Pink Paper Swans
by Virginia Kroll
Set in the inner city with high-rise apartment complexes and chalk-marked hopscotched sidewalks, this story unfolds as slowly as a hot summer day. It begins, “The city summer steamed and sizzled.”
The main character, Janette, is an 8 year old African American girl. Janette is drawn to Mrs Tsujimoto, a Japanese widow, because of her ability to make wonderful things out of paper.
As summer returns, Janette wonders where Mrs Tsujimoto has gone to. Unable to dampen her curiosity, Janette finds Mrs Tsujimoto’s apartment and knocks on her door. Inside is a world unknown to the little girl: bonsai plants, painted screen dividers, and a tea set on a low table. Here, Janette learns a little about Japan and its culture. Unfortunately, this is also where Janette learns of Mrs Tsujimoto’s aging hands: she cannot fold paper anymore because she has arthritis.
In this way, an African American girl becomes friends with a Japanese widow.
Illustrations are in the form of full-color cut-paper collages. Instructions on how to fold a paper swan are included at the end of the book. All photos from amazon.com