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George and Martha, The Wump World, and Tar Beach

by Cassie Swayze— After School Programs Associate VISTA

Hello again from TAP’s librarian! I’m here today to share a few more of my favorite storybooks. TAP has a vast library with a myriad of resources. It’s hard to choose just three!

One of my favorite – and one of the funniest – books in the TAP library is George and Martha by James Marshall. The book features five stories about two best friends and loveable hippopotamuses, George and Martha. These stories are pretty silly but the underlying message of friendship, compassion, and sharing shines through. In one funny tale, Martha makes far too much split pea soup and George, out of politeness, eats even though he can’t stand the taste. Instead of telling Martha he doesn’t want to eat anymore he hides the soup in his loafer! The story ends with Martha and George reconciling over a plate of cookies. This is just one example of a sweet and funny yarn with a message about friendship and honesty. I would highly recommend George and Martha for children and adults alike!

Another beautiful and educational book that I love is The Wump World, story and illustrations by Bill Peet. This is the story of the Wumps who live on the Wump World planet. They play and frolic all day in the meadows and crystal-clear rivers of Wump World. Then one day a fleet of potbellied monsters zoomed down to the Wump World and out marched the Pollutians from the planet Pollutus. They take over Wump World, driving the Wumps underground, and build cities full of skyscrapers, apartment buildings, overpasses, and underpasses, cars, and trucks! Soon Wump World was overrun with pollution:  smog and smoke filled the air and the water was no longer clear. The Pollutians decide to leave Wump World, leaving the Wumps to clean up the mess. Although the illustrations are simple the book will spark conversations among students, children, and parents. This is a powerful book that uses a simple metaphor for conservation that even young children will appreciate.

The last book I want to share with you is Tar Beach, story and illustrations by Faith Ringgold, which was my favorite book as a child. I love Tar Beach’s for its beautiful illustrations, magical story, and since the main character’s name is Cassie! The book begins with Cassie remembering, “…when the stars feel down around me and lifted me up above the George Washington Bridge”. She goes on to describe Depression-era Harlem and the New York City from above as she flies through the night sky. Ringgold used quilt painting – acrylic on canvas paper and fabric – to illustrate this wonderful, timeless story. We have several of Faith Ringgold’s books in the TAP library, If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks and Cassie’s Word Quilt, which are both wonderful storybooks.

If you would like to browse all the children’s books in the TAP library, please visit our Shelfari.

About creativeactionaustin

We are based in Austin, Texas and reach more than 16,000 young people every year through our unique blend of theatre and education programs.Our programs expose young people to critical social problems and offer opportunities for them to creatively think about how they can be a part of solutions to these problems. Creative Action is a unique blend of art and education – for us, the two are intertwined. We believe that using the arts as a teaching method provides a fun, engaging and inspiring way to learn – it incorporates the whole mind and body.

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