Intergenerational Understanding: A Review of My Day with Gong Gong

cover193785-mediumMy Day with Gong Gong
Written by Sennah Yee and illustrated by Elaine Chen
Published by Annick Press
Available September 8, 2020
Ages 3-6

May, a young girl, spends the day with her grandfather. At first, she feels shy and later bored, until her grandfather takes her to Chinatown. As they make their way through the city, May cannot always understand her Gong Gong. May does not understand Cantonese, and Gong Gong does not speak that much English. Gong Gong takes May on errands and into shops, and sometimes it seems like Gong Gong’s friends are laughing at her. She does not understand and gets frustrated. She is also hungry. It turns out, though, Gong Gong does understand her: he gives her pork buns when she is hungry, and he surprises her with the stuffed monkey she saw in a gift shop.

Sennah Yee captures intergenerational love and understanding with this new picture book. Illustrator Elaine Chen’s colorful drawings show off May’s full range of emotions and normalizes the frustration and confusion that can often come when a young child is out of their comfort zone. Chen’s pictures feature close ups of May’s face, and as the book evolves, May and her grandfather’s faces turn towards each other, not away. The watercolor illustrations are bright and airy, detailing everything from a living room to the streets of Chinatown. Some of Yee’s best writing comes in situational comedy–May gets pooped on by a pigeon, and the tears flow quickly. Her grandfather comes to her aid, and the tearful expressions soon turn joyful. At the beginning of the book, May was suspicious of the new faces and phrases in Cantonese that she did not understand; by the end of the book, May is more confident and can exclaim, “Nei hou” as well as say “doh je” in thanks for some delicious food. The picture book’s ending has a list of Cantonese phrases May and her grandfather used during their day together.

Resources to Help Combat Racism

Here at the Butler Center, instead of our regular Butler Bookshelf, we are turning our attention to lifting up resources to help combat racism. As a Sinsinawa Dominican-sponsored institution, Dominican University prepares students to pursue truth, to give compassionate service, and to participate in the creation of a more just and humane world. The Butler Children’s Literature Center carries out its own mission as a reflection of that inspiration.

book heart

Below please find resources for children’s book lists, resources for educators, as well as industry and publishing information.

Book Lists and Resources

Center for Racial Justice in Education: Reading Lists 

Chicago Public Library: Black Lives Matter e-books for kids 

Cooperative Children’s Book Center: Multicultural Literature 

Coretta Scott King Book Awards Blog: Online Resources 

Diverse Book Finder: Searchable Collection

Embrace Race: 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance  

Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Diversity Book Lists  

St. Paul Public Library: Books About Hope and Resilience

St. Paul Public Library: Books for Talking About Race With Young Children 

St. Paul Public Library: Books for Talking about Race With Children and Teens 

 

Butler Children’s Literature Center Resources and Reading Lists in reverse chronological order

Butler Center: A Reading List for Black History Month

Butler Center: A Reading List for Hispanic Heritage Month  

Butler Center: Recognizing Diverse Children’s Literature

Butler Center: Own Story Narratives 

Butler Center: More Diverse Literature Resources 

Butler Center: A Reading List for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month 

Butler Center: Celebrating 50 Years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards 

Butler Center: A Reading List for Pride Month 

 

Educator Resources

Common Sense Media: How White Parents Can Use Media to Raise Anti-Racist Kids 

Lee and Low Blog: Panel on Education Resources to Elevate Student Voice & Identity 

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture: Talking About Race  

TeachingBooks: Resources for Coretta Scott King Award Winning Titles, Authors and Illustrators 

Teaching Tolerance: Anti-Racist Education Public Lesson Plans

 

Publishing Statistics and Information

 Butler Center: Breakdown of Diverse Content & Own Voices works within Butler’s 2018 Collection 

Cooperative Children’s Book Center: Publishing Statistics on Children’s/YA Books about People of Color and First/Native Nations and by People of Color and First/Native Nations 

Lee and Low Blog: Where is the Diversity In Publishing? The 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey Results 

Prankenstein Strikes Again: A Review of Judy Moody and Friends: Prank You Very Much

Prank You Very Much cover

Judy Moody and Friends: Prank You Very Much
Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid
Candlewick
Ages 4-6
Published March 10, 2020

It’s time for the Summer Science Showdown. Stink is ready to wow the crowd with his mad scientist skills and save tomato plants everywhere from the dreaded dodders! As always, his older sister Judy (aka Prankenstein) has mischief in mind, with plans to trick Stink with the results of his own experiment. Even when unwittingly aided by Mom, Judy’s prank falls flat. It seems the master prankster can’t make her little brother believe he grew tomatoes overnight, for more than a minute anyway.

This is the 12th installment in the spin-off series for newly independent readers, each of which showcases one of the original series regulars in their own silly adventure. The themes of school projects and brother/sister dynamics are spot-on for the publisher’s target age group (4-6 year-olds). But the long text blocks and some tricky vocabulary are advanced for the group and might be a better fit for 6-8 year-olds. Madrid’s vividly colored and detailed digital illustrations (influenced by the original series illustrator Peter H. Reynolds) will offer some help with decoding for new readers wanting a challenge.

Butler Bookshelf

Don’t we all wish we could frolic in the ocean right now? Channel your dreams and dive into Lily Murray’s Beneath the Waves, with illustrations created entirely from hand pressed plants by Helen Ahpornsiri. For more great reads, check out the list below!

Where’s My Turtle?
Written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Infamous Ratsos Camp Out
Written by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Matt Myers
Published by Candlewick
Available now!

Who’s Hiding on the Savanna?
Illustrated by Katharine McEwan
Published by Nosy Crow
Available now!

Beneath the Waves
Written by Lilly Murray and illustrated by Helen Ahpornsiri
Published by Big Picture Press
Available now!

I thought I saw a… Monkey!
Illustrated by Lydia Nichols
Published by Templar
Available now!

Into the Tall, Tall Grass
Written by Loriel Ryon
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available now!

 

 

Beloved Book Events – Now Virtual!

Instead of cancelling, many of our favorite events are going virtual! If you’ve ever wanted to go to an event like BookCon or the Bronx Book Festival, here’s your chance. Check out the list below for some exciting events, including opportunities for continuing education credit.

BookExpo Online
Dates: May 26-May 28
Schedule: Check out online sessions schedule here. Most events will take via Facebook Live, with more details on the individual session pages.
Cost: Free
About: Normally in person, 2020’s BookExpo will now be online! The first day will feature a full slate of education sessions geared toward libraries and librarians; later sessions feature the event’s popular Adult and Children’s Book Breakfasts (now converted to dinners!) where literary giants and celebrity authors gather in conversation. Also on the schedule are the beloved BookExpo Buzz sessions (Adult, YA, and Middle Grade), where they’ll explore the breakout titles slated to become bestsellers.

School Library Journal Day of Dialog
Dates: May 27
Schedule: Available here with more details upon registration
Cost: Free with registration
Important to note: Certificates of completion will be provided to submit for CE credits. Upon completion of a course/session, attendees will receive a certificate of completion that will include the # of continuing education hours.
About: More than 40 authors and publishers will participate in this Day of Dialog, talking about the latest and most exciting forthcoming titles for children, tweens, and teens, ranging from picture books and nonfiction to graphic novels and YA. There will be a virtual exhibit hall to network with leading publishers, enjoy additional author chats, and download digital galleys as well as other free resources and giveaways.

BookConline (virtual BookCon)
Dates: May 30-31
Schedule: Online sessions schedule available here, many of which will take place via Facebook Live
Cost: Free
About: BookConline will feature sessions throughout each day with different authors and publishers to give participants a front-row look at debut books and behind-the-scenes peeks at favorite titles. Most events will be run through BookCon’s Facebook page, including trivia and ARC giveaways.

Bronx Book Festival 2020
Dates: June 6
Schedule: Forthcoming, speakers and panelists available here
Cost: Free with registration
About: The Bronx Book Festival, curated by The Bronx is Reading, will be online this year. The festival aims to promote literacy and foster a love of reading among children, teens, and adults. The festival will cover a wide range of topics relevant to the Bronx community through panels, workshops, and more with award-winning and bestselling authors, illustrators, and creators. Join keynote speakers Jason Reynolds and Gabby Rivera for this event that spotlights the local book community.

Eid Mubarak: A review of Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices

Once Upon an Eid cover

Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices
Edited by S.K Ali and Aisha Saeed
Amulet/Abrams
May 5, 2020
Grades 3-7

Celebration, joy, family, traditions—Once Upon an Eid is a powerful collection of short stories from a group of the most talented voices in literature for young people. And the stories are as interesting and diverse as the writers they come from, with portraits of plenty and scarcity, heartache and love, prose, verse, and even a compact graphic story.

Editors S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed have succeeded in curating an engaging collection for middle-grade readers (but accessible for older readers as well) that both celebrates the traditions of the two Eid holidays (Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha) and respects how those traditions differ by culture, community, and family. The cast of characters is a well-drawn assortment of young people and families learning, growing, and celebrating their faith in a way that appears as a reminiscence for those that celebrate and a welcoming window into the celebration for those that don’t.

 

Butler Bookshelf

We’re eager to read Nelly Buchet’s picture book Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family, with charming illustrations by Andrea Zuill. It’s about what happens when families come together–all the messiness and the joys. For more great reads, check out this week’s Butler Bookshelf below!

The Water Bears
Written by Kim Baker
Published by Wendy Lamb Books
Available now!

Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family
Written by Nelly Buchet and illustrated by Andrea Zuill
Published by Schwartz & Wade
Available now!

A Girl in Three Parts
Written by Suzanne Daniel
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

Dirt Cheap
Written and illustrated by Mark Hoffman
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Available now!

The Lucky Ones
Written by Liz Lawson
Published by Delacorte Press
Available now!

Bedtime Bonnet
Written by Nancy Redd and illustrated by Nneka Myers
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Available now!