Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Valerie's Vignettes Reviews a Re-released Classic and Something New, Multicultural Books for the New Year.

         It's a new year and time for a new selection of books to add to your reading list. To celebrate Multicultural Children's Book Day 2019, Valerie's Vignettes has two great books to recommend.
     The first book, Rocks & Rice is a new story, a richly illustrated picture-book that highlights the universality of a particular culinary pairing, and demonstrates how food and dining rituals can serve as a surprising intersection of cultural understanding. 
     The second book is a rediscovered classic written by one of America's great literary voices. Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood was written by James Baldwin more than 40 years ago. Recently rediscovered, the book is experiencing a resurgence of interest and popularity. A unique and masterful work, the narrative is a celebration of childhood that audiences young and old can appreciate.  
      Each book is a wonder-filled adventure into the multicultural experience that offers literary soul-food for thought. Enjoy and #ReadYourWorld ! 


"Rice & Rocks"

By Sandra Richards,
Illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

                             Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing         Published: 2016
                             ISBN: 978-1-940014-73-9                               Pages: 32         

     Food is the most popular cornerstone of culture, and Sandra Richard’s children’s story, “Rice and Rocks,” shows how this proves true for one special little boy.  In this delightfully illustrated children’s tale, young Giovanni is embarrassed that his grandmother plans to serve the Jamaican staple, beans and rice – which he un-affectionately calls “rice and rocks” – to his school friends during the family’s traditional Sunday dinner. 
     But when Auntie and Jasper, Giovanni’s mystical and wisecracking pet parrot, take him on a wondrous adventure that spans geographic and cultural boundaries, Giovanni learns that “rice & rocks” are nothing about which to throw stones! 
     Through their adventures, and his guests’ sharing of their own family traditions associated with flavorful favorite, including Japanese sekihan, Puerto Rican arroz con gandules, and New Orleans-style red beans and rice, Giovanni learns that the diverse dish is a celebration in itself. 
     Readers, 5-9, will learn how universal culinary culture can be in this tasty tale that offers myriad morsels of foodie fun facts as well as nod to Louis “Satchmo” Armstong, whose signature salutation, we learn was, “Red beans and ricely, yours.”
      “Rice & Rocks” is a story that teaches us all to sincerely savour our similarities. 

-Valerie Williams-Sanchez  

This book was provided by Wise Ink Creative Publishing  for
 2019 Multicultural Children’s Book Day review.

"Little Man, Little Man:

A Story of Childhood"

          By James Baldwin, Illustrated by Yoran Cazac
Publisher: Duke University Press     Published: 1976
ISBN: 978-1-4780-0004-4        Pages: 120

     The indelible storytelling of one of America’s most prolific and polemic native sons, James Baldwin, is brought to life through the echoing prose and evocative imagery of Little Man, Little Man. Baldwin’s only published children’s book, it is one that captures the sights, sounds, and perspective of childhood. 
     Told from the vantage point of his niece, Blinky, 8, his nephew, TJ, 4, and their neighbor, WT, 7, Baldwin captures the ethos, vernacular, imagination, and carefree innocence of growing-up during the mid-70s in Harlem. We see and feel the pulse of life through the eyes of the kids, at their level. 
       Not a simple book; rather, it speaks simply and honestly of the realities of city life right down to the empty faces of the broken. Through the children's eyes we see the people they pass while they play, running to retrieve errant and bouncing balls down endless asphalt avenues. These intimate views expand beyond the concrete facades and into the living spaces of those who live on the block into homes and lives of the friends we meet through the book's pages.
      Following the threesome's interactions, Baldwin's signature narration gives voice to the humor and honesty, the love, laughter, and drama, the everyday adventures that unfold in the city. The community that emerges is tough yet tender, replete with equal parts love and despair, and abundant in nurturing wisdom for its youngest and most vulnerable.
     Accenting the author's narrative yarn, illustrator Yoran Cazac’s jazz-infused and impressionist pictures radiate the rich, vibrance of their urban village. From the rhythm in its voice to the colors of its imagery, Little Man, Little Man is not simply a picture book, rather, it is an authentic, masterfully crafted love letter about urban childhood that is worthy of a read by children and adults alike. 

-Valerie Williams-Sanchez  

This book was provided by Duke University Press for
 2019 Multicultural Children’s Book Day review.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board! *View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:  and  *View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: Including: Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing . Also connect with us on social media and look for the official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.