Books by Katherine Roundtree

A CARP FOR KIMIKO by Virginia Kroll
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

Kimiko yearns for a carp-shaped kite to fly on Children's Day, like the one little brother Yukio has, but it's not the Japanese tradition: kites are for boys. When she tries, politely, to negotiate, her parents are firm—but not unsympathetic, especially Mama. It's true, as Kimiko says, that Yukio shared in the Doll Festival by coming to Kimiko's party; Mama, sighing, says, ``You remind me of the carp, Kimiko, always wanting to swim against the current,'' but agrees to ``bend'' tradition: she may unpack one of the dolls reserved for that festival. Better, once Children's Day is over, Kimiko gets a special gift: a live carp in an aquarium. Roundtree's illustrations are stolidly literal, her bright colors almost garish—an unfortunate choice for a gentle story distinguished by unusual warmth and subtlety. An upbeat but still bracing look at a culture in which children learn to accept tradition—and, like all children, to bargain within the constraints they're given. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
WOOD-HOOPOE WILLIE by Virginia Kroll
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

Willie is one of those children who, wherever they are and whatever they're doing, raps and knocks, shakes and taps. His parents aren't unsympathetic, though they often remind him that the time or place—church, a Chinese restaurant, school—is inappropriate, and sometimes they lose patience. Daddy asks, ``Have you got a loose switch somewhere?'' while even Grandma scolds, ``William, that will do!'' Grandpa, however, sees Willie's incessant preoccupation as an opportunity to recall the family's roots, describing instruments he once saw on a visit to Africa and suggesting that there's a wood-hoopoe inside Willie, pecking its African rhythms. The conclusion is pat but satisfying: the drummer can't make it to the African-American Center for the fifth night of Kwanzaa (the celebration of Nia, or purpose), and Willie proudly takes his place. An effective interweaving of wholesome family dynamics and African heritage in the context of the observance of Kwanzaa; Roundtree's colorful realistic illustrations glow with life. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >