From the author of The Latehomecomer, a powerful memoir of her father, a Hmong song poet who sacrificed his gift for his children's future in America In the Hmong tradition, the song poet recounts the story of his people, their history and tragedies, joys and losses; extemporizing or drawing on folk tales, he keeps the past alive, invokes the spirits and the homeland, and records courtships, births, weddings, and wishes. Following her award-winning book The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang now retells the life of her father Bee Yang, the song poet, a Hmong refugee in Minnesota, driven from the mountains of Laos by American's Secret War. Bee lost his father as a young boy and keenly felt his orphanhood. He would wander from one neighbor to the next, collecting the things they said to each other, whispering the words to himself at night until, one day, a song was born. Bee sings the life of his people through the war-torn jungle and a Thai refugee camp. But the songs fall away in the cold, bitter world of a Minneapolis housing project and on the factory floor until, with the death of Bee's mother, the songs leave him for good. But before they do, Bee, with his poetry, has polished a life of poverty for his children, burnished their grim reality so that they might shine. Written with the exquisite beauty for which Kao Kalia Yang is renowned, The Song Poet is a love story -- of a daughter for her father, a father for his children, a people for their land, their traditions, and all that they have lost.
It was 1947, and I was a young man, enamored with the thought of being a newspaper reporter. Not just any reporter, but 'Ace' newspaper reporter, for the Muskegon Chronicle, my home town's local newspaper. One day I proudly marched into the office of the editor and announced my intention of being just that. The man honored me with an assignment, to prove my mettle. I was to interview an enigmatic old man, known as 'the Story Weaver' for his ability to summon tales from everyday happenings. I immediately suspected that the editor had sent me on a wild goose chase, that there really was no such person, but in short order I found the old man right where the editor said he would be: Upstairs, in the children's section, at Hackley Public Library, weaving his tales to the delight of the children. The old man was not about to make my assignment easy. Every question I asked as to his identity, or his origins went unanswered, but with the simple act of tossing a wad of paper on the floor, a small boy fired the imagination of the Story Weaver, and I became witness to the old man's unique ability. The first story the old man told, he called, The Epsilon Factor. It was about a young boy who lived in Muskegon's distant future, who one day learned that the world around him was really quite different from what he had been led to believe. Predestination Paradox was what the Story Weaver called his next story. He told the tale of a five year old boy who had traveled backward through time on a very noble mission, knowing full well that he would pay dearly for it, whether he succeeded, or not. The Story Weaver lapsed unexpectedly into a third story that he called, Cub Cadets. It was about a maverick young flier, who one day learned the lessons of discipline and team work, the hard way. The fourth, and final story that I would ever hear the Story Weaver tell, was called, Bradley, The Warrior. It was about a local high school drama class's production of the epic classic Beowulf the Warrior that went horribly and perhaps humorously, wrong, when their on location set was invaded by their own, very real, Grendel. As the old man finished his last story, I could not help but press him again to tell me who he was. But the answer he gave me was one I could not possibly accept.
As parents, we see problems all around the globe and here at home, but often feel powerless to conquer the many issues that will affect our children's lives. Zoom Out Parenting provides parents with a framework for teaching our children the skills that will be needed in their lifetimes, with a simple and warm approach to one of the most important roles we'll ever have- parenting the next generation. When we gain a big picture perspective, parenting is less stressful and more rewarding. The bonus: Our children are better equipped to navigate and build a better world. With concrete examples, engaging illustrations and an easy to read format, Zoom Out Parenting respects the individual journeys of parents and children while helping to develop greater intentionality towards our family lives. From the Introduction: 'When your child is grown, many of your early child-rearing decisions may seem insignificant. It may not matter which diaper he wore, which spoon she used, or if you only read Caldecott-award winning books while sitting on your bamboo floor. All of your good choices reflect your great intentionality toward your child and your lifestyle, of course. But if those choices are made in a family with little care or action towards actually building something meaningful outside your home, it won't matter much. What will matter is the recognition that a zoomed out, big picture approach to life is essential to helping your child be a part of a better generation to come.' (Zoom Out Parenting,© Bonnie W. Bricker 2014)
Connected is a children's picture book for our ultra-connected world. Nathaniel Eckstrom takes us on a whimsical and sensory journey through this quaint little apartment block, exploring its inhabitants, floor by floor and introducing us to its quirky occupants; each very different, but all surprisingly connected. What is it that links each neighbour to the next? Sydney-based illustrator Nathaniel Eckstrom, well-known for his previously published picture books The Giant Bowl of Chocolate by Marion Lucy and The Hair Ball by Spider Lee, debuts as author and illustrator in this stunning new children's picture book.