Tag Archives: Yuyi Morales

America the Beautiful: Together We Stand by Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, Diane Goode, Mary GrandPré, John Hendrix, Yuyi Morales, Jon J. Muth, LeUyen Pham, Sonia Lynn Sadler, and Chris Soentpiet

America the BeautifulReady to ring in the new year? Sing with me now – I’m pretty sure you know the words to this one: “O beautiful for spacious skies …” Yes, the patriotic classic gets a brand new kiddie book … with phenomenal illustrations created by a long list of award-winning artists who each command a line of the 1893 poem by pioneering poet/professor Katharine Lee Bates.

Every illustrated-stanza-double-paged-spread also includes a pithy presidential quote, from George Washington to Barack Obama. No worries – the choices are most definitely non-partisan: Jimmy Carter, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, FDR and his (fifth) cousin Teddy Roosevelt, and George H.W. Bush, all get a say. And, just in case you’re feeling like you’re missing a favorite president, the whole book cover cleverly opens up on the other side to showcase all 44 POTUSes!

The awe-inspiring result might represent a rather different U.S. of A. than perhaps our forefathers envisioned centuries ago, but America the Beautiful is nothing less than stupendous. Take that cover, for instance: the always-delight-inducing LeUyen Pham‘s vision for ” … with brotherhood …” couldn’t be more inclusive, not to mention accurate for what 21st-century America looks like. And, call me crazy (many have), but I like to think that’s young Sasha Obama reaching for the stars! Go, girl, go!

To quote our favorite peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter: “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” The perfect words to start a thus-far perfect, brand new year. Here’s to a happy, merry, healthy 2013 to all indeed!

Tidbit: Can I just say that certain folks in the publishing world had major faith in Obama’s re-election??!! The book (which pubs today) arrived in my mailbox quite a bit before November 6, 2012. The bottom right picture on the POTUS  grid of the inside-side-of-the-cover – specifically the spot for the current president – just happens to be none other than Barack Obama … leaving no room whatsoever for anyone but. I’m just saying …

Readers: Children

Published: 2013

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Nonfiction, .Poetry, Nonethnic-specific

Ladder to the Moon by Maya Soetoro-Ng, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

“More than anything, I wished that my mother and my daughter could have known and loved each other,” Maya Soetoro-Ng writes in her “Author’s Note,” mourning her late mother (anthropologist S. Ann Dunham), who died a decade before her granddaughter Suhaila was born. Through the infinite magic of words and the gorgeous imagination of Yuyi Morales‘ illustrations, Soetoro-Ng “unite[s] grandmother and grandchild through a story in which my mother could meet one of her granddaughters and share the moon with her.”

Inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s painting of the same name, Ladder to the Moon is an exquisite, multi-generational journey of love and hope. “‘What was Grandma Annie like?'” Suhaila asks. “‘Full, soft, and curious. Your grandma would wrap her arms around the whole world if she could,” Mama assures her. Suhaila continues to wonder that night, and “as though in answer … a golden ladder appeared on the edge of the sill.” Grandma Annie emerges to take the curious Suhaila by the hand, and climb the beckoning ladder.

Nestled together into the moon, Suhaila and Grandma Annie share a smile until “they too knew each other completely. Sometimes a smile is strong enough to do that.” Suhaila watches as Annie guides the children lost in tragedies (a “fifty-foot wave” and “two tall towers that trembled”) to safety. Annie promises the children “‘We’ll work together,'” in order to “build bridges and buildings and bonds between people.”

Suhaila witnesses the power of prayer, the people below united in spite of all their different faiths into “hope’s massive stream.” The more she sees, the harder she listens, and the deeper she feels her grandmother’s love; with every new experience she shares with Annie, Suhaila “knew more than she had known before.” Soon enough, Suhaila herself learns how to heal.

Suhaila’s magical journey ends with a “snuggle and a smooch” before she tumbles back to bed, returning as a young harbinger of Grandma Annie’s healing wisdom. “Come. Tell me everything,” Mama gently greets her traveling daughter. And thus the story can begin anew…

Soetoro-Ng and Morales offer a wondrous tale of how each of us – even the youngest children – can “plant seeds in soft soil,” both literally and figuratively, as we nourish and heal one other.  Together, with renewed love and hope, the earth can become a safe harbor for us all.

Readers: Children

Published: 2011


Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, Hapa, Indonesian American