BECOME A MEMBER! Sign up for TIE services now and start your international school career


Lost and Found on the Bookshelf

By Margriet Ruurs
Lost and Found on the Bookshelf

Adrift At Sea, A Vietnamese Boy’s Story of Survival by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch with Tuan Ho, illustrated by Brian Deines. What are Vietnamese boat people? Where did they go, and why? This beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book introduces the reader to a real family: two parents and their five children. Told in the voice of six-year-old Tuan, it explains how thousands were forced to flee communist South Vietnam after the Vietnam war. They dodged the bullets of an oppressive regime as they tried to escape by sea, but there were far too many people packed into unseaworthy boats. Many perished. Tuan was among the lucky ones rescued by a U.S. naval ship. He and his family went on to become valued Canadian citizens. An interesting read that explains why and how people are sometimes forced to flee and find a new homeland (ISBN 978-1-77278-005-5).
In Passover, Festival of Freedom Monique Polak explores the rituals and meaning of this Jewish festival. She introduces the reader to kids who prepare for Passover as they cook and shop. She explores how Passover is celebrated in different countries and explains the history behind many of the associated customs. Personal stories illustrate the fascinating text, while beautiful photos enhance the book as a must-have for any library (Orca Origins, ISBN 978-1-4598-0990-1).
French Toast by Kari-Lynn Winters. When you are blind, you don’t see skin color and you truly know that everyone is the same. Phoebe doesn’t like it when kids from school call “Hey, French Toast!” or tease her for her accent. Her Nan-ma is blind and asks Phoebe to describe the colors of family and friends. Their talk helps Phoebe to look at things in a different light. Phoebe’s mom is “stirred peach yogurt.” Her dad is like warm banana bread. Phoebe discovers that Nan-ma doesn’t even know her own skin color until she tells her it is like maple syrup. Suddenly being called French Toast isn’t so bad anymore, especially when a chocolate-spread girl of color from school wants to play with Phoebe (ISBN 978-1-77278-006-2).
14 Cows For America by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. This gorgeous picture book is the touching story of Kimeli, a young Maasai warrior from Kenya. He goes to America to study. When he returns to his village, he brings with him the heart-wrenching story of what happened in America on 9/11. The Maasai elders are shocked. How can anyone hate like that? To the fierce yet gentle Maasai, cows are sacred, ensuring life. So they offer the greatest gift they can: 14 cows for America, to help the people heal. “Because there is no nation so powerful that it cannot be wounded nor a people so small they cannot offer mighty comfort.” A true story, beautifully written, accompanied by breathtaking paintings of the Maasai people. This is a tale to treasure and share. Includes a teachers’ guide (ISBN 978-1-56145-490-7).
Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot! by Beryl Young. If you have ever heard an African Grey Parrot speak or make sounds, you know that this wild story could be entirely true! When uncle Bill the pirate leaves his pet parrot Guapo with the Gibson family, they are not impressed by his loud squawks and inappropriate sounds. He imitates dogs, telephones, and fire engines. But when Aunt Pattie comes for her annual visit, Guapo becomes the hero and finds a permanent home. Young readers will enjoy the wacky illustrations while a back page offers nonfiction information on African Grey Parrots (ISBN 978-1-927735-00-8).
Margriet Ruurs is the author of 27 books for children. She lives in Canada and conducts school visits around the world.

Please fill out the form below if you would like to post a comment on this article:


There are currently no comments posted. Please post one via the form above.



University Visits in a Post Covid World?
By Robbie Jefferiss
May 2021

A Ferry Crossing from Love to Loss and Back Again
By Kathleen Naglee
Apr 2021