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A former elementary teacher, Monica has written several picture books for children, Perico Bonito, a bilingual book, and The Two Georges, a bilingual ABC book. Her latest work is Not a Copper Penny in Me House, an illustrated book of her poems, an NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts. She earned a bachelor's degree from City University in New York City, and a master's degree from Mount St. Mary's in Los Angeles. Monica was named one of the Outstanding Elementary Teachers in the U.S. and is a member of a number of organizations devoted to children's literature. The mother of two sons, Monica is originally from Jamaica, West Indies. Who am I? "In the sixth grade, many years ago, I won the school's poetry contest for writing a poem entitled 'My Garden.' But my dream to be a writer lay dormant a long time. During a sabbatica lfrom teaching, I took a course in Children's Literature at Mount St. Mary's College and met several authors. In conversation, I realized there were stories in my head waiting to be put on paper."From School Library Journal:
Gr 1-5-Fifteen poems evoke sights and sounds of the Caribbean. A little girl polishes her shoes with hibiscus leaves, women wash clothes in a stream, a teacher takes her class outdoors and teaches under a breadfruit tree. Gunning's language captures the lilting cadences of island speech. ``Sweet mangoes off me tree,'' says a roadside peddlar. ``Nice ripe tangerines, Man,/ Yellow like the sun.'' Although the short, unrhymed lines do not center around a single character, a strong sense of family emerges. Lessac's flat, primitive-style pictures glow with color, and brim with action. Grand Market Street on Christmas Eve, Maas Charles in his corner store, a tropical hurricane that carries housetops and animals away, all of these scenes come to vivid life. It is unfortunate that there is no glossary. (What in the world are guineps?) This volume recalls both Grace Nichols's Come on into My Tropical Garden, set in Guyana (Lippincott, 1990) and Lynn Joseph's A Coconut Kind of Day (Lothrop, 1990), set in Trinidad.-Ellen D. Warwick, Winchester Public Library, MA
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