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Diversity Reading Challenge Lists

Diversity New Releases for Toddlers through YA

Diversity New Releases for toddlers through YA

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You know I love bringing you diversity book reviews, right? Today I’m bringing you a list of new books that contain diversity and the best bit is, there’s one book for every age group: toddler through YA!

  1. Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

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I love this book so HARD. You know how I love opening lines? The opening line here is simple: “Beautiful girls…”
And the graphic contains five girls of different colors doing what they do best, being themselves.  What’s especially great is the back of the drawing, on the next page, shows the backsides of the girls: the girl wearing the tutu and sporting a fan also wears a pirate’s sword, which feels alot like yours truly.  The rest of the book is full of beautiful girls in wheelchairs, camping, pirating, in a science lab, playing in water with frogs and other critters, and more! Girls activities reimagined.  The last line: “Because they make the world..” Reminds me of the old Chinese saying that women hold up half the sky. Beautiful girls make the world?

Yes.

2. Kid Artists: True Tales of Childhood From Creative Legends by David Stabler, Illustrated by Doogie Horner

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Quirk has done it again! Ever imagine what your favorite artist was like as a kid? Here it is. For example, did you know that the great artist Frida Kahlo (whom I love) suffered from polio as a child?  And did you know that Pablo Picasso was labeled as a problem child? There’s also interesting very short readable bios about Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Schulz, Andy Warhol, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Check it out!

3. The Last Cherry Blossom by Kathleen Burkinshaw

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Based on a fictionalized account of her mother’s childhood during the bombing of Hiroshima it’s a tale of war through a 12 year old’s eyes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan’s fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden fom its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

 

Right? If you think you’ve read all the WWII books there are, you haven’t read this. Teachers, I think this title could be added to your collection, right next to Anne Frank.

So you know what else I just noticed? All these books are about kids who are BEAUTIFUL and DIVERSE. Have you read any of these titles?

Diversity Reading Challenge additions galore today!

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I have been wanting to read a book by Pam Munoz Ryan (Hey we have the same first name!!) for a while now.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Echo is a delight. The book is mildly complicated so it’s probably best for older tweens. By complicated I mean that there are several stories interwoven with one common thread. If your reader is not able to follow a story like this, it will seem like work.

I’ll admit, it was tough for me to adjust to each different characters’ story after I had just gotten emotionally connected to them. The payoff, of course, in the end was so worth it! If your reader loves history, music, people of color, good triumphing over evil, etc, kind of stories, then this is the book for them.  As a former musician, the music references within the story take you deep inside yourself and you’re able to connect with the characters so much more.

The fact that each child overcame difficult life situations will also uplift the reader. I was so sad the book had to end.

And OH how I want a harmonica! Also book 1 of the 2016 Diversity Reading Challenge! One of the main characters is a young Hispanic girl.

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2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books

#AtoZChallenge – P (A) Place Where Sunflowers Grow

it’s P Day!!!!

Today is a busy day so let’s get started.

On my LETTER day you’ll be thrilled to know that I’m in two places:

Here and over at the A to Z Challenge website.

After you check out my book here, pop over to the Challenge site and see the beautiful book I have for you there.

today’s book is:

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee- Tai

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy-Lee Tai, illustrated Felicia Hoshino

Under the harsh summer sun, Mari’s art class has begun. But it’s hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows — especially a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari’s family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface — in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari’s parents, and in the smile of a new friend. Amy Lee-Tai’s sensitive prose and Felicia Hoshino’s stunning mixed-media images show that hope can survive even the harshest injustice.

There is so much to love about this book. At a time when America did not treat it’s Japanese inhabitants very well, comes a

beautiful tale of a little girl and her growing talent.  This is a book you’ll need to read several times, because the first couple times you’re in shock when you imagine that this was being done in our own country (at a time when Jews faced similar opposition). After the initial shock, you are left with a loving appreciation of childhood no matter where it takes place.

Have you read this book? Any books you can recommend about Japanese internment?

Don’t forget, I’m on the blog today. Show me some love!

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Books

FOUND! 3 Multicultural Children’s Books for You!

Wow. I read so many books I sometimes forget to post my reviews; can you believe that?  That’s why you should follow me on Goodreads AND YouTube to make sure you get all of my reviews!

Last summer I had the pleasure of visiting Lee and Low books while in New York City for BEA13.  Thanks to my roomie Thien-Kim From Left to Write for letting me tag along.  Here’s a snap of us.  I don’t know why I look like a GIANT Amazon woman person in this photo but whatever!

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While we were there, were were graciously gifted with goodies! Here are my brief but nonetheless heartfelt reviews posted previously on GoodReads.com

 

Rainbow Stew

rainbow stew

 

 

Three children and their grandfather pick fresh vegetables in his garden and then cook and share a meal of healthy vegetable stew.

MY REVIEW: Is there a better way to spend the day than with your Grandpa? No! The story is made even better because children of color will see themselves as the main characters. And finally, African American grandpas are shown as young and vibrant; not old, crotchety, and boring.

 

Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji

hot hot roti for Dada-ji

Aneel’s grandparents have come to stay, all the way from India. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world s best stories. When he was a boy, adventurous, energetic Dada-ji had the power of a tiger. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir! He could shake mangoes off trees and wrangle wild cobras. And what gave him his power? Fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle. Does Dada-ji still have the power? Aneel wants to find out but first he has to figure out how to whip up a batch of hot, hot roti Overflowing with family, food, and a tall stack of fun, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is sure to warm the heart and tickle the tummy. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir!

MY REVIEW: Quirky tale of young Aneel who lives to spend time with his grandfather. I love the mixture of cooling into the story, as kids often relate to food. There’s a certain magical realism about Indian storytelling that is delightful. So many teachable moments in this book.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

a place where sunflowers grow

 

Under the harsh summer sun, Mari’s art class has begun. But it’s hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows — especially a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari’s family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface — in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari’s parents, and in the smile of a new friend. Amy Lee-Tai’s sensitive prose and Felicia Hoshino’s stunning mixed-media images show that hope can survive even the harshest injustice.

MY REVIEW: This title is an easy way to teach even the smallest child about Japanese history, internment, and human dignity.

I just realized that besides the main characters being children there is a strong grandparent presence in the books. SWOON!

Many of these great titles are being features as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Here’s the link to the fun!

Have you read any of these titles? Are there other multicultural titles you can share?