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
Books

Death, Dying, and Grieving: Books for Kids

Death, dying, and grieving are the main topics of the news lately. It seems we just can’t get away from it. And as much as we try to shield our little ones from tragedy, sometimes there are issues you must face. Death is a common situation in life and while you can usually filter what your children are exposed to, the deaths of pets, grandparents, or sick friends, will eventually crop up. If you’re like me, you want a book to turn to to support your child’s emotional understanding of death.

There are a surprising number of books available that discuss death. Kids don’t need or want a heavy handed book discussing the ins and out of death and dying. Save that for biology class or for church, depending on your beliefs. What kids want in books is to understand that it’s ok to have certain feelings and that other people have similar feelings as yours and also probably that things will get better. Following are books for kids of varying ages that discuss death, dying, and grief in ways that they will be able to handle.

1. CHARLOTTE’S WEB BY E.B. WHITE

I have two words for you: “Some pig.”  Is there anyone born in the past half century who hasn’t been moved to tears by this beloved title?charlotte's web

Everyone cheers for our favorite pig and his friends. Not only do we learn the meaning of friendship from Charlotte’s Web, we also learn the value of the brevity of life on a farm and we learn about death and grief. Sure there’s a death in the book, but there is also the invaluable lesson of how to grieve when someone you love has died. This little gem can teach even the youngest of readers about life and death.

2.  BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA BY KATHERINE PATERSON

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Here’s another classic that inadvertently teaches middle graders the value of friendship and the process of grief. I love this story because at this age kids don’t care whether their friends are boys or girls. They just want a friend. Jess and Leslie become friends and during their time together they help the other one become better people. The magical land they’ve created helps them deal with the issues they each face. In the end when one of them dies, the remaining child must confront their fears, the loss of a friend, and learn how to move on.

3. NANA UPSTAIRS & NANA DOWNSTAIRS, BY TOMIE DE PAOLA

 

Tomie dePaola writes such good books, there’s practically a book for every situation. Grandparenting seems to be his specialty, though. Little Tommy loves his grandmothers: he has a grandmother upstairs and a great grandmother downstairs. You know where this is going, right? Naturally the grandmothers die and Tommy has to learn how to grieve. There’s a bit about a falling star that will have you in tears remembering your own grandmother’s kisses.

4. TIGER EYES BY JUDY BLUME

It’s a Judy Blume book. Do I need to say anymore? The woman who has helped every young girl grow up  in the past 50 years? Yeah, her. This time, Blume discusses a very sensitive issue at the time; the death of a parent.  Not only does Davey lose her father, but he is killed in a violent crime. Books about this topic were unheard of in its day. But somehow, shockingly, kids today are experiencing this type of tragic loss and will need help getting through it. The book also discusses the dysfunction that’s left behind when a family member dies tragically: depression, alcoholism, family instability; it’s all there.

5. FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH BY JENNIFER L. HOLM

A magical realism story about a girl whose goldfish dies and is reincarnated as her grandfather dressed as a bespectacled new friend. At first i thought perhaps the lesson might be too “out there” to catch; but I love this story and I’m sure someone will too.

 

6. THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT BY JASON REYNOLDS

Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died—although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. So while Dad’s snagging bottles of whiskey, Matt’s snagging fifteen bucks an hour. Not bad. But everything else? Not good. Then Matt meets Lovey. She’s got a crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness—and who can maybe even help take it away.

Here’s one you might not of heard of. It’s by the always fab Jason Reynolds. Here you’ll see that people cope differently with death and you might get some insight into what it’s like to work at a funeral home. Hint: more dignity than creepy.

 

Isn’t it great that there are so many books on this topic says that kids never have to go through any situation alone, that there is always a book available to lend an ear, lean on or to provide other ways of support?

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
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Children

LuLu and the Very Big Meanies A Multicultural Children’s Book Day Book! #ReadYourWorld

I’m preparing for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day is January 27th. Lots of great titles about diverse characters. If you’re in need of titles, pop on over there and check it out. Today I’m thrilled to share with you a great title:

LuLu and the Very Big Meanies

Lulu and the Very Big Meanies by Mac McGooshie and Alexis Hogwood

Here’s the official blurb about it:

Lulu and the Very Big Meanies is the first book in the new series, Lulubug’s Week in the Life: Meet Laila, AKA Lulu, young Muslimah, drama queen extraordinaire, and big-time fashionista! Lulu can’t cut a break this week! First she finds out that she’s moving to a new school and a new town for the next school year, and it’s not even her fault. Then Veronica B. and Veronica C., the most miserable bullies in the world, hand-pick Lulu for their evil plans. Add to that a very sick kitty and the something buzzing in the woods out back, well, Lulu is just not having a great time of it. Even with the help of her friends and family, can she possibly survive the Week of the Very Big Meanies?

Ok so good book, right? But that’s not the HALF of it!! Our heroine, Lulubug is a Muslim American and the ins and outs of her religion are woven into the little one’s life.

That’s the great delight of this book. Every child can relate to LuLu’s everyday trauma of being in school and having bullies, and getting what you want from your parents, etc. But how many of us know what a Muslim child goes through every day?

Honestly? Now we do. LuLu’s life is no different from ours, right? Ok we might not be Muslim but we can certainly can relate to having to wash up for church or do the right thing because that’s what’s expected.  We’re different but we’re the same. To emphasize the similarities between us, I thought it might be fun to complete a word search.

Everyone loves word searches, right?

So why not complete a word search from LuLu’s book that includes Muslim words?

LuLu’s Word Search

Click the link to see the word search.  I’ve included a word bank for you. You’re welcome. See if you recognize any of the words!

MCCBD’s  2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop, Gold SponsorsSatya House,  MulticulturalKids.com,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof, Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing. Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,  Chronicle Books   Muslim Writers Publishing ,East West Discovery Press.