2024 FOLD Kids Challenge - July - The FOLD

2024 FOLD Kids Challenge — July

A book that explores a different language from an independent Canadian press

By Anita Ragunathan

The developmental benefits of multilingualism for children are many and include improved problem-solving, multitasking, and creativity. Children’s publishers have tapped into this market with Dual Language books that encourage young children to read and learn the many languages spoken inside and outside of their households. This selection includes Dual Language picture books like Abuelita and Me which has a Spanish version called Abuelita y yo as well as books like The Words We Share, Let’s Go and Next Door that incorporate their languages into the text. Enjoy these books that celebrate the power of language and communication.

Book cover for The Words We Share by Jack Wong. Cover features an illustration of a little girl and her father speaking in a Chinese dialect.
The Words We Share by Jack Wong (Picture Book)

A young girl helps her dad navigate life in a new country where she understands the language more than he does, in an unforgettable story about communication and community by Boston Globe–Horn Book Award-winner Jack Wong.

Angie is used to helping her dad. Ever since they moved to Canada, he relies on her to translate for him from English to Chinese. Angie is happy to help: when they go to restaurants, at the grocery store, and, one day, when her dad needs help writing some signs for his work.

Building off her success with her dad’s signs, Angie offers her translation skills to others in their community. She’s thrilled when her new business takes off, until one of her clients says he’s unhappy with her work. When her dad offers to help, she can’t imagine how he could. Working together, they find a surprising solution, fixing the problem in a way Angie never would have predicted.

A gorgeously illustrated picture book from Boston Globe–Horn Book and Governor General award-winning creator Jack Wong (When You Can Swim, Scholastic) that is at once a much-needed exploration of the unique pressures children of immigrants often face, a meditation on the dignity of all people regardless of their differences, and a reminder of the power of empathy.

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Book cover for Abuelita and Me by Leonarda Carranza and Rafael Mayani. Cover features an illustration a little girl and her grandmother on a bus.
Abuelita and Me by Leonarda Carranza, illustrated by Rafael Mayani (Picture Book)

In this touching, empowering picture book debut, a girl and her beloved abuelita lean on each other as they contend with racism while running errands in the city.

Spending time at home with Abuelita means pancakes, puddle-jumping, and nail-painting. But venturing out into the city is not always as fun. On the bus and at the grocery store, people are impatient and suspicious—sometimes they even yell. Sad, angry, and scared, the story’s young narrator decides not to leave home again . . . until a moment of empowerment helps her see the strength she and Abuelita share when they face the world together. Warm, expressive illustrations by Rafael Mayani highlight the tenderness in Abuelita and the narrator’s relationship.

*There is a Spanish version called Abuelita y yo.

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Book cover for Let's Go by Julie Flett. Cover features an illustration of a child looking out their window as an older kid skateboards by.
Let's Go by Julie Flett (Picture Book)

An extraordinary book that celebrates skateboarding, family, and community, from beloved artist and author Julie Flett, winner of The New York Times / New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award.

Every day, a little boy watches kids pass by on skateboards, and dreams of joining them. One day, his mother brings a surprise: her old skateboard, just for him! haw êkwa! Let’s go! Together, they practice on the sidewalk, at the park, in Auntie’s yard—everywhere. But when it comes time to try the skatepark, the skateboarders crash down like a waterfall. Can he find the confidence to join them?

Let’s Go! features:

  • A glossary of Cree words featured in the book, and a Cree refrain (haw êkwa!) repeated throughout
  • A note to the reader from Julie Flett about her inspiration for the story

This fun and touching story is a tribute to family, friendship, and perseverance. Julie Flett’s renowned art and powerful text shows a community of support is all around, ready to help each other… go!

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Book cover for Next Door by Deborah Kerbel and illustrated by Isaac Liang. Cover features an illustration of a Deaf child and their mom on the balcony waving to a child and their mother wearing a hijab waving back.
Next Door by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Isaac Liang (Picture Book)

A boy has some unexpected encounters in his neighborhood in this wordless book about celebrating differences and building bridges.

In this wordless picture book, a Deaf boy and his mother enjoy a walk through their community. Together, they greet their neighbors, stop by the playground, spy a bird’s nest in a tree and buy cookies at the grocery store. Later, they visit their new neighbors, a woman and her daughter, who have only recently immigrated from another country. Although the girl is shy, and the two kids speak different languages – American Sign Language (ASL) and Arabic – find a way to communicate and become fast friends.

This sweet story by critically acclaimed author Deborah Kerbel explores the art of appreciating the world and the people around us and finding points of connection. Deaf illustrator Isaac Liang lends his lived experience to the visual story, choosing details and perspectives that reveal the world as it’s experienced by the boy. At the heart of the story is a timely message about breaking down barriers and finding common ground, no matter our differences. Wordless picture books engage children’s attention to detail as they follow the narrative of the story in the pictures, building their visual literacy and critical thinking skills. This book has curriculum connections to social studies lessons on community building and immigration, as well as to the character education values of empathy and kindness. It also models the practice of welcoming newcomers to our communities. A few ASL signs are demonstrated and translated within the story.

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