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Children Book Reviews: The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope and The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope
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The Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope, written by Daryn Reicherter and illustrated by Christy Hale, is based on a true story about Sophany, a Cambodian girl who loves to dance and maintains her gift of dancing despite the terrors of the Khmer Rouge and her migration to America. Hale’s ephemeral illustrations look as if they were drawn on misty stone walls—especially beautiful and heartbreaking are the images of shadow puppets mirroring the shadows of people persecuted the brutal regime. If one improvement could be made to this book, it would be for the Khmer and English to be on the same page, allowing the reader to experience both languages at the same time. All in all, Reicherter has written a gentle story that confronts diaspora, refugees, and survival through the eyes of a brave and talented young woman.

 

The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story

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Based on a true story, The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story, written by Sandra Moore and illustrated by Kazumi Wilds, is told from the perspective of a nearly four-hundred-year-old white pine bonsai tree and its journey from a young seedling in the forest, to its survival of the World War II bombing of Hiroshima, to its journey to the United States. The meticulously crafted miniature tree tranquilly relates the story of its life with all the wisdom and wonder one would expect from a tree given as a gift of peace. Wilds’ full-page landscape illustrations are the best: lush green forest teaming with flora and fauna, the stark and monochrome shock of a bombed city, and the gorgeous blue sky and pink blossoms of a rebuilding land. Moore’s use of a novel perspective gives way to a discussion about the meanings of history, war, and peace.

, written by Daryn Reicherter and illustrated by Christy Hale, is based on a true story about Sophany, a Cambodian girl who loves to dance and maintains her gift of dancing despite the terrors of the Khmer Rouge and her migration to America. Hale’s ephemeral illustrations look as if they were drawn on misty stone walls—especially beautiful and heartbreaking are the images of shadow puppets mirroring the shadows of people persecuted the brutal regime. If one improvement could be made to this book, it would be for the Khmer and English to be on the same page, allowing the reader to experience both languages at the same time. All in all, Reicherter has written a gentle story that confronts diaspora, refugees, and survival through the eyes of a brave and talented young woman.

 

Based on a true story, The Peace Tree from Hiroshima: The Little Bonsai with a Big Story, written by Sandra Moore and illustrated by Kazumi Wilds, is told from the perspective of a nearly four-hundred-year-old white pine bonsai tree and its journey from a young seedling in the forest, to its survival of the World War II bombing of Hiroshima, to its journey to the United States. The meticulously crafted miniature tree tranquilly relates the story of its life with all the wisdom and wonder one would expect from a tree given as a gift of peace. Wilds’ full-page landscape illustrations are the best: lush green forest teaming with flora and fauna, the stark and monochrome shock of a bombed city, and the gorgeous blue sky and pink blossoms of a rebuilding land. Moore’s use of a novel perspective gives way to a discussion about the meanings of history, war, and peace.

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