Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ideas for Summer Reading for Children

Diane Browne's 'Ebony and the
Auntie of the Starlight' is on
Amazon as an e-book.
Summer Schools are mostly over. What now? In the several weeks of summer holidays remaining, there is no better activity for children than reading for pleasure. The premise is simple, but implementation meets a number of obstacles.
The first is to convince parents and teachers that it is true, although many studies have shown that when children are allowed to read books of their own choosing, most areas of study at school are enhanced. Reading improves comprehension and knowledge of grammar, and increases vocabulary more than do exercises in books designed for that purpose.

The second, especially in Jamaica, is to expose children to an adequate number of books from which to choose. The third is to find people who are willing and able to help them make these choices.
In this and subsequent posts, I am putting forward some suggestions of sources of books (other than The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and books by Enid Blyton).
One of the titles in Carlong's
Sand Pebble Series 

There is a common attitude that Jamaicans don’t write and illustrate books, but this is clearly not true, (see my list below). Many of these books are available in local bookshops and libraries; and children enjoy reading about heroes and heroines who look and speak like themselves. There is wide selection of Caribbean books on the Anasesem website. Anansesem is an online magazine featuring news, ideas, art and letters from the world of Caribbean children’s publishing. It incorporates a bookstore where Caribbean children’s books can be bought online.
Nowadays, children have the option of reading on their tablets or even on their phones. Book Fusion in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information have made available books in the Doctor Bird Series, Literacy 1-2-3 and the Blue Mahoe series, which are no longer available in print.
There is also the International Children’s Digital Library  I was surprised to find The Cat Woman and the Spinning Wheel by Diane Browne, illustrated by Andrea Haynes-Peart in this library. Diane didn’t know it was there either! She told me it was one of the most popular books in the Doctor Bird Reading Series, back in the day. To find the Jamaican books, search books by country.
Marley Dias

Marley Dias, a girl from New Jersey whose mother is Jamaican, took social media by storm with her campaign
"1000 Black Girl Books" after she was tired of reading about white boys and their dogs. See below for the books she chose for girls her age.
          On  Amazon, you can find many children’s e-books, for example, Diane Browne’s “Ebony and the Auntie of the Starlight” and “Abigail’s Glorious Hair”.
An advantage of choosing both e-books and hard copies from Amazon is that you can read the first few pages. You can see the size of the print, the type of vocabulary and sentence length, and the illustrations. Children too can choose books in this way.
Another source of book ideas is the Center for Teaching and Learning website. At this school, reading for pleasure is mandatory, both at home and at school. The only problem is that the lists of books which children like are very long. I have been through one for girls in grades 5 & 6, and picked out the more well-known books - see below. It is my intention to pick out and recommend books for boys and girls for other grades, and post them in  my next blog.

List of books by Jamaican Authors

1. Flying with Icarus  by Curdella Forbes                  2003 (Walker Books)

Carlong Sand Pebble Series  available in Sangsters Book Stores

2. Jojo’s Treasure Hunt by Cherrell Shelley-Robinson           2003 (10-12)

3. Freedom Come by Jean Goulbourne                                  2002 (10 -12)

4. Island Princess in Brooklyn by Diane Browne       2011 (10-14)

5. Bernie and the Captain’s Ghost by Hazel Campbell          2010 (10-12)

6. Tek Mi! Noh Tek Mi by C. Shelley-Robinson et al            2008 (10-14)

7. Every Little Thing will be All Right by Diane Browne 2003 (8-10)

8. Little Island - Big Adventures by Maria Roberts-Squires 2007 (12-14)

9. Jenny and the General by Jean D’Costa                 2006 (8-10)

10. Miss Bettina’s House by Hazel Campbell                        2004 (8-10)

11. Ash the Flash by Hazel Campbell and Nattalie Gordon   2014 (10-12)

Published by LMH,  available at outlets supplied by Novelty Trading.

12. Juice Box and Scandal by Hazel Campbell

13. Tilly Bummie by Hazel Campbell

14. Ramgoat Dashalong by Hazel Campbell

15. Goat Boy Never Cries by Hazel Campbell

16. Be-All-You-Can-Be: Yalena and the Spelling Bee by Lil’ Island kids

17. Fly Away Home and other Caribbean Stories by Andy Mead

18. Project Climate Change by Petre Williams-Raynor

19. Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis

20. Saving Joe Louis by Isabel Marvin

By Diane Browne

21. A Tumbling World - A Time of Fire

22. Cordelia Finds Fame and Fortune. Now available as an ebook

23. The Ring and the Roaring Water

By Linda Gambrill (Beenybud Stories)

24. Miss Tiny (7- 9)

25. A Boy Named Neville (7 - 9)

Island Fiction Series (Macmillan Caribbean 2009) available at outlets supplied by Novelty Trading and on Amazon.

27. Delroy in the Marog Kingdom by Billy Elm  2009 (9-14)

28. Night of the Indigo by Michael Holgate  2009 (12-15)


29. Blue Mountain Trouble by Martin Mordecai 2009 (8-12) 

By Cedella Marley

31. One Love (2011)

32. Every Little Thing (2012)

33. A Jamaican Storyteller’s Tale by Lorrimer A. Burford ( 2005)

By Suzanne Francis Brown

34. The Mystery of the Golden Table (Arawak Publishing)

35. Searching for Pirates. A Port Royal Adventure (Arawak)

36. Marcus Garvey. (Suzanne Francis-Brown/Jean-Jacques Vayssieres)(Ian Randle Publ)

37. The Mermaid Escapade (E-Published, Kindle, 2013) 

38. By Helen Williams ‘Delroy and the Marog Princess’ (self-published e-book sequel to Delroy in the Marog Kingdom).

The following stories were written longer ago (‘70’s,’80’s and ‘90’s). They are probably better known than more recent publications, because many of them were on school book lists.

By James Berry

40. Ajeemah and His Son – Harper Collins1993 (8-up)

By Everard Palmer

41.  A Cow Called Boy 1972 (6-10)

42. The Sun Salutes You (Republished by Macmillan Caribbean 2007) (8-12)

43. My Father Sun-Sun Johnson 1974 (8-12)(Republished by Macmillan Caribbean 2012)

44. Cloud with the Silver Lining 1987 (8-12)(Republished by Macmillan Caribbean 2011)

By Jean D’Costa

46. Escape to Last Man Peak

By Andrew Salkey (all reprinted by Peepal Tree Press 2011 in the Caribbean Modern Classics  Series) (12 - up) 

47. Drought (Oxford 1966; )

49.  Riot

By Vic Reid (1913 - 1987)

51. Sixty-Five (1960), London: Longman.

52. The Young Warriors (1967), London: Longman.

53. Peter of Mount Ephraim (1971), Kingston: Jamaica Publishing House.

54. The Jamaicans (revised edition 1978), Kingston: Institute of Jamaica.

55. Nanny Town (1983)

56. The Horses of the Morning (1985)

57. The Leopard

Books chosen by Marley Dias for Middle Grade (some are higher level and some lower)
(The asterisks are not mine and have no significance in the context of this blog post.)
  1. Almost Zero by Nikki Grimes
  2. At Her Majesty’s Request: An African Princess in Victorian England by Walter Dean Myers*
  3. Bayou Magic by Jewel Parker Rhodes
  4. Bird by Crystal Chan
  5. Brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson*
  6. Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon
  7. The Case of the Missing Museum Archives by Steve Brezenoff
  8. Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance by Eleanora E Tate
  9. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  10. The Cheetah Girls by Deborah Gregory
  11. Ernestine and Amanda by Sandra Belton
  12. Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
  13. The Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman
  14. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
  15. A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
  16. Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
  17. Half-Way to Perfect by Nikki Grimes
  18. Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
  19. The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
  20. The Laura Line by Crystal Allen
  21. Leaving Gee’s Bend by Irene Latham
  22. Let The Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor
  23. Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration by Shelley Tougas*
  24. Ludell by Brenda Wilkinson
  25. The Magnificent Mya Tubbs: Spirit Week Showdown by Crystal Allen
  26. Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes
  27. Maritcha: A Nineteenth Century American Girl by Tonya Bolden
  28. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  29. Mo-Ne Davis: Remember My Name by Mo’ne Davis*
  30. Nikki and Deja by Karen English
  31. Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues by Karen English
  32. Nikki and Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter by Karen English
  33. Nikki and Deja: Substitute Trouble by Karen English
  34. Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  35. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  36. President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston
  37. President of the Whole Sixth Grade by Sherri Winston
  38. PS: Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia
  39. The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  40. The Road to Memphis by Mildred D. Taylor
  41. The Road to Paris by Nikki Grimes
  42. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor
  43. Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America by Tonya Bolden*
  44. Shadows of Sherwood by Kekla Magoon
  45. Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones
  46. Skit Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill*
  47. Standing Against The Wind by Traci L Jones
  48. Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes
  49. Twintuition: Double Vision by Tia and Tamara Mowry
  50. The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
  51. Unstoppable Octabia May by Sharon Flake
  52. Who Was Harriet Tubman? by Yona Zeldis McDonough*
  53. Who Was Maya Angelou? by Ellen Labrecque*
  54. Who Was Michelle Obama? by Megan Stein*
  55. Who Was Rosa Parks? by Yona Zeldis McDonough*
  56. Who Was Sojourner Truth? by Yona Zeldis McDonough*
  57. Words With Wings by Nikki Grimes
  58. Zahrah The Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu
  59. Zora and Me by Victoria Bond

Books chosen by girls in grades 5& 6 attending the Centre for Teaching and Learning
Lexile is a way of matching readers with text using the same scale. The lower the lexile, the easier the book. Not all books have a lexile assigned. Grade equivalents are given in the lexile website as a guide, but the important thing is to match reader with text.  
Agell, Charlotte    Welcome Home or Someplace Like It
Bowler, Tim    Storm Catchers
Brashares, Ann    The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants trilogy
Carman, Patrick  Thirteen Days to Midnight
Choldenko, Gennifer   Al Capone Does My Shirts
Colfer, Chris    Land of Stories
Creech, Sharon    Walk Two Moons
Funke, Cornelia    Inkheart, Inkspell, and The Thief Lord
Giff, Patricia Reilly    Wild Girl
Grimes, Nikki    The Road to Paris
Hale, Dean    Calamity Jack
Hale, Shannon  Princess Academy
Hiassen, Carl    Flush and Hoot
Hobbs, Will    Jackie's Wild Seattle
Holm, Jennifer    Turtle in Paradise
Hunt, Lynda Mullaly    Fish in a Tree
Lord, Cynthia    Rules 
Lowry, Lois    Number the Stars
Magoon, Kekla    The Rock and the River 
Myers, Walter Dean    Fallen Angels, Game, and Monster
O'Dell, Scott    Island of the Blue Dolphins
Park, Linda Sue    A Long Walk to Water
Patterson, Katherine    Lyddie
Riordan, Rick    The Lightning Thief
Ryan, Pam Munoz Esperanza Rising
Sachar, Louis    Holes
Watkins, Yoko Kawashima    So Far from the Bamboo Grove
Woodson, Jacqueline    Feathers
Yousafzai, Malala    I Am Malala
Zhang, Kat    What's Left of Me

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