T.O.T.Week: this week’s pairings

This picture book elicits feelings of empathy, compassion, and perspective like none other that I’ve read lately. GIBBERISH is what language sounds like to Dat, who has just moved here from a new country into a new school. It provides tangible understanding of what it feels like to be uprooted into an environment where nothing you hear makes much sense. I highly recommend this book, by Young Vo!

📖 If you appreciate books that speak to the challenges of feeling isolated by language, pair this with middle grade verse novel Other Words For Home by Jasmine Warga!

📖 Communication is at the root of this story, so pair this with a slightly different perspective on what it means to communicate, but at home, through YA graphic novel The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen!

📖 The Vietnamese-American experience is not meant to be viewed as monolithic, so dive into many different stories through adult novel The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen!

I have to admit, I wasn’t initially drawn to Anne of Green Gables growing up. It felt like you had to choose between this and Little Women, so I was Team March all the way. Yet as I reflect nowadays, I’m not quite sure how I missed out on appreciating this plucky heroine who desperately wants to do good in the world. I’m grateful for this middle grade graphic novel adaptation, as it took me on an Anne rollercoaster ride that was every worth the highs and lows. I really enjoyed Anne of West Philly, and I think you would too!

📖 Want to start the Anne-aissance early and embrace imagination with your young ones? Pair this with If I couldn’t be Anne, a picture book by Kallie George and Geneviève Godbout!

📖 Are you a fan of the modern retelling as well? Pair this with adult novel Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler, which takes place upon Anne’s departure from Avonlea!

📖 Go to the source material and start comparing! Pick up Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery and enjoy discussing what’s aged well, and what may not have!

I’ve been reading some phenomenal, thought-provoking YA books lately, and this one is no exception. As Long As The Lemon Tree Grows by Zoulfa Katouh had my heart pounding as medical student Salama wrestles with the decision to leave her home in war-torn Syria to the United States. Themes of loyalty, love, grief, and possibility permeate the pages. No spoilers here, but the twist had me gasping out loud.

📖 War can be a difficult topic to discuss with children, but it doesn’t have to be if the focus is on those who are doing good in the midst of crisis. Just like Salama, I highly recommend pairing this with picture book Cat Man of Aleppo!

📖I read middle grade novel The Boy At The Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf last year, and highly recommend pairing these two books as a conversation about the Syrian War refugee experience!

📖 There’s just something about the lemon tree in the midst of crisis that steadies the narrative even in the most trying times. Sandy Tolan’s adult novel The Lemon Tree may not focus on Syria, but it’s evocative look at the Pakistani-Israeli conflict bridges connections in more ways than one!

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