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Archive for January 28th, 2019

Caldecott Medal Winner

 

by Sam Juliano

Caldecott Medal Winners Announced!

In the end it was the ravishing masterpiece Hello Lighthouse by the remarkably gifted Sophie Blackall which was named the Caldecott Medal winner in Seattle on Monday morning. This is the lovely Ms. Blackall’s second Caldecott Gold over the past few years.  Caldecott Honors went to Alma and How She Got Her Name (Juana Martinez-Neal); A Big Mooncake for Little Star (Grace Lin);  The Rough Patch (Brian Lies) and Thank You Omu (Oge Mora), all fabulous and deserving books.  My review of Hello Lighthouse appeared at Wonders in the Dark a few days ago.  My series ended after twenty-nine (29) essays.

R.I.P Michel Legrand, one of the greatest film composers of all-time.

Lucille and I attended a fabulous classical concert on Sunday afternoon titled “Shakespeare in Song” at the United Methodist Church in New Providence, New Jersey.  I will be penning a full review on it this coming week. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

Growing up in a town in Northern Jersey just a stone’s throw from Manhattan back in the 60’s and 70’s, soccer or futbal as it continues to be called by some passionate advocates had scarcely taken hold.  The rage on the sporting front was baseball, American football and basketball in that order.  The closest game to soccer in concept and execution was ice hockey which placed fourth in order of popularity.  As the once prohibitively Italian-American town’s ethnicity re-defined itself starting in the late 80’s, the world’s most popular sport began to take hold.  Decades later the community is 85% Hispanic and soccer has effectively become the town’s game of choice by a wide margin.  Baseball and American football leagues once thriving have long disbanded and the one specious field, designed for the community’s Babe Ruth League is now a lighted soccer field in operation every day from the time school closes till 10:00 and on the weekend from early morning till late at night.  Soccer is now all the rage much as it is in one 2018’s most infectious and immersive picture books, The Field by Baptiste Paul, with illustrations by Jacqueline Alcantara.  The latter’s exotic front cover, a lush olive green tapestry showing the game’s all-encompassing allure to young and old, replicated on the dust jacket is in the humble opinion of this reviewer the most exquisite of the hundreds of picture books released this past year.  And there have been a number of front cover gems to be sure.    The front end papers accentuate soccer’s hold on St. Lucia on the Domenican Islands where the game spills over from a cow field to an adjoining forest.  Alcantara’s sumptuous color blends bring this exotic locale into the classroom or home where The Field is being read and each of the illustrations in the book whether they are vignette style, full page or double page canvases they are vibrant and bursting with energy.  Paul effectively integrates the Creole language, which is this area of the world is heavily French based with some Spanish, Portuguese and English, by placing Creole next to English in the text throughout.   At the outset a take charge youth wearing white who was first seen in prominent form on the cover make his rounds to recruit players. (more…)

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