead of buying a cow - in making a visit to the father who works in faraway Johannesburg. Their weeks long stay there as subletters in the home of a white family makes an interesting experience for the boy used to living in a remote rural district. The peaceable relations between Zolani's family and their temporary hosts is portrayed without any moralizing overtone, and the everyday pleasures and misunderstandings make interesting reading. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Swaziland (English) - 1996 - 29
Leggat, Gillian (text)
Heerden, Marjorie van (illus.)
The Car with Three Wheels
Manzini: Macmillan Boleswa Puublishers, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 0-333-56004-3
Brother - Birthday present - Homemade toy
Musa wants to give his little brother a special birthday present, but he has no money. With considerable ingenuity - and some forbidden scavenging - he find enough scraps to make a red racing car. Not only does his brother find it the »best present in the world«, they both continue to collect odds-and-ends for future presents. Though this story is set in Africa, where pocket money may be scarcer than elsewhere, the idea that hand-made things are as valuable as store-bought ones, and a gift of the heart the dearest of all, is universal. The color or black-and-white full-page illustrations attractively capture the main events of this simple everyday story. (6+) ☆ ☼

India (English) - 1996 - 37
Jafa, Manorama (text)
Harichandan, Deepak (illus.)
Gandhi. The Man of Peace
Delhi: Ratna Sagar, 1995. 95 p.
ISBN 81-7070-194-5
Gandhi, Mahatma/Biography - Peace - War of Independence
A leading writer of children's books in India has carefully prepared this biography of India's and the world's most famous leader in a readable style, filling it with anecdotes and imagined scenes from Gandhi's life as a boy, a young lawyer in South Africa, and a political activist in the still British colony of India. Black-and-white sketches highlight important stations of his life. (10+) ☆ ☼

India (English) - 1996 - 38
Srikumar, A.K.
Malana
(<Place name>)
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1994. 152 p.
ISBN 81-7011-720-8
Mother/Son - Self-identity - Friendship - Family origins - Detective story
When his father dies, a English schoolboy discovers the secret of his mother's identity which his father had tried to hide from him. Determined to learn the mystery of his parent's relationship and find his mother, he travels with his butler and a school friend to the Himalayas. Their many adventures before finding the remote village of Malana, home of Jack's reclusive mother, make for a suspenseful story and a framework for getting to know one area of India. At last reunited with his mother, their future together or apart is left open. The problems and challenges of bi-cultural families makes up part of this interesting story. (12+) ☆

New Zealand (English) - 1996 - 39
Boock, Paula
Home Run
Dunedin: Longacre, 1995. 115 p.
ISBN 0-9583405-3-6
School - Outsider - Sport - Conformity
Byrony moves to Auckland and enters a new school. She is well-to-do, white, and clever in a school where many pupils are none of these. Tormented at first by her classmates, her efforts to win acceptance through conformity with their values results in a brush with the law. This is a thoughtful novel about two girls, united by their love for softball, who try to bridge class divisions through growing understanding and friendship. Boock is a prizewinning writer for young adults, and also for theater and television. She shows great insight into the problems of growing up in modern times, where individuals must struggle to chose the path that is right for themselves. (14+) ☆

Philippines (English) - 1996 - 41
Ventura, Sylvia Mendez
José Rizal
Metro Manila: Tahanan Pacific, 1992. 32 p.
(The Great Lives Series)
ISBN 971-630-000-X
Rizal, José/Biography - Philippines/War of Independence - Doctor/Biography
One of the Philippines's national heroes, José Rizal Mercado (1861-1896), a brilliant, promising young European-educated doctor came from a simple merchant family. Already as a young toddler it was clear that he was a gifted learner and when he was eleven years old his family arranged for him to go to a school run by Jesuit priests in Manila. These were turbulent times in the Philippines. The only years of relative peace in his life were those spent studying medicine in Europe, where he became a specialist in eye operations and fluent in many languages. Filled with love for his family and his land, he returned home in 1891 to practice medicine, teach children and help with the modernization of his village. When accused of inciting revolution because of his prominent position among his people, he was unable to flee in time to avoid execution, only a few years before the Filipino nation won independence from Spain. This is a moving story of a very exceptional individual, written in hagiographic terms but filled with historical detail. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1996 - 45
Hendry, Frances Mary
Chandra
(<Proper name>)
Oxford: University Press, 1995. 120 p.
ISBN 0-19-271712-X
India/Customs - Marriage - Family
At the age of eleven Chandra, a schoolgirl in modern-day Delhi, is married by her family to a sixteen-year-old boy, a distant relative whose traditional family lives in a remote rural area. All her dreams of a modern marriage with a boy she immediately liked vanish when he dies before she arrives at his home. But in accordance with tradition, a widow must remain in the family, staying out of sight, and work as a servant. And indeed this family is very hard on her. Chandra's spirit, however, is not easily broken, and she manages to escape from this cruel fate. Though her parents refuse to help her, her grandmother finds a way to enable her ultimately to start a new life in England. This novel touches the heart in its portrayal of a determined girl up against nearly insurmountable odds.The narrative is well-paced, the local color of the city and rural Indian life believable. Though not written by a native of India, the author has surely done considerable background research to create a sympathetic portrayal of the dilemmas of Indians torn between socially cohesive traditions and the desire for progress and individual happiness. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 55
Gilmore, Rachna (text)
Priestley, Alice (illus.)
Lights for Gita
Toronto: Second Story Press, 1994. [24] p.
ISBN 0-929005-63-5
Festival - Homesickness - Friendship
A young Indian girl whose family recently moved to the chilly northern climate of Canada excitedly looks forward to celebrating Divali, the Hindi celebration of lights in honor of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth who brings good fortune and prosperity to all throughout the year. Though the day turns out much differently than she expected, she makes another step toward accepting her new surroundings. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 61
Feelings, Tom
Clarke, Dr. John Henrik (intro.)
The Middle Passage. White Ships - Black Cargo
New York: Dial Books, 1995. [80] p.
ISBN 0-80377-1804-7
Africa/Slavery - North America/Slavery - South America/Slavery
The renowned US-American artist and professor of art, Tom Feelings, expresses the horror of the African diaspora - the transport of millions of black men, women and children into slavery in the New World - in 64 narrative paintings. Feelings captures here a world-shattering event while also giving expression to a highly personal experience. Leaving out any text captions helps to emphasize that this sin against humanity can only be fully realized at the visceral level. In an introduction he explains how he came to develop this project, while Dr. Clarke gives historical background to the forces that led to the slave trade. This is a highly recommendable work for showing young people that history is more than facts, illustration is much more than decoration. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1996 - 64
Hamanaka, Sheila (comp./intro.)
On the Wings of Peace. Writers and Illustrators Speak Out for Peace, in Memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
New York: Clarion Books, 1995. 144 p.
ISBN 0-395-72619-0
Peace/Anthology
This collection of contributions from 60 wellknown authors and illustrators from numerous countries of the world is dedicated to the people who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a terrible event which serves to remind us why we must work for peace. The written contributions are short texts about true or fictitious events or poems well-suited for reading aloud. Some speak to the mind, others to the heart, but all condemn war and its pain. The artwork includes every thinkable type of media. The pieces are excellently reproduced on full-sized pages. The book was put together with great care and dedication. It includes a valuable bibliography of resource materials on war and on conflict resolution for adults and for children, biographical notes on the authors and illustrators and step-by-step instructions for folding an origami paper crane. (6+) ☆

France (French) - 1996 - 117
Boudet, Robert (text)
Daniau, Marc (illus.)
Coups de théâtre
(Effects of Theater)
Toulouse: Milan, 1995. 150 p.
ISBN 2-84113-160-2
Theatre play - Self-experience - Group solidarity - First love - Intercultural understanding - Violence
A theatre group is established at a school and begins to rehearse. The peppy novel convincingly conveys the increasing fascination of the group with the play. The young reader will be able to identify with them easily. They speak his jargon and have the same daily problems - friendship, first love, puberty, complexes and self-experience, as well as cultural barriers with foreign-born classmates and an unsettling experience with youth violence. This book is part of the »Mille Passions« series, which covers a wide spectrum of themes, which young people are known to find interesting. Even notorious non-readers will find these up-to-date books to their taste. (12+) ☆

France (French) - 1996 - 122
Guyennon-Duchêne, Claudie (text/illus.)
Adéwi Komé, la nuit
(Adéwi Komé, at Night)
Orange: Grandir, 1994. [40] p.
ISBN 2-84166-005-2
Africa/Travel - Togo - Diary - Foreignness
The idiosyncratic southern France publishing house has specialized in graphically unusual artistic books. This African diary, too, rests on its exceptional design. Strongly impressed with her stay in Togo, a young artist rendered this into expressively painted sketches of effusive colorfulness, in which strongly repainted Polaroid photos and a rudimentary text composed of keywords are inserted. The visual immediacy with which the fascinating and often unsettling experiences are outlined will appeal to young readers. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 126
Piquemal, Michel (select.)
Vautier, Mireille (illus.)
Paroles de fraternité
(Words of Fraternity)
Paris: Albin Michel, 1996. 64 p.
ISBN 2-226-07135-0
Fraternity - Ethics - Anthology
To share, to give, to stand together - these are synomyms for fraternity or brotherhood. Saint- Exupéry said it with an image: we must throw a ladder out into the night. Abbé Pierre, father figure for all the homeless, has taken as the motto for his life: remember to love! All the authors who are represented in this anthology know of the mobilizing power of fraternity from a deep human experience. Whether Epiket, Tolstoy, Georges Brassens - they all express with a passion their dedication to fellow man in an impressive, personal style. Their words are not merely abstract appeals, but suggest possibilities for practicing the ideas of fraternity. That makes this collection of text so seducingly convincing. It can be a vade mecum for one's own life. The illustrations, done in the style of art brut, corresponding perfectly to the spirit and immediate appellative character of the texts. Reduced to their simplest form as heads, the figures have stripped off everything that would prevent an encounter with their brothers. Their ability to smile is as convincing as the expressivness of the texts. And the vivid, flat/broadly applied colors correspond to the message of the words. The sources of the text are given in an bibliographic appendix. This series also contains other recommendable anthologies. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 131
Vénuleth, Jacques (text)
Diet, Robert (illus.)
Les pierres du silence
(The Stones of Silence)
Paris: Hachette, 1995. 188 p.
ISBN 2-01-321311-5
Israel - Jewish-Arab Conflict - Palestine - Intifada - Mutism - Diary
In a psychiatric clinic in Jerusalem a young girl begins to keep a diary. As a Palestinian from an Arabic village in Israel, and hence a citizen of Israel, who goes to a boarding school in Switzerland, she has had trouble to admit her own identity. After experiencing a violent act of revenge by Jewish soldiers against the Intifada during a visit to her village, she had fallen mute from the shock. The reader follows her painful process of healing and self-discovery in the course of her diary. This highly literary work of fiction enables a deeper understanding for a conflict-ridden chapter in contemporary history. (13+) ☆
(Grand Prix du Livre pour la Jeunesse (for the manuscript) 1994)

Special Mention - France (French) - 1996 - 132
Weulersse, Odile (text)
Manaud, Jean-Luc (photos)
Aghali, berger du desert
(Aghali, Shepherd in the Desert)
Paris: Hatier, 1995. 62 p.
ISBN 2-218-03022-5
Sahara Desert - Touareg
The life and customs of the Touareg caught between tradition and modern demands is presented here through a fictitious tale about a young shepherd boy. High-quality documentary photos accompany the text. In an appendix further ethnographic information and explanations are provided. This is a new addition to the well-received series »Pali Mali« on modern ethnography. (8+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 134
Davico Bonino, Guido (ed.)
Lazzarato, Francesca (ed.)
Canottiere, Lorena (illus.)
Sartoni, Lorenzo (illus.)
Il Girotondo degle Spiriti Allegri. Fiabe di morte, santi e diavoli
(The Roundelay of Happy Spirits. Tales of Death, Saints and Devils)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 142 p.
(Tutto è fiabe)
ISBN 88-04-39879-5
Italy/Folk tales - Death - Devil - Demons - Saints
Traditional folk tales and legends from various regions of Italy have been gathered together in this collection and translated or retold in the modern vernacular. This book is one of a new series by the publisher Mondadori in which individual volumes group together stories by theme or geographical region, for example, tales about talking animals, tricksters and magicians, tales from Ireland or the tales of Native Americans. (8+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 135
Dell'Oro, Erminia (text)
Mariniello, Cecco (illus.)
La pianta magica
(The Magic Plant)
Trieste: E. Elle, 1995. 66 p.
(Le letture; 93)
ISBN 88-7068-751-1
Set in Eritrea, this is a story about a plant named Winta, which has magical powers. It can attract clouds and make the rain fall wherever water is especially needed. In the Spring of 1994 Winta is picked by an ignorant tourist and brought to Italy. A bird sets off to find it again. This book, a mixture of fairy tale, history and legends from Eritrea, is dedicated by the author to the children of this east African country as well as all the children who must endure the great sufferings of war. (9+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 138
Lazzarato, Francesca (adapt.)
Galloni, Adelchi (illus.)
La novantanovesima moglie del re. Fiabe e leggende della tradizione nigeriana
(The King's Ninety-ninth Wife. Traditional Tales and Legends from Nigeria)
Milano: Mondadori, 1995. 79 p.
(Fiabe Junior)
ISBN 88-04-39906-6
Nigeria/Tales - Nigeria/Legends
This is one of the titles of an exemplary paperback series which presents the tales, fables, and legends of various peoples and countries, providing the opportunity to look beyond one's own narrow (eurocentric) borders and discover and understand better foreign cultures. This volume is dedicated to the west African country of Nigeria, a land marked by the co-habitation of very different peoples, which has been in the public eye recently above all with negative headlines. Accompanied by colored illustrations, this volume collects myths of origins, animal tales and other brilliant short stories. In an appendix the reader will find supplemental information about Nigeria. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1996 - 139
Montanari, Massimo (text)
Luzzati, Emanuele (illus.)
Il pentolino magico
(The Little Magic Pot)
Bari: Laterza, 1995. vii, 118 p.
ISBN 88-420-4739-2
Food/History - Eating/History
The Grimms' fairy tale »The sweet porridge« prompted the author to write this stimulating and entertaining book which explores in 34 chapters the topics of food and eating, both of which have played a fundamental role in all cultures in all ages, whether in the creation myths, religious texts, cult rites, literature, in celebrations or in everyday life. Human history is in no small way a history of hunger and sacrifice, of surplus and of lust for eating. Massimo Montanari's texts offer a richly varied mixture of stories, documentation, myths, legends and historical accounts. The palette offers, among other things, stories of the tree of life, miracle stories from the Bible about the appearance of food and drink or the corn people myths of the Mayas. Furthermore other topics such as the land of Cockaigne, the discovery of the potato and the cocoa bean, table manners, seasonings and flavorings, beer and tortellini. It is remarkable how many connections and parallels in cultural history can be discovered. The book is enhanced by numerous colorful, vivid pictures in mixed media, primarily in pastel crayons and paper collages. The beginning of each chapter is graced with an original anthropomorphic initial letter. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1996 - 154
Meléndez, Francisco (text/illus.)
Núñez, Justo (text/illus.)
Aventuras de Mr. Boisset. Tomi-Kikansha. (Continuación de las aventuras de Mr. Boisset)
(The adventures of Mr. Boisset. Tomi-Kikansha. The Continued Adventures of Mr. Boisset)
Zaragoza: La Biblioteca de Lastanosa, 1995. [60] p.
ISBN 84-606-2132-4
Japan/19th century - Invention - Steam locomotive - Travel
The steam locomotive Tomi, the creation of the inventor genius Mr. Boisset - who landed in Japan after many adventurous travels - and his assistant Omuro, finds itself alone one day and sets off to discover the world. Tomi's travels are a wondrous journey through 19th century Japan, and end finally after crossing the ocean in California. Just like the naive, inexperienced locomotive, the reader will also be captivated by the fascination and peculiarities of Japanese life. Encounters with apes, washerwomen, a monk, a feudal lord and his samurai, a travelling Bunraku puppet theater, etc. join to make a many-facetted image. Francisco Meléndez, inspired to write this book during a study tour, has succeeded here in creating an exceptional story. Funny, richly detailed, imaginative pictures, different types of paper and illustration techniques, creatively used Japanese characters and a meticulously printed text form an original, artistically remarkable book that will appeal to youth and to adults. (14+) ☆

Argentina (Spanish) - 1996 - 163
Suez, Perla (text)
Rojas, Mara (illus.)
El árbol de los flecos
(The Tree of Scraps)
Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 1995. 54 p.
(Colección Pan flauta; 32)
ISBN 950-07-1018-8
Jews/Stories
This is a collection of five traditional Jewish stories which the author heard from her parents. They belong to the rich culture of orally transmitted story-telling among the East European and Oriental Jews. The stories are set in different epochs and in different places, such as Russia or Turkey. The fascination of these stories, reduced to their essential components, lays in the austerity of the language. The plain, almost reticent style is excellently matched in the wood-cut style black-and-white illustrations. (12+) ☆

Colombia (Spanish) - 1996 - 169
León Zamora, Aníbal Eduardo (text)
Meza B., Mariluz (illus.)
Sueño Aymara
(An Aymará Dream)
[Medellín]: Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, 1995. 247 p.
ISBN 770912798-3
Peru - Andean Highlands/Everyday life - Village life - Aymará/Everyday life
Set in a small village in the Peruvian Andes, this story focusses on a group of children belonging to the Aymará people, who live still today in the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and northern Chile. Described from the perspective of the boy, Basilio, this story of village life connects the past and the present in many short chapters. In this way the Peruvian author succeeds in creating a lively and authentic picture of everyday life of the Aymará, their traditions, legends, their religion and the way they see and understand the world about them. (12+) ☆

Venezuela (Spanish) - 1996 - 170
Rivas, Ivonne (text)
Savino, Irene (illus.)
El dueño de la luz
(The Lord of Light)
Caracas: Ekaré, 1995. [36] p.
ISBN 980-257-104-0
Venezuela/Warrau/Legend - Light - Creation myth
This book is based on a legend of the Warao, a tribe living in the area of the Orinoco Delta. It tells how light was given to the people who had lived in darkness and how it came about that the sun and the moon »circle the earth.« The short text is very poetic and forms a highly successful whole with the unusual illustrations. In these atmospheric pictures the focus is not on people but rather on the real protagonists of the story, darkness and lightness, night and day, reflected light, mirror images and water as the living space of the Warran. (8+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 185
Clausen, Jacob
Hjertebåndet
(Heartstrings)
København: Forum, 1995. 153 p.
ISBN 87-553-2358-8
Denmark/Germany/Occupation - Denmark/Third Reich/Resistence
The young girl Stine, who is an activist against Neonazism, discovers that her grandmother had an affair with a Danish SS-man who she later reported to the police when he returned from the war. Stine begins to reflect upon the German-Danish relationships, especially about Danish citizens of German descent. In this context of personal rela-tionships the problematic relationship between Denmark and the Nazi regime, which until now state officials have prefered to keep quiet, is revealed (exposed, uncovered) in an accessible form for the young reader. (12+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 1996 - 192
Nyholm (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Ilden
(The Fire)
København: Forum, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 87-553-2272-7
Canada/Indians/Fairy tales - Fire
The Indian tale about how man took fire from the wolves in order to keep from freezing and to be able to eat roasted food is told in humorous caricatur illustrations dominated by much movement. The illustrator has succeeded in developing an original draftsman-like style in her several picture books. (6+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 207
Sörenson, Margareta
Bakom vindsdörren
(Behind the Attic Door)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1995. 97 p.
ISBN 91-87804-75-1
Foreigner - Integration
The life a perfectly normal, average Swedish family is disrupted by an extraordinary event, the arrival of a refugee family from the Middle East. This book sensitively describes the problems and cautious attempts at becoming acquainted from the point of view of the little girl, Liselott, in simple words so that the young reader can easily identify with the goals of the book. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 2 (1)
Funazaki, Katsuhiko (text)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no shinwa. Zen 6kan. 1. Kuni no hajimari
(Japanese Myths. Vols. 1-6. 1. Origins of Japan)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 4-251-00821-9
Japan/Myth
Japan's mystical world of gods and goddesses according to the oldest extant chronicle, the »Kojiki« (Records of Ancient Matters), is retold here in a concise narrative, accompanied by painterly, highly aesthetic illustrations. The Kojiki, which were collected and written down in 712 at the wish of the Genmei Tenno, include both the origin myths of Japan and the genealogy of many gods and goddesses and their deeds. The illustrator Akaba, who is especially known for his Japanese painting style, bases his impressive, authentic pictures for the most important episodes in this epic on ethnological and cultural historical research. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements, such as tender blossoms, in ominous scenes, in order to create a harmonious balance. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 2 (2)
Funazaki, Katsuhiko (text)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no shinwa. Zen 6kan. 2. Ama no iwato
(Japanese Myths. Vols. 1-6. 2. The heavenly cave of Ama no iwato)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 4-251-00822-7
Japan/Myth
Japan's mystical world of gods and goddesses according to the oldest extant chronicle, the »Kojiki« (Records of Ancient Matters), is retold here in a concise narrative, accompanied by painterly, highly aesthetic illustrations. The Kojiki, which were collected and written down in 712 at the wish of the Genmei Tenno, include both the origin myths of Japan and the genealogy of many gods and goddesses and their deeds. The illustrator Akaba, who is especially known for his Japanese painting style, bases his impressive, authentic pictures for the most important episodes in this epic on ethnological and cultural historical research. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements, such as tender blossoms, in ominous scenes, in order to create a harmonious balance. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 2 (3)
Funazaki, Katsuhiko (text)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no shinwa. Zen 6kan. 3. Yamata no orochi
(Japanese Myths. Vols. 1-6. 3. The eight-headed dragon)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 4-251-00823-5
Japan/Myth
Japan's mystical world of gods and goddesses according to the oldest extant chronicle, the »Kojiki« (Records of Ancient Matters), is retold here in a concise narrative, accompanied by painterly, highly aesthetic illustrations. The Kojiki, which were collected and written down in 712 at the wish of the Genmei Tenno, include both the origin myths of Japan and the genealogy of many gods and goddesses and their deeds. The illustrator Akaba, who is especially known for his Japanese painting style, bases his impressive, authentic pictures for the most important episodes in this epic on ethnological and cultural historical research. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements, such as tender blossoms, in ominous scenes, in order to create a harmonious balance. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 2 (4)
Funazaki, Katsuhiko (text)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no shinwa. Zen 6kan. 4. Inaba no shirousagi
(Japanese Myths. Vols. 1-6. 4. The white hare of Inaba)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 4-251-00824-3
Japan/Myth
Japan's mystical world of gods and goddesses according to the oldest extant chronicle, the »Kojiki« (Records of Ancient Matters), is retold here in a concise narrative, accompanied by painterly, highly aesthetic illustrations. The Kojiki, which were collected and written down in 712 at the wish of the Genmei Tenno, include both the origin myths of Japan and the genealogy of many gods and goddesses and their deeds. The illustrator Akaba, who is especially known for his Japanese painting style, bases his impressive, authentic pictures for the most important episodes in this epic on ethnological and cultural historical research. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements, such as tender blossoms, in ominous scenes, in order to create a harmonious balance. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 2 (5)
Funazaki, Katsuhiko (text)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no shinwa. Zen 6kan. 5. Susanoo to Ookuninushi
(Japanese Myths. Vols. 1-6. 5. Susanoo and Ookuninushi <gods>)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 4-251-00825-1
Japan/Myth
Japan's mystical world of gods and goddesses according to the oldest extant chronicle, the »Kojiki« (Records of Ancient Matters), is retold here in a concise narrative, accompanied by painterly, highly aesthetic illustrations. The Kojiki, which were collected and written down in 712 at the wish of the Genmei Tenno, include both the origin myths of Japan and the genealogy of many gods and goddesses and their deeds. The illustrator Akaba, who is especially known for his Japanese painting style, bases his impressive, authentic pictures for the most important episodes in this epic on ethnological and cultural historical research. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements, such as tender blossoms, in ominous scenes, in order to create a harmonious balance. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 2 (6)
Funazaki, Katsuhiko (text)
Akaba, Suekichi (illus.)
Nihon no shinwa. Zen 6kan. 6. Umisachi Yamasachi
(Japanese Myths. Vols. 1-6. 6. Umisachi and Yamasachi <gods>)
Tokyo: Akane shobo, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 4-251-00826-X
Japan/Myth
Japan's mystical world of gods and goddesses according to the oldest extant chronicle, the »Kojiki« (Records of Ancient Matters), is retold here in a concise narrative, accompanied by painterly, highly aesthetic illustrations. The Kojiki, which were collected and written down in 712 at the wish of the Genmei Tenno, include both the origin myths of Japan and the genealogy of many gods and goddesses and their deeds. The illustrator Akaba, who is especially known for his Japanese painting style, bases his impressive, authentic pictures for the most important episodes in this epic on ethnological and cultural historical research. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements, such as tender blossoms, in ominous scenes, in order to create a harmonious balance. (8+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 6
Kitamura, Kenji (text)
Ishikura, Kinji (illus.)
Ginyanma tobu sora
(The sky where dragonflys fly)
Tokyo: Komine shoten, 1995. 327 p.
ISBN 4-338-10707-3
Japan/China/War - Militarism - Childhood memories - Everyday life
This autobiographical novel documents childhood memories of the year 1940 when an escalation of the long-term conflict between Japan and China had led to militarism, even in the schools and the playgrounds. Goods are becoming scarce throughout the country, but the children nonetheless find ways to live and play as children do, even in times of war. They believe the lies they heard, tell lies themselves, sometimes unhappily, sometimes regretfully. They are afraid, but they also become acquainted with goodness and this gives them courage in difficult situations. This subtle antiwar book, which will help to deal with the past, is written in a naturalistic style that allows the reader to find his own critical approach to war and its side-effects. (11+) ☆
(36th Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize 1996)

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 7
Lee, Sang Keum (text)
Hoashi, Jirô (illus.)
Hambun no furusato. Watashi ga Nihon ni itatoki no koto
(My other homeland. My childhood in Japan)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan shoten, 1995 (1993). 432 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1180-1
Japan/Koreans - Emigration - Family life - Discrimination - Homeland - Autobiography
When Japan was defeated in 1945, nearly 1.6 million Koreans returned to Korean homeland within a year. Among them was the author, 15 years old then, who had been born and raised in Japan. Her parents were both victims of the Japanese colonialists. In describing her family life in Japan the author shows great respect for her mother, who despite discrimination and bullying never lost her patriotic pride and human dignity. Though everyday life was trying, there were still moments when the author met upright, honest Japanese or found comfort in nature. So she still considers Japan to be half of her homeland. This work casts light on the questions of homeland and of injustice toward other peoples. The sensitively designed cover illustration with typical Korean objects and the sparse, realistic illustrations accompany the text. (13+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 10
Mizukami, Tsutomu (text)
Tsukasa, Osamu (illus.)
Nihon Ryôiki. Tôi mukashi no fushigina monogatari
(Miracle tales from old Japan. Buddhist moral tales)
Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1995. 198 p.
ISBN 4-00-113134-X
Japan /Folk tale- Buddhism - Retribution - Belief - Moral
Japan's oldest collection of Setsuwa (Buddhist moral tales), »Nihon Ryôiki« (also Reiiki), was written down between 810-824 by the monk Kyôkai. These legends describe amazing events which occur in connection with the Buddhist principle of causality (the consequences of good or evil deeds). The 41 stories selected and adapted here for young readers depict, for instance, people who are reborn as animals, or a dead man who is sent back alive to the world of the living by the ruler of hell, or a talking skull. The folk tales and matters of belief are presented in a didactic manner, having originally served to teach listeners how to live in harmony with one another. For today's reader their appeal lies less in the religious content than in the concise, clear and vivid descriptions and the elements of fantasy. In the end one realizes that the human nature has not essentially changed and that death is never far removed from life. (13+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 11
Saitô, Hiroshi (text)
Takabatake, Jun (illus.)
Gempei no kaze. Shirakomaki
(The storm between the tribes of Minamoto and Taira. The story of the fabulous white fox)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1996. 222 p.
ISBN 4-03-744210-8
Fox/Man/Transformation - Self-knowledge - Hero - War - Meaninglessness - Japan/Middle Ages
Driven away by its mother, a young fox makes its own way in the world. Having learned the art of shape-changing from hermits, he goes to live among people. As a man the protagonist becomes caught up in historical events of the Middle Ages (12th century) and encounters famous war heros. From a cool and distanced perspective, he analyzes the deeds of those heros, which appear to some extent meaningless from today's point of view. This novel is a combination of several genres, combining elements of historical narration, fantasy, folk tale and Bildungsroman. Sequels are to follow. (12+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 12
Sawada, Toshiki (text/illus.)
Afurika no oto. A story of West African drum & dance
(The sounds of Africa. A story of West African drum & dance)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1996. [35] p.
ISBN 4-06-207681-0
West Africa - Drum - Everyday life - Nature - Harmony
A goat-skin drum and dance are essential elements of west African culture. The making of the drum and its many uses in the everyday life of the African tribesmen is shown in this picture book, which uses the typical colors of the landscape. These pictures show how closely the lives of these peoples are related to their natural surroundings. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 1997 - 13
Sueyoshi, Akiko (text)
Fujikawa, Hideyuki (illus.)
Chi to ushio no ô
(The king of the land and the sea)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1996. 414 p.
ISBN 4-06-208015-X
Japan/Myth <Motif>- Quest - Love - Curse - Woman/Serpent/Transformation - Reconciliation - Gods
Saru, an orphaned boy travelling with a theater troupe of dwarfs, is asked by the priestess-queen of the land of Amaguni to find her daughter, Mio, who had been set out to die because of her weak physical condition. During his search, Saru also discovers the key to his own ancestry. After setting off on his quest, accompanied by a brave and clever dwarf girl, he encounters a tribal chief whose wife has placed a curse on their daughter, Nagisa, causing her to turn into a serpent every night, until the curse is lifted. To fulfill this double quest, he travels all the way to the bottom of the ocean, the kingdom of eternal life, where he finds Mio and Nagisa's mother, the daughter of the god of the sea. He succeeds in overcoming many difficulties and restoring harmony in both worlds. In this turbulent story, which contains elements of Japanese mythology, the author focuses in particular on the emotions of humans and gods regarding love. Through the detailed and colorful narrative, the reader is transported into an engrossing world of ancient times. This novel is a delightful rarity in the Japanese fantasy genre. (12+) ☆

Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 17 (1)
Gu, Jun (adapt.)
Tang, Yongli (illus.)
Caihui ben zhongguo minjian gushi: Hasake zu
(Colored treasury of folktales from China: The Kazakh people)
Hangzhou: Zhejiang-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1990. 45 p.
ISBN 7-5342-0786-x
China/Folktales/Legends - Kazakh - Daghur - Yao
In this extensive series, of which three examples have been selected here, folktales from the various regions of multiethnic China are represented. Each volume contains two richly illustrated stories from one ethnic group. Each volume is illustrated by a different artist. The traditional Chinese style of illustration art predominates, but some artists give their work individual touches, thus creating a new approach to the subject. In the appendix of each volume one finds additional information and pictures and photos which give further details about the ethnic group, especially their traditional manner of dress. (10+) ☆

Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 17 (2)
Ruo, Wen (adapt.)
Caihui ben zhongguo minjian gushi: Dawo'er zu
(Colored treasury of folktales from China: The Daghur people)
Hangzhou: Zhejiang-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1990. 45 p.
ISBN 7-5342-0780-0
China/Folktales/Legends - Kazakh - Daghur - Yao
In this extensive series, of which three examples have been selected here, folktales from the various regions of multiethnic China are represented. Each volume contains two richly illustrated stories from one ethnic group. Each volume is illustrated by a different artist. The traditional Chinese style of illustration art predominates, but some artists give their work individual touches, thus creating a new approach to the subject. In the appendix of each volume one finds additional information and pictures and photos which give further details about the ethnic group, especially their traditional manner of dress. (10+) ☆

Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 17 (3)
Yi, Chuan (adapt.)
Hu, Shourong (illus.)
Hu, Junrong (illus.)
Caihui ben zhongguo minjian gushi: Yao zu
(Colored treasury of folktales from China: The Yao people)
Hangzhou: Zhejiang-Shaonian-Ertong-Chubanshe, 1990. 45 p.
ISBN 7-5342-0783-5
China/Folktales/Legends - Kazakh - Daghur - Yao
In this extensive series, of which three examples have been selected here, folktales from the various regions of multiethnic China are represented. Each volume contains two richly illustrated stories from one ethnic group. Each volume is illustrated by a different artist. The traditional Chinese style of illustration art predominates, but some artists give their work individual touches, thus creating a new approach to the subject. In the appendix of each volume one finds additional information and pictures and photos which give further details about the ethnic group, especially their traditional manner of dress. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 20
Lin, Haiyin (text)
Guan, Weixing (illus.)
Cheng nan jiu shi 1-3: Huianguan de Xiaoguizi - Women kan hai qu. Lan Yiniang - Lü dagun'r. Baba de huar luole
(Xiaoguizi of Huianguan: We are going to the sea - The conkubine Lan - The donkey tosses and turns. Father's flowers are drooping)
Taibei: Gelin Wenjua (Grimm Press), 1994. Each 64 p.
ISBN 957-754-023-7 (-024-5/-024-3/026-1)
China/Short stories
In these beautifully drawn and well-told picture books, a six-year old narrator tells about people she met during her childhood in Beijing: a lunatic woman looking for her lover and her deserted baby, an orphaned girl forced by her foster father to earn money by singing, a thief who steals for his brother's sake. Each tale is an excellent characterization of human nature. The stories have been classics for adults and young people for many years in Taiwan. This picture book edition has excellent portrayals of people, well-researched attention to details of clothing and tools, and meticulous use of light and space to create perfect harmony with the text. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 22
Xai, Ruihong
Ashima de huisheng
(Ashima's echo)
Taibei: Shibao Wenhua (China Times Publishing), 1995. 149 p.
ISBN 957-13-1709-8
Marriage - Escape - Wizard - Echo
Based on a famous narrative poem found among the Sa-Ni peoples of Yunnan in southern China, this young adult novel tells the story of a beautiful young girl who is courted by many young men. When she turns down the landlord's only son, the landlord kidnaps her, but before the marriage can take place she is rescued by her brother. Angry and insulted, the landlord has a wizard invoke a storm which causes Ah-Shih-Ma to be lost in the mountains. When her brother and the villagers search for her and call her name, they hear nothing but an echo. This vividly descriptive narrative blends traditional poetry with modern language in an exquisitely designed volume. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1997 - 23
Xia, Zuli
Haijiao Tianya chiziqing
(The feeling of newborns on the other side of the world)
Taibei: Minshengbao (Min Sheng Daily), 1995. 185 p.
ISBN 957-8932-48-0
Parent/Child - Separation - Loneliness
During his summer holidays, 13-year-old Vi-Shin goes to San Francisco to study. His uncle's family treats him like a lodger. He senses the separation from his family, living in a country he knew only from movies and television. More and more Taiwanese parents are sending their children abroad, where they lead the lives of semi-orphans. Mean-while their parents must work very hard to afford this. Both sides wonder at times whether it is worth all the disadvantages. The implications of this practice are told in six realistic short stories. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Zimbabwe (English) - 1997 - 32
Alumenda, Stephen (text/illus.)
How Thopo became a great n'anga
Harare: Baobab Books/Academic Books, 1996. 30 p.
(Excl. dist. by African Books Collective, Oxford)
ISBN 0-908311-89-3
Homeless boy - Village life -Identity
Thopo is an orphan, »street boy«, an outsider in a Zimbabwean village where cultural rules and beliefs still play an important role. Brave and mischieveous, he resists all efforts to find him a family or send him to school, and is, of course, secretly envied by the other children. One day he even dares to challenge the village wiseman, the »n'anga«, the only person allowed to touch the sacred python Thopo has found. Thopo negotiates a deal with the n'anga, but soon disappears for several months. Then, to everyone's surprise, a new role is established for him in the village in a ceremony organized by the old n'anga. This is a contemporary folktale about real-life relationships which are governed by traditional beliefs and practices. The unity of story with the black-andwhite illustrations, typography and layout is quite striking. (8+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 48
Evans, Christine (coll.)
The blue moon and other stories from Wales
Dyfed: Pont Books/Gomer Press, 1995. 142 p.
ISBN 1-85902-228-6
Wales/Short stories - Everyday life
The tales collected here deal with events in the daily life of young people in Wales today. In some respects their experiences are universal, but at times the particular influence of their setting and culture shines through. Some of the stories are written in the first person from the perspective of an adolescent looking back at an event in earlier childhood. Some are melancholy reminiscences, while others reflect happy moments of understanding. (10+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 49
Hazell, Rebecca (text/illus.)
The Barefoot book of heroes. Great men from many times and places
Bath: Barefoot, 1997. 80 p.
ISBN 1-898000-38-7
Fame - Hero
The men profiled in this eclectic volume are praised for their genial achievements and their compassionate understanding of the human condition. Each of the vivid profiles is accompanied by a subchapter dealing with the historical and cultural context and a map on which the main places of their lives and times are clearly marked. The inclusion of outstanding figures outside of the European cultural tradition such as Prince Taishi Shotoku of Japan, Mansa Kankan Musa of West Africa, and Sequoyah of the Cherokee Nation is of particular significance. The texts are clearly written in a narrative which goes beyond a dry array of facts and is accompanied by appropriate, captioned watercolor illustrations. The author has already published a book on heroines with the same publisher. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1997 - 52
Touré, Masée
Bai Bureh's countrymen
London: Janus Publishing, 1995. 128 p.
ISBN 1-85756-189-9
Sierra Leone - Family - Small people - Power - Beliefs
The author of these three stories is a young adult born in Sierra Leone and now attending school in England. She draws upon her family background in the novella-length title story in which the power relationships of employers, religious leaders, healers, and politicians are observed by a young girl of great perceptivity and self-confidence. As she grows older - but like Oskar in Grass's »The Tin Drum«, not taller - she learns to use her observations and also becomes inspired by the legendary tribal chief Bai Bureh, a figure of resistence and integrity at the end of the 19th century. The author opens up the experiences and culture of an African people in a contemporary setting and her writing will be enjoyed for its vivid depictions and its detailed, well-paced plots. (12+) ☆

Canada (English) - 1997 - 61
Yee, Paul (text)
Chan, Harvey (illus.)
Ghost train
Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 0-8899-257-2
North America/Chinese - Father/Daughter - Dream - Railway - Death
A young Chinese girl, Choon-Yi, who possesses nothing but a talent to paint, follows her father to North America, where he works on laying the railway, only to learn that he was recently killed in an accident. In a dream he asks her »to paint the train that runs on the road I built.« He takes her on the ghost train and shows her the restless spirits of the many dead Chinese workers who long to return to their homes. Now her painting becomes filled with their faces in the train windows and she is ready to take them back to China.The exquisite paintings on these over-sized pages are done in sombe hues of brown which reflect the sorrowful, ghostly atmosphere of the story. The text conveys with feeling this part of the Chinese experience and the magical realism of the bond between the living and the dead. (8+) ☆
(Governor-General's Literary Awards [Children's literature - text] 1996)

USA (English) - 1997 - 64
Han, Oki S. (adapt./illus.)
Plunkett, Stephanie Haboush (adapt.)
Kongi and Potgi. A Cinderella story from Korea
New York: Dial, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 0-8037-1572-2
Korea/Folktale - Cinderella - Stepmother - Animals
Many elements of this very popular Korean version of Cinderella are identical to the Perrault version.The motherless girl's father ignores the stepmother's ill-treatment, but kind animals of the field and woods help her to fulfill her enormous workload and enable her to attend the prince's party. Later she is identified by the Korean-style slipper and marries the prince. Aside from the very attractively painted portrayal of rural farm life in Korea, the ending of the tale reveals much of Korea's cultural perspective: the stepmother and daughter repent of their wicked behavior and the new queen's steadfast goodness »helped her to serve her people well.« (4+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1997 - 68
Paterson, Katherine
Jip. His story
New York: Lodestar/Dutton, 1996. 181 p.
ISBN 0-535-67543-4
USA/History 19th century - Slavery - African - American - Identity - Friendship - Quaker
Found abandoned as a small child on a country road in Vermont, Jip grows up on the town poor farm along with other social outcasts. As a healthy and intelligent young boy he bears responsibility for the handicapped and for the farmwork, receiving no recognition or even the chance for schooling. One day a stranger shows particular interest in Jip and his family origins. When at last Jip learns that he is the son of a runaway slave and her white master, who has now discovered Jips whereabouts, he receives help from Quaker neighbors to flee to Canada via the »Underground Railroad«, a secret escape network. In her usual skilful storytelling style, Paterson weaves a suspenseful tale with a cast of interesting characters against a realistic historical background. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1997 - 102
Siege, Nasrin
Shirin
(<Proper name>)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1996. 147 p.
ISBN 3-407-79698-6
Germany - Foreigner - Muslim - Outsider - School - Friendship
When Shirin and her family move to Germany, she is one of the first Iranian children who has to adjust to a new life in a foreign land. She and her sisters experience all the difficulties of this situation - within the family, at school and in their free time. Her fellow pupils make her life so difficult, that she herself arranges to be enrolled in a different school. Things are further complicated by the fact that she is a Muslim, and her father very strictly religious. But finally she succeeds in feeling comfortable in her German surroundings, at the price, however, of no longer having a real homeland. This fascinating narrative is based on authentic experiences, written by an Iranian woman who has lived in Germany since her childhood and writes today in German. (8+) ☆

Cameroon (French) - 1997 - 112
Onana, Désiré
Matike, l'enfant de la rue
(Matike, the street child)
Yaoundé: Editions Akoma MBA, 1995. 24 p.
(Distrib: Les Amis de la Joie par les Livres, Paris)
City life - Poverty - Parental violence - Street child - Job training
Plain and memorable black-and-white stencil pictures illustrate this story of an African boy who runs away from home to escape the beatings of his father and family poverty. He earns his own keep on the street for a while until he is taken into a youth correction center. There he also learns a skilled job as a carpenter and finally returns to his home. This appealing picture book comes out of a studio in Cameroon which was founded by a group of African authors and illustrators who want to design and publish attractive and high-quality books for children. (6+) ☆ ☼

France (French) - 1997 - 120
Comte, Herbert (text)
Le Cabinet de Curiosité
(The curio cabinet)
Paris: Circonflexe, 1995. 90 p.
ISBN 2-87833-150-8
Curio - World travel
A collector opens up his curio cabinet to show what he has gathered during his world travels. One piece after the other is revealed in the photographs, while the text describes the origin, purpose and manner of acquisition with a sympathetic view toward the object and the people who made it. Many of them bear cultural significance, such as the little tablet of the Koran from Morocco, while others, such as the little fishbone wedge used for dog harnesses in Alaska, stimulate the imagination, or, like the spine of a shark from Mexico, highlight the exotic. For those who are willing, these many little objects open up the possiblity to encounter the pleasures of a multifaceted world. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 123
Douzou, Olivier (text)
Simon, Isabelle (illus.)
Autobus numéro 33
(Autobus No. 33)
Rodez: Éditions du Rouergue, 1996. [48] p.
ISBN 2-84156-023-6
Bus - Travel - Racial equality
The metaphor of the earth as boat in which we are all sitting inspired the illustrator to write this story about a little red bus which takes a journey around the whole world. Scattered throughout the continents are bus-stops at which a pair - in each case a human and an animal - are waiting for this modernday Noah's Ark. The photos of painted pottery figures portray the passengers, people of all races and ages in the company of an equally motley crowd of animals. The excerpts of a rudimentary world map help to give a geographical orientation. The humanistic message of this pretty little volume is quite subtle: there is no room for discrimination on this bus line. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 130
Korkos, Alain (text)
Truong, Marcelino (illus.)
En attendant Eliane
(Waiting for Elaine)
Paris: Syros, 1996. 75 p.
(Les uns les autres)
ISBN 2-841-46-321-4
Jews - Algeria/Pogrom 1934 - Emigration - Paris/Deportation 1942
The publisher has established a series of highly literary novels which treats the events of the most recent past and present involving breaches of human rights and violence in multicultural conflicts. The novels' protagonists are fictional, but their historical contexts are authentic. This particular novel deals with an Arabic Jew from Algeria, the last of his family, who lived through the waves of anti-semitic discrimination both in his homeland and in exile in Paris. Alone one rainy evening he recalls in a moving soliloquy the events that led to his parents' and sister's deaths in Algeria and Germany. The author weaves an epic tale on several levels and helps the young reader to keep on with the story even when the narration may engender only revolt, shock and pain. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 132
Merleau-Ponty, Claire (text)
Ballantine, Kevin (photos)
Sally et le voleur du rêve
(Sally and the thief of dreams)
Paris: Hatier, 1996. 60 p.
ISBN 2-7438-0055-0
Australia - Aborigines - Painting - Tabu - Cultural gap - Adventure
The story of the aborigines and their nomad culture are caught up in the history of Sally and her family. After a taboo regarding the unique paintings of the tribes is broken, the resulting intrigue is used to elaborate on the rituals, the legends of life's origins. The fragile existence of this culture is vividly depicted, located on the breaking point between tradition and modernity, threatened with perversion by tourism and greedy profit. Scattered throughout the narrative are authentic ethnographic photos which also have the charm of intimate family memories. The documentary appendix provides supplemental details and summarizes the Aborigines' problems. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 136
Nozière, Jean-Paul
Une sixième en accordéon
(The sixth-grade accordeon class)
Paris: Rageot-Éditeur, 1996. 92 p.
ISBN 2-7002-2364-0
Gypsies - Differentness - Integration - Squatters
Feeling like good samaritans, the children of a sixth-grade class prepare to welcome Zoltan, a boy whose gypsy family has become squatters in the town's run-down city hall. In minutely recorded scenes, Zoltan's perceptive benchmate describes the ultimate failure of their attempts at integration. Even the teachers, who admire his talent on the accordeon and are portrayed as being unprejudiced, are unable to deal with his differentness, expressed in apathy and reserve. In the end, protests from the citizenry lead to a solution of »he gypsy problem« when the police enforce their eviction. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1997 - 140
Sebbar, Leïla
La jeune fille au balcon
(The young girl on the balcony)
Paris: Seuil, 1996. 148 p.
ISBN 2 02 024800-X
Algeria/France - Family - Integration - Islam - Fundamentalism - Women's role
This ensemble of six tales gives a multifaceted perspective of the long-suffering and difficult relationship between Algeria and France. The fates of several persons are chosen to show the old and new wounds which stem from the colonial wars and years of immigration, from the current conflicts of identity and problems of integration, from the collision between modern times and religious tradition. The author, daughter of Algerian-French parents, gives a penetrating view of the current civil war in Algeria. Hers is the view of the protagonists and thus in immediate contact with the suffering victims. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1997 - 146
Lazzarato, Francesca (adapt.)
Galloni, Adelchi (illus.)
L'elefante di pietra. Fiabe e favole della tradizione indiana
(The stone elephant. Tales and legends from India)
Milano: Mondadori, 1996. 79 p.
(Fiabe Junior; 11)
ISBN 88-04-41545-2
India/Tales - India/Legends
The author continues her work of acquainting children with folktales from foreign cultures, choosing for this collection some of the most important traditional tales and legends of India. As usual, the anthology is supplemented by a documentary appendix consisting of concise and easily understood information and maps of the Indian subcontinent's history and geography, and in this way illustrating India's complicated religious and linguistic diversity, traditions, customs, and art styles for a better understanding of folktales. The text is complemented by watercolor illustrations which succeed in rendering the enchanting atmosphere of the Orient. (9+) ☆

Spain (Spanish) - 1997 - 159
Fraile, Ruth (text)
Alcover, José Luis (illus.)
Hamburguesa de mamut. Historia de la alimentación humana
(Mammoth hamburgers. The history of human nutrition)
Madrid: Ediciones de la Torre, 1996. 110 p.
(Colección Alba y Mayo; Serie Ciencia; 2)
ISBN 84-7960-079-9
Nutrition/History
This information book provides a short, entertaining outline of the history of human nutrition. It takes into consideration everything from the menus of our Stone Age ancestors to our present-day eating habits. Along with the historical developments there is also information about habits determined by climate or culture and practical tips for a balanced diet. Humorous color illustrations round out this informative book. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1997 - 188
Petersen, Palle
Najas sommer. En historie fra Grønland
(Naja's summer. A story from Greenland)
Risskov: Klematis, 1995. 32 p.
ISBN 87-7721-637-7
Greenland - Childhood - Everyday life
Greenland is a part of the world we should be interested in getting to know. But there are few books about life there. This photography book gives an interesting glimpse at the everyday life of a child in Greenland. (8+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 192
[En og tjue] 21 hundreår; Finn Graff <Initials>
(21 Centuries)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1996. 350 p.
ISBN 82-03-24119-0
Culture - Civilization/History 1 AD - 2100 AD
Twenty-one well-known and less well-known Norwegian writers have written a story fitting to each century - thoughtful, diverse and in every respect remarkable literary contributions for the coming millenium. (14+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 199
Sæther, Wera
Maisbarnebarna
(The grandchildren of maize)
Oslo: J.W. Cappelen, 1996. 54 p.
ISBN 82-02-15802-8
Guatemala - Maya - Corn
In this documentary report about the rural life of Maya children, the author presents the fate of the Maya peoples since the age of Columbus and also describes their traditional customs and myths. The photographs are not merely dry sources of ethnographic information, but convey a lively, atmospheric impression of the lives of these village children. (10+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1997 - 200
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Elling, Lars (illus.)
Forteljinga om jakta på forteljinga
(The story of the hunt for stories)
Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 1995. [44] p.
ISBN 82-521-4538-8
Writer - Reader
The enormous success of these picturebook makers with their art book for children, »Red, blue and a bit of yellow«, has encouraged them to take a shot at writers. Dedicated to »all the patient and helpful librarians of the world«, this book brings the youthful hero Henrik into contact with a series of famous writers as he searches for the library to get a new book for his uncle. In the end, Salman Rushdie gives him a blue-covered book and remarks that Henrik himself is the hero of the story he has experienced. The author skilfully fills the tale with the same mysticm that real literature uses to captivate its readers. (10+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 205
Gravitation. Berättelser om att bli stor
(Gravity. Tales of growing up)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 1995. 160 p.
ISBN 91-7712-4170
Growing up/Anthology
Seventeen renown Swedish authors, including Peter Pohl and Mats Wahl, write about growing up, about the suspenseful moment between childhood and the adult world. They draw either from their own experiences or depict fictitious fates - but in any case quite enthralling. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1997 - 241
Vijgen, Theo (text)
Nuyten, Peter (illus.)
Tipi's, totems en tomahawks. Het leven van de Noordamerikaanse Indianen
(Tipis, totem poles and tomahawks. The life of the North-American Indians)
Nijmegen: SUN, 1996. 183 p.
ISBN 90-6168-459-5
North America/Indians
The way Indians are depicted in many children's books is very remote from the truth: from good, noble folk to bloodthirsty savages. This book rectifies this prejudice by providing a clear history of the life of the North-American Indians from the very beginning, about 40,000 years ago. In words and pictures ample attention is paid to the Indians' everyday life, to the various tribes and their chiefs, and to the relationship between Indians and whites. The book concludes with a chapter on life in the reservations, and the current Indian protests with regards to territorial rights. A very full, informative and entertaining history which does full justice to the North-American Indians. (12+) ☆

The Netherlands (Frisian) - 1997 - 243
Tjerkstra, Willem (text)
Klazenga, Luuk (illus.)
De reizen fan Tsjam
(The voyages of Tsjam)
Ljouwert [= Leeuwarden]: Afûk, 1996. 42 p.
(Aksjeboek foar bern; 10)
ISBN 90-6273-524-X
Friesland/History - Imaginary journey
This is the first comic book in full color to originate in Friesland. The protagonist, Tsjam, is a special child, for he was born with a helmet on his head. With his one eye, he is able to spread confusion. He wants to go to the sea and ends up in different times, in ancient folk tales which have to do with the sea. With Bruno and Sakso he travels to the north of the Netherlands, where they each try to find their own territory. Again and again, with his magical eye, Tsjam influences the course of history. On each page, the true course of events is depicted along with history as it is changed by Tsjam. After all his adventures, Tsjam finally reaches his home again, safe and sound. This is a Children's Book Week »action book«, which in a simple fashion tries to promote the Frisian language by appealing to children's predilection for comic books and historical tales. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 247
Marra, Eirene
To adeio mpukali
(The empty bottle)
Athena: Patakes, 1996. 168 p.
(Peristeria; 52)
ISBN 960-360-930-7
Greece/World War II - Family - Everyday life - Resistance
In this vividly told story about a Greek family living in occupied Athens during the Second World War, a mother and her two sons, aged eight and sixteen, struggle day-by-day to survive after their father has become a resistance fighter in the Greek underground. Particularly the younger boy gradually comes to a greater understanding of the conditions in which they are living during the course of the story. The characters and the setting are very realistically drawn and remain believable throughout the story. (10+) ☆
(Greek IBBY Section Award 1996)

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1997 - 248
Sarantite, Elene
Kapote o kynegos ...
(Once a hunter ...)
Athena: Kastaniotes, 1996. 170 p.
(Ephebike Bibliotheke)
ISBN 960-03-1542-6
Greece/Civil War - Emigration - Homecoming - Prejudice
This realistic novel about a Greek family begins at the time of the Civil War at the end of the Second World War and describes their odyssee-like journey toTashkent, where they remain for forty years. Upon returning to their homeland, their hopes of putting down roots again in modern-day Greece are met with disappointment when they are confronted with prejudice against people who had fled the country. In spite of its serious topic, this is a thoroughly enjoyable youth novel and will also appeal to adult readers. (12+) ☆

Iran (Persian) - 1997 - 251
Sādāt Turābīyān, Ma'sūma (text)
Hasan-pūr Muhsan (illus.)
Parwāz-i kabūtarhā
(The flight of the doves)
Tihrān: Daftar-i Našir-i Farhang-i Islāmī, 1994 (= 1373 h.š.). 60 p.
(In Arabic letters)
Family conflict - Art - Courage
This novella focusses on the family conflicts of two young high-school girls, and in particular on their strained relations with their fathers. Encouraged by their art teacher, they discover and try to develop their talents as a painter and a calligrapher, respectively, in spite of all outside pressures and obstacles. The role of their woman art teacher both as a mentor in the classroom and as a model to follow in personal life features strongly in the narrative. This realistic story places value on maintining loyalty in difficult situations, but also on having the optimism and the courage to follow one's own path. (14+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1998 - 3
Hirokawa, Ryûich (text/photos)
Kawada, Etsuko (text)
Ryûhei no mirai. Eizu to tatakau 19sai
(Ryûei's future. A 19-year old's battle against AIDS)
Tokyo: Kodansha, 1996. (9th ed.) 112 p.
ISBN 4-06-207517-2
HIV - Hemophiliac - Public protest - Public information - Will to live
Ryûei has suffered since birth from hemophilia and became infected with HIV through an imported blood serum. After accepting this twist of fate, he began to protest against the responsible institutions who caused this medical damage through carelessness. He makes public appearances, especially for young audiences, in order to inform them and improve the negative image of AIDS patients. The photojournalist Hirokawa has documented Ryûei's activities in excellent photos, enabling the tremendously constructive attitude of this 19-year old boy to make a strong impression on readers. (13+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1998 - 4
Iizawa, Kôtarô (comp.)
Ajia sono hi sono hi
(Asia day by day)
Tokyo: Fukuinkan, 1997. 172 p.
ISBN 4-8340-1471-1
Asia - Culture - Mankind - Nature - Life
Since 1976 the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for Unesco (ACCU) has organized an annual photography competition to promote the use of photography and to further mutual understanding and friendship in its member countries. The jubilee edition of the 20th competition with the motto »To feel Asia is to know Asia« encompasses 163 photos which were taken by amateur photographers in Asian countries between 1986 and 1996. They give a direct glimpse into the diversity of this part of the world. This photodocumentation (with texts in Japanese and English) can be recommended as an excellent book for use in schools, libraries and also families. (7+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 1998 - 6
Kimishima, Hisako (text)
Ono, Kaoru (illus.)
Gin no udewa
(The silver armband)
Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 1997. [40] p.
ISBN 4-00-110635-3
China/Tales - Cinderella
The oldest version of the fairy tale motif »Cendrillon« can be dated back to the 9th century in China, i.e. 800 years earlier than the well-known versions retold by Perrault and Basile. The sinologist Kimishima, whose area of specialization is fairy tales, retells a version known among the Yi ethnic group, and Ono supplements the text with ethnologically and culturally authentic illustrations. Unlike the more familiar versions, a silver armband takes on the function of the golden slipper, and after her marriage the heroine must first die and come to life again before finally achieving happiness, helped in this version by a cow and a magpie. (8+) ☆ ☼

Republic of China (Chinese) - 1998 - 18
Li, Tong
Shaonian Iongchuandui
(Youth. The dragonboat crew)
Taibei: Tianwei (Trump Publishing Company), 1993. 190 p.
ISBN 957-8557-44-2
Taiwan - Festival - Quarrel
Every two years a dragon-boat competition between the upper and the lower villages is held on Double Dragon River. But when the eldest grandfathers of each village have a quarrel, it is cancelled. Believing that the dragon-god will appear on the first evening of the Lantern Festival, four teenagers sneak into the dragon-boat dockyard and discover Grandfather Huo-Jen, too proud to take back his angry words, praying to the dragongod that the boat competition be reinstated. This humorous story reveals much of Taiwanese customs and the bonds of the villagers to their country. (10+) ☆

Egypt (English) - 1998 - 19
Marston, Elsa (text)
El Guindi, Abdel Aziz (illus.)
Free as the desert wind
Cairo: Hoopoe Books, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 977-5325-66-8
Father/Son - Desert - Camel - Disobedience
With great reluctance his father allows twelve-year old Omar to join him on the long camel drive from Sudan to Egypt. Omar experiences the loneliness of the journey and the extremities of a sandstorm. Soon he befriends a young camel, who helps them find a desparately needed water well. Unable to sell the camel and save him from the slaughter house, Omar secretly sets the young camel free in the desert, but the loyal animal soon returns. Attractively illustrated with color-pencil drawings, this well-told story will enrich multicultural library collections. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 1998 - 21
Beake, Lesley
Jakey
(<Proper name>)
Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1997. 132 p.
ISBN 0-624-03566-2
Death - Grief - Family violence - Friendship - Suicide attempt - South Africa/History 1994 - Race relations - Alzheimer's disease
After his beloved stepfather is victim of a random street murder, Jakey and his mother move to a middle-class neighborhood where his mother has become the housekeeper of an older widow who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Still in weak health from his grief, Jakey takes lessons at home from this warm-hearted, independent woman. And Jakey soon becomes friends with the lonely white boy next door, who is being mishandled by his unhappy father, and helps Hendrik run away from home.When this fails, Jakey's sensitivity helps to prevent Hendrik's suicide.This is a realistic story about tension, grief and unhappiness in several families, but there is also an undercurrent of hopefulness and joy at the personal and political level. The day of the first free elections in 1994 is a significant event in the narrative. Beake weaves a well-balanced story with several narrative threads and an interesting array of characters caught up in a rapidly changing society. (12+) ☆

Swaziland (English) - 1998 - 24
Whitton, David
Neptune's children
Manzini: Macmillan Boleswa, 1997. 122 p.
ISBN 0-7978-0829-9
Sailing - Adventure - Friendship - Family problems
When fourteen young adults from all around South Africa are chosen for a crew of a training ship sailing ship from Durban to Mauritius, they experience more than they had anticipated. Each must master an extensive range of nautical skills, and also learn to work as a team. Whitton focusses upon a number of individuals with different family backgrounds in this multicultural troupe, making the basic plot of an adventure story with modernday problems and dreams come to life. (12+) ☆

Zimbabwe (English) - 1998 - 25
Alumenda, Stephen (text)
Marita goes to school
Harare: Baobab, 1997. [20] p. With illustrations
ISBN 1-7790-9000-5
School - Wish - Father/Daughter - Secret - Reward
Marita dreams of being allowed to attend school, but her father thinks it is a waste of time and money and fears that his daughter could grow up to be a misfit in their community. But when Marita is secretly tutored by the local teacher (a young woman who wears trousers!), she is able to help her father read an important letter. This is an affirmative story about a spunky modern African girl whom young readers can identify with. This paperback children's book is very attractively produced on sturdy paper and with lively black-and-white illustrations. (6+) ☆ ☼

Zimbabwe (English) - 1998 - 26
Farrell, Patricia
Jessicah the mountain slayer
Harare: Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1995. 92 p.
(Excl. dist. by African Books Collective Ltd., Oxford)
ISBN 1-77901-095-8
Orphan - Grief - Dream - City life - Garbage dump - Friendship - School
Twelve-year old Jessicah must leave her village when her mother dies and go to live with the sister of her father, who deserted the family long ago. Though she is still inwardly grieving, she must work very hard for her foster parents and give up school. She runs away to Nairobi, where she experiences dangers but also friendship in the person of an old woman who becomes her mentor and protector. Living as a garbage-picker in the »wasteland«, her situation finally improves when a journalist becomes interested in the situation of the squatters. This well-told, inspirational story is carried by its appealing main characters. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1998 - 29
Caswell, Brian (text)
Chiem, David Phu An (text)
Only the heart
St. Lucia: University of Queensland, 1997. 212 p.
ISBN 0-7022-2927-X
Vietnam/Emigration - Australia/Immigration - Postwar trauma - Family - Escape - Diary
Though Caswell uses his characteristic style of alternating perspectives to expand the horizon of the narrative, the content of this fictional story with real-life background comes from Chiem, a Vietnam-born Australian filmmaker of Chinese descent. The four-generation family tree at the outset is useful in following the diary-like entries - in both first and third person voices - of two main protagonists, cousins, and several other characters in this saga which spans from 1977 to 1996. This is a very immediate, gripping story of survival and coping in the face of the abominations of war and its traumatic consequences. (14+) ☆

India (English) - 1998 - 35
Agarwah, Deepa (text)
Guhathakurta, Ajanta (illus.)
The toy horse
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1997. [16] p.
ISBN 81-7011-775-5
Toy - Imagination
This picture book describes a brief encounter between two small girls who covet each other's toys. Rami, a gypsy girl whose family makes a living by selling iron tools and decorative handsewn cloth horses by the roadside, decides to sew a horse of her own to play with. Hers is not as perfect as the others, but in her imagination she travels far on its back. One day another small girl insists on buying Rami's cute horse and no other. Rami tearfully agrees to sell it at her mother's insistence, but is rewarded then with the other girl's lovely modern doll in exchange. This is a charmingly illustrated story with universal appeal. (4+) ☆ ☼
(2nd prize, Read-aloud, Competition for Writers of Children's Books, CBT)

India (English) - 1998 - 37
Sarabhai, Mrinalini (text)
Roy, Subir (illus.)
Stories of India
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1996. 78 p.
ISBN 81-7011-753-4
India/Tales - Creation - Buddha - Mahabharata - Panchatantra - Love - Trial
This collection of eleven tales from the rich storytelling tradition of India's heroic epics and religious legends is written in an accessible, easyto- read style by one of India's foremost dancers and choreographers. Attractive watercolor illustrations throughout the book capture the highlights of the narratives. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1998 - 40
Hill, David
Treasure deep
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1997. 112 p.
ISBN 0-908783-22-1
Friendship - Maori culture - Prejudice - Step-father - Betrayal
Glyn's best mate is a Maori, much to the dismay of his future stepfather, an omnipresent representative of the local police. During summer holidays Glyn and Api make two valuable archeological finds, over which Api's grandmother is quite excited. When she is then brutally beaten and robbed, the police first arrest an innocent Maori before discovering that the rich white young man who had slyly befriended Glyn and Api is the real culprit. The local flavor of New Zealand's people and social fabric adds to the reading pleasure of this richly textured adventure story, with its colorful characters and romantic subplots. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1998 - 46
Moore, Robin (text)
Ambrus, Victor (illus.)
My life with the Indians. The story of Mary Jemison
London: Franklin Watts, 1997. 32 p.
ISBN 0-7496-2363-2
North America/Indians - Abduction - Adoption - Cultural conflict
The biography of Mary Jemison, based on the account she told at the age of 80 in 1823, spans a turbulent period of North American history. The sole survivor of an Indian raid on her home in Pennsylvania - a result of the French and British war for territory - she was adopted by another tribe, married twice and mother of a large family. She choose to remain with her Indian family and friends, rather than return to a bigotted white civilization, but still suffered many family sorrows through the changing times. Masterly pen-andwash illustrations adorn this fascinating documentation, followed by factual information in an appendix. (8+) ☆

Canada (English) - 1998 - 56
Zhang, Song Nan (text/illus.)
Cowboy on the steppes
Toronto: Tundra Books, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-88776-410-X
Mongolia - China/History 1968-1969 - Herdsman
As a part of China's re-education program during the Cultural Revolution, the author's brother, a student in Beijing, was sent to Inner Mongolia. The diary of his year within a commune of nomadic herdsmen is the basis for this illustrated children's book. The diary entries describe Yi Nan Zhang's gradual assimilation into the clan, his learning how to care for livestock, and the hard way of life on Mongolia's steppes. They also reveal something of the growth of a young man (now a journalist in Beijing) taken far away from his own world. The stunning color pencil drawings enhance the appeal of his unusual experiences. (8+) ☆

USA (English) - 1998 - 57
Alexander, Lloyd
The iron ring
New York: Dutton, 1997. 283 p.
ISBN 0-525-45597-3
King - Debt - Quest - Good/Evil - Talking animals - Growing up - Indian/Folktale - Adventure
When a young king, Tamar, loses everything he owns in a dice game, an iron ring, symbol of his bondage appears on his finger and he must set off for the distant kingdom of his victor. In the course of his quest, his entourage grows to include talking animals and characters from different castes. Together they fight battles and savour happy moments together. The narrative is filled with Indian folktales and driven along by Tamar's adherence to a code of honor, dharma. At the end of his epic adventure, he has learned much about life and honor. Alexander is a master storyteller who entertains and enlightens his reader with all the literary techniques of good fantasy. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 60
Hausherr, Rosmarie (text/photos)
Celebrating families
New York: Scholastic, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-590-48937-2
Family - Adoption - Divorce - Single parent
Many varieties of family structure are presented here in fourteen double-spread pages. Each portrait includes a photo of a child with the members of his or her family and one of a typical favorite activity - whether gardening, repairing a bicycle, visiting Dad in prison, or playing games on the computer with an older foster brother. Short, descriptions reveal the many ways families may be formed (including bi-racial and same gender parents) and formed again after change (divorce, separation, adoption). (7+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 64
Lelooska, Chief (reteller/illus.)
Normandin, Christine (ed.)
Echoes of the elders. The stories and paintings of Chief Lelooska
New York: Dorling Kindersley (DK) in assoc. with Callaway Editions, 1997. 38 p.
ISBN 0-7894-2455-X
Kwakiutl/Tales - North America/Northwest coast - Animals/Myths
This beautifully designed oversized book of five animal tales is a tribute to the decades of oral storytelling and intensive efforts to preserve the Northwest Coast Indian culture by Chief Lelooska, a descendent of the Cherokee who was adopted by the Southern Kwakiutl tribe. The large two-dimensional ornamental renderings of the animal protagonists enhance the lengthy, didactic but entertaining stories. A compact disc included with the book gives proof of the famous storytelling powers of Chief Lelooska, who died in 1996. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 65
Myers, Walter Dean (text)
Myers, Christopher (illus.)
Harlem
New York: Scholastic, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-590-54340-7
Harlem - African-Americans
This stunning picture book is a visual and lyrical hymn to the persistent hopes and dreams of African-Americans living in Harlem, that famous section of New York City. Harlem was an important gathering point where jazz and Black culture began to blossom in the early part of the 20th century. Its pulsating vitality is given bold expression in the assembled multi-media collages by the artist son of Walter Dean Myers, the wellknown young adult writer who grew up in Harlem. (6+) ☆
(Caldecott Honor Book 1998)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1998 - 67
Pinkney, Andrea Davis (text)
Pinkney, Brian (illus.)
Duke Ellington
New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7868-2150-7
Ellington, Duke - Jazz - African-Americans
The picture book biography of the world's most famous jazz pianist, band leader and composer, Duke Ellington (1899-1974), is told succinctly for children in an upbeat contemporary vernacular with African-American idioms that capture the natural swing, wit and esprit of modern times. The musical rhythm of the text is reflected and extended in the ideally suited, brightly colored twopage spreads done in Brian Pinkney's hallmark scratchboard paintings. The reader is offered factual information but may also feel inspired to hear and learn more about this musical genius and about jazz. (6+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1998 - 78
Dische, Irene
Zwischen zwei Scheiben Glück
(Between two slices of happiness)
München: Hanser, 1997. 82 p.
ISBN 3-446-19080-5
Germany/History 1938-1945 - Persecution of the Jews - Hungary
Peter has spent the greater part of his childhood in Hungary with his grandfather, a strict elderly gentlemen, who is just the opposite of Laszlo, Peter's father, a diplomat on service in war-time Berlin. Only later does Peter discover that the letters he got regularly from his father were written by his grandfather, in order to conceal the death of his father. This enchanting book gives much space to joyful moments and to sad moments. It shows a child's attempts to look upon world events so as to make them fit into his own life. The author handles very complicated subjects seemingly without effort, often humorously, and tragic moments with a dash of gentle irony. (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 84
Heidelbach, Nikolaus (text/illus.)
Ein Buch für Bruno
(A book for Bruno)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 3-407-79194-1
Book - Adventure - Trickery - Reading - Friendship
Ulla Herz, an enthusiastic fan of books, falls in love with Bruno Würfel, a book-hater. Though he prefers things that go crack-bang-slam, one day she is cunning enough to get him to experience a book as an »event« in its own right. And he wants more. How the two of them start with the parental library and swing (wordlessly) on a bookmark from adventure to adventure, page after page, is another piece of Heidelbach creativity. Here he takes a stand on reading for fun, but one thoroughly devoid of pedagogical undertones. (6+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 1998 - 87
Lewin, Waltraut
Jenseits des Meeres die Freiheit
(Beyond the sea of freedom)
Ravensburg: Ravensburger Buchverlag, 1997. 221 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
ISBN 3-473-35177-6
Spain/History 1492 - Persecution of the Jews - Escape - Seafaring - Christopher Columbus
In the aftermath of the pogroms against the Sephardhic Jews in Spain, the young Jewish girl, Esther, signs up incognito as a ship's boy with Christopher Columbus in 1492. Risking the double dangers of being discovered a Jew and a woman, Esther hopes to gain freedom in the New World as Columbus' page boy. But the terror and horrifying images of the pogrom continue to haunt her. The author relates the fascinating story of life in the cramped spaces of a sailing ship, the coarse camaraderie of the men, and the absolute hierarchical chain of power and command. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 93
Partsch, Susanna
Haus der Kunst. Ein Gang durch die Kunstgeschichte von der Höhlenmalerei bis zum Graffiti
(The Art Gallery. A stroll through the history of art from cave paintings to graffiti)
München: Hanser, 1997. 367 p. With many illus.
ISBN 3-446-18885-1
Art history
This art book for children is based on the idea of filling up a ficticious museum with exponents from every epoch. This provides the young reader with a chronological overview, through arranged in different »rooms«, of the most important periods and their contexts. The author avoids the use of intimidating insider-jargon and speaks to the reader, without being ingratiating, at an immediate level, which encourages page-turning inspite of the wealth of material being covered. Historical and aesthetic background information is elucidated with the help of maps and explanatory notes. All art forms are covered here, thus giving this work a good chance of becoming a standard work for children interested in art. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 96
Schami, Rafik
Märchen aus Malula
(Tales from Malula)
München: Hanser, 1997. 237 p.
ISBN 3-446-18954-8
Malula - Fairy tales
In a traditional Oriental manner, Rafik Schami weaves the traditional tales from his home village in Syria into a carpet of captivating incidents. He discovered an old edition of tales written in Aramic at the Heidelberg University Library - an unexpected stroke of luck. Many of the figures he found described there were known to him as old people in his village. The text acquires a particular intensity through this personal point of view. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1998 - 99
Weiss, Ruth (text)
Janssen, Susanne (illus.)
Sascha und die neun alten Männer. Das Fest der Lichter. Zwei Erzählungen
(Sascha and the nine old men. The festival of lights. Two tales)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1997. 120 p.
(Gecko)
ISBN 3-87294-744-3
Russia - Jews - Prayer - Religious holiday - Christ
The old men of Yevka, near Odessa, are no longer able to celebrate Minyan, the Jewish worship service with all the sacred rites, because they lack the necessary tenth believer. Little Sascha, a future detective who is curious about all the secrets surrounding him, leads his father's British business partner into the synagoge. As he is also Jewish, the congregation finds its tenth man. In an impressive narrative, the author, herself Jewish, depicts the old atmosphere of an East European shtetl from the naive perspective of a modern non-Jewish child. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 1998 - 106
Ungerer, Tomi (text/illus.)
Cramer-Klett, Anna von (transl.)
Flix
(<Proper name>)
Zürich: Diogenes, 1997. 30 p.
ISBN 3-257-00842-2
Cat - Dog - Offspring - Outsider - Fraternity
A lovely child is born to cat parents. It is a little dog. (Wasn't there a pug dog in the family...?) The fact is that (parental) love alone is not enough for a child's well-being. So young Flix is an outsider in Cat City, until fate leads him to rescue a little cat child (fame in Cat City!) and a young poodle lady (love in Dog City!). They get married and have a baby. It's a little girl and its first cry is »Meow!« The story could continue this way forever. Just as in real life. With Ungerer's pictures it wouldn't be boring either. (8+) ☆ ☼

Brazil (Portuguese) - 1998 - 166
Eboli, Terezinha (text)
Lima, Graça (illus.)
A lenda da lua cheia
(The legend of the full moon)
Rio de Janeiro: Ediouro, 1997. [16] p.
(Lendas brasileiras)
ISBN 85-00-00233-6
Brazil/Legend - Kaxinawa - Indio - Moon
This book in the new series »Lendas brasileiras« tells a traditional tale of the Kaxinawa tribe which deals - like many other legends - with one aspect of the origin of the world. Where did the moon come from, and why does it »go to the heads« of so many people? Because it was once a head too - the severed head of a warrior, no longer of any use on earth, which took its place in the sky. The illustrations reflect very well the atmosphere of the text. The stylizing pictures - glowing color chalk on roughly structured black paper, fit well with the mysterious nocturnal tone of the legend. (6+) ☆

Brazil (Portuguese) - 1998 - 167
Grupioni, Luís Donisete Benzi
Viagem ao mundo indígena
(Journey to the world of the Indios)
São Paulo: Berlendis & Vertecchia, 1997. 48 p. With illustrations
(Coleção Pawana; 1)
ISBN 85-86387-15-0
Brazil/Indio
Knowledge about the native Indian inhabitants of Brazil is usually quite vague and incomplete. Here the anthropologist Luís Grupioni offers the reader more insight into those groups and their greatly varying history, culture and language. This volume contains five short stories which depict everyday situations of children and youth of five different ethnic groups. They are supplemented with further information, photos, illustrations, maps and bibliographical details of additional sources of information. (9+) ☆

Chile (Spanish) - 1998 - 169
Morel, Alicia (text)
Gerber, Tomás (illus.)
Leyendas bajo la Cruz del Sur
(Legends below the Southern Cross)
Santiago de Chile: Ed. Andrés Bello, 1996. 86 p.
ISBN 956-13-1419-3
Latin America/Tales - Latin America/Legend
This anthology of fifteen tales draws upon the rich treasury of Indio myths and legends from Central and South America. A common characteristic is their habit of explaining natural phenomena through myths. For instance, we learn that in ancient times the legendary constellation Southern Cross was an ostrich and that the whale once lived on land, where he wreaked much havoc because of his size. Such tales, masterly and vividly rendered by the Chilean storyteller Alicia Morel, will be of special interest to readers from other cultural backgrounds. (9+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 179
Almajid, Fahmy (text)
Melbye, Inni Karine (illus.)
Evig flugt
(Endless fleeing)
København: Høst & Søn, 1996. 93 p.
ISBN 87-14-19369-8
Irak - Golf War <1990-1991> - Kurd - Escape
Twelve-year old Kamiran and his family flee Irak over the Turkish border during the Golf War. At the end of the war only he and his mother are still alive. The Kurdish author, now living in Denmark, depicts in a clear, simple style the suffering of her people, who are not allowed to live anywhere in peace. Without condemnation, this tale of flight and survival from the point of view of the persecuted serves as an indictment against inhumanity in general. (10+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 181
Brandt, Hanne (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Den hovedløse rytter. Spøgelseshistorier fra danske slotte
(The headless knight. Ghost stories from Danish castles)
København: Forum, 1996. 95 p.
ISBN 87-553-2233-6
Denmark - Castle - Ghost
Ghost stories are not only read with pleasure by children, they are also short enough to keep the laziest reader interested. In this selection, the stories are set against the background of Danish cultural history. To add to the suspense, each one is told in the first-person and the uncanny twists of plot are illustrated in a quite congenial manner by an artist who has already proven to be an expert in the field of horror. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 1998 - 186
Seighali, Morteza (text)
Rød, Signe (illus.)
Lagkage på flugt ( = Kolac u bijegu)
(The cake on the run)
Århus: Husets forlag, 1997. 29 p.
ISBN 87-7483-379-0
Despotism - Resistance
The birthday cake of a king, who has let his country starve in order to gorge himself, runs away and lets itself be eaten up by those who helped to make it. This fable - written here in six languages (Danish, Croatian, Persian, Somalian, Arabic and Turkish) - and accompanied by naive but unerring illustrations, brings the Danish democracy into play for children who have come to Denmark from those countries where dictatorship rules. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 1998 - 198
Sortland, Bjørn (text)
Hiorthøy, Kim (illus.)
Den solbrente mammaen som blei bytta mot ti kamelar
(The sun-burned mother who was traded for ten camels)
Oslo: Aschehoug, 1997. 83 p.
(Lesehesten)
ISBN 82-03-24208-1
Jordan - Vacation - Culture clash
An unplanned vacation in Aqaba, in Jordan, leads to a surprising cultural experience for a Norwegian family when the mother, in good fun, accepts the bride price being offered by a native Jordanian. This is a burlesque novel with a touch of exotic by the now internationally renown author Sortland. It won the publisher's prize as best children's book in 1997. Just as unusual as the story are the binding and illustrations in a strictly linear style, which are a welcome change from the average naturalism of many children's book illustrations. (8+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 199
Brinck, Lotta (text)
Räder, Andréa (illus.)
Gröna rätter för unga kockar
(Green dishes for young cooks)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1996. 77 p.
ISBN 91-29-63054-1
Vegetarian cooking
Vegetarian dishes from different countries are presented with clear, easy to follow instructions in such a way that young people can prepare them without problem. The dishes are not presented as photographs but in lovely, unpretentious color illustrations. (10+) ☆

Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 217
Banaszak, Dariusz (text)
Biber, Tomasz (text)
Leszczyński, Maciej (text)
Siejkowski, Lech (graphics)
Ilustrowane dzieje polski
(Illustrated Polish history)
Poznań: Podsiedlik Raniowski i Spółka, 1997. 131 p.
ISBN 83-7083-645-3
Poland/History
This richly illustrated information book about the history of Poland takes as its basis the history of its rulers, but also provides interesting information about ordinary life and customs in each epoch. The authors begin with the first Slav settlements in the territory of present day Poland and move on to the numerous wars, divisions and reunifications which have characterized its past. In addition, the book contains considerable information about the development of art and culture in Poland. (10+) ☆

The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1998 - 233
Hagen, Hans (text)
Hopman, Philip (illus.)
De kat en de adelaar
(The cat and the eagle)
Amsterdam: Van Goor, 1997. 65 p.
ISBN 90-00-03167-2
Pakistan - Child/Work - Cat
Day after day eight-year old Farid works on the public bus that his father drives, collecting the fares from the passengers. He has taken over his mother's job because she can't work any longer after an accident. For some time, Farid has seen a black cat everywhere he goes and imagines that it is his mother. Hans Hagen tells a very expressive and balanced story in short sentences and brief chapters. This is a simple engrossing story in which fantasy alternates with reality in a most plausible manner. The reader can empathize with Farid and also get a feeling for everyday life in modern Pakistan. (8+) ☆ ☼

The Netherlands (Dutch) - 1998 - 235
Lichtveld, Noni (text/illus.)
Anansi tussen god en duivel
(Anansi between God and the devil)
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1997. 93 p.
ISBN 90-5637-087-1
Good/Evil
The spider Anansi is a well-known character in the tales of many countries. Sometimes he comes to the rescue of others, sometimes he is a trickster. This collection includes Anansi tales of varying length from many different countries and cultural backgrounds. Lichtveld's retellings include considerable dialogue between the animal protagonists, making it an ideal read-aloud book. The colorful illustrations are rich in detail, extending the text, and inviting closer exploration. (6+) ☆

Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 240
Chatzēs, Giannēs (text)
Nachmias, Telēs (photos)
To stoicheio tēs Salonikēs. Sparaxikardia kōmōdia se praxeis treis kai skēnes oses Thelete
(The ghost of Saloniki)
Thessalonikē: Malliarēs Paideia, [ca 1997]. 48 p.
ISBN 960-239-340-8
Shadow theater - Karagiozēs - Ghost - Metamorphosis
The young, talented actor, and author, Giannēs Chatzēs, presents a play from his shadow theater repertory, showing that this storytelling tradition is still very much alive in Greece today. The play tells about a ghost who keeps a young girl prisoner in the white tower of Thessaloníki. In the fairy-tale like ending, the famous Greek folk figure Karagiozē s has to intervene. The book is accompanied by stage photographs of a performance and directions for building a shadow theater stage and puppets. Chatzēs is known both for his performances and his writings about the Greek shadow theater. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1998 - 243
Krontēra, Lēda (text)
Liapē, Bally (illus.)
Protē gnōrimia me tus Delphus tu Apollōna
(First encounters with the Apollo Temple in Delphi)
Athēna: Ekdotikē Athēnōn, 1996. 142 p.
ISBN 960-213-350-3
Delphi - Greece/Ancient times - Archeology
This is the fourth volume in the series about cultural sites in ancient Greece. It takes the reader to the fascinating landscape and mythology surrounding Delphi and tells, for example, about the religious significance of the competitions held in honor of Apollo. This book tells the history of this holy site from its founding up to the modern day and also offers an excursion into the world of musical instruments. With its rich assortment of visual documentation, this volume stands out as an all-encompassing survey. The excellent selection of illustratory materials, for which the publisher is well-known, is further proof that children's books can be appreciated by all ages. (9+) ☆

Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 17
He, Qunying (= Ho, Chun-yin)
Gerlong'er wang zhuanji
(The biography of King Gelong'er)
Taibei: Shibao Wenhua (China Times Publishing), 1995. 246 p.
(Da shishi ; 6)
ISBN 957-13-1527-3
Tibet - King - Heroic epic - Power of love
The epic tale of King Gelong'er (Gesar), one of Tibet's literary treasures, is re-told here for the first time for young adult readers. Originally a god, Gesar was sent to Tibet to save the people from their sufferings due to war and poverty. Married at a young age to the most beautiful woman in Tibet, King Gesar later left his country to fight a nineheaded monster in the north and fell under the love spell of the monster's sister. In his absence Tibet was invaded by a neighboring king, and Gesar's wife used her tears to break the spell and bring Gesar back to Tibet. This edition was well-received both in the Republic or China and in the People's Republic of China. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of China (Chinese) - 1999 - 20
Zhou, Hui-zhu (= Chou, Hui-chu) (reteller)
Lin, Hong-yao (= Lin, Hung-yao) (illus.)
Lehunle tou. Meinaodai de Afu
(Silly With Joi. Foolish Ah Fu)
Taibei: Fuguang Chubanshe (Fokuang Publishing), 1995. [33] p.
(Baiyujing Tuhuashu ; 20)
ISBN 957-543-384-X
China - Buddhism - Sutra/Adaptation - Passion - Discipline
The two stories in this picture book have been taken from the Buddhist book of »The Illustrated Sutra of the One Hundred Parables« and retold for children. In the first story a foolish man has cooked a sweet syrup for his guest and tries to cool it off with a fan although the fire is still burning under the pot. The lesson is that a person who cannot tame the fire of his passions, will not find peace and enlightenment. The second story is about a man who prepares fire and water in the evening in order to cook dumplings, only to find the fire extin- guished and the water evaporated the next morning. This teaches that a person who cannot give up worldly pleasures will always be tormented by them. The vivid narrative style relays the spirit of the original text in a clear and simple form. The pictures by the prize-winning illustrator are done with fine contours and gentle colors, which resemble paintings from the Tang Dynasty, making these Buddhist teachings pleasurably accessible. (7+) ☆

South Africa (English) - 1999 - 23
Mcimeli, R.F.
Ingqaka kaMaQhudeni
(Maqhudeni's cream)
Cape Town: Maskew Miller, 1993. 153 p.
ISBN 0-636-01902-0
Xhosa/Folklore - Oral tradition - Legends - Taboo
This is a collection of folktales, myths, legends, idioms, proverbs and poetry the reflect the rich heritage of the Xhosa oral tradition. They include stories told by the fireside, examples of the eloquence of the Xhosa language, explanations of taboo words for different groups of people, and cultural beliefs related to animals and insects. The elements of folk wisdom and morality are still considered relevant for the modern generation. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 1999 - 31
Weare, Romayne
Malanbarra
Broome: Magabala Books, 1997. 168 p.
ISBN 1-875641-36-X
Australia/History 1900 - Stolen children - Cultural identity - Racial tension
Set in a period of Australian history when children of mixed racial parentage were given up or taken forcibly by white authorities for preferential treatment such as better schooling, this story tells about one family caught between the fronts. Attempting to keep her children but unable to flee with them, a mother sends her son and half-white daughter to hide in the bush. After dangerous adventures, they are finally brought to the ancestral village. A tribal rebellion is barely avoided when authorities try to enforce their policies. The Australian setting and cultural background of the Aboriginal way of life are especially well-drawn. (12+) ☆

India (English) - 1999 - 33
Agarwal, Deepa (ed.)
Guha, Tapas (illus.)
There's another way! Stories of peace, love & friendship
New Delhi: Madhuban Educational Books/Vikas, 1998. 103 p.
(My great collection)
ISBN 81-259-0596-0
Everyday life - Tolerance - Peace
Ten well-known writers for children have contributed stories to this anthology that reveal the many ways in which an attitude of tolerance and goodwill can make a difference in human relationships. The child protagonists either learn a lesson about life or make a difference to others through their behavior. Well-drawn black-and-white illustrations capture highlights of the stories. (10+) ☆

India (English) - 1999 - 34
Dutta, Swapna
Stories for a winter night
New Delhi: Indus/HarperCollins, 1996. 83 p.
(Peacock for the young)
ISBN 81-7223-214-4
Everyday life - Honesty - Adventure - Friendship
These five anecdotal short stories are set in different areas of India, revealing different styles of life and often simple lessons about life that are gathered from memorable encounters in everyday life. Swapna Dutta creates dialogues and situations that come alive and make for easy reading pleasure. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 1999 - 38
Lay, Graeme
Leaving One-Foot Island
Wellington: Mallinson Rendel, 1998. 73 p.
ISBN 0-908783-33-7
Family/Separation - Outsider - City life/Rural life - Cook Islands - Island - Diary
Tuaine has grown up in a sheltered, tight-knit family with her grandparents on Aitutaki (One-Foot Island), one of the Cook Islands. Because of her high marks at school, a New Zealander teacher recommends that she go to Auckland to complete her schooling. After two months with her widowed aunt's family, Tuaine begins to record in an excercise book - inspired by Anne Frank's diary - her experiences of being caught between two worlds as she tries to adjust to a new school life and to the stressed family life in a impoverished family in a big, cold city. The story has a naturalness of language and an authenthic ring that gives immediacy to the feeling of being a guest and a stranger in a foreign place. (12+) ☆ ☼

Philippines (English) - 1999 - 39
Arcellana, Francisco (text)
Alègrè, Hermès (illus.)
The mats
Makati City: Tahanan Books for Young Readers, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 971-630-079-4 (paperback)
Childhood memories - Gift - Death - Memory
This is an adaptation of a classic story first published in 1938 by the Philippine's National Artist for Literature when he was only 22 years old. It is a moving story told in the first person about an incident in a girl's family. The gift of specially-made mats which are brought back from a business trip helps reveal to the narrator her father's love for all his children, and his sorrow for those already dead. The painterly, stylized illustrations by a young artist, Hermès Alègrè (*1968), are done in bright, rich colors which capture the love and warmth of close family life. (6+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 44
Bennett, Paul
Famine
London: Belitha Press, 1998. 32 p.
(The world reacts)
ISBN 1-85561-792-7
Famine - Relief assistance - International politics
This highly topical information book presents twelve cases studies and eyewitness accounts of hunger found in different parts of the world in the 1990s. Each double-page spread presents a typical feature of this terrible plight, documented by photographs and boxed texts with a few key statistics and technical terms (which are explained in a glossary). The addresses and Internet sites of organizations such as the Red Cross and the Red Crescent are included in a section addressed to the reader. Notable for a clear accessible style of presentation, this series also includes books on war, earthquakes and floods. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 47
Manning, Mick (text/illus.)
Granström, Brita (text/illus.)
Out there somewhere it's time to...
London: Watts, 1998. [31] p.
(Wonderwise)
ISBN 0-7496-3037-X
World - Time zones
In the cheerful watercolor illustrations of these double-spread scenes of everyday activities in cities or spots around the world, the concept of time is introduced to young readers. They show what different people are doing simultaneously because they live in different time zones of the earth. Each picture is accompanied by short texts in two type faces, a running story narrative and an informative fact about the place. A world map with picture captions and a glossary of helpful words conclude the book. The author-illustrator team won the silver Smarties Award in 1996 for another book in this series. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 1999 - 49
Onyefulu, Ifeoma (text/photos)
My grandfather is a magician. Work and wisdom in an African village
London: Frances Lincoln, 1998. [28] p.
ISBN 0-7112-1211-2
Nigeria - Family life - Herbal medicine - Grandfather/ Grandson
This picture information book presents a child's view of his family's professions in a village of southeast Nigeria. The boy's first-person narrative is accompanied by attractive photos of adults at work. In his childlike way, the boy ranks the skills of his grandfather, an expert in tribal medicine, above all the other important professions (such as lawyer, baker, or blacksmith) he observes and hopes to continue one day in his grandfather's footsteps. A brief afterword gives scientific details about the herbs presented. This very personal approach to a multidisciplinary topic (family, professions, medicine) represents an interesting way of portraying cultural facts to children. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 56
Raskin, Lawrie (text/photos)
Pearson, Debora (text)
52 days by camel. My Sahara adventure
Toronto: Annick, 1998. 88 p.
ISBN 1-55037-519-9
Sahara - Travel - Adventure
A Toronto man's boyhood fascination with the desert (triggered by a Donald Duck comic and nurtured later by David Lean's film of Lawrence of Arabia) and his unwavering pursuit of his evermore concrete dreams led him to the Sahara. Finding an old road sign »Timbouctou 52 Jours« inspired him to seek out this ancient, mysterious city. Here he documents his journey in exquisite photographs, hand-drawn maps, and a running narrative interspersed with boxed explanations on topics related to the people, language and geography of the desert. The layout design of text and illustrations is pleasantly varied and adds a special dimension to this travel adventure book. (10+) ☆

USA (English) - 1999 - 68
Walgren, Judy
The lost boys of Natinga. A school for Sudan's young refugees
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 44 p.
ISBN 0-395-70558-4
Sudan - Civil war - Refugee - Relief assistance - Lost childhood
In one of the refugee camps that was established in 1993 by rebel soldiers in southern Sudan for boys uprooted by their country's civil war, there is a school offering formal and informal classes run by an American relief organization. Walgren, a journalist who has reported on the Sudan war since 1989, spent nearly two months in the remote site of Natinga under extreme conditions to document the way children and youth are growing up, caught between the fronts, living from day-to-day, but preparing for a better future. Her descriptive text is filled with details of personal fates and the difficulties of coping with these needs, giving a clear indictment of war. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 1999 - 69
Wells, Rosemary
Yoko
(<Proper name>)
New York: Hyperion, 1998. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7868-0395-9
School - Ethnicity - Sushi - Rejection - Curiosity - Friendship
In this charming animal fantasy Yoko is a Japanese girlcat who attends first-grade at a multi-cultural school. When Yoko unpacks her Sushi at snack-time, her fellow classmates join together in a chorus of teasing. Inspite of the teacher's intermediary efforts, only one child is finally tempted to try Sushi (and loves it) at their International Food Day. Wells relates a common childhood experience - differentness and rejection - based on experiences of her own and of her daughter as young school children. She chose to make Yoko an animal because she finds they »are better than humans in conveying certain ideas and feelings«, and a cat to reflect her quiet, sweet nature and emerging independence. True to her intent, as stated in the journal »Book Links« (September 1998), Wells superbly succeeds in expressing the »emotional connection« between her characters in carefully colored, precisely composed picture portraits. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 1999 - 73
Klement, Robert
Sieben Tage im Februar
(Seven days in February)
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 1998. 141 p.
ISBN 3-7026-5698-7
Burgenland (Austria) - Bomb attack - Father/Death - Roma - Ostracism - Racism
In the Austrian province Burgenland four men from the Roma settlement at the edge of town are killed in a bomb attack. Josef's father is one of them. Why? A well-respected, inconspicuous elderly gentleman considers this settlement a thorn in the side. All of his negative emotions intensify into an obsession. He wants to destroy these idle vagabonds. He manages to build a bomb without anyone taking notice. The plot of this story is based on an actual occurence which received media coverage. The author succeeds in depicting the gulf that can develop between people which cannot be bridged by even the best of intentions and good will. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 78
Büchner, Barbara (text)
Boratyński, Antoni (illus.)
Die sieben Vogelscheuchen
(The seven scarecrows)
Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1998. [30] p.
ISBN 3-491-37398-0
Scarecrow - Deterrence - Friendliness - Compromise - Ecological balance
A farmer rises up in arms because the birds have lost all respect for the old scarecrow. So he gives it a steel helmet and skull and bones. The bird deterrence is a complete success - but the caterpillars eat the whole field bare. There is no bird in sight to prevent them. The farmer must call a retreat and grant his feathered companions their share of the harvest grain. Boratyński presents the friendly scarecrow and the drastic horror figures in convincing opulence. (6+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 82
Enzensberger, Hans Magnus
Wo warst du, Robert?
(Where have you been, Robert?)
München: Hanser, 1998. 276 p.
ISBN 3-446-19447-9
Picture - Time travel - History
Robert can disappear into a certain picture just by staring at it. In this way he unexpectedly sets off on a journey backwards through several hundred years of the world's history, starting in Russia in the year 1956, then back to the Thirty Years War and finally to an artist's studio in Amsterdam in the 17th century. As the artist's apprentice he discovers the possiblity of painting himself back to his own time. Curiously, no one at home even noticed his absence. Hans Magnus Enzensberger's depiction of the boy's experiences is a plea for critical reflection on contemporary and historical times. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 83
Fährmann, Willi
Unter der Asche die Glut
(Fire under the ashes)
Würzburg: Arena, 1997. 629 p.
ISBN 3-401-04776-0
Germany/History 1933 - Emigration
Christian Fink has big plans for his life - he wants to become a master tilemaker. But Germany is in a period of upheaval. Things begin to happen in his life in a quite ordinary, unspectacular way that later occur on an enormous scale in social and political life. More and more of his friends run to join the Hitler Youth, whose slogans and activities Christian finds revolting. And so he decides to emigrate and begin his life all over again. The author depicts a detailed picture of German history between the two world wars. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 1999 - 89
Hirsch, Ludwig (text)
Hoffmann, Carl (illus.)
Der Turm
(The tower)
Würzburg: Echter, 1998. [40] p.
ISBN 3-429-02000-X
Punishment - Loneliness - Tower - Understanding
A young boy is locked up in a dark room as punishment for misbehaving. He takes flight by dreaming that he could live together with all the children of the world in a tower. When his confinement is over the boy tells all his friends, including a young girl named Hildi, about his dream. As a result each of them plans to learn a different profession: architect, clay shingles, draftsman, and stone mason. Together they make plans to build the tower. Large illustrations show many lonely children who have vivid hopes for mutual understanding and a common future. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 94
Köster, Magdalena (ed.)
Härtel, Susanne (ed.)
Sei mutig und hab Spaß dabei. Acht Künstlerinnen und ihre Lebensgeschichte
(Be courageous and have fun. Eight women artists and their biographies)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 307 p.
ISBN 3-407-80849-6
Artist - Biography - Anthology
Eight women artists are presented here in short but well-founded and thoroughly researched biographies. Their professions range from acting, dance, painting and architecture to fashion design, literature and photography. The appearance of an anthology only of women's biographies implies that the achievements of women in male-dominated professions still need to be accorded special attention in order to gain wider acquaintance among the general public. And this is done in a concentrated and vigorous style. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 98
Prinz, Alois
Beruf Philosophin oder die Liebe zur Welt. Die Lebensgeschichte der Hannah Arendt
(Profession : philosopher or: For love of the world. The life of Hannah Arendt)
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 1998. 326 p., [8] p.
ISBN 3-407-80853-4
Arendt, Hannah/Biography
Hannah Arendt earned her doctorate in 1928 under Karl Jaspers but had to flee Nazi Germany in 1933, emigrating first to Paris and then to the U.S.A. Thus she experienced her greatest achievements as a university lecturer and scholarly writer there. She also played an active role in the post-war discussions over the Holocaust, climaxing in an analysis of the role and personality of Adolf Eichmann. She also returned to teach at German universities. The author portrays his subject as a person, a woman and philosopher, all three in active unity. The reader experiences the indivisibility of life and profession. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 100
Schulz, Hermann (text)
Erlbruch, Wolf (illus.)
Auf dem Strom
(On the river)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 136 p.
ISBN 3-551-58035-9
Tanzania - Father/Daughter - Boat trip - Healing
A German missionary in Tanzania believes that he can only save the life of his daughter with the help of the white doctor's medicine. And so he undertakes a dangerous journey by boat. Out of necessity, but against his Western-Christian beliefs, he learns to trust the black healers' help. His relationship with and love for his daughter takes on a new shape when she is healed through the help of the Africans. This literary, compelling story is based on a true incident. The author writes about Africa on the basis of his own experiences there, full of respect for the customs and values of the black inhabitants. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 1999 - 102
Steinhöfel, Andreas
Die Mitte der Welt
(The middle of the world)
Hamburg: Carlsen, 1998. 459 p.
ISBN 3-551-58029-4
Twins - Father/Search - Single parent - Promiscuity - Homosexuality - Death
The twins Phil and Dianne live alone with their mother on the margin of society in a small city in Europe. They know nothing about their father and experience the promiscuous life of their young, attractive mother with mixed feelings. Phil is gay; Dianne is lesbian and the great love in her life has been lying in a coma for years after a traffic accident. The author describes their roles in their social situation with great understanding. In this modern »Bildungsroman« all the values of the (petty) bourgeois society are put to question. In the end Phil has come of age. He sets out for America in search of his father. (16+) ☆

Cameroon (French) - 1999 - 111
Njoya, Idrissou (text/illus.)
La ruse
(The ruse)
Yaounde: Éd. Akomba Mba, 1996. 24 p.
Rural life - Wild animals - Deceipt - Trickery
Wandering around the forest, three boys find the fresh corpse of an antilope. A large, strong young man appears suddenly and makes off with the largest part of the game. A trick is then used by the weaker three - as is often the case in African tales - to get the better of the stronger one. Without further ado the children take their booty back to the village for a festive meal. The illustrations present the story with ease and simplicity. The facial features and actions of the children are captured in a minimum of lines. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - Mali (French) - 1999 - 113
Kulubali, Baabilen (text)
Aaron, Fatinia (illus.)
Diyenkoroba ou Vieux-comme-le-monde
(Diyenkoroba or As old as the world)
Bamako: Donniya, 1997. 26 p.
(Text in French and Bambara)
ISBN 2-911741-07-2
God/Man - Illness - Healing - Ingratitude
Ethical-religion instruction is the purpose of this classical story about God when he travels the earth disquised as a vagabond and receives nothing but ingratitude from the people he heals of their illnesses. The only thankful person he encounters is rewarded with rich blessings. All the others are punished again with their old sufferings. In addition to the text in Bambara and French, citations from the Koran and the Bible are given in an appendix. The illustrations have dignity and brilliancy. The key scenes of the story are set in the foreground while in the background the leisurely rhythm of everyday life continues, women go about their tasks, children play their games. The daily habits, living styles and traditional garb of the Mali culture are made visible inobtrusively. The meticulous, artistic layout underscores the timeless wisdom of this legend. (8+) ☆

Belgium (French) - 1999 - 114
Gelber, Eva et al. (text)
Dehaes, Serge (illus.)
On ira à Mopti
(We are going to Mopti)
Bruxelles: Editions Labor, 1997. 34 p.
ISBN 2-8040-1166-6
Interracial friendship - Solidarity
A young boy from Mali lives in Belgium with his adoptive parents. He tells a schoolmate about his family in Mali, his home country and its catastrophic problems with weather and disease. The two children decide to be friends forever and go to Mali with medi- cal aid teams when they are grown-up. The humanitarian message is dressed up here in funny, richly detailed illustrations, which naively capture the two different worlds. The children's optimistic plan to create a better world is reflected in the final pages, which look as if they had done the painting themselves. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Belgium (French) - 1999 - 116
Norac, Carl (text)
Joos, Louis (illus.)
L'espoir Pelican
(Hope Pelican)
Paris/Bruxelles: École des Loisirs, 1998. [36] p.
(Pastel)
ISBN 2-211-04675-4
Africa - Illness - Hope - Magic
A city, a village and the jungle of Africa are the settings for this story, and the stations for the rites of passage which the young heroine must go through. An ambulance has taken the dangerously ill mother off to a clinic, the child remains behind, alone. But she is not helpless. »My hope is bigger than I am,« she says, and sets off to find a way to save her mother. The miracle worker gives her a magical bundle that she must carry to the end of the world. Her path is marked by the messengers of death, the vultures and jackals. But as she reaches the final abyss, a pelican appears as the bird of life. And here the story ends. Joos' illustrations are steeped in magic and conjuring spells. The rich contrasts, created through the very different drawing and painting techniques, has the powerful effect of giving even the more abstract pictures an atmosphere of intensity. (6+) ☆

France (French) - 1999 - 117
Badaoui, Abdel Kader (illus.)
Hije gusar = Devinettes tchadiennes
(Riddles from Chad)
Saint-Maur: Sépia, 1996. 127 p.
(Carnets du Tchad)
(Text in Arabic and French)
ISBN 2-907888-85-4
Chad - Riddles
In Africa riddles are part of the traditional literary genre of high culture and play an important role in the mental and visual development of children. The Chad riddles, in the form of pictures and short twoline stories, depict experiences from daily life using analogy and symbolism and give answer to children's questions about their own bodies, the environment, the animals, human life, world and cosmos, birth and death. These 120 riddles written in Arabic transcription and with French translation form a well-rounded collection.The very well-arranged, strikingly abstract pen-and-ink illustrations take their inspiration from Arabic calligraphy and the heavily stilized rock paintings of the Tibesti Mountains in Chad. (10+) ☆

France (French) - 1999 - 118
Barrière, Loïc
Le voyage clandestin
(The illegal journey)
Paris: Seuil, 1998. 182 p.
(sj)
ISBN 2-02-030890-8
Algerian - Paris - Illegal immigration - Prison - Islam
This first novel by the journalist Loïc Barrière takes up the current issues of illegal immigration. A young Algerian boy gets into France with the help of professional smugglers. Naive, determined and brave, he manages to find his way, but finally is caught and put into prison. His situation, representative of many others, gives the reader cause to test his or her own unprejudiced views of »the problem of foreigners.« One also finds a testimony for a genuine Islamic life that differs radically from the fundamentalism that dominates media reports. (14+) ☆

France (French) - 1999 - 128
Dutheil, Florence (text)
Fellner, Henri (illus.)
Le petit livre pour dire non à l'intolérance et au racisme
(The little book about how to say no to intolerance and racism)
Paris: Bayard poche / Astrapi, 1998. 29 p.
(Le petit livre pour dire non ; 2 (Bayard poche))
ISBN 2-227-74501-0
Intolerance - Racism - Protest
This thin paperback volume offers sound advice for all situations in which a person becomes aware of the differences between people. It begins in the family and ends at school and in public, where members of different ethnic groups are likely to meet. Comic-style drawings with balloon captions depict typical, ordinary scenes in two variations: negative-intolerant and positive-praiseworthy. The texts, which are not only for children, contain well-founded and easy-to-do suggestions for overcoming and avoiding intolerance and racism. (7+) ☆ ☼

France (French) - 1999 - 129
Elèves de Pascal Paquet, Collège du centre, Dir. de l'Enseignement de Mayotte (text)
Elèves de Patrice Cujo, Collège du centre (illus.)
Un étrange marriage
(An unusual marriage)
Paris: Éd. du Baobab/Servédit, 1997. 17 p.
(Collection grain d'encre)
ISBN 2-86877-101-7
Magician - Witch - Punishment - Transformation
In the Savannah there once lived a witch. She married a magician. They took in a lost child, but one day the witch devoured it. In punishment, the magician transformed her into a Baobab tree that one still sees standing today. College students from Mayotte (one of Comoro Islands off the coast of Mozambique) have written this story down in very effective laconicsm and illustrated it with animal motifs and ornamental patterns in the style of their folk art. (6+) ☆

France (French) - 1999 - 130
Godard, Alex (text/illus.)
Maman-dlo
(<Proper name>)
Paris: Albin Michel Jeunesse, 1998. 43 p.
ISBN 2-226-09079-7
Antilles - Fisherman - Poverty - Family/Separation - Leave-taking
The over-sized illustrations of this picture book authentically capture the picturesque world of the Antilles. The young girl Cècette lives with her grandparents, a poor, illiterate fisher family, on Guadeloupe. After her father was lost at sea, her mother had to move to a distant city to find work. Cècette is allowed to visit her during the school holidays. Taking leave of her grandparents is a moving moment and reflects the other side of life on the beautiful island - in order to escape from its material poverty, one must leave behind the people one loves. (6+) ☆ ☼

France (French) - 1999 - 131
Henry, Jean-Marie (ed.)
Vautier, Mireille (illus.)
Tour de terre en poèsie. Anthologie multilingue de poèmes du monde
(Around the world through poetry. A multilingual anthology of poems from around the world)
Paris: Rue du Monde, 1998. 62 p.
(La poésie)
ISBN 2-912084-09-1
Poetry/Anthology
Mankind has written poetry in over five thousand languages. The small selection, presented here in the original language and in French, has been taken from an immeasurable treasury. It is accompanied by a variety of different scripts. This lyrical journey around the world reflects the wide diversity and differences between people, and yet often reveals an astonishing affinity that transcends great cultural and geographical distances. The refreshing layout and naive, richly allusive drawings make the pages a delight to the eye. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 133
Mwankumi, Dominique (text/illus.)
La pêche à la marmite
(The catch of fish with the pot)
Paris: École des Loisirs, 1998. 37 p.
(Archimède)
ISBN 2-211-04458-1
Congo - Fishing - Rural life
Two hundred kilometers from Kinshasa there is a fishing village called Panu. In the rainy period the river is overflowing with fish. Kumi and his friends set out to fish. It is not without danger. Suddenly a crocodile approaches. Fortunately, Kumi is alert enough to scare it off. The luminous power of these illustrations of this true story which capture the lively experiences of Congolese children let the reader know that these are scenes from the childhood of the Congolese painter now living in Brussels. Parallel to the story, the mood of the story is unfolded as the color tones shift the yellow of the hot midday to the shadowy hues of evening and nighttime. The reader is transported into a world of childhood far beyond the routine of school-days and safety-inspected playgrounds. A brief afterword describes the current living conditions of Congolese fishermen and their families. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - France (French) - 1999 - 134
Ottenheimer, Laurence (conception)
Truong, Marcelino (illus.)
Une journée à Hanoi
(One day in Hanoi)
Paris: Hachette Jeunesse, 1997. [34] p.
(Demi page)
ISBN 2-01-291618-X
Hanoi - Family life - Daily routine - Traditions/Modern life
The seven landscape-sized tableaus show a day in the life of the family Tran in bustling Hanoi. The traditional and modern ways of life are intermingled. One observes ceremonies of ancestor worship taking place adjacent to relics from the French colonial period, such Baguette from the bakery or steam engines. The recent past is called to mind by a passer-by crippled during the war. Ricksha drivers, apparently unemployed intellectuals, read while waiting for customers. Illnesses are also in evidence. The extreme closeness of the living quarters is made relative by the unperturbed cheerfulness of the residents. In an appendix there is a photodocumentary afterword. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 143
Guarnieri, Paolo (text)
Landmann, Bimba (illus.)
Un bambino di nome Giotto
(A child named Giotto)
Milano: Arka, 1998. [28] p.
(Collana Perle d'arte)
ISBN 88-8072-062-7
Giotto <di Bondone> - Art - Painting
This narrative picture book presents the legendary life of the painter Giotto as an introduction to art. Beginning with Giotto's childhood as a young shepherd and his fortuitous meeting with Cimabue, the outstanding master and innovator in pictorial art of his times, the author entertains the young reader both through the story and informative descriptions of the techniques involved in fresco painting. Full-page plates in warm, earthy tones resembling altar pieces describe not a saint's life but that of the celebrated Romanesque painter. Especially striking is the use of decorative elements that convey the Byzantine influences on Giotto's education and work. (7+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 144
Lanzotti, Paolo
La parole magiche di Kengi il Pensieroso
(The magic words of Kengi the Pensive)
Casale Monferrato (AL): Piemme Junior, 1998. 302 p.
(Il batello a vapore / Serie rossa / Serie oro; 5)
ISBN 88-384-7705-1
Sumer - Adolescence - School - Learning
Kengi, a thirteen-year old farmer boy in Sumer in ancient Babylonia, has a dream. He wants to learn to write and become a scribe. Through a fortuitous event he is able to enter a school for scribes where he is entrusted to a cruel teacher who thwarts his learning. Kengi finds himself up against several hostile people who oppose his desire to improve his status. This is a well-constructed and fascinating historical novel, rich in adventures, that will stimulate the reader's imagination. Kengi's enthusiasm and longing for knowledge represent adolescent fragility but also perseverance in pursuing one's aspirations. (12+) ☆
(Premio Il Battello a Vapore, 1997)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 148
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
Ciliegie e bombe
(Cherries and bombs)
Firenze: Giunti, 1998. 93 p.
([Giunti ragazzi universale / Under 10] ; 31)
ISBN 88-09-21324-6
Yugoslavia/Civil war - Orphan - Diary
Nine-year old Dragan is a war orphan from ex-Yugoslavia living in an orphanage in Italy. During the long months the staff look for a family to adopt him, he records his fears and hopes, his memories and experiences in a diary and makes acquaintance with people who want to help restore peace and quiet to his life. This is an intense, melancholic and moving story, brightened by occasional flashes of irony and fun. The illustrator's witty and sensitive style conveys the universal child's fears and emotions with warmth and humor. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 1999 - 149
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Carrer, Chiara (illus.)
La mummia che fuggì dal museo
(The mummy who escaped from the museum)
Firenze: Salani, 1998. 124 p.
(Gl'istrici ; 130)
ISBN 88-7782-720-3
Mummy - Adventure - Love
After spending thousands of years in a sarcophagus, a pharaoh's wife - now a mummy - tires of her lazy existence in a museum and decides to escape. Finding refuge in southern Italy with an old nurse who rears crocodiles - the symbol of fertility - in her garden pond, the mummy discovers love and turns into a fascinating and radiant woman with sex appeal. All efforts by the police and public health officers to make her leave are in vain. She even finds help from the statuettes of her Egyptian servants buried with her. Throughout the colorful story the reader is given a humorous interpretation of Egyptian culture, which is also presented in comic style illustrations. (9+) ☆

Portugal (Portuguese) - 1999 - 152
Mota, António (text)
Lúcia, Ana (illus.)
O agosto que nunca esquecei
(The August that I have never forgotten)
Porto: Edinter, 1998. 171 p.
(Edinter jovem ; 17)
ISBN 972-43-0312-8
Rural life - Village - Rural exodus - Home
In hindsight, from the perspective of the first-person narrator, this book tells of the experiences of elevenyear old David in 1966 in his home village in northern Portugal. It is a summer full of surprises and major changes, both in the family and in the village, and ends with David leaving his home to earn his living in the big city of Porto. In his realistic but at the same time reticent, reserved style the author describes traditional rural life and its gradual but unstoppable decay. There is a lightly melancholic tone in the narrative yet it is free of any bitterness and nostalgic overtones. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 159
Plaza, José María (text)
Gallego, José María (illus.)
El paranguaricutirimicuaro que no sabía quién era
(The paranguaricutirimicuaro who didn't know who he was)
Madrid: Espasa, 1998. 131 p.
(Espasa juvenil ; 55)
ISBN 84-239-9027-3
Animals - Difference - Search for identity
A curious, adventurous little animal sets out alone, leaving parents and familiar territory behind it, in order to discover the world. On its random course it encounters a wide variety of animals who all make fun of the naive stranger. For the frog its eyes are too big, for the snake, its legs too long, for the ant it is much too large. And on top of that they all want to know: who are you? This becomes clear in the end: a paranguaricutirimicuaro - although this name gives rise to even more questions. The diversity of the animal world and the search for one's own identity are the themes of this amusing and accessible story. (7+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 160
Prada Samper, José Manuel de (reteller)
Filella, Luis (illus.)
Las mil caras del Diablo. Cuentos, leyendas y tradiciones
(The thousand faces of the devil. Folktales, legends and traditions)
Barcelona: Ed. Juventud, 1998. 246 p.
(Colección cuentos universales)
ISBN 84-261-3072-0
Devil/Folktale/Legend
The folktales and legends in this extensive anthology all deal with the figure of the devil. José M. de Prada has done a meticulous job of researching and re-telling the traditional tales from many countries and cultures. The result is an interesting mixture, that enables a multi-faceted view at a well-known, many-sided character. Using a thematic approach - such as the origins of the devil or the classical motif of the devil's pact - the author offers interesting connections. Initial vignettes, black-and-white and some color illustrations, as well as an extensive list of sources and secondary literature round out this exemplary book. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 1999 - 162
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi
Un hombre con un tenedor en una tierra de sopas
(A man with a fork in an earth of spoons)
Madrid: Bruño, 1998. 171 p.
(Paralelo Cero ; 22)
ISBN 84-216-3194-2
Chiapas (Mexico) - Aborigines - Oppression - Social Conflict - Photographer - Suicide
The younger brother of a Spanish photographer wants to find out why his brother chose to commit suicide, even though he had received an important prize for the publication of a photo of a massacre in the Mexican state of Chiapas only a short time before. The question leads him to the center of the conflict, the jungle of Lacandona. This suspenseful, ficticious story by one of today's most widely read young adult writers in Spain is based on the real suicide case of a photojournalist. The book not only sheds light on the background of this socio-political conflict but also shows clearly the implications of journalism. (12+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 1999 - 164
Garriga, Carme (text)
Giménez, Anna (text)
Giménez, Anna et al. (photos)
Ostelinda. Jo vinc de tot arreu
(Ostelinda. I come from everywhere)
Barcelona: Galera, 1998. 31 p.
(LaGalera jo vinc de ... ; 1)
ISBN 84-246-9351-5
Roma/Catalonia
This book is one title in the exemplary information book series („I come from..."), in which texts and abundant photographs offer a useful first glimpse into the life and customs of different countries - as seen through the eyes of a child who lives there and tells of his own everyday life. A notable feature of this book is that the girl belongs to the Roma, a people who are at home in many countries and are often marginalized and stigmatized. This book deserves praise in particular for showing clearly that Ostelinda is above all a child like any other. (7+) ☆ ☼

Colombia (Spanish) - 1999 - 175
Román, Celso (text)
Alekos (illus.)
El imperio de las cinco lunas
(The kingdom of the five moons)
Bogotá: Ed. Norma, 1998. 346 p.
(Colección torre de papel : Torre amarilla)
ISBN 958-04-4278-9
Fratricidal war - Good/Evil
The fantasy world which is presented in this novel bears strong resemblance to the reality of contemporary world in Latin America. The plot draws upon the legend of the five moons which prophecize the war between the fraternal countries of the tapirs and the pecaris and the ascendancy of the spider and snake kingdoms. The story focusses on a hero whose powers have been endowed by the animals, each represented by one moon. On his journey through the kingdom of evil he is confronted with difficulties that shape his character and allows the author to cast light on the values and problems facing Colombian society today. This is an initiation novel with a circular narrative structure that renews the meaning of traditional legends. (11+) ☆
(Premio Latinoamericano de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil Norma - Fundalectura, 1998)

Mexico (Spanish) - 1999 - 180
Serrano, Francisco (comp./preface)
24 poetas latinoamericanos
(Twenty-four Latin American poets)
México, D.F.: CIDCLI, 1997. 254 p.
(Coedición Latinoamericana)
ISBN 968-494-079-3
Latin America/Poetry/Anthology
Eleven publishers have collaborated in the »Coedición Latinoamericana« to produce anthologies of Latin American stories, fairy tales, legends, etc. for young adult and adult readers. Through such co-editions it is possible to produce large printings of ambitious projects at comparatively low prices. Each volume in the now fourteen volume series is prepared by one publishing house. The coordination of this ex- emplary form of cooperation lays in the hands of CERLALC, an instituion which promotes literature and book production throughout Latin America. This volume represents an excellent and wide selection of Latin American poetry. (13+) ☆

Canada (French) - 1999 - 184
Noël, Michel
La ligne de trappe
(The trapper's trail)
Montréal (Québec): Hurtubise HMH, 1998. 173 p.
(Collection Atout ; 21 : Aventure)
ISBN 2-89428-273-7
Canada - Wilderness - Airplane crash - Survival
The author is an expert on the wilderness of Northern Canada and writes an apparently authentic story of the desparate struggle for survival of four people whose plane crashed hundreds of kilometers from the next human settlement. The narrator is a Mestize. His view of things discloses the shrewd and humbling recognition of man's precarious roll in the wilderness, based on practical experience. According to his scale of values as an Indian the fundamental elements which are valid for human existence are none other than: life, love and death. (10+) ☆

Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 193
Hurme, Taru (text/illus.)
Heinävä, Auli (text/illus.)
Mummo ja Viivi vanhassa Tallinnassa
(Grandmother and Viivi in old Tallinn)
Helsinki: Lasten Keskus, 1998. 40 p.
ISBN 951-627-201-0
Grandmother/Granddaughter - Tallinn/Tour guide
This book offers a tour of the old architecture of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The trip is Viivi's birthday present from her grandmother and they both enjoy becoming familiar with Middle Age buildings and towers. The book can serve as a travel guide for children. The writers and illustrators are architects and they have supplemented the narrative with the special vocabulary in an appendix. The atmosphere of the old city exudes from the story and the nostalgic illustrations. (8+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 1999 - 203
Hentig, Urd von (illus.)
Hva er det for noe? Gåter fra Norge
(What is it? Riddles from Norway)
Oslo: Kulturbro Forlag, 1997. [58] p.
ISBN 82-91234-18-3
Norway - Riddles
The Kulturbro (»Bridge of Cultures«) Publishing House is making an admirable effort to help integrate children of foreigners into their new Norwegian homeland. In this picture book young readers whose native tongues are Croatian, Persian, Vietnamese or Somali will find Norwegian riddles and answers along with the answers in their own languages. Accessible but artistic illustrations in attractive, but not gaudily colorful watercolors against a purple background enhance its appeal to children. In the illustrative style of the German-born artist one finds traces of her study travels in other parts of the world as well as elements of expressionism. (6+) ☆ ☼

Bosnia-Herzegovina - 1999 - 214
Dubočanin, Alija Hasagič (text)
Ibrahimpašič, Mirza (illus.)
Pas pismonoša
(The postdog)
Sarajevo: Sarajevo-Publishing, 1998. 23 p.
(Lastavica ; Slikovnice , 1)
ISBN 9958-21-057-6
Sarajevo/Civil war 1992-1995 - Everyday life - Dog - Postman
This picture book with almost fotorealistic illustrations depicts the horrors of war as experienced by Dina, a young girl in Sarajevo, a city engulfed in fear, loneliness, black-outs and grenade attacks. One night something scratches at the door. It is Jenny, the dog of Dina's aunt carrying a letter. Even though it contains not only good news, it brightens up the lives of Dina and her mother. But Jenny was injured on the way to Dina's house and finally dies from its wounds. In her nightmares, Dina often re-lives Jenny's journey through the war-torn night. This is the start of a new picture book series by the successor of the renowned Bosnian publishing house Veselin Masleša. (6+) ☆

Bulgaria (Bulgarian) - 1999 - 215
Mirčev, Krasimir (text)
Paunov, Viktor (illus.)
Vampiri - Gunduraci - Zmej
(Vampires - Centaurs - Dragons)
Sofija: Panorama, 1998. 48 p.
ISBN 954-9655-02-4
Balkans - Ghost - Spirit
Ghosts may be found everywhere, but in popular beliefs in the Balkans there is an especially great diversity of such creatures which reside somewhere between this world and the next. This is a systematic account of good and evil spirits - from the good house dragon which sleeps under the doorstep and protects the house, to giants, dwarfs, dragons of various sizes and shapes, nixies, fairies, wind and weather spirits, werwolves, witches, centaurs, vampires and even frightening apparitions which are unknown in the western world. This book is richly illustrated with stunning pictures in mixed media. (10+) ☆

Latvia (Latvian) - 1999 - 220
Mānuš, Leksa (text)
Rūdevičs, Kārlis (illus.)
Romani Čhib Ābeca
(Roma ABC)
Rīga: Sprīdītis, 1997. 93 p.
ISBN 5-7960-0383-6
Roma - Alphabet book
The texts and illustrations of this exemplary ABC book of the gypsies' language depicts the strongly traditional way of life of the Roma in eastern Europe. (5+) ☆

Russia (Russian) - 1999 - 221
Budur, Natal'ja (ed.)
Chryčeva, Tat'jana (design)
Ionajtis, Ol'ga (illus.)
Roždestvo
(Christmas)
Moskva: Kontrakt, 1997. 414 p.
ISBN 5-900785-18-1
Russia/Customs and traditions - Christmas
Ever since the fall of Communism there has been considerable effort to present religious themes. While there are hardly any new writings to be found, texts by pre-revolutionary authors and from other European countries are being re-published. This especially attractive book begins with the Christmas story as told in the Book of Luke, and is followed by texts about the birth of Jesus and Christmas celebrations by Russian authors such as Vladimir Nabokov, Aleksandr Blok, Ivan Bunin, Fëdor Dostoevskij, Fëdor Tjutčev, Aleksandr Puškin, Vasilij Žukovskij, Afanasij Fetan, as well as translated pieces by Otfried Preussler, Hans Christian Andersen, Selma Lagerlöf, Elsa Beskow, Viktor Rydberg, Astrid Lindgren und Alf Prøysen, and Christmas tales from England and France. In addition this extensive treasury offers information about food and customs common at the Christmas season in Russia. (8+) ☆

Slovenia (Slovenian) - 1999 - 225
Vašte, Ilka
Mejaši
(The adjoiners)
Ljubljana: DZS, 1997. 127 p.
(Zbirka Zgodovinsko klasje)
ISBN 86-341-2112-7
Slovenia/History 680-830 - Lombards - Migration - Avars
Both of these historical novels deal with events in early Slovenia. Ilka Vašte draws a picture of the first settlements in the western parts of its current territory in the late 7th and early 8th century, describing the conflicts with other tribes (Lombards) and invasions by the Avars based on historical sources. First published in 1923, the book was very topical then because the Slovenians living in Italy were experiencing increasing pressure from the Italian fascists. The novel »Miklova zala« by Jakob Sket first appeared in 1884 in a magazine and deals with the invasion of the Turks in Slovenia between 1470 and 1620. Although the Slovenians did not have to live as long under Turkish rule as other southern Slavic peoples, these 150 years still represent a sense of threat in the Slovenian consciousness. Sket also draws upon historical and traditional literary sources but writes in a more free, fictitious style than Vašte. Ever since Slovenia became independent, popular interest in the historical roots of its population has continued to grow. In the European context, the history of this region of southeastern Europe - though often neglected - deserves more attention. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 236
Apostolakē, Alexa
Stampoglē, Helenē
Alphabētari tēs Kypru
(An alphabet of Cyprus)
Athēna: Kaleidoskopio, 1997. 119 p.
ISBN 960-7846-00-1
Cyprus/History - Culture - Archaeology - Art - Political history
Using the alphabet to give form to the book, the history, rich culture, customs and everyday life of Cyprus are made vivid and accessible for readers of all ages. Writings ranging from the classical period to modern times document the eventful history of an island which has often been occupied during its history, but is still largely unknown beyond its borders. Short, pithy texts, enrichened with excellent, attractively designed illustrative matter have been chosen by experts for this excellent introduction to Cyprus that invites repeated browsing. A chronology of historical events rounds out this compact handbook of a country which will soon become a member of the European Union. It may be hoped that this new publishing house continues to present such meticulously edited books. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 238
Chatzē, Giolanta (text)
Aigyptos. Hoi hellēnes zōgraphoi tu Phagium
(Egypt. The Greek painters of Al-Faiyūm)
Athēna: Ammos, 1998. [48] p.
ISBN 960-202-188-8
Egypt/Art history 30 B.C. - Al-Faiyūm - Greek portrait painting
Beginning with a general introduction into Egyptian history and culture, with special emphasis on the Hellenistic Period, twelve portraits from this period, which have been splendidly preserved due to the dry climate, are presented and explained in a superlative manner. The reader learns how the clothing and jewelry of the naturalistically portrayed persons give indication of their social rank and about the painting techniques used. The editor, Euphrosyne Doxiade, a painter herself, has been working in this field for many years and has published the only internationally known scholarly work on these portraits. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Greece (Greek) - 1999 - 242
Psilakēs, Nikos (text)
Papadēmētriu, Angelo (illus.)
Krētes theoi
(The gods of Crete)
Hērakleion: Karmanōr, [1998?]. 117 p.
(Mythologia / Nikos Psilakēs)
ISBN 960-7448-14-6
Crete/Mythology - Crete/Sculptures
In this re-telling of the Greek mythology, the journalist and writer Nikos Psilakēs gives a highly vivid narration of the legends of the ancient gods of Crete. A particularly noteworthy feature of the book is its illustration with photos of sculptures which were created especially for this project, making this an nonpareil bibliophilic edition . (6+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 7
Konishi, Eiko (text/illus.)
Yatto aeta
(What a lovely meeting!)
Tokyo: Shikosha, 1998. [26] p.
Italy - City life - Dog - Search
While shopping in the city, a boy loses his dog at the marketplace. After a long search, they find each other on the hill over the city. They are both pleased to be together again. This picture book portrays the beauty of an old Tuscany town and its lively everyday life. The warm colors of the illustrations exude a sense of security. (3+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2000 - 9
Ogawa, Mimei (text)
Takano, Reiko (illus.)
Ushionna
(The cow woman)
Tokyo: Kaiseisha, 1999. 36 p.
(Nihon no dōwa meisakusen)
ISBN 4-03-963700-3
Japan - Death - Soul - Motherly love - Justice
For his efforts to give artistic shape to stories for children the author Mimei Ogawa (1882-1961) is called the patron of modern Japanese children's literature. »The cow woman« (first published in 1919) describes a deaf-mute mother who is given this title by the other villagers due to her physical size and gentle character. After her death, her soul is unable to rest because her young son is left all alone in wretched poverty. She appears in various guises to help and guide him. The literary speciality of Ogawa lies in expressing the Oriental religious philosophy symbolically, revealing the continuity of life. The decay of living things is not an absolute, as life takes on another form of expression, as in this example of motherly love. In mixed media technique, including copper-plate etchings, the artist interprets the mystical effects of the soul of the deceased mother in palpable, atmospheric illustrations, while also depicting the people and landscape of northern Japan. (10+) ☆ ☼

Ghana (English) - 2000 - 21
Aidoo, Ama Ata
The girl who can and other stories
Legon, Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 1997 (repr. 1999). 146 p.
(Distr. excl. by African Books Collective, Oxford)
ISBN 9988-550-11-1
Everyday life/Ghana - Women's rights - Bravery
This is a collection of short stories dealing with women in different social and family situations in modern-day Ghana by a long-standing creative writer and teacher. In each story she adopts a different narrative style and covers themes ranging from an electoral victory, a young woman passing a pilot test, a mother struggling with common family crises while her husband spends his nights elsewhere, or a high-placed NGO founder reflecting on the meaning and practical implications of »global village.« These memorable stories celebrate the uprightness and self-consciousness of women in a world that favors men. They stand out as African writing through their fresh, real-life imagery and the natural voice of the narrators. (14+) ☆

India (English) - 2000 - 33
Chandran, Hira Nirodi (text)
Gaidhane, Shankar (illus.)
Chikka
(<Proper name>)
Hyderabad: Gul Mohar/Orient Longman, 1998. 160 p.
ISBN 81-250-1423-3
Countryside - Drought - City life - Runaway - House servant
Eleven-year old Chikka lives with his older married brother and helps with the rice-farming most of the time, though he still likes to run off and play with his friend or listen to the old neighbor man's stories. But when a drought makes it difficult for the family of four to make ends meet, Chikka impestuously runs away to Bangalore. With luck he finds a post as kitchen helper in a kind family and will be able to send some money back to his family each month. This simple story of a poor uneducated school boy who dreams of a better life and is willing to work and take risks, has likeable characters and an evenly paced plot of adventure and variety. First published abroad in 1962, it still has a fresh feeling and a positive outlook on life. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - India (English) - 2000 - 36
Sadykov, Turat (text)
Roy, Subir (illus.)
Singh, Varyam (transl.)
Manas
(<Proper name>)
New Delhi: Children's Book Trust, 1998. 32 p.
(Transl. from Kirghiz)
ISBN 81-7011-815-8
Folk tale/Kirghizia - Hero
Late in life an old, rich man became father to a child. Shortly before the birth of the child who would be named Manas a wandering doctor and seer who was passing by fed the mother meat from an ancient animal that destined the child to have extraordinary powers. Even as a child he used his incredible strength to perform useful, heroic deeds that are still told today. This attractively illustrated booklet contains three tales that reveal the customs and traditions of the pre-dominantly Muslim, worldly open mountainous country of Kirghizia, which became an autonomous republic after nearly 130 years of Russian rulership. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - New Zealand (English) - 2000 - 41
Mataira, Kāterina (text)
Huége de Serville, Sylvia (illus.)
Kapa Haka
Raglan: Ahura Enterprises, 1999. 31 p.
ISBN 0-908692-05-6
Father - Daughter - Separation - Dance - Imagination
Kereana and her mother experience terrible unhappiness when their father and husband leave them behind in New Zealand to work overseas. When Kereana takes up practicing Maori dances, the waiata-a-ringa, the pain in her heart begins to subside. Soon she enters school and learns the welcoming songs and dances of the kapa haka group, but still feels sad that her father never sees her. Her grandmother suggests that she could imagine her father in the audience and this helps Kereana become a very good performer. This read-aloud story about adjusting to separation is universally appealing, while the colorful pencil illustrations opposite each page of text provide an appealing view into a modern Maori childhood. (5+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 2000 - 49
Hollyer, Beatrice
Wake up, World! A day in the life of children around the world
London: Lincoln in assoc. with Oxfam, 1999. [44] p.
ISBN 0-7112-1359-3
(Also publ. in New York: Henry Holt, 1999)
Everyday life/Child - Comparison
This striking photographic picture album takes a world-wide view of how children live today. The wide diversity of life-style and comfort is set off against the commonality of their interests. The family life, school life, free time and dreams of eight children from eight different corners of the world - Australia, Vietnam, India, Russia, Ghana, United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States - are presented in double-page spreads. Excellent color photographs of the children's activities are accompanied by first-person quotations or informative statements. On the back fly-leaf a brief geo-social description of each country provides a wider contextual framework. (5+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 57
Khan, Rukhsana (text)
Gallinger, Patty (illus.)
Muslim child. A collection of short stories and poems
Toronto: Napoleon Publ., 1999. 69 p.
ISBN 0-929141-61-X
Muslims - Religious customs - Sayings
This collection of 21 entries - stories, poems, sayings and activities - offers children outside the Muslim world a very wide range of information at the story and the information level (in part, through extensive explanations in side-bars). The way that Muslim children learn to practice the beliefs of their ancestors are depicted in quite realistic narratives that show how their religion effects their daily lives and how they themselves grow in understanding. The reader will also gain much understanding for a culture that is still widely unfamiliar in many countries. (8+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 61
Trottier, Maxine (text)
Morin, Paul (illus.)
Flags
Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1999. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7737-3136-9
Childhood memories - Neighbor - Canada/History 1941-1942 - Japanese-Canadians - Internment
The first-person narrator recalls her own personal experience of losing a friend through the politics of war. While visiting her grandmother on the Pacific coast one summer, the girl befriends an older Japanese man who has a magnificent garden of stones, blue irises (flags) and, in the middle, a fish pond. Although Canadian born, Mr. Hiroshi is forced to give up all this and taken away to an internment camp. Soon new people move in and change the garden entirely, but the young girl manages to save some flowers and stones - as the start of a new garden that can grow better with time. This beautifully illustrated picture book contains a poignant story whose impact grows with re-reading; an excellent starting point for reflection and discussions. (8+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 62
Wallace, Mary (text/illus.)
The Inuksuk Book
Toronto: Greey de Pencier, 1999. 64 p.
(Owl)
ISBN 1-895688-90-6
Arctic - Inuit - Stone - Communication
This beautifully designed information book explains various aspects of the past and present life of the Inuit, the aborigines of Canada's arctic regions. While the well-written text draws upon many authoritative sources to give a wide and carefully selected array of details in twelve thematic chapters, the combination of various-sized color and black-and-white photographs on each page draw the reader into a fascinating world where human beings and nature interact at a very basic level. An inuksuk, a stone structure that communicates knowledge, plays an essential role in survival and in transmitting cultural values. Inuktitut symbols, words and sounds are clearly explained in an appendix. (10+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 64
Ye, Ting-xing (text)
Langlois, Suzane (illus.)
Share the sky
Toronto: Annick Press, 1999. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-579-2
China - Prejudice - Canada/Immigrant - Difference - Kite
Fei-fei lives with her grandparents in a village in Asia while her parents establish a new life in North America. With her mind (and night-time dreams) filled with prejudices and reservations voiced by her relatives, Fei-fei is finally sent off to join her parents in a strange new city. To her great surprise and joy she finds children with similar interests and needs at her new school - and, best of all, the same love for kite-flying - a symbolic motif in this book. She is able to reassure her grandparents that they are living under the same sky. The illustrator employs a diversity of perspectives to convey feelings and impressions. The text is printed in boxed insets except on the very last page, when Fei-fei feels a part of her new surroundings. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2000 - 70
Silverman, Erica (text)
Gaber, Susan (illus.)
Raisel's riddle
New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999. 34 p.
ISBN 0-374-36168-1
Folktale/Jewish - Cinderella <motif> - Kindness - Wisdom
When Raisel's grandfather, a Talmudic scholar, dies, she must give up her learning and find work as the kitchen helper of a well-to-do rabbi in the town. In return for her kindness, a beggar woman grants her three wishes which she wisely uses to win the heart of the rabbi's son. First she attends a Purim party dressed as Queen Esther in order to meet him. But he must also use his wits to answer her clever riddle. The full-page pastel colors use a variety of perspectives to characterize persons and situations. This is a memorable, culturally centered re-telling of the Cinderella tale with an intelligent female protagonist. (8+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2000 - 83
Frommlet, Wolfram (text)
Wagenbreth, Henning (illus.)
Mond und Morgenstern. Eine Geschichte aus Afrika
(Moon and Morning Star. A tale from Africa)
Wuppertal: Hammer, 1999. 44 p.
ISBN 3-87294-784-2
Africa - Creation story
God created Moon and gave him Morning Star to be his wife. She gave birth to the plant kingdom. After two years she returned to the heavens and Moon was given Evening Star as his mate. And she gave birth to the animals and mankind. Then Moon hurt Evening Star and she gave birth to the animals of prey. Moon declared himself the king of the world, and his subjects removed him from his throne. Moon rose into the heavens and even today is still looking for Morning Star, his first beloved. This is an impressive picture book depicting an African creation myth. Large, brilliantly colored illustrations on earth-tone paper with linoleum cuts that are illustrated by the forms and shapes of African art. (10+) ☆ ☼

Switzerland (German) - 2000 - 102
Chudožilov, Petr (text)
Čapek, Jindra (illus.)
Das Wunder von Jasina. Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte
(The miracle of Jasina. A Christmas story)
Aarau: Sauerländer, 1999. 53 p.
ISBN 3-7941-4540-2
Ukraine - Nativity - Miracle - Christmas - Holy Family - Shelter
It is Christmas in a small, snowbound village in the Ukrainian mountains. A young stranger finds no one - neither rich nor poor - to take her in and let her warm up; no place to give birth to her child. Only old Giuseppe with the wooden leg is, like she, still out wandering through the cold dark night. He recognizes her situation and helps her. Then a Christmas miracle takes place. Giuseppe - Joseph - has his leg restored to health and the whole world passes by to honor the Christ child. This story is imbued with worldly wisdom and a love of mankind. The text and pictures acquaint young children with the miracle of Christmas in an unspectacular manner. (5+) ☆ ☼

France (French) - 2000 - 114
Barthélémy, Gérard
Barthélémy, Mimi
Haïti, la perle nue
(Haiti, the naked pearl)
Châteauneuf-le-Rouge: Vents d'ailleurs, 1999. 93 p.
ISBN 2-911412-05-2
Haiti - Ecology - Census
Haiti, once the richest colony in the world, is one of the prime examples of how ecological balance is being destroyed on this planet. Overexploitation of land, over-population, deforestation, poverty and political dictatorship have completely exhausted the resources of the so-called »Pearl of the Antilles«. This richly illustrated paperback awakens an appreciation for the interplay of history and environment, and calls for solidarity among the readers as residents of a common world. The documentation is clearly organized by sociopolitical themes and interspersed with folk tales that reveal amazing parallels to the topic just treated, despite being set at the level of myth and legend. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2000 - 130
Serres, Alain [et al.] (text)
Zaü (illus.)
Le grand livre contre le racisme
(The big book against racism)
[Paris]: Rue du Monde, 1999. 115 p.
ISBN 2-912084-19-9
Racism
It is not genes that make people of different skin colours different, but rather traditions, religious practices and the everyday customs of the respective cultures. This is shown by a collective of renown authors in this substantial documentation for young adults, with its 120 photos. The focus unites historical and sociological viewpoints on slavery, holocaust, xenophobia, migration and marginalization in the past, with the banality of everyday life in our cities, in which behaviour toward those who are different is often easily and unconsciously diffamatory. The colored sketches by Zaü that are interspersed in the text expose the absurdity of behavioral clichés in humorous visual anecdotes. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2000 - 143
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Ferrari, Antongionata (illus.)
Le ombre cinesi
(The Chinese shadows)
Casale Monferrato: Piemme Junior, 1999. 56 p.
(Il battello a vapore / Serie bianca / oro ; 7)
ISBN 88-384-7407-9
China - Legend - Shadow
In ancient China the emperor Qua Li Yen decides that his subjects should pay taxes according to the shadows their bodies cast on the imperial ground. This imperial greed is said to be the origin of many different things which "characterize" the Chinese still today: their stiff walking gait, their hair, the almond-shaped eyes, teint of skin, the Chinese shadow play and so on. The story is developed through humorous, exaggerated situations with serious undertones that entertain and touch the reader. This book's excellent layout and well-researched details offer fascinating historical insight into Imperial China. The pictures are done with a dynamic pencil and bright watercolors to create a lively atmosphere. Humorous use of light and space help convey multiple perspective. The book is very attractive and will capture readers and viewers of all ages. (5+) ☆
(Premio Nazionale d'Illustrazione Il Battello a Vapore, Città di Verbania; 1998)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 181
Johansen, Anders
Jordens skød. Raklos rejse; I
(Earth's womb. Raklo's journey, vol.1)
Århus: Modtryk, 1999. 219 p.
ISBN 87-7394-554-4
Yugoslavia - Circus - World War II
While Belgrade is being bombed from the air by the German Luftwaffe, the Circus Gloriosa flees to the countryside, taking along with them the 14- year old boy Raklo. During their odyssey the circus people experience the chaos and horrors of war, ending up finally in the ruins of post-war Germany. The circus, whose artists form an international menagerie of Serbs, Croats, Montenegrins, Greeks, gypsies and other nationalities, is an aptly chosen symbol for the multi-ethnic, everbickering status of south-east Europe - both then and now - but also a forum that gives hope for a peaceable co-existence. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 182
Larsen, Steffen
Næsten. En lille bog om Ja & Nej
(Almost: a small book about yes and no)
København: Høst, 1999. 75 p.
ISBN 87-14-19723-5
Civil courage
The author, who works professionally with conscientious objectors to military service, has assembled a series of episodes and written brief texts that show how courageous individuals have had to say »yes« or »no« at the right moment and thereby made a difference to the course of event. The persons presented include Hans Christian Andersen, Mahatma Ghandi, Janusz Korczak, Desmond Tutu, Willy Brandt and many others. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2000 - 187
Reuter, Charlotte (text)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Aja Dobbo
(<Proper name>)
Frederiksberg: Branner og Korch, 1999. 64 p.
ISBN 87-411-5829-6
Cat - Adventure
This first title in a new series is further evidence of the knack that Scandinavian children's books authors have for creating books for beginning readers between the ages of five and seven. These are easy to read and to understand, but manage to avoid ridiculous cuteness and thin jokes. Charlotte Reuter describes the first days in the life of cat baby Aja Dobbo without finesse, but with so much wit that any adult reading it aloud will also be entertained. Nearly surpassing the text are the colorful illustrations by the renown Dorte Karrebæk. While the cats' personalities are drawn in an acute persiflage, the mirror she holds up to her female contemporaries is even more revealing. In this case the cat owner, a self-confident woman, well over fifty, wears much too skimpy fashions, and unsparingly reveals the discrepancy between wanting to be young but being young no more. (5+) ☆ ☼

Norway (Norwegian) - 2000 - 197
Sande, Hans (text)
Düzakin, Akin (illus.)
Elefantevangeliet
(The gospel of the elephant)
[Oslo]: Gyldendal Tiden, 1999. 30 p.
ISBN 82-478-0224-4
Jesus Christ - Elephant - Miracle
»One evening Jesus bicycled down to the Sea of Galilee.« When a story begins in this way, one need not fear finding yet another Bible story cooked up for the 100th time for children's tastes. In this wholly made-up legend, Jesus is a young man who performs a miracle from time to time, loves elephants and the women of Canaan, but is generally rather dreamy and never reacts the way others expect him to. The Norwegian illustrator of Turkish descent, who has been known for rather glaring, high-contrast pictures up to now, selects softer colors and shapes in this picture book, without forsaking clarity and definition of expression. The child reader will find a new way to see the old, familiar figure of Jesus - but in no way a distorted one. (10+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 203
Stalfelt, Pernilla (text/illus.)
Dödenboken
(The book of death)
[Stockholm]: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87-80554-5
Death - Burial - Customs/Sweden
There have already been several picture books dealing with touchy subjects published by this author. This topic is perhaps the most touchy one yet. Is it right to caricature such a serious topic? Indeed, disrespectful cartoons of invalids, of the living and of the dead are accompanied by occasionally cheeky captions (for example, dealing with a possible life after death: »Imagine what it would be like to become a hotdog!!!«). But the whole undertaking aims at making it clear to children in an unsentimenal way that death is something natural and a part of life. At no time does the book poke fun at the worries and cares of the sick and the mourning. (6+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 205
Wahl, Mats (text)
Ambrosiani, Björn (text)
Nordqvist, Sven (illus.)
Folket i Birka. På Vikingarnas tid
(The people of Birka. The age of the Vikings)
[Stockholm]: BonnierCarlsen, 1999. 96 p.
ISBN 91-638-3692-0
Birka - Haithabu - Vikings - Everyday life
The author-illustrator team of Wahl and Nordqvist seems to be continuing productively in the area of historical information books. Following upon their books about the sailing ship »Vasa« and trading history with China, this book delves into the life of the Vikings, an topic closer to home. Once again Wahl develops a story around the everyday life of a typical family, while Nordqvist makes use of his particular talent of blending historical exactness, realistic portrayal and caricature into a lively whole. The reader thus acquires insight into life in a past era that is by no way and means dry. (10+) ☆

The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2000 - 225
Dam, Arend van
Mart en de liefde
(Mart and Maki)
Amsterdam: Uitg. Piramide, 1999. 143 p.
ISBN 90-245-3693-6
Japan - Friendship - First love
Mart, an 11-year old boy who lives in the lighthouse of a dull Dutch fishing village, is very excited when an enormous sailing ship called 'Love' enters the harbour. He meets the owners of the ship, Mister Shibuya and his daughter Maki, who came all the way from Japan and is so impressed by Maki that he wants to know everything about Japan. Fortunately there is an old man in the village, Mister Lodewijk who can tell Mart a lot about the history and culture of Japan after school. Mister Lodewijk's stories are sometimes rather long digressions from the main plot, but they also expand it. The author describes the customs and traditions of Japanese life in a playful way and captures the special feelings of an 11-year old boy. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 236
Kynēgu-Phlampura, Maria (text)
Berberidēs, Nikos (illus.)
Laïka musika organa tu kosmu
(Folk music instruments of the world)
Nea Smyrnē: Akritas, 1998. 103 p. (mit 1 Spielplan + 1 CD)
(Akritas paidika)
ISBN 960-328-096-8
Folk music - Musical instrument
Drawing on her long-time experience as a music teacher and instructor of music teachers, the author offers children information about various musical instruments in a lively manner. Beginning with the instruments of Greek folk music, the drawings by the young illustrator Nikos Berberides document the great diversity of instruments in the world. This is an activity book that will capture the interest of the young reader, while the music cassette provides selected examples of music it describes. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 238
Minasian, Kuēn (reteller)
Paramythia apo tēn Armenia. Mia stagona meli apo tēn Armenikē logotechnia
(Tales from Armenia)
Athēna: Apopeira, 1998. 159 p.
(Tu kosmu ta paramythia ; 15)
ISBN 960-537-013-1
Folktales/Armenian
This volume in the meticulously edited series »Tales from around the world« is the first time a selection of the most widely known Armenian tales has been published in Greek. It endeavors to give a re-telling of those tales that have been passed down orally for generations in Greece, in order to make them available to a greater Greekspeaking audience. The second-generation Greekborn editor is herself Armenian. The illustrations, which are to be found in the National Pinakothek Yerevan, are a congenial enhancement. The book includes exact notes of written and oral sources, other secondary literature and an index of the painters whose works are included. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Cyprus (Greek) - 2000 - 240
Stampoglē, Helen
Prosklēsē se geuma
(An inviation to dinner)
Athēna: Kaleidoskopio, 1997. 57 p.
(Stus dromus tu Byzantiu ; 1)
ISBN 960-7846-03-6
Byzantium
In this first and exquisitely illustrated volume of the projected series »In Byzantine Streets« the Byzantine eating habits become an introduction to the geographical and climactic prerequisites as well as the historical patterns of agriculture and trade, included the relationships between town and country, food and religion. The text draws upon original legal documents, religious texts and travel journals. A map and chronology complete this very well-prepared volume, which is illustrated with original prints of Byzantine art from major art collections. (6+) ☆

Jordan (Arabic) - 2000 - 247
Naǧǧār, Taġrīd 'Ārif an (text)
'Ābd-as-sāhib, Lamyā' (illus.)
al-ǵ ūl
(The man-eater)
'Ammān: as-Salwā, 1998. 23 p.
(Ahsan Sadīq)
(In Arabic letters)
Stranger - Stereotypes - Prejudice - Fear - Xenophobia
Hasan encounters a monster called »Gul« (»maneater «) that is feared by the whole village. When Hasan tries to speak with him, he learns that Gul himself is afraid of the boy and, in fact, of all people who have two eyes instead of one and who - worst of all - like to eat »Guls.« Thus he discovers that people and this strange creature share the same fears and prejudices although they only know each other by hearsay. In the end the »monster« becomes Hasan's friend and helps the village inhabitants with their work.This argument against fear of the unknown and maintaining prejudices about being different is accompanied by easily understandable color illustrations. (5+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2001 - 2
Hashiguchi, Jōji [i.e. George] (text/photos)
Kodomotachi no jikan
(Children's time)
Tokyo : Shogakukan, 2000. (2nd ed.) 222 p.
ISBN 4-09-681271-4
Japan - School children - Individual
In his work with children, photographer George Hashiguchi observed that children around the age of 11 or 12 started developing and showing their personality very strongly. To explore this stage in development, he photographed 105 sixth grade students from all over Japan in their respective surroundings. He talked to them, asking always the same questions. Looking at the portraits and reading the interviews, one gradually enters into dialogue with these young personalities. This sense of a personal relationship makes this informative documentation an unusual and exciting read. (11+) ☆ ☼

Japan (Japanese) - 2001 - 3
Iwasaki, Kyōko (text)
Futamata, Eigorō (illus.)
Jūnishi no hajimari
(The story about twelve animals)
Tokyo : Kyōiku Gageki, 1999. (7th ed. (1st ed. 1997)) 28 p.
(Nihon no minwa ehon)
ISBN 4-7746-0409-7
China - Zodiacs - Folklore
The time of the old Chinese calendar is deeply rooted in Chinese cosmology. Time is divided into cycles. One cycle comprises 60 years, each one consisting of ten tribes, or rather five elements and twelve branches. The twelve zodiacs are matched with the twelve branches, each in turn governing one year. Tradition holds that the selection of the animals was determined by a competition. At the end of the year, a god told all the animals to gather on the first day of the new year. The first twelve to arrive were to reign, each in turn, over the upcoming years. Upon this announcement, all animals rushed towards the god's palace. Vivid and humorous illustrations witness the race progressing in sequential pictures just like on a picture scroll. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2001 - 18
Yokoyama, Mitsuo (text)
Fukuda, Iwao (illus.)
Hikatchoru zeyo! Bokura : shimantogawa monogatari
(We live our life – The story on Shimanto River)
Tokyo : Bunken Shuppan, 1999. 183 p.
(Bunken juben§ru)
ISBN 4-580-81251-4
Japan - School children - Childhood memories - Home - History 1964-1965
Japan experiences economic growth in the 60s. Set against this historical backdrop, the author tells the story about children's day-to-day existence in a provincial town on Shikoku. The partly autobiographical, first-person narrative is centered on an eleven-year-old boy. He sets out on adventures with his friends, exploring the beautiful nature along the Shimanto-River. Their experiences in the home town and surroundings, including encounters with social outcasts, enrich the children and are of great importance to their further lives. The author evokes his vivid childhood, which he and his friends spent each in their own way, with great realism and detail. (11+) ☆

Ghana (English) - 2001 - 22
Asare, Meshack (text/illus.)
Nana's son
Legon, Accra : Sub-Saharan Publ., 2000. 47 p.
ISBN 9988-550-19-7
Creation - Body parts
Set in Africa, this story of creation has a different twist. Nana creates the various parts of the human being – the head to hear, smell, think and talk, hands, legs and stomach. Each part is sent to fend for itself in different landscapes – the plains, the fields, and the sea. One day, Nana sends a parrot to bring news of the parts. When he learns that the head shouted insults, the hands turned to fists and the legs kicked his messenger, he resolves to join the parts and makes them into a »Person«. The award-winning artist's watercolour illustrations amplify the mythical quality evoked by the formulaic, rhythmical text. (5+) ☆ ☼

Ghana (English) - 2001 - 23
Dadson, Fredericka (text)
DeGraft-Johnson, Ato (illus.)
Donkoh, Wilhelmina (text)
The just king : the story of Osei Tutu Kwane Asibe Bonsu
Accra : Woeli, 2000. 32 p.
ISBN 9964-978-67-7
Ghana - Asante Kingdom - Osei-Tut Kwamina
In this little booklet, 12-year-old Kwaku listens to his grandfather as he tells him the story of Osei Tut Kwamina, leader of the Asante kingdom – now part of Ghana, 200 years ago. A mystery starts when the royal graves are looted. The king pursues the wrong-doers, things escalate, finally involving the Asantes in war with the Fantes and the British. This true story vividly told and illustrated brings the events alive, transporting the reader into a world of intrigue, suspense and retributive justice while addressing important ethical issues. (8+) ☆

India (English) - 2001 - 31
Ghose, Vijaya (ed./select.)
The carpenter's apprentice
New Delhi : Katha, 1999. 131 p.
(A Rosalind Wilson book)
ISBN 81-85586-94-2
Short stories
This delectable book offers a fine collection of short stories by some of India's foremost writers. They first appeared during the late 80s in »Target «, a well-known and much-loved Indian children's magazine. Very short, the poignant narratives do not look for the spectacular but focus mostly on the joys and pains of everyday life: growing up, dignity of work, school performances, social inequity. They throw little spotlights on different lifes and experiences of Indian children. The volume pays homage to Rosalind Wilson, long-standing editor of »Target«, who has made an immense contribution to children's literature in India with her keen sense for talent and her discerning editorial skills. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - India (English) - 2001 - 34
Wolf, Gita (text)
Ravishankar, Anushka (text)
Sen, Orijit (illus.)
Trash! : on ragpicker children and recycling
Chennai : Tara Publ., 1999. 112 p.
ISBN 81-86211-04-7
Ragpicker child - Child labour - Environment
Despite its title, this book is a true gem in the Indian publishing landscape: attractive book design, intelligible lay-out with information-boxes, lucid and sound definitions, startling colour-illustrations using intriguing photo-collage techniques, and humorous treatment of serious issues. It tells the story of Velu, a young ragpicker and addresses the problems of child labour and environment. »Trash!« evolved from a series of workshops conducted with ragpicker children and was produced in collaboration with »Books for Change«, an initiative in publishing aiming at raising controversial issues, informing children about social realities and sharing ideas for a better world. (8+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 2001 - 40
Chambers, Aidan
Postcards from No Man's Land
London : Bodley Head, 1999. 336 p.
ISBN 0-370-32376-9
Time-slip - World War II - Amsterdam - Identity
This award-winning title is a time-slip novel set in contemporary Amsterdam and Arnhem during World War II. An adolescent boy returns to the site of his grandfather's war-time experiences and in doing so discovers the key to his own identity. The ghosts of war are laid to rest as the boy learns of the loves and losses fought for in war-torn Holland. Past and present are melded together in a novel which brings human understanding to a point in history where civilian and soldier are caught in conflict which is none of their making. (14+) ☆
(Carnegie Medal; 1999)

Ireland (English) - 2001 - 45
Flegg, Aubrey
The cinnamon tree : a novel set in Africa
Dublin : O'Brien, 2000. 208 p.
ISBN 0-86278-657-6
Landmine - Arms trade - Child soldier - Friendship
The strong smell of cinnamon is the last thing Yola Abonda can remember. When she wakes up, she is in hospital. One of her legs is missing – it was blown off by a landmine. Aubrey Flegg succeeds in grounding the well-wrought and engaging story of a young girl in his extensive knowledge of African culture, compellingly raising the intricate issues of landmines, arms trade and child soldiers. His development of characters, particularly of Yola, is of great skill and psychological insight. An author's note provides additional facts about the political background of the novel as well as internet-addresses of humanitarian organisations. (12+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2001 - 47
Ellis, Deborah
The breadwinner
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, 2000. 170 p.
ISBN 0-88899-419-2. - 0-88899-416-8
Afghanistan - Taliban - Girl - Women's emancipation - Freedom - Loyalty
This compelling and realistic novel is set in Afghanistan, a country devastated by more than 40 years of war and under the yoke of the Taliban, members of an extreme religious group, ever since 1996. When her father is arrested, elevenyear- old Pavana has to become the breadwinner of the family. Since the Taliban has banned women from public life (women cannot go to school, work outside the home or leave their homes without a man), she must transform herself into a boy. The author presents a sensitive portrayal of determined girls and women struggling for survival and fighting for their dignity and freedom. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 53
Waboose, Jan Bourdeau (text)
Deines, Brian (illus.)
Skysisters
Toronto, ON : Kids Can Press, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55074-697-9
Sisters - Northern Lights
This is a quiet book, for it cherishes the wisdom of previous Ojibway generations. As the two sisters go out into the night to see the Northern Lights, they remember grandmother's words: »Wisdom comes on silent wings«. Waboose's knowledge of the northern landscape has created a gentle yet powerful story about a journey into a silent night. It is about the bonds between sisters, between generations and between humans and nature. Deines's oil on canvas illustrations capture the chill of a silent northern night, the warmth of the family circle and the radiance of a child's wonder. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 54
Aronson, Marc
Sir Walter Ralegh and the quest for El Dorado
New York, NY : Clarion Books, 2000. XVIII, 222 p.
ISBN 0-395-84827-x
Raleigh, Walter - Biography - Great Britain - Court and courtiers - El Dorado - New World - American Dream
This multifaceted biography of Sir Walter Raleigh (or: Ralegh), explorer, writer, court favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and adventurer, is a publishing landmark, questioning some of the assumptions about children's nonfiction and setting new standards. This book reads like a Shakespearean drama: The search for El Dorado is the pursuit of the dream for a better world that still nurtures the American dream. It sets the stage for a man who was both a product of his times and a creator of them. Aronson allows the reader to share in the excitement of discovery and in the pleasures of critical thinking. He doesn't just present his material but shows how he arrives at it. His careful evaluation of well-selected written and visual sources (including maps, Raleigh's poetry and historical reproductions) pays tribute to the complexity of historical issues. Well-documented endnotes and a time line complete this intelligent work of scholarship. (12+) ☆
(Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner; 2000)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 62
Rappaport, Doreen (text)
Collier, Bryan (illus.)
Freedom River
New York, NY : Hyperion Books for Children, 2000. [28] p.
(Jump at the sun)
ISBN 0-7868-0350-9. - 0-7868-1229-x. - 0-7868-2291-0
Slavery - Abolitionists - Parker, John <1827-1900>
Stylised drawings complement the text of this dynamic book chronicling the work of a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Collier uses vivid collage and watercolour to bring to life this story of a freed slave who risked his neck many times to go to Kentucky and transport slaves to freedom in Ohio. The reader feels like he is actually on the scene as Parker steals a Black baby from the slavemaster's bedroom. We know a lot about Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman: here is a less well known Black figure who became prosperous, employed Blacks and Whites, and never gave up on his enslaved brothers and sisters, helping to freedom as many as 900 slaves. A worthwhile book that dishes up a slice of life for the American Black Man, enslaved or free, during slavery times in the 1800s. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2001 - 63
Sís, Peter (text/illus.)
Madlenka
(<Proper name>)
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. [44] p.
(Frances Foster books)
ISBN 0-374-39969-7
New York - Neigbourhood - Multiculturalism
Sís is known to take his readers on visual adventures to explore mysteries of far-away places. In this book, Madlenka, the little girl-protagonist, just goes around the block of her Manhattan-neigbourhood. And yet, she can say: »I went around the world«. She shares the news of her loose tooth with a French baker, an Indian news vendor, German Ms. Grimm or her Egyptian school friend. Sís evokes this urban microcosm with his distinctive, multi-layered style and ingenious layout. Die cuts open windows to fascinating worlds – rich, intriguing tableaus of cultural icons. The meaningful play with perspectives reflects the relations between the individual and the universal, the countries of origin and multicultural New York. (5+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 2001 - 75
Brussig, Thomas
Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenalle
(At the shorter end of Sonnenallee <street name>)
Berlin : Verl. Volk & Welt, 1999. 156 p.
ISBN 3-353-01168-4
Berlin <East> - Berlin wall - Adolescence - First love - Humour - Irony - History 1973
The shorter end of Sonnenallee lies in East, the longer one in West Berlin. Entrenched between these mutually exclusive societies, teenagers get crazy ideas and adults are plotting illicit traffic of more than simply smarties and coffee. The 70s in the GDR are not all grey but unexpectedly colourful. The text sets a literary monument to the notorious self-irony of Berliners. With a good amount of self confidence and a pinch of nostalgia, the author tells about a life unknown to the West: a life full of dangers and paradoxes which would surely have continued for a long time had it not been for the historical events of 1989/90. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2001 - 79
Engelmann, Reiner (ed.)
Plötzlich ist nichts mehr sicher : Kinder und der Krieg
(All of a sudden, nothing is safe anymore : children and war)
Berlin : Elefanten Press, 2000. 141 p.
ISBN 3-88520-765-6
Child - War- Anthology
This book tells about wars all over the world – about how children suffer from wars and are destroyed by them. Children write these texts, remembering their own experiences. Adults write texts about children during war times. The book expresses the firm conviction that words are powerful and can be of consequence, that the protest against war and suffering shall not be silenced. In collaboration with other organizations, the children's fund UNICEF, sponsor of this anthology, supports traumatised children on their road back to normality. The appendix of the book provides addresses for those interested in further information. (10+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2001 - 81
Härtling, Peter
Reise gegen den Wind : wie Primel das Ende des Krieges erlebt
(Voyage against the wind : how Primel experienced the end of war)
Weinheim : Beltz & Gelberg, 2000. 145 p.
ISBN 3-407-79814-8
World War II - Post war time - Austria - Boy - Aunt - Refugee
Bernd, nicknamed Primel, has lost his parents during the war and has to flee his Moravian home town together with his aunt. They make halt in a small Austrian village. He befriends two village children and a little stray dog, and, for a short time, the chaotic situation seems to him full off excitement and adventure. But the machinations of the grown-up civilians and militaries remain incomprehensible and frightening to him. Because the child does not know nor understand the larger historical context, the daily experiences are of much greater impact. The earnestness in tone, possibly due to the author's autobiographical background, conveys this very clearly – despite some comical episodes and quaint protagonists. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2001 - 97
Tenberken, Sabriye (text)
Kronenberg, Paul (photos)
Mein Weg führt nach Tibet : die blinden Kinder von Lhasa
(My road leads to Tibet : the blind children of Lhasa)
Köln : Kiepenheuer und Witsch, 2000. 251 p.
ISBN 3-462-02936-3
Tibet - Blind - School for the blind
The blind German student of Tibetan studies, Sabriye Tenberken, plots the bold scheme of helping the blind children of Tibet by founding a school for them. In Tibetan culture, blindness is considered a punishment sent by the demons. Blind children were cast from society and often even thought to be mentally retarded. Tenberken travels to Tibet all on her own and tells of her attempts to realise her project against all odds – under great difficulties and personal sacrifices. This compelling autobiographic account gives insight into fascinating and unknown worlds with sets of values very different to those of most modern, industrialised societies. (12+) ☆

France (French) - 2001 - 114
Andersen, Hans-Christian (text)
Lemoine, Georges (illus.)
La Chesnais, P. G. (trad.)
La petite marchande d'allumettes
(The little match-girl)
(Danish orig. title: Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne)
Paris : Nathan, 1999. 41 p.
ISBN 2-09-210825-5
Child - Poverty - Death - War - Sarajevo
Andersen's tale of the little match girl who freezes to death on the street on New Year's Eve is timeless. The illustrator Lemoine transposes it to Sarajevo in 1999, drawing on authentic photographic material. The child errs through the sinister, devastated city, its eyes wide with fear and hunger. The traditional text and the contemporary setting are of an uncanny appropriateness. The simple pathos of Andersen's tale of misery is echoed by the captions of the illustrations which are taken from the text »Welcome to Hell« by the Bosniak poet Ozran Kebo. Child and city are equally to be lamented. The child's death is only one of many. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2001 - 133
Serres, Alain (text)
Zaü (illus.)
Une cuisine grande comme le monde: 60 recettes pour voyager tout autour de la terre
(A kitchen the size of the world : 60 recipes to travel around the world)
[Paris] : Rue du Monde, 2000. 58 p.
ISBN 2-912084-36-9
International cooking
This large formatted travel-guide cookbook invites you to taste and smell your way around the world. There are 25 traditional dishes to choose from. Full-page pictures in pastel colours convey impressions of distant landscapes, cities and markets and celebrate the diversity of the peoples and menues. Some of the recipes can be prepared by children on their own. Brief information about exotic products and their preparation, about spices, fruits and their role in colonial history widen the horizon. They also remind us that – despite our different customs and traditions – we are all guests at the one table of our world. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2001 - 134
Stolz, Joëlle
Les ombres de Ghadamès
(The shadows of Ghadamès)
Paris : Bayard Jeunesse, 2000. 174 p.
ISBN 2-227-73908-8
Libya - Muslims - Women - 19th century
This novel tells of the life of Muslim women on the threshold to modernity from the perspective of an adolescent girl with great empathy and respect for the cultural and social conditions of late 19th century Libya. The first wife is bound by tradition and a prisoner in her own house. The second wife is open-minded, intense and prepared to take risky decisions. As for the girl, she ardently wishes to learn to read and to be allowed to travel. She successfully takes her first steps towards emancipation. Three male characters, the smaller brother, the father and a religious zealot complement the image of the secret female world from a male point of view. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 143
Pitzorno, Bianca (text)
Blake, Quentin (illus.)
Tornatrás
(The return)
Milano : Mondadori, 2000. [304] p.
(Contemporanea)
ISBN 88-04-47611-7
Television - Orphan - Growing-up - Friendship - Racism
Colomba, an eleven-year old girl, experiences a life full of difficulties after her father's death and her mother's depression. Television programmes have bewitched Colomba's mother, who spends the family's money on TV-sales but forgets to pay bills and buy food. Colomba would like to switch back time. But when she feels that she has »reached the limits«, her life changes through a series of interesting encounters. The red-haired protagonist regains a positive view of life thanks to her friendship with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. Together, the friends fight a racist politician and his followers who want »to clean« their neighbourhood from poor and foreign people. This book advocates a fierce criticism of aggressive television policies that try to spy and manipulate people's emotions. This engaging novel is very strong on characterisation: it gives excellent insight into the psychological development of the strong-willed girl-protagonist; the minor characters never remain flat. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2001 - 144
Roncaglia, Silvia (text)
Cerretti, Cristiana (illus.)
Ma che razza di razza è?
(What people is this?)
Roma : Città Nuova, 2000. [45] p.
(I colori del mondo) (I riquadri)
ISBN 88-311-8062-2
Diversity - Equality - Race - Multicultural education
The teacher in school talks about the many different habitats in the world. For homework, the children have to do a project on the different human races. »Ah, always those damn projects!«, exclaims the young protagonist. But at home his little brother Pino arouses in him great interest for the subject. Turning over the pages of a book on the peoples of the world, Pino always points at the pictures of a »Mommy with Child« even if they wear different dresses, hairstyles and have different skin colours. Attractively illustrated with bright pastel line-and-wash drawings, this easy-toread story will enrich multicultural library collections. (7+) ☆
(Premio per l'Ambiente; 1999)

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2001 - 156
Prats, Joan de Déu (text)
Filella, Luis (illus.)
Noche de Reyes
(Epiphany)
(Catalan orig. title: Nit de Reis)
Barcelona : Edebé, 2000. [28] p.
(Biblioteca religiosa Edebé)
ISBN 84-236-5802-3
Three Wise Men - Balthasar - Immigration/Europe - Xenophobia - Racism
»Do you have a working permit, and is your camel vaccinated at all?«, King Balthasar is confused. He only wanted to deliver a present in time for Epiphany in Spain, but at the borders of Europe he finds himself (black) face to (white) face with rough border police officers, who refuse him the entry permit. How he finally does reach his destination, how his camel is deported from the noparking space on the way, and how he is confronted with racist attacks – all this is related in this intelligent picture book for children and adults. Witty parodies and simple devices unmask racism and xenophobia. (6+) ☆

Chile (Spanish) - 2001 - 171
Carvajal, Victor (text)
Urquiza, Carlos (illus.)
Sakanusoyin, cazador de Tierra del Fuego
(Sakanusoyin, hunter from Tierra del Fuego)
Santiago de Chile : Aguilar Chilena de Ed., 2000. 119 p.
(Alfaguara juvenil)
ISBN 956-239-115-9
Tierra del Fuego - Ona <people> (=Selknam) - Hunt - Love of nature
There is a growing awareness of the indigenous cultural heritage in Latin America. This book taking up old myths is set in Tierra del Fuego. The boy Sakanusoyin, excellent hunter, is the hope of his people which suffers from the depletion of Guanacos, their main source of nutrition. But because he regards the animals as his kin, he is faced with a dilemma. The wanderings through the forests together with Salisuyosin (a boy his age), are also a process of initiation. The calm tone of the story and the figurative language advocate the love of nature and introduce the reader to the traditions and myths of the no longer existing Selknam people. (11+) ☆
(Premio Consejo Nacional del Libro y de la Lectura)

Canada (French) - 2001 - 178
Noël, Michel
Le cÉur sur la braise
(Heart on the ashes)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2000. 164 p.
(Collection Atout ; 39 : Récit)
ISBN 2-89428-409-8
Canada - Indians - Reserve - Environmental destruction - Passive resistance
It is hardly known that the living space and freedom of the native Indians were restricted just as cruelly in the 1950s as during the time of the settlers. With this novel the author, coordinator of the Native Affairs Department, raises the issue. He denounces the scandalous conditions in the reserves while expressing deep reverence for the traditional ways of the Natives. Nature shares in the suffering of its people – a poetic device common to native story telling. Noël implies, however, that our modern times call for more inventive ways, initiatives and new forms of solidarity. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2001 - 185
Rasmussen, Søren (text)
Tom-Petersen, Jesper (illus.)
Manden som gravede ned til kineserne
(The man who dug himself all the way to the Chinese)
København : Carlsen, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 87-562-8708-9
Cultural exchange - Friendship
This unbelievable tall tale comes along in the guise of rather conventional illustrations: A curious and witty man begins to dig a hole through the earth in his backyard. Almost half way, he meets a Chinese (naturally standing on his head) with a drill, who had come up with the same idea. They decide to let their fellow countrymen jump through the hole to the other side for a small fee. This is their – truly profitable – contribution to international understanding. Because mainly the Chinese seize this opportunity (Danes seem to be less curious), the Chinese problem of overpopulation is relieved. (6+) ☆

Greenland (Danish/Inuit) - 2001 - 197
Kløvedal Helweg, Pernille (text/illus.)
Dahl Petrussen, Aminnguaq (transl.)
Sofie & Pullaq
(<Proper names>)
[Nuuk] : Atuakkiorfik, 2000. 27 p.
(Text Danish and Inuit)
ISBN 87-558-1571-5
Greenland - Sealing - Eating habits
Little Danish Sofie experiences how different the customs are in Greenland. Pullaq shoots a seal, which he and his brother Rasmus gut. Sophie disdains the raw liver while the other children are happily pushing it into their blood-stained mouths. Watching Rasmus screwing out one of the seal's eyes, slicing it and sucking its liquid, she has definitely had enough. When the children chase away the sweet puppies, so that they won't steal their meal, Sophie finally runs away. Pullaq finds her with a wounded knee, takes her home and explains to her that these dogs are not for cuddling but working animals. The story and the drastically realistic watercolours will make children understand that the concepts of »normality« differ greatly on our globe. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Belgium (Dutch) - 2001 - 223
Vandewijer, Ina
Witte pijn
(White pain)
Leuven : Davidsfonds/Infodok, 2000. [106] p.
(Davidsfonds/Infodok jeugdboek)
ISBN 90-6565-971-4
Inuit - Family - Grandfather
Together with his grandfather, Tim is travelling through the land of the Inuit, the Indians from the high North of Canada. Tim has grown up in Montreal, far away from the desolate snowfields. Tim admires his grandfather's talent for survival in the snowstorms and the cold. This novel is an impressive debut, in which the life, the culture, and the habits of the Inuit, like hunting seals, nose rubbing, building igloos, slurping fat and always telling stories, are very well represented. The relationship between Tim and his grandfather is described in a very subtle and carefully sensitive tone. A warm story about the solidarity with family and nature. (13+) ☆
(Knokke-Heist Prize [Youth Book]; 2000)

Greece (Greek) - 2001 - 234
Gynaikeia Logotechnikē Syntrophia (ed.)
Tsitsikas, Thanasēs (illus.)
Stēn palia mu geitonia
(In my old neighbourhood)
Athēna : Kastaniōtēs, 2000. 221 p.
(Neanikē bibliothēkē ; 215 : Zōē kai koinōnia)
ISBN 960-03-2618-5
Greece/20th century - Child - Everyday life
Some of the best known contemporary women writers for children's literature in Greece (all members of the GLS, the first union of women writers active in the realm of literature for children and young adults) present various short stories exploring the topic »Our old neighbourhood«. Because the authors are from different generations and come from many regions of the country, the anthology gives a vivid impression of life in 20th century Greece. The childhood memories are free of retrospect embellishment or nostalgia. The subjects are as colourful as life itself, including seri- ous ones such as the fate of refugee children, poverty, or the time under German occupation during World War II, which are all documented without pretence or accusation. (10+) ☆

Iran (Persian) - 2001 - 248
Rāziqpanāh, Wīyūlit
Istgāh-i Mīr : (bar mīgardīm wa gul-i sitārah mīčīnīm)
(Space station Mir)
Tihrān : Našr-i Āyīna-i Ātār, 1999 (= 1376 h.š.). 104 p.
ISBN 964-5555-13_2
Space-travel - Mir <space station> - Peace - International understanding
Together with other young adults from different nations, Abtin, a young man from Iran is invited to Moscow to receive training as a visiting cosmonaut. They all travel to the space station Mir. Looking down upon the earth, they understand the uniqueness of their planet, but also the threat posed by environmental pollution. They also realise that they can no longer make out any national boundaries – the world is one and undivided from up here. This experience arouses the desire for peace and international understanding in these young people. The author combines the message of her story with a well-researched portrayal of life on board of the space station Mir. (10+) ☆
(Unesco Prize for Children's Literature in the Service of Tolerance; 2001)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 10
Tatematsu, Wahei (text)
Yokomatsu, Momoko (illus.)
Tanbo no inochi
(Life in the paddy fields)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2001. 32 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0462-x
Farmer – Rice-growing – Nature – Vitality – Professional conscience
A winter landscape covered in snow forms the overture to this book, leading to the life-story of an old couple. Because of the migration to the cities, they are the last rice farmers in this area. In the following scene, the old couple come onstage as ballet dancers dancing together in the spotlight: this metaphoric picture expresses the old people's love for their profession and can also be interpreted as a plea for the importance of nature. The natural power of the rice plant lends them vitality and makes them cope with many a problem in their everyday life. The well-known author describes the couple's busy life and their detailed knowledge about rice-growing in a literary style. All the events are staged in a theatre-like manner by the artist's colourful and partly mosaic abstract pictures. This is an innovative picture book. (9+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 11
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Hirose, Gen (illus.)
Sora e tsuzuku shinwa
(The Sky Myth)
Tokyo : Kaiseisha, 2000. 285 p.
ISBN 4-03-727080-3
God of Nature – Identity crisis – Assistance – Girl – Local geography and history
When pupil Satoko accidentally touches an old document about local history in the school library, a slightly withered old man with a snow-white cloudy beard suddenly appears before her. He woke up because the holy tree worshipped for centuries, inside which he had silently dwelled for almost a hundred years, was cut down. As local god of this village he lost his identity because the village had completely changed. To help him, Satoko now eagerly studies her community's history and, eventually, she restores the saint's nature and position. This tragicomical tale is strongly rooted in popular belief. The time of Japan's modernisation when basic primary and secondary schools were founded all over the country provides the background for this story. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2002 - 15
Yoshihashi, Michio (text)
Satake, Miho (illus.)
Ryū to maihime
(The dragon and the dancer)
Tokyo : Kodansha, 2000. 325 p.
Japan/630-792 – Embassy <China> – Boy – Going to Sea – Future expectation – Fate
In the year 777, the Japanese imperial government once again sends ambassadors to China. Fourteenyear- old Komaro, who accompanies the court physician as his servant, intends to stay there and study medicine. In Changan, the capital of the Tang-empire, he meets Kojō, the daughter of a former Japanese ambassador. Yet, fate intervenes, and talented and ambitious Komaro's plans for his future fail. Back in Japan, he loses his position at court and, thus, starts a new life with Kojō caring for people's health. The dangerous crossing, the hustle and bustle in the Chinese capital, the conspiracies at court, etc., are based on sound research and described in a lively style full of details. The surprising outcome of this historical novel is particularly impresssive. (13+) ☆

Nigeria (English) - 2002 - 21
Oyefeso, Kolap (reteller)
Modder, Rosalie-Ann (illus.)
The goddess of the kitchen and other stories : folktales from Africa
Ibadan [et al.] : Spectrum Books, 2000. 64 p.
ISBN 978-029-176-8
Folktales/Africa
This small book contains a collection of twenty traditional African folktales, many of them about indigenous animals, selected by Nigerian author Kolapo Oyefeso. In order to allow children to quickly grasp the message of the short moralistic tales, he rewrote them in simple English. This collection stands out because of its beautiful illustrations. Painted by the author's wife in bright colours, the illustrations, resembling traditional African paintings, picture typical landscapes and animals, people and their everyday life. Thus, this book also introduces non-African readers to the country's nature and culture. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2002 - 27
Russell, Elaine (text/illus.)
A is for aunty
Sydney, NSW : ABC Books, 2001. [36] p.
(1. publ. 2000)
ISBN 0-7333-0729-9; 0-7333-0872-4
Australia – Aborigines – Everyday life
The letters in this unusual ABC book cleverly serve as an impulse triggering off Russell's memories of her life as a child in an Aboriginal mission. She recalls happy moments, such as a billycart race with her brothers and friends, and tells about daily routines at the mission. A closer look at her powerful pictures, painted with bright acrylic and gouache in naïve style, also reveals her being one of the few fair-skinned Aborigines; as she mentions in the short biographical sketch included in the back of the book, these children were often taken away from their families by the white government at that time. An additional treat for the readers is the book's dustjacket, which can be unfolded to a large format and put up on the wall as a poster. (4+) ☆ ☼

India (English) - 2002 - 30
Dutta, Arup Kumar (text)
Basu, Suddhasattwa (illus.)
The counterfeit treasure
New Delhi [et al.] : Scholastic, 2001. 172 p.
ISBN 81-7655-026-4
India/Meghalaya – Counterfeit money – Adventure – Village community – Trust
Travelling to Meghalaya (a beautiful Indian region near Bangladesh) with their father, twelve-year-old Paloma and her brother Arnab stumble into an exciting adventure. Soon after their arrival, they befriend Yuri, a local girl, and together they secretly start exploring a cave nearby. When they discover that a gang of counterfeit printers has hidden away their treasure there, events get out of control; still, the children are saved and return home as »heroes«. Arup Kumar Dutta not only tells a vivacious and gripping detective story, he also acquaints the readers with the life and different cultures in a rural region of India. The detailed landscape descriptions will certainly arouse the readers' interest in the country. (10+) ☆

New Zealand (English) - 2002 - 33
Tipene, Tim (text)
Campbell, Henry (illus.)
Taming the taniwha
Wellington : Huia, 2001. [34] p.
ISBN 1-877266-52-3
School – Bullying – Friendship – Maori
If it wasn't for James, the class bully, Tama would love going to school. His mother, aunt, and uncle come up with various suggestions how to »tame« this monster. Yet, neither telling the teacher nor trying to fight the bully seems a good idea. So when his grandfather suggests being friendly and inviting James to Tama's home, he considers this a crazy idea. To his great surprise, however, the frightening green monster slowly turns into an amiable boy – literally and visually. In Campbell's bright acrylic pictures many harmless objects assume the shape or colour of the terrifying taniwha and thus clearly mirror Tama's fear. Accordingly, as soon as Tama and James have become friends, the frightening shapes disappear. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 34
Blackman, Malorie
Noughts & Crosses
London [et al.] : Doubleday, 2001. 446 p.
ISBN 0-385-60008-9
Class society – Discrimination – Justice – Terrorism – Love
Sephy and Callum have always been best friends; but their friendship and growing love is threatened in this fictional class society. Being a Cross, Sephy, the daughter of an ambitious and ruthless politician, leads a comfortable life, whereas Callum's family are noughts, second class citizens, who have hardly any rights. When Callum and three other nought teenagers are accepted into Sephy's high school as a test case, hostilities break out and she suddenly finds herself forced to take sides. Confronted with hatred and prejudices from both noughts and Crosses, Sephy's naïve view of the world changes rapidly. In the end, when Callum's fight for justice fails and Sephy is left with their unborn child, she sets her hopes on a better future. Through the reversal of traditional roles – the ruling Crosses are black while the suppressed noughts are white – this thought-provoking novel of racism, discrimination and love encourages the readers to challenge traditional conventions. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 40
Rai, Bali
(Un)arranged marriage
London [et al.] : Corgi Books, 2001. 271 p.
ISBN 0-552-54734-4
England – India/Punjab – Multicultural society – Family – Traditional education – Conflict
Manjiit, or Manny as he calls himself, was born in Leicester into a strictly traditional Punjabi family. His father, a proud man with a lot of racial prejudice, expects his sons to honour the old family traditions and, if necessary, he will use force to make them obey. But Manny wants more from life than an arranged marriage at seventeen and a future set out for him by his parents. His anger and frustration are easily shared by the readers as they follow Manny's fight to free himself from family expectations and live his own life – even if this means a complete break with his family. Although the teenage slang seems strained at times, the author's fresh style and the quick pace of the narration make this a strong first novel. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 41
Spates, Tracy V.
Picture the world : children's art around the globe
London : Milet, 2001. 63 p.
ISBN 1-84059-296-6
Children's art – Cultural diversity – Everyday life
This large-format book does not only contain fascinating examples of children's art, it actually takes the reader on an informative journey around the world, visiting eight different countries. In each chapter, several pictures created by children of the respective country are presented. In addition, a small map, photographs of people, buildings, animals, etc., as well as examples of local folk art offer a brief introduction to the countries with small units of text providing further insights. Each section ends with a suggestion for an interesting arts activity for children to try out. This is a truly innovative and enjoyable way of looking at cultural diversity around the globe and enhancing children's creativity. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2002 - 42
Tadjo, Véronique (ed./illus.)
Talking drums : a selection of poems from Africa South of the Sahara
London : Black, 2000. 96 p.
ISBN 0-7136-5815-0; 0-7136-5397-3
Sub-Saharan Africa – Poetry – Animals – Independence
»Talking Drums« is a vivid collection of traditional and contemporary African poetry beautifully illustrated by Véronique Tadjo. Her black ink drawings, reminiscent of traditional African paintings, perfectly complement the short moving verses. Arranged in seven chapters entitled Our Universe, The Animal Kingdom, Love and Celebrations, People, Death, Pride and Defiance, and The Changing Times, this collection tells the story of Africa, its creation and history, its people and their fight for independence, from an African point of view. The authors' love for their countries can easily be perceived in each text. A map of Africa and a glossary of African words are added for further information. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 52
Watt, Mélanie (text/illus.)
Leon the chameleon
Toronto, ON [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55074-867-x
Difference – Colour – Loneliness
Leon the chameleon is different from all the other chameleons. On a green leaf, he turns red, on yellow sand, he turns purple, and in the blue pond, he turns orange. No wonder Leon feels lonely! Apart from illustrating the principles of complementary colours in a strikingly original way (the book started off as a university project on colour theory), Leon himself learns an important lesson: What makes him different is also what makes him special. Watt's vibrant acrylic and black ink illustrations perfectly capture Leon's moods and strongly bring the message of acceptance and self-confidence across. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 54
An, Na
A step from heaven
Asheville, NC : Front Street, 2001. 156 p.
ISBN 1-886910-58-8
America – Immigration – Alcoholism – Poverty – Coming of age – Multicultural society
When four-year-old Young Ju's family emigrate from Korea to America, she firmly believes they are going to heaven. Soon, however, she comes to realize that life in this foreign country is going to be all but »heavenly«. She is torn between her desire to assimilate and to obey her father who is determined to strictly hold on to Korean traditions. The short chapters, written in a powerful authentic language, give a compelling portrait of the family's struggle against poverty and disappointments, especially against the father's growing despair and violent alcoholism. Despite the family's bitter loss when the father finally leaves them to return to Korea, the engaging novel ends on a hopeful note with the mother and brother buying their own home and Young Ju looking forward to studying. An Na's moving narration inevitably draws the readers into her story and makes them share the protagonist's painful growth from a shy and fearful little girl into a confident young woman. (12+) ☆
(Michael L. Printz Award; 2002)

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 57
Hoose, Phillip M.
We were there, too! : young people in US history
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. VII, 264 p.
(Melanie Kroupa books)
ISBN 0-374-38252-2
America <USA>/1492-2000 – Development – Young people
There is certainly no shortage of books about American heroes who have contributed to the history of the USA since its discovery more than 500 years ago. Hardly any of these books, though, mention the role that young people played in it or honours their amazing achievements. Hoose now comes to their rescue. In chronologically arranged chapters, each with its own introduction, this extraordinary book brings to life the boys who sailed with Columbus, the Cherokee girl who developed a written language for her people, or the »newsies« (small boys and girls selling newspapers on the streets) whose strike almost brought down the big publishers. Black-and-white photographs, maps, and memorabilia accompany the well-written, informative text. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2002 - 62
Waldman, Neil (text/illus.)
They came from the Bronx : how the buffalo were saved from extinction
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mills Press, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 1-56397-891-1
Indians/USA – Buffalo – Extinction – White settlers – Wildlife conservation
This impressive large-format picture book opens with an elderly Comanche woman; while sitting on an Oklahoma hilltop with her small grandson in 1907, she recalls her people's former way of life, the importance of the buffalo, and the animal's near extinction by the Whites. On every other page, her narration is interrupted by a second story commemorating the efforts of a group of Wildlife Conservationists to bring the American bison back from the brink of extinction. In order to achieve their aims, they ship a herd of buffalos from the Bronx Zoo to the plains of Oklahoma. The unusual earth-colour illustrations in the style of old handcoloured photographs graphically unite both stories while lending historical authenticity to the informative and engaging text. (4+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 2002 - 77
Dijk, Lutz van (text)
Schlicht, Renate (illus.)
Die Geschichte der Juden
(The history of the Jews)
Frankfurt [et al.] : Campus-Verl., 2001. 206 p.
ISBN 3-593-36703-3
Jews/History
Since 1948, when Palestine was partly settled by Jews without the inhabitants' consent, each generation grows up in an atmosphere of mutual hostility towards their neighbours. Even observers from outside often lack the necessary information to fully understand the events going on. Taking »personal stories« of people from different times and countries as an example, the author tries to contribute to the understanding of recent and historical problems: In the face of present conflicts, he provides information instead of ideologies. Without too much simplification, this book offers a comprehensible overview of the Jewish history. Numerous colour illustrations liven up the difficult topic. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 86
Lewin, Waldtraut
Der Fluch
(The curse)
[Ravensburg] : Ravensburger Buchverl., 2001. 314 p.
(Ravensburger junge Reihe)
ISBN 3-473-35212-8
Jerusalem – Frederic II <Emperor>/1229-1230 – Crowning – Knight – Attempt at assassination – Prevention – Masquerade – Bedouin
In 1230, Frederic II, King of Sicily, is crowned German emperor in Jerusalem, the fiercely disputed holy city of Christians and Muslims. A young Frankonian knight, whose mother was Arabic, is instructed to protect the emperor from an attempted assassination. He can only carry out this order with the help of a young Bedouin's knowledge and fighting sksills. When he discovers that this Bedouin guard is in fact a woman, he is quite shocked at first. Yet soon he realizes that they are both fighting for the same side. They manage to save Frederic. The young people's love, however, will not last. This historical novel, with its topical problems, is a fascinating read. It shows people of different cultures that are entangled in a completely futile religious fight. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2002 - 90
Schröder-Köpf, Doris (ed.)
Brodersen, Inge (ed.)
Blau, Aljoscha (illus.)
Der Kanzler wohnt im Swimmingpool oder Wie Politik gemacht wird
(The Chancellor lives in the swimming pool. Or: How to make politics)
Frankfurt [et al.] : Campus-Verl., 2001. 220 p.
ISBN 3-593-36802-1
Germany – Political System – Anthology
This highly interesting book deals with 26 different topics in short but informative chapters. The authors take children's helplessness with political expressions and their meanings into account and ask questions like: What are parliamentary allowances? What is a cabinet? What makes a person a European citizen? Readers will learn something about the characteristics of different constitutions as well as about virtual finance ministers. Famous people from film, radio, and television, from arts, sciences, and politics have put their pen to paper and created an amazing book: The easygoing texts, interspersed with witty comments and underlined with important facts, are a pleasure to read. Imaginative and unconventional full-page illustrations accompany the texts and increase the reader's delight. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Morocco (French) - 2002 - 109
Bousquet, Charlotte (text)
Lahrech, Noureddine (illus.)
Le défi de Zaïna
(A challenge for Zaïna)
Hay Riad, Rabat : Ed. Yomad, 2001. 151 p.
(Yemma junior)
ISBN 9954-0-0037-2
Morocco – Female teenager – Riding horse – Patriarchy – Social criticism – Emancipation
For three years, Zaïna and her horse Ijouane have participated in horse races. Together they have earned some fame. As the first female jockey in a patriarchal society, however, the orphan girl frequently meets with ridicule and envy. One day, a fire endangers the life of Ijouane. Despite her guardian's disapproval and that of Tarik, who wants to marry her, Zaïna gets her horse back on its feet and continues to work with it. In Marakesh, a last challenge awaits the two friends at the »Los Atlas Fuegos«, a group of trick riders: They ask them to jump through a burning loop. The relationship between Zaïna, who immediately arouses the readers' affections, and her horse will certainly appeal to animal lovers. Full of courage, the girl faces all the difficulties and commits herself wholeheartedly to her profession. This exciting, but also critical novel denounces the faults of a patriarchal society which discriminates against women. (9+) ☆

France (French) - 2002 - 112
Aprile, Thierry (text)
Place, François (illus.)
Sur les traces de ... Aladdin
(On the trail of ... Aladdin)
Paris : Gallimard Jeunesse, 2001. 125 p.
(Sur les traces de ...)
ISBN 2-07-054598-9
Islam – Aladdin – Coming of age – Arabian Nights – Fairytale
This popular fairytale from the »Arabian Nights« delineates how, with the help of a magic lamp and his own courage and cleverness, Aladdin, the son of a poor tailor, manages to marry the Sultan's daughter. The mixture of a fictitous initiation tale and real information, of myths and historical documents, makes this an exceptional book. Each chapter is followed by a two-page appendix, informing the readers about the Arab-Muslim civilisation: It covers its political organisation at those times, speaks of the importance of the Arab scholars and of religion, and concludes with information about women's life style. Coloured illustrations by the well-known French artist complement the wonderful deeds of Aladdin narrated in this small-format, (and in more than one sense of the word) shining book. (12+) ☆

France (French) - 2002 - 118
Comte, Hubert (text)
Arthus-Bertrand, Yann (photos)
Giraudon, David (illus.)
La terre racontée aux enfants
(The earth described for children)
Paris : De La Martinière Jeunesse, 2001. [74] p.
ISBN 2-7324-2793-4
Journey around the world – Environmental awareness
After the great success of »La Terre vue du ciel« (»The earth seen from the sky«), travel photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand has now published a book for children. Following the footsteps of Nils Holgerson, he travelled around the world. His large-format aerial colour-photographs are of extraordinary quality and illustrate the world's great diversity. Small maps next to the pictures help identify the respective places. Watercolour paintings depicting children in their local dress accompany the photographs. At the same time, short comments make readers aware of the destruction of the ecological balance caused by people's careless behaviour. The beautiful pictures effectively get this book's message across: If we want to protect our environment, we have to remain alert. (8+) ☆

France (French) - 2002 - 128
Missonier, Catherine
Le goût de la mangue
(The taste of a mango)
Paris : Magnier, 2001. 214 p.
(Collection roman)
ISBN 2-84420-104-0
Madagascar/1950 – Independence movement – Coming of age – First love
This novel is set in Madagascar in the 1950s, when this island was still a French colony. Fifteen-year-old Anna is not happy among all the priviledged French boys. In her boarding school in Tana, though, she has some very good friends. One day, she meets Léon, a Malagasy boy, who introduces her to his country's traditions. Unfortunately, the independence movement and the hatred between their families threaten the teenagers' love. Anna is pictured as a curious and humorous teenage girl who slowly realises the complexity of the world around her. Through her eyes, the readers discover the civilisation of Madagascar and its colonial society. With a lot of sensitivity, this gripping novel describes the feelings of the young protagonists. (13+) ☆

France (French) - 2002 - 129
Molènes, Thalie de (text)
Sochard, Frédéric (illus.)
17 contes du bouddhisme
(Seventeen Buddhist tales)
[Paris] : Castor Poche Flammarion, 2000. 99 p.
(Castor poche ; 775 : Senior : Contes)
ISBN 2-08-164805-9
Folktales – Zen Buddhism
When her son withdrew to Tibet for three years, Thalie de Molènes, who had already written several novels for young adults, spent a lot of time reading and collecting information about Buddhism, a religion that was fairly unfamiliar to her up to this moment. She selected seventeen tales from the collection »500 folktales and fables by the Chinese Tripitaka« and rewrote them. Unlike folktales of the European tradition, these tales do not only provide general words of wisdom, they also offer a first insight into the Buddhist religion. The appendix contains a glossary as well as a short description of Buddhism and its historical development, inviting readers to take a closer look at this topic. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2002 - 130
Serres, Alain (text)
Zaü (illus.)
Le premier livre de toutes nos couleurs
(The first book of all our colours)
[Paris]: Rue du Monde, 2001. 91 p.
(Les premiers livres)
ISBN 2-912084-52-0
International understanding – Tolerance – Solidarity – Racism
»Your chocolate is African, your numbers are Arabic, and your letters are Latin ...« In 2001, the International Year against Racism, these words by the author convey a message of tolerance and solidarity. In eleven chapters, the book presents the world's great variety. The author points out some of the violent events of the past, such as driving out the Red Indians, the slave trade in Africa, the persecution of the Jews. He then moves on to current problems in the world, mentioning the immigrants' difficulties of integration, among many others. Additional information is presented in small, coloured boxes. Black-and-white photographs, pictures in bright colours, historic illustrations, and the overall design of the book illustrate the world's colourfulness and its diversity. The author's words address the child readers directly and, by offering various activities for them to try out, he inspires them to think independently. (5+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 136
D'Adamo, Francesco
Storia di Iqbal
(Iqbal's story)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2001. 155 p.
(Ex libris ; 96)
ISBN 88-477-0801-x
Pakistan – Child labour – Slavery – Rebellion
This is a fast-paced story, full of hope, tragical, and entertaining at once. It denounces one of the worst plagues of our time, namely child slave labour. These children are forced to help their poor parents pay off their (sometimes ridiculously low) debts. The story in this book recalls a real incident in Pakistan. Fatima, the fictitious narrator, describes the brave uprising of a small group of children against their brutal employer and their escape from a horribly violent and ignorant existence. Eleven-year-old Iqbal Masih, the leader of this rebellion, was murdered in spring 1995 at the age of thirteen. He became the symbol for this fight. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2002 - 139
Giraldo, Maria Loretta (text)
Bertelle, Nicoletta (illus.)
Un nuovo amico di Anna
(A new friend for Anna)
Cinisello Balsamo : San Paolo, 2001. [40] p.
(Jam : Le mele rosse ; 2) (San Paolo junior)
ISBN 88-215-4386-2
Immigration – Multicultural society
In this book, with its large block capitals on almost square pages accompanied by multi-coloured illustrations, Anna narrates a simple story that might happen anywhere in the world: A boy with dark skin joins her class. He comes from a foreign country. How many interesting tales about Africa, his homeland, Emmanuel could tell them! In order to do so, however, he has to learn Italian first. For the time being, the friendly glances and warm smiles of his new classmates help him calm down and get used to his new life. Anna imagines that, if she had to move to Africa, her freckles and red hair would look extremely weird to the people there. Immediately she realises how much richer their lives are going to be with their unusual new friend. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Switzerland (French) - 2002 - 159
Grobéty, Anne-Lise
Le temps des mots à voix basse
(The time of the quiet words)
Genève : La Joie de Lire, 2001. 71 p.
ISBN 2-88258-207-2
Friendship – Persecution of the Jews
The grown-up first-person narrator of this short tale remembers his childhood: Among two boys and their fathers a close friendship evolves. The fathers enjoy sitting in their garden, laughing together, drinking a glass of wine, and writing poems. Nothing seems to threaten their happiness. Yet, all of a sudden, an unfamiliar and brutal voice drowns out the sounds and voices of their formerly peaceful world. Without understanding anything, the child is forced to witness the gradual breakdown of his familiar surroundings. Why, for example, is his friend suddenly not allowed to go to school anymore? Readers immediately recognise the terrors of Nazism. Written from a point of view which lends particular emphasis to the threatening sounds, the vivid language pictures the horrible events descending upon the boy. Thus, a poetic text is created which looks at a well-known topic from a different angle and prevents readers from forgetting these horrors. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2002 - 181
Mogensen, Jan (text/illus.)
Sulliman Ahmed Beduins eventyr
(The adventures of the Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed)
[Bagsværd] : Carlsen, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 87-562-8740-2
International understanding – Hospitality
An average Danish family on holiday in the desert needs help to get their car started again. The old Bedouin Sulliman Ahmed helps them with his camel and invites the whole family into his tent afterwards. Later, the family is back home, everything was wonderful. Suddenly, Ahmed and his camel knock on the door of the Danish home; a most unwelcome surprise for the parents who have invited some guests for this evening; and besides …. The children, however, are delighted to see their old friend again and ask him to stay. He is the centre of attention at the party and they all fraternise with each other. Back home in the desert, Ahmed looks at his photographs, smiling, and thinks: Allah is great. Using friendly and uncomplicated pictures, Mogensen tells a story that today still remains a dream, although an amiable one. You have to start with the children if you want the world to become a better place – that's what Jella Lepman, founder of the International Youth Library, said. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 186
Kokko, Yrjö (text)
Segercrantz, Kristina (illus.)
Pessi ja Illusia : satu
(Pessi and Illusia <Proper names>)
Porvoo : Söderström, 2001. 240 p.
ISBN 951-0-26013-4
The Good – The Evil – Friendship – Love – Tolerance
This fantasy novel, which describes the friendship and love between a troll and an elf, was written while the author was on the frontline in 1944. It can be read as an allegory of war. War problems are mirrored in the relationship between pessimis- tic troll Pessi and optimistic elf Illusia, who comes from the land of the rainbow. The central topic is the relationship between nature and humans, as well as that between children and the war. This newly-illustrated edition raises the problem of the dialectic of Good and Evil, of weak and strong, by resorting to the law of nature, where the stronger beings always dominate the weak ones. This problem is still of importance today and will continue to be so. Illustrator Kristina Segercrantz lends a personal touch and spirit to the story and its characters. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2002 - 193
Sande, Hans (text)
Nordberg, Harald (illus.)
Fuglejenta
(Bird girl)
[Oslo] : Gyldendal Tiden, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 82-05-29508-5
Persecution – Rescue – Ungratefulness – Hubris – Arrogance – Punishment – Peace – Striving for peace
One day, a group of people living in a coastal region is attacked by foreign soldiers. The people manage to escape but they suffer from hunger and thirst, until some huge birds show them the way to a paradise-like place in the mountains. The feeling of gratefulness, however, doesn't last very long; soon enough, some leaders start going their separate ways. When they discover a nest with the huge birds' eggs, they ruthlessly steel them. As a consequence, the birds take revenge and destroy the paradise completely. Only a girl, who had learned the birds' language and worshipped them, is saved by one of them and taken to a distant land. In a simple, fairytale-like manner, this book explains how hubris causes disturbance. It thus makes a positive contribution to a peaceful education for children today. Nordberg's illustrations, in earlier books characterised by their naïve style, have reached a new level: Painted in intensive and unusual colours, they have great symbolic power. (8+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 197
Buregren, Sassa (text/illus.)
Demokratihandboken
(The Democracy Handbook)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2001. 47 p.
ISBN 91-29-64866-1
Democracy
The author of this book presents the abstract topic of democracy in an easily comprehensible and entertaining way. He takes a child of a fictitious family as a starting point and voices the demands this child might possibly have towards society (e.g. »The youth club should be open till the evening«). With the aid of simple examples, the author then demonstrates which »institutions« (e.g. family, town council, government) are responsible for what kind of matter. In a second step, he shows ways leading to the fulfilment of these goals. At the end, the author introduces several people who have fought for human rights and democracy: Mahatma Ghandi, Iqbal Masih, the carpet weaving boy who was assassinated, Anne Frank, Astrid Lindgren, and others. The simple yet informative illustrations further add to these qualities of the book. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 203
Nilsson-Brännström, Moni
Klassresan
(The school trip)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2001. 156 p.
ISBN 91-27-08608-9
School trip – Coming of age – Estrangement
A class of twelve- and thirteen-year-old teenagers, including some immigrant children, go on a last school trip together before they separate to leave for secondary school. In this book, the author, whose »Tsatsiki«-books about a young boy with a Greek father were a great success, relates how the teenagers slowly start drifting apart now that they are about to go separate ways. She convincingly portrays each of the 21 pupils and thus accurately describes teenagers' feelings in a European country towards the end of the twentieth century. (12+) ☆

Czech Republic (Czech) - 2002 - 206
Doskočilová, Hana (text)
Filcík, Gabriel (illus.)
O Mamě Romě a romském Pámbíčkovi : dvanáct romských přikázání, jak je svým dětem vypravují romské maminky
(About the Roma mother and the Roma God : twelve stories as Romany mothers tell them to their children)
Praha : Amulet, 2001. 70 p.
(Edice bajaja)
ISBN 80-86299-86-4
Folktales/Romany – Biblical stories
In her retellings of Romany folktales, Hana Doskoèilová vividly describes the lifestyle and way of thinking of the Roma people, their idea of God and the world. Many stories refer back to the Bible and illustrate the particularly human image of God created by this people. It is easy to see that the tales were collected from a culture in which the tradition of oral story-telling is still alive. Various motifs from tales of different nations as well as from classic mythology are borrowed, some elements are added, some removed, and thus, with a kind of ingenious disrespectfulness, something new is created. (6+) ☆

Greece (Greek) - 2002 - 234
Phrankulē, Phōteinē (text)
Tsaknia, Euē (illus.)
To miso pithari
(Half a jug)
Athēna : Hellēnika Grammata, 2000. 32 p.
(Seira: Histories gia paidia)
ISBN 960-393-051-2
Greek history – Love of one's country – International understanding
The renowned educationalist Phōteinē Phrankulē masterfully tells the superbly illustrated story of Eleni and her beloved grandfather, who brings the people, nature and the past of her native Lesbos close to her. He teaches her to preserve memories like dispersed and broken pieces of antique pottery. After his death, Eleni keeps coming back to these sights of her childhood as a grown-up woman to be true to his legacy. For everything tells of the ancestors' labour and sweat but also of the miseries of the refugees from both countries: Here is Lesbos, there is Asia-Minor, the former Greek home, and in between, the silver, starry strip of the Aegean Sea. Surely, the other half of the collected pottery must lie on the opposite, Turkish coast. (9+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 2
Hattori, Yukio (text)
Ichinoseki, Kei (illus.)
Ehon Yume no Edo kabuki
(The picture book of the wonderful Kabuki-Theatre in Edo)
Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 2001. 56 p.
ISBN 4-00-110648-5
Japan/1603-1868 – Theatre – Kabuki
The Kabuki-Theatre, founded at the beginning of the 17century, is one of the traditional Japanese artforms which combines acting, dancing, and music in a unique way. Theatre-expert Yukio Hattori and comic-book artist Kei Ichinoseki have created an extraordinary picture book which resembles a visual encyclopaedia with carefully selected comments. A young apprentice introduces the readers to the magnificent world of the Kabuki. The technique used in the theatre and the building with the busy theatre staff and the enthusiastic audience enjoying the performance are depicted in exterior and interior views in detailed full-page illustrations. Thanks to the ingenious composition of the pictures and the (typically Japanese) bird’s eye view, these elements come alive for the readers. (12+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 7
Matsui, Tadashi (text)
Sai, Kō (= Cai Gao) (illus.)
Tōgenkyō monogatari
(The earthly paradise)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2002. [52] p.
ISBN 4-8340-1799-0
China – Earthly paradise – Peace – Wealth
Since ancient times, »Tōgenkyō«, or »Tao Hua Yuan« in Chinese, has been a well-known synonym for paradise in East Asian cultures, popular in traditional painting, amongst other fields. As his country was continuously shattered by wars, the famous Chinese poet Tao Yaumin (365-427 AD) expressed his longing for peace in a tale about a wonderful, secret place full of peach blossoms where men lived a simple and peaceful life close to nature. In her pictures, painted in traditional style, Cai Gao (= Sai, Kō), one of the most important contemporary Chinese illustrators, shows how a fisherman rows upstream, deeper and deeper into a mountain valley, until he reaches this utopian place. Yet, after his return home, he will never be able to find the place again. (6+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 9
Okii, Chiyoko (text)
Ishikura, Kinji (illus.)
Sora yuku fune
(Boats to heaven)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2002. 167 p.
(Bungaku no mori)
ISBN 4-338-17406-4
Inland sea – Change – Memory – Environmental damage – World War II – Japan/1944-2001
Setonaikai, the large inland sea in south-west Japan with its more than 300 islands, has always been an important waterway and a perfect living space for humans and animals because of its mild climate. Eight short stories reveal the region’s painful changes after the Second World War, caused by military use and industrialisation, which led to the destruction of the ecosystem. Against this background, the author recalls the islanders’ lives and the once unique beauty of the region, with the real world sometimes turning into a fairytale-like fantastic one. Readers will be deeply moved by the poetic texts and the quiet protest against war and environmental destruction. (14+) ☆ ☼
(42nd Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize; 2002)

Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 10
Shibata, Katsumo (text)
Satake, Miho (illus.)
Sarashina
(<Proper name>)
Tokyo : Akane Shobō, 2002. 317 p.
(Grīn fīrudo)
ISBN 4-251-06655-3
Japan/700-800 – Time-travelling – Princess – Love
A magic gourd creates a connection to ancient times and thus also to the literature of the Heian age. Holding this bottle in her hands, Saki travels through time right into the 8century, where – as princess of the Shōmu Tennos – she is drawn into an intricate love story with palace servant Fuwamaro. This traditional Japanese tale of love can be found in the chapter called »a legend from Takeshiba« from »Sarashina nikki«, a diary by Sugawara no Takasue no musume from the 11century. The partly cheerful, partly melancholy novel is characterised by a clever narrative structure and the depiction of the heroine in two different time levels. To modern teenagers, it offers a successful possibility of approaching old literature. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 15
Tomiyasu, Yōko (text)
Okabe, Rika (illus.)
Mujina tanteikyoku : Yami ni kieta otoko
(Detective Agency Badger : The man who disappeared in the dark)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2001. 207 p.
(Mujina tanteikyoku shirīzu) (Shirīzu Jīn dokidoki)
ISBN 4-494-01328-5
Lizard – Assistance – Promise – Metamorphosis – Detective
A guest who suddenly disappears, a woman who claims to be his sister, a burned cello case, a strange smell, traces of water, and a small temple near the lake – all this is circumstantial evidence. The detective nicknamed »Badger«, who specalises in extremely peculiar cases with demons and ghosts, and his young neighbour Genta are asked to solve a seven-year-old case still unsolved at a rich family’s home in the countryside. In this detective novel for children, set in the present, people and animals (in this case a lizard) are combined in a way typical for the Japanese world of legends and folktales. The volumes of the series »Detective Agency Badger« are well written and very original. They offer readers a lot of fun. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2003 - 17
Yoshimoto, Naoshirō (text)
Shinozaki, Mitsuo (illus.)
Nemuri o nakushita kodomotachi
(The restless children)
Tokyo : Poplar-sha, 2002. (2nd ed.) 215 p.
(For boys and girls ; 20)
ISBN 4-591-07049-2
Water spirit – Death – Soul – Friendship – Redemption – Buddhism – Afterlife – Common belief
As his mother is getting married again, Ryōta starts a new life at his grandfather’s in a remote mountain village. At the cemetery, his school teacher and the village priest tell him about the fate of six local children who unfortunately died very young. While fishing alone at the river, the boy meets some Kappa, humanlike green water spirits, which he only knows from fairytales and legends. In this book, however, the author does not describe the Kappa as real water spirits like those common in Japanese folk culture, but as unhappy souls who can be released from their fate through Ryōta’s friendship. The reader is also given some information about rituals for the dead and the afterlife as believed in by Buddhists. (12+) ☆

Republic of China (Chinese) - 2003 - 20
Zhu, Xiufang (Chu, Hsiu-fang) (text)
Cheng, Liya (Chn, Li-ya) (illus.)
Zou, qu-dihuajie-mainianhuo
(Let’s go to Dihua-Street and do our New Year’s shopping)
Taibei : Qingling-Guoji-Chuban-Gufen (Children Publications), 2001. 31 p.
ISBN 986-7990-01-3
Taipei – Chinese New Year – Market – Street – Shopping – Architecture
This non-fiction picture book shows how a grandfather and his grandson do their New Year’s shopping on Dihua-Street. The two of them introduce the oldest market street of Taiwan’s capital Taipei to the readers. A large number of goods that are important for the Chinese New Year celebration are listed and presented here: Chinese herbs, dried fruits, fish, nuts, fabrics, and ironmongery. The 140-year-old street was created through trade between the Chinese mainland and the island of Taiwan. In those times, a lot of foreign tradesmen did business there, too. With the help of detailed, realistic pictures, the illustrator shows several houses from various different styles and epochs. (6+) ☆

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2003 - 22
Park, Kyung-Jin (text/illus.)
Bomi omyun
(When spring comes)
Seoul : Gilbut Orini, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 89-86621-99-1
Fox – Bear – Friendship – Separation – Hibernation – Seasons of the year – Insight
Little bear and little fox are the best of friends. In the autumn forest, the two of them are having a lot of fun together. Even though winter is approaching and little bear should prepare for his hibernation, the fox wants to go on playing with him and therefore distracts him with loads of funny games. Yet, when the two friends manage to save a frog from freezing to death, little fox finally realises that hibernation is vital for his friend. They promise each other to meet again in spring. In this atmospheric picture book, the author uses the seasons of the year to symbolically describe the maturation process of children who slowly grow up: Saying goodbye and meeting again are seen as natural parts of human life. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2003 - 24
Gordon, Marguerite (ed.)
Madiba magic : Nelson Mandela’s favourite stories for children
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 140 p.
ISBN 0-624-04073-9
Africa – Folktale – Anthology
This beautifully produced anthology contains 32 stories from South Africa and other African countries. A few of the tales are new stories written in the style of traditional folktales, while most of them are ancient folktales which have undergone several changes through the centuries and are presented here either in their orally transmitted form or as retellings by various authors. Each of the magical short tales is accompanied by a magnificent full-page illustration, painted by well-known children’s book artists as well as by some talented new illustrators, and by one or two beautiful small black-and-white vignettes created by Teresa Williams. A short one-sentence-introduction preceding each tale and an appendix at the back of the book give additional information about the importance of the tale’s theme or protagonist and its popularity and about the tales’ illustrators and authors or retellers. This folktale treasure chest will delight young and old readers alike. (4+) ☆ ☼

Australia (English) - 2003 - 25
Barlow, Maisie (Yarrcali) (text)
Anning, Michael (Boiyool) (illus.)
Jirrbal : rainforest dreamtime stories
Broome, Western Australia : Magabala Books Aborig. Corp., 2002. 59 p.
ISBN 1-875641-06-8
Australia/North Queensland – Aborigines – Everyday life – Fable
The Jirrbal people of Ravenshoe in North Queensland belong to an Aboriginal tribe whose lifestyle was influenced by the rainforest region in which they lived. Sadly, their rich storytelling tradition almost died out with the arrival of white settlers. For this book, published by a small publisher who promotes the works of indigenous people, Jirrbal elder Maisie Barlow selected four typical moral fables. The ancient dreamtime stories tell of Jirrbal life, introducing important traditional values to modern- day children. The simple tales are accompanied by Michael Anning’s delightful colour-pencil illustrations. A two-page English/Jirrbal dictionary and the author’s childhood memories provide an interesting insight into Jirrbal culture. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2003 - 28
McCarthy, Maureen
When you wake and find me gone
Camberwell, Victoria [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2002. 424 p.
(Fiction)
ISBN 0-14-300031-4
Australia – Mother – Daughter – Secret – Ireland – Irish Republican Army – Father
When her older sister Leonie is seriously injured in a car accident, Kit has no idea that her whole life is about to be turned upside down: Yet, suddenly she learns that her sister is in fact her mother and that her father was some Irishman involved in political underground activites in Belfast. Leaving her secure Australian country home, the fairly naïve twenty-year-old girl travels to Ireland on a quest for her parents’ secret and steps into a world of violence and political extremism. The readers of this thought-provoking young adult novel follow Kit on her painful journey of (self-)discovery and learn a lot about Ireland’s recent past and the conflicts still troubling the country. A truly fascinating and insightful read. (14+) ☆

India (English) - 2003 - 32
Sen Gupta, Subhadra (text)
Guha, Tapas (illus.)
A clown for Tenali Rama
New Delhi; New York [et al.] : Scholastic, 2002. 108 p.
ISBN 81-7655-144-9
India/1510-1530 – Time travel – Temple dancing – Stone Carving
One afternoon, while selling coconut water and little stone carvings to passing tourists, fourteen-yearold Basava and his younger sister Sivakka suddenly find themselves magically transported back into the beginning of the 16century when Hampi, their small home village, was the famous city of Vijayanagar ruled by great King Krishnadeva Raya. During the next few days, the two teenagers meet many interesting people, explore fascinating temples and palaces, and take part in the bustling city life. This engaging time travel adventure makes the splendour of a long forgotten era come alive and tells children a lot about Indian customs and traditions as well as about the everyday life in those times. (10+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 35
Agard, John (ed.)
Nichols, Grace (ed.)
Various illustrators (illus.)
Under the moon & over the sea : a collection of Caribbean poems
London [et al.] : Walker Books, 2002. 77 p.
ISBN 0-7445-3736-3
Poetry – Anthology
This colourful collection of poetry introduces its readers to the exotic Caribbean world. Divided into five different parts, the book tells about everydaylife on a Caribbean island, conjures up the magic atmosphere of storytelling by the fireside, makes the mouths water with texts about typical food and drinks, and compares stories from within the land with impressions of those who have left for faraway countries. Each chapter is superbly illustrated by a different artist using a variety of style and techniques: subtle collages, watercolour illustrations with a folkloric touch, comic-like pictures, and naïve style paintings. In their unique way, all the illustrators convey the picture of a colourful and sunny place with a rich cultural tradition. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 41
Gibbons, Alan
The edge
London : Orion Children’s Books, 2002. 186 p.
(A Dolphin paperback)
ISBN 1-84255-094-2
Stepfather – Violence – Escape – Mother – Son – Racism
Ever since Danny and his mother Cathy moved in with Chris a few years ago, life has been hell. The overly jealous and possessive man watched their every move and frequently beat them up as punishment for some small »disobedience«. One night, they finally escape. Yet, when they arrive at his grandparents’ house it seems like the black boy and his white mother have got out of the frying pan into the fire: In this small Northern England town, a group of racist teenagers do their best to prove how unwelcome Danny is in the neighbourhood. The gripping narrative unfolds in short sequences written from the various protagonists’ points-of-view and immediately draws readers in. This is a fastpaced, thought-provoking novel about violence and racism. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Great Britain (English) - 2003 - 43
Patten, Brian (text)
Riddell, Chris (illus.)
The story giant
London : Collins, 2002. 222 p.
ISBN 0-00-711944-5
Giant – Storytelling – Children – Saviour – Folktale
For centuries, the story giant has been collecting all the stories from around the world. To try and find the only tale that is still missing from his collection, the giant summons four children from the four corners of the world to his remote moorland castle. As they share all the tales from their different cultures, he becomes weaker and weaker... Into this magical frame story, Brian Patten weaves more than fifty tales ranging from Aesop’s fables, Arabian folktales, and Japanese legends, to Aboriginal myths and Celtic fairytales. This colourful mixture written in a quiet and engaging style, is accompanied by Chris Riddell’s humorous caricaturelike ink drawings, ingeniously depicting the quirky storyteller and his various protagonists. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Ireland (English) - 2003 - 45
A – Z and back again : a little bit of this and a wee bit of that!
Ballintogher : Kids’ Own Publ. Partnership, 2002. [32] p.
(A kids’ own book for young children)
ISBN 1-902432-16-9
Alphabet
Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, a small publishing house in Ireland, promotes the creative skills of children as writers and artists through various projects. One of their aims is to make the culture of »Travellers«, Ireland’s nomadic people, visible to others. For this outstanding example of children’s creativity reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art works, a group of children from two different schools have worked together with their families in a series of workshops. Using sponges, potatoes, and other everyday objects for different types of prints, they created the letters from A to Z and drew a few accompanying objects starting with each letter. With the help of photocopies, they decided on the final layout and design of the largeformat brochure. For the photo-gallery on the book’s endpages, they worked with digital photographs and computer. With the guiding assistance of an adult artist, they have thus created a fascinatingly colourful alphabet book. (2+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 50
Levine, Karen
Hana’s suitcase : a true story
Toronto, Ontario : Second Story Press, 2002. 111 p.
(The Holocaust remembrance series for young readers)
ISBN 1-896764-55-x; 1-896764-61-4
Holocaust – Persecution of the Jews – Quest – Holocaust Education – Japan/Canada
Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Tokyo Holocaust Center, felt that the best way to teach children about the past is to show them physical objects that tell the story of the people connected to them. When a suitcase with the only information »Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind (orphan)« arrives in Japan from the Auschwitz Museum in the year 2000, the quest for Hana’s story begins. This inspiring and deeply moving documentary brings together the three stories of Fumiko’s and the Japanese childrens‘ detective work, of Hana’s childhood in former Czechoslovakia, her deportation to Theresienstadt and her murder in Auschwitz, and finally that of her brother, who survived the Holocaust and came to Canada with nothing but the family photo album to keep the memory of Hana alive. This way, the Holocaust does not appear like a distant chapter of German history but rather like an event of universal impact, which teaches today’s generation to work towards peace, tolerance, and understanding. (10+) ☆
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)
(CD of original CBC radio documentary available upon request)

USA (English) - 2003 - 56
Grifalconi, Ann (text)
Nelson, Kadir (illus.)
The village that vanished
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2002. [40 ] p.
ISBN 0-8037-2623-6
Africa – Village – Slave trade – Threat – Trick – Escape
Written in the style of a traditional African tale narrated by an old storyteller, this touching story celebrates the courageous behaviour and quick thinking of a small Yao girl and her mother. When cruel slave traders approach their tiny village, Njemile and her young daughter Abikanile persuade the neighbours to wipe out all traces of the village and flee deep into the forest. Thanks to the girl’s trust in the ancestral spirits, they escape successfully. The eloquent and expressive prose text, is enhanced by fascinating illustrations: Detailed pencil and oil drawings coloured mainly in warm shades of brown, green, and orange, beautifully capture the atmosphere, the colourful flora, and the rich fabrics worn by the African women. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2003 - 63
Tayac, Gabrielle (text)
Harrington, John (photogr.)
Meet Naiche : a native boy from the Chesapeake Bay area
Hillsboro, Oregon : Beyond Words Pub., 2002. 48 p.
(My world: Young Native Americans today)
ISBN 1-58270-072-9
USA – Native Americans – Traditions – Boy – Everyday life
This non-fiction book is the first in a series called My World: Young Native Americans Today, which aims at bringing the life of present-day American Indians closer to the readers by introducing one particular child in each volume. Here, readers get /USA to know Naiche, a boy whose parents belong to the Piscataway and Apache people. He chats about his everyday life which proves to be very similar to that of other American children. Nevertheless, he is very proud of the cultural traditions peculiar to his family’s ancestors. Various colour photographs accompanied by detailed annotations illustrate the casual text. A few black-and-white drawings and photographs as well as a short appendix provide cultural and historical background information. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 70
Sulzenbacher, Gudrun (text)
Ochsenreiter, Augustin (photogr.)
Altes Handwerk und ländliches Leben
(Traditional trades and rural life)
Wien [et al.] : Folio-Verl., 2002. 64 p.
ISBN 3-85256-208-2
Trade – Rural life
This highly informative photo documentary, with its excellent text and design, shows scenes from working- and everyday-life untouched by the speed of modern-day electronics. Quite a few of the old skilled trades have survived up to this day because they are still needed and practised in rural areas. Other trades, such as burning oil, treating flax, cheese-making, and quill embroidery sound unfamiliar to us today. Not least, these traditional skills are part of the history of European cultures and of our general education. In words and pictures, the final chapter called »How to cure suffering« humorously completes our ideas about how barbers and surgeons used to cure diseases in former times. Luckily enough, these instruments and tinctures are not in keeping with the times anymore. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Austria (German) - 2003 - 71
Thoma, Helga
Gegen den Strom : Zivilcourage und Widerstand im Dritten Reich
(Against the current : courage and resistance in Nazi Germany)
Wien : Ueberreuter, 2002. 175 p.
ISBN 3-8000-3886-2
Germany – Austria – National Socialism – Persecution of the Jews – Resistance – Courage
This young adult book about the extermination of the Jews under the rule of the National Socialists is the first not to focus exclusively on people in Germany. In Austria, too, courageous outsiders offered resistance to the terror-regime. The book honours those, who have not yet been in the limelight of public attention. Many of these lesser-known heroes have paid with their lives for showing a humane attitude. Yet, even the lives of those who were able to save themselves, were continuously threatened. After 1945, some of the survivors reported the past events as contemporary witnesses. Moreover, the author critically examines the position of the respective states after the end of the war towards these courageous people. A bibliography rounds off the informative documentary volume. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2003 - 82
Hashemi, Kazem
Fundamentalismus : Absage an die Moderne
(Fundamentalism : Modernity rejected)
München : Elefanten Press, 2002. 127 p.
(Edition »Ich klage an!«)
ISBN 3-570-14638-3
Fundamentalism – Internationality – Religion – Science – Politics
With a successful combination of fictional stories and profound non-fictional information, the author of this book, who has been living in Germany since 1976, shows the meaning of fundamentalist thinking and its effects on religion, science, politics, and the everyday life of people. Israel, Palestine, and Iran are the focus of interest for the events retold here. The main priority of this book, however, is to explain the basic meaning of the term »fundamentalism «. It aims at analysing the various different meanings of the word and its narrow use in, mostly journalistic, reports. The fate of specific people, told here as fictitious stories, yet true in a historic context, make readers aware of how explosive this topic is. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2003 - 89
Krockow, Christian von
Eine Frage der Ehre : Stauffenberg und das Hitler-Attentat vom 20. Juli 1944
(A question of honour : Stauffenberg and the attempt on Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944)
Berlin : Rowohlt, 2002. 199 p.
(Bücher für die nächste Generation)
ISBN 3-87134-441-9
Germany/1933-1945 – Schenk von Stauffenberg, Claus – Resistance movement
The childhood and youth of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg reveals a lot: He had a broad artistic education, belonged to the circle around the poet Stefan George, and his enthusiasm for aristocratic values in the best traditional sense influenced the life and thoughts of this young man. In later years, his active resistance against Hitler can be seen as the grown-up’s desperate attempt to prevent Germany’s political, intellectual, and physical destruction. The author does not present himself to the readers as an omniscient narrator but rather as a well-informed and concerned contemporary witness who is also searching for answers. This adds convincing authenticity to the book and inspires further reflection. (14+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2003 - 92
Schulz, Hermann
Flucht durch den Winter
(Escaping through the winter)
Hamburg : Carlsen, 2002. 198 p.
ISBN 3-551-58096-0
Germany/1944-1945 – Forced labourer – Escape
During the last months of World War II, 14-yearold Ännchen Schwalbe lives with farmers in North Germany. The forced labourers who had been brought to Germany from countries occupied by the Germans are to be transported to a death camp soon. The girl takes pity on Sergej, a young Russian, and decides to escape with him. During their odyssey, the young people witness the terrible end of the war and its ravages. They even kill in order not to be killed. In April 1945, they are both rescued by the Allied Forces. This gripping realistic novel, which is based on authentic tales of people involved, convinces through the absence of sentimentality and pathos. Still, the readers can experience the horrible events very closely. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2003 - 95
Weiss, Ruth
Meine Schwester Sara
(My sister Sara)
Augsburg : Maro-Verl., 2002. 257 p.
ISBN 3-87512-260-7
South Africa – Apartheid – German Girl – Jews – Adoption – Antisemitism – Outsider
A Jewish girl is born in a concentration camp in Germany and loses her parents there. After 1945, she is adopted by a South African Boer family. At that time, there is widespread antisemitism in South Africa, and a naïve believe that the political situation and actions in Germany were legitimate. This makes the girl a blameless outsider within the family community, without her being able to understand the reasons because she has been kept in the dark about her background. A few years later, the South African policy of apartheid drives the young student to join a political underground organisation. She is killed in the Soweto Rebellion of 1976. As a journalist, the author – who herself emigrated to South Africa in 1936 – is familiar with the political development in her adopted home country. Following many authentic fates, she tells this family history in a differentiating, gripping, and unsentimental way, against the historical backdrop of decisive political events of the 20th century. (14+) ☆

Ivory Coast (French) - 2003 - 109
Tadjo, Véronique (text/illus.)
Masque, raconte-moi …
(Mask, tell me...)
Abidjan : Nouv. Ed. Ivoiriennes [et al.], 2002. 23 p.
(Collection le Caméléon vert)
ISBN 2-8412-9833-7. - 2-84487-141-0
Mask – Perspective – Imagination
Véronique Tadjo wants to offer African children points of reference for their own culture, so that they can recognise themselves in the texts they read and learn to identify the cultural richness of their region. In Masque, raconte-moi... she resumes the topic of her first picture book (Le seigneur de la danse, 1993): an African mask. In this book, it takes on several shapes before a child’s eyes. In the child’s imagination, the mask turns into an antelope, a crocodile, a wart hog, a bird, and a chameleon. With her short, allegorical text and the imaginative illustrations, the author manages to keep the mask’s secret hidden and all the young readers can try to discover it for themselves. (4+) ☆

France (French/German) - 2003 - 112
Abbis-Chacé, Claire [et al.] (ed.)
Saillard, Rémi (illus.)
Les plus belles comptines allemandes
(The most beautiful German counting-out rhymes)
Paris : Didier Jeunesse, 2002. 57 p. + CD
(Les petits cousins)
ISBN 2-278-05313-2
Finger games – Counting-out rhymes – Songs
The intention of this volume – the third in a series called Petits cousins (Little cousins) – is to open up ways of learning a foreign language to toddlers. It focuses on the German language offering a representative collection of finger games, lullabies, counting-out rhymes, songs for dancing and playing, and other popular children’s songs. To enable children to easily grasp the meaning of the songs, each German title is placed next to a French one with a similar topic. Colourful illustrations accurately interpret the content and make the respective texts more accessible. The extensive pedagogic appendix and the accompanying CD nicely round off this perfect approach to German-French cross-border understanding. (2+) ☆
(Prix Octogones / Catégorie »Comptine-Poesie«; 2002)

France (French) - 2003 - 113
Begag, Azouz (text)
Claverie, Jean (illus.)
Le théorème de Mamadou
(Mamadou’s theorem)
[Paris] : Seuil Jeunesse, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 2-02-050076-0
School – Learning – Age – Transience
»The expressions to educate and to nourish oneself are synonymous.« This statement by his new teacher makes Mamadou think of his old and frail grandparents who are both illiterate and whose memory deteriorates. The old couple, who had to start working as children and are not even able to speak French properly, did not get the chance to read books and use other people’s stories to enrich their own lives. However, when Mamadou concludes that it is useless to go to school because you forget everything anyway, the teacher answers with a »practical« and at the same time very poetical remark. The range of the profound and humorous text that surprises the readers and sets them thinking is perfectly expressed through the softly coloured, partly sketched drawings. (8+) ☆

France (French) - 2003 - 119
Hubert, Jean-Pierre
Sa majesté des clones
(Lord of the clones)
[Paris] : Mango Jeunesse, 2002. 225 p.
(Autres mondes ; 12)
ISBN 2-7404-1386-6
Earth – Extra-terrestrial intelligence – War – Cloning
This gripping novel, set in the 25century, combines adventure story, Robinsonade and science fiction and voices its opposition against violence in the tradition of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The earth’s inhabitants are fighting a 100-year war against the Arachnoids, extra-terrestrial spider-creatures. Some children from the school-station »Mentor « take refuge from a particularly brutal attack in a spaceship which gets smashed to pieces on a remote planet. The surviving children have to learn to cope in a hostile environment. Tensions between them are rising when they discover a mysterious machine, with which human cells can be cloned, in the wreck of an Arachno-spaceship. (10+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2003 - 133
Ghebreigziabiher, Alessandro (text)
Ferraro, Alessandro (illus.)
Tramonto
(Sunset)
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2002. [28] p.
(I lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-87546-60-6
Contrasts – Diversity – Meeting – Interculturality
The author was born somewhere between Italy and Africa, between two different colours, two different cultures. The illustrated picture book, full of strong colours, tells the story of Sunset, the son of Darkness and Light. Sunset realises that he does not belong to either of the two worlds, being »too dark for the whites and too pale for the blacks«. Fear and suspicion of those who are different is far too common, but – despite this – the encounter is possible, as in the case of the sun and the moon dancing together on the beach. The book is a simple and poetic invitation to an encounter between different cultures. (6+) ☆

Portugal (Portuguese) - 2003 - 143
Mésseder, João Pedro (text)
Letria, André (illus.)
Timor Lorosa’e – a ilha do sol nascente
(East Timor – Island of the rising sun)
Porto : Ambar, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 972-43-0437-x
East Timor – Independence movement
The struggle for national independence of the people of East Timor has come to a happy conclusion with the state’s international recognition in 2002. To familiarise children with this chapter of contemporary history, the author and illustrator have chosen the classical genre of the picture book. The sparse, simple text relates the facts in a calm tone not unlike that of fairytales or legends. This creates a special tension, which can also be sensed in the relations between text and image. The large-format pictures in warm colours show details with symbolic connotations. They seem strangely motionless and thus gain an emblematic character. A fascinating, very unusual book. (6+) ☆ ☼

Romania (Romany/Romanian) - 2003 - 145
Etveş, Francisca Ioana (ed.)
Ursu, Maria (transl.)
Poveşti şi basme romani
(Stories and fairytales from the Romany people)
Cluj-Napoca : Todescu, 2001. 111 p.
(Bilingual text Romany / Romanian)
ISBN 973-8198-01-1
Romania – Romany people – Fairytales – Stories
This collection contains 13 amusing stories and fairytales from the Romany oral storytelling tradition featuring witches, dragons, Death and the Devil. Love and friendship, as well as cunning and cleverness characterise the lives of these people, who are often confronted with contempt and suppression in a hostile environment, but still manage to master their lives. In »Zurinka«, Tsar Ivan falls in love with a beautiful Romany girl and would even resign from his throne to share his life with her. In »Axelandra and the miracle of love«, a Romany girl manages to find her happiness against all adversities. And »Pischta« outwits Death by selling him his shadow. Sparing yet expressive black-and-white illustrations underline the texts’ messages. (7+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2003 - 173
Croteau, Marie-Danielle (text)
St-Aubin, Bruno (illus.)
Mais qui sont les Hoo?
(But who are the Hoos?)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte échelle, 2002. 62 p.
(Premier roman ; 127)
ISBN 2-89021-533-4
Neighbour – Chinese – Prejudice – Tolerance
The Hoos, Fred’s new neighbours, are a family of ten. All the family members climb out of the removal van with a chair on their heads, and, with the same chairs still on their heads, they come out of the house again. Since foreign behaviour often remains incomprehensible and lack of understanding frequently leads to rejection, Fred and his friend Gus, who are full of prejudice, make fun of the Hoos. As a consequence, their teacher decides to »punish« them: They have to get to know the Chinese family. Soon, they realise that the Chinese neighbours do not eat cats, and they learn that the family are famous artists. Full of wit, very entertaining, and easy to read, this humorous children’s novel teaches the message of being tolerant and unprejudiced. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 177
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Melanson, Luc (illus.)
Le grand voyage de Monsieur
(The great journey of Mister)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 2-89512-189-3. – 2-89512-191-5
Death – Mourning – Journey
Filled with grief after the death of his child, a man leaves his home behind and goes on a journey. He lets himself drift along, his decisions influenced by coincidences. When his train stops at the sea, he crosses the ocean on a passenger ship. Thus, the man travels the world, strolls along the streets, spends some pleasant time with people who invite him into their homes. At the end of the world, he meets a child who has lost his parents in a war. Hand in hand, they try to overcome their grief. The text, reduced to the essential words, and the clear, yet discreet illustrations manage to present the loss of a loved person, the grief, and the loneliness in a sensitive way, suitable for children. (4+) ☆ ☼
(Governor General’s Award; 2002)

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2003 - 184
Petersen, Palle
Inuk og Ivik i det gamle Grønland
(Inuk and Ivik in old Greenland)
København : Borgen, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 87-21-01917-7
Greenland – Everyday life – Tradition
Theoretically, Danish people do not need to travel to foreign countries in order to discover »exotic« lands because Greenland is an (autonomous) part of their country. Nevertheless, since this island is not exactly on their doorstep, only few Danish children will actually know it. For both, the children who are already a little familiar with Greenland and those who are not, this book is a very interesting introduction to a fascinating cold world. The story follows Inuk, a young boy, and the girl Ivik, as they set out together with some adults to see and try out how their ancestors used to live a hundred or more years ago. Among other things, they will see the oldest drawing of Greenlanders, a historical earth-hut, a kayak in motion, and sleigh dogs, of course. (6+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 197
Langer, Joakim (text)
Trokenheim, Martin (illus.)
Kapten Kalle på de sju haven
(Captain Kalle on the seven seas)
Stockholm : Forum, 2002. 150 p.
Pettersson, Carl Emil (1875-1937) – Lindgren, Astrid / Pippi Longstocking
Shortly before her death, Astrid Lindgren allegedly admitted that there was a real-life role model for Pippi Longstocking’s father Efraim: Carl Pettersson. He went off to sea when he was twelve, and – after a few years – reached New Guinea in the South Seas where he dealt with copra. After having been shipwrecked in 1904, he safely arrived on a small island, received a warm welcome, married Sindu, the chief’s daughter, with whom he had eight children, and was later himself appointed chief by the native inhabitants. The author turns this biography into a short, adventure story which all admirers of Astrid Lindgren should know. (8+) ☆ ☼

Russia (Russian) - 2003 - 208
Minaev, Boris D.
Detstvo Levy
(Lëva’s childhood)
Moskva : Zacharov, 2001. 251 p.
ISBN 5-8159-0117-2
Moscow/1960-1980 – Childhood – Youth
In sometimes cheerful, sometimes sad stories told in first-person narrative, Boris Minaev reconstructs the childhood of a girl in Moscow during the 1960s and 1970s – at home, on the streets, among friends, relatives, and classmates. The author sets himself high demands: He claims to recall everything we encountered as children, particularly the happy moments and the things that influenced us. To remember the past is something that every person has to do in order to link past, present, and future and be able to cope with one’s life. The black-and-white photographs by various photographers draw a clear and yet poetic picture of the life in the Soviet Union. (12+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 1
Fukumoto, Ichirō
Seishun haiku o yomu
(Adolescence in haikus)
Tokyo : Iwanami Shoten, 2003. XIV, 180 p.
(Iwanami junia shinsho ; 447)
ISBN 4-00-500447-4
Poetry – Haiku – Youth
A haiku is a poem consisting of three verses with 5-7-5 syllables respectively, which captures the emotional experience of a single moment. Using 60 poems about topics that are suitable for teenagers, such as friendship, love, school life, etc. the author describes the essence and appeal of haikus. Half of the poems were written by pupils, the other half by teachers and well-known contemporary authors. With his sensitive interpretation of the selected works, explaining the seasonal word and the basic rule for each poem, the author introduces haiku poetry to readers and encourages them to write their own. This book is also of interest to readers outside Japan, all the more so as haikus are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 2
Hasegawa, Setsuko (text)
Kanaida, Etsuko (illus.)
Ningyō no tabidachi
(The dolls’ farewell)
Tokyo : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2003. 206 p.
ISBN 4-8340-0619-0
Home country – Childhood memory – Imagination – This world / Next world
As a child, the author of this book lived in a little town in the Sanin region close to the Japanese Sea. There she learned about many old traditions and regional customs; she witnessed humanity and sad fates. Setsuko Hasegawa weaves mystic and religious elements into her memories and combines them with an impressive description of the surroundings. Thus she creates five unique short stories of high literary quality. The title story, for example, tells of a few broken old dolls, which are placed under a tree on the temple ground by their former owners to soothe their souls. Before the eyes of the protagonist, the dolls disappear into the tree hollow, in which lies the sea Nirwana. In all the stories, wondrous events befall the little heroine, but also some painful ones. The exquisite and aesthetic illustrations highlight the mixture of realistic and fantastic elements in the stories and help readers from other cultural backgrounds to acquire a better understanding of the foreign subject. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 3
Hasegawa, Shūichi [et al.] (ed.)
Shashin de miru haiku saijiki – Juniaban
(Glossary for haiku-poetry with photographs for adolescents)
Tokyo : Komine Shoten, 2003. 71, 79, 79, 71, 87, 87, 87 p. (Vol. 1 and 2: Haru [Spring]; Vol. 3 and 4: Natsu [Summer], Vol. 5: Aki [Autumn]; Vol. 6: Fuyu [Wint
ISBN 4-338-18800-6
Poetry – Haiku – Nature – Season – Symbolism
According to traditional rules, a haiku has to include one word that refers to a season. This lavish seven-volume work gathers about 3,200 of the so-called »seasonal words«, which are introduced in 4,800 haikus by well-known haiku-poets. Detailed information is given about the words’ symbolism and background, which – thanks to the large number of photographs – is easy to understand and lends an encyclopaedic quality to the books. In the appendix, readers will discover some facts about the invention and development of this Japanese form of poetry, about poets, rules, topics, and modes of expression, methods of writing haikus, and their creative reception abroad. This is an informative and inspiring work not only for pupils and teachers, but also for students and haiku-lovers worldwide. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 9
Nakagawa, Naomi (text)
Murakami, Yutaka (illus.)
Minasoko no hitsugi
(Coffins at the bottom of the lake)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2002. 335 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0648-7
Japan/1150-1202 – Priest – Artificial lake
While repairing the dam of the Sayama-ike, the oldest artificial lake in Japan, workers come across some stone coffins of noblemen from the era of the hill graves (4to 7century). During some earlier repairs in the 12century, commanded by the audacious priest Chōgen, these had been inserted into the dam as water channels. Using these facts as a historical backdrop, the author describes the life of the orphan boy Komatsu, who continuously struggles to survive. Komatsu meets with the Chōgen and other people and is fascinated by the symbolic meaning of fire. These experiences motivate him to fight for the artificial lake in his home region. Later in life, he decides to travel to China and learn the craft of porcelain. Descriptions of a variety of historical events let this era come alive. (13+) ☆
(43rd Japanese Association of Writers for Children Prize; 2003)

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 13
Suzuki, Yukie (text)
Suezaki, Shigeki (illus.)
Yūhigaoka no San
(Sun, the dog from the hill of the evening sun)
Maisaka : Hikumano Shuppan, 2003. 36 p.
ISBN 4-89317-309-x
Dog – Family – Farm – Everyday life – Seasons
The favourite place of a farmer’s boy is a hill from where he watches the evening sun glide down over the mountains. One day, he finds a small dog there, and although he already has various pets at home, he is allowed to keep it. The dog is an amiable addition to the family and its lively character makes the sick grandmother regain some energy. The boy is therefore terribly sad when the little dog suddenly disappears. Yet, in spring, it is back again bringing its puppies with it and the farm is once more filled with joy. The author’s positive outlook on life is expressed in her depiction of the tea farmers’ daily life. Even if the people and their behaviour are portrayed in a somewhat sketchy way, they still illustrate the change of the seasons and the daily scenes with sufficient detail. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2004 - 17
Yoshimura, Keiko (text)
Tajima, Yukihiko (illus.)
Nanashi no Gonbe-san
(The nameless people)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2003. 40 p.
ISBN 4-494-01237-8
Disability – Family – Air raid – World War II
War casts a shadow over the life of physically handicapped Momoko. The air raids occur more and more often, her grandfather, usually a very caring person, becomes angrier and angrier, and due to her handicap, she is not allowed to start school. Deeply disappointed, Momoko protests, yet only the neighbouring boys try to comfort her. One day, bombs rain down on the city. The wheelchair with Momoko in it suddenly rolls through the flames, the boys run with her through the sea of fire. Thousands of people perish in the flames. And what about Momoko and the boys? With few words and many expressive pictures from the little girl’s perspective, this picture book manages to convey a convincing portrait of the horrors of war to child readers. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2004 - 22
Yi, Hyŏn-sun (text)
Ch'oe, Ŭn-mi (illus.)
Sim Ch ŏng ka
(Shimchong’s song)
Seoul : Ch obang, 2003. [32] p. + 1 CD
ISBN 89-90614-05-8. - 89-90614-03-1
Folk tale – Daughter – Father – Self-sacrifice – Miraculous cure – Music – Theatre
Shimchong believes that only an offering in the temple can cure her father of his blindness. Since she is very poor, she sells her life to some sailors who sacrifice young girls to placate the sea. The sea-king, however, spares her life and eventually, her father can see again. This folk tale about a virtuous girl is created in the 400-year-old Korean performance art of P’ansori, in which only one person speaks and sings in alternation with a drummer. The characters in this book, borrowed from the traditional Korean mask-dance, act in stylised poses without a background. Just like a P’ansori singer who fills the stage with his performance alone, the figures fill the large-format pages of this book. (4+) ☆ ☼

South Africa (English) - 2004 - 23
Schermbrucker, Reviva (text/illus.)
Conradie, Wayne (photogr.)
They were wrong!
Lansdowne : Early Learning Resource Unit, 2003. [24] p.
(Mielie books)
ISBN 1-875069-43-7
South Africa – Child – Everyday life – Prejudice – Multicultural society
This small picture book is published by the Antibias Project of ELRU – the Early Learning Rescource Unit, a small organisation which aims at improving the lives of South African children. It addresses common prejudices against foreign people and unfamiliar situations in an amusing child-friendly way. In a mixture of brightly-coloured bold paintings expressing the unfounded speculations and colour-photographs depicting actual real-life scenes, the author shows how a young boy is not intimidated by the ridiculous warnings from some of his friends but rather sets out to discover the truth for himself. This committed booklet encourages its readers to be openminded and think critically. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - South Africa (English) - 2004 - 24
Slingsby, Peter
Jedro’s bane
Cape Town : Tafelberg, 2002. 159 p.
ISBN 0-624-03578-6
Grandfather – Quarrel – Reconciliation – Friendship – Colonialism – Slavery – Rebellion – Freedom – South Africa/1900
When Jedro is punished for getting into a fight with the class bully and sent to stay a few days at his granddad’s place in the countryside, the boy is prepared for a dead-boring weekend. How was he to know that the old man would suddenly conjure up an exciting tale that was to have a profound impact on Jedro’s life? Embedded in a moving frame story, the author offers young readers the gripping account of the life of a courageous black boy who decides to fight against slavery and unjust laws passed by the white government in 19century South Africa. Narrated in a direct and engaging style, the tale about Koot’s rebellion and his struggle against three banes prophesied to him by an old medicine woman immediately captivates the (fictional and real-life) audience. At the end, children will reluctantly surface from an enthralling read that also offers some insight into the life of black people in South Africa a century ago, their ancient culture, and the power of storytelling. (12+) ☆

Australia (English) - 2004 - 26
Grant, Joan (text)
Curtis, Neil (illus.)
Cat and Fish
South Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7344-0481-6
Differentness – Friendship – Tolerance
Normally, cats and fish belong to different worlds. Yet, when this book’s two protagonists meet, they immediately become close friends and venture out together. After a while, Fish starts feeling homesick for the sea. Since Cat does not seem too enthusiastic about living under water, they simply decide to settle at the shore where both worlds meet and to await their next adventure. This poetic story of two unlikely friends is beautifully expressed in Escheresque black-and-white illustrations. The dream-like pictures with their varied patterns, rendered in pen-and-ink technique, offer readers a humorous and imaginative interpretation of the enchanting text. (3+) ☆

Australia (English) - 2004 - 27
King, Stephen Michael (text/illus.)
Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat
Crows Nest, NSW : Allen & Unwin, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86508-748-3
Girl – Talent – Imagination – Self-confidence – Differentness
Milli, an exceptionally creative and skilled girl, lives in a village where people are only interested in practical, useful things and therefore do not appreciate her special talent. To please them, shy Milli works as an ordinary shoemaker until one day, Jack and the Dancing Cat arrive. The two unusual wandering minstrels entice her imagination and give her the courage to pursue her dreams. Vivid watercolours with fine black outlines, reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s pictures, accompany the humorous text and perfectly capture the beauty of the whimsical shapes Milli creates out of discarded everyday objects. This lighthearted tale easily persuades readers to believe in their imagination – and in themselves. (4+) ☆

Australia (English) - 2004 - 28
Lawson, Sue (text)
Magerl, Caroline (illus.)
My Gran’s different
South Melbourne, Victoria : Lothian, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 0-7344-0500-6
Grandmother – Grandson – Alzheimer’s Disease
Charlie is aware that his grandmother is different from those of his friends and classmates. She doesn’t bake cakes or sell flowers, she doesn’t knit scratchy jumpers or travel all around Australia, nor does she visit football matches or work in the garden. All she ever does is sit in her rocking chair and stare out of the window – because »she can’t remember who she is.« Nevertheless, the young boy completely accepts her as she is and clearly doesn’t love her any less for it. The delicate washy watercolours in subdued tones and the sparse text written in a quiet, repetitive style create a moving story of a child’s love for his grandmother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. This courageous picture book is a true gem for young and old readers alike – which may also spark off discussions about and provide understanding for a serious problem. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 29
Malbunka, Mary (text/illus.)
When I was little, like you
Crows Nest, Australia : Allen & Unwin, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 1-86508-903-6
Australia/1960s – Aboriginals – Mission settlement – Childhood
In 2000, students and members of staff at Papunya School got together to create the award-winning Papunya School Book of Country and History. Now, one of them, Aboriginal artist Mary Malbunka, returns to tell readers about her own childhood at Papunya. In a simple and engaging style, interspersed with Luritja expressions – Mary’s mother tongue – she recalls arriving at the government settlement as a five-year-old. She shares memories of everyday life at the settlement such as going to school, searching for sugarbag (i.e. wild honey), climbing trees, and listening to the stories of the elders. Her short tale is accompanied by colourful acrylic and watercolour pictures, carried out both in traditional and in European styles of art, that conjure up a lively picture of an Aboriginal childhood in the 1960s. The short appendix includes a note on the various Aboriginal languages, a short explanation of the language of symbols used in many traditional pictures, and a Luritja-English glossary. _ (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2004 - 30
Norrington, Leonie
The spirit of Barrumbi
Norwood, SA : Omnibus Books, 2003. 213 p.
ISBN 1-86291-552-0
Aboriginals – Whites – Intercultural education
In this sequel to her highly praised first novel The Barrumbi Kids, Leonie Norrington describes everyday life in a small Aboriginal community and discusses the conflicts children have to come to terms with if they live in two different cultures at once. The inhabitants of Long Hole still cherish their traditional culture and are taught to respect the ways of the elders. Even though Dale and his parents and siblings have lived there for many years and are regarded as kin by Tomias’ family, tensions between the Aboriginals and the white family suddenly rise when Dale’s headstrong older brother Sean stupidly breaks one of the elders’ important rules and thus almost causes a catastrophe. (10+) ☆

India (English) - 2004 - 34
Sen Gupta, Subhadra
Jodh Bai : diary of a Rajput princess
New Delhi; New York [et al.] : Scholastic, 2003. 106 p.
ISBN 81-7655-252-6
India/1561-1562 – Mughal Empire – Princess – Arranged marriage – Fictional diary
This new instalment in the popular series of historical diaries is set in the middle of the 16century in Northern India. The book describes the everyday life of 14-year-old princess Jodh Bai, daughter of the king of Amber. The amiable and open-minded girl chats about various aspects of life such as daily routines and special festivities, education and political decisions, love and intrigues. Moreover, she relates her fears and worries when she suddenly learns that she is soon to be married to the powerful young Mughal king Akbar. Using a blend of factual and fictional events and characters, the author makes a distant period of Indian history come alive for teenage readers. An informative appendix adds some interesting background information. (12+) ☆

Great Britain (English) - 2004 - 39
Deacon, Alexis (text/illus.)
Beegu
(<Proper name>)
London [et al.] : Hutchinson, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 0-09-176829-2
Extraterrestrial being – Earth – Loneliness – Friendship
Beegu, a small yellow being with long soft ears and three eyes, crashes her spaceship on planet earth. She walks around looking for a friend but is met with indifference or contempt by the adults (and things) she approaches for help. Only a group of children in the playground immediately accept her and give her a warm welcome. In his first picture book, the young British author-illustrator makes the readers see their home planet through the eyes of a stranded alien. Told in a subdued matter-of-fact style, this partly funny partly sad tale of loneliness and friendship (which does end happily for Beegu) comes alive in large format illustrations in warm colours and with a nostalgic touch. (4+) ☆

Canada (English/Cree) - 2004 - 50
Highway, Tomson (text)
Deines, Brian (illus.)
Fox on the Ice = Mahkesís mískwamíhk e - cípatapít
Toronto, ON : HarperCollins, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 0-00-225532-4
Cree Indians – Nature – Family – Community
This bilingual picture book is the third in the Songs of the North trilogy. Each volume is centred on one animal – the caribou, the dragonfly, and the fox respectively – and relates one little outdoor adventure of the two Cree brothers Joe and Cody and their dog. The narrative in English and Cree focuses less on plot than on tone and atmosphere. It evokes the vastness of the far North, the beauty of the Manitoba landscape, the happiness of the family, and the simple joys of living in harmony with nature. Deines’s sparkling illustrations perfectly capture the majesty of the Great North and almost seem to reflect the boys’ tinkling laughter. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 52
Sadlier, Rosemary (text)
Wang, Qi-Jun (illus.)
The kids book of Black Canadian history
Toronto ON : Kids Can Press, 2003. 56 p.
ISBN 1-55074-892-0
Black Canadians – Canada/1628–2000
This non-fiction title tells an important story seldom told: the history of Black Canadians. From the first Black slave to arrive in New France in 1628 to the Black singers, artists, and politicians of today, this book offers informative double-pages on key periods, people, or events: the Underground Railroad, the participation of Black soldiers in various wars and revolutions, the Jamaican Maroons, etc. Short personality profiles and »did-you-know boxes« with intriguing bits of information arouse the reader’s curiosity. A section titled »Prejudice and Racism« reminds us that the best way to fight these two evils is to learn more about each other. In this sense, this book makes a true contribution to tolerance. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 53
Schwartz, Virginia Frances
Initiation
Markham, Ontario : Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2003. 268 p.
ISBN 1-55005-053-2
Kwakiutl Indians – Coming of age – Twins – Salmon – Sacrifice – Atonement
This powerful historical novel about Kwakiutl Indians from the Northwest Coast of Canada has strong mythic resonances. Set in the 15century, it weaves together the story of three adolescents on the brink of adulthood and a Kwakiutl transformation myth. The destiny of 11-year-old Nana and her twin brother Nanolatch is clearly set out before them. According to the Way, the boy will succeed his father as chief of the tribe while Nana will be married off. But thanks to Noh, a slave girl and shaman’s daughter, the two discover that they have to find their own way by listening to the world of the Spirits. Changing the point-of-view between the three protagonists, Schwartz creates a fascinating blend of ancient Indian legends and a modern coming-of-age novel. (12+) ☆

Germany (German) - 2004 - 70
Abmeier, Armin [et al.] (ed.)
Müller, Thomas M. (illus.)
Lebens-Mittel : was Kinder brauchen
(Food / Means of life ‹pun›) : what children need)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Büchergilde Gutenberg, 2003. [32] p. + 1 poster
(Die tollen Hefte ; 22)
ISBN 3-7632-6022-6. 3-936482-22-0
Child – Wish – Humour – Poetry – Ultra-short story
»What children need« – that’s the subtitle of this small encyclopaedic compendium of poems and stories by famous German-speaking authors and poets which all focus on children’s interests, wishes, and basic needs. Thus, the texts cover topics such as »water«, »tree«, »bed«, »family«, »something sweet«, etc. The colourful, imaginative illustrations add unexpected aspects and connotations to various terms in an interpretative way. The booklet is published on the occasion of the German UNICEF section’s 50th anniversary (with a poster enclosed and with a slightly nonsensical glossary) and can be savoured by child and adult readers of all ages. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2004 - 88
Schami, Rafik (text)
Könnecke, Ole (illus.)
Wie ich Papa die Angst vor Fremden nahm
(How I made Daddy overcome his fear of strangers)
München : Hanser, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 3-446-20331-1
Girl – Single father – Foreigner – Skin colour – Prejudice – Fear – Community
Just like every little girl, this story’s protagonist absolutely adores her big, strong, brave, funny, intelligent, and courageous Daddy. Still, he has one little fault: He is afraid of strangers, especially those with dark skin, whose language he does not understand and whom he considers dirty and noisy. Today, Daddy is to be invited to the birthday party of Banja – his daughter’s classmate from Africa – where he is supposed to perform some magic tricks. He does not know anything about the family’s skin colour and thus is quite confused about the huge African welcome he receives. Yet, ‘magically’ all his fears vanish during the party – and so do his unfounded prejudices, now and forever. This book is a cheerful, uncomplicated story with a serious background. (6+) ☆

Switzerland (German) - 2004 - 96
Müller, Birte (text/illus.)
Auf Wiedersehen, Oma
(Good-bye, Granny)
Gossau, Zürich : Neugebauer, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 3-85195-957-4
Latin America – Village – All Saints’ Day – Celebration – Death – Tradition – Girl – Grandmother
In Latin American countries, it is common to organise a cheerful party on the Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day) and remember the family members who have passed away. Little Felipa, who lives in a village in the Andes, learns that her late grandmother’s soul will be very close to her on this day. Slowly she comes to understand that she cannot see people's souls and does not have to go searching for them - not among the animals, nor in the snow-covered mountains - but that she will still not remain lonely after their death. The author created this book from impressions gathered during a study trip through Mexico and Bolivia. Its pictures open up broad earthen-coloured spaces that offer room for imagination and contemplation. (4+) ☆

France (French) - 2004 - 107
Causse, Rolande
Rohard, Valérie
Destins de femmes : filles et femmes afghanes
(Women’s fates : Afghan girls and women)
Paris : Syros Jeunesse, 2003. 95 p.
(Collection J’accuse ...)
ISBN 2-7485-0129-2
Afghanistan – War – Taliban – Woman
From various points of view and with different literary genres, this book calls to mind the fate of Afghan girls and women. At the beginning, a short tale relates the fate of young Nahib and her family whose carefree life ends abruptly after the Taliban’s rise to power. This is followed by the touching stories of three women interviewed in Afghanistan in 2002. They highlight not only the suppression of women by the Taliban but also their influence on the life of wives and daughters after the regime’s collapse. The book ends with some moving poems, followed by a useful appendix containing a glossary, important names, and the declaration of the basic rights of Afghan women, which was signed in Tajikistan in 2000. (12+) ☆

France (French) - 2004 - 114
Jordi, Jean-Jacques
L’Algérie : des origines à nos jours
(Algeria. From the beginning to the present day)
Paris : Éd. Autrement, 2003. 63 p.
(Autrement junior : Série Histoire ; 11)
ISBN 2-7467-0302-5
Algeria – History – Society
The Algeria-Year in France (2003) has inspired many children’s book publishers to take a closer look at this country which maintains a difficult relationship with France since the 1830s. Jean- Jacques Jordi takes on the task of analysing the »rich country, inhabited by poor people« from its early beginnings, reaching back to the Numid era, the Roman and later the Turkish occupation, all the way to the present. Using explanatory photographs and maps, as well as old and new pictures, the author relates more than mere facts; he also provides background information that helps readers understand, among other things, the increase of a radical Islamic movement. That is what makes this non-fiction book for children such a successful first introduction to the Algerian society. (10+) ☆

France (French) - 2004 - 115
Lenain, Thierry (text)
Balez, Olivier (illus.)
Wahid
(<Proper name>)
Paris : Albin Michel, 2003. [28] p.
(Jeunesse)
ISBN 2-226-14058-1
France – Algeria – War – Love – Child
»Love is stronger than war.« Yet, before this becomes reality, Maurice from France and Habib from Algeria take up their arms to defend their countries. Their son and daughter, however, seize the opportunity provided by peace and fall in love with each other. Wahid, their son, is evidence enough for the fact that love can overcome differences and cross borders. His cheeky smile at the end of the picture book optimistically hints at a future full of hope. Both the illustrations painted in clear and vivid colours and the short, simple text focus on the essential issues. Overall, they tell the story of two nations’ tolerance, and in particular that of the love between two people. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 119
Nozière, Jean-Paul
Maboul à zéro
(Crazy bald-head)
[Paris] : Gallimard, 2003. 157 p.
(Scripto)
ISBN 2-07-055359-0
Immigration – School – Epilepsy – Racism
In his politically comitted teenage novel, inspired by the alarming shift to the right during the first stage of the French presidential elections in April 2002, Jean-Paul Nozière gives names and faces to the victims of day-to-day racism. His example shows the fate of immigrants whose escape from the repressions of the radical Islamic politics in Algeria does not end happily in France. 14-yearold Aïcha, highly intelligent, enjoys helping her mother with her work as caretaker of a school. She was exempted from lessons because of her epilepsy. Without anyone knowing it, she takes distance learning courses to prepare for her A-levels and tries to keep her older mentally disabled brother’s fits under control. All the while, she is acutely aware of both the open and the hidden attacks against her family in this small French town. By weaving the mother’s memories into the story, the author presents two women whose lives are strongly determined by intolerance – religious fanaticism in Algeria on the one hand, and racism in France on the other hand. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2004 - 122
Séonnet, Michel (text)
Geiger, Cécile (illus.)
Madassa
(<Proper name>)
Paris : Éd. Sarbacane, 2003. [28] p.
ISBN 2-84865-008-7
Boy – War – Grief – Reading – Writing
The children’s face portrayed on the front cover already hints at the book’s content: Madassa’s large sad eyes talk about the cruelties of war: about hunger, the painful loss of his siblings, shootings, and death. Grief, fear, and anger leave no room in his head for words. Thus, Madassa can neither read nor write. Yet, when the teacher reads stories to him that describe exactly these feelings but also tell him about the happiness of dancing, these words stay in his head. And soon Madassa starts writing ... The large-format illustrations are dominated by the boy’s omnipresent expressive face and the symbolic descriptions that – thanks to the power of reading and writing – turn from negative into positive ones. (7+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 124
Ferrara, Antonio (text/illus.)
Come i pini di Ramallah
(Like the pine trees in Ramallah)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2003. 63 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni ; 39)
ISBN 88-8222-101-6
Israel – Palestine – War – Hope
In this book, readers can picture the colours and even imagine the smells of a troubled land. It presents the parallel diaries of two 10-year-old boys at the time of the second Intifada: David, an Israeli child, and Mohammed, a Palestinian boy. While David lives in Jerusalem, where people live in constant fear of terrorist attacks, Mohammed’s home town is Ramallah, where people are afraid to be killed by Israeli soldiers. Then, one day, the two children meet: This short encounter gives them new insights, a little more hope for the future and makes them dream of a possible peace. The author perfectly manages to convey the thoughts and feelings of the two protagonists, a fact that is important because – as David states – »children do have something to say about the war, but nobody listens to them.« (9+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 125
Gatti, Fabrizio
Viki che voleva andare a scuola
(Viki who wanted to go to school)
Milano : Fabbri, 2003. 261 p.
ISBN 88-451-8114-6
Emigration – Racism – Integration – School
In order to write this book, the author Fabrizio Gatti pretended to be an illegal immigrant and went to live in a shantytown on the outskirts of Milan. He tells the story of an Albanian boy, Viki, who dreams of a new life in Italy. It is not easy, though, because many Italians seem to have forgotten that, not that long ago, a lot of them were emigrants, too. The harsh story describes the terrible journey – jammed into a small boat like prisoners – then his life as an illegal immigrant living in fear and misery, and eventually Viki’s attempts to fit in at school, where at the beginning »the other children were queueing up to see me close up.« Despite of this, Viki never loses heart in this contradictory reality of cruel indifference and fragments of generosity. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 126
Levi, Lia
La lettera B : i sei mesi che hanno sconvolto la mia vita
(The letter B : the six months that completely changed my life)
Milano : Mondadori, 2003. 163 p.
(Junior bestseller)
ISBN 88-04-52165-1
Friendship – Everyday life – Diversity
Ilaria, the 12-year-old heroine of this novel, narrates her quiet, ordinary family life that is suddenly turned upside down. She is forced to share her world with two other children: Babu, an Indian orphan whom Ilaria’s parents are going to adopt, and her cousin Alina, whose mother, a journalist, has been kidnapped by the Taliban. In her account – always gentle in style and at times slightly ironical – Ilaria describes big world events like September 11 and the war in Afghanistan. But she also gives a description of her daily effort to grow up, to cope with all the changes in her life, always asking herself questions about her feelings, the whole world, and life as such. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 130
Nava, Emanuela (text)
Mazzoleni, Khurshid (text)
Guicciardini, Desideria (illus.)
Sognando l’India
(Dreaming about India)
Casale Monferrato (AL) : Piemme Junior, 2003. 112 p.
(Il battello a vapore : Serie azzurra ; 58)
ISBN 88-384-3563-4
Italy – India – Children – Culture – Difference
This book was written by ‘four hands’, the author and her Indian-born son, that is, whom she adopted when he was seven. Now he is eleven, but he still remembers the life in his native country quite well. In a lively style, the first-person narrator continuously compares the two different ways of life. Apart from that, he also relates many traditional Indian stories about tigers, holy men, maharajas, and sorcerers. »Italian children don’t do anything at all. Back in India I used to carry hay over my head, I used to plant the garden, and fry spicy pancakes.« In the foreground, we see different conditions of life for children and different conceptions of freedom. The style is ironical – even unconventional at times – and everything is presented in a very direct way. This original and curious book may help readers to reflect on cultural differences in an open and stimulating way. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2004 - 133
Pace e tocco terra
(Peace and I touch ground )
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2003. [28] p.
(I Lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-87546-72-x
War – Dreams – Peace
In a world where many people seem to think that war is the only way to solve conflicts, the need for peace is growing. This book offers a collection of short stories, poems, and ballads. The six authors and the six illustrators – all of them Italian – are masters in the art of playing with words and pictures. Their texts, very different in genre and style, have a common aim: Against all apparent logic, they suggest the idea of a world where it is actually possible to have peace. In her poem No gravity, for example, Silvia Roncaglia pictures a world in which war becomes impossible because of a law of physics. Ennio Cavalli, Emanuela Nava, and Nicola Cinquetti present a modern tale, and Aquilino a script, while Arianna Papini has written a rap-song for peace. (8+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2004 - 169
Various (text)
Roberts, Bruce (illus.)
Noir, blanc ou poil de carotte : des enfants écrivent contre le racisme
(Black, white, or redhead: children write against racism)
Montréal (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2003. 39 p.
(Carré Blanc)
ISBN 2-89540-158-6
Racism – Tolerance – Religion – Interculturality
They are nine, ten, or eleven; boys and girls of different ethnic origin or social class, and all of them have decided to write against racism. Out of about 300 ‘protests’ against racism, eight teachers from various schools in Quebec have selected 16 representative examples of different genres – a diary entry, a poem, an essay, a fairy tale, etc. The result is not a didactic textbook but rather a kaleidoscope of fear of intolerance yet also of hope for tolerance and a peaceful dialogue. The children’s texts are embedded in the declaration of human rights and the sketchy, partly symbolical illustrations of well-known artist Bruce Roberts. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2004 - 170
Pedersen, Knud Erik (transl. of non-Danish texts)
Der er kommet en komet : nordiske digte for børn
(There came a comet : Nordic poems for children)
København : Forum, 2003. 106 p. + 1 CD
ISBN 87-553-3318-4
Scandinavia – Poetry
Thanks to state support for book projects, it is often possible in Scandinavian countries to publish outstanding editions from which children, too, will profit (if they want to). Authors, illustrators, publishers, and translators have joined forces to produce a truly magnificent anthology of children’s poetry, which – despite the great number of people involved – can be considered a harmonious whole. All of the poems (and the respective illustrations, of course) have been created especially for this publication. An enclosed CD offers the poems read by their authors and allows the children to experience the sounds of the original languages. This volume can be seen as one of the best showpieces of children’s book culture in the North. Its creation was also supported by the »great old man of children’s poetry from the Nordic countries,« Swedish poet Lennart Hellsing, who himself – out of modesty – has not added any of his own poems to the collection. (8+) ☆

Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 179
Kallio, Lisa (text/illus.)
Lentävä talo
(A flying house)
Helsinki : Lasten Parhaat Kirjat, 2003. 28 p.
ISBN 951-567-267-8
Multiculturality – Friendship – Adventure
This picture book tells the story of Riku, whose family moves into a new house. The boy’s deep sadness about losing his best friend results in an unusual ability: He can make the house fly all the way back to his former home where he meets a boy who is in a same situation: Hamid desperately misses his home village in a far-away country. Consequently, the two boys combine their powers and travel to the moon with the flying house. The book sensitively describes a child’s grief about leaving his best friend and his familiar surroundings behind but also shows how children can cope with these problems. The warm, colourful illustrations aptly interpret the text and radiate with a tender atmosphere created by the play with lights and shadows. (6+) ☆

Greece (Greek) - 2004 - 237
Tasaku, Tzemē (text)
Zalimē, Eleutheria (illus.)
To krypho monopati
(The secret path)
Athēna : Psychogios, 2003. 128 p. + 1 CD
(Xinomēlo ; 18)
ISBN 960-274-747-1
Migration – School – Racism – Friendship
Albert, an 11-year-old boy, and his family are migrants from Albania. They live in a small Greek village and work hard to make their living. Young Albert is confronted with signs of racism at school and feels hurt and unhappy until a neighbour, a strange young lady and would-be writer, becomes Albert’s friend. Her fascinating company helps him face the situation. A ‘secret’ path that Albert tries to explore symbolises his efforts to find his own way of leading a normal and meaningful life. In the end, he is sure that this ‘path’ is a way of understanding, knowledge, love, and forgiveness. (9+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 4
Furuta, Taruhi (ed.)
Yoneda, Sayoko (ed.)
Yoneda, Sayoko (ed.)
Saitō, Hiroyuki (illus.)
Hisanaga, Tsuyoshi (illus.)
Watashitachi no Ajia Taiheiyō sensō 1 - 3
(Our Asian-Pacific War, vol. 1-3)
Tokyo : Doshinsha, 2004. 325, 293, 299 p.
ISBN 4-494-01816-3 / 01817-1 / 01818-X
Japan/1931-2003 – Asia – Pacific – World War II – Militarism – Peace
The Asian-Pacific War, which ended 60 years ago, is one of the bitter aspects of Japanese history that modern teenagers have to face. In this excellent publication, two children’s literature experts and one specialist for women’s issues are setting out to reappraise the war and its consequences. The firsthand reports gathered here are given both by war victims from various Asian countries as well as from Japan and by Japanese war offenders. The numerous efforts for reconciliation and peace that are undertaken even today among the younger generations prove what a lasting impression war experiences have on people’s lives. All the stories are complemented by comments that illuminate the connection between the individual experiences and historical facts. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 10
Okazaki, Hidetaka (text)
Takada, Isao (illus.)
Ten to chi o hakatta otoko : Inō Tadataka
(The man who measured heaven and earth : Inō Tadataka)
Tokyo : Kumon Shuppan, 2003. 247 p.
ISBN 4-7743-0690-8
Japan/1745-1821 – Land surveyor – Selfrealisation – Cartography – Astronomy – Biography
Inō Tadataka (1745-1818) was the head of a renowned family. At the age of 50, when he was finally free from his social and family duties, he set off to fulfil his life-long dream of surveying Japan’s territory with precise instruments. After completing a degree in astronomy, he started to actually walk all the distances he wanted to measure, about 44,000 km in total. Thus, he created maps of Japan that, until 1924, constituted the basis of all cartography there. Set during the Tokugawa era, this well-researched biography both relates the feudal system and particular zeitgeist of that time and paints a vivid picture of Inō’s journey through life determined by his humane and conscientious character, his determination and perseverance. The illustrations aptly depict the scientific knowledge of those times and Inō’s surveying method. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2005 - 14
Suzuki, Yukie
Natsu no hanatachi : Hiroshima no kensuisha Une Toshie monogatari
(The summer flowers : the story of Toshie Une from Hiroshima, who offers water to the souls of the dead)
Maisaka : Hikumano Shuppan, 2004. 169 p.
ISBN 4-89317-324-3
Japan/1945-2004 – World War II – Hiroshima – Atom bomb – Dead person – Soul – Offering – Water
In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, young Miki meets 85-year-old Toshie Une who survived the drop of the atom bomb on August 6, 1945. Thousands of victims of this disaster pleaded for water while they were dying. For the past 50 years, the old woman has attended to the souls of these victims by carrying water from the purest springs in Japan to the many memorials in and outside Hiroshima as a special offering. Since 1974, her act is part of the annual peace memorial service. Because of Toshie Une’s advanced age, a younger person has stepped into her shoes as a representative of the new generation in 2004. By mingling real events with the fictitious tale of Miki and her family, the author makes it easier for young readers to understand this powerful story. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2005 - 20
Ra, Hyŏn Sŏen (text)
Che, So Ra (illus.)
To san sŏ wŏn
(The Tosan Temple)
Seoul : Chŏpang Chakpang, 2004. [40] p.
ISBN 89-90614-11-2
Temple – Meditation – Quietness – Function
This beautiful, unpretentious book for children and adults presents the life in a Korean monastery that was built in the 16th century by the well-known scholar Li Hăng. Entering the village of monks with its low roofs through the entrance gate, the readers are led from room to room by a detailed description. The precise drawing technique makes it easy to recognise the rooms for prayers, study, meditation, and worship. In addition, the book explains how heating and ventilation used to work and demonstrates the perfect play of light and shadow resulting from the traditional Korean art of building. This book introduces interested readers to a fairly quiet, ›un-hip‹, spiritual world. Full-page colour illustrations perfectly complement the text and imitate the East-Asian style and techniques. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2005 - 28
Lomer, Kathryn
The spare room
St. Lucia, Queensland : University of Queensland Press, 2004. 165 p.
ISBN 0-7022-3477-X
Australia – Japan – Host family – Secret – Grief –
Cultural difference – Intercultural relationship Even though Akira is anything but thrilled when his strict father decides to send him to Australia for a few months to learn English, he soon comes to realise that this might be his chance to find out what he really wants in life. In the beginning, problems seem almost overwhelming but the young man embraces his new situation with admirable openness and courage. Designed as a long letter written almost a year later, when Akira has long returned to Japan, this warm, sensitive teenage novel tackles problems such as cultural difference, friendship, understanding, and shared grief, while it makes readers share the buzz of emotions the nineteen-year-old Japanese feels during his development from strange outsider to beloved friend. (14+) ☆

New Zealand (English) - 2005 - 31
Bishop, Gavin (text/illus.)
Taming the sun : four Māori myths
Glenfield, Auckland : Random House New Zealand, 2004. 48 p.
ISBN 1-86941-612-0
Maori – Legend
In his latest book, award-winning New Zealand artist Gavin Bishop, who himself is of Maori descent, offers a retelling of four Maori myths. Accompanied by powerful, fiery watercolour pictures, which slightly differ in style for each of the stories, the short tales relate how Maui tricks the sun into travelling across the sky more slowly, how Maui’s foolish older brothers do not thank Tangaroa for their catch and thus accidentally create Aotearoa, how Kahu manages to kill the terrible taniwha, and how lazy Rona is eternally punished for offending the moon. The concise text and the impressive illustrations create a splendid first introduction to the Maori culture for very young children. (3+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 45
Aldana, Patricia (ed.)
Paterson, Katherine (foreword)
Dragland, Stan (transl.)
Under the spell of the moon : art for children from the world’s great illustrators
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2004. 80 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-559-8
Illustration – Children’s poetry – Multiculturality – Anthology
The idea behind this gorgeous anthology was to offer children a colourful selection of works by the best children’s book illustrators from all over the world and thus celebrate high quality international writing and illustration for children. Ranging from Mitsumsa Anno, Quentin Blake, Marie-Louise Gay, and Dušan Kállay to Peter Sís and Lisbeth Zwerger, each of the award-winning artists featuring in this collection chose a short text, poem, children’s verse, riddle, counting-out rhyme, etc. and illustrated this text on a double page. Texts are printed in the original language of the culture they come from and in an English translation. Part of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the organisation that – founded by Jella Lepman more than 50 years ago – is striving to fulfil its founder’s greatest dream of creating peace and understanding between people of different cultures through the best of children’s books. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 47
Joe, Donna (text)
Jeffries, Jamie (illus.)
La Fave Kim (illus.)
Ch’askin : a legend of the Sechelt people
Roberts Creek, BC : Nightwood Ed., 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 0-88971-180-1
Canada / First Nations – Legend – Bird
This thin square booklet is the latest volume in the »Legend of the Sechelt People« series. Written in a simple style reminiscent of traditional oral storytelling, the picture book relates the tale of Ch’askin, the mystical thunderbird, and its relationship with the Sechelt people, a First Nations tribe from Canada. When they first settle on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, the huge powerful bird helps them build their villages and gather enough food until they are self-sufficient. The short tale is complemented by a number of soft atmospheric black-and-white drawings that slightly resemble cave paintings. They are contrasted with clear, sharp, totem-pole-like depictions of the thunderbird. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - USA (English) - 2005 - 57
Grimes, Nikki (text)
Young, Ed (illus.)
Tai chi morning : snapshots of China
Chicago : Cricket Books, 2004. XI, 51 p.
ISBN 0-8126-2707-5
China – Tourist trip – Everyday life
More than 15 years ago, well-known American author and poet Nikki Grimes travelled to China with a group of actors. She recorded her personal impressions of this vast country in several atmospheric poems, each of them preceded by a short narrative paragraph relating the situation in which the respective poem was created. Ed Young’s sketchy pen and ink illustrations stem from his own journey to his native country during roughly the same time. Printed in a warm brownish shade and set against a soft background of smooth, cream-coloured textured paper, the quiet texts, the few photographs, and the calm pictures offer a fascinating glimpse into the country’s politics, old and modern culture, and everyday life. (12+) ☆

France (French) - 2005 - 107
Desnoëttes, Caroline
Au royaume du Nil
(In the kingdom of the Nile)
Paris : Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 2004. 43 p.
ISBN 2-7118-4818-3
Egypt – Nile – Ancient times – Gods
The intention of this publisher is to provide children with an entertaining introduction to art by reproducing selected artefacts from various museums. This intention has been successfully fulfilled in this nonfiction picture book presenting 25 masterly objects from the Musée du Louvre. Young ›explorers‹ embark on a trip to the Nile where Egyptian civilisation had its origins about 5,000 years ago. While on the right-hand page, exhibition objects, paintings, sculptures, reliefs, and even tools are displayed, on the respective left-hand ›page within a page‹, readers can take a closer look at selected details and find historical background information. Thus, they do not only learn something about extant Egyptian works of art, but also about the life and beliefs in Ancient Egypt. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2005 - 110
Guillaud, Véronique
J’ai vécu les camps de concentration : la Shoah
(I’ve lived through the concentration camps : the Shoah)
Paris : Bayard éditions, 2004. 95 p.
(Les dossiers Okapi; Le Mémorial de Caen)
ISBN 2-747-01441-x
World War II – Nazi regime – Prosecution of the Jews – Concentration camp
»My true revenge is to never stop talking even though the Nazis did their best to silence me.« What these three Jewish eye-witnesses tell about their sufferings during the cruel Nazi regime is stirring and touching. They were between 11 and 15 years old when the prosecution of the Jews started to spread through Europe. Luckily enough, they survived the Warsaw Ghetto, Neuengamme, and Auschwitz respectively. Today, they still carry memories in their hearts of those friends and relatives who were killed there. The new series »J’ai vécu« (I have lived through ...) wants to make the most moving events of the 20th century come alive for teenagers not only by stating mere facts and dates but also through personal reports, photos, and documents. An extensive dossier at the end provides the required background knowledge. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - France (French) - 2005 - 113
Louis, Catherine (illus.)
Shi, Bo (calligraphies)
Mon imagier chinois
(My Chinese picture-dictionary)
Arles : Picquier, 2004. [ca. 206] p.
(Picquier Jeunesse)
ISBN 2-87730-733-6
Chinese character – Ideogram
The China-Year in France (2003/2004) has also left some marks on French children’s literature. In this picture-dictionary, even the youngest children are given an introduction to Chinese characters and their origin. On the left-hand pages, calligraphies of the old and the modern characters, as well as their meaning and pronunciation are displayed. On the corresponding right-hand pages, the ideograms are interpreted through lino-cuts on coloured paper that have a striking resemblance to the real character. Readers will be fascinated as they follow the path of the original object from its early character to the present one. The fact that Chinese characters do not represent sounds but refer to concrete concepts will certainly arouse the readers’ curiosity about Chinese writing and culture. (5+) ☆ ☼

Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 122
Carrer, Chiara (text/illus.)
Aktaș, Sevim (transl.)
Fhame, Shoukri (transcription)
Giufà
(<Proper name>)
Roma : Sinnos Ed., 2004. [48] p.
(Fiabalandia ; 34 : Intercultura)
ISBN 88-7609-000-2
Fool – Mediterranean – Intercultural relationship
Giufà is probably one of the most famous literary figures linking the Mediterranean countries where he is known by many different names, such as »the Fool«. He is an indefinable and multi-faceted character: Sometimes, he seems to be a naïve simpleton, at other times, he acts like a sly rogue capable of cunning tricks. The text for each of these six short stories is provided in the three languages that Giufà knows best: Arabic, Turkish, and Sicilian. For her illustrations, Chiara Carrer uses an unusual style. The main character acts in an environment strongly reminiscent of a shadow theatre, in which the prevailing colours are black, white, and orange. This excellent book stands out for the peculiar choice of style and for the quality of the graphics. Moreover, it introduces an unparalleled example of a multicultural character. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 126
Jankovic, Elisabetta (text)
Scassa, Pedro (illus.)
Un regalo per Goumba
(A present for Goumba)
Roma : Ed. Lapis, 2004. [28] p.
(I Lapislazzuli)
ISBN 88-87546-78-9
Christmas – Friendship – Intercultural relationship – Identity
Goumba has just arrived from Africa. He still dreams about the colours there and vividly remembers the relation with nature and things. As Christmas is approaching, Goumba’s classmate Betty explains to him that at Christmas people celebrate the birth of Jesus and that, above all, Santa Claus brings presents. When Betty encourages the boy to write a letter and ask for a present, he wishes for footprints, just like the ones he used to leave in the sand in his own country. Betty, too, asks Santa for a present for her new friend. On Christmas morning, their wishes come true, almost magically, and Goumba becomes aware of his own identity. On pages full of rich and bright colours, this picture book tells of the encounter between different cultures in a simple way. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 128
Moretti, Dario (text/illus.)
Storia di tre
(A story of three)
Modena : Panini, 2004. [40] p.
(Ragazzi)
ISBN 88-8290-676-0
Colour – Diversity – Search for identity – Animals
Dario Moretti has created a wonderful visual story in which the three main characters are somehow ›wrong‹: The pink penguin, the purple crocodile, and the bright-green cat were born in countries as far away as the South Pole, Central Africa, and a Northern city, respectively. They all decide to set off and explore the world and, eventually, end up in the same city where they start a company together before they continue on their separate journeys. Each animal treasures the memory of both its place of origin and its own identity, and has also learned to recognise and accept the identity of its friends. This picture book stimulates children’s curiosity and imagination. The story is ideal for reading aloud and can also be adapted for the stage. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 129
Papini, Arianna (text/illus.)
Odore di bombe, profumo di pioggia
(The stench of bombs, the scent of rain)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2004. [24] p.
ISBN 88-8222-122-9
Child – War – Hope – Water
This picture book features ten very short stories about children of different ethnic groups and cultures. Readers travel from the Middle East, where children suffer under the bombings, to freezing caves in Kurdistan, from the camps of the itinerants on the rubbish-mountains of big cities to the parched Sicilian countryside, from the United States to the large Indian rivers. The stories are dramatic and poignant, echoing with war and injustice, describing expectations and fears, loneliness and longings, all with the same leitmotif: water as a vital and necessary element – wasted water, water wrenched from arid regions, stolen, denied, or dreamt of. The passionate and concise texts are accompanied by evocative, melancholy, and highly refined double-page pictures on a black background. (8+) ☆
(Special International Prize »City of Schwanenstadt« ; 2004)

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2005 - 130
Piumini, Roberto (text)
Bussolati, Emanuela (illus.)
Diario di La
(La’s diary)
San Dorligo della Valle (Trieste) : Ed. EL, 2004. 122 p.
(Lettere e diari ; 2)
ISBN 88-477-1373-0
Diary – Everyday life – Friendship – Intercultural relationship
This passionate fictitious diary is written by a vivacious and sensitive 9-year-old girl. La, a nickname for Laura, loves writing into her diary which she calls »Di« for short. She tells Di a lot of things she would not dare tell a friend and some she might otherwise not even admit to herself. The story is set in a context of immigration in an urban environment. In a lively manner, Laura chats about her everyday life and in particular about her friendship with Am, i.e. Ahmed, and his granddad. The old man feels utterly lonely and isolates himself through his stubborn silence. The two children want to help him get back his string instrument and try to revive his taste for storytelling. This enjoyable story quite naturally promotes the understanding between people from different cultures. (9+) ☆

Special Mention - Spain (Spanish) - 2005 - 137
Arenal, Sandra (interviews/text)
Chiesa, Mariana (illus.)
No hay tiempo para jugar : relatos de niños trabajadores
(There is no time for playing : working children talk about their lives)
Valencia : Media Vaca, 2004. 115 p.
(Últimas lecturas ; 4)
ISBN 84-932004-6-8
Child labour – Children’s rights
All over the world, the work capacity of innumerable children is being exploited. For many years, Sandra Arenal from Mexico (1936-2000) desperately fought for the rights of working children. One of the numerous results of her commitment is this collection of texts based on interviews with underage workers. These children between the age of 6 and 16, who live in Monterrey in Northern Mexico, talk about their work, their lives, their dreams, and their disappointments in an open, laconic way – some are full of illusions while others have completely lost theirs. Twelve years after its first publication in Mexico, these authentic reports are just as important and topical as they were then. The black-and-white-and-red wood cuts that the Argentinean artist Mariana Chiesa has created especially for this new edition are equally impressive. Full of strength and expressiveness, they are the perfect addition to these powerful texts. (13+) ☆

Brazil (Portuguese) - 2005 - 155
Lima, Douglas Silva (text)
Lago, Ângela (illus.)
Rap rua
(Street rap)
Belo Horizonte : RHJ Ed., 2004. 23 p.
ISBN 85-7153-179-x
Street kid – Poverty – Human dignity
Ângela Lago’s impressive picture book »Cena de rua« (Street scene), first published in 1994, attracted worldwide attention. The sequence of pictures without words follows a child who is trapped in the vicious circle of poverty and scrapes a living by working as a street vendor. Lately, a writing competition that focused on this book was held for Brazilian teenagers. The 16- year-old author – who made it to the competition final – expresses a child’s thoughts that revolve around dreams for the future and the issue of human dignity. For the design, Ângela Lago used the colours and a few details from her original drawings. The rhythmic verses read like a rap recitative and thus perfectly match the protagonist’s harsh reality. (9+) ☆

Brazil (Portuguese) - 2005 - 158
Munduruku, Daniel (text)
Borges, Rogério (illus.)
Você lembra, pai?
(Do you remember, Daddy?)
São Paulo : Global, 2003. [24] p.
(Coleção temática indígena)
ISBN 85-260-7777-5
Brazil – Munduruku People – Childhood memories
In this autobiographical book for child (and adult) readers, the author – who is a member of the Munduruku people living in Northern Brazil – recalls memories from his childhood and youth. The topics range from initiation rites and social relationships to encounters with the ›white‹ culture. The poetic and literary text, written in a melodious language and free from any bitterness or accusations, is also a declaration of love to the author’s father, a Munduruku mage. Beautiful, four-colour mixed-media illustrations show the life and customs of the Munduruku people. (7+) ☆
(O Melhor Livro para a Criança – Fundação Nacional do Livro Infantil e Juvenil; 2004)

Brazil (Portuguese) - 2005 - 159
Prandi, Reginaldo (text)
Rafael, Pedro (illus.)
Xangô, o Trovão : outras histórias dos deuses africanos que vieram para o Brasil com os escravos
(Xangô, the thunder : other stories about African gods who came to Brazil with the slaves)
São Paulo : Companhia das Letrinhas, 2003. 63 p.
ISBN 85-7406-158-1
Afro-Brazilian – Myth – Folk tale – Gods
In the last years, numerous Brazilian children’s books have focused on the roots of this country, in which the traditions of the European and African immigrants join those of the indigenous people to form a multi-faceted culture. This title featuring nine tales brought to the Portuguese colony of Brazil by slaves abducted from Africa is an excellent example of this tendency. The retellings of these traditional oral tales about various gods called »orixás« are written in a clear, beautiful language. Accompanied by colourful mixed-media illustrations that are slightly reminiscent of African art, the stories offer a fascinating introduction to the universe of a diverse and rich culture. (9+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2005 - 168
Hébert, Marie-Francine (text)
Nadeau, Janice (illus.)
Nul poisson où aller
(No fish to go to)
Saint-Laurent (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2003. [48] p.
(Les grands albums)
ISBN 2-89540-117-9
War – Girl – Soldier – Friendship – Fish
What happens when soldiers invade your home? What do you take with you when you have to flee? Do you leave the fish in the bowl behind even though you promised the little creature the most wonderful life? In a sensitive and poetic way, this picture book tells about war, threat, and violence through the story of little Zolfe and her friendship with Maiy, a friendship that cannot be destroyed, not even by the war. Without explicitly showing scenes of violence, the pencil and watercolour illustrations demonstrate the horrors of war metaphorically, e.g. through the raven-like soldiers. The »picture book within the picture book«, called »The Pot of Dreams«, blurs the borderline between reality and imagination, yet raises some hope for a comforting future. (8+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 194
Ortman, Lisa Berg (text)
Kapparath, Madhu (photogr.)
Pooja från New Delhi i Indien
(Pooja from New Delhi in India)
Stockholm : LL-Förl., 2004. 96 p.
(Barn i världen)
ISBN 91-89451-98-8
India – Child – Everyday life
Books describing the life of children in other countries are usually published as a series to present as many different cultures as possible. After 1945, a lot of committed publishing houses and authors had a strong desire to promote a better understanding between people with their books – and they still do so today. A lot of these books are of astonishingly high quality. So far, the present series by the publishing house LL, which particularly caters for children and adults with reading difficulties, encompasses four titles. In a comfortable small landscape format, these books offer an insight into other people’s daily life through a careful selection of high-quality photographs. A few lines of text, simple yet precise, give just the right amount of information. (10+) ☆ ☼

Lithuania (Lithuanian) - 2005 - 205
V l, Vil (text)
Janonyt , Aida (illus.)
Parašyk man iš Afrikos
(Write to me from Africa)
Vilnius : Gimtasis Žodis, 2003. 109 p.
ISBN 9955-512-28-8
France – Return home – Lithuania – Boy – Everyday life – Friendship
In her first book, Vil V l describes the life of 9-year-old Jonas after his return to Lithuania. The boy, who – as the son of a diplomat – spent most of his childhood in Paris, has to find his place in the new environment and, at the same time, search for his own identity. The book focuses on Jonas’s sometimes difficult relationship with his mother, his longing for his Angolan nanny, and the friendship with his classmate Aušrin . While a lot of books from Eastern Europe still avoid to show what life is like after the end of socialism, Vil V l paints a vivid picture of everyday life in modern Lithuania. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2005 - 225
Noort, Selma (text)
Klaassen, Sandra (illus.)
Nou moet jij!
(And now it’s your turn!)
Dordrecht : De Inktvis, 2004. 74 p.
(Bart en Esra)
ISBN 90-75689-35-7
Toddler – Everyday life – Nursery school – Multicultural society
Bart and the Turkish girl Esra are both three years old and live next to each other. They meet with all kinds of small adventures alone and together with their parents. One day, Esra is jealous when Bart is asked to water the flowers at the nursery school. Another day, she goes up and down the elevator in a shop all by herself. This collection consists of 24 well-written stories to read aloud about very recognisable situations of adventurous toddlers. The colourful illustrations in watercolour with outlines in ink add an extra dimension to the stories. The cultural differences between the Dutch and the Turkish family are never discussed explicitly but are a natural ›ingredient‹ in the stories. (3+) ☆

South Africa (Afrikaans/English/IsiNdebele/IsiXhosa/IsiZulu/ Sepedi/Sesotho/Setswana/SiSwati/Tshivenda/Xitsonga) - 2005 - 231
Various (illus.)
The rights of a child : in Afrikaans, English, IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga
Cape Town : Kwela Books [et al.], 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 0-7957-0162-4
Children’s rights
Forty-five years ago, the United Nations proclaimed the universal Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Nevertheless, many people still don’t know exactly what these rights are. This unique picture book presents the ten principles of the declaration in the eleven official languages of South Africa from Afrikaans to Xitsonga. On the lefthand side of every double page, a full-page illustration depicts one particular principle, the text of which is then given in all the eleven languages in coloured boxes on the right-hand side. This outstanding book can be used in schools all over the world to discuss the basic needs of children. In addition, it is also a kaleidoscope of some of the best illustrators of (South) Africa. (7+) ☆

Egypt (Arabic) - 2005 - 244
Tāhir, Walīd (illus.)
Al- Aġbiyā’
(The idiots)
Al-Qāhira : Dar-aš-Šurūq, 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 977-09-0961-0
Envy – Greed – Argument – War
Two people, a fisherman and a farmer, live peacefully side by side. Yet suddenly, each of them craves for his neighbour’s possessions even though they both get by well enough with what they have. They start stealing, fight each other fiercely, and this eventually leads to war, destruction, and death. In the end, one thing is clear: The world could be much more peaceful if it wasn’t for the humans. The pictures, created by the well-known Egyptian illustrator Walīd Tāhir, clearly stand out among other children’s books from his country. With its energetic, expressive, wild pictures in strong suggestive colours, this parable without words shows in a simple yet powerful way how much suffering people can cause out of envy and greed. (5+) ☆

Lebanon (Arabic) - 2005 - 245
Rizqallāh’, ‘Adlī (text/illus.)
Hikāyat šagartān
(The tale of the two trees)
Bairūt : Asāla, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 9953-445-83-4
Religion – Islam – Christianity – Peace – Tolerance
Lebanon is a country where different ethnic groups, religions, and cultures coexist. The scars of the civil war that the country had to endure for 16 years before it finally ended in 1991 are slowly healing. This picture book is a plea for Christian and Muslim people to live together in peace. A mosque and a church are standing side by side, yet they are completely separate. In front of each building, a tree is growing. Thanks to the sun’s powerful rays, the two treetops grow towards each other until their boughs intertwine. Small children will easily understand the symbolism of this simple tale. (5+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2006 - 8
Ogiwara, Noriko
Fūjin hishō
(The tale of the flute player)
Tokyo : Tokuma Shoten, 2005. 590 p.
ISBN 4-19-862016-4
Japan/1159 Samurai – Dancer – Crow – Love – Power struggle
This delicately composed love story is set against the backdrop of the 1159 power struggle between the Heishi and the Genji warrior tribes, which was lost by the Genji. As he flees, 16-year-old Sōjūrō meets the dancer Itose who, like him, possesses magical powers. People and forest animals are deeply stirred by his flute playing, while Itose’s dancing calms the warriors’ souls. When the former emperor Go-Shirakawa forces the dancer to perform to the music of Sōjūrō’s flute to prolong the emperor’s life, she suddenly vanishes into another world in the middle of the dance. To find her again, Sōjūrō embarks on a dangerous journey assisted by the king of crows. With elements from a famous war epic and from old legends and myths, the author creates a historical fantasy novel embellished with quotations from an ancient anthology of songs. The picturesque scenes and the language, which is partly written in the characteristic style of the old times, will captivate readers of this demanding book. (14+) ☆

Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2006 - 18
Pak, Hyŏn-jŏng (text/illus.)
Saesaekssi
(The bride)
Seoul : Ch’obang Ch’aekpang, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 89-90614-12-0
Korea Bride – Tradition – Traditional dress
In Korea, a wedding is considered the most important event in life, and the bride is therefore donned in magnificent, colourful robes. In this picture book, the details of a particularly valuable traditional bridal dress are presented in a minimalist way. The patterns and embroidery full of symbolic meanings, the headwear with jades, corals, pearls, silver, enamel, etc., and other accessories point towards a long tradition in creating craftwork. The lines and shapes of the various items of clothing and the dangling cords and ribbons are beautiful to look at. This attractive book is a highquality attempt to introduce the younger generations to ancient culture with the help of highly aesthetic pictures. (4+) ☆

Botswana (English) - 2006 - 23
Seomeng, Judah (text)
Dunn, Annabel (illus.)
Dimo and the little bush doctor
Gaborone : Pyramid Publ., 2004. [24] p.
(Kalahari adventure series)
ISBN 99912-555-1-6
Giant Magic – Humans – Friendship – Trick – Threat
This picture book tells the story of a little boy who travels to some cattle post in the Kalahari Desert to learn about cattle. During his journey together with a young Dimo, one of the giant people with magical abilities who lived in Botswana in ancient times, clever little Iyapane manages to fend off several attacks by the cannibalistic giant and eventually outwits him and returns home safely. This traditional folk tale, based on an oral tale narrated by the author’s grandfather, Samuel Seomeng of Tlhabala, and accompanied by full page digital pictures, is part of the Kalahari Adventure Series. The picture books published in this series strive to present aspects of life and culture in Botswana to children and adults. (4+) ☆

Australia (English) - 2006 - 25
Abdel-Fattah, Randa
Does my head look big in this?
Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia, 2005. 340 p.
ISBN 0-330-42185-9
Teenage girl Muslim – Search for identity – Multicultural society – Peer pressure – Self-confidence – Religion
16-year-old Amal faces a huge problem. Not only does she have to deal with all the typical teenager issues like friendship, first love, bullying, or standing out versus fitting in, but she has made up her mind to start wearing the hijab, the Muslim veil, full-time. Naturally, her decision is met with all kinds of prejudice and opposition at her high-brow private school, amongst her friends and enemies, and even her parents are not exactly doing a »cheerleader routine around the family room«. In her moving and witty first novel, interspersed with a lot of autobiographical experiences, the author sketches the convincing picture of a modern Australian-Palestinian-Muslim girl torn between two different cultures and confronts some of the typical clichés about Islam. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2006 - 32
Porter, Annaliese (text)
Bancroft, Bronwyn (illus.)
The outback
Broome, Western Australia : Magabala Books, 2005. [28] p.
ISBN 1-875641-86-6
Australia Outback – Animals – Plants
Annaliese Porter’s quiet poem reads like an ode to the Australian outback. The first published picture book by this talented eleven-year-old girl offers snapshots of the life of animals and (Aboriginal) people who have shared this land for centuries. The stunning illustrations by Bronwyn Bancroft, one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal artists, perfectly capture the vastness of the red desert, its changing atmosphere through various seasons and times of the day, and its colourful inhabitants. In bright double-page pictures, which combine a traditional Aboriginal style of painting with modern watercolour illustration, she introduces readers to the exciting world of central Australia. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2006 - 52
Watts, Irene N. (text)
Shoemaker, Kathryn E. (illus.)
A telling time
Vancouver [et al.] : Tradewind Books, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 1-896580-39-4 / -72-6
Grandmother Granddaughter – Storytelling – Vienna/1939 – Persecution of the Jews – Courage – Book of Esther
This beautifully illustrated picture book offers a touching retelling of the Biblical tale from the Book of Esther. It is set within a double frame story, visually distinguished by the different typefaces and the colours of the illustrations. The book opens with a little Canadian girl listening to her grandmother, who tells her how, one afternoon in 1939, she hurried through Nazi-occupied Vienna to get to the rabbi’s house. She wanted to listen to the old man narrate the Purim story about the secret plot by the Persian king’s evil prime minister Haman against Mordecai and all Jewish people. With immense courage and cleverness, Queen Esther, herself a Jew, manages to uncover the intrigue and protect her people. The rabbi’s storytelling is interrupted by some Nazi officials who plan to imprison him, yet, in the end, the wise man is miraculously saved. The fairy-tale-like pictures, set against a richly patterned background resembling an ancient scroll, perfectly translate the Biblical story’s message of hope. (6+) ☆

USA (English) - 2006 - 54
Carlson, Lori Marie (ed.)
Hijuelos, Oscar (introd.)
Red hot salsa : bilingual poems on being young and Latino in the United States
New York : Henry Holt, 2005. XIX, 140 p.
ISBN 0-8050-7616-6
(English and Spanish text) Hispanic American Poetry – Anthology
A good ten years after her first bilingual collection of poetry, the highly praised »Cool Salsa«, was published, Lori Marie Carlson has once more gathered a colourful array of works by Hispanic American poets. Most of the poems are provided in both English and Spanish, while a few are written in ›Spanglish‹. The five chapters of this inspiring anthology entitled »Language, Identity«, »Neighbourhoods«, »Amor«, »Family moments, Memories«, and »Victory«, offer humorous, thoughtful, moving, and witty glimpses into the lives of young people speaking two languages at the same time. The appendix does not only present English translations for a number of Spanish expressions included in the poems, but also gives short biographical information about the 28 authors. (12+) ☆

USA (English) - 2006 - 57
Lester, Julius (text)
Barbour, Karen (illus.)
Let’s talk about race
[New York, NY] : HarperCollins Publishers, 2005. [32] p.
ISBN 0-06-028596-6 / -028598-2
Individualism Race – Racism – Tolerance
In this stunning picture book, highly acclaimed author Julius Lester directly addresses his audience asking many questions about what defines a person. In a straightforward, easy-to-understand text, he makes young readers understand that everybody in the world is unique and special, and that each person’s life story is made up of innumerable details of which race is just one and certainly not the most important one. His touching plea for tolerance for others is converted into bold, bouncy pictures. Rendered in bright, unusual colours – a red-and-yellow sea, human skeletons in dark purple, orange, and blue – with thick black outlines, the artwork and the text will immediately capture the readers’ attention. (4+) ☆

USA (English) - 2006 - 58
Olswanger, Anna (text)
Goodman Koz, Paula (illus.)
Shlemiel crooks
Montgomery : Junebug Books, 2005. [36] p.
ISBN 1-588-38165-X
USA/1919 St. Louis – Jew – Wine shop – Burglary
In this picture book, Anna Olswanger tells a funny folktale-like story based on the real event of an almost-robbery at the wine shop of her great-grandfather Elias Olschwanger in St. Louis in 1919. Written in a typically oral storytelling voice interspersed with Yiddish terms and phrases, the tale relates how two dim-witted crooks let themselves be persuaded by the ghost of the Pharaoh who drove the Israelites out of Egypt to steal the kosher wine that Reb Elias had especially ordered for Passover. However, when a talking horse alerts the neighbours and they start making a racket, the frightened fools quickly take to their heels. The amusing story is complemented by brightly-coloured, lively wood-cut illustrations. (6+) ☆
(Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Magazine Merit Award for Fiction; 1998 [for an earlier version of the story])

USA (English) - 2006 - 59
Poole, Josephine (text)
Barrett, Angela (illus.)
Anne Frank : a picture-book biography
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. [34] p.
(A Borzoi book)
ISBN 0-375-83242-4 / -93242-9
(orig. publ. by Hutchinson, London 2005)
Frank, Anne Amsterdam – World War II – Persecution of the Jews
After two other highly praised picture book collaborations (»Snow White« and »Joan of Arc«), Josephine Poole and Angela Barrett have taken on a much more serious topic in this book: The quiet, matter-of-fact narrative follows the life of Anne and her family from her birth until they are discovered in their secret hiding place in Germano-ccupied Amsterdam and deported. The realistic paintings in darkish, subdued shades of colour mainly focus on Anne but also allow (unusual) snapshots of the daily life of persecuted Jews during the Second World War. This touching book offers an intriguing first introduction to the life of Anne Frank familiar to readers world-wide thanks to her famous diary. (8+) ☆ ☼

Germany (German) - 2006 - 72
Dammann, Rüdiger (ed.)
Plenzdorf, Ulrich (ed.)
Ensikat, Klaus (illus.)
Ein Land, genannt die DDR
(A country called the GDR)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer, 2005. 204 p.
ISBN 3-10-009645-2
German Democratic Republic/History
Looking back on 15 years of living in a re-unified Germany, eight authors from the Federal Republic of Germany and the former German Democratic Republic comment on the political and cultural past and present of their home country. They voice both criticism and wishes for the future addressing East Germans and West Germans alike. They illustrate their reflections with revealing biographical anecdotes or telling historical events. This beautifully designed and (with a lot of irony) perfectly illustrated book points out the initial idealism and euphoria after the so-called »Wende« (turning point) in 1989, the following disillusionment, and the communication problems between people from different social systems. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2006 - 91
Sternburg, Wilhelm von (text)
Reimers, Silke (illus.)
Die Geschichte der Deutschen
(The history of the Germans)
Frankfurt am Main [et al.] : Campus, 2005. 304 p.
ISBN 3-593-37100-6
Germany/History Historic person – Biography
The particular appeal of this unusual history book lies in its combination of historic events and developments in Central Europe and Germany on the one hand and biographies of important people from this era on the other. The author strives to explain the reasons behind the endless wars by introducing the people responsible for them as children of their time and educational environment, with all their personal weaknesses and faults. Cultural and social developments are seen as important, sometimes even formative, for the course of political history. This non-fiction book for teenagers is both an informative and exciting read. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Switzerland (German) - 2006 - 100
Vinke, Hermann
Fritz Hartnagel : der Freund von Sophie Scholl
(Fritz Hartnagel : Sophie Scholl’s friend)
Zürich [et al.] : Arche, 2005. 266 p.
ISBN 3-7160-2341-8
National Socialism Resistance
In 1937, 16-year-old student Sophie Scholl met 20-year-old soldier Fritz Hartnagel. They developed a close but complicated friendship, which was tragically cut short when Sophie Scholl was sentenced to death by the Nazis in 1943. Following his own determination and in memory of Sophie Scholl, Hartnagel continued to spread the ideas of »Die Weiße Rose« (The White Rose Society) after the end of the war. From interviews with the family and hitherto unknown documents, the author has created a detailed portrayal of this resistance movement against Hitler, which invites readers to explore a new dimension of German history. (14+) ☆

Belgium (French) - 2006 - 103
Pouget, Anne
Les brumes de Montfaucon
(The fogs of Montfaucon)
[Bruxelles] : Casterman, 2005. 188 p.
(Romans Casterman Feeling)
ISBN 2-203-13672-3
Paris/Middle Ages Anti-Semitism
After his father has been hanged although he was innocent, Hanin, a young Jew, flees his home town and travels to his uncle in Paris, where he also suffers bullying and discrimination because of his religion. Eventually, Hanin’s fight for freedom and for his first love almost make him end up on the gallows, too. In this gripping story, the thoroughly researched historical teenage novel paints a convincing and vivid picture of society during the Middle Ages. Footnotes and an appendix with explanations about historical events and persons, as well as about medieval Christian anti- Semitism, make it easier for readers to understand this excursion into history. (13+) ☆

France (French) - 2006 - 106
Bigot, Robert (text)
Grenier, Christian (text)
Le mal en patience
(Being patient)
Paris : Syros Jeunesse, 2005. 128 p.
(Collection les uns les autres)
(Published in cooperation with »Pharmacists Without Frontiers«)
ISBN 2-7485-0334-1
Pharmacists Without Frontiers Bosnian War
Patrick feels unhappy in his job as a pharmacist, so he joins the humanitarian organisation »Pharmacists Without Frontiers« and goes to Bosnia during the Bosnian war. He keeps in contact with his home country by writing to his childhood friend Romain. In their letters, the two men describe their current work but also try to come to terms with their past. In addition, the story also contains other mail correspondence and diary entries. This narrative form lends a great amount of authenticity to the fictitious letters, which touches the readers especially because it does not deal with cruel war situations but focuses on the daily life in times of war with all its worries and problems. (13+) ☆

France (French) - 2006 - 110
Cauwet, Nouchka (text)
Reznikov, Patricia (illus.)
Ecrire le monde : la naissance des alphabets
(Writing the world : the birth of the alphabets)
Paris : Belem Éd., 2005. 64 p.
ISBN 2-915577-48-X
Alphabet Creation – Development – Painting
This large-format ABC-book offers a playful and poetic, as well as artistic and highly aesthetic description of how the alphabets were originally created and then developed further. Each letter is presented on a double-page spread. Every simple explanation of the linguistic and historical development is accompanied by a suitable poem and by a painting created by a well-known artist. Right at the beginning of the book, a story pointing out the necessity of an alphabet confirms the fact that a unified form of writing simplifies human communication. At the end, the author provides additional information about the existence of alphabets other than the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic, and Chinese one. (8+) ☆

France (French) - 2006 - 121
Pilon, Pascal (text)
Thomas, Élisabeth (text)
Duffet, Sophie (illus.)
Meihua, Shuilin et Dui vivent en Chine
(Meihua, Shuilin, and Dui live in China)
Paris : De La Martinière Jeunesse, 2005. 47 p.
(Enfants d’ailleurs)
ISBN 2-7324-3356-X
China Beijing – City – Countryside – Tibet
Each book of the new non-fiction series »Enfants d’ailleurs« (Children from abroad) introduces three children coming from different parts of a particular country. One of the first books features China. After providing the readers with a map, some basic data, and a short historical overview, the authors describe the everyday lives of a girl and two boys. The girl lives in a suburb of Beijing, one of the boys comes from central China, while the other one’s home is in Chinese-occupied Tibet. Taking these three children as examples, the book explains in a very personal and easily understandable manner important cultural and historical events, traditions, and religions such as the one-child-policy, the migration to the cities, or the great number of ethnic minorities. (10+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 126
Colombo, Tullia [et al.] (text/illus.)
Un mondo per giocare
(A world for playing)
Varese : La Coccinella, 2005. [18] p.
ISBN 88-7548-125-3
Intercultural relationship Personal identity – Diversity – Cultural diversity
This activity book, the profits of which will be assigned to the humanitarian organisation CESVI, is made of cardboard and invites readers on a journey rich in images and rhymes. Its purpose is for children of different cultures to get to know each other and play together and to overcome the fear of ›the other‹. A big map opens up in various segments and children’s faces from around the world appear at many windows. Rhymed verses invite them to look for a rainbow, which displays the most beautiful colour of all because it is composed of all the colours combined. Everyone learns to see each other in different ways. This is the first step to accept and respect diversity and the difference of others. (4+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 127
Dell’Oro, Erminia
Dall’altra parte del mare
(From the other side of the sea)
Casale Monferrato : Piemme Junior, 2005. 119 p.
(Il battello a vapore)
ISBN 88-384-3698-3
Eritrea Clandestine immigrant – War refugee
Elsa, a young mother from Eritrea, decides to flee her country, which is always at war with its neighbour Ethiopia. Of all her family, she has only a baby girl left named Elen. Together, they face a very difficult journey through the desert until they arrive at the coast from where they sail to Italy with other clandestine refugees. The hard and very sad journey ends in a shipwreck but, luckily, both protagonists survive and are able to start a new life. The book describes the harsh reality of the journey and includes little Elen’s story and her memories about her family. Therefore, the book is particularly enthralling and makes us participate emotionally in the tragedy that some humans suffer without understanding why. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Italy (Italian) - 2006 - 129
Gandolfi, Silvana (text)
Orecchia, Giulia (illus.)
Qui vicino mio Ariel
(My Ariel, next to me)
Milano : Salani, 2005. 254 p.
(Gl’istrici; 213)
ISBN 88-8451-552-1
Magic Cultural diversity – Intercultural relationship – Journey
Leonora is an old writer who seems to have lost her strength and creativity with the passing of time. She fervently wishes she had a guardian angel by her side to help her write a new novel. Therefore, she decides to create one herself from clay and make him come alive through a magical ceremony. One night, the clay angel has suddenly turned into a real one. Even if he looks more like a shabby little boy, Leonora is absolutely certain that he is a heavenly creature. In order to gather information for her new novel, she decides to travel to Brazil, where the adventure becomes more and more tumultuous until the truth is discovered: Her ›Angel‹ is not a supernatural creature after all but a very poor Brazilian boy. He left his home country, arrived in Rome, and became a very clever thief, who managed to break into Leonora’s apartment. This gripping story is told from two different points of view, Leonora’s and Ariel’s, and creates a magic atmosphere in which reality and fantasy are interwoven. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2006 - 154
Bombara, Paula
El mar y la serpiente
(The sea and the serpent)
Buenos Aires [et al.] : Ed. Norma, 2005. 105 p.
(Zona libre)
ISBN 987-545-211-4
Argentina/1975-1985 Dictatorship – Political persecution – Missing person
The country’s military dictatorship is a topic also dealt with in Argentinean children’s literature. In her impressive novel, Paula Bombara describes the traumatic experiences of the daughter of one of the thousands of »desaparecidos« (missing people). While the first part starts off in the middle of the 1970s, the other two parts are set eight and ten years later. It is moving to see how the adults strive to protect the little girl from the brutal reality, but thereby involuntarily prevent her from understanding the sudden and inexplicable loss of her father and from coping with it. Only years later, when her mother hesitatingly breaks the silence, is the daughter able to come to terms with it. The story focuses exclusively on the first-person- narrator’s perspective and experiences. The concise language of the author, who observes and states facts without commenting or explaining anything, is very powerful. Thus, the events described gain immediacy and strength. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Argentina (Spanish) - 2006 - 155
Masetto, Antonio dal
Tres genias en la magnolia
(Three geniuses in the magnolia)
Buenos Aires : Ed. Sudamericana, 2005. 247 p.
(Sudamericana joven : Novela)
ISBN 950-07-2651-3
Coming-of-age Disillusionment
The protagonists of this novel are three elevenyear- old girls, who live in an ordinary quarter of Buenos Aires. If they want to be undisturbed, the three friends retreat to a magnolia tree. This mysterious place, where reality and imagination blend, books whose content is found to contribute to an international understanding among cultures and peoples books with texts but nonetheless complex and high-interest topics also serves as the base from which they explore their surroundings. Step by step, they investigate the world and feel hurt and disillusioned when their experiences open their eyes to the rules and realities of the adult world, which is ruled by corruption, greed, and falseness, while values such as truth and justice seem to be of minor importance. This excellent novel for teenagers and adults bluntly and convincingly portrays modern society and stands out for its skilful use of language. (12+) ☆ ☼

Venezuela (Spanish) - 2006 - 168
Franco, Mercedes (text)
Salvador, Carmen (illus.)
Criaturas fantásticas de América
(Imaginary creatures from America)
Maracay : Playco Ed., 2004. 33 p.
ISBN 980-6437-57-8
America Mythical creatures
Who knows the big-footed Sasquatch, the gnome Zipito, or the lizard-like Güije? For thousands of years, with their boundless imagination and pleasure in telling stories, people have conjured up a huge variety of mythical creatures, often used to explain magical and mysterious phenomena. Quite naturally, both Americas abound with creatures from indigenous traditions as well as those shaped by European and African influences. This volume introduces sixteen mythical creatures from as many American countries, from Canada down to Chile. Each double page presents a descriptive text and a colour illustration, which shows each being in its typical context. This attractive and informative book enables readers to meet a flock of fascinating creatures. (7+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2006 - 169
Bouchard, Camille
Les crocodiles de Bangkok
(The crocodiles of Bangkok)
[Montréal] : Hurtubise HMH, 2005. 216 p.
(Collection Atout ; 100/101 : Récit)
ISBN 2-89428-767-4
Thailand Sponsorship – First love – Sexual slavery – Sex tourism
When 16-year-old Cédric and his mother travel to Thailand to spend a few days with Sukany, the 15- year-old girl they support, he does not only experience traditions, smells, and pleasures hitherto unknown to him, he also soon plunges into an exciting adventure. On his journey of initiation in a foreign country, the young man grows up, starts to see beyond his horizon, and even falls in love for the first time. Apart from describing the encounter between two young people from different cultures, this teenage novel also paints a critical picture of the daily life in Thailand, which includes sexual slavery, prostitution, and sex tourism. (13+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 176
Hartmann, Nils (adapt.)
Karrebæk, Dorte (illus.)
Hvordan fuglene blev venner og andre eventyr om dyr
(How the birds became friends and other animal tales)
[København] : Gyldendal, 2004. 76 p.
ISBN 87-02-03340-2
Burmese Animal tale – Anthology
It’s very rare that folk tales from Myanmar (formerly: Burma) find their way into other cultures or languages, but this small book of only ten stories came into existence directly in that country. Nils Hartman discovered the storyteller, Irene Than Pe, in a bookshop in the Burmese capital Yangon (Rangoon), where he was looking for editions of folk tales. Irene, who also spoke English, offered to tell him her stories that had never been published before. He wrote them down, and Dorte Karrebaek created witty illustrations for them. In the appendix, readers learn about the fate of this woman: To escape the Japanese soldiers during the Second World War, she fled to India with her family. Hartmann intentionally follows in the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling, who also collected Asian folk tales. (8+) ☆

Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 177
Schlosser, Dan (text)
Ranheimsæter, Jon (illus.)
Historien om Lille Blege Johnny
(The story of Little Pale Johnny)
København : Forum, 2005. 54 p.
ISBN 87-638-0050-0
Child Ambition – Mobbing
A neglected, pale little boy devoid of any self-confidence asks his parents to give him a hip leather outfit to be able to show off on the street. The rough and violent street boys, however, quickly rob him of his fashionable new clothes. Yet, when they start arguing about who is the coolest guy now, Johnny manages to regain hold of his things one by one. The boys beat each other up until they dissolve into an indistinguishable mess of »hamburger-dressing«, which the greedy father immediately picks up and uses for a huge feast of meatballs, fries, and blinis. Despite all its grotesque elements e.g. the greedy father in front of the TV is simply hilarious – this witty parody of the well-known »Story of little black Sambo« by Helen Bannerman contains obvious elements of social criticism. (10+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Denmark (Danish) - 2006 - 179
Strandbygaard, Birgit
Drengen der samlede på ord
(The boy who collected words)
København : Høst & Søn, 2005. 123 p.
ISBN 87-638-0194-9
Denmark/1945-1950 Child – School – Outsider – Language
After the end of the Second World War, in a small, narrow-minded Danish town: Albert lives in depressing circumstances with an authoritarian father and a weak mother. His classmates enjoy teasing him because he is different. Yet, he is not the only child who has problems: Children are not supposed to ask questions, nor are they given many answers if they do. And the old teacher is prone to hit her pupils. The children try to overcome the depressing post-war mood that does not allow them to believe in a better future. Albert discovers the power of language and starts collecting words. With his unusual and direct questions, he embarrasses people and exposes their small-mindedness. This novel makes children realise that there is no clear divide between good and bad in a war. Old, traditional patterns of adult behaviour towards children are presented in a dishearteningly realistic way. But the author also offers a convincing description of the children’s happiness when some adults, a new teacher in particular, actually sympathise with them. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Faroe Islands (Faroese) - 2006 - 180
Bárður Oskarsson (text/illus.)
Ein hundur, ein ketta og ein mús
(A dog, a cat, and a mouse)
[Tórshavn] : Bókadeild Føroya Lærarafelags, 2005. [30] p.
ISBN 99918-1-420-5
Animals Peace – Dispute – Reconciliation
Since dog, cat, and mouse declared a truce, life has become fairly uneventful: The mouse, undisturbed by the cat, is so full that he is disgusted when he finds a piece of cheese. The cat is given a ball of wool to play with, but chasing the mouse was a lot more exciting. The dog tries hard to restrain himself from barking at the cat the water hydrant is no substitute for a panicking cat. Thus, all three of them are sitting around bored stiff. Finally, the dog cannot bear it any longer and barks his head off at the cat who immediately accuses the mouse of setting the dog on him. The mouse takes revenge by hitting the dog’s tail with a hammer. It seems that a climate of hate is on the rise. However, peace is restored through a clarifying discussion – something that should also be possible among humans. The rough ink outlines are superimposed on fine pencil sketches and coloured in almost monochromatically. The illustrator’s unerring caricature of the animals’ moods turns this already witty story into a hilarious picture book experience. (6+) ☆

Norway (Norwegian) - 2006 - 188
Hole, Stian
Den gamle mannen og hvalen
(The old man and the whale)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2005. [44] p.
ISBN 82-02-24052-2
Siblings Argument – Old age – Isolation – Reconciliation – Whale
An old man lives at the edge of a fjord. Many years ago, he fell out with his brother who lives on the other side. They haven’t seen each other since the day that his brother pinched his girlfriend. Yet, when the old man finds a stranded whale and realises it will be impossible for him to shift it back into the water on his own, he forces himself to ask his brother for help. Together they succeed and finally bury the hatchet. The allusion to Hemingway in the book title is but a fleeting one because here the whale is rescued. The author and the illustrator have created a moving and gripping story for children, although the protagonists are two old men. In the exquisite collages, the contrast between photographic elements and the highly abstract, partly illustrated scenes of a landscape offers an exciting visual experience. (6+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 190
Brinkemo, Per
Ali, Ahmed Hassan
Dumpad
(Dumped)
Stockholm : Tiden, 2004. 232 p.
ISBN 91-88879-61-5
Sweden Immigration – Cultural conflict – Integration – Somalian boy – Abduction
A lot of children’s book deal with integration problems of refugees from non-European countries. The host country is frequently portrayed as xenophobic. This book proves how cruel the confrontation between different cultures can be even within a refugee family. Achmed, a Somalian boy, is regularly beaten up by his violent father because he tries to assimilate into the Swedish society. Eventually, his mother takes him to Somalia and abandons him there. Two years later, he manages to contact the Swedish embassy in Ethiopia, which finally enables him to return to Sweden, his mother country, albeit under huge bureaucratic obstacles. This case caused quite a stir in the press in 2002, and it’s a journalist who convincingly presents this tale to young readers. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Slovakia (Slovak) - 2006 - 211
Vadas, Marek (adapt.)
Rozprávky z čiernej Afriky
(Folk tales from Black Africa)
Levice : Koloman Kertész Bagala L.C.A Publ. Group, [2004]. 148 p.
ISBN 80-89129-43-9
Africa Folk tale
The Slovakian author Marek Vadas travelled to Africa four times and brought back more than 50 folk tales from tribes in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Ghana, which he retells in this collection. The book is divided into three parts: animal tales, tales about animals and humans, and tales about humans and ghosts. The stories differ very much from European folk tales, so that, for example, the fight between the Good and the Bad doesn’t necessarily lead to a happy end, and the worlds of anthropomorphic animals, ghosts, and humans are closely intertwined. The straightforward tales are based exclusively on the worldview of people who have close bonds with nature. The black-and-white book is beautifully designed and illustrated with authentic ornaments and drawings from various ethnic groups in Africa. (6+) ☆

Belgium (Dutch) - 2006 - 216
Minne, Brigitte (text)
Olaerts, Wout (illus.)
Van kol, poes, rat, uit en raaf
(About Kol, Puss, Rat, Owl and Raven)
Wielsbeke : De Eenhoorn, 2005. 62 p.
ISBN 90-5838-330-x
Daily life Friendship
Kol, the witch, Puss, Rat, Owl, and Raven live in a five-storey hut in the forest. Each inhabitant has its own peculiarities: Kol is mad about porridge, Rat always wants to sit in front of the television, Puss is expecting kittens, Raven likes to tease the others, and Owl is very wise. Together, they share innumerable daily adventures, but sometimes there are also frictions and misunderstandings between them. This highly imaginative tale about four animals and a little witch describes recognisable emotions for children. The author knows how to tell a funny and engaging story for beginning readers with only one-syllable words. The modern, appealing mixed-media illustrations complete the story. (6+) ☆

The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2006 - 221
Hammerstein, Mariska (text)
Boer, Kees de (illus.)
Het grote feestenboek : van zwempartij tot straatfeest
(The big book about celebrations : from swimming party to street festival)
Amsterdam : Ploegsma, 2005. 125 p.
ISBN 90-216-1848-6
The Netherlands Celebration – Daily life – Holiday – Tradition
In this splendidly produced book with an abundance of colourful illustrations, the central focus is on celebrations from the daily lives of children in the Netherlands. In addition to (inter)nationally well-known festivities such as New Year’s, Carnival, Easter, the Feast of St. Martin, Christmas, and Saint Nicholas, a great number of more personal celebrations are also included in the book: the first day of going to school, graduation (or the final swimming lesson), the start of the summer holidays, or moving to another city. For every celebration, the inspiring book for parents, teachers, and other educators provides a short description of its origins and offers lots of delightful and unusual suggestions for all sorts of activities. (6+) ☆

Turkey (Turkish) - 2006 - 250
Sayın, Betül (text/illus.)
5 Çocuk 5 Istanbul
(Five children, five times Istanbul)
Istanbul : Günışıġı Kitaplıġı, 2005. 31 p.
ISBN 975-6227-08-7
Istanbul/History
In a very original way, this book addresses the long and changeable history of Istanbul by following the lives of five children living in the city at different times of history. Starting with the present time, the story goes back further and further, first to the Ottoman Empire, then to the times when Istanbul was called Constantinople, then Byzantium, finishing off with the first settlement at that place during the Stone Age. The five episodes are connected through ordinary objects, such as a mirror that a boy discovers on a market, which formerly belonged to a girl, who, in turn, finds an ancient coin, and so on ... Thanks to these tales, the past comes alive for the readers. Numerous colour illustration allow further glimpses into this important city’s fascinating history. (6+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2007 - 3
Imamori, Mitsuhiko (text/photogr.)
Ojīchan wa mizu no nioi ga shita
(The old man who could smell the water)
Tōkyō : Kaiseisha, 2006. 62 p.
ISBN 4-03-016400-5
Japan – Lake – Fisher – Nature – Coexistence – Water – Ecosystem – Cultural history
In this volume, the award-winning photographer Mitsuhiko Imamori introduces the way of life of an old fisherman and his wife living in a small community at Lake Biwa, not far from Kyoto. For many months, the author accompanied the couple and recorded the sound relationship between nature and the village people. His pictures include an aerial shot of Japan’s largest lake and views of the village surrounded by small rivers and wells, the fisherman’s house, the path to his fishing grounds, and of the man himself at work. Imamori combines his beautiful and impressive photographs with texts that respectfully illustrate the great love and care with which the fisherman looks after his boat, his tools, and the lake, and celebrates his thanksgiving prayer at home. (6+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2007 - 6
Kawana, Shizuka (text)
Yamaguchi, Mao (illus.)
Kamisama no iru mura : Shiramazu ōmatsu monogatari
(The village in which gods are present : the story of the great Shiramazu-festival)
Hamamatsu : Hikumano Shuppan, 2006. 183 p.
ISBN 4-89317-355-3
Japan – Village – Gods – Festival – Preparation – Tradition – Shinto
Two boys are cheerfully fishing near the harbour of their small fishing village. They don’t know yet that they will take over the most important roles at the great village festival. Before being allowed to play messengers of the gods Sun and Moon, they will have to fulfil ritual tasks for 50 days and show enormous self-discipline. The Shiramazu Festival, celebrated on the Bōsō peninsula in Eastern Japan, has been in existence for one thousand years. To organise the celebration, all village people need to work together. It has always been an essential element of the festival that children take centre stage. Using the two fictitious protagonists, the author introduces this unusual topic to young readers and sheds light on the secret of the festival’s continuing existence until today. (11+) ☆

Japan (Japanese) - 2007 - 7
Kutsuki, Shō (text)
Yamauchi, Fujie (illus.)
Kawatare : Sanzaigaike no kappaneko
(The break of dawn: the Kappa-cat from the Sanzai-Lakes)
Tōkyō : Fukuinkan Shoten, 2005. 269 p.
(Fukuinkan sōsaku dōwa shirīzu)
ISBN 4-8340-2148-3
Child – Loneliness – Helplessness – Pondering – Lack of confidence – Kappa <water sprite>
Humankind’s interference with nature threatens the existence of the »kappa«, Japanese water sprites. Thus little Hassun, whose family is already missing, gets sent to the humans to gather experience and knowledge about them – not an easy task. Transformed into a cat, the young kappa finds shelter with Asa, who is suffering from self-doubt since her mother’s death. The girl and her mother used to observe the world thoughtfully and thus discovered many precious moments and objects in their everyday life. Now Asa is left to ponder »appearance and reality« on her own and becomes more and more insecure. Still, thanks to her reflectiveness, she is able to recognise Hassun’s true form. This novel intensely describes in a literary style the lonely and helpless protagonists, whose fate eventually changes for the best. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2007 - 11
Satō, Satoru (text)
Murakami, Yutaka (illus.)
Tengu dōji : Nihon fushigibanashi
(The Tengu-Boy : a strange story from ancient Japan)
Tōkyō : Akane Shobō, 2006. 311 p.
ISBN 4-251-09837-4
Tengu <mountain demon> – Boy – Adventure – Imaginary world
»Tengu« are mountain demons often dressed like ascetic mountain monks. They have magic fans that enable them to fly and are waited on by raven-like creatures called »Karasu-tengu«. One night, a tengu with his servant Kurōmaru turns up on the doorstep of old ranger Yohei, who is well-known for his excellent flute playing. At the request of his master, Kurōmaru is to learn how to play the flute. Therefore, he assumes a human shape and spends the next few years with Yohei, who grows very fond of him. Yet, from the moment that Yohei burns the wings of his student’s raven-coat to force him to remain human and stay with him, the relationship between the human beings and the tengu becomes turbulent. Set against the backdrop of the war-torn 16th century, the mysterious tale turns into a breathtaking adventure culminating in the discovery of Kurōmaru’s family background: He was the son of a samurai kidnapped by the tengu as a child. This masterpiece of a novel takes its readers into the magic world of ancient Japan. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Japan (Japanese) - 2007 - 15
Tsubota, Jōji (text)
Tsubota [et al.], Rikio (ed.)
Ishikura, Kinji (illus.)
Mahō
(Magic)
Tōkyō : Komine Shoten, 2005. 168 p.
ISBN 4-338-20401-x
Child – Everyday life – Short story – Folk tale
This volume is part of the four-volume edition of selected works written by the classic children’s book author Jōji Tsubota (1890-1982). The story that this volume was named after tells of the argument between two brothers who are fascinated by magic. Tsubota’s tales, which mirror both the author’s own life and his times in general, vividly describe the everyday routine and the mindset of children without neglecting the hard life of adults. The other three volumes, comprised of both original works and retellings of Japanese folk tales, are illustrated by Mitsuo Shinozaki, Yuki Sasameya, and Yoshirō Matsunaga. The black-and-white pictures masterfully enable readers to relate to the ancient past as well as to the daily life at Tsubota’s time. (11+) ☆

Special Mention - Republic of Korea (Korean) - 2007 - 21
Kim, Jung-sŏk (text/illus.)
Appaga Pogosipŏ
(Longing for my father)
P’aju City : Porim, 2005. [32] p.
(Porim ch’angjak kŭrim ch’aek Mochŏn)
ISBN 89-433-0580-x
Daughter – Father – Longing – Letter – Awkwardness – School – Everyday life – Help
While her father has to stay behind in Korea to work, little Ha-yun and her mother fly to their new family home in New Zealand. Ha-yun terribly misses her father and writes letters full of love and longing. She meticulously describes all the impressions and difficulties that she faces in her new home country and thus turns everyday events into something special. Friendly Mr. Carry, who teaches English to the girl and her mother, helps her to get accepted by her new classmates. Ha-yun sends her father a drawing of the new garden, the strange plants, and the lemon tree. She waits impatiently for the summer and her father to arrive so that she can greet him with home-made lemon juice. This quiet story is accompanied by colourful ink- and watercolour illustrations. (6+) ☆

Special Mention - Australia (English) - 2007 - 30
Tan, Shaun (illus.)
The arrival
Melbourne : Lothian Books, 2006. [126] p.
ISBN 978-0-7344-0694-1
Journey – Immigrant – Loneliness – Homesickness – Assimilation
Award-winning artist Shaun Tan’s latest offering for young and old readers is an extraordinary graphic novel relating the tale of a young man who ventures out into a strange, far-away country across a vast ocean to seek a better life. With hardly any money and no knowledge of the language or the customs of his chosen land, all that the immigrant can rely on to find food, work, and a place to live are his inner strength and ingenuity plus help from sympathetic strangers. In a sequence of hundreds of sepia-coloured illustrations in varying sizes, this textless masterpiece invites readers to share the protagonist’s homesickness, displacement, and confusion in an enigmatic world devoid of any recognisable, familiar patterns. The graphite pencil drawings, created with a meticulous attention to detail and brimming with fantastic elements, are reminiscent of an old-fashioned photo album that reveals a long-forgotten, secret adventure. (12+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - India (English) - 2007 - 34
Scott, Nathan Kumar (text)
Balaji, Theertham (illus.)
Mangoes & bananas
[Chennai, India] : Tara Publ., 2006. [32] p.
ISBN 81-86211-06-3
Friendship – Hunger – Cooperation – Greed – Trick – Revenge – Folk tale
This retelling of a classic trickster tale features one of the most popular characters in Indonesian folklore, Kanchil the mouse deer. Fed up with the exhausting daily search for food, the clever deer and his best friend Monyet, the monkey, decide to plant their own garden and grow their favourite fruit: mangoes and bananas. Yet when, at harvest time, the greedy monkey quickly starts devouring all of the delicious fruit himself, quick-witted Kanchil resorts to a trick to get hold of his due share. This story told in a cheeky, energetic voice is translated into stunning illustrations in earthy shades. Created in the traditional Indian textile art form of Kalamkari (the process of which is explained in an appendix), the full-page pictures set against monochrome backgrounds follow the protagonists bouncing through their decoratively shaped surroundings. This book stands out both for its artwork and the engaging text. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - India (English) - 2007 - 35
Singh [et al.], T. Bijoykumar (text/retell.)
Suutari [et al.], Amanda (illus.)
First sun stories : unusual folk tales from the North East
New Delhi : Katha, 2005. 88 p.
ISBN 978-81-89020-33-0
North East India – Folk tale – Anthology
For this large-format anthology of 14 lesserknown folk tales from the north-eastern part of India, six writers and ten illustrators collaborated. Some of the stories are fairly amusing, such as the creation story from the Ao Naga tribe, which explains why the land of Assam is mainly flat whereas the neighbouring state of Nagaland is rocky and mountainous; other tales are more serious, such as the Assam legend of beautiful Joymala who is abandoned by her unfaithful husband and becomes queen of the elephants. The enchanting tales introduce young readers to the rich storytelling traditions of the so-called Seven Sister States with several tales appearing in print for the first time. (6+) ☆

New Zealand (English) - 2007 - 38
Taylor, William
Land of milk and honey
Auckland : HarperCollinsPubl., 2005. 160 p.
(Fiction)
ISBN 1-86950-549-2
New Zealand/1947 – Postwar era – British teenager – War orphan – Farm work – Abuse – Escape
This gripping teenage novel relates the story of 14-year-old Jack who comes to New Zealand as a so-called »British war-orphan« in 1947. However, his new »home« is a far cry from the »land of milk and honey« that his father had promised him. The skinny boy gets sent to a dairy farm where he slaves away night and day for a meagre meal and no wages. On top of that, he finds himself abused, bullied, and even tortured by the violent and mean son of the equally cruel farm owners. One night, beaten half to death, he finally escapes this hell and is taken in by a generous old doctor. This captivating and relentless narrative makes the protagonist’s shocking fate and the difficult times it is set in come alive for modern readers. (14+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2007 - 46
Bastedo, Jamie
On thin ice
Calgary, Alberta : Red Deer Press, 2006. 348 p.
ISBN 978-0-88995-337-6
Arctic – Climate change – Cultural identity
Five months after her ragtag family moved to the Artic village of Nanurtalik, 16-year-old Ashley, half French-Canadian and half Inuit, still feels like an outsider. When a blizzard hits the place, two of her classmates are killed in a mysterious accident, and terrifying dreams of a bear-man shaman start haunting her, the teenager becomes aware of her special connection with the legendary spirit bear, Nanurluk, and starts exploring an ancient spirit trail. In this gripping novel told in a fresh voice, Jamie Bastedo cleverly intertwines a realistic story about a teenager’s everyday life in the Arctic with mystical elements and messages about the devastating effects of global warming. (14+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2007 - 47
Ellis, Deborah
I am a taxi
Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2006. 205 p.
(The Cocalero novels) (Groundwood books)
ISBN 978-0-88899-735-7
South America – Parents – Prison – Son – Coca trade – Illegal work – Exploitation
Deborah Ellis, author of the highly praised »Breadwinner «-trilogy, once again dishes up a heavy diet for her readers. Set in South America, this novel relates the situation of 12-year-old Diego, whose innocent parents serve a 17-year prison sentence. The boy shares his mother’s prison cell, goes to school, and works as messenger for other prison inmates (providing the only source of income to pay for their food and »rent«). When he loses his job, he grows desperate enough to join his friend for a job in the coca trade but instead is exploited, abused, chased, and almost killed. Readers will quickly become immersed in the breathtaking events of Diego’s realistically described life and eagerly await the book’s sequel. (11+) ☆

USA (English) - 2007 - 55
Na, An
Wait for me
New York : G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2006. 169 p.
ISBN 0-399-24275-9
USA/Korean immigrant – Cultural identity – Mother – Daughter – Expectation – First love
From the outside, Mina’s life looks perfect: The 17-year-old Korean-American allegedly is a straight-A student, diligently studies for her exams, and willingly helps out in her parents’ dry-cleaning shop. Not even her hearing-impaired younger sister Suna suspects that Mina is trapped in a web of lies woven to satisfy their strict, overbearing mother’s expectations. Yet, when she falls in love with Mexican worker Ysrael, Mina realises that she must face the truth and start living her own life. This riveting, carefully crafted story told in alternating chapters from Mina’s and Suna’s points of view draws readers into the world of a teenager who struggles with a dysfunctional family life and her own dreams. (14+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 91
Steinwede, Dietrich
Martin Luther : Leben und Wirken des Reformators
(Martin Luther : life and work of the reformer)
Düsseldorf : Patmos, 2006. 140 p.
ISBN 3-491-79753-5
Luther, Martin
Set against the crisis of Catholicism caught up in the fetters of tradition, Martin Luther’s life and work are an attempt to make Christian religion more accessible for believers. In his most famous treatise »On the freedom of a Christian«, which is still being republished and available to readers today, Luther rejected the strict obedience to authorities that was then demanded by church and government as un-Christian. Set against this background and accompanied by a rich selection of visual material, this biography offers a differentiated and impressive analysis and appraisal of the great reformer’s work and of the (religious) historical, cultural, and social circumstances of that time. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Germany (German) - 2007 - 94
Weidner, Stefan (text)
Schulze, Marc-Alexander (illus.)
Allah heißt Gott : eine Reise durch den Islam
(Allah means God : a journey through Islam)
Frankfurt am Main : Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verl., 2006. 239 p.
(Fischer-Schatzinsel)
ISBN 3-596-85212-9
Islam/570-2006 – Qur’ān – Muhammad
This extensive and informative non-fiction book, written in a comprehensible and gripping style, focuses on Islam, the youngest of the monotheistic world religions. The author provides his target audience with a clear picture of the main aspects of the Muslim belief. He always hints at connections with Christianity and points out shared concepts and values. The most striking aspect of this book is its unbiased presentation of facts and its empathy with the believers. Thus it manages to destroy the stereotype of Islam as an ever-present threat, which is created by mass media reports in Europe about suicide attacks and other catastrophes. As a consequence, the book not only offers an extremely interesting and insightful text, but it also fulfils an important socio-political function. (10+) ☆

France (French) - 2007 - 111
Cuenca, Catherine
Frères de guerre
(Brothers-in-arms)
Paris : Castor Poche Flammarion, 2006. 217 p.
(Castor poche; 1025: Voyage au temps de ...)
ISBN 2-08-163394-9
World War I – Friendship – Death – Daily routine
In August 1914, Germany declares war on France. Although Eugène and his friend Matthias are only 16, they want to fight at the front. Using forged papers, they manage to get drafted into the French army. Once at the battle scene, they are soon separated, and each boy experiences the horrors in the trenches on his own. The first-person narrator does not only talk about the cruel war events but also about his personal experiences, his patriotic enthusiasm that is soon depleted by the bloody dealings on the front line, his fear of dying, and his grief for the dead comrades. The story is easily accessible for today’s readers. Taking one young man as an example, the book shows the inner struggles that such dramatic experiences can trigger off. (12+) ☆

Italy (Italian) - 2007 - 125
Carioli, Janna (text)
Quarello, Maurizio A. C. (illus.)
Nato straniero
(Born a stranger)
Firenze : Fatatrac, 2006. 111 p.
(I nuovi ottagoni : Ottagono junior)
ISBN 88-8222-136-9
Friendship – Living together – Illegal immigration
Dario, the son of an immigrant, helps his father sell roasted corn at a street corner after school. One day, after quarrelling with his father, who often feels nervous and dispirited, the boy runs away and meets Ingrid, a punk girl. She is the only person to help him. When they happen to witness a taxi driver being killed, they decide to flee from both the murderers and the police who do not believe their testimony. As they live together and try to survive through mutual support, the bond between the two protagonists grows stronger day by day and enables them to overcome racial and religious differences. Told without sentimentality but still ending happily, the narrative points out how young people can dispel prejudice with friendship, justice, and respect towards other human beings. (10+) ☆

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 149
Canal, Eulàlia (text)
Ruano, Sara (illus.)
Un petó de mandarina
(A tangerine kiss)
Barcelona : Ed. Barcanova, 2006. 126 p.
(Sopa de llibres; 131)
ISBN 84-489-1960-2
First love – Friendship – War refugee – Interculturality
Tavi, the first-person narrator of this narrative, falls in love with his new classmate Vanina. The girl had to leave her home in a distant country because of a war raging there. One day, when she is able to return home, she simply disappears from the boy’s life. In between, a delicate friendship develops as they slowly get to know each other better. Both children learn what being in love feels like, but they also experience the negative emotions of insecurity, loss, and grief when saying goodbye. Imbedded in a school and friendship story that also touches upon intercultural topics, this book, written in an unobtrusive, poetical language, captures the children’s feelings and the magic of love in a natural way. (10+) ☆
(Premi Barcanova de Literatura Infantil i Juvenil; 2006)

Spain (Catalan) - 2007 - 151
Sierra i Fabra, Jordi (text)
Solà, Raquel (transl.)
Trucant a les portes del cel
Barcelona : Edebé, 2006. 286 p.
(Periscopi; 60)
ISBN 84-236-8149-1
(Spanish ed.: Llamando a las puertas del cielo)
India – NGO – Poverty – Wealth – Love
Against the will of her boyfriend and her parents, Silvia, a young medical student, travels to India to work in a hospital as volunteer during her holidays. Confronted with the social reality in a country so utterly foreign to her, the young woman soon becomes aware of the responsibility of every human being in a world that is growing closer and closer together. In a realistic style, the novel describes the personal tensions that Silvia experiences »between the two worlds«. At the same time, it offers a thorough insight into the work of nongovernmental organisations and their cross-border commitment. In this book, the multi-award-winning author again proves his talent for tackling topical issues and creating a skilfully written literary text that is interesting for young readers. (14+) ☆

Spain (Galician) - 2007 - 153
Carballeira, Paula (text)
Hénaff, Carole (illus.)
Smara
(<Proper name>)
Pontevedra : Kalandraka, 2006. 59 p.
(Seteleguas)
ISBN 84-8464-549-5
Sahara – Tradition – Storytelling
The setting for this book is the city of Smara (aka Semara), which is situated in Western Sahara and formerly served as an oasis for caravans travelling through the desert. There, a Spanish boy who accompanies his father on a journey meets Avoa Ugaga (Grandmother Ugaga). The wise old woman tells him entrancing stories about ancient times. Thus Smara is not only a foreign and fascinating place for the boy; it is also a symbol for an endangered traditional culture that is rich in myths, tales, and images. The book resonates with a quiet, almost melancholic atmosphere that is also captured in the illustrations inspired by the desert landscape and the colours and shapes of local ceramics, fabrics, and spices. (9+) ☆

Brazil (Portuguese/Guarani) - 2007 - 159
Karai, Luiz (text)
Abrahim, Rodrigo (illus.)
Massacre indígena guarani = Jurua reve nhande kuery joguero’a ague
(Guarani Indian Massacre)
São Paulo : Difusão Cultural do Livro, 2006. 23 p.
(Bilingual ed.: Portuguese and Guarani)
ISBN 85-368-0192-1
Indigenous culture – Ethnic conflicts – Brazil/History
In the small village of Kavure, the religious leader elects his successor. The new »pajé«, Jekupe, at once points out the dangers of living in the immediate vicinity of white men. When a premonition prompts him to propose that they move to a different area, part of the group doesn’t respect his authority and decides to stay. This causes a cruel war between indigenous and non-indigenous people. The story is set in the 19th century and reflects the ethnic conflicts that have been smouldering in Latin America for the past 500 years, terminating many native communities. The bilingual text is accompanied by watercolour illustrations emphasising the characteristics of the indigenous people and portraying their environment in detail. (8+) ☆

Brazil (Portuguese) - 2007 - 162
Salerno, Silvana (text)
Cárcamo (illus.)
Viagem pelo Brasil em 52 histórias
(Journey around Brazil in 52 stories)
São Paulo : Companhia das Letrinhas, 2006. 160 p.
ISBN 85-7406-343-6
Brazil/History – Folklore – Tradition
This book unites some of the most famous tales, fables, and popular stories of Brazilian culture. Over the years, all of these narratives have been influenced by various cultures, mainly European, African, and indigenous Brazilian. These ancient stories, which share the typical characteristics of folklore, were not lost because they are recognised as an important part of Brazilian people’s life, recording their habits and history. The carefully retold tales are grouped according to the geographic region of their origin. The texts are accompanied by expressive illustrations and by photos and notes that help to place each story into a wider context. This book was inspired by an anthology called »Volta ao mundo em 52 histórias«. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Norway (Norwegian) - 2007 - 188
Sæther, Wera
MammaRitaHuset
(Mama Rita’s House)
[Oslo] : Cappelen, 2006. 291 S.
ISBN 82-02-26053-1
India – Child – Everyday life – Poverty – Help – Cultural relations
Uma’s mother is blind and earns her living by singing songs to people travelling in trains. Purely by chance, the girl and her mother meet Sebastian and his daughter Sara. Sebastian, a European photographer from Calcutta, decides to help them. The third book about Uma [the first two were called »Saras reise« (Sara’s journey, 2001) and »Umas øyne« (Uma’s eyes, 2004)] relates how Sebastian donates money for a little house to be built in their village for Uma and her mother Rita. He is also planning to visit the family soon. Meanwhile, the two girls get to know each other better and better and almost feel like sisters. The well-travelled author knows how to make the Indian lifestyle and way of thinking accessible for her readers without denying the difficulties of intercultural contacts. Therefore, this children’s novel is a wonderful contribution to the exchange between different cultures. (10+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 191
Bečević, Zulmir
Resan som började med ett slut
(The journey that started with an end)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2006. 223 p.
ISBN 978-91-501-0750-0
Sweden – Bosnian immigrant – Refugee – Integration
Just like the author, Nino, the first-person narrator of this novel, is a Bosnian refugee arriving in Sweden in 1992. Therefore it seems likely that the story has strong autobiographical elements. For those readers who are not familiar with the problems of being a refugee, this book provides important and sometimes fairly amusing information. It relates, for example, the various difficulties that may arise in a class of pupils from more than eight different nations when learning Swedish. Unfortunately, there is a lot of violence involved and even the immigrant children are not free from prejudice against others. Problems with the female sex constitute another barrier to overcome on the way to becoming a »true Swede«, even if, in the end, it is a girl who gives Nino more self-confidence. (14+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 192
Grähs, Gunna (text/illus.)
Tutu och Tant Kotla
(Tutu and Aunt Kotla)
[Stockholm] : Alfabeta, 2006. [24] p.
(En hejhej bok)
ISBN 978-91-501-0579-7
Sweden – Immigrant – Foreigner – Integration – Multicultural society
With this series, the publisher offers a number of small picture books dealing with all kinds of integration. In this volume, the reader follows a black boy delivering newspapers on a snowy grey winter day. He trudges through one of the bleak Swedish suburbs of newly-erected houses so unlike the boy’s familiar African home. Nevertheless, in one of the tall buildings a door suddenly opens and he is invited for coffee and cake by a lonely old woman simply because she likes his friendly face. He tells her about Africa, she tells him about her childhood. In the end, Tutu walks away with a smile. Such a sweet story might easily turn into a pedagogical lecture if it wasn’t for this wonderful artist who combines a fresh, decorative, spacious style with original visual ideas. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 196
Stolpe, Marika (text)
Pehrson, Lars (photogr.)
Ida & elefanterna
(Ida and the elephants)
Stockholm : Ström, 2005. [64] p.
ISBN 91-7126-000-5
Kenya – Elephant – Wildlife reserve
This photo documentary accompanies a Swedish girl on her visit to her friend John in a wildlife reserve in Kenya. The author makes Ida tell in first-person, eyewitness style about how young elephants are brought up and looked after. Both children help with the feeding, play with the animals, and sleep close to them at night to give them a sense of security. The factual narrative is complemented by equally factual, lively photographs, which present an accurate picture of everyday life at the reserve and enable children to (almost) share the protagonists’ experiences. The readers are offered a true introduction to African nature without getting dazzled by picture-perfect, glossy magazine photographs. (8+) ☆ ☼

Croatia (Croatian) - 2007 - 197
Petrlik Huseinović, Andrea (text/illus.)
Maleni
(The Little One)
Zagreb : Kašmir Promet, 2006. [28] p.
ISBN 953-6613-90-5
Otherness – Outsider – Hatred
A witch casts a spell on the inhabitants of Nowhere, so that they turn into a hateful and grumpy lot. The Little One who lives on the outskirts of the town is the only one to escape the spell. Filled with evil thoughts, the Nowherians now notice that the Little One is different and drive him away. He leaves the country and braves many adventures and tests until he finally finds a new home in a lighthouse. With the help of its bright beam, he plans to light other people the way. This picture book against envy, hatred, and malice encourages children to develop an understanding towards others and shows them the dire consequences that may arise from excluding people who are different. The illustrations in various shades of crimson and purple intensify the story’s melancholic mood. (4+) ☆

Croatia (Croatian) - 2007 - 198
Pongrašić, Zoran
Vidi majmuna!
(Look at that monkey!)
Zagreb : Autorska Kuća, 2005. 161 p.
(Novi grafiti)
ISBN 953-7199-06-1
Biracial person – Racism – Prejudice
This novel, written in a witty style and peppered with colloquial expressions and teenage jargon, focuses on Zvonimir, the son of a Kenyan vet and a Croatian doctor. When he moves from Nairobi to Zagreb, he faces severe problems because of his skin colour and the Europeans’ prejudice against Africans. By introducing his protagonist as first-person narrator, the author can freely deal with taboo topics associated with racial discrimination. Although Zvonimir handles his status as outsider in a laid-back manner, his classmates’ stupid questions provoke him to dish up loads of tall tales. Afterwards, of course, he has to face the music. True, the novel does not end happily ever after but at least Zvonimir manages to regain his self-confidence. (12+) ☆

Czech Republic (Czech) - 2007 - 199
Ježková, Alena (retell.)
Fučíková, Renáta (illus.)
Staré pověsti české a moravské
(Old legends from Bohemia and Moravia)
Praha : Albatros, 2005. 140 p.
(Klub mladých čtenářů)
ISBN 80-00-01733-4
Bohemia – Moravia – Legend
This anthology gathers mainly legends about the settlement of the Bohemian countries by Bohemians and Moravians. The tales feature important leaders ranging from Čech, the original ancestor of the Czechs, and Libuše, who is said to have founded Prague, to the Moravian Duke Svatopluk, who played an important role in the Christianisation of the Slavic peoples. Comments and meta-texts put the legends into their historical context and thus provide readers with interesting facts about the origin of the Slavs, their mythology and religion, and about historical sites connected to the Slavic world of myths and legends. The water-colour-and-ink drawings rendered in earthy tones offer an additional glimpse into the material culture from the dawn of the Slavic peoples. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - The Netherlands (Dutch) - 2007 - 225
Verroen, Dolf (text)
Nahmias, Veronica (illus.)
Slaaf kindje slaaf
(Slave, my little child, slave)
Rotterdam : Uitg. Ger Guijs, 2006. 95 p.
ISBN 90-6734-451-6
(also published in German in 2005)
Surinam/18th century – Slavery
This touching story is told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old white girl on the threshold of maturity growing up in Surinam in the 18th century. Maria’s birthday present is a small black boy – her first personal slave. For the girl, slavery is completely natural, and she talks about it without a trace of guilt. Today’s readers, however, are confronted with the cruel reality of adults treating slaves like property. The text is written in short and simple yet carefully constructed sentences. The pencil drawings faithfully depict all the different characters of the story, who look just as modest and austere as they are described in the text. (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, 2006; Gustav-Heinemann-Friedenspreis, 2006) (10+) ☆ ☼

Hungary (Hungarian) - 2007 - 228
Kertész, Ákos
A nap utcai fiúk
(The Sun Street boys)
[Budapest] : Ab Ovo K., 2006. 155 p.
ISBN 963-9378-50-X
Hungary / Uprising <1956> – Youth
In 1956, a group of teenagers is drawn into the first revolutionary riots in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, without knowing, let alone understanding, what the demonstrations are all about. Full of youthful enthusiasm, romantic ideas, courage, and self-denial, they dive into the events that soon spiral out of control. Many people even pay with their lives. This novel is based on factual reports by survivors of the Hungarian uprising. Most of the book offers a fairly romantic description of the events, yet by drawing a detailed picture of the young people’s meaningless death, the novel eventually turns into an accusation against those who sacrifice children and teenagers on the altar of politics. (14+) ☆

Turkey (Turkish) - 2007 - 241
Erdoǧan, Fatih
Sihirli küre
(The magic globe)
Istanbul : Mavibulut, 2006. 184 p.
(Sihirli dizi; 5)
ISBN 975-310-051-5
Grandmother – Grandson – Magic – Journey
This book, which belongs to a series of magical tales by Fatih Erdoǧan, tells the story of the Turkish boy Ozan who misses his grandmother. Since she lives in New Zealand, the two haven’t seen each other for a very long time. When the boy lets his finger travel across a globe, he suddenly experiences a strange sensation that feels as if he could actually fly. Soon afterwards, he wakes up in a forest on the other side of the world. He finds his grandmother and meets a girl with whom he chats about their different home countries. This imaginative book offers its readers many possibilities to identify with the protagonist and share his wishes and feelings. It easily lends itself to both reading aloud or on one’s own. (7+) ☆