This week I decided to stay local, or glocal, as it were. I wanted to see what international treasures I could find at the library. I have seen kids' books in Hindi, Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, and Spanish at the library before, so I thought inspiration for this blog entry would hit me when I got there. Lo and behold, I was smitten not with foreign books, but with (American) English books with a global focus.
I stumbled upon Sitti's Secrets and I am so glad I did. This book was published in 1994, but sadly, it is still relevant today. Sitti's Secerets is about a young girl named Mona from the United States who visits her Sitti (which means "grandmother" in Arabic) living in Palestine. Using gentle, nostalgic language, Shihab Nye showcases the love between a granddaughter and grandmother but manages to delicately weave in the War as a silent, yet persistent character. It's a book that kids and their parents will definitely have to sit down and chat about, but that's a good thing. Because love, not war, is at the center of this book, all kids with loving grandparents will be able to relate to this story. I'm not a kid, and I almost cried at the end! Don't worry, parents, there's no violence or death in this book.
The next gem I found is for the younger set and is the perfect complement to Sitti's Secrets. It's called, appropriately, Little Treasures by Jacqueline K. Ogburn. Little Treasures lists endearments parents all over the world use on their children. While there's no story per se, Chris Raschka's darling illustrations are candy for the eyes--I just wanted to reach into the book and squeeze the pictures THEY WERE THAT CUTE. Ms. Ogburn's message is crystal clear and much-needed in today's world: People might look different and speak different languages, but no matter where they are, they love their children.
What are your favorite books with an international focus? Let me know in the comments section below!