Marianthe's Story: Painted Words and Spoken Memories
Marianthe's Story: Painted Words and Spoken Memories
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Annotation: Two separate stories, the first telling of Mari's starting school in a new land, and the second describing village life in her country before she and her family left in search of a better life.
Catalog Number: #6542146
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 64
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-06-185774-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-185774-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 97034653
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
The story of a young immigrant girl from an unnamed country is told in a pair of back-to-back picture books. The first describes Marianthe's adjustment to her American school; the second (arrived at by flipping the book over) allows the girl to tell her own story of why she and her mother came to this country. Aliki's drawings are warm and expansive, giving heart to the somewhat purposive text.
Kirkus Reviews
One picture book tells two stories and two aspects of the immigrant experience from the perspective of a child. The first story, "Painted Words," follows Marianthe, new to the US, and her mother on the dreaded first day of school. Her mother tries to reassure the girl, but the classroom experience is all but overwhelming. Knowing no English, Marianthe draws pictures about herself during the art period, communicating in the only way she can. A patient teacher, some not-always-nice classmates, and success in English ("Slowly, like clouds lifting, things became clearer. Sticks and chicken feet became letters. Sputters and coughs became words. And the words had meanings") give Marianthe the courage to take part in Life-Story Time, in the "Spoken Memories" section of the book. She tells the class of the baby brother who died before she was born, the village where she lived, the closeness of friends and neighbors, who rejoiced with the family when twin sons were born. Softly colored pencil and crayon drawings show the loving, supportive family, and the anxious and finally triumphant Marianthe, who finds a place in a new country. The storytelling is vivid and exquisitely emotional, making Aliki's story painfully personal, yet resonant, in very few pages. (Picture book. 7-9)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-These two carefully written stories, combined in one book, show the difficulties a child faces when coming to a new land and the unique heritage each one of us has. In Painted Words Marianthe, or Mari, starts school knowing no one and unable to speak or understand the language. She expresses herself and her feelings through her art. She shares her experiences and new knowledge with her mother, who provides the girl with warm reassurance. Finally the day comes when Mari is able to stand before the class with her paintings and tell her story with her new words, "page by painted page." Flip the book over for Spoken Memories. It is Mari's turn to tell her class what her life was like in her native land. The setting is a small, poor village, probably in Greece, but it could be anywhere. In simple, understated language, Aliki has captured the emotions and experiences of many of today's children. Colored-pencil and crayon illustrations in soft primary and secondary colors reinforce the mood of the text. Sometimes the art occupies a page by itself; sometimes the space is shared with text. The occasionally oversized heads and wide eyes of the children in otherwise realistic drawings lend a childlike and endearing quality. An illuminating book for all collections that serve youngsters from other lands.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
In perhaps her most personal work to date, Aliki presents two equally moving sides to Marianthe's story, the first as a new arrival to a foreign America, and the second the explanation of why she came. A third-person narrative describes the girl's first days of school; Mari struggles with English until she realizes that art translates to all languages. One day, as Mari prepares to tell her story through her paintings, the sympathetic teacher announces that """"there is more than one way to tell a story. Someday Mari will be able to tell us with words."""" Readers then flip the book over to begin the second installment, for which Mari capably uses words to explain her background. Here Mari's first-person narration recounts her early years in the old country, where extended family and community pulled together to grow food and to weather such tragedies as war and famine. Like her character, Aliki spins her tale gracefully in two media, placing words and art in impressive balance, and inventively incorporates a reverse-chronological sequence to fill in the details. Aliki takes an artistic leap, as she paints her characters with a range of extraordinarily expressive faces in close-up portraits, and effectively employs a changeable palette from the dusty grays of troubled past times to the chipper hues of a contemporary classroom. In an America comprised of immigrants, many youngsters facing the same sea changes as Mari will likely find her a stalwart companion, and those with a Mari in their lives may gain a newfound respect for the strength it takes to make the journey. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Word Count: 1,600
Reading Level: 3.5
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 29307 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.5 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q13537
Lexile: 620L

Bestselling and award-winning author-illustrator Aliki’s semi-autobiographical picture book features two interconnected stories about immigration, friendship, and finding your voice.

This is the paperback edition of the acclaimed and timely book that Kirkus called “Vivid and exquisitely emotional.”

Aliki’s acclaimed picture book follows Marianthe, a Greek girl who doesn't understand English, as she starts school in the United States. In Part I, “Painted Words,” Marianthe is frustrated about being unable to communicate with her peers. Her teacher encourages her to paint her words, and little by little she finds ways to share her story with her classmates.

In Part II, “Spoken Memories,” Marianthe tells her class about her life in Greece, how her Papa left for a better job in America, and how she and her family eventually came to join him.

Based on Aliki’s own experience as a schoolgirl in Philadelphia, this is an essential, timely, and relevant American immigration story. With appealing, accessible art and a universal message, Marianthe’s Story is sure to resonate with children and educators alike.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books said, “Few picture books have captured [the immigrant experience] with such well-crafted and telling simplicity.”

Marianthe's story : painted words
Marianthe's story : spoken memories.

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