An affirming book for readers of Inuit heritage and a window into their world for outsiders.

HOW NIVI GOT HER NAMES

A picture-book introduction to traditional Inuit naming practices and Inuit custom adoption.

Ample front- and backmatter supplements the main narrative and includes: an introduction by an Inuit woman who is the biological mother of the child, Niviaq or Nivi, whose story is fictionalized in the main text; a glossary of Inuit vocabulary; an explanation of Inuit kinship and naming customs; brief biographical notes about Nivi’s namesakes as well as about the author (her adoptive mother) and illustrator; and acknowledgements from the author. The main narrative text recounts a conversation between the eponymous Inuit character, whose full name is Niviaq Kauki Baabi Irmela Jamesie, and her adoptive white mother, who became her parent through Inuit custom adoption. In this tradition, the child maintains connection with her birth family. Her five given names connect her to both her adoptive and birth families, and the loving conversation she has with her mother illuminates the stories and people behind each one. Illustrations with a gentle cartoon aesthetic include lots of family photographs throughout Nivi’s home, depicting her white Nova Scotian and English ancestors and her Inuit ancestors, as well. Text emphasizes how Nivi connects them all, living and deceased, and words and pictures emphasize the pride she takes in her names, her heritage, and her extended family.

An affirming book for readers of Inuit heritage and a window into their world for outsiders. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77227-137-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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