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Diversity Reading Challenge

Front Desk by Kelly Yang, a #Cybils middle grade finalist

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

If you’re looking for a book to share with your Asian American friends, here’s a book for you. It’s so great to see our young Asian friends depicted in books, isn’t it? Young Mia is the child of immigrants and boy have they had a rough time in America. They go from living in their car to being caretakers of a motel owned by the evilest of villians, Mr. Yao. Mia struggles to make friends, be a good Chinese person, plus become the American girl she wants to become. It’s difficult and you can feel for her. It’s a sweet story with charming moments that I’m sure everyone can relate to, not just immigrants.

Front Desk also is a multiple award winner: Cybils, my blog, The Diversity Reading Challenge, and the ALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Congrats Kelly Yang!

Need a book for the Diversity Reading Challenge? Front Desk fits the bill.

An Asian main character. Isn’t it great that the world finally gets to see more authors of color?

 

 

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Children Diversity Reading Challenge

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 2

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

2books-of-diversity

Welcome back to our #diversity countdown to Christmas. Our second book is

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood.

Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to look after Grandmother Clark. Even if she didn’t care that much about meeting the new sixth graders in her Texas hometown, those strangers seem much preferable to the ones in Paris Junction. Talk about troubled Willis DeLoach or gossipy Melinda Bowman. Who needs friends like these!
And then there’s Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who shows up to help in her grandmother’s garden. Billy’s great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren’t friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.
Inspired by the true accounts of Chinese immigrants who lived in the American South during the civil rights era, these side by side stories–one in Azalea’s prose, the other in Billy’s poetic narrative–create a poignant novel and reminds us that friends can come to us in the most unexpected ways.

I want you to read this book because, like me, I had limited knowledge of the Chinese population in the South during the 50s and 60s. We need more books with Chinese characters, btw!

 

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Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Eraser by Anna Kang, Illustrated by Christopher Weyant will make you want to BUY! MORE! ERASERS!!

Eraser by Anna Kang, Illustrated by Christopher Weyant
will make you want to BUY! MORE! ERASERS!!

If you’re in love with all things BTS then you’ll love this gem. Eraser, our heroine, is ALWAYS cleaning up everyone else’s messes and she never gets credit for her valuable work. Woe is the day when the markers, crayons, glue, and everyone else realizes that when Eraser is gone, nothing is right! If I were a revenge seeking kind of person, then this turn of events would be so satisfying to say “I Told You So”. But still, Eraser gets her day to SHINE. How? Like I’m gonna spoil that for you, are you kidding?

If you love adorbs kids books, you’ll also want to check out You Are (Not) Small by Kang and her husband. It’s also thoroughly delightful as it teaches the littles about big and small and relative size. Hey does this Eraser look a little like what little PammyPam might look like? hmmmmm maybe. If you wanna see something suuuuuuuper adorbs go to Anna Kang’s website and find the pic of her smooshy little face as a toddler in a traditional hanbok. Oh the squishy cheeks!

All of Kang’s books are super cute and fun for littles to read on their own. They tackle easy to understand “problems” that kiddos can understand. I mean, if you’ve read I am (Not) Scared, you’ll understand.

Grab this book now and donate it to your little’s classroom and snag a copy for yourself so you can have it at home too. It’s that good. Eraser’s unite!

P.S. this qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.

 

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Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup: Picture Books to Middle Grade

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup

Picture Books to Middle Grade

It’s SUMMER! Summertime means more time for reading, YAY!  Not sure what to read? Your fave unconventional librarian has got you covered. I’ve compiled a list of kids books that contain diversity. No need to scour the internet or ask your friends to find the right book. I’ve got them here. All you’ll hafta do is go to your local bookstore or library and start reading.

#1 Mapping My Day By Julie Dillemuth, Lura Wood

Mapping My Day by July Dillemuth

Is a delightful book! I’m all about any book with a POC on the cover, right? But also? I love when books are sneaky and get some teaching in. The sneaky teaching way this book helps kids learn is by talking about something that kids use and love every day: maps! What kid doesn’t love drawing a treasure map like a pirate? Without even knowing it, kids will realize that they already know how to read and/draw maps and possibly legends. What kid doesn’t love tracing routes on a map? You know those: help so and so get to X location? That’s tracing a map. Kids love those activity sheets!

Spatial relations is a big word that means where things are in relation to other things and kids will love the fun and easy way that Flora (with her multi-racial family) relate to each other and other places spatially. Bonus points for milk squirting out of your nose at dinner.

So much fun learning. Also, counts for the Diversity Reading Challenge because the main character is a poc. Yay!

#2 Calling The Water Drum By Latisha Redding, Illustrated By Aaron Boyd

Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding

There is so much to love about this book. First the author and illustrator are both people of color which is a big win in my book. But of course, that’s what makes L&L so fab. They specialize in diversity. Calling the Water Drum is a tender fictionalized account of the Haitian refugee crisis from the 80s and 90s but told through the viewpoint of a very young boy who plays the drum instead of speaking. Young Henri’s perished traveling from Haiti to freedom in America and all the boy has left of his parents is the bucket they used in the boat to bail water out. Henri uses the drum as a way to connect to his family and friends he left back in Haiti and to connect with his new friends in New York.

Because children generally respond well to music I thought it would be fun to learn to make a drum so kids can express themselves like Henri.

The easiest way to make a drum is to find an old bucket, make sure it’s clean and empty, and bam, instant drum.

If you want to get a little more creative, there are many ways to make a drum without spending a dime.

  • Find an old coffee can or oatmeal container.
  • You’ll need materials to cover the open end, like: a balloon, an old scrap of leather, or wax paper.
  • Cover the open end with your material, ie., wax paper. use string, duct tape, or very large rubber bands to hold the wax paper to the sides of the can.
  • You’re done!
  • If you want to get extra fancy you can decorate the sides of your drum however you like: markers, spray paint, stickers, etc. The sky’s limit with your imagination!

When you’re ready to play, you can use your hands like Henri or use pencils as drumsticks. There are lots of lessons on Youtube to teach you how to drum with your hands if you want to go that route. Try to imitate the sounds and the rhythms that Henri makes in the book.

#3 Schmelf The Hanukkah By Greg Wolfe

Shmelf is one of Santa’s most important elves. He’s part of the List Checking department, and he makes sure all the good boys and girls get their presents! But when Shmelf finds out that some children are missing from Santa’s list, he goes to investigate.

What Shmelf uncovers is Hanukkah, a wondrous and joyful holiday that Jewish families celebrate each year. As Shmelf observes a family lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and hearing the Hanukkah story, he sees how special the traditions of the holiday truly are-and he wants to be a part of it! Luckily, Santa just might have a special role in mind for Shmelf….

Isn’t that the cutest little elf face ever? I love that this book is focused on the little ones. I know some little ones don’t understand that they celebrate differently than their friends. Here’s a way to make Hanukkah feel special for the little ones who are confused or who want to learn about Hanukkah.

Schmelf!

Even though this book is for the littles, let’s make it count for their Diversity Reading Challenge.

#4 Marvelous Cornelius By Phil Binder

Marvelous Cornelius by Phll Binder

In New Orleans, there lived a man who saw the streets as his calling, and he swept them clean. He danced up one avenue and down another and everyone danced along. The old ladies whistled and whirled. The old men hooted and hollered. The barbers, bead twirlers, and beignet bakers bounded behind that one-man parade. But then came the rising Mississippi—and a storm greater than anyone had seen before. In this heartwarming book about a real garbage man, Phil Bildner and John Parra tell the inspiring story of a humble man and the heroic difference he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

You know you’re gonna love a book when the opening quote features Martin Luther King, Jr. And this quote is a good one: “Even if it’s called your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo…who swept his job well.” That’s a great quote to aptly describe Cornelius, a garbage man in New Orleans. Marvelous Cornelius had a great spirit and a love for his community, which my buddy Phil aptly captures in the book. Young readers can learn about the history of Hurricane Katrina, but also learn that you can take pride in any job you do.

And who doesn’t love a book when the call to arms is “Hootie Hooooooo”?

No one, that’s who.

This book is great for K-3 and older. Also perfect for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

#5 The Ninja Librarians: Sword In The Stacks By Jen Swann Downey

The Ninja Librarians by Jen Swann Downey

Now official apprentices of the Lybrariad, Dorris and Marcus have joined Ebba in the immense time-folding labyrinth known as Petrarch’s Library for the Summer Quarter.

Dorrie is eager to do well at her practicums, and prove her worth as an apprentice, but before she can choose between “Spears, Axes, and Cats: Throwing Objects with Precision and Flair” and “First and Last Aid: When No One Else Is Coming”, mistakes made by Dorrie in the past cause trouble for the lybrarians.

The Foundation, once nearly destroyed by the Lybrariad, now has the means to rise from its ashes, and disappear reading and writing from the world. To make sure it succeeds, the Foundation sets in motion a dark plan to increase the power of a cruel figure from the fifteenth century.

To stop the Foundation, Dorrie, Marcus and Ebba will have to burglarize Aristotle, gather information among the suffragists and anti-suffragists of 1912 London, and risk their lives to wrest a powerful weapon out of the Foundation’s hands – all while upholding the Lybrariad’s first principle of protecting all writing, appreciated or despised. If they fail, reading and writing will only be the first things to disappear.

Ok here’s what I love first about this book: the word Ninja. I mean who doesn’t love the idea of ninjas? But then Ninja librarians? All the win!

Secondly, and most important, one of the main characters is a person of color. It’s been on my TBR list since October when the lovely author gifted it to me at KidLitCon.

#6 Making Friend With Billy Wong By Augusta Scattergood

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Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to look after Grandmother Clark. Even if she didn’t care that much about meeting the new sixth graders in her Texas hometown, those strangers seem much preferable to the ones in Paris Junction. Talk about troubled Willis DeLoach or gossipy Melinda Bowman. Who needs friends like these!
And then there’s Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who shows up to help in her grandmother’s garden. Billy’s great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren’t friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.

Why you should read it: Well other than because I said so, it’s a look into the civil rights in the South and Chinese immigrants. You know , Blacks weren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of civil rights either, right? So here’s a tale that tweens and young teens can appreciate. Go on and add this title to your Diversity Reading Challenge list. It’s on mine!

#7 Pug Meets Pig By Sue Lowell Gallion, Joyce Wan

pug-mets-pig

“This is Pug’s home. This is where Pug lives.”

You know you’re going to love a book when the first page spread reveals a cute little dog running in the yard. SMILING.

I was smitten.

But all of a sudden cute little Pug has trouble.

Enter Pig.

Pig is eating Pug’s food, sleeping in his bed and generally making Pug unhappy.

And OMG Pug makes some bad choices and both he and little Pig are sad. (I’m not going to SPOIL)

#8 Passing The Bone: America’s Next Potus

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Now I’m not one to normally talk politics. There are enough people around who do that. What I do like to talk about is books for kids. And I’m glad to talk about books for kids that explain current events in ways that kids can understand. That’s why I love Passing the Bone. Along with Doreen Cronin’s Duck for President, these books explain in a fun way something about politics. That way kids can get in on the action too!

The author, Heather Patterson is a kindergarten teacher, and you know how resourceful they are! So not only did she write a book for the littles, she provides lesson plans, and other classroom activities. If you head to her site, you’ll find absolutely ADORBS interactive slideshows of parts of the book.

Bo Obama, Pup Of The United States, shares the dos and don’ts of America’s First Pup as he prepares to pass the bone to his canine successor. The entire nation is wondering, Who will be the next POTUS? May the best candidate win!

 

I love love love this book and what kid doesn’t want to read about Bo Obama? Just in time for election season, grab a copy of this book and when you tire of the election coverage, re-read Passing the Bone and find some joy in the election process by teaching the kiddos.

I also checked out Heather’s Pinterest, and it’s super cute, just like her. I’m such a fan of kindergarten teachers, they’re the gatekeepers of school. Who was your kindergarten teacher?

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Diversity Reading Challenge

2017 Diversity Reading Challenge: How’d You Do in March?

So March has come and gone; let’s check in and see how we did in the Diversity Reading Challenge, ok? Here’s what I read:

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. My review is here.

Wonderful You: An Adoption Story by Lauren McLaughlin; illustrated by Meilo So. You’ll find my review here.

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty by Natasha Yim Illustrated by Pirkko Vainio. Find the review here.

Bud Not Buddy counts as a book written by or for African American young men. Adoption, unfortunately isn’t one of the topics of this year’s Diversity Reading Challenge but since the family depicted in the book are brown skinned we will assume they are people of color; so it counts. I also think adoption counts as diversity. And finally, a book containing an Asian main character is satisfied with Rock Maiden, which is about a Chinese family.

How’d you do? Share your titles with me, I’d love to hear them.

 

 

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Diversity Reading Challenge

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty by Natasha Yim Illustrated by Pirkko Vainio

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty

When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home–only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded?

Oh this was such a lovely tale. I don’t want to be a spoiler but this is one of those times when you need the book to have a happy ending. Perfect for when you’re studying Asian cultures but also perfect when you need a lovely picture book. There isn’t really any time that this book wouldn’t be appropriate. Highly recommend for Diversity Reading Challenge.

Categories
Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Add Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood to your Diversity Reading Challenge List

Making Friends with Billy Wong
by Augusta Scattergood

28957386-1

Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to look after Grandmother Clark. Even if she didn’t care that much about meeting the new sixth graders in her Texas hometown, those strangers seem much preferable to the ones in Paris Junction. Talk about troubled Willis DeLoach or gossipy Melinda Bowman. Who needs friends like these!
And then there’s Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who shows up to help in her grandmother’s garden. Billy’s great-aunt and uncle own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long and some folks aren’t friendly. For Azalea, whose family and experiences seem different from most everybody she knows, friendship has never been easy. Maybe this time, it will be.

Why you should read it: Well other than because I said so, it’s a look into the civil rights in the South and Chinese immigrants. You know , Blacks weren’t the only ones feeling the pinch of civil rights either, right? So here’s a tale that tweens and young teens can appreciate. Go on and add this title to your Diversity Reading Challenge list. It’s on mine!

 

$6, $8, $10 Event at Crazy8

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Books Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Two Great Books to Learn about China

Two Great Books to Learn about China

I have two great little books that are similar to something you would pick up in a museum gift shop if traveling to another country. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that when I travel I always come home with a book related to my destination.  I have not been to China, but I would love to receive little books like this from any friend who’s traveled there.

What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?: Life in China’s Forbidden City

What Was It Like Mr. Emperor by  Chiu Kwong-chiu

The book discusses the hows and whys and whats of being an emperor in China, starting back centuries to modern day. It is amazing to learn how many emperors China has had and also their history.  Much of the book will be over little kids’ heads but the comic illustrations help with understanding.  A brilliant foldout in the center of adds to the charm of the book. Did you know that emperors have numerous wives and sub wives and servants all kinds of staff? It’s mindboggling. Also, some of the emperors earned their titles in not nice ways and some emperors were downright bad leaders.

So great introduction to Chinese history. This is a coffee table book that you will read over and over because it contains so much good stuff. I don’t think it’s meant to be read in one sitting.

Next up is the adorable Bowls of Happiness.

Bowls of Happiness by Brian Tse

Intertwined with the history of Chinese bowls is the story of little piggy and her special bowl. It’s so cute! Did you know that colors and symbols have great significance in China? Yeah I didn’t and now I want my own special bowl of happiness. The beautiful watercolor illustrations are too rich to be left in a child’s bookshelf. Leave this book on the coffee table too. Next time you’re eating from a bowl, take notice of the decorations; there could be hidden meanings.

These two books are a good fit for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Perfect for the study of Chinese holidays too, I think?

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Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge February How Did I Do?

PicMonkey february

February is over! How did that happen? We are two months into the Diversity Challenge and we’re off to a good start.  If you read one book a month you can complete the challenge by December; it’s that easy. So for February I only read two books that would qualify for the challenge: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi and the Ugly dumpling by Stephanie Campisi. To be sure, I read many more books than that but these are the only two that qualified.

How did you do?

 

Categories
Adult Fiction Books Reviews

Telegraph Aveue by Michael Chabon a TLC book tour

I have a video review for you today of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue.  As you watch my review, I’d like  you to picture

DISCO SHOES

courtesy Head Over Heels – 1970s

 

ZIGGY STARDUST

courtesy Head Over Heels – 1970s

and CLEOPATRA JONES

courtesy imdb

Now that you’re feeling the 70s vibe, here’s my video review.

 

 

I give this 4 paws for ethnic diversity!