Books by Marla Stewart Konrad

GRAND by Marla Stewart Konrad
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 13, 2010

This celebration of the grandparent-grandchild relationship from the World Vision Easy Readers series shows kids playing, working and laughing with their older relatives. The photos from countries including the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Armenia and Tanzania are engaging and contemporary and often show the children's environment, homes and animals, but the names of the countries they live in are hidden away on the verso of the title page, and there is no map. Even most adults sharing this book with children will feel the lack of this information as they try to help kids identify similarities and differences in the everyday experiences of the children pictured or between readers and the children in the book. The very simple text is often trite, providing another reason to skip this well-intentioned but flawed volume. (Picture book. 4-6)Read full book review >
I LIKE TO PLAY by Marla Stewart Konrad
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 13, 2010

A flawed look at the ways children play around the world. Many children in the United States or Canada may no longer make their own toys, but the photos of kids from Bangladesh, Malawi and Sudan who have created their own playthings from bits of wood and wire or even old radios are intriguing. The photos of children dancing in Peru and Myanmar, building with plastic blocks in Indonesia and Vietnam and playing with balls in Ethiopia and Mongolia (activities a little more familiar to most North American readers) can also work as conversation starters. Unfortunately, this book in the World Vision Early Readers series suffers from a lack of specific identification (readers have to go to the photo credits to find out where the pictures were taken), no map and a text that provides little new information. While the emphasis on the universal is understandable, maps and country names can and should become part of every child's early learning, and it's precisely these visual books that could help make children aware of the world outside their little neighborhood. Look for others that do the job better. (Picture book. 4-6) Read full book review >
JUST LIKE YOU by Marla Stewart Konrad
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2010

This view of babies in different parts of the world and the ways in which their mothers love them and care for them offers a thoughtful, soothing text and warmly rendered illustrations full of culturally specific details. Each spread shows a newborn infant with its mother, with a comforting, repeated refrain describing each mother counting her baby's fingers and toes, whispering to the child and singing a lullaby. The following text about each baby gives more information about that child's family, home and environment and concludes with a repeated phrase counting each child by name as "a beautiful baby…just like you." Wang's design and soft-focus illustrations offer a montage of scenes specific to each infant, with a connecting device of sparkling stars in both text and art linking all the babies together. The concluding spread describes God's connection to all these babies and ends with the same mother and baby pair that began the story. This reassuring and quietly powerful book reminds readers in a gentle way that they have much in common with other children around the world. (author's note) (Picture book/religion. 3-5) Read full book review >
MOM AND ME by Marla Stewart Konrad
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 10, 2009

This photographic early reader shares the strengths and weaknesses of its World Vision series companion, Getting There (2009). A string of easy-to-read declarative sentences ("When I need help, Mom shows me how") appears paired with gorgeous photographs of mothers and their children around the world. Each spread contains one full-page, full-bleed photo and one or (usually two) photos on the text page. The photographs portray a dizzying variety of cultures, locations and economic backgrounds, effectively marrying the universal with the particular. But there is no indication where they were taken, limiting the book's ability to impart a sense of the vastness of the world to readers. All proceeds go to World Vision, an international relief and advocacy organization. (Early reader. 4-8)Read full book review >
GETTING THERE by Marla Stewart Konrad
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 10, 2009

One of the first in a new series created by World Vision, an international charity (with royalties going to the organization), this very simple look at transportation around the world emphasizes traditional ways of traveling short distances. Attractive color photos shot in many countries by different photographers show kids on yaks, reindeer and motorcycle sidecars. Children swim, walk, wheel wooden bicycles, drive ox carts and sit in wheelbarrows. The text is simple and direct, but there are no country identifications of the photos, no descriptions and no map. Many parents, teachers and librarians will find it almost impossible to identify some of these countries, and curious children will ask. Of course, the book could be the impetus for a beginner's research project, but the lack of backmatter makes that a challenge. A gorgeous book, but a missed opportunity to help kids learn about their peers. (Early reader. 4-6)Read full book review >