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April 2014

Return Your Books! Win Prizes!

Book Return Contest

Return your books!  Win prizes!

Return your books! Win prizes!

You could win a $25 Amazon gift card! Here’s how it works:

  1. Return your Library and Earl Center items by May 8th.
  2. Enter your name in the contest by stopping by the Library Service Desk.
  3. On May 9th, two winners will be selected at random.

You must have zero items checked out as of the 9th to be eligible and must not have any unpaid fines.

Winners will be contacted on Friday, May 9th.

But wait! There’s More!

Better World Books Drive

Packing up your room or office to go home for the summer? Wondering what to do with your books?  Donate them to a good cause!

Stay tuned for the Library’s Better World Books Drive! During book buy-back, collection bins will be placed around campus. Books left in these bins will be sent to Better World Books, an organization that resells donated items with the goal of funding various literacy foundations.

So don’t throw those unwanted books away! Drop them in a bin, and feel good about making an impact in the lives of children and families.

Featuring Characters of Asian Descent

The month of May commemorates the culture, history, and accomplishments of those of Asian-American and Pacific Islander heritage.  I am reminded of Grace Lin, a daughter born from Taiwanese immigrants, and her contribution to children’s literature with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, which received the Newbery Medal and Wheel Award.  Recently, the Wheelock Family Theatre had put on a stage adaptation of the book.   mountainmoonIt was a great accomplishment not only for Grace Lin, but for authors of Asian descent.  Not many children’s books by authors or featuring characters of Asian/Pacific Islander descent get that much attention.  Actually, there aren’t that many being published in the first place.

So, in honor of  Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’m highlighting some books from the Wheelock College Library featuring characters of Asian and/or Pacific Islander decent.

Bobby vs. Girls (accidentally), by Lisa See; illustrated by Dan Santat
Bobby Ellis-Chan accidentally gets into a fight with his best friend, Holly, and suddenly, it becomes an all-out boys versus girls war.   While many books featuring characters of Asian descent are about the Asian American experience, this book is focused more on boy-girl dynamics during the pubescent years.  Bobby just happened to be of Asian descent.

Bringing Asha Home, by Uma Krishnaswami; illustrated by Jamel Akib
Arun finds out that his parents (Caucasian mom, Indian dad) are adopting a baby girl from India.  He is super-excited about getting a baby sister, but struggles with the long wait for her to arrive.  The perspective of the long, agonizing process of international adoption from the child’s point of view is something that we don’t often hear about.

Dia’s Story Cloth: The Hmong People’s Journey of Freedom,  by Dia Cha
This book features the story cloth that Dia Cha’s aunt and uncle made.  The Hmong people make them to capture their culture, history, and memories to pass down through the generations.  Dia’s story cloth tells the history of the Hmong people and the story of how Dia’s family was caught in the violence and chaos of the Laotian Civil War and how they eventually emigrated to the United States.

Duck for Turkey Day, by Jacqueline Jules; illustrated by Kathyrn Mitter.
Tuyet gets upset when she finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck (delicious!) rather than turkey for Thanksgiving.  However, she learns that her classmates did not have turkey either and that the only thing their celebrations have in common is family.

Dumpling soup, by Jama Kim Rattigan; illustrated by Lillian Hsu-Flanders
Marisa helps her grandmother make New Year’s dumplings for the first time.   The story takes place in Hawaii and like many families in Hawaii, Marisa’s family is multicultural.  Her family members come from Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Anglo cultures.

The Gold-threaded Dress, by Carolyn Marsden
Oy, who had originally come from Thailand, starts attending a new school.  She renamed by her teachers and bullied by classmates, who ignorantly refer to her as “Chinese”.   Then, one of the popular girls offered her a chance to join her group.  All Oy has to do was to let them all try on the beautiful, ceremonial dress that has been in her family for years.  Oy struggles between her desire to fit in and her desire to respect her family.


Grandfather’s Journey, by Allen Say
This is a story about the author’s grandfather and how he loved both the United States and Japan.  The story tells of his life from his first travels to the United States and then his return to Japan.  His plans to go back to the United States had been put to a stop after World War II broke out.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, by Bette Bao Lord; illustrations by Marc Simont
This was one of the first books about Asian Americans that I read.  Shirley Temple Wong arrives from China to make a new home in the US in 1947 and in the midst of trying to learn about American culture, she discovers a love for baseball and an admiration for Jackie Robinson, the first African-American Major League Baseball player.

Journey to Gold Mountain: The Chinese in 19th Century America, by Ronald T. Takaki
This is a book covers the Chinese experience in 19th century America – from the various occupations they served in America to the racism and prejudices they faced to putting down roots.

The Elephant’s Friend and other Tales from Ancient India, by Marcia Williams
This is a collection of 8 animal folktales depicted in a vibrant and humorous comic-strip format.  I know this book has no major human characters, but it is just too awesome not to recommend.  And I love elephants.


The Name Jar, by Yangsook Choi
Unhei has just arrived from South Korea.  After some kids on the bus had trouble pronouncing her name, she decided to let her new classmates name her.  After trying on different names, she realizes that she liked her name best and helps her classmates pronounce it.

Nene & the Horrible Math Monster, by Marie Villanueva; illustrated by Ria Unson.
Nene is a Filipino-American girl who hates math.  She struggles at it and only does well because she works so hard.  She feels conflicted when her teacher chooses her for the math portion of an academic competition.   This story goes against the stereotype that Asians are good at and love math.  As a Chinese-American who dislikes math, I can relate to Nene.

Passover–A Story Told in Food

This year, I was lucky enough to be invited to celebrate Passover with the family of a friend of mine–if you have never been to a Passover Seder and get a chance to attend one, do it! The celebration of Passover, an eight day holiday in the Jewish calendar, beings with the Passover Seder, a gathering with family and friends for a meal that involves the retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is an interactive celebration that is informative, celebratory, somber, and fun.

A Passover Seder Plate

My friend’s lovely Passover Seder Plate!

A central part of this meal and storytelling is the Passover Seder Plate, a plate adorned with food items that symbolize various parts of the story of the Israelites flight from Egypt. Each of the items represents a sympolic piece of the story, from the maror, or bitter herbs, that represent the bitterness and harshness of slavery, to the charoset, a sweet, brown mixture made of nuts, grated apples, cinnamon, and wine, that symbolizes the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build the buildings of Egypt.

Food is a key element in the Passover tradition, as the story is told not just in words, but in songs, symbols, flavors, and smells. While many holidays have traditional foods, Passover is one of the few I have experienced that uses food to connect with the history of the holiday so directly. Additionally, while the actual meal served on Passover may vary from home to home, the Passover Seder Plate is virtually the same in every Jewish household, connecting the celebrations of families across the globe with a unifying tradition.

If you are interested in learning more about Passover, or teaching a young person in your life about the traditions of this food-centric holiday, there are some great books available in the Wheelock Library that can help.

Hooray! It’s Passover! is a great first introduction to the traditions of the Passover holiday, and is a great way to get young readers excited about this eight day celebration.

Why on This Night? is a haggadah, the text that establishes the order of the Passover Seder. This family friendly haggadah uses stories, songs, poems, activities, and explanations to guide kids through the traditions of Passover Seder.

Around the Passover Table is an e-cookbook that gives you over 75 recipes for the Passover holiday–happy cooking! And Happy Passover!

Worth a Thousand Words

Some people might think that a wordless picturebook is for less sophisticated readers—a “baby book” that tells a story so simple it doesn’t even need words.

But we know better!

Wordless picturebooks are akin to short, silent (very slow motion) films. They inspire a deep investment from the reader, since after all, it is the reader who creates the story from the images. Far from presenting insubstantial fluff, these books often illustrate stories that could not be as profound if told in words.

And the illustrations are glorious! A feast for the eye, wordless picturebooks communicate through color, depth, frames, character body language, and other visual details that readers might gloss over if text were present. And some new detail always appears in the images each time the book is read.

So let’s look at some! Below are three wordless picturebooks and a few of their illustrations that can be found in Wheelock Library’s collection on 2M and in other FLO libraries. Rather than tell you what happens in the books, let’s let the images speak for themselves.

Journey by Aaron Becker (J-P B383j)

journey 1 journey 2


The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (J-P P648L)

 lion mouse 1 lion mouse 2 lion mouse 3


Flotsam by David Wiesner (J-P W6365FL)

flotsam 1 flotsam 2

flotsam 3

More great wordless picturebooks to try:

 Sector 7 by David Wiesner (J-P W63s)

Bluebird by Bob Staake (J-P St329b)

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle (J-P Id54f)

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman (J-P L525r)

Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole (J-P C64u)

Wave by Suzy Lee

Confused by citations?

At the library, we provide tools to help you make sense of citations. Check out our guide to citation and writing for reputable information on creating and understanding citations in APA, MLA, or Chicago style. Or check out our YouTube playlist on using citations to find more sources for your papers.

Have specific questions? Stop by the library front desk during our drop-in hours, or email us at We’d be happy to help you find more sources from citations, or to figure out how to cite the sources you used in your paper.