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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.

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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?

Categories
Children Diversity

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julian is a Mermaid

 

I cannot love this book any harder if I wanted to. There is such a need for books representing the Latinx people and I feel like Julian is a Mermaid is a beautiful example.  Young Julian is riding the train with his Abuelita (Grandmother in Spanish) and he sees three very beautiful women dressed in mermaid costumes (I mean it’s New York, right so anything’s possible?) and oh how his imagination soars, pretending to be a mermaid. Once home Julian’s creative thinking allows him to make himself a mermaid costume. I won’t give away the ending but I wept as Julian was caught by his Abuela in his dress up clothes.

The representation of the community is stunning in its accuracies with their different shades, body shapes and hairstyles. I feel that we were all Julian at one time.

Except I was never a mermaid. I was a pirate. But you get my meaning.

Snag this book today!

 

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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
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.

Categories
Children

What’s on My Radar: The Sweetest Heist in History (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective) by Octavia Spencer

A year or so ago I got to meet Octavia Spencer as she debuted her new middle-grade novel: Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective.

Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective by Octavia Spencer

 

I loved the book, especially since there are multicultural main characters within the story: an African-American boy and a Hispanic boy who has asthma.

Spencer’s sequel: The Sweetest Heist in History is on my radar and I MUST read it!

RandiRhodes2

And besides, who doesn’t love ninjas?

Categories
Children

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Yuyi Morales

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month!

In honor of our Hispanic friends, I’d like to share two books with you from Yuyi Morales.  I love Yuyi’s books because they are for my littlest of little friends and she shares her stories in Spanish and English, which I LOVE!

Nino Wrestles the World

NINOCollage

In Nino Wrestles the World,

No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño—popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor!

This book is adorable and I love that the little guy is in his underpants on the cover.  This title is great for story times and if you go to her website, you’ll find activities to do with the kiddies. As you can see from the photo above, someone left a lucha mask at the bookstore and I decided that my title should be Pamo!

Another book of Morales’ that I discovered is Viva Frida.

Frida

 

We are big Frida Kahlo fans at our house so we were thrilled to find this delightful bilingual book.  Excuse my rusty Spanish as I share the story with you in this video. I hope you enjoy.

Isn’t that book adorable? I love the creative use of dolls and live action figures and other items to create the multidimensional picture.  Do you have a fave author for hispanic heritage month? There are so many!

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resources

5 Books to help you celebrate el Dia de los Muertos

 

I loved living in Texas because of all of the fiestas.  And the food. But that’s another story.  But while living in Texas I learned to celebrate el Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead.  Day of the dead celebrates your loved ones who have died and if you think about it, it’s kind of nice remembering loved ones.  el Dia celebrations include decorative festive skulls (sugar skulls), brightly colored flowers, music, and food.

Think it sounds like fun?

You betcha!

Here are five books to introduce or help your family celebrate Dia de los Muertos:

unconventional librarian
courtesy The Latin Baby Book Club

Day of the Dead paper dolls.

 

unconventional librarian
courtesy The Latin Baby Book Club

Day of the Dead by Tony Johnston, a picture book incorporating Spanish and English words.

unconventional librarian
courtesy The Latin Baby Book Club

I Remember Abuelito by Janice Levy, a bilingual picture book in which a little girl fondly remembers her grandfather, abuelito.

unconventional librarian
courtesy The Latin Baby Book Club

Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales, is a trickster tale that helps children learn to count in English and Spanish.

 

Unconventional Librarian
courtesy Mommy Maestra

Rosita y Conchita by Eric Gonzalez & Erich Haeger a fact based picture books describing how to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.

 

And because everyone loves a fun app there’s…

Oy, Mexico, a Dia de los Muertos app!

unconventional librarian
courtesy Mommy Maestra

So now you have everything you need to celebrate your loved ones

unconventional librarian

now pass the pan de muerte!