Positive reviews from the major publication review outlets are something every author and artist waits for. Friday evening brought news of a School Library Journal review for the Story Circle to my inbox. The Picture Book Express review can be found among all the others for the August 29, 2016 issue.
I have taken the liberty of cutting and pasting the School Library Journal Review for The Story Circle for your convenience here.
Gonzales Bertrand, Diane. The Story Circle/El círculo de cuentos. tr. from English by Carolina E. Alonso. illus. by Wendy Martin. 32p. ebook available. Piñata. May 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781558858268. BL
K-Gr 3 –This important bilingual text begins in the wake of a school flood that has destroyed the books in a primary grade classroom, leaving the teachers to clean up the mess. When the school reopens, the children immediately notice their empty bookshelves, and call out, “What will we do for story circle?/¿Qué vamos a hacer para el círculo de cuentos?” The English phrase story circle is a complex educational concept to capture in another language, and in this text it is translated literally. The teacher smiles and calls the students to the carpet, where she models oral storytelling while they enact and visualize her tale. The children go on to share personal narratives that they later write down and illustrate. The images cross most spreads, depicting a diverse classroom and students demonstrating caring behaviors toward their peers. In addition, the children are each set across from a detailed, sometimes fantastical image of their narratives. At times, the translation from the English text could be less literal so as to sound more natural in Spanish. VERDICT Young U.S. children will be able to make meaning from the Spanish text given the familiar school practice of storytime on the carpet, while all readers can connect in some way with its themes of resiliency and cooperation following a difficult event such as a natural disaster.