Thursday, May 17, 2012

Armchair Travel

Ambassador Walter Dean Myers (l.) and Justin Tuck
New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck received the annual Impact Award for his foundation, Tuck's R.U.S.H. for Literacy, last Monday. The occasion was the Children’s Book Council Gala to kick off Children’s Book Week. Tuck said that growing up in Kellyton, Ala., as one of seven children, he and his family didn't go many places. "If you want to go somewhere, pick up a book," his mother told him. Tua and the Elephant is just the kind of book Mrs. Tuck was talking about.

The book transports you to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Without ever leaving their chairs, readers enter the world of Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris , illus. by Taeeun Yoo, and experience a night market, smell its foods, witness its customs, meet its people, and speak its language. The artwork accentuates both the exotic and the universal elements of growing up in a village where everyone looks out for their “little peanut” (the translation of “Tua”).

Tua’s world grows larger as she searches for a safe haven for the elephant she rescues, and our world expands, too. Taeeun Yoo’s artwork help us picture Tua’s world even more clearly, and the honest emotion Tua expresses is something all children can relate to, no matter how close they stay to or how far they wander from home.

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