I'm so blessed to live 5 minutes from one of the branches of our Amazing, Number ONE in the Nation: Columbus Metropolitan Library. I know a lot of the people that work there in the evenings, and I think they know me by now. Yes, I'm the one that overwhelms their bookshelf with my reservations. What can I say for myself? I'm a book lover and I'm not ashamed to admit it. In February, I started a section on this blog called: On my last trip to the library....in which I share only the best books from my checkout list!
Now, Let me start with a bilingual poetry book....
When you see the name Jorge Argueta on the front cover of a book, I'd say pay attention, grab it, read it and enjoy it. Jorge Argueta has written other great books like A Movie in my Pillow/Una Pelicula en mi Almohada; Moony Luna/ Luna, Lunita, Lunera; Sopa de Frijoles/Bean Soup among others. All these books just mentioned are fantastic addition to any library or classroom that celebrates language, poems, diversity and culture. Through his poems, Jorge is teaching or sharing with the audience a piece of culture, a part of who is he.
In this book Arroz con Leche/Rice Pudding he shares a "cooking poem" on how to prepare his favorite recipe: rice pudding. For a lot of latino families, rice pudding became a favorite dessert, and one that brings a lot of great memories. I believe Jorge does a great job sharing that portrait with the audience.
The fact that the book is written in two languages: Spanish and English allows it to reach even a greater audience.
The next book....get ready to fall in love: Blackout by John Rocco
I don't think I can name all the reasons why I LOVE this book but I will give it a go. In Blackout, a little girl is looking for someone in the family who would like to play a board game with her. Sadly, everyone in the family is busy: older sister is on the phone, dad is cooking, mom is working on the computer. Frustrated but left with no options, really, the little girl goes upstairs to play video games since for that one, she really doesn't need someone. She can just play it by herself. But all of a sudden...something happens in the city: a BLACKOUT!!! everything is dark, everything is quiet at first. But to the family's surprise, there is a party going on the rooftop! everyone decided to come out and admire the starry night.
When they go outside, there is a block party happening in the neighborhood. People are talking, people are playing and dancing, and NO ONE is busy.
Now the beautiful story that I just told you is told in a beautiful, amazing way...in graphic novel type of book. Look at it this way....I wish I had this book in my hand when I wanted to teach one of my students about graphic novel and how to organize his writing that way. This book has outstanding illustrations and a wonderful message to all families. PLUS it is the perfect mentor text for teachers who want to put an accessible graphic novel in the hands of a 1st and 2nd grade writer!!