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Books in Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Commended series

  • The Remembering Stone

    Barbara Timberlake Russell, Claire B. Cotts

    Hardcover (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), April 2, 2004)
    A surprising journey of self-discoveryIn early fall, the blackbirds creak like rusty wheels behind our apartment . . . "One day I will return like you," my mother tells the birds. "But for now, you go. Que les vaya bien. Safe journey."Ana doesn't understand the pull of this faraway place until one night she puts her favorite thing -- a stone spit from the volcanoes of Costa Rica - underneath her pillow. She imagines herself a blackbird flying to this country her mother longs to see again, with "mountains [that] stretch over steamy cedar and ebony forests, noisy with bright birds . . . [her] grandfather and uncles gathering cacao pods from the trees." And as Ana imagines what she would see, she develops her own emotional link to this place and people, who, while far away, are part of her.This evocative picture book with its striking, bold art celebrates the importance of hope, dreams, and cultural roots -- and will have special resonance for all thos who find themselves at the crossroads of two cultures.
  • Chengli and the Silk Road Caravan

    Hildi Kang

    Hardcover (Tanglewood, Aug. 23, 2011)
    Chengli is an orphaned errand boy who lives in Chang'an China in 630 A.D. His mother has died from illness and his father is presumed dead after disappearing into the desert when Chengli was a baby. Now thirteen, Chengli feels ready for independence. He is drawn to the desert, beckoned by the howling of strange winds and the hope of learning something about his father--who he was and how he died. Chengli joins a caravan to travel down the merchant route known as the Silk Road, but it is a dangerous life, as his father knew. The desert is harsh, and there are many bandits--bandits interested in Chengli's caravan because a princess, her servants, and royal guards are traveling with them. But the desert is full of amazing places and life-changing experiences, as the feisty princess learns the meaning of friendship and Chengli learns the heroism of which he is capable.
  • Martin de Porres: The Rose in the Desert

    Gary D. Schmidt, David Diaz

    Hardcover (Clarion Books, June 26, 2012)
    2013 Pura Belpre Award for IllustrationAs the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a former slave, Martin de Porres was born into extreme poverty. Even so, his mother begged the church fathers to allow him into the priesthood. Instead, Martin was accepted as a servant boy. But soon, the young man was performing miracles. Rumors began to fly around the city of a strange mulatto boy with healing hands, who gave first to the people of the barrios. Martin continued to serve in the church, until he was finally received by the Dominican Order, no longer called the worthless son of a slave, but rather a saint and the rose in the desert.
  • Apple Pie Fourth of July

    Janet S. Wong, Margaret Chodos-Irvine

    Hardcover (Harcourt Children's Books, May 1, 2002)
    No one wants Chinese food on the Fourth of July, I say. We're in apple-pie America, and my parents are cooking chow mein! . . . They just don't get it. Americans do not eat Chinese food on the Fourth of July. Right? Shocked that her parents are cooking Chinese food to sell in the family store on this all-American holiday, a feisty Chinese-American girl tries to tell her mother and father how things really are. But as the parade passes by and fireworks light the sky, she learns a lesson of her own. This award-winning author-illustrator team returns with a lighthearted look at the very American experience of mixed cultures.
  • Coolies

    Yin, Chris Soentpiet

    Hardcover (Philomel, Feb. 19, 2001)
    When Shek and little Wong journey to America in 1865, they have work! Along with hundreds of other Chinese, the brothers are going to help build a great railroad across the West. But as days grow into months, Shek and Wong endure more than they could have imagined-bleeding hands, blasting dynamite, and treacherous avalanches. For very little pay. Are they being treated this way because of their almond-shaped eyes-because they are coolies?Inspired by actual events in the history of the American railroad, Coolies reveals the harsh truth about life for thousands of Chinese laborers, while it celebrates the love and loyalty between two brothers who were determined not only to survive, but to succeed.