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Best Books to Read! The 2001 Skipping Stones Honor Awards
Skipping Stone 2001 awards encourage close relationshipswith nature and promote respect and understanding for cultural diversity inour world.Each year Skipping Stones magazine recognizes outstanding nature and multi-cultural books, teaching resources and educational videos from both large and small publishers and media producers.
Looking for exceptional multicultural and nature books? Titles selected for Skipping Stone 2001 awards encourage close relationships with nature and promote respect and understanding for cultural diversity in our world. The selection committee was comprised of over 20 reviewers: editors, librarians, parents, students and teachers. Reviews of the Eighth Annual Skipping Stones Honor Awards winners appear in the summer issue (Vol. 13, no. 3) available 1 May 2001.
We are pleased to present the honored titles below in four categories for your educational entertainment!
Ecology and Nature Books:
Promoting an understanding of natural systems, specific species or habitats, human, plant and animal relationships, resource conservation, environmental protection and restoration efforts, community projects and sustainable living.
Do Animals Have Feelings Too? by David Rice, illustr. Trudy Calvert. Ages 4-12. $7.95. Dawn Publications, www.DawnPub.com. Until recently most scientists thought that animals behave instinctively-that they don't have feelings such as happiness, sadness, grief, vengeance or compassion. Now, scientists and many others are changing their minds and expanding their limited perspectives. This collection of true animal behaviors is both heart warming and thought-provoking.
Swimming With Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins, and Seals by Anne Collet, translated by Gayle Wurst. Upper grades. $22. Milkweed Editions, www.worldashome.org. Originally published in French, this is a potent blend of personal discovery, adventure and scientific facts. Collet vividly describes her encounters with whales, dolphins and seals throughout the world, while conveying her passion for the animals and her work as a marine biologist.
Oil Spills: The Perils of Petroleum by Jane Duden and Susan Walker. Elem. and middle grades. $14.95. Perfection Learning, www.perfectionlearning.com. In March 1989, the people of Alaska awoke to a nightmare-millions of gallons of crude oil had blackened the clean waters of Prince William Sound. The crippled Exxon Valdez lay grounded in the water. Thousands of birds and sea animals were dying. The book explains the issues and lessons learned.
What's the Difference? 10 Animal Look-Alikes by Judy Diehl and David Plumb, illustr. Vlasta van Kampen. Elem. grades. $6.95. Annick Press, www.annickpress.com. Readers will love discovering the differences between 10 often-confused animal pairs such as: bees and wasps, frogs and toads, dolphins and porpoises, crows and ravens. A refreshing way to learn information-by comparison and contrasts.
Pass the Energy, Please! by Barbara McKinney, illustr. by Chad Wallace. Elem grades. $7.95. Dawn Publications, www.DawnPub.com. Each of nature's creatures "passes the energy" in its own unique way. In this upbeat, rhyming story, the food chain connects herbivores, carnivores, insects and plants in a fascinating circle of nature.
Multicultural and International Books:
Focusing on cultural or ethnic diversity or sustainable intercultural and/or global relationships, these books build bridges of communication, understanding, social justice and peace.
My Very Own Room/Mi propio cuartito by Amada Irma Pérez. Elem. grades. $15.95. Children's Book Press www.cbookpress.org. Five little brothers, two parents and a house full of visiting relatives make a young Mexican American girl feel crowded. She loves her family, but how can she get a little space of her own?
Elegy on the Death of César Chávez by Rudolfo Anaya, illustr. Gaspar Enriques. Middle grades. $16.95. Cinco Puntos Press, www.cincopuntos.com. This poem celebrates the life of Chávez, the legendary labor and civil rights leader, and encourages others to follow his path. Outstanding illustrations and a historical timeline.
Shades of Black by Sandra Pinkney, photos by Myles Pinkney. Ages 3-9. $14.95. Scholastic, www.scholastic.com. Through brilliant photographs of African American children and poetic descriptions of their varied skin tones, hair texture and eye color, this book evokes a strong sense of pride in heritage. A gracious invitation to readers of all cultures to explore the rich diversity of African Americans.
SkySisters by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, illustr. Brian Deines. Ages 4-10. $15.95. Kids Can Press, Canada. This powerful story, set in the Canadian woods, captures the chill of a northern night, the warmth of sisterhood and the radiance of a child's wonder. It's a realistic tale about a contemporary Ojibway family, the First Peoples of Canada, but it touches a chord of timelessness.
Stories for a Winter's Night: Fiction by Native American Writers edited by Maurice Kenny. Upper grades and adults. $14. White Pine Press, www.whitepine.org. These stories and poems by indigenous writers of North America cover a wide number of tribal affiliations and include well-known fiction writers as well as young, upcoming authors.
The Secret Voice of Gina Zhang by Dori Jones Yang. Ages 10-15. $12.95. Pleasant Company, www.americangirl.com. Jinna Zhang vows to be the new "Gina" when her family moves to America from China. Instead, overcome with shyness at school, Jinna loses the ability to speak in any language and retreats into her own private fairy tale world. With the help of a school friend she gains the confidence to overcome her fears.
The selection committee was impressed by the quantity of multicultural / nature books and educational videos that are currently being produced. Many of these notable titles will be reviewed in upcoming issues.
Skipping Stones is a unique international, nonprofit, multicultural magazine, now in its 13th year. Skipping Stones has won several national awards, including the 1997 NAME Award of the National Association for Multicultural Education, and the 1995 Golden Shoestring Award of the EdPress. It has a widely-scattered international readership, with well over a thousand schools and libraries as subscribers. It features original art and writing by kids and adults alike. Each issue includes book reviews and teaching resources, global pen pals and a Parent/Teacher Guide. Subscriptions (5 issues a year): Institutions $35; Individuals $25; discounts for multiple-copy and low-income; Sample issue: $5, available from P. O. Box 3939, Eugene, OR 97403 USA