Category Archives: Diversity & Multicultural Books

OPENING THE ROAD: The Story Behind the Story

OPENING THE ROAD: The Story Behind the Story

OPENING THE ROAD is the true story behind the Green Book guide Black Americans used to travel safely during legal segregation and the mail carrier who wrote it. I was honored to reveal the cover of my upcoming release on author Tara Lazar’s blog. Click on the cover to see a sample spread from the book by the talented artist Alleanna Harris.

I also wrote about my inspiration, the story behind the story, and a little about my road to publication.

BEEP! BEEP! On our way, be there January 26, 2021!

And there’s a GIVEAWAY! Comment on the blog post to enter a chance to win a copy of OPENING THE ROAD: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book.

Beaming Books | ISBN: 978-1506467917
40 pages | ages 4-8

Pre-order wherever books are sold!

Bookshop | Blue Manatee Literacy Project | Beaming Books | Amazon | B&N

Kirkus STARRED Review!

Kirkus STARRED Review!

It is what it is. GOOD TROUBLE!

NO VOICE TOO SMALL got a star 🌟 from Kirkus Reviews! Click on the picture to read the review.


Thank you to the wonderful words by  Nikki GrimesCarole Boston WeatherfordTraci SorellCharles WatersHena KhanJanet WongJoseph Bruchac,Guadalupe Garcia McCallAndrea J. LoneyLesléa NewmanGreg NeriS. Bear Bergman, and Fiona Morris.  And to Charlesbridge Publishing, our editor Karen Boss and Literary Agent Emily Mitchell who represented us in this project.

We can’t wait to share this book with readers of all ages!

Reviews are coming in!

Reviews are coming in!

ALL THE FEELS! Check out this video review of NO VOICE TOO SMALL by Kirsten Williams Larson.🎤 Empower youth. They are are our future and our hope.

Check out other reviews by Kirsten on her YouTube channel where she dives deep into nonfiction books. Excuse me while I grab a tissue. 😭

FREEDOM SOUP – A Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

FREEDOM SOUP – A Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators. 

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. All kids should have access to diverse books like the one I reviewed this year.

FREEDOM SOUP by Tami Charles and illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara was sent to me Candlewick Press at no cost in exchange for an honest review. Published December 10, 2019, the book has earned four starred reviews! Read those reviews from Kirkus, SLJ (School Library Journal), Shelf Awareness, and Publishers Weekly.

Food is a wonderful way to celebrate culture and history. That’s exactly what Charles does in her story about the Haitian dish, Soup Joumou, also known as Freedom Soup. An intergenerational story, readers follow along as a young child and her grandmother cook together.

Every New Year’s Day Ti Gran makes Freedom Soup but on this day she is teaching Belle how to make the soup, just like she was taught when she was a little girl.

Readers can sway to the rhythm of Charles’ lyrical language and Alcántara’s colorful, expressive illustrations filled with movement. Both text and art will entice children to  dance like Belle and tap their toes like Ti Gran while imagining the sounds of the Haitian kompa music.

As they cook, Ti Gran teaches Belle the history of Haiti, the place where she was born.

“Know why they call it Freedom Soup” Ti Gran asks.

“Because it’s free?

It’s the same answer I always give. Ti Gran laughs her loud, belly-deep laugh.

“Oh, Belle. Nothing in this world is free, not even freedom.”

Charles recounts the country’s history of slavery so children understand what it meant to be enslaved. Ti Gran explains, “Freedom Soup was only for the free.”

As the soup cooks Belle and Ti Gran dance their way through the rebellion that lead to the revolution and cheer for Haiti’s independence.  Charles provides a recipe for Freedom Soup and an author’s note with background information on Haiti and her personal family connection to the story. FREEDOM SOUP is a fun and engaging story but it also introduces young children to the true history of a country and the people who resisted slavery and won their freedom.

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,

Platinum

Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,

Gold

Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,

Silver

 Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,

Bronze

Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

Author Sponsor Link CloudJerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, , Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book seriesGreen Kids Club, Inc.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is UNDER MY HIJAB.

Written by: Hena Khan

Illustrated by: Aaliya Jaleel

Publisher: Lee & Low Books, February 5, 2019

Suitable for ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics:  hijab fashion, modern Muslim women, religion

Brief Synopsis: UNDER MY HIJAB is written from the point of view of a young girl who observes how, when, and where her modern, independent, female family members wear their individual headscarves for work and play.

Why I like this book: Hena Khan’s story is for anyone curious about modern Muslim women who choose to wear a hijab.

Most often women cover their hair, ears, and neck but to show just how individual that choice is, the cool artist aunt covers her hair and ears pinned with a handmade jewel. Illustrator Aaliya Jaleel adds other details like henna designs worn on the hands of these characters while attending a social event.

At the end of the book, the author shares the cultural and religious significance of wearing the headcover.

I read the ARC for this review. UNDER MY HIJAB would be a great addition to the home, school, and library.

Resources:

  • Resources: For more about Islam for kids, see the World Religions website.
  • See examples of modern hijabs at this London fashion show.
  • Watch this tutorial on youtube by a young girl on how to style different headscarves.
  • Read this interview on the Lee & Low Book blog with author Hena Khan.

To read lots more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews visit author Susanna Hill’s blog.

Happy reading!

A Morning With Grandpa by Sylvia Liu

A Morning With Grandpa by Sylvia Liu

A MORNING WITH GRANDPA by Sylvia Liu, illustrated by Christina Forshay, published by Lee & Low Books is the book I reviewed for this year’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day. The MCBD campaign founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom is in its 6th year! The mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity and get them in homes, schools and into the hands of young readers.

A MORNING WITH GRANDPA celebrates the loving relationship between Mei Mei and her grandfather, Gong Gong. Mei Mei finds Gong Gong practicing Tai chi and he attempts to teach her some of the motions, but she playfully shows off moves of her own.  When Mei Mei decides to teach Gong Gong yoga, he finds the twisty, bendy poses hard to imitate. But they still enjoy each other’s company despite their differences in physical agility, age, and experiences.

Liu’s use of metaphors portrays each character’s distinct personalities.  Forshay’s choice of earthy colors and expressive illustrations capture the warmth of their relationship.

“Gong Gong stepped from side to side and carefully moved his arms back and forth. He was a warm summer breeze gently blowing through the trees.

Mei Mei was a frisky fall wind tumbling with the leaves.”

The author won the 2013 Lee and Low New Voices Award for this intergenerational story that features both Chinese and Western cultures. The text is also informative as Liu describes the positions used in both Tai chi and yoga for her young audience. Backmatter encourages readers to learn more about both forms of movement.

This is a delightfully diverse family centered story for young children ages 4-8 years.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Level Sponsors on board!

HonoraryChildren’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super PlatinumMake A Way Media

GOLDBharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra GoldBharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVERCapstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab World,Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and  Baptiste PaulRedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board!

HonoraryJulie FlettMehrdokht Amini,Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia Chu,CultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm,Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma Venkatraman,Patricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing,Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula Chase,Erin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution,Soulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

MCBD has the following CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts
A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial BookwormsBooks My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it,  Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup, Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Little Bookworm Bookstore Author Visit

Little Bookworm Bookstore Author Visit

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Passed a good time at the Little Bookworm bookstore with illustrator Vernon Smith dancing, singing, reading THE KING CAKE BABY and of course eating King Cake! 💜💚💛👑🎭🎺🎵🎷🎶

A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS by Alice Faye Duncan

A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS by Alice Faye Duncan

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is…

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A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS

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Written by: Alice Faye Duncan

Illustrated by: Xia Gordon

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (January 2019)

Suitable for ages: 5-8

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Themes/Topics: biography, poetry, African-American life

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Brief Synopsis:

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A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks is about the African-American poet and author Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) who wrote about the urban African-American experience.

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The book is part of the “People Who Shaped Our World” series. Alice Faye Duncan captured the life and work of Brooks, beginning in 1925 at age eight, ending in 1950, the year she became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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Why I like this book:

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Duncan writes in lyrical text and shows observations informed the poet’s writing, even from an early age.

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The author also gives examples of the kinds of struggles Brooks faced as a young, gifted writer as well as the support she received from her family. Brooks struggled with her confidence and her words. A teacher once accused Brooks of plagiarism so her mother had the young poet write a poem in front of her. As a teen when others were looking for work, Gwendolyn’s parents supported her dream and allowed her to “sit and think”. And from all her years of hard work, an adult Brooks realizes her dream and became a professional writer.

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Back matter includes an author’s note, timeline, suggested readings by Gwendolyn Brooks and bibliography to learn more about one of America’s most influential writers.

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I read the ARC for this review; the book release date is January 1, 2019. This book would be a great addition to the home, school, and library.

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Resources:

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  • For more about poetry for kids, see the Poetry4kids website.

  • A lesson plan about Gwendolyn Brooks  (grades 3-12).

  • A lesson plan for Gwendolyn Brooks (grades 5-6).

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To read lots more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews visit author Susanna Hill’s blog.

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Happy reading!

A Perfect Picture Book Pair: SIBLINGS

A Perfect Picture Book Pair: SIBLINGS

A Perfect Picture Book Pair about sharing the spotlight with younger sibling. These stories feature the cutest DIVAS!

In STARRING CARMEN by Anika Denish and illustrated by Loren Alvarez Gómez, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017, Carmen is a showgirl! She loves an audience, the attention, and the applause! But her little brother Eduardo wants to perform with her. Can Carmen make room for him?

In FAMOUSLY PHOEBE author Lori Alexander and illustrator Aurelie Blard-Quintard, Sterling Children’s Books, 2017, Phoebe was always the family star, followed by camera-carrying “paparazzi” until the arrival of a new sibling. Can Phoebe find a new role to play?

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A Perfect Picture Book Pair or #PPBP showcases two books with universal themes, but one must include a diverse setting, or life experience, or main character. My goal is to support books in the market that contribute to diversity in children’s literature.

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Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too!

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Kids love to see their reflections in books. Follow  #WeNeedDiverseBooks  #ReadYourWorld for more selections of diverse books.

A Perfect Picture Book Pair – Facing Fear

A Perfect Picture Book Pair – Facing Fear

A Perfect Picture Book Pair about courage. These stories show it’s possible to overcome fear with the love and support of family.

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In JABARI JUMPS by author-illustrator Gaia Cornwall, Candlewick Press, 2017, a boy declares to his dad that he is ready to jump off the high diving board for the first time. Or is he?

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In THUNDER CAKE by author-illustrator Patricia Polacco, Philomel Books, 1990, a grandmother distracts her granddaughter frightened by an incoming storm by gathering all the ingredients needed to make a Thunder Cake – some from outside!

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Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes, but one must include a diverse setting, or life experience, or main character. My goal is to support books in the market that contribute to diversity in children’s literature.

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Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too!

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Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!

Nina by Alice Brière-Haquet, illustrated by Bruno Liance

Nina by Alice Brière-Haquet, illustrated by Bruno Liance

Saturday, January 27, 2018 is the 5th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day!  I am honored to once again participate in this wonderful event as a book reviewer. [spacer height=”10px”]

Children want to see stories about their families, cultures, customs, traditions, histories, and religions in books. And it’s important to expose all children to literature that reflect people who are different from them. One way to introduce kids to diverse stories is through characters in picture book biographies. NINA: JAZZ LEGEND AND CIVIL-RIGHTS ACTIVIST NINA SIMONE is an introduction to the civil rights diva, High Priestess of Soul, and icon of American music, Nina Simone.

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by Alice Brière-Haquet; illustrated by Bruno Liance; translated by Julie Cormier;  published by Charlesbridge; ages 4-8

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The publisher sent a copy for me to review, however all opinions expressed are my own.

The story begins with a tender moment, a mother telling her child a story. The mother is Nina Simone, the child is her daughter. The story Nina tells is about her own life.

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To set the story in motion, Nina shares her earliest memory of learning to play the piano. She compares her blackness to the physical difference between the notes on her keyboard. The imagery is powerful.

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“The white keys are whole notes and the black keys are flats, or half notes,” my teacher explained. 

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I asked why.

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“Because that’s just the way it is.”

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Yes, that’s the way it was. White was whole. Black was half.

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Despite her experiences growing up in a country where white people and black people were treated differently, Nina didn’t allow discrimination to interfere with her dreams. When Nina was 12, she refused to sing when her mother had to give up a front row seat to white people at a concert. This early memory demonstrates how Nina learned to use her voice to fight for social justice too.

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Music has no color.  In music there is only one rhythm. Only one heart.

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The story of Nina Simone is about a talented artist and how she feels about the world in which she lives. Readers learn why and how she speaks out against injustice. This is the kind of story that would inspire children to believe they too, can use their voices to do the same.

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Free Multicultural Books for Teachers.

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Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators.

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TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm. #ReadYourWorld & #MCBD2018

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Join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party!

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

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Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.

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2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

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HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

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PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

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GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

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SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

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BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

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2018 Author Sponsors

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Honorary Author Sponsors: Author/Illustrator Aram Kim and Author/Illustrator Juana Medina, Author Janet Balletta, Author Susan BernardoAuthor Carmen Bernier-Grand, Author Tasheba Berry-McLaren and Space2Launch, Bollywood Groove Books, Author Anne BroylesAuthor Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Eugenia Chu, Author Lesa Cline-Ransome, Author Medeia Cohan and Shade 7 Publishing, Desi Babies, Author Dani Dixon and Tumble Creek Press, Author Judy Dodge Cummings, Author D.G. Driver, Author Nicole Fenner and Sister Girl Publishing, Debbi Michiko Florence, Author Josh Funk, Author Maria Gianferrari, Author Daphnie Glenn, Globe Smart Kids, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Author Quentin Holmes, Author Esther Iverem, Jennifer Joseph: Alphabet Oddities, Author Kizzie Jones, Author Faith L Justice , Author P.J. LaRue and MysticPrincesses.com, Author Karen Leggett Abouraya, Author Sylvia Liu, Author Sherri Maret, Author Melissa Martin Ph.D., Author Lesli Mitchell, Pinky Mukhi and We Are One, Author Miranda Paul, Author Carlotta Penn, Real Dads Read, Greg Ransom, Author Sandra L. Richards, RealMVPKids Author Andrea Scott, Alva Sachs and Three Wishes Publishing, Shelly Bean the Sports QueenAuthor Sarah Stevenson, Author Gayle H. Swift Author Elsa Takaoka, Author Christine Taylor-Butler, Nicholette Thomas and  MFL Publishing  Author Andrea Y. Wang, Author Jane Whittingham  Author Natasha Yim

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We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

 

King Cake Baby Goodreads Giveaway

King Cake Baby Goodreads Giveaway

Think you can catch dat baby? Enter the Goodreads Giveaway to find out!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The King Cake Baby by Keila Dawson

The King Cake Baby

by Keila Dawson

Giveaway ends January 09, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

“No mon ami, you can’t catch me, I’m the King Cake Baby!”

Photography – Non-fiction biographies about photographers

Photography – Non-fiction biographies about photographers

This Perfect Picture Book Pair is dedicated to two nonfiction biographies about American photographers. Both artists chose to capture current events by taking pictures of people  during important eras in our nation’s history.

Take a Picture of Me, James Van Der Zee! by Andrea Loney, illustrated by Keith Mallet, published by Lee & Low is about photographer James Van Der Zee whose pictures depict an important era and people in American history – the Harlem Renaissance.

Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Gérard Dubois, published by Calkins Creek Books is about photographer Dorothea Lange whose pictures depict an important era and people in American history – the Great Depression.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYsY09hktc0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAeKTKMWpkM

Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes, but one must include a diverse setting, or life experience,  or main character. My goal is to support books in the market that contribute to diversity in children’s literature.

Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too!

Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!

Arturo and the Bienvenido Feast by Anne Broyles

Arturo and the Bienvenido Feast by Anne Broyles

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is Arturo and the Bienvendio Feast. Arturo and his grandmother, Abue Rosa, return in this sequel to Arturo and the Navidad Birds. This is the  perfect month to share a story about family and food. Every November families gather to give thanks for one another and share a Thanksgiving feast. Children will enjoy reading about Arturo and his family’s feast.

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Written by: Anne Broyles

Illustrated byKE Lewis 

Translator: Maru Cortes

Publisher: Pelican Publishing Co., Inc. (August 2017)

Suitable for ages: 3-8

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Brief Synopsis:  Arturo and Abue Rosa plan a special feast to welcome Michael, the fiancé of his aunt, Tía Inés.  Their menu includes Pupusas, curtido, fried plantains, chocolate almond cake and more. While cooking Abue Rosa gets a headache so she takes a nap. But Arturo can’t wake her up and the guests are coming. What can he do? Arturo saves the day of course! [spacer height=”10px”]

Opening pages“Arturo stole a glance at his grandmother as he popped a handful of shredded cheese in his mouth.” [spacer height=”10px”]

“Arturo echó una miradita a su abuela mientras se metía un bocado de queso rallad a la boca.” [spacer height=”10px”]

“Leave some for the pupusas.” Abue Rosa threw the dough into the mixing bowl – thwack! – and massaged the masa into a smooth ball.” [spacer height=”10px”]

“Deja un poco para las pupuses.” Abue Rosa ventó la masa al tazón – jzas! – masajendo la masa hata formar una bala suave.” 

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Why I like this book: The tender relationship between Arturo and his grandmother continues in this sequel. Reading about Arturo and Abue Rosa reminded me of the special bond shared between my son and my mother when they cooked Louisiana Creole Filé Gumbo together. Food and family are important to culture and celebrations. Anne Broyles brings both together in this sweet story told in English and Spanish. In addition to recipes for Curtido (slaw) and Pupusas (stuffed, fried corn cakes), there is an author’s note. Also included is a glossary with phonetic pronunciations and definitions for the Spanish words used in the story. [spacer height=”10px”]

The illustrations are warm, and earthy colors represent Latin American culture. [spacer height=”10px”]

Resources:  [spacer height=”10px”]

  • Lu and Bean Read podcast 11/16/2017 interview with author Anne Broyles. [spacer height=”10px”]

  • Mr. Donn’s Free lessons, games, presentations about Latin America. [spacer height=”10px”]

Read other perfect picture book Friday reviews at author Susanna Hill’s blog. [spacer height=”10px”]

Happy reading!

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. [spacer height=”10px”]

When Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) voiced her objections about the nomination of Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General during his confirmation hearing on February 7, 2017, she was silencedSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) interrupted Senator Warren as she read from the letter written in 1986 by civil rights leader Coretta Scott King. That letter helped prevent the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as a federal judge for his home state of Alabama. McConnell accused Warren of making statements that impugn the character of Sessions which he determined was against Senate rules. [spacer height=”10px”]

The senator presiding over the hearing advised Warren that she was out of order under Senate Procedural Rule 19. “I’m reading a letter from Coretta Scott King to the Judiciary Committee from 1986 that was admitted into the record,” Senator Warren argued. “I’m simply reading what she wrote about what the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be a federal court judge meant and what it would mean in history for her.” [spacer height=”10px”]

Senator McConnell asked for a vote. After a 49-43 vote split across party lines, Senator Warren was not allowed to finish nor speak again. Instead, she continued reading the letter outside the door of the Senate floor. [spacer height=”10px”]

Defending his actions, Mitch McConnell later explained, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”  [spacer height=”10px”]

Inspired by that event, Chelsea Clinton wrote this book and featured thirteen other women in America who also faced opposition and or adversity but succeeded because they persisted[spacer height=”10px”]

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Written by: Chelsea Clinton

Illustrated by:  Alexandra Boiger

Publisher: Philomel Books (May 2017)

Suitable for ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: Women in US history, perseverance, resilience [spacer height=”10px”]

Brief Synopsis:  In She Persisted, Chelsea Clinton introduces young readers to thirteen American women throughout history who, despite resistance from others or society, made positive contributions to our nation because of their persistence. [spacer height=”10px”]

Opening pages“Sometimes being a girl isn’t easy. At some point, someone probably will tell you no, will tell you to be quiet and may even tell you your dreams are impossible. Don’t listen to them. These thirteen American women certainly did not take no for an answer. They persisted.” [spacer height=”10px”]

Why I like this bookShe Persisted is an inspirational tribute to thirteen women whose contributions to our nation deserve recognition. Some of the women featured are well known and others are not. The colorful illustrations by Alexandra Boiger include a diverse cast of characters, girls and boys, that reflect our nation’s multicultural population. [spacer height=”10px”]

Perseverance, persistence, fairness, and dreaming big are common themes in children’s books. I enjoyed the inclusion of women in a book that also teaches US history. As a non-fiction book, there are endless opportunities for educational use. Students could conduct more in-depth study of each character, or research other lesser known female figures who have also helped shape our nation. The adults in this book are role models children should know about and look up to. The author includes a quote that explains why every child, especially girls, should read this picture book, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” -Astronaut Sally Ride [spacer height=”10px”]

Resources

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren reading the 1986 letter by civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr [spacer height=”10px”]

  • To find more books about women and their contributions to the word, visit A Mighty Girl. [spacer height=”10px”]

  • Women Who Persisted, is a wonderful resource of books from Lee & Low with lesson plans, discussion questions for extended study on the topic. [spacer height=”10px”]

Read other perfect picture book Friday reviews at author Susanna Hill’s blog. [spacer height=”10px”]

Happy reading!

Mardi Gras 2017 Visits

Mardi Gras 2017 Visits

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I had wonderful time celebrating Mardi Gras 2017. The King Cake Baby and I ran all over south Louisiana parishes visiting with students, parents, teachers, and school librarians.

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As a guest author for Scholastic I met many wonderful educators who work tirelessly to bring books into schools for kids. Book fairs are quite popular in Louisiana and the state is recognized as one of the top sales areas!  📚

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And while there of course I ate a lot of different types of King Cake!  I even ate a King Cake hamburger. Yes. I. Did. The food truck @FoodDrunknola sold them at the King Cake Festival. To my surprise, it was deliciously sweet and savory. Yum.

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I was fortunate to visit Impact Elementary School at their Family Literacy Night. And had delightful visits at Port Allen Elementary and North Iberville Elementary. Watch these Port Allen Pre-K students dance! 🎶🎶

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Second graders sang the 12 Days of Carnival. So much fun!  🎶🎺🎵🎷🎶 

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Kindergarten students at North Iberville sang “Five Little King Cake Babies“. Cutest babies and baker in the city!

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The King Cake Baby and I love to Skype with classes, especially during Mardi Gras. We hung out with a great group of first grade students in Kentucky who knew all about Kings’ Day.

Just so happens World Read Aloud Day, known as WRAD, is always during Carnival season. So the baby ran west…to Texas!

All hail the North Pointe Elementary grade 2 Kings and Queens!

                                                                                

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It was wonderful to see kiddos from coast to coast celebrating Mardi Gras, like this Girl Scout troop from San Diego!   💜💚

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 Every year I bring a King Cake to my tennis club. Guess who got the baby?

Eating King Cake during Mardi Gras is a longtime tradition and fun no matter your age or where you live. But no worries if you don’t eat any by Fat Tuesday on February 28th, there’s always next year!

                                                                                                                                                 

 

Chicory and Roux: The Creole Mouse and the Cajun Mouse

Chicory and Roux: The Creole Mouse and the Cajun Mouse

I was so pleased to receive an advanced copy of Chicory and Roux: The Creole Mouse and the Cajun Mouse to review for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.  What a fun retelling of Aesop’s fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, told Louisiana style![spacer height=”10px”]

Written by:  Todd-Michael St. Pierre

Illustrated byLee Brandt Randall

PublisherPelican Publishing (February 10, 2017)

Suitable for ages5-8

Themes/TopicsLouisiana, Creole and Cajun culture, animal folk tale, city vs. country living

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Brief SynopsisThis is a story about two mice, Chicory from the city of New Orleans and Roux from the countryside of Southwest Louisiana. One day, Chicory fell asleep in a picnic basket and ended up in the countryside where she met Roux. They explored Roux’s hometown. Chicory found Roux’s food boring, and yikes…there were alligators in the swamp!  Chicory invited Roux to explore the city of New Orleans. Although they did pass a good time during Mardi Gras, Roux prefers the way the tradition is celebrated back home. The city may have fancy food but there were dangers Roux was not used to! Chicory and Roux parted ways but promised to keep in touch. They agreed that where they live is exactly where they’re meant to be.

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Opening pages:

“Once upon a Louisiana time, there lived a Creole mouse named Chicory. One morning she climbed into a picnic basket to nibble on some French bread, and she feel fast asleep. A nice New Orleans family had packed the basket with their favorite foods, such as roast-beef po’boys, Creole tomatoes, and pecan pralines. As Chicory napped, she was carried away to a picnic on a humid day!

When she awoke, Chicory discovered that the basket was smackdab in the middle of a swamp!”

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 Why I like this book Author Todd-St. Pierre cleverly adapted Aesop’s fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, to create Chicory and Roux: The Creole Mouse and the Cajun Mouse. He highlighted city vs. country life through the lens of Louisiana culture.

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When people find out I’m from New Orleans, often they ask, “What’s the difference between a Louisiana Creole and Louisiana Cajun?” And I always reply that the difference is similar to any region’s city vs. country living. Simply, where you choose to live influences how you live. As a city girl I attended undergraduate school in Lafayette, Louisiana located in the southwestern corner of the state. I had a wonderful experience, but I’m a New Orleans girl and identify with Chicory, the Creole Mouse! Yet I have friends and family who are like Roux, the Cajun Mouse, who would never leave the countryside. Truthfully, whether folks live in the city or the country we all celebrate the same wonderfully unique Louisiana culture.

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There are two original songs at the end of the book, “Song of Roux: The Cajun Mouse and Song of Chicory: The Creole Mouse.

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Resources

To read more reviews of today’s picks, visit author Susanna Hill’s blog.

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Happy reading!

 

ABC, Adoption and Me – Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

ABC, Adoption and Me – Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

This Friday we celebrate the fourth annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

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As readers, reviewers, and writers this day is an excellent way to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kidlit that address diverse topics and feature people of color. Even though census data shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that. You will find hundreds of book titles and reviews to read at this linky. Raising awareness of these titles will help you create a more diverse bookshelf, and make it easier to get these books into homes, schools, libraries, and into the hands of young readers. And for this reason, the co-creators of this unique event, Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom  have chosen #ReadYourWorld as the official hashtag

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 ABC, ADOPTION & ME was sent to me by authors Gayle H. Swift, and Casey A. Swift to review. Published by WRB Publishing, the book has won recognition and many awards.
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  • Named a Favorite Read of 2013 by Adoptive Families national magazine
  • Named a Notable Picture Book for 2013 by Shelf Unbound in their Dec/Jan 2014
  • Honorable Mention – Gittle List of 2014; 
  • Finalist; IPNE 2014 Book Awards (Independent Publishers of New England)
  • Honorable Mention 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Award 
 ABC, Adoption & Me is an informational ABC concept book. Written from a child’s point of view, it skillfully addresses complex information about adoption, such as who can be adopted, feelings about birth parents, and the different ways to adopt, all explained in an age appropriate way for young children.

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Page samples:
“C is for children. You can be adopted at any age, from tiny babies to teens.”   
“M is for miss. Sometimes I miss my birth parents. I wonder if they miss me too.”  
“O is for open adoptions. In open adoptions, adoptees know their birth parents. They visit each other and spend time together – a little or a lot.” 

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The illustrations are colorful cartoon-style drawings that show an array of multicultural characters and families. What I like most about this book is that it includes the challenges and difficulties kids face when adopted, in addition to the positive experiences. It also includes an introduction to show adults how to use the book. It mentions the Adoption-attunement Quotient (AQ) which considers how adoption influences a child. The book would be a valuable resource for caregivers, parents, and schools to use when discussing adoption. And especially helpful for adoptive families who want to talk about adoption with their adopted children. The authors have provided a very informative, inclusive, and kid-friendly guide on the subject.

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Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.[spacer height=”10px”] Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

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We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

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MCBD Links to remember:

Christmas & Hanukkah

Christmas & Hanukkah

This Perfect Picture Book Pair celebrates the most wonderful time of the year to read… Christmas and Hanukkah stories!

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Title: Jackie’s Gift

Author: Sharon Robinson

Illustrator: E. B. Lewis

Publisher: Viking (2010)

Age Range: 3-7 years

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The famous baseball player Jackie Robinson gives a gift to a boy he befriends in his new neighborhood. The gesture allows the two families to learn about their different holiday traditions.

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Title: Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein

Authors: Amanda Peet & Andrea Troyer

Illustrator: Christine Davenier

Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers  (2015)

Age Range: 3-7 years

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When Rachel Rosenstein feels she’s missing out because her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, she learns others celebrate differently at this time of year too.

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Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes, but one must include a diverse setting, or life experience,  or main character. My goal is to support books in the market that contribute to diversity in children’s literature.

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Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too!

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Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!

Monsters!

Monsters!

The characters in these two books figure out how to deal with their monster problems in this Perfect Picture Book Pair! [spacer height=”20px”]

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Title: Monster Trouble

Author: Lane Fredrickson

Illustrator: Michael Robertson

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (September 2015)

Age Range: 4-8 years

[spacer height=”20px”] What’s a girl gotta do to rid her bedroom of monsters so she can get some sleep? Winifred Schnitzel finds the perfect solution to her monster trouble!

 [spacer height=”20px”] Title: The Monstore 

Author: Tara Lazar

Illustrator: James Burks

Publisher: Aladdin   (June 2013)

Age Range: 4-7 years

[spacer height=”20px”] What’s a boy gotta do to get rid of his pesky little sister? To solve his problem, Zach goes to the Monstore!

[spacer height=”20px”] A Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes, but one must include a diverse setting, or life experience,  or main character. My goal is to support books in the market that contribute to diversity in children’s literature.

[spacer height=”20px”] Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too!

[spacer height=”20px”] Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!

Grandparents & Celebrating Heritage: A Perfect Picture Book Pair

Grandparents & Celebrating Heritage: A Perfect Picture Book Pair

PERFECT timing for this Perfect Picture Book Pair!

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This October, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur are celebrated, and it’s also National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Both books are inspired by the Yiddish folksong “Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl” (I Had a Little Overcoat or My Coat). And both stories show how grandparents re-use, and re-purpose fabric to leave a legacy of love.

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Title: Maya’s Blanket/La manta de Maya

Author: Monica Brown

Illustrator: David Diaz

Publisher: Children’s Book Press (CA); and imprint of Lee & Low Bilingual edition (August 15, 2015)

Age Range: 3-7 years.

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Topics: Latino culture, inter-generational story, sewing, re-use/re-purposing cloth, legacy

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Title: My Grandfather’s Coat

Author: Jim Aylesworth  

Illustrator: Barbara McClintock

Publisher: Scholastic Press   (October 2014)

Age Range: 4-8 years.

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Topics: Immigration, inter-generational story, sewing, re-use/re-purposing cloth, legacy

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Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes but one must include diverse settings,  life experiences,  and or people in the world of  children’s literature in response to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.

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Mark Twain said ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…”Reading is too!

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Kids love to see their own reflections in books. Join me and  #ReadYourWorld!

Boys and Bots: A Perfect Picture Book Pair

Boys and Bots: A Perfect Picture Book Pair

Two boys and their bots make a perfect picture book pair! Friendship, hilarity, and science saves the day.

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TitleThe Bot that Scott Built

Author: Kim Norman

Illustrator: Agnese Baruzzi

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (August 2016)

Age Range: 3-7 years.

Boy builds bot. Classroom calamity ensues. Boy and bot save the science fair!
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Title: Boy + Bot  

Author: Ame Dyckman

Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers   (April 2012)

Age Range: 2-5 years.

Boy likes bot. Bot likes boy. Friendship ensues!

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Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes but one must include diverse settings,  life experiences,  and or people in the world of  children’s literature in response to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.

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Mark Twain said ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…”Reading is too!

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Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!

Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat

Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat

Today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat 

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Written by:  Susan Lendroth

Illustrated by: Kathryn Otoshi

Publisher: Shen’s Books (July 2010)

Suitable for ages: 5 and up

Themes/Topics: Japan, legend of Maneki Neko, folk tale, gratitude

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Brief Synopsis: A cat named Tama lives in a small Japanese village with a poor monk at the Kotoku Monastery. During a great storm a samurai takes cover under a tree not far from the temple. Tama is also stranded outside. When Tama is cleaning her face with her paw, the samurai sees the cat beckoning him. He moves toward the cat and the tree is hit by lightning. He believes the cat saved his life. [spacer height=”10px”]

In his gratitude, the samurai shared his wealth with the monk who then shared the riches with his village. When the cat died, the monk created the legend of Maneki Neko  “beckoning cat” or “lucky cat” to honor Tama. [spacer height=”10px”]

This is one of many versions of the Japanese legend of Maneki Neko, the beckoning cat. [spacer height=”10px”]

Opening page: You have come to the wrong place, little one, for I am as poor as you with few scraps to share,” said the monk when he first saw the cat sunning herself outside his door. Still, he smiled, scratching the thin fur behind her ears and the spot on her back, round as a child’s ball. [spacer height=”10px”]

The cat rolled, rubbing her head between the monk’s hand and the hard-packed earth, then immediately sat up to polish the dust from her face. One curled paw dipped and rose, beckoning to the monk like an old friend. [spacer height=”10px”]

Why I like this book: The artwork by Kathryn Otoshi captures the peacefulness and serenity of the landscape in many rural areas in Japan. [spacer height=”10px”]

The story is a beautiful memory of my years living and working there. These small figurines are found all over Japan and throughout Asia. Homes and businesses have Maneki Neko statues displayed with either its left or right paw raised. Businesses display cats with the left paw raised to bring in customers. A raised right paw is said to bring luck and money. The figurines come in a variety of colors that symbolize a different kind of luck. White is for happiness, gold brings money, black is for good health, and red is for love and relationships. [spacer height=”10px”]

The book introduces readers to Japanese culture and folklore.

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Photo : Sarah on Flickr

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Resources:

See Sushi Cat for concentration and memory games. [spacer height=”10px”]

See DLTK for directions for making a Maneki Neko craft Education.com and Coloring Castle for a coloring pages. [spacer height=”10px”]

See Mr. Dunn‘s site for links, PowerPoint presentations, maps, and lesson plans about Japan for students of all ages. [spacer height=”10px”]

For more reviews of today’s picks, visit author Susanna Hill’s blog here.

Happy reading![spacer height=”10px”]

Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven

Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven

Today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is Let Them Play

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Written by: Margot Theis Raven

Illustrated by: Chris Ellison

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (2005)

Suitable for ages: 7 and up

Themes/Topics: Little League Baseball, US history, segregation, racism, Jim Crow south, Civil Rights, perseverance, resistance, resilience

Brief Synopsis: The story depicted in Let Them Play is true. In 1955, a segregated South Carolina had sixty-two official Little League teams. Only one of them, the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars had African-American players. Like most young boys who loved baseball, they wanted to play, but the other white teams didn’t want to play them. After the sixty-one white teams pulled out of the Little League and formed another program, the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars became state champs by default. However they did not qualify to play in the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania because they hadn’t actually won any games or their state’s tournament. The team ended up going to the World Series anyway in hopes of taking the field. The title Let Them Play is what the boys heard from the crowds in attendance who wanted to see them play.

Opening pages:  “Most folks say it was Coach Ben Singleton who pulled the all-star dreams from the sky over Harmon Field and sprinkled them in the eyes of 14 boys the summer of 1955. Not that baseball dreams weren’t already rising high as the heat waves on noonday porches all over Charleston’s Upper Westside.

Boys wanted to be Jackie Robinson playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and mothers like Flossie Bailey on Strawberry Lane wanted to find their missing mop handles. Stickball players like her son John used the handles as bats to hit half-rubber balls and sandlot player made mitts from paper bags or cardboard sewn with shoelaces.” 

Why I like this book: Its baseball season and opening days are happening all over the country. My kids participated in team sports because we wanted them to learn about rules, and what it takes to be a team player as well as other life lessons.  There is much to learn from sports, like sportsmanship and playing fair. We also know kids learn that sometimes life can be unfair and even harsh.

Let Them Play is about the true life events of young athletes who were treated differently based solely on the color of their skin.  The bigotry and discrimination these young players experienced were common during this time, especially across the southern United States.  This story gives readers specific examples of what it was like for African-Americans who lived in the Jim Crow south during segregation where racism was so prevalent. It also shows readers examples of pride, perseverance, resilience and resistance. For those looking for a story with wonderful examples of how oppressed people navigated life under adverse conditions, this one hits a home-run.

 

Resources:

See discussion questions and activities from the William Allen White Children’s Book Award  here.

Check out author Susanna’s Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page here to read more of today’s book reviews.

Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle

Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle

Today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is Catherine’s Pascha – A Celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church

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Written by: Charlotte Riggle

Illustrated by: R. J. Hughes

Publisher: Phoenix Flair Press (2015)

Suitable for ages: 6 and up

Themes/Topics: Pascha (Easter), Orthodox Christian Easter, Eastern Orthodox Church, religious celebrations, religious diversity, cultures from around the world

 

Brief Synopsis: Through the eyes of a young girl named Catherine, readers learn about Pascha [PAH-ska], the Orthodox Christian Easter service celebrated in communities around the world. Catherine is determined to stay awake on Holy Saturday this year so she can experience the Pascha (Easter) service at her church. In beginning of the story, while Catherine naps, the family is busy with preparations for the feast that follows the service on Easter Sunday. After they leave for the service, the author takes us inside the church to experience the details of this special celebration. The illustrations show different churches from around the world, in all seven continents, where Pascha has been celebrated – yes, even in Antarctica!

In addition to the story, the author includes back matter, a glossary and Frequently Asked Questions pages for easy reference.

 

Opening pages:  Mom says I have to go to bed at my regular time, even though it’s Holy Saturday.

 

“But, Mom!” I say. “It’s going to be time to get up in just a little while!”

 

“All the more reason for you to get a little nap,” she says, and she turns off the light.

 

Well, Mom can make me go to bed, but she can’t make me go to sleep. I’m going to stay awake until it’s time to go to church.”

 

Why I like this book: Catherine’s Pascha is a lovely story packed with details about a special annual event still celebrated today. Children will certainly identify with the child centered character of Catherine the author created. Given I was raised Roman Catholic, this story brought back many memories of Christmas midnight mass, including the excitement of wanting to stay awake. Although our Easter was celebrated in a daytime service, just as Catherine and her family, we celebrated Easter by wearing new clothing, and eating special food after fasting for Lent.

This story would be a good addition to any collection of books on world religions, Orthodox traditions, and Orthodox Pascha (Easter).

 

Resources:

See the Charlotte Riggle’s website which is filled with further reading, resources, activities, and more.

Listen to Charlotte Riggle’s interview by Bobby Maddex with Ancient Faith Ministries podcast.

 

Check out author Susanna’s Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page here to read more of today’s book reviews.

 

Happy Reading!