Thursday, September 14, 2006


ONE GREEN APPLE by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ted Lewin (Clarion)
Farah feels reticent at a school field trip to an apple orchard. Besides not being fluent in the language, she is further set apart by her dupatta, traditions of her conservative Muslim culture and admonishments by her father to be on guard, that "we are not always liked here." When she contributes an unripe apple into the cider, she gets an angry response from her classmates, but it turns out that the cider is delicious...and a metaphor for the many flavors we need in the mix that is our country. The anxiousness of being new and feeling different will be a point entry and empathy for all readers and listeners, and Farah is an observant and intelligent protagonist; it's easy to imagine the likes of her contributing a lot more than unripe apples to our land. Mottled photorealistic paintings add to the recognizability of the situation. Though Bunting can be a little heavy-handed (albeit moving)for some tastes (THE WEDNESDAY SURPRISE about adult illiteracy, FLY AWAY HOME about homelessness), her work is always a spark for discussion. This immigrant story is as fresh and American as apple pie and will be a warm literary welcome to a culture that is underrepresented on the children's bookshelf. (7 and up)

Also of interest:
IN THE YEAR OF THE BOAR AND JACKIE ROBINSON by Bette Bao Lord, illustrated by Marc Simont (HarperCollins) One of my very favorite novels, this funny,poignant award-winner chronicles the year of a new Chinese immigrant, Shirley Temple Wong, who is inspired by a legendary baseball player to find a place of belonging in her new land. (9 and up)
SALAAM: A MUSLIM-AMERICAN BOY'S STORY by Tricia Brown, illustrated by Ken Cardwell (Henry Holt) A straightforward, sensitive peek into the window of a Muslim American family's daily life. (6 and up)

On a personal note
Alert! If you requested a review copy of VIVE LA PARIS per the offer earlier this week, and you did not e-mail your mailing address to esme-at-ripco-dot-com (hint: I have to write it out like this so I don't get spammed, so use @ for at and . for dot), then you won't end up getting a copy. Sorry, but I can't send a book to your e-mail! Thanks! This is the very last week to get a review copy...after this, you'll have to go to the bookstore! So get 'em while they're hot, and please, tell your listservs, librarians and book clubs!

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