Monday, April 19, 2010

20th April Mary Hoffman (1945)

Mary Hoffman is a very versatile author. I love Amazing Grace and the way it tackles sexism and racism sensitively. Grace is a character, that my children readily warm to, once I share the book with them. They will then borrow Grace and Her Family and Princess Grace for themselves. The children I teach have very little experience of children with very dark skin. Unlike teaching in America or Britain, in suburban Sydney where school is they would rarely meet a child who looks like Grace. All the more reason they need to read books such as those by Mary Hoffman.

Another book by Mary, The Colour of Home looks at an Islamic refugee family and what it is like for the family starting life in a new place. Once again not an experience my children have first-hand, but reading this story and sharing Hassan's experiences elicits many questions and much discussion.

Today while looking on the shelves for other books by Mary Hoffman, I was reminded that another book that I really like, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is also written by her. Like the Leonardo book I wrote about, this is a fictionalised account of Callimachus, the Royal Librarian of Alexandria who takes his apprentice, Philip on a journey around the Mediterranean to visit the seven wonders. It includes factual information embedded in the narrative, but together with M.P. Robertson's illustrations it makes an awe-inspiring read for children who are used to travelling by plane and looking at modern buildings.

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