Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Once you Read I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez You’ll NEVER be the Same!

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I couldn’t love this book any harder if I tried! Sanchez brings out alot of sensitive issues in this YA book.

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

But this blurb doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the life of our young protagonist. Consider these issues:

  • Julia (pronounced Hoo lee ah) speaks English in the world and Spanish at home
  • Her parents are grieving the loss of Julia’s sister and can’t help with her her loss
  • Julia experiences sexual harassment frequently
  • Insight into immigration
  • Undiagnosed mental illness/suicide
  • School/studying pressues
  • Traditional Hispanic family pressures v Julia’s desires
  • Friendship
  • LGBTQ

There’s a lot to unpack in this book and I feel like Sanchez deftly incorporates these issues into the storyline without smacking you over the head with them and getting preachy. I appreciate that. After finishing I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter you will have a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a young Latinx woman. I wept at times; so so good! I promise you, your life will never be the same.

The issues in the book are so timely right now its hard not to see the connections. This could be any young woman’s life right now.

Also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 10

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

It’s the tenth day of Diversity and today it’s about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I don’t want to give too much away but OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK AND THERE’S GONNA BE A SEQUEL!!!! Just read the book. Good for teens.

Just read it. You will fall in love too.

I love that the diversity in this book is Latino characters plus homosexuality. We need more of both. Together and separately.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Once you Read I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez You’ll NEVER be the Same!

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I couldn’t love this book any harder if I tried! Sanchez brings out alot of sensitive issues in this YA book.

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

But this blurb doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the life of our young protagonist. Consider these issues:

  • Julia (pronounced Hoo lee ah) speaks English in the world and Spanish at home
  • Her parents are grieving the loss of Julia’s sister and can’t help with her her loss
  • Julia experiences sexual harassment frequently
  • Insight into immigration
  • Undiagnosed mental illness/suicide
  • School/studying pressues
  • Traditional Hispanic family pressures v Julia’s desires
  • Friendship
  • LGBTQ

There’s a lot to unpack in this book and I feel like Sanchez deftly incorporates these issues into the storyline without smacking you over the head with them and getting preachy. I appreciate that. After finishing I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter you will have a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a young Latinx woman. I wept at times; so so good! I promise you, your life will never be the same.

The issues in the book are so timely right now its hard not to see the connections. This could be any young woman’s life right now.

Also qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge.

 

Categories
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?

Categories
Challenges Diversity Reading Challenge

2017 #Diversity Reading Challenge: Check up

2017 Diversity Reading Challenge: Check up

Diversity Reading Challenge Button

How’s your diversity reading coming along? Here’s what I’ve read lately:

I Just Want to Say Goodnight by Rachel Isadora

I just want to say goodnight

Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey

 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

 

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez

Scorpions by Walter Dean Myers

These are the books from this summer that qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge. Here’s how they break down:

Books for/by/about African American young person:  Scorpions, Dear Martin, Ghost

Book with an African American woman as the main character: Another Brooklyn, I Just Want to Say Goodnight, Ruth and the Green Book

Book written by a Latinx person: I Got This by Laurie Hernandez

An illustrator of color: Ruth and the Green Book, Floyd Cooper

How did you do this summer? Did you find any new diversity reads? Let me know!

 

Categories
Books Children Reviews

Let’s Hear it for Almigal!

Let’s Hear it for Almigal by Wendy Kupfer is hands down one of the best books I’ve read lately for children! Our heroine, the hearing aid wearing and spunky little Alimgal, is the kind of protagonist every child’s book should contain. Almigal wears a hearing aid but still lives a full life doing things other little kids do: playing, having sleepovers, and attending school. But this little heroine is better because she shows readers that you don’t always have to be perfect to be in a good book.

Kiddos to the author and illustrator for depicting children of mixed ethnicities and abilities in this delightful little book. I love that Almigals friends are African-American , Hispanic, wear glasses, are twins, and even speak sign language! Kids, even little kids, want to be able to identify with the character they’re reading in a book. They want to see someone who is like them and in Almigal they’ve found it. There is something for everyone in this book.

I especially love that Almigal isn’t perfect as kids with disabilities are often depicted ( Disney channel): kids who don’t get I trouble or in time out.

Get this book for every child who has ever felt different or out of place or who wears a hearing aid or who just likes a good book!

I give this book 4 paws cuz it’s perfect!

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

Code Switching and The Hate U Give: A Discussion

Do you know what code switching is? The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas provides a realistic depiction of it in the African American community.  I was intrigued by it and thought I’d have a go at sharing my thoughts out about them both.

As a person of color have you engaged in code switching? Tell me how in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 10 – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 10

It’s the tenth day of Diversity and today it’s about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I don’t want to give too much away but OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK AND THERE’S GONNA BE A SEQUEL!!!! Just read the book. Good for teens.

Just read it. You will fall in love too.

I love that the diversity in this book is Latino characters plus homosexuality. We need more of both. Together and separately.

Categories
Books

Which Thelma Bee character are you? The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee by Erin Petti

Which Thelma Bee character are you?

The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee by Erin Petti

Thelma Cover 2_rgb

 

So…I thought The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee was going to be like a Lemony Snicket type book. Oh and with some science. And who doesn’t love science? But you know what? It didn’t seem like that at all to me! This fun middle grade novel felt like a touch of Dickens (Bleak House) or even that other one with the weird lady in the wedding dress? Coupled with Bill Nye Science Guy. Maybe with just a touch of Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street.

There’s so much to love about this book it’s difficult to know where to begin. My fave character, however, is Eugene. He would be the Mr Hooper character. I love Eugene’s sense of adventure and the fact that he makes super great hot chocolate.  I kinda dig his helmet too.  His ghost hunting helmet. Don’t know what that is? Read the book to find out!

Props to author Erin Petti for including some diversity in the book.  Her BFF Alexander is Native American, Eugene is Hispanic and peppers his conversation with Spanish words. He’s fun! Much more fun than mean old Mr Understone or as I call him Undersnoot; cause he’s always sneering at our heroine.

Check out the author, Erin Petti or check the book  out here.  It’s a great addition to your middle grade reader’s library.

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge Diversity Reading Challenge

#atozchallenge Bad Girls Book Club Letter Y Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Today’s letter is

Y

The Book

Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

I’ve had this book on my radar a while and I’m anxious to read it. Our heroine, Piddy, arrives in a new school only to become the subject of Yacqui Delgado’s harassment. As you can imagine, the bullying escalates and it affects Piddy’s life completely and Piddy has to figure out how to get help and get Yacqui and her bullies to stop.

Anyone who survives bullying is awesome in my book.
And a total Bad Girl.

Go Piddy Go!!

If you are someone you know is having trouble with bullying please GET HELP.

StopBullying.gov