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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Lee&Low Books- a review

Recently I was contacted by Lee&Low Books. They're a publishing company specializing in multicultural and bilingual children’s books. They asked me whether I would be willing to review some of the books. I am very passionate about books and said “yes”. I am very glad I did. The demand and the supply of multicultural books and especially multicultural children’s books is growing, but is still not enough, so I am very happy that Lee&Low specializes in this very types of books. They send me three children’s books for review and I would like to discuss them here.

1) Dreaming Up. A celebration of building." by Christy Hale

This book brings together pictures of children playing with objects, such as cups, sticks, blankets, etc. and then putting these images together with famous buildings from all around the world that look exactly like the little building the children were making. The motto is: “If they can dream it, they can build it”. The few last pages are devoted to providing more information about the architects who designed the buildings featured in this book, and  about the buildings themselves- where there are, when they were build. It also contains an important quote from the architect, related to children and the importance of play. I liked this book because it shows, in a very direct way, the power of playing, experimenting and having fun and the fact that a famous architect building a school, tomb or church is really no different from a playing child. I appreciated the fact that not only did the buildings come from different parts of the world, they also came from different times, making this book a great start for talking about geography, history and culture. I also enjoyed the contrast between the cute illustrations and the photographs of buildings. All in all, “Dreaming Up” is a great book and I enjoyed it a lot, even though it doesn’t have much of a plot or story.

2) "Rainbow Stew" by Cathryn Falwell

I think this is my favourite of the three. This book features a day in the life of a black family. The children visit their grandfather, and they want to play outside, but it’s raining. So, the grandfather suggests that they go outside and collect vegetables for his famous rainbow stew. Everybody goes outside and collects vegetables of all kinds of colours: yellow and red and purple and green and blue. Then, when they’re done, they make rainbows stew, which looks delicious! This is a great book because while it features a black family, it makes it look very natural. It does not focus on differences, but rather on similarities. I believe all children would see themselves in this book, not only black ones- after all, what child wouldn’t enjoy making rainbow stew! I know mine would love it! And, at the end of the book you’ll find the recipe for it- I’ll sure make some in the next few weeks!

3) How far do you love me?”  by Lulu Delacre

This is the last book I got to review. A child asks his mother how much she loves him. She explains she loves him to the highest mountains, the deepest seas, as far as the ice. The text  is accompanied by beautiful illustrations of aforementioned places. The illustrations are beautiful, almost like paintings and feature children and parents from all around the world. I loved the different beautiful locations and the fact that fathers were also included. My interpretations of this was that parents everywhere love their children, wherever they are and regardless of how they look, or dress. When the child asks his mother back: “How far do you love me?”, she replies that she loves him to the moon and beyond.

I can wholeheartedly recommend these books. They’re beautifully illustrated, simple to read for the youngest readers, and inclusive of many different cultures and skin colours. I am very happy that I was offered the opportunity to review them, and I only wish we had more of such books. A huge thank you to Lee and Low! 

You can find these books, as well as other minority books over at Lee&Low Books website. For more information about their books and updates, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

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  1. I just love this publisher and that you have chosen to highlight their great work! I had never heard of Rainbow Stew...looks like a great read. I will totally check it out. Thanks, Olga!

    1. Hi Vanessa, thanks for your comment. I have never heard of them before they contacted me, but I am glad I did. I just loved these books. I am glad that publishers like themselves exist to make books more diverse.

  2. Great review! These all sound like wonderful books. Congratulations on being approached by this great publisher!

    1. Hi Leanna, glad you liked my review. And, congrats for you, too! :)

  3. Very happy to see your lovely review of Rainbow Stew!
    Happy Reading,
    Cathryn Falwell

    1. Hello, Cathryn, I am so happy to see you here. I loved your book (and I love cooking and soups), and the simple story and the cute illustrations made this book so perfect. Thank you for writing it- looking forward to your other books :)


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