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Diversity Reading Challenge

Have you Read Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson?

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

How much do we love Jacqueline Woodson? Infinity. Thats how much we love her. Her books are always timely and Harbor Me is no exception.  This thin, powerful book will hook you from word one.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

How great is it that special needs kids can feel free to be themselves in this special classroom just for them? It’s a strange and beautiful experience all at once. So many issues to unpack with these kids and they do it too, in their own beautiful ways of understanding. I wept.

How does Woodson do it?

Another book for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Harbor me ticks off many boxes but the one I’m choosing is Latinx person because Esteban is a main character in this ensemble cast. You could choose another category if you want. Thats the ease of this challenge. Boom.

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Diversity Reading Challenge

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson a #Cybils middle grade finalist

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

How much do we love Jacqueline Woodson? Infinity. Thats how much we love her. Her books are always timely and Harbor Me is no exception.  This thin, powerful book will hook you from word one.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

How great is it that special needs kids can feel free to be themselves in this special classroom just for them? It’s a strange and beautiful experience all at once. So many issues to unpack with these kids and they do it too, in their own beautiful ways of understanding. I wept.

How does Woodson do it?

Another book for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Harbor me ticks off many boxes but the one I’m choosing is Latinx person because Esteban is a main character in this ensemble cast. You could choose another category if you want. Thats the ease of this challenge.

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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

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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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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.

 

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Books

Got Kids? Submit a 90 Second Newbery Award Film!

 

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The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which young filmmakers create movies that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about 90 seconds. We are now entering our sixth year!

We feature the best submissions at annual special-event screenings in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Portland, Tacoma, Rochester, San Antonio and other cities—co-hosted by founder James Kennedy (author of the young-adult fantasy The Order of Odd-Fish) and other award-winning children’s authors. Here’s the schedule for this year’s screenings(want to bring the 90-Second Newbery to your town? Contact me at [email protected]).

If you like creative kids and books then the 90 Second Newbery Award Film Festival is for you! Take your fave Newbery Award winner and make a film out of it. That’s it! Make it as kooky, quirky, or creative as you want and send it to my BESTIE James (tell him Pammy Pam says Hi) and you could see yourself on the big screen.

Seriously, these are the BEST DANG films I’ve ever seen! We had the fortune to view a few at KidLitCon in Wichita and I want to tell you the folks never heard such laughter. Like Frog and Toad as puppets? Heelarious!

I need to borrow a kid so I can be in a film…

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Books Diversity Reading Challenge resources

Hola Let’s Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay

“The whole world does not speak English”

Think about that statement for a second. What do you mean the whole world doesn’t speak English? Well, if you’re a kid, you might not have ever thought about that. And if you’re not a kid, maybe you didn’t realize it either. Regardless of your age my new friend Judy wants to help you learn Spanish.

And I think learning Spanish is a great idea. I learned French growing up and while it was fun to practice the language in France, I rarely use it. I lived in Texas for 10 years and would realized how much better off I would have been if I’d learned Spanish instead. So, here I am, a grown up, trying to learn Spanish.

Fortunately, my friend Judy has this great book called Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish.

Hola! Let's Learn Spanish by Judy Martialay

I love this way of learning because along with a book there’s a website to help you practice your Spanish speaking. So, if you’re a visual learner or an listening learner, you’re sure to learn from this book. The lessons are given in story form: Pete the Pilot takes you on a journey to Mexico and teaches you the things you’ll need to know in order to function on your trip. On the website: http://www.polyglotkidz.com/ you will hear Maria, a native Spanish (Mexican, not Spain) speaker, pronounce the words for you.

It’s a super easy way to learn Spanish! I love the book because the story contains friendly, child like illustrations, and easy sentences with words we will actually use if we were in Mexico. During the book, we attend a party with a pinata filled with los caramelos and meet a new friend, Panchito, the jumping bean. So much cute! The back of the book is like a glossary with conversational skill practices to help you use the words you heard in the story.

I had a jumping bean when I was a kid so meeting Panchito in the story was a cute little bit of nostalgia. The back of the book also contains vocabulary words, geography, and other resources to extend your learning.

It’s muy bien!

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Books Children

I Want to Eat Your Books by Karin LeFranc & Tyler Parker

We hosted a Halloween tea party recently and I realized I had the perfect book for the event: I Want to Eat Your Books by Karin LeFranc & Tyler Parker

The book is perfect for our bookish tea parties in a bookstore. The kids loved it. I”ll admit I did too.

I Want to Eat Your Books by Karin LeFranc & Tyler ParkerI Want to Eat Your Books by Karin LeFranc & Tyler Parker

The book was quite delicious! Can you tell I dressed as a zombie for the party? I wanted to mimic the zombie in the book.

Here I am reading the book. Maybe I can read it to your little ones on Halloween? It’s so not scary. Unless eating books and burping is scary to you?

How cute is that book? What’s your fave Halloween book for littles?

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Books resources

You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid by Barbara Gilmour, an anti bullying book for the littles

Although October is winding down, it’s still important to remember that it’s Anti-Bullying Awareness month. I’m a firm believer in anti-bullying campaigns. Is there anyone who is pro-bullying? If so, I want nothing to do with them.

But I ramble. Here’s an anti-bullying book for the littles. It’s actually a series of books along with items that can be used for a school curriculum: a cd, wristbands, bookmarks, word charts, flash cards (yay!), etc.

You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid by Barbara Gilmour

In the first book, we meet Tanner, he thinks everything is cool. Except bullying. Bullying is not cool. Neither are bad words or being rude. During the rest of the book, Tanner illustrates ways to be cool, by using good manners, helping people, being polite, etc.

The book is a great way to teach self-respect and respect for others. Little ones will get it AND the characters inside the book are a good diverse representation!

BTW I ADORE their slogan: Social Skills that break the cycle of bullying by redefining cool.

SO MUCH AWESOME.

Check out their website: CoolKindKid.com

Teachers, get you some of this!

 

 

 

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[email protected]

School’s Out for Summer but Vaccines Never Take a Break

Hey Friends! Schools out for EVER! (I mean summer) But that doesn’t mean that illnesses and disease take a break. In fact, diseases never take a break and they don’t care if you’re in school or not. That’s why vaccines work all year long.  But you know what? Vaccines don’t work if you don’t get em.  As a [email protected] Champion, I’m still committed to making sure my little readers stay healthy. To be sure, our littles might not be sharing germs with other littles in schools; however if your littles are in day care, germs never stop (shudder).

Imagine a world where little guys like this could be healthy and free from disease?

Shot At Life - UNF, Honduras, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. (Photo/Stuart Ramson)
Shot At Life – UNF, Honduras, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

He’s cute right?  This little cute dude could become a statistic. That’s cuz 1.5 million littles die every year from vaccine preventable disease.

That hurts my feels. All of them. No mother should have to bury her little one.

Ever.

THAT is why I’m a [email protected] Champion. We all want the same thing: healthy littles. I’m a mother. You might be a mother or an aunt or an uncle. And you have a little one you care about. Remember that time you read Goodnight Moon to them? Or took turns reading Hop on Pop?

Fun right?

Sick littles don’t want to read.

Please join me in supporting funding for global vaccinations.

Germs are the bad guys. Vaccines are the good guys. Visit [email protected] to see what we’re doing to keep my littles healthy.

School’s out! Schedule your vaccines for fall NOW.

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Books Young Adult

I am Malala

malala

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

When you finish a book like I Am Malala you feel different.  As for me, I feel empowered, stupid, gluttonous, educated, angry and a host of other emotions.  Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about everything, then I read Malala’s story and realized that not only don’t I know everything, some of the things I think I know are INCORRECT.

You’d think based on what you’re hearing from the news that Malala’s people from the Swat Valley of Pakistan are a group of angry and militant people. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Yousafzai tribe (hence her last name) are very religious people who live conservatively and don’t want to harm others.  It wasn’t until the Russians and the US got involved that things became difficult over there.

So here you have a young girl, much like any young girl, who just wants to go to school. As you know, she was shot for wanting all girls to have an opportunity to go to school.  Isn’t that crazy? Wanting something so simple that we take for granted: education. Because she spoke out for girls she became targeted because those in charge (government? terrorists? religious zealots?) saw her as a threat.

While I’m very happy that she has survived and enlightened us with her plight, I am saddened and outraged that many girls in the East don’t have the same opportunities to go to school that my own little daughter had. Let’s not forget that just a century ago, my little one would have gone to a segregated school, if at all, so the similarities in women’s rights are astonishingly similar.

Malala is a powerful story, one that everyone should read. I am Malala. You are Malala.

Malala is every girl.

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Did you read it? Share your thoughts below!