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Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup: Identity and Compassion

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup

Identity and Compassion

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: Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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!

 

#2: The Little Tree by Muon Van

The Little Tree by Muon Van

As the little tree sends her little seed out into the world, she wonders what will become of it.  One day she finds out. And when she does, OMG will you cry! There are so many different ways to love this book! The author of the book is of Vietnamese descent and discusses the families emigration from Vietnam to Hong Kong and then to the U.S. These feelings are depicted in the illustrations as well. Parents will appreciate the story because that’s exactly how it feels to send a small child out into the world: magical and frightening at the same time. Children will love the story because of the gentle way the tale unfolds, the soft drawings and the feeling of magic and wonder. So much diversity and multiculturalism without saying a word about it. LOVE!

The Little Tree is sure to be a favorite! Add this to your Diversity Reading Challenge.

 

#3: This Way Home by Wes Moore  Shawn Goodman

This Way Home by Wes Moore & Shawn Goodman

Elijah Thomas knows one thing better than anyone around him: basketball. At seventeen, he’s earned the reputation of a top-level player, one who steps onto the court ready for battle, whether it’s a neighborhood pickup game or a tournament championship.

What Elijah loves most about the game is its predictability: if he and his two best friends play hard and follow the rules, their team will win. And this formula has held true all way up to the summer before their senior year of high school, when a sinister street gang, Blood Street Nation, wants them to wear the Nation’s colors in the next big tournament.

The boys gather their courage and take a stand against the gang, but at a terrible cost. Now Elijah must struggle to balance hope and fear, revenge and forgiveness, to save his neighborhood. For help, he turns to the most unlikely of friends: Banks, a gruff ex-military man, and his beautiful and ambitious daughter. Together, the three work on a plan to destroy Blood Street and rebuild the community they all call home.

I’m so glad to see more books aimed at an urban or African American young adult reader. This would qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

 

#4: Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

The children in Chocolate Mixer, happen to be brown like chocolate milk (and who doesn’t love chocolate milk??) even though they are a mixture of a white (vanilla) mother and a chocolate (Black) father. The very BEST line in the easy to read rhyming book is the line from Dad:

“He sat me on his lap and said “my rainbow you see” we are all some kind of mixer, just look at a family.”

Isn’t that cute? Even the youngest kiddos can look at families (possibly their own) and see how everyone is different shades of color, just like a rainbow.  What a great way to discuss similarities rather than differences with the littles.  There are SO many teachable moments in this book!

#5: Peter’s Chair

Peter stretched as high as he could.  There! His tall building was finished.”

Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats is the CUTEST book around for children and parents experiencing the joyful addition of another child into the house.  Peter, however, is none too thrilled to have a little sister who uses all his old baby things: his crib, his high chair, etc.

I’ve reviewed Ezra Jack Keats before and I love the multicultural vibe he brings. He purposely choose an ethnic variety for his main characters, and this was over 40 years ago! It’s only natural that I should review Peter’s Chair for Black History Month.  The author is Jewish and the main character is African American; I LOVE the diversity!

If you’ve not read this book, you MUST DO IT NOW!! It is delightful and easy for kids to understand; all kids everywhere can relate to being dethroned by a little sib.

 

#6: Belle Prater’s Boy

Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White

So, I just finished reading an endearing book called Belle Prater’s Boy, by Ruth White. The tale is of two cousins, Gypsy and Woodrow, living in 1950s Virginia. Both children have lost a parent and both children struggle to understand why their parents left them. Gypsy is known for her long beautiful hair and Woodrow is a story teller. The language of the book is a blend of 50s charm and southern backwoods vernacular, which spoken through a child’s voice is particularly effective. I can see why the book was a Newberry Honor book.

I chose to read the book because I thought, given that the setting was the rural South, the story might contain a multicultural element. I was mistaken. While the characters within the story are Caucasian, there is a multicultural feel to the book, especially since Woodrow did not grow up in a family with money. In fact, Woodrow’s family was poor. Blind Benny adds a musical touch to the story and could certainly be African American, although not specifically stated.

Although Belle Prater’s Boy doesn’t specifically provide the multicultural blend that I was looking for, it is surely a good read: the characters are engaging, the story flows well, and the very small town lifestyle is different from what some readers may be familiar with.

 

#7: Little Shaq by Theodore Taylor III

Little Shaq by Shaquille O'Neal

When you think of Black History month do you think of politicians or just of musicians and actors? What about famous athletes? African American have contributed to society in so many ways! I’d like to share with you a great little book about Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball player.  He has a  series out called Little Shaq.

Little Shaq is a book for emerging and middle grade readers, depending on their interest.

When Little Shaq and his cousin Barry accidentally break their favorite video game, they need to find a way to replace it. That’s when Little Shaq’s science project inspires a solution: a gardening business. They can water their neighbors’ gardens to raise money for a new game! Little Shaq and Barry make a great team both on and off the basketball court, but will their business be as successful as they hoped?

The best thing about this book is that it shows kids (and maybe some adults) that athletes can have other talents than on the ball field or the court. Friends, family, business, and fair play are lessons that readers will enjoy.

This title also counts toward the Diversity Reading Challenge. Way to go Little Shaq!

 

#8: Don’t Forget DEXTER! by Lindsay Ward

Dexter T Rexter might be the cauuuuuutest T-Rex I’ve ever met! And sadly, I would be devastated if he were mine and got separated from me. But you know what, that’s exactly what happens in this adorbs story. Poor Dexter gets left behind in the doctor’s office waiting room. He’s sure his best buddy would never leave him behind on purpose so he sets out to figure out what happened and then tries to help himself get rescued.

The illustrations are multidimensional and so clever. I love love love this story. No spoiling the ending either, so you’ll hafta find out for yourself what happens.

PS you’ll be singing the dinosaur song all day!

 

 

Categories
Children

The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz, A #Cybils finalist

The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz

 

This Cybils Middle Grade finalist was a fun book! A boy and his family leave New York City (but why tho) and head toward rural upstate New York so their parents can live out their dream. Meanwhile, Tristan and his siblings adapt to life away from the big city. Tristan becomes obsessed with the local (mean) lady’s donuts and he learns how to make them in hopes to open a donut stand. There’s baking, friendship, sibling fun and kooky new neighbors.  Great easy read for middle grade. There’s no diversity that I can find but its a fun read.

Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup: Identity and Compassion

Diversity Reading Challenge Roundup

Identity and Compassion

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: Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

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!

 

#2: The Little Tree by Muon Van

The Little Tree by Muon Van

As the little tree sends her little seed out into the world, she wonders what will become of it.  One day she finds out. And when she does, OMG will you cry! There are so many different ways to love this book! The author of the book is of Vietnamese descent and discusses the families emigration from Vietnam to Hong Kong and then to the U.S. These feelings are depicted in the illustrations as well. Parents will appreciate the story because that’s exactly how it feels to send a small child out into the world: magical and frightening at the same time. Children will love the story because of the gentle way the tale unfolds, the soft drawings and the feeling of magic and wonder. So much diversity and multiculturalism without saying a word about it. LOVE!

The Little Tree is sure to be a favorite! Add this to your Diversity Reading Challenge.

 

#3: This Way Home by Wes Moore  Shawn Goodman

This Way Home by Wes Moore & Shawn Goodman

Elijah Thomas knows one thing better than anyone around him: basketball. At seventeen, he’s earned the reputation of a top-level player, one who steps onto the court ready for battle, whether it’s a neighborhood pickup game or a tournament championship.

What Elijah loves most about the game is its predictability: if he and his two best friends play hard and follow the rules, their team will win. And this formula has held true all way up to the summer before their senior year of high school, when a sinister street gang, Blood Street Nation, wants them to wear the Nation’s colors in the next big tournament.

The boys gather their courage and take a stand against the gang, but at a terrible cost. Now Elijah must struggle to balance hope and fear, revenge and forgiveness, to save his neighborhood. For help, he turns to the most unlikely of friends: Banks, a gruff ex-military man, and his beautiful and ambitious daughter. Together, the three work on a plan to destroy Blood Street and rebuild the community they all call home.

I’m so glad to see more books aimed at an urban or African American young adult reader. This would qualify for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

 

#4: Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

Chocolate Mixer by Jason Armstrong

The children in Chocolate Mixer, happen to be brown like chocolate milk (and who doesn’t love chocolate milk??) even though they are a mixture of a white (vanilla) mother and a chocolate (Black) father. The very BEST line in the easy to read rhyming book is the line from Dad:

“He sat me on his lap and said “my rainbow you see” we are all some kind of mixer, just look at a family.”

Isn’t that cute? Even the youngest kiddos can look at families (possibly their own) and see how everyone is different shades of color, just like a rainbow.  What a great way to discuss similarities rather than differences with the littles.  There are SO many teachable moments in this book!

#5: Peter’s Chair

Peter stretched as high as he could.  There! His tall building was finished.”

Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats is the CUTEST book around for children and parents experiencing the joyful addition of another child into the house.  Peter, however, is none too thrilled to have a little sister who uses all his old baby things: his crib, his high chair, etc.

I’ve reviewed Ezra Jack Keats before and I love the multicultural vibe he brings. He purposely choose an ethnic variety for his main characters, and this was over 40 years ago! It’s only natural that I should review Peter’s Chair for Black History Month.  The author is Jewish and the main character is African American; I LOVE the diversity!

If you’ve not read this book, you MUST DO IT NOW!! It is delightful and easy for kids to understand; all kids everywhere can relate to being dethroned by a little sib.

 

#6: Belle Prater’s Boy

Belle Prater’s Boy by Ruth White

So, I just finished reading an endearing book called Belle Prater’s Boy, by Ruth White. The tale is of two cousins, Gypsy and Woodrow, living in 1950s Virginia. Both children have lost a parent and both children struggle to understand why their parents left them. Gypsy is known for her long beautiful hair and Woodrow is a story teller. The language of the book is a blend of 50s charm and southern backwoods vernacular, which spoken through a child’s voice is particularly effective. I can see why the book was a Newberry Honor book.

I chose to read the book because I thought, given that the setting was the rural South, the story might contain a multicultural element. I was mistaken. While the characters within the story are Caucasian, there is a multicultural feel to the book, especially since Woodrow did not grow up in a family with money. In fact, Woodrow’s family was poor. Blind Benny adds a musical touch to the story and could certainly be African American, although not specifically stated.

Although Belle Prater’s Boy doesn’t specifically provide the multicultural blend that I was looking for, it is surely a good read: the characters are engaging, the story flows well, and the very small town lifestyle is different from what some readers may be familiar with.

 

#7: Little Shaq by Theodore Taylor III

Little Shaq by Shaquille O'Neal

When you think of Black History month do you think of politicians or just of musicians and actors? What about famous athletes? African American have contributed to society in so many ways! I’d like to share with you a great little book about Shaquille O’Neal, the basketball player.  He has a  series out called Little Shaq.

Little Shaq is a book for emerging and middle grade readers, depending on their interest.

When Little Shaq and his cousin Barry accidentally break their favorite video game, they need to find a way to replace it. That’s when Little Shaq’s science project inspires a solution: a gardening business. They can water their neighbors’ gardens to raise money for a new game! Little Shaq and Barry make a great team both on and off the basketball court, but will their business be as successful as they hoped?

The best thing about this book is that it shows kids (and maybe some adults) that athletes can have other talents than on the ball field or the court. Friends, family, business, and fair play are lessons that readers will enjoy.

This title also counts toward the Diversity Reading Challenge. Way to go Little Shaq!

 

#8: Don’t Forget DEXTER! by Lindsay Ward

Dexter T Rexter might be the cauuuuuutest T-Rex I’ve ever met! And sadly, I would be devastated if he were mine and got separated from me. But you know what, that’s exactly what happens in this adorbs story. Poor Dexter gets left behind in the doctor’s office waiting room. He’s sure his best buddy would never leave him behind on purpose so he sets out to figure out what happened and then tries to help himself get rescued.

The illustrations are multidimensional and so clever. I love love love this story. No spoiling the ending either, so you’ll hafta find out for yourself what happens.

PS you’ll be singing the dinosaur song all day!

 

 

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Baby Sisters Need Vaccines Too #Blogust #TBT

Baby Sisters Need Vaccines Too
#Blogust #TBT

 

When you become a parent for the first time you strive to do everything absolutely perfectly: contamination free zones, no strangers holding baby, homemade baby food, every single baby first documented in the baby book.  By the time the second baby comes along, you mean well, but somehow a binky dropped on the floor no longer needs the sterilization chamber of a hospital ward: just pop it into your mouth and give it right back to baby. Homemade baby food? Yeah right. Give #2 some jar food that you got on sale. Sure I have baby’s photo book ready. Ready to take out of the package and insert all those stunning firsts that are still uploaded into my camera.

So you see where I’m going with this? Second and subsequent babies kinda draw the short straw when it comes to getting things. It’s not for lack of love and affection that seconds draw up short; it’s just that parents are busier and they also learn a thing or two about what’s important and so they cut corners.

The one thing seconds  NEVER get skimped on are VACCINES.

In our house, #1 son came first.

#1son

And we were smitten. As newly minted parents we did everything we were supposed to for him. Photos? Check. Homemade baby food? Check. Vaccines? Check.

Then baby sister came along and our world changed dramatically. If I thought I was smitten with my first child, her brother was smitten with her. Photos? Check. Homemade baby food? Not so much. Vaccines? Check.

Of course we got our precious baby sister vaccinated. She stole our hearts and we wanted to make sure that #1 son had a baby sister for life.

Shot@Babysisters

Without vaccines, big brothers won’t get a shot at having a baby sister. And every kid deserves a baby sister. Look at the two siblings above: at her high school graduation #1 son is still smitten with his baby sister.  This #Blogust in honor of them, I’m sharing my personal vaccination stories.

Help give children life-saving vaccines by joining with Blogust. Each comment or post share will provide a vaccine to a child in need – up to 30,000 in the month of August.

Please help me help the little ones. Share and comment. Every time you do, a little sibling somewhere can get a vaccine.

Categories
Books Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Discover Black History Month with Gone Crazy in Alabama AWARD WINNER

Discover Black History Month with
Gone Crazy in Alabama

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Here’s another great reason to celebrate books during Black History Month:

Rita, I’m gonna win all the awards, Williams Freakin Garcia!  RWG does it again with her trilogy about the Gaither sisters. Gone Crazy in Alabama has won the Coretta Scott King Book Award which is an award

…given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

I love this book and even though it’s the last book in the series, I will have to go back and read the other two.  Life in the sixties, Black Panther movement, civil rights, family strife and cute but annoying sisters are a recipe for a great read for any middle-grade reader.

Check out the American Library Association’s website for more information about other books and awards. This title also qualifies for the 2016 Diversity Reading Challenge because of the African American female main character.  Have you read RWG other books? What did you think?

Categories
Children

Edgar and The Tree House of Usher by Jennifer Adams

Once’t again folks, Jennifer Adams has done ! I love love love her and the way she brings highbrow classic literature to the littles!  This time its Edgar and The Tree House of Usher.

Edgar and The Tree House of Usher by Jennifer Adams

Remember Edgar? The little crow who wouldn’t go to sleep? Here’s my video of Edgar Gets Ready for Bed.

And who can forget Edgar and the Tattletale Heart?  Now Edgar’s back in a new reimagination of a classic:

‘It was a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year.” (cue scary music)

Poor little Edgar just wants to play with his bestie Roderick in Roderick’s tree house, but Edgar’s annoying little sister wants to come too.  As usually happens with sibling disputes, there’s trouble but it works out in the end. (thankfully)

Grab this cute little BabyLit book for your little one for fall in time for Halloween.  Every little kid should be a Poe fan.  I think.

Stay tuned for more BabyLit books later!

Categories
Books Young Adult

Just in Time for Baseball Season: #Tanker10 @JCurelop @SamiJoLien

Just in Time for Baseball Season: Tanker 10 by Jonathan Curelop

 

TANKER10.jpg

 

Put me in Coach! If there’s anything you know about me, you know that I love to champion the underdog. That’s why I was happy to discover Tanker 10 by Jonathan Curelop! Here’s a book for the fellas although, really it’s a coming of age story that will appeal to anyone who’s ever been excluded, left out, bullied, or felt inadequate.

So, just about anyone really.

Tanker 10 (published by Book Case Engine) opens in Brockton, Mass., in 1976, where bashful and overweight 10-year-old Jimmy just wants to read his books and toss the ball with his best friend, Ben. Unfortunately, Jimmy is an entertaining victim for his older brother, Cliff, and his buddies. When Jimmy tries to stand up to Cliff, the verbal abuse turns physical and an accident sends Jimmy to the hospital with an injury that changes the trajectory of his life.

Tanker 10” depicts the story of Jimmy during his pre-teen and teenage years as he struggles to mend his physical and psychological injuries. Finding salvation through baseball, he dedicates himself to a strict regimen, taking him from intramurals baseball to Little League. By the time he reaches high school, Jimmy is no longer the fat kid throwing a ball against a wall but an up-and-coming right fielder on the freshman baseball team. Yet despite his successful recovery, Jimmy remains ill at ease with himself. He longs for emotional and physical intimacy and grapples with finding his place in his family, among his friends, and with his brother, Cliff.

 

I know, sounds great right?  You don’t have to like sports or baseball to understand how much it hurts to be a teenager. Especially one with an abusive older sibling.

Grab this book today for the sporty guy in your life!

Is it mere coincidence that the author has a wife named Pamela? Hmmmmm. Is it me?  I don’t know…But I do know that bullying is not nice and I’m glad that Curelop was able to overcome these very crappy circumstances.  I hope our Jimmy does too.

Check it out and follow Curelop on Twitter: @JCurelop  and tell him PammyPam sent you!

 

Tanker-10-VBT