Here I am – Asia to the USA – Patti Kim and Sonia Sánchez

Here I am

Why a booktrail?

A beautiful story told in pictures about a young child who moves from Asia (we think Korea as this is where the author is from) to USA and tries to find his feet.

Story

How do you make a new country feel like home?

A young boy moves with his family from his homeland to New York City and for such a young child the move is overwhelming – everything is bigger,noisier and very very different.

Simple things such as how does he get to school are tricky and so he starts to feel alone and afraid. All he has in the world is  a little seed that he carries around in his pocket which make him feel safe and reminds him of happier times.

But one day he drops the seed..

Place and setting

A big big journey for a small small boy
A big big journey for a small small boy

Whether you are a child or an adult, if you have moved from one country to another this book (all in pictures) will resonate with you. It’s a poignant story of the confusion of a small boy in a new and scary world.

If ever the saying ‘ A picture says a thousands words’ as true, then this is the book to prove that is true. Each and every line in the drawing seems to have been considered with such grace and skill that the feelings of loneliness and overwhelming confusion are imbued in every stroke of the pen and brush.

Patti Kim herself emigrated from Korea to America when she was a child and this is explained at the back of the book. How lovely to have told this story in book form and to have given this as a gift to new readers young and old.

For those of us with experience of even living in a country for a short period, many of the emotions in the book will resonate, not least the boy’s expressions and sense of loss. The joys of the new world coupled with the confusion of it is neatly tied up here in stunning illustrations.

Ever felt the joy of a whole new world but then felt sad and confused when you can’t do even the simplest thing such as ordering a coffee as you don’t know the language or how to go about it? Think of this little boy who doesn’t understand the signs or the way on his way to school. The seed he has in his pocket is his way of holding on to some degree of certainty – a security blanket

Bookish musings

This book has no words but it brought me to tears – the fear and loneliness in that little boys face was very sad to see. The signås which appear gibberish at first soon become clearer and it was then that I started to cheer for the little guy as he becomes more confident in his new world.

This book is like a song which gets into your head and never lets go. Ever since I read it, it comes back to me and I see the boy in my mind and he has stayed with me ever since. I wanted to hug him and tell him that everything would be alright on many occasions and I would have done if it had been possible.

The book is so subtle that people who have moved countries will think the book speaks to them in ways that it does no one else. Its the small things that are weird in any new country – the everyday that you take for granted, the shock you feel when things are not the same.

.The illustrations are simply stunning and the layout which is decorative and not just left to right adds to the way in which  the boys thoughts are not clear cut. The story and pictures together pack quite a punch.

For old and young, this book is really a charming and poignant look at the immigration experience through the eyes of a child.

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Book Narnia

The door to Book Narnia
The door to Book Narnia

This has been an amazing week as I finally got to go to Narnia. Well book narnia. I opened the wooden door, stepped in to a world covered in books.

Like Lucy, I was both nervous and excited to find myself in Narnia but I couldn’t wait to discover the land and its people. As soon as I entered the book by the magic doorway, I could sense a change in temperature and a wonderful scent wafting past my nose. It was the smell of old books – the best smell in the world. What visions would I see? What gems would I discover? I couldn’t wait to find out.

Suddenly a vision appeared. It said ' More books this way' I followed it straight away
Suddenly a vision appeared. It said ‘ More books this way’ I followed it straight away

I walked very slowly around the land of books, careful not to step on any little people or creatures that might be living here. I could be Gulliver to them after all. I would have to take care not to knock any books over. Who knows what damage I could do. I turned back in the direction i had come from eager to remember the path I had taken. Luckily I had a half eaten sandwich in my coat pocket which I took out and crumbled up in my hand. I scattered some of the crumbs behind me in an attempt to find my way back again. Well, it had been good enough for Hansel and Gretal I told myself. I then remembered where they had ended up so I told myself that I would keep my eye open for any nasty witch who might want to eat me.

The book tower
The book tower

I stopped in amazement beside a tower of books and held my breath as I heard a voice. Who was that? Dobby suddenly appeared from behind and smiled at me. Dobby asks if he can help the booktrailer. Dobby would like to assist you in showing you some books you might like in book narnia. I said yes I would love Dobby to show me round. He smiled at me nervously. Dobby has never been asked to show  book Narnia to a book trailer before. I smiled at him and asked him to lead the way.

books carpet the stairs
books carpet the stairs

The weather had suddenly changed in book Narnia so there now was a snowy carpet of books covering the floor and the stairs. We had to be careful as we navigated our way around. Watch out for the thriller books said Dobby. Some of them are scary and will jump out at you!

The thrillers - watch out for bad people and nasty surprises! Be Brave!
The thrillers – watch out for bad people and nasty surprises! Be Brave!

The romantic fiction tribe lives here said Dobby. These are special books who love for you to take home and sit them on your knee in front of a roaring fire.

The romantic tribe live here in these hallowed walls
The romantic tribe live here in these hallowed walls

These books will transport you away from Narnia and away to distant lands. You can climb the Magic Faraway Tree, learn languages and meet people like Pippi Langstrump from all over the world.

The_Magic_Faraway_Tree_1st_edition

I thanked him but decided to stay in Narnia for now although we did visit the little mini bookshop in Narnia where the Lilliputians, the oompah loompahs and the hobbits live

 

The mini version of book narnia
The mini version of book Narnia

It was nearly time for me to leave Narnia but before I did, I managed to collect a few books that I knew would take me on many more journeys once I had left Narnia and was back on the other side of the door.

Apparently I would soon be off to Wimbledon Common, back to school with the World’s Worst Witch and stop off to see Horrid Henry. Dobby said he would teach me some tricks to get my own back if I did see Henry.

I thanked Dobby and followed the trail of breadcrumbs to the door and out of Narnia

I leave Narnia but know that I will be back one day soon
I leave Narnia but know that I will be back one day soon

Back in the real world, I turned and smiled to myself. It looked just like a bookshop from the outside but in fact it was a Narnia of books that I just knew I would be going back to very soon.

I have the secret passageway that will take you to Book Narnia – you can enter it here- http://www.keelrowbookshop.co.uk/  – but careful! you enter at your own risk. You will probably come out with more books that you can carry and the booktrail can not be held responsible for any book emergencies or book accidents. Once inside hours can pass by without your knowledge and you may never get out….

Children’s book week

Children’s book week is of course upon us and Book Trust are running a cool poll whereby you can vote for your favorite children’s books out of a list of 100. I’ve cast my vote and have a few memories of my own from those on the list and from some that aren’t. See the full list here – http://www.booktrust.org.uk/news-and-blogs/news/222/

Even I am now an adult, I love love this little book and the other ones in the series. I don't think there is an age limit for books - a good book is a good book through out your life!
Even I am now an adult, I love love this little book and the other ones in the series. I don’t think there is an age limit for books – a good book is a good book through out your life!
My favourite as a child - my poor mother can still recit this by heart years later. it fascinated me so much...all that porridge! I used to wish my breakfast could do that.
My favourite as a child – my poor mother can still recit this by heart years later. it fascinated me so much…all that porridge! I used to wish my breakfast could do that.
What can I say? A classic. I started climbing trees not long after reading this book for the first time and am still hoping to find Moonface!
What can I say? A classic. I started climbing trees not long after reading this book for the first time and am still hoping to find Moonface!
Mum bought me this from a church shop to keep me from moaning one day. Having seen black and white photos of her one day as a child, I was convinced this story was true. Where had colour come from??
Mum bought me this from a church shop to keep me from moaning one day. Having seen black and white photos of her one day as a child, I was convinced this story was true. Where had colour come from??
A classic and my tip for learning Swedish. Language learning is fun this way!
A classic and my tip for learning Swedish. Language learning is fun this way!

I have kept all of these favourites of mine and regularly buy new ones despite not having any kids to read them to. Well, children’s books are timeless and ageless aren’t they. For big and small kids alike. I’d love to know your favourite books from your childhood or indeed those you love now. Please leave a message below

Back to my childhood this Easter

Well as it’s Easter, I decided to take a trip in my literary journey – a trip back to my childhood and recent childhood if I’m honest since I love to read stories for my own pleasure as well as reading them to my friends’ little tots.

One from my own childhood: UK

Spot the dog
Spot the dog

Spot the dog was my favourite dog from childhood and if I’m honest one of my favourite children’s characters of all time. The books are so simple but cleverly written and this story about Easter is no exception. Spot is very excited because it is his first Easter, and the Easter bunny has hidden some eggs for him to find!

This really is a delightful book, further enhanced by the occasional ‘helpful’ comment from the characters hidden behind the flaps. The Easter bunny also regularly checks on their progress and reminds the duo how many more eggs they need to find! Very cute and very fun.

Africa : Kirikou

Kirikou
Kirikou

The charming tale of Kirikou is based on West African folklore and  depicts how a newborn boy, Kirikou, saves his village from the evil witch.

He’s not a normal boy, since he can speak and walk immediately after being born.  He is determined to fight Karaba, the dreaded sorceress.

Kirikou wants to save his people, but at the same time he is determined to discover why Karaba is so wicked. He is a little boy who doesn’t agree with what the villagers seek to make him think and do; he wants to look further and find his own answers to his own questions.

I read this to my neighbours children and watched the animated movies that have been made. Even after the kids had gone to bed, I carried on watching since it was so cute and interesting. It is also educational about the African culture and I understood straight away why they remain so popular in France today.

Finland/Sweden –  Moomins

The Moomins
The Moomins

Moominsummer Madness  (Farlig midsommar, ‘Dangerous Midsummer’ in Swedish) is the fourth in the series of the Moomins books by Tove Jansson.

This is a charming series of books about a family of fairy tale characters, who are white and roundish, with large snouts. They live in their house in Moominvalley in the forests of Finland. And they love to have adventures. I love this book as although about Midsummer, it captivates the dancing and the free spirit which surrounds Easter and other holidays and it reminds me of the Swedish sun and the maypole.

It perfectly captivates the Swedish sense of freedom of expression, playful holidays and the role of children in holiday celebrations. Lovely!

Easter really is  time for families and spending time with friends. I love spending time with friends with children as it gives me an excuse to read lots of interesting stories to them. I find myself becoming as immersed, if not more, so than they are!

Happy Easter!