Ada, Alma Flor, Zubizarreta, Rosa,
and Simon Silva, Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish
and English, Rayo, 2001. (Grades PreK-5)
An alphabet book with
exceptional illustrations and excellent poetry that gives voice
to the experience of Hispanic agricultural workers. Each
letter is matched with a Spanish word (for example, "arboles"
for "A") and accompanied by a poem in both Spanish
and English that describes how the plant, fruit, vegetable,
person, or feeling functions in the lives of these workers.
The colors are brilliant, and the scope has a larger-than-life
sense to it. This is a book that begs to be read aloud to all
students, whether they are Spanish speaking or not. The sound
of the poems will draw them in. The touching elegy for Cesar
Chavez successfully imparts the impact of a heroic man on his
Albyn, Carole Lisa, The Multicultural
Cookbook for Students, Oryx, 1993 (Grades 6-9).
Stressing safety and adult
assistance, the authors give young cooks a taste of the culture
and foods of 122 countries through 337 authentic recipes in
a book that is arranged geographically by continent or region--Africa,
the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, the Caribbean,
Latin America, and North America. Each of the seven sections
opens with a general, but brief, description of the area and
its culinary traditions; within the sections, the countries
and their typical foods are introduced (outline maps show where
each country is located), and in general, at least two recipes
for each country are listed.
Alvarez, Julia, Return to Sender, Yearling, 2010. (Grades 6-9)
After 11-year-old Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, the family is in danger of losing their dairy farm. Desperate for help, Tyler's family employs a family of undocumented Mexican laborers, the Cruz family, to move into a trailer on the farm and run the farm. The extended families grow close over the course of one year with holiday celebrations and shared gatherings.
Atkin, S. Beth, Voices from the Fields: Children of Migrant Farmworkers Tell Their Stories, Little Brown, 2000. (Grades 4-6)
A compendium of interviews, poems and photographs spotlighting nine migrant Mexican-American children in California's Salinas Valley.
Bernier-Grand, and David Diaz, Cesar: Si,
Se Puede! Yes, We Can!,
Marshall Cavendish, 2005. (Grades 6-8)
Poetry and illustrations highlight Cesar Chavez' struggle to
empower migrant workers using peaceful protest.
Bruchac, Joseph, and Murv Jacob, The Circle of Thanks: Native American Poems and Songs of Thanksgiving, Troll, 2003. (Grades 1-5)
Bruchac gathers 14 traditional Native American poems of appreciation and respect for nature's gifts. It is a wide sampling, drawn from Cherokee, Kwakiutl, Pawnee, Navajo and more.
Carle, Eric, Today
is Monday, Philomel, 1993. (Grades PreK-3)
Each day of the week brings a new food. When Sunday arrives, children
from around the world gather to share their favorite foods.
Cha, Dia, Dia's
Story Cloth, Lee and Low, 1998. (K-5)
A Laos woman
recounts her family's wartime displacement, during which she was
forced to flee to a refugee camp in Thailand and remain away from
her home for four years, in a story that is illustrated by a lavish
Vietnamese story cloth.
Demi, One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical
Folk Tale, Scholastic, 1997. (Grades K-6)
The story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts
a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward
for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled
each day for 30 days. Remember your math? That's lots of rice:
enough to feed a village for a good long time - and to teach
a greedy raja a lesson.
So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscol, An Irish Mill
Girl, Lowell Massachusetts, 1847, Scholastic, 2003. (Grades
Mary Driscoll and her family have lived in terrible poverty in
the Irish countryside every since the potato famine began several
years ago. When Mary is offered a chance to join her aunt and
older sister in America, she jumps at the chance to seek a better
life for herself. But after a long, stormy, and miserable ocean
voyage, Mary arrives in America to find that it is nothing like
she expected. She takes a job in a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts,
where she is scorned by most of the American workers and expected
to work long hours under terrible, unsafe conditions. There are
few bright spots in this account of the life faced by many girls
in New England cities during the mid-nineteenth century, and most
of what happened to the fictional character of Mary happened to
various girls who lived back then and worked in factories and
DeFelice, Cynthia, Under the Same Sky, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005. (Grades 5-9)
Joe Pedersen, 14, begrudgingly joins the migrant workers on his father's upstate New York farm to earn the $1,000 he needs to buy a Thunderbird motorbike. Determined to show his father he can keep pace with Manuel, the 16-year-old crew boss, Joe painfully adjusts to the grueling routine of planting, hoeing and weeding cabbages and picking strawberries. Previously insensitive to the plight of the migrants, Joe begins to grasp the hardships, uncertainty, loyalty and courage of these laborers who are often ridiculed and threatened by his peers and other whites in the community.
Demi, One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical
Folk Tale, Scholastic, 1996 (Grades K-2).
The story of Rani, a clever
girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village.
When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one
grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. Remember your math?
That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long
time--and to teach a greedy raja a lesson.
Dunagan, Ted M., A Yellow Watermelon, Junebug, 2007. (Young Adult)
In rural south Alabama in 1948, whites picked on one side of the cotton field and blacks on the other. In Yellow Watermelon, 12-year-old Ted meets Poudlum, a black boy his own age, where the fields meet. Poudlum teaches Ted how to endure the hard work while they bond and go on to integrate the field.
Durham, David Anthony, Gabriel's
Story, Doubleday, 2001. (Young Adult)
Set in the 1870s, the
novel tells the tale of Gabriel Lynch, an African American youth
who settles with his family in the plains of Kansas. Dissatisfied
with the drudgery of homesteading and growing increasingly disconnected
from his family, Gabriel forsakes the farm for a life of higher
adventure. Thus begins a forbidding trek into a terrain of austere
beauty, a journey begun in hope, but soon laced with danger
and propelled by a cast of brutal characters.
Fields, Terry, and Sherry Rogers, Burro's
Tortillas, Sylvan Dell, 2007. (Grades PreK-3)
A corn tortilla version of the Little Red Hen
Glatzer, Jenna, Native American Festivals and Ceremonies, Mason Crest, 2002. (Grades 5 and up)
Describes some of the ceremonies and festivals that Native American peoples use to celebrate special occasions, give thanks, etc.
Goble, Paul, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Atheneum,
2001. (Grades K-2)
For most people, being swept away in a horse
stampede during a raging thunderstorm would be a terrifying disaster.
For the young Native American girl in Paul Gobl''s 1979 Caldecott-winning
masterpiece, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, it is a blessing.
Although she loves her people, this girl has a much deeper, almost
sacred, connection to her equine friends. The storm gives her
the opportunity to fulfill her dream -to live in a beautiful
land among the wild horses she loves. With brilliant, stylized
illustrations and simple text, Paul Goble tells the story of
a young woman who follows her heart and the family that respects
and accepts her uniqueness.
Gregory, Kristiana, The Legend of Jimmy Spoon, Graphia,
2002. (Young Adult)
Twelve-year-old Jimmy Spoon yearns for a life
of adventure. So when two Shoshoni boys offer him a horse, Jimmy
sneaks away from his family in Salt Lake City to follow the boys.
When Jimmy arrives at the Shoshoni camp, he discovers that he
is expected to stay - as a member of the tribe. Inspired by the
memoirs of a white man who actually lived with Chief Washakie's
tribe as a boy in the mid-1800s, The Legend of Jimmy Spoon is
a compelling coming-of-age adventure.
Hamilton, Virginia, The
People Could Fly: The Picture Book, Knopf/Random House, 2005. (Grades 3-5)
A group of African slaves working in cotton fields in America
escape an abusive overseer through magic recalled from Africa.
Hospkinson, Deborah, Sweet Clara and the
Freedom Quilt, Dragonfly, 1995. (Grades K-3)
As a seamstress in the Big House, Clara dreams
of a reunion with her Momma, who lives on another plantation
- and even of running away to freedom. Then she overhears two
slaves talking about the Underground Railroad. In a flash of
inspiration, Clara sees how she can use the cloth in her scrap
bag to make a map of the land - a freedom quilt - that no master
will ever suspect.
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane, and Lawrence Migdale,
Buffalo Days, Holiday House, 1997. (Grades 4-6).
Portrait of a young Crow Indian boy - Clarence
Three Irons, Jr., a.k.a. Indian - living in Lodge Grass, Montana.
Indian's father raises cattle and horses, and manages the Crow
buffalo herd. The buffalo has always been a critical element
in Crow culture and the herd's return from near- extinction
is an important link for the Crow with their past. The ways
in which the Crow have preserved and extended their cultural
heritage is Hoyt-Goldsmith's focus, including the annual round-up
reflecting the grand buffalo days - the fair and rodeo offering
a chance to build and camp in tipis, don ceremonial garb, and
attend to sacred dances.
Ichord, Loretta Frances, Hasty Pudding,
Johnnycakes, and Other Good Stuff: Cooking in Colonial America,
Millbrook, 1998. (Grades K-3)
Facts about America's culinary heritage covering such topics
as manners, food preservation, and culinary staples such as corn.
Ichord also includes a section on regional diversity and one
she calls "Soul Cooking," which focuses on the unique
cuisine created by slaves. Recipes for popular dishes, updated
for modern kitchens and accompanied by clear directions and discussion
of how the same dish would have been prepared by colonial cooks,
conclude each chapter. Children will need adult help when they
prepare the food, but they'll have fun learning the history and
making such dishes as johnnycakes, pumpkin soup, and, of course,
Jalali, Yassaman, and Marjan Zamanian, Celebrating Norouz: Persian New Year, Saman, 2003. (Grades 4-6)
Simple and colorful, this book introduces the Persian New Year to children. Includes three crafts.
Katz, William Loren, Black Women of the Old West, Atheneum,
2007. (Young Adult)
Using primary sources and featuring dozens of black-and-white
archival photographs and reproductions, Katz recounts stories
of African American women who made the journey west and illuminates
the times in which they lived and their reasons for going.
Some women of color escaped west from slavery. Others sued
for freedom after being taken there by their owners. Still
others came as mail-order brides. Many black women flourished
on the frontier, where they found more opportunities for education
and better paying jobs.
Kerley, Barbara, A Cool Drink of Water, National Geographic Children's, 2006. (Grades 4-6)
International tour of water gathering around the world. A boy fills a jug from a drainpipe; women in burqua balance brass pots on their heads. A concluding section expands briefly on each image's location and story. A final essay provides statistics about water conservation. Excellent for cross-cultural discussions.
Kathleen, and Yuyu Morales, Harvesting Hope: The Story of
Cesar Chavez, Harcourt, 2003.
of Cesar Chavez's 340-mile march to protest the working conditions
of migrant farmworkers in California. Readers meet Chavez at his
grandparents' home in Arizona where he lived happily amid a large
extended family. His childhood was cut short when, due to financial
difficulties, the family was forced to move to California to seek
employment. After years of laboring in the fields, Chavez became
increasingly disturbed by the inhuman living conditions imposed
by the growers. The text is largely limited to one side of a spread;
beautifully rendered earth-toned illustrations flow out from behind
the words and onto the facing page.
McCully, Emily, Wonder Horse: The True
Story of the World's Smartest Horse, Henry Holt & Co.,
2010. (Grades PreK-2)
Bill Key, born a slave, overcame many obstacles
to become a veterinarian and a business man. Key's horse, Jim,
is eventually recognized as the world's smartest horse and accompanied
Key in his work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty
Miller, Brandon Marie, Buffalo
Gals: Women of the Old West, Lerner, 1997. (Grades 4-7)
Miller's book acquaints
children with a historically accurate picture of the daily life
of 19th Century women of the western frontier. Without neglecting
the story of the Native American women who lived on the frontier,
Miller catches both the bone-wearying labor and the excitement
that sometimes made living in the West worthwhile. She augments
her text with excerpts from journals and memoirs as well as
photographs from regional archives, which are especially effective
because the images are not familiar ones.
Mora, Pat, and Elizabeth Sayles, The Rainbow Tulip, Puffin, 2003. (Grades PreK-3)
Despite her awareness that her Hispanic family is different from toher families in the neighborhood, Stella fits in well and enjoys school. When she goes to the May parade at school in a tulip costume of many colors, she worries she will look different from everyone else. However, her perfect execution of the Maypole dance, her teacher's approval, and, above all, her mother's quiet love contribute to a perfect day for Stella.
Nelson, Marilyn, Carver: A Life in Poems, Front
Street, 2001. (Young Adult)
One of the very few black Americans accorded
great respect before the 1960s was botanist and educator George
Washington Carver. In this biography in poems, Nelson traces
Carver from his recovery after being kidnapped in infancy to
his death. The life in between is characterized by hard work,
intellectual curiosity, personal humility, devotion to the betterment
of black Americans, enormous self-possession, and practical Christian
Ryan, Pam Munoz, Esperanza Rising,
Scholastic, 2002. (Grades 4-6)
Esperanza's mother escapes her stepbrothers,
who are holding her as a social and economic hostage, by moving
with Esperanza to the US to work in California's agricultural
industry. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of
the Depression, this book should make good classroom discussion.
Starke, Ruth, Noodle Pie, Kane Miller, 2010
Pre-teen novel follows an 11-year-old boy raised in Australia
on a trip to Vietnam, where his father takes him to explore his
roots. Food becomes his touchstone for learning about Vietnamese
culture. Includes several recipes.
O'Dell, Scott, Carlota, Laurel Leaf, 2006. (Young Adult)
Carlota thinks her role
in life is to take the place of her dead brother to please her
father. At 16 she races her stallion, dives for gold in shark-infested
waters and fights in the Mexican-American War. But her most
difficult feat is to defy her father and become her own person.
Olson, Nathan, George Washington Carver:
Ingenious Inventor, Capstone, 2006. (Grades 1-7)
Comic book-style word balloons tell the story
of George Washington Carver, beginning with his life as a slave,
his mother's kidnapping and his adoption by the Carvers, his
education and his success as an inventor. Includes a timeline
of his life, a glossary and recommended reading list.
Paulsen, Gary, The Tortilla Factory,
Harcourt, Brace, 1995 (Grades K-3).
Paulsen tells young readers
how a corn seed eventually becomes a tortilla. "The black earth
sleeps in winter . . .," but in the spring, it is worked by
brown hands that plant the yellow seeds. Seeds become plants,
and then the corn is ground into flour and sent to the tortilla
factory. The flour disks come off the machine, are packaged,
and eventually arrive in kitchens -" to be wrapped around juicy
beans and eaten by white teeth, to fill a round stomach and
give strength to the brown hands that work the black earth." This
circular telling works nicely with the strong, attractive paintings
that get texture from their linen surface.
Perez, L. King,
and Robert Casilla, First Day in Grapes, Lee & Low,
2002. (Grades 1-3)
up in a migrant family, Chico has experienced first school days
in artichokes and first days in onions, and "now his first day
in third grade would be in grapes." His encounters with bullies
and the grumpy school bus driver shake Chico's confidence, but
a friendly classmate and an understanding teacher help him adjust.
Realistic watercolor, pastel, and colored-pencil illustrations
portray Chico's emotions.
Pinkney, Andrea D., and Brian Pinkney,
Bill Pickett, Rodeo-Ridin' Cowboy, Sandpiper, 1999. (Grades
This storybook biography
traces Pickett's early life and eventual rise to the upper ranks
of professional rodeo fame and provides historical information
about black cowboys.
Reed, Janet, Everyone Eats Bread,
Red Bricklearning, 2003. (Grades PreK-2)
Early reader with excellent photographs good
for teaching about culture and meeting human needs.
San Souci, Robert,
Cut From the Same Cloth; American Women of Myth, Legend and
Tall Tale, Putnam Juvenile, 2000. (Grades 3-8)
come from the Native American, African American, Mexican American,
and Canadian traditions. Although they differ in many ways from
their male counterparts, there are still tricksters, sweet talkers,
and brave and strong protagonists like those found in hero stories.
There has been some retelling, some modifications of dialects,
some reshaping of open endings, but the plots have not been tampered
with. Each story is illustrated with an engraving of some sort,
with black background and white lines that give the pictures an
antique quality like a woodcut or copper engraving. Notes on the
stories and an extensive list of further reading are appended.
Black Frontiers: A History of African American Heroes in the
Old West, Simon and Schuster for Young Readers, 2000. (Grades
Schlissel describes the experiences of some African Americans who helped settle the American West. She focuses on mountain men, homesteaders, soldiers, cowboys and scouts, explaining their contributions to the taming of the frontier.
St. Antoine, Sara (editor), and Trudy Nicholson and Paul Mirocha, The Great North American Prairie: Stories from Where We Live, Milkweed, 2004. (Grades 4-8)
Stories, poems, journal entries and essays that reflect life on the prairies of the US and Canada. The selections, both historical and contemporary, comprise a good mix of fiction and information and reflect the ethnic diversity of the inhabitants. Includes familiar authors such as Carl Sandburg, Willa Cather, and Louise Erdrich, as well as lesser-known writers. Includes maps, a detailed discussion of different kinds of prairies, listings of flora and fauna, etc.
Stevens, Jan Romero,
Carlos and the Cornfield/Carlos y la milpa de maiz, Scholastic, 2000. (Grades 2-5)
in English and Spanish describes how Carlos learns a life-long
lesson affter planting corn for his father. Includes recipe for
Smothers, Ethel Footman, The Hard-Times Jar, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. (Grades PreK-2)
Emma and her family are migrant workers who follow the crops to make a living. Passionate about books, the girl longs for a store-bought volume but knows that the few coins her mother saves in a jar are for no-money days. Arriving in Pennsylvania, Emma, her parents and young siblings pick apples together, but then Mama tells her she is to attend school now that she is eight. Emma is nervous because she is the only "chocolate brown" child in the class. Emma soon discovers the riches of the school library.
Mildred D., Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Puffin, 2004.
family faces a real challenge: to hold on to land in the South
during the Depression. Her father works away from home and her
mother works and runs the family farm. Lynne Thigpen dramatizes
this excellent classic story of a black family's struggles to
remain independent and proud against all obstacles.
Tillage, Leon Walter,
Leon's Story (Sunburst Books), Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000. (Grades 4-6)
the trials of sharecropping - trying to get an education in an
inferior school and walking a long distance while watching
a bus full of white children pass by. The author witnessed
the murder of his father when a group of drunken white teenagers
ran over the man. The father of the driver gave Mrs. Tillage
100 dollars and told his son to apologize. He never did. There
was never any legal action taken. The events are succinctly
and honestly expressed in the author's first-person account.
Roth's monochromatic collage art, placed before the beginning
of each chapter, documents the sparseness of Tillage's life
and its boundaries: home, church, school, work, and the balcony
at the movie theater. The last story, "Marching," explains
the role of many groups of southerners, representing a number
of ethnic groups who supported and helped the marchers. The
afterword and note about the genesis of the book are important
Tingle, Tim, and Jeanne Rorex Bridges, Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship and Freedom, Cinco Puntos, 2006. (Grades 2-6)
In the days before the War Between the States, and the days before the Trail of Tears, a Mississippi Choctaw girl strays across the Bok Chitto River into the world of Southern Plantations where she befriends a slave boy and his family. When trouble comes, the desperate runaways flee to freedom, helped by the Choctaws' secret route across the river. Includes sophisticated end notes about Choctaw history and storytelling traditions.
Treuille, Eric, Bread,
DK, 2007. (Grades 6-Adult)
Moves beyond the basics of how bread is made
and explains how cultures interpret bread and how bread impacts
culture. It explores a wide variety of bread from across the
globe and explains the characteristics of each and what its name
Williams, Sherley Anna, Working Cotton, Harcourt, Brace,
Jovanovich, 1992 (Grades K-3).
Shelan, the young child of two migrant workers, follows her
parents into the fields to help them pick cotton during a long
day of work, in a dramatically illustrated study of migrant family
Jacqueline, and Hudson Talbott, Show Way, Putnam,
2005. (Grades K-5)
A Show Way
is a quilt with secret meanings, and the image works as both
history and metaphor in this picture book. Based on Woodson's
own history, the story is of African American women across
generations, from slavery and the civil rights movement to
the present. Growing up on a plantation in South Carolina,
Soonie learns from Big Mama about children "growing up
and getting themselves free," and also how to sew quilts
with signs that show the way to freedom.
Zurakowski, Michele, Midday
Meals Around the World, Picture Window, 2004. (Grades 1-5)
Discover what children around the world eat for
their midday meals. Menus include meals from North and South
America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Also includes kid-friendly
Recommend a book.
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