Lola Plants a Garden

Author: Anna McQuinn

Illustrator: Rosalind Beardshaw

Publisher and Year: Charlesbridge, 2014

Number of Pages: 24

Genre: Fiction


This book is about a little girl named Lola who creates a garden with her parents. Throughout the book we see how she goes about making her gar
den and we see it grow into a beautiful creation.

This text can function as a window, mirror and a door for the readers. It would
function as a window for readers who have never planted a garden of their own. In the text they will see and learn the process of how to create a garden and what one needs to help a garden grow. For readers who have experience with gardening this text would function as a mirror since it is something they can relate to. When reading this story they can connect their own experiences with Lola’s experiences. This text can also function as a door for readers who want to apply Lola’s idea to their own lives. Maybe for these readers after reading this text realize how fun it can be to plant a garden and they go off and plant on of their own. The main characters of this text are African Americans but there is diverse culture throughout the story. When Lola has her friends over to see her garden three different cultures are represented. This presence of culture makes the story a lot more relatable for many different types of readers. I like how in this story Lola decides that she wants to make a garden and she works hard to make it happen. She goes to the library to pick up books about flowers, goes to the seed store, and learns how to care for a garden. This shows how independent Lola is that she is able to work hard for something she wants without her parents doing all the work for her. I think that this is an important message for young readers to see so they know that if they want something in life they will have to work hard to achieve it, someone will not do it for you.

The images within this text are beautiful. They are full of color and the images seem to come alive when the flowers start to grow. In the text Lola is always facing towards the right showing that she is moving forward with her garden. It is seen in the illustrations how excited Lola is to plant her own garden just like her mom’s. I really enjoyed reading this book; the images made it fun and it can show readers that if they work hard towards something they want they can create a beautiful thing.IMG_3570

What Can You Do With a Paleta

Author: Carmen Tafolla

Illustrator: Magaly Morales

Publisher and Year: Dragonfly Books, 2009

Number of Pages: 28

Genre: Fiction


IMG_3566            This story is about a young girl and her love for paletas and her barrio. A paleta is an icy fruit popsicle, and a barrio is a neighborhood. On each page she talks about all the roles that the paleta plays in her neighborhood.

This book is in English and in Spanish. On the left page there is the English text and on the right there is the Spanish translation. Since this book is in both Spanish and English it can function as a mirror and window. For a reader who is from a Mexican American background this book would function as a mirror. This would be a mirror because the reader would be able to connect with the language and the culture of the text. On the other hand this text could function as a window for a reader who doesn’t come from a Mexican American background. This reader would just be able to get a glimpse of this culture. They are probably unable to connect with the story the way a Mexican American would be able to but they can still learn and take away some new knowledge from this text. Since this text has translations of some words in the back it can also function as a door for readers. With the translations in the text readers are able to apply the words in their lives making them more a part of a different culture. Only one culture is represented in this text and that is the Mexican American culture. I gained a lot of knowledge from this culture just from a few pages. I had no idea that fruit popsicles was a big part of some Mexican American neighborhoods. I was also able to learn some new Spanish words that were within the text.

The images in this text are beautiful. They are full of color and I noticed that the color schemes are similar to the different colors of the paletas, which are mostly primary colors. The images are very detailed and in the backgrounds of the images the reader is able to see into houses and stores. On page 2 in the background the reader is able to see into the house of the main character. In the house her mother is cooking a traditional Mexican American meal of tortillas, tacos and fruit. I love how there is so much detail in the pictures because it allows the reader to see into the life of someone who is from a different culture. Overall I really enjoyed this book because it teaches about a different culture in a beautiful and colorful way.IMG_3567

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

Author: Simms Taback

Illustrator: Simms Taback

Publisher and Year: Penguin Group, 1999

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Fiction


            Joseph Had a Little Overcoat is about Joseph who had a very worn over coat so he turned it into a jacket. Once the jacket was worn he turned it into a vest and so on and so forth. At the very end he has nothing so he writes a book about his overcoat. The moral of this story is that “you can always make something out of nothing.”(Taback, page 30)

This text would function as a door for readers. Joseph never gave up on his overcoat and made the best out of it as he could. He never complained about not having a nice overcoat and just made it into something else he could use like a jacket or vest and even a button. This shows that you can do a lot with a nothing, which is something a reader can apply to his or her own life. This book can also function as a mirror. Not having a lot is something that a lot of people experience in their life. Whether it is with food, money or clothes people have to work with what they have. A reader who has experienced something like this would be able to relate to Joseph and his story. On the other hand for a reader who has never experienced not having enough, this text would function as a window. These readers get the chance to see how difficult it can be to live off of so little. For readers who view this story as a window still have the opportunity to learn from the moral, that you can always make something out of nothing. At first glance this story lacks cultural diversity. But when the reader looks closer into the background it is seen that there is actual pictures of people who come from different cultures. Although different cultures are in the story I wish it was more prominent and that the reader didn’t have to search to see some diversity.

The images are very different than a lot of other children’s books. Some of the images look like they have been painted while there are also actual pictures of real people and food within most of the pages. There are very few words on the page, which allows the pictures to tell most of the story. There are so many small things in each image that draws the reader to look closer. The images may be a little strange but it works for the story. I really enjoyed this book and the images in it a lot. It had a good moral and the pictures keep the reader’s attention with all the detail.IMG_3565

The Color of Us

Author: Karen Katz

Illustrator: Karen Katz

Publisher and Year: Henry Holt and Company, 1999

Number of Pages: 24

Genre: Fiction


            The Colors of Us is a picture book about a young girl named
Lena. Her mother is an artist and shows Lena how to paint skin color. Lena at first only thin
ks that brown is brown so her mom takes her around town and
shows her all the different colors of skin there is.

            This book can function as a mirror or a window. On every page of this book there is a character from a different culture. Since there is so much culture a lot of readers can relate to the book if they see their own culture or similar skin color within the book. For a reader who hasn’t been exposed to the cultures that are in the text then it would function as a window. These readers are then looking into this book and seeing different cultures they may have never seen before. There is a lot of diversity within this text. Every page has a different race. On each page Lena sees someone she knows and points out the color of their skin and compares it with food. For example on page 7 there is a picture of Lena’s friend Jo-Jin who looks to be of Chinese decent and Lena compares her skin to the color of honey. I really like how the author describes the different colors of skin using food. For young readers they will have a better time imagining the colors when they are described using something they know. This way they will not just consider someone who has a darker completion as brown. Young readers will see that there are so many different shades of brown and that it’s okay to be darker or lighter than the people around them. Another thing I liked about this text is that in the image there are no gender stereotypes. The girls are playing sports, listening to music, or dancing. They are not confined by their gender to certain activities.

            This text is full of beautiful colors. The images mirror the text perfectly. For example when Lena states that one of her friends skin is a “light cocoa brown” or ‘butterscotch” (Katz, page 9) the images actually resembles those foods. All the images are very close up and very detailed. On each page there is only one character with a busy background like a city street of restaurant. Even though the backgrounds are very small they are still filled with culture from the character that is taking up the page. I really enjoyed this book it has beautiful illustrations and the message that we are all the same just different shades is very clear.IMG_3561

One Fine Day

Author: Nonny Hogrogian

Illustrator: Nonny Hogrogian

Publisher and Year: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 1971

Number of Pages: 25

Genre: Fiction


IMG_3562            One Fine Day is a Caldecott Medal winner. It is a story about a little fox that gets is tail cut off by an old woman for drinking her milk. The only way he is able to get his tail back is if he brings the old woman more milk.
The fox goes to a cow and asks for milk, the cow will only give him milk if he brings it grass. The story goes on like this until an old miller man feels sorry and gives the fox what he wants and doesn’t ask for anything in return. Since the miller man gave the fox what he asked for the fox was able to give everyone what they wanted in return for something of theirs so he was able to get his tail back.

This text could function as a mirror for readers. It would be considered a mirror for most reader because it shows the fox that did something wrong and he had to do many things to fix his mistake. This is something that a lot of people can relate to. Often times people make mistakes and it can be hard work to fix the mistakes someone has made. The text also shows that everything comes with a price. People aren’t usually willing to freely give up something that belongs to them without something in return. But sometimes in life we come across people like the old miller man who selflessly gives so others can be happy. Throughout the book there is a lack of racial diversity since all the characters are White or an animal. But there is a diversity in the economically sense. There is an old woman who doesn’t seem to have much, a maiden who also has little, but then there is a peddler who seems to have a little more than the rest of the characters. Each character in the text is different and brings a different feeling to the text.

The images in One Fine Day seem to have been painted with watercolor. They are light colors and the images are beautiful. The images are unframed which makes the reader feel like they are part of the images. On every page the fox is facing right and all the other characters are facing left. This means that when each character turns down the fox, he is still moving forward and not looking back. The images make the reader feel sad for the fox when he gets turned down because it is seen that every time he get more and more sad. In the very end the fox is happy with his tail and he is able to play with his friends. I thought that this text was a very cute story, it was sad at first but when the old man gave the fox what he needed it made it a happier story.IMG_3563

Miss Sally Ann and The Panther

Retold: Bobbi Miller

Illustrator: Megan Lloyd

Publisher and Year: Holiday House, 2012

Number of Pages: 29

Genre: Fiction


            Miss Sally Ann and The PantIMG_3542her is a story about a woman named Miss Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind and her adventure with Fireeyes the panther. The story starts off talking about all the things she does which is spin yarn, make clothes, and milk cows. On day she goes into the forest and runs into the panther, they fight for days then they become good friends. The panther ends up living with Miss Sally Ann in her house and they cook, clean, play and sing together.

This text could function as both a window and a mirror for the readers. It would function as a window since it is story that will probably never actually happen in real life. So readers are on the outside, looking in at all the crazy things that are happening to the panther and Miss Sally Ann. On the other hand it could also function as a mirror for a reader if they have personally experienced getting into an argument with a friend then realizing that the fight is not worth losing the friendship. The only two characters that are in this text is Miss Sally Ann who is a White female and Fireeyes the panther, no cultural diversity is seen. I noticed that in the beginning of the story the author listed off all the chores that Miss Sally Ann does. All the chores that were listed were stereotypical female jobs. In the middle of the story Miss Sally Ann breaks the stereotypical gender roles when she fights off the panther. But at the end of the story when the panther and Miss Sally Ann are friends she goes back to doing stereotypical females chores like gardening. Besides the stereotypical gender roles throughout the text I really enjoyed this book, it was entertaining and funny.

I love the pictures that are in this book. On every page the images are all framed but unique. In the beginning when Miss Sally Ann is doing her chores the pictures are relaxed and bright. When she goes into the forest the color scheme starts to get darker. Once the panther is introduced the images are coming out of the frame making it feel more hectic. For example on page 12 Miss Sally Ann has Fireeyes by the tail and he is digging his way out of the frame and there is splatted mud all over the page. This allows the reader to feel like they are a part of the action. When the fight is over and Miss Sally Ann and Fireeyes are friends the images become more controlled and the colors again become brighter. I really enjoyed how the illustrator did this because the colors help the reader feel scared when they are fighting or happy and warm when they become friends and are sitting by the fire. Overall I enjoyed this book, I think it would be better without the gender stereotypes but it was entertaining and the images were beautiful.IMG_3541

Hey, Al

Author: Arthur Yorinks

Illustrator: Richard Egielski

Publisher and Year: Collin Publishers, 1986

Number of Pages: 27

Genre: Fiction


            Hey, Al is a winner of the Caldecott Medal. It is a story about a janitor named Al and his dog Eddie. Al and Eddie live in a small one-room apartment and Eddie is fed up with living in a “dump” (Yorinks, page 4). One morning a giant bird comes and tells Al of a beautiful island paradise and that he will return in the morning to take Eddie and
Al to this paradise. The paradise is amazing at first but then Eddie and Al start to become birds so they flee the island and return home.

This text could function as a window, mirror and door. Since a big bird flying to someone’s door and taking a person to an island paradise is not realistic it would be considered a window for all readers. On the other hand the story talks about a person who does not have a lot of money who wishes for a better life. So this book could function as mirror for a reader who might be going through tough times. The end of this story has a message, which is “Paradise lost is sometimes Heaven found” (Yorinks, page 27). This important message is what makes this book also function as door for the readers who want to apply it to their lives. The lesson to be learned is that sometimes you will want more in life but having more might not make you happy. You must find a way to be happy with what you have. I think that this is an important lesson to be learned and the book does it in a good kid friendly manor. In the text only one race is represented which is White. This is also the only race shown since the rest of the characters are animals. Both the human and the dog seem to share equal power throughout the text, both of their ideas are taken into consideration equally. I found this important because it shows that just being we are humans doesn’t mean we have the right to treat animals poorly.

All the images within this text are beautiful. They are all framed but in every image there are things that are outside the frame. For example on the first page there is an image of Al’s apartment, which is framed. But Al is physically walking into the door of his apartment into the frame. This style makes the reader feel like they are watching the story unfold and feel a part of it since not everything is in the frame. In the beginning of the story when Al and Eddie are unhappy with their life the colors are very dull. Once they are at the paradise island the colors become brighter. At the very end when Al and Eddie find out that they actually prefer the life they had before, the last image is of Al and Eddie repainting their apartment a bright, uplifting color. I really enjoyed this story, it was fun and in the end there is a lesson to be learned from Al and Eddie’s adventure.IMG_3539

Book Fiesta!

Author: Pat Mora

Illustrator: Rafael López

Publisher and Year: HarperCollins Publishers 2009

Number of Pages: 26

Genre: Fiction


            Book Fiesta is a book that is written in both English and Spanish. The book is about the Mexican holiday El día del niño (The Day of the Child) and a celebration of books. There are multiple children in the book who show the different ways this day can be celebrated around the world. Book Fiesta is a picture narrative, which allows the images to tell most of the story with support of few words.

The book can function as a mirror, window, and door depending on the reader. If a reader has previously celebrated The Day of the Child then this book would function as a mirror. They would be able to personally connect to the text because it is something they have experienced. This would also be a mirror for a lot of readers because throughout the text there are many different cultures represented along with some different disabilities. If a reader has never celebrated The Day of the Child the text would function as a window for them. The book would be a window because they are able to see into a different culture’s celebration. The book could also function as a door for readers who have not celebrated this holiday but wish to participate in it. It can give these readers different ideas on how to celebrate the newfound holiday. There are many different cultures represented on each page of this text. For example on page 2 there is a picture of a Chinese building and on page 5 there is a picture of a Greek style building. There are also books throughout the text that are in all different languages. On page 4 there is a picture of a little boy in a wheelchair, which allows people with disabilities to connect with the text. On my favorite page there are two children reading books next to a donkey and a Mexican style building. The text on this page says, “We read in English and Spanish, in Chinese and Navajo too” (Mora, page 3). I like this sentence because it shows the readers that there are many different languages and cultures in the world. Not only does it show this but also that when different cultures come together great things can happen like friendship. All the children in the text are reading books. On each page the children are having a great time reading books. This is an important image for young children to see since books are becoming less popular. By seeing the images young readers can hopefully gain a new viewpoint on books. The pictures in the text are beautiful. They are cartoon like images that look like they were made from cut outs of different colors of paper. This text did a good job at showing different cultures and the importance of books.IMG_3516


Author: Janell Cannon

Illustrator: Janell Cannon

Publisher and year: Scholastic 2004

Number of pages: 38

Genre: Fiction

          IMG_3392 Pinduli is the story of a beautiful hyena that wanders away from her mother into the East African wild. While Pinduli is wandering she runs into dogs, a lion and a zebra who all judged Pinduli’s looks. Pinduli becomes very self conscience and starts to change her looks to fit in, she gets to the point where she covers herself in dust making her look like a ghost. All the animals that once teased her were now afraid of her and begged her to forgive them for being mean since the believed she was a ghost. Pinduli told them they must find out why they were teasing others and give the one you teased food to be forgiven. Pinduli’s mother found her and reminded her of her inner and outer beauty

This text talks a lot about how you should always treat others how you want to be treated. The text also talks about being true to yourself and not changing to fit in. Since these are the main themes throughout the story I believe that this text might function as a door. I believe this because the readers can learn lessons from the text and apply those lessons to their own lives. Feeling like you don’t fit in is something that a lot of people are able to connect to. Since this books features animals there are no cultures represented besides the fact that the story is based in East Africa. At the end of the book there is diagram that shows the hyena family and other animals from East Africa, which gives readers some insight about the wild life in Africa that a lot of readers probably don’t know about. I really liked how the author put an explanation about the different animals in the book at the end because it made me as a reader feel more connected to the book after having more knowledge of the animals.

The illustrations throughout this book are beautifully done and the emotions of each animal is very clear in the text . While all different types of animals are teasing Pinduli she is always facing right showing that she is less secure. I have also noticed that all the animals that have teased her are much bigger and are higher up on the page showing that the have the power in that moment. As the story goes on and as the mean animals learn their lesson and apologize to Pinduli then she becomes more proud of her appearance and she starts facing left showing that she is more secure with herself. I really enjoyed this text because it teaches the important lesson of never changing yourself for someone else and also to treat others, as you want to be treated.IMG_3393

New Shoes

Author: Susan Lynn Meyer

Illustrator: Eric Velasquez

Publisher and year: Holiday House 2015

Number of pages: 30

Genre: Historical Fiction

         IMG_3396New Shoes is about a young African American girl, Ella Mae, who goes to the local shoe shop to get new shoes. But since it was during the time of Jim Crow laws Ella Mae was not allowed to try on any of the shoes because of her skin color. She found out that this was something that happened to every African American person, so Ella Mae and her best friend Charlotte decided to do something about it. They started their own shoe store by colleting old shoes and fixing them up to be as good as new. At their shoe shop everyone was able to try on all the shoes they wanted.

I believe that this book could function as both a mirror and window for the reader depending on their background and culture. For a reader who comes from a minority background they would view this book as a mirror of their lives since they have a personal connection to what happened in the story. A reader that comes from a Caucasian background might view this book as a window since they are unable to connect to the segregation that Ella Mae experienced in the story. For a reader that comes from a majority background for them it would be looking into what it was like during the time period of the unfair Jim Crow laws. Culture is very prevalent in New Shoes, African Americans and Caucasians are both represented within the text. Since this a historical fiction book we are able to see what it was like for both Caucasians and African Americans during the time of Jim Crow laws. I learned a lot from this book. Before I opened the book I had no idea that African Americans were not even aloud to try on the shoes they were about to purchase with their own money. Instead they had to stand on a piece of paper and use a pencil to trace their feet so they could find a good size. This book did a good job at representing how strong Ella Mae and Charlotte were to open their own shoe store since they were tired of not being treated equally.

The illustrations throughout this book are beautiful; the illustrator did an amazing job painting the emotions and small details on every page. I have noticed that in almost every picture Ella Mae is facing right and the only time she is face left is when she is told she is unable to try on the shoes to see if they fit. I found this interesting since usually if someone is going towards the right they feel less secure and if they are going towards the left they are more secure. In the image when she is facing left, for me would be a moment where I don’t feel secure at all since I’m being treated poorly. Another time I noticed that Ella Mae is facing left is the very last page where Ella Mae and Charlotte are helping a costumer at their store and Ella Mae states, “In our store, anyone who walks in the door can try on all the shoes they want” (Meyer, pg. 30). In the image it is shown how happy and powerful Ella Mae and Charlotte feel after being able to open a shoe store where everyone is treated equally.IMG_3397