Thursday, September 24, 2009

First review for Sangoel!

Great to Have a Review in School Library Journal!

Here's an excerpt:

When eight-year-old Sangoel comes to the United States from war-torn Sudan, everyone mispronounces his Dinka name until he has the bright idea to make a rebus of a sun and a soccer goal on his T-shirt.  This simple story puts a child-friendly spin on a common immigrant experience as the child's classmates respond with similar puzzle pictures of their own names....

The diversity of the boy's schoolmates is evident in Stock's skillfully detailed watercolor and collage illustrations...

This picture book by the authors of Four Feet, Two Sandals is an excellent addition to the growing body of immigration stories for young readers.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What's In A Name?

MY NAME IS SANGOEL chosen as Colfax School Principal's  Book of the Month as the school year opens!

Dear Colfax Families:


“What’s in a name?...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Have you heard that before?  It’s from William Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet.  When Juliet says these words, she is telling Romeo that his name does not matter to her.  Do names really matter? 


As the school year begins, we are learning many new names.  Sometimes we feel embarrassed when our names are mispronounced.  If someone laughs or makes fun of our names, our feelings are hurt.  It feels good when people remember our names.  Names are personal.  They are part of us.  In many ways, they do matter.


Our first Principal’s Book of the Month for this school year is My Name is Sangoel, by local authors Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed.  This is the team who wrote last year’s Principal’s Book of the Month, Four Feet, Two Sandals.  Again, this book brings us the story of a refugee, this time a boy from Sudan.  Sangoel has lost his father and his home in the war.  When he and his mother are relocated to the United States, he finds that no one can pronounce – or remember - his name.  Others suggest that he change his name to something more “American”, but he is reluctant to do so.  His name is all he has left from his father.  How can he let it go?


Sangoel comes up with the perfect solution.  If you are meeting new people who have names that are unfamiliar to you, you could use Sangoel’s idea to help you pronounce and remember them.  Find out how Sangoel solves his problem in My Name is Sangoel, and think about what your name means to you.  But most of all…Read, Respond and Enjoy! 

 And here is a great idea.  Colfax librarian is using Kevin Henke's book CRYSANTHEMUM along with Sangoel.  It seems that little character runs into problems with her name as school begins and the other children tease her about the name she knows is special.  Our names are important!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Galimotos Still Going Strong

On a recent trip to Malawi, my husband brought me back these photos of my favorite toys.  I was pleased that children in Malawi are still as creative as I remember and my book Galimoto is still relevant today.   Take a look at what a child can do with a little wire and some scraps of cardboard and found objects, a little time without TVs and computers and a lot of creativity, dexterity and perseverance!   

And take a look at the giant galimoto built by the art teacher and students at a school I visited this past Spring!