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First Kiss by Adolphe-William Bouguereau
First Kiss

by Adolphe-William Bouguereau
36 x 24 in

Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak
24 in x 18 in

The Bookstore

A reading list of recommended titles
Links lead to Amazon.com for more details, price, and purchase info.


- Kids & Young Adults -

Asian American X : An Intersection of Twenty-First Century Asian American Voices
by Arar Han, John Hsu (Editors)
University of Michigan Press. 2005, 264 pp.

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"This refreshing and timely collection of coming-of-age essays, edited and written by young Asian Americans, powerfully captures the joys and struggles of their evolving identities as one of the fastest-growing groups in the nation and poignantly depicts the many oft-conflicting ties they feel to both American and Asian cultures. The essays also highlight the vast cultural diversity within the category of Asian American, yet ultimately reveal how these young people are truly American in their ideals and dreams." --info from publisher

by William Low
Henry Holt, 1997, 32 pp.

(Ages 3-6) "A boy and his grandma take their daily walk through their Chinatown neighborhood. Low's brightly colored double-page-spread oil paintings show the vital streets packed with traffic, people, markets, and tall buildings. Some strong pictures focus on individual people inside the herbal shop and the seafood restaurant. The sizzle and noise of the restaurant kitchen contrasts with the quiet of the tai chi class in the park. The climax is the celebration of the Chinese New Year with parade, firecrackers, and a lion dance. There is no story, but kids will enjoy the physical evocation of an exciting city place, both the crowds and the close-up views of Chinese American culture that seem to burst out of every page." --Booklist, Hazel Rochman

My Chinatown: One Year in Poems
by Kam Mak (Illustrator)
HarperCollins, 2001. 32 pp.

(Ages 5-8) "Fifteen untitled poems, handsomely illustrated with photo-realistic paintings, express the feelings of a young Chinese boy from Hong Kong as he adjusts to his new home in New York's Chinatown. Grouped by the four seasons, the poems span the time from one Chinese New Year to the next. The simplicity of language and beautiful paintings evoke poignant imagery; phrasing like " ...school where English words taste like metal in my mouth" or a scene where an overhead perspective captures the boy and a girl playing chess on the floor with a cat pawing a marker, framing a tender moment. ...what comes through clearly is the boy's gradual acceptance of his new home place where daily pleasures can be enjoyed without relinquishing memories of the past. ...The first-person voice and strong composition of art with vivid colors symbiotically make this boy's personal emotional journey a universal experience." Kirkus Reviews.

Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year
by Kate Waters, Madeline Slovenz-Low, Martha Cooper (Photographer)
Scholastic. 1990, 40pp.

(PreSchool-Grade 3) "In brief, simple sentences, Ernie Wan describes his Chinese -American family's celebration of the lunar New Year. Ernie lives in New York City's Chinatown, where traditions are rooted in the culture of southern China. Ernie's father, a kung fu master, choreographs The Lion Dance, the center of the community celebration and a major tourist attraction. This year, Ernie dances in the place of honor under the lion's head. Color photographs depict private and public festivities. Brown's Chinese New Year (Holt, 1987), reported in third person, gives more general information about Chinese traditions ...and remains the best overall introduction to the Chinese-American celebration, with Lion Dancer a strong supplement for its immediacy, its vibrant color, and its sympathetic look at a Chinese family." School Library Journal -- Margaret A. Chang, Buxton School, Williamstown, MA

Peppe the Lamplighter
By Elisa Bartone, Ted Lewin (Illustrator)
Lothrop Lee & Shepard, (hardcover) 1993, 32 pp.

(Ages 6-9) "Did I come to America for my son to light the streetlamps?" The harshness of the immigrant family experience is the realistic background for this affecting picture book story set in Little Italy, New York, at the turn of the century. Peppe's mother is dead; his father is too ill to work; and as the only son, Peppe tries to find a job to help support his eight sisters. He's thrilled when he gets work as a lamplighter, but his father rejects him. Peppe gradually loses heart, until one night he doesn't light the lamps--and his little sister, scared of the dark, doesn't come home. Then his father begs Peppe to light the lamps, and the family is reunited. The story's a tearjerker with a happy resolution, but words and pictures give a strong sense of hard times. Lewin's masterly watercolors express the swirling energy of the crowded streets as well as the intimate feelings and interactions of individual people. Both inside the tenement and out in the neighborhood, the background is often dark; and the boy's lighting of the lamps is a powerful image of his dreams, "a small flame of promise" in the night." --Booklist, Hazel Rochman

The Ugly Vegetables
by Grace Lin (Illustrator)
Charlesbridge Publishing. 2001, 32 pp.

(Ages 4-9) "...In a bright landscape of small houses and backyards, a girl and her mother dig a garden, as do their neighbors. The green shoots come up and grow, and the daughter notices that while the neighbors are cultivating flowers that fill the air with sweetness, her mother is growing ugly dark green leafy things. ...At the end of the season, her mother picks the vegetables, and makes them into a soup that smells so good it brings all the neighbors to their porches ...The gouache paintings emphasize pattern: florals, grasses, stripes, and dots on clothing and rooftops. The colors are of a sunny world, with an emphasis on rose, purple, brown, and a multitude of greens. Pictures of all of the vegetables with their Chinese and English names along with the soup recipe are included. Lin tells her charming story simply, and the pictures reflect its many joys." --Kirkus Reviews

Dim Sum for Everyone
by Grace Lin (Illustrator)
Dragonfly. (paperback) jan 2003, 32 pp.

(Ages 4-9) "After waxing poetic about the advantages of a vegetable garden in The Ugly Vegetables, author/artist Grace Lin describes the pleasures of a Chinese dining tradition in Dim Sum for Everyone. From sweet pork buns to little egg tarts, the plentiful dishes arrive on metal carts for a grand smorgasbord. An endnote offers a brief history of dim sum; endpapers show the wide spectrum available for sampling. " --Publishers Weekly

Where on Earth is My Bagel?
by Frances Park, Ginger Park, Grace Lin (Illustrator)
Lee & Low Books. 2001, 32 pp.

(K-Grade 4) "Where on earth did Yum Yung get the urge to have a bagel? He has no idea, but desperate for one, he sends a message from his Korean village via pigeon to New York City for someone to send him one. ...the bird returns without a bagel, but with the recipe. The baker gets the required ingredients from the boy's new friends and makes one huge bagel. "It was so heavenly he could even taste the curious hole in the middle." With charming gouache illustrations that evoke the intricate and colorful patterns found in Korean fabrics, this story mixes up cultures quite nicely..." --School Library Journal, Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT.

Sam and the Lucky Money
by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator), Ying-Hwa Hu (Illustrator), Wright Cornelius Van (Illustrator)
Lee & Low Books. 1997, 32pp.

(PreSchool-Grade 2) "Sam receives four bright red envelopes decorated with shiny gold emblems as part of the traditional Chinese New Year celebration, each containing a dollar. As he accompanies his mother through Chinatown, his anticipation of how to spend it diminishes when he realizes that the ``lucky money'' won't buy as much as he had hoped. ...The illustrators masterfully combine Chinatown's exotic setting with the universal emotions of childhood through expressive portraits of the characters." School Library Journal -- Starr LaTronica, Four County Library System, Vestal, NY.

Dreams in the Golden Country: The Diary of Zipporah Feldman, a Jewish Immigrant Girl, New York City, 1903
by Kathryn Lasky
Scholastic Trade. 1998, 188 pp.

(Grade 4-8) "Zipporah Feldman, a 12-year-old Jewish immigrant from Russia, uses diary entries to chronicle her family's activities as they acclimate to life on New York City's Lower East Side. The hopes and dreams of a young girl are beautifully portrayed through Lasky's eloquent and engaging narrative. Readers are quickly drawn into Zipporah's world of traditional Jewish ritual and celebrations and will identify with the girl's desires to aspire to greatness in her new home. ...The story's historical significance is evident in the Feldman's arrival at Ellis Island and the subsequent procedures immigrants had to endure, and in the description of the factory fire in which Zipporah's friend dies, which is based on the famous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory of 1911. Characters are portrayed as strong individuals, and their motives are believable. ...Archival photos, accompanied by a recipe for hamantaschen and the traditional Jewish song to welcome the Sabbath, bring the reality of the novel to light. A story of hope and of love for one's country." School Library Journal, Janet Gillen, Great Neck Public Library, NY.

The Cook's Family
by Laurence Yep
Paper Star, reprint 1999. 192 pp.

(Grade 4-7) "Robin's home life seems to be falling apart. Her hard-working Caucasian father is often absent and her Chinese mother spends all of her spare time doing the books for her brothers' new store. There is little time for the family to be together, and Robin and her younger brother feel neglected. Therefore, when a waiter at a San Francisco Chinatown restaurant asks Robin and her grandmother to pose as the long-lost relatives of the lonely cook, the girl finds herself more and more interested in Chinese customs and what it means to be a good Chinese daughter. Dividing her time between her real family and her pretend one, she finally learns how to be expansive instead of divisive and helps her family come closer together..." School Library Journal -- Nina Lindsay, Vista School, Albany, CA

YELL-Oh Girls! Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American
by Vickie Nam
Quill. 2001. 336 pp.

(Grade 8 Up) "Asian-American young women speak out in this anthology of stories and poetry about what it is like growing up in two cultures. The brief contributions are from high school and college students from all over the United States and Canada. They speak passionately of the lack of Asians and women in the history textbooks; of feeling foreign in America and in the country of their ancestors; of being laughed at and ridiculed simply for not looking "American"; of interracial dating; and of finding their own niche... The selections are interspersed with pieces by notable Asian-American women such as congresswoman Patsy Mink and writer Lois-Ann Yamanaka..." DeAnn Tabuchi, San Anselmo Public Library, CA.

The Last Dragon
by Susan Miho Nunes (Author), Chris K. Soentpiet (Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin, 1997, 32 pp.

(Ages 4-8) "...Peter is not happy about spending his summer in Chinatown with his great-aunt. But his feelings begin to change when he spots an old, 10-man dragon in a shop window. With the help of his great-aunt, he acquires the dragon and sets out to repair it. Friends and shopkeepers are enlisted in the task. ...In the course of making the dragon new again, Peter learns about the people and shops of Chinatown as well as the traditions of his culture. Nunes' text builds to a satisfying conclusion, although it makes an occasional abrupt shift along the way. The expansive watercolor illustrations are warm, colorful, and full of details unique to Chinatown. An endnote provides information on Chinese dragon lore." --Booklist, Leone McDermott

Round Is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes
by Roseanne Thong, Grace Lin (Illustrator)
Chronicle Books. (hardcover) 2000, 40 pp.

(PreSchool-K) "This concept book prompts children to look at circles, squares, and rectangles through the eyes of a Chinese girl. The rhyming text describes things like dim sum, inking stones, lucky money, and an abacus as they relate to the various shapes. The last page defines unfamiliar terms. The rhymes, at times perfectly structured but sometimes somewhat forced, lack a consistent beat, which makes this a challenging read-aloud. "Round is a mooncake/Round is the moon/Round are the lanterns/outside my room/Round is a pebble/that I found/A bowl of goldfish/that make no sound." The illustrations, brilliantly colored gouache paintings outlined in black, are large, crisp, and inviting. A useful purchase for young patrons interested in Chinese culture." --School Library Journal, Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA.

First Book of Sushi
by Amy Wilson Sanger
Tricycle Press. (hardcover) 2001, 20 pp.

(PreSchool up) " A title for the trendy toddler set that starts out with tekka maki and ends with tobiko, flying fish roe, introducing other sushi in between. The text is rhythmic ("Miso in my sippy cup, tofu in my bowl. Crab and avocado fill my California roll"), and the textured, collage illustrations predominantly in red, black, yellow, and white are striking and vibrant. However, the subject matter and language will be too sophisticated for the intended audience. Japanese words such as hamachi, maguro, and futomaki fill the pages. The board-book format will discourage older readers, although adults may find the book amusing. The last line of text appears on the back of the book, which will lead to processing problems for libraries. This original idea doesn't cut the wasabi." --School Library Journal, DeAnn Tabuchi, San Anselmo Public Library, CA.

Char Siu Bao Boy
by Sandra S. Yamate, Carolina Yao (Illustrator)
Polychrome Pub Corp. 2000, 32 pp.

(Ages 5-9) "Back by Popular demand! Our first story returns to celebrate our 10th Anniversary; In a totally redesigned, new book. Charlie loves char siu bao and eats it everyday. But his friends think it's awful! What can he do? This Asian American classic looks at peer pressure to conform versus cultural pride. Includes Grandmother's char siu bao recipe! Selected by the Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference Program for its anti-bias education program."

Also check out NY Books for NY Kids, a suggested reading list compiled by the Brooklyn Public Library.

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