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Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, 1997

Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, 1997

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki, illustrated by Dom Lee, afterword by Hiroki Sugihara (Lee & Low, $15.95) In 1940, Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul to Lithuania, defied his own government and personally issued visas to Jewish refugees fleeing from Poland. He may have saved as many as 10,000 lives. This testament to one man's courage should be read in homes and classrooms across the nation and the world.

Pedrito's Day written and illustrated by Luis Garay (Orchard, $14.95) During a workday in a Central American market, a boy loses something of value and finds himself. This coming-of-age story is accompanied by Ga-ray's bold paintings: he has been com-pared, and rightly, to Diego Rivera.

Farmer's Market written and illustrated by Paul Brett Johnson (Or-chard, $15.95) Homegrown tomatoes heaped high: into a Saturday world where a farm girl is granted her wish on the day she helps out at her family's produce stand. Johnson transports us to a vanishing America.

A Rainbow at Night: The World in Words and Pictures by Navajo Children by Bruce Hucko (Chronicle, $14.95) Mesas glowing in the dusk, weavers at the loom--an odyssey, guided by youngsters 5 to 13, into Native American creativity and culture.

The Most Beautiful Roof in the World: Exploring the Rainforest Canopy by Kathryn Lasky, photographs by Christopher G. Knight (Harcourt Brace, $18) This eloquent explication of field scientist Meg Lowman's work in the realm of macaw and bromeliad could lead a child to a life's work.

The New Oxford Treasury of Children's Poems compiled by Michael Harrison and Christopher Stuart-Clark, illustrated by selected artists (Oxford University Press, $25) The anthology format raised to new heights: this collection of verse, by bards as various as Yeats and Nikki Giovanni, should hold pride of place on any youngster's bookshelf.

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Nancy Cote (Albert Whitman, Morton Grove, Illinois, $15.95) A celebration of golden potato pancakes and candles burning bright, this evocation of the winter holiday glows with neighborliness and cheer.

Elephant Woman: Cynthia Moss Explores the World of Elephants by Laurence Pringle, photographs by Cynthia Moss (Atheneum, $16) At Kenya's Amboseli National Park, researcher Moss has made her life with these threatened creatures, illuminating their complex kinship structures. Pringle's account of her pioneering research is informative and affecting.

Cracked Corn and Snow Ice Cream: A Family Almanac by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Jane Dyer (Harcourt Brace, $18) "When I was a child," the author writes, "the only place more exciting than Oz was Iowa." She and illustrator Dyer traveled the back roads of Iowa and Wisconsin, transcribing the recollections of their rural relatives. The result is a fetching compendium, chock-full of country lore and first-person family history.

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kip-ling, adapted and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Morrow, $16) This version of a classic, the tale of the courageous mongoose who vanquishes all cobra enemies, is a triumph. Pinkney's illustrations are works of genius.

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