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.
A Perfect Picture Book Pair about courage. These stories show it’s possible to overcome fear with the love and support of family.
In JABARI JUMPSby 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?
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!
A PerfectPicture Book Pairshowcases 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!
Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History or Sports [spacer height=”10px”]
This Saturday is the kick-off of the Western & Southern Open Tennis Tournament here in Cincinnati, an exciting week for tennis fans. As a player, I enjoy keeping up with the pros and watching professional tennis. Some of the most thrilling matches in women’s tennis happened between Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. This dual biography tells their story.
Themes/Topics: Sportsmanship, women in sports, professional athletes, perseverance, resilience, equality, and respect
Brief Synopsis: Two professional female tennis players, Chris Evert from America and Martina Navratilova from Czechoslovakia, had very different upbringings and very different approaches to the game. But both shared the same goal – to be the best in the world.
Why I like this book: Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert were two talented, hard-working athletes who competed for the #1 ranking in women’s tennis . As the top female players on the tour in the 1970’s and 80’s they were often fierce opponents. Martina & Chrissie were also friends. These two talented hard-working athletes competed for fifteen years. Martina and Chrissie met 80 times on the court – 60 of their matches were in tournament finals!
The two best players in the world battled tournament after tournament. One time Martina beat Chrissie, another time Chrissie beat Martina. When Martina started losing often to Chrissie, she decided to train harder. The training paid off and Martina started winning their matches.
Martina beat Chrissie 13 times in a row in tournament finals! But Chrissie never gave up. At one tournament when everyone thought Chrissie would lose, she fought back and won. Chrissie and Martina made each other better players. Their friendship endured the greatest rivalry in the history of sports. And both won the hearts of tennis fans worldwide.
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 silenced. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) interrupted Senator Warren as she read from theletterwritten 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 thecharacter 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 theletteroutside 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”]
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 book: She 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”]
This Perfect Picture Book Pair written by award winning author-illustrator Ashley Spires features girls with strong characters. Both books are wonderful examples of how they face challenges and demonstrate resilience. [spacer height=”10px”]
THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING is about a girl who knows exactly what she wants to build and how it will work, but is frustrated because it’s not easy. So she quits. But she comes back and guess what? She gets it right! The book is a great example to kids that it’s okay to make mistakes and even get angry. We all face frustration and fear that we may not succeed in our endeavors. [spacer height=”10px”]
THE THING LOU COULDN’T DO is about a girl who loves adventure until her friends decide to do something Lou couldn’t do. She makes all kinds of excuses but eventually Lou faces her fear. Rather than feel like a failure, she sets a goal. Not everything we fear can be solved easily or quickly. Just recognizing the fear is a step in the right direction. [spacer height=”10px”]
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=”10px”]
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too! [spacer height=”10px”]
Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!
Today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is Ada’s Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
Written by: Susan Hood
Illustrated by: Sally Wern Comport
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2016)
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Resilience, Poverty, Compassion, Courage, Community, Creativity, Paraguay, Music
Brief Synopsis: This is the true story of Ada Ríos and the start of The Recycled Orchestra from the small town of Catuera in Paraguay. Catuera isn’t like most places, it is part of a landfill made of trash. Poverty surrounds the people who live there and so does crime. As one can imagine, Ada and her parents worry about their future. Her grandmother took care of Ada before she was old enough for school while her parents worked. Her abuela loved to sing to Ada. Her whole family loved music. One day Ada’s grandmother saw a sign at the chapel from a music teacher named Favio Chávez offering free music lessons. She signed Ada up. But many children showed up for lessons and there only three guitars and two violins to share. Ada dreamed of playing the violin, but knew she needed an instrument of her own to practice. Her family had no money to spend on such a luxury. Then Señor Chávez had an idea. He knew of a band that made its own instruments so he asked a ganchero, a carpenter named Nicolás Gómez to help. With much experimentation, soon there were enough instruments, made from trash, for anyone who wanted to learn to play! Ada finally got a violin, made from recycled trash, of her very own. Readers follow Ada and her fellow musicians through their plight to learn to play these instruments all the way to their success taking the stage for audiences to hear them perform.
Opening pages: “Ada Ríos grew up in a town made of trash.
Every morning at dawn, Ada heard the first garbage trucks rumble and roll down the road to Cateura. Beep, beep, beep! Backing into the landfill, they tipped their loads up and up and-CRASH! The trash came tumbling down-fifteen hundred tons each day.”
Why I like this book: I spent last week in Paraguay. Music is a very important part of the culture. Although I did not see any musicians from Cateura play, I was fortunate to see a young man play a Paraguayan harp. And young women perform traditional dances. I am thrilled Susan Hood has shared this story of The Recycled Orchestra.
Families live in poverty all over the world. The story, Ada’s Violin, allows readers to empathize with their lives and witness their fight against such undesirable conditions. In this story we are witnesses to the power of courage, community, and creativity to overcome insurmountable odds.
There is an author’s note that tells more about Ada, her family and the orchestra. She also adds url’s for websites and videos.
See the 60 Minute segment The Recyclers: From Trash Comes Triumph here.
For more of today’s reviews, see author Susanna Hill’s blog here.