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  • List Price: $17.99
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Marianthe's Story: Painted Words and Spoken Memories Hardcover – September 17, 1998

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 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
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Series: Marianthe's Story
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; First Edition edition (September 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688156614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688156619
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first heard about this book in a teacher magazine, and sure enough, it became an instant favorite in my second- and third-grade classroom. This was no big surprise to me as my fourteen young students represent eight different nationalities among themselves! The book has sparked some interesting conversations about feeling different and about arriving in a new country. Any early-grade classroom, but perhaps especially those in multicultural and international schools, should have a copy of this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
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Format: Hardcover
My co-worker introduced me to this gorgeous book that tells the story of a little girl who is new in the classroom and can't speak English. She expresses her feelings by painting. However, the surprise is that the other side of the books is SPOKEN WORDS and she tells the story of her life in Greece and having to leave her native land.
Anyone would love this book, but especially ESL teachers and teachers who have "newcomer" students... It's a good book for a gift for any child and it's a really good book for a teacher to read to a class to help the children become more sensitive to the feelings of newcomers.
A gorgeous book......
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes children have trouble understanding the challenges that others face. Sharing this book will help students understand the challenges faced by children who enter our schools not knowing English.
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Format: Hardcover
In this book, Marianthe (blithely called Mari by her teacher who can't bother to learn to pronounce her name), is "foreign." From where? Who knows. What language does she speak? Who knows. To what culture does she belong? Who knows. She's a generic stand-in. Her teacher doesn't bother in any way to try to teach her any English, yet she magically learns it just by hearing it. Just as one (sadly of many) examples, Mr. Petrie, the teacher, makes comments about Marianthe, informing the class that maybe someday Marianthe can tell her story "in words," as if she has no words herself. This is not the book to use.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lovely story, and a great way to teach perspective, P.O.V.
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