Every Family is Unique

Stella Brings the Familyhttps://www.amazon.com/Stella-Brings-Family-Miriam-Schiffer/dp/1452111901/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496321058&sr=1-1&keywords=stella+brings+the+family

Stella Brings the Family written by Miriam B. Schiffer and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown features a little girl facing a dilemma: she has no mommy to bring to the school  Mother’s Day celebration.  Stella has two fathers but no mommy. When her classmates notice that Stella is feeling down, they ask her. “What is wrong?” Stella shares her problem. Her classmates respond with many questions that focus on who fulfills the traditional “mothering” tasks for her. Stella tells them how  her parents nurture her showing that it is not who does the loving that is important. It’s that someone is there to love the child wholeheartedly.

Stella’s classmates see beyond her perception of the problem and they ask since her dads are supporting her like a mother, why not have them come to the festivities? Heck, you could even bring her aunt, uncle and cousin who are also an important part of Stella’s family. Stella embraces their suggestion.

On the day of the school celebration the families arrive. Readers will discover that there are many kinds of families within the small group: single parents, grandparent-parents, two moms and two dads. The families are depicted without a lot of fanfare. Their variety and differences is not the point, the way families support one another is.

One of the subtle plot lines of the story is the empathy and sensitivity which Stella’s classmates demonstrate. They are so in tune with her that they are able to notice she is distressed. They not only notice, they take action and ask her about it. This models important EQ (emotional Intelligence) skills and offer another important discussion thread when reading this book.

small magnifier AQ* Lens

Stella Brings the Family  offers an obvious path to discussing adoption because Stella has two dads. She most likely has been adopted by one or both of her dads. Similarly, one of the other families depicted features two moms who also happen to be racially diverse. It is certainly possible to wonder about some of the other children as well. Simply because they look like they “match” does not rue out the possibility that they might have been adopted. When we look at a child, you can’t identify if they were adopted; there’s not tattoo or brand that marks them visibly. This thought can be expanded into discussions about assumptions–on the appropriate level– and how our guesses (assumptions) about situations can be way off the mark. It’s important to teach children this concept early and to reinforce it often.

 

 Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is books featuring multiethnic families and/or biracial main characters. Sometimes a focus on diversity can feel like forcing people into boxes. Let’s celebrate the diversity that can be found within a single person or household! (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, July 1st. We will only be hosting one linkup per month (on the first Saturday) for June, July, and August.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is books featuring biracial and/or multi-ethnic characters. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now …  Our theme for July (1st) will be series. Series books are great for hooking readers, because there’s another book after you finish the first one! Share your favorite book series featuring diverse characters?

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Raincity Librarian’s #diversekidlit and roundup of great picture books about India. Learn about the monsoon, traditional transportation, saris, and more!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Gauri @ Kitaab World an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram
Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+
Mia @ Pragmatic Mom   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram 
Myra @ Gathering Books   Blog / Twitter / Facebook 
Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list.

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Share Your Link      

Haiku Captures Humor and Heartache, Family and Security

Dogku.51Cr+rMZcsL._AC_US218_

Haiku Captures Humor and Heartache, Family and Security

I’m a fan of haiku a traditional form of Japanese poetry. Its compact format distills thoughts to their essence and focuses our lens with unique precision. Sounds stiff and confining. Actually, haiku need not be aloof and formal as these three titles demonstrate.

Dogku by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Tim Bowers is “a tale in haiku of one adorable dog…” who happens to need a home. With the spare framework of haiku, Clements narrates a story of this dog’s journey to a home and family. The emotional truth resonates while the charming oil illustrations reinforce the mood as this less-than-perfectly-behaved pup wriggles his way into the hearts of readers. Readers will root for this charming “Mooch” and will identify with the children who yearn to keep their new pet.

AQ* Lens This story offers and easy digression to explore what it is like to join a new family, to learn the rules and routines and to grow together. Some children may be unsettled by the hint that the dog’s behavior might lead to his return to the pound. The flip side of this risk is that it offers a chance to discuss similar unspoken fears which a child might harbor about himself.

Wing Nuts: Screwy HaikuHaiku Captures Humor and Heartache, Family and Security by Paul B. Janeczko and J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrated by Tricia Tusa oozes humor from every syllable. These short poems will make kids think twice in order to “get” the joke. Consider this example from the poem featured on the cover:

“On Ferris wheel

I regret French fries, milk shake—

those below agree.”

 

I’ll just bet they do!

Zany illustrations capture the humor of each poem which is part riddle, part commentary and all fun. This is a definite winner which will easily rebut any reader’s insistence that they hate poetry.

AQ* Lens In an unexpected twist, several of the families depicted are multiracial. This feature offers a chance to discuss the definition of family and how they need not share a common “look” or race in order to be a genuine family.

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in HaikuHaiku Captures Humor and Heartache, Family and Security.Won Ton. Cat tale told in haiku.1M+zz156vL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_ by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin tells the story of a cat currently residing at the Shelter. But all is not as it should be. Even though

“Nice place they got here.

Bed. Bowl. Blankie. Just like home.

Or so I’ve been told.”

In seventeen syllables, the reader feels the truth of the cat’s circumstances: although his basic needs are being met, it isn’t equal to the comfort and welcome of home. Each poem reveals part of the cat’s process of learning to feel at home with his new family. The brevity of the haiku does not limit the emotional scope; it distills it down to its essence. This story is endearing and thought provoking

AQ* Lens As in Dogku, there are obvious parallels to the process of joining a family through adoption. Kids adopted at an older age will often hold back their hearts and will be reluctant to be open to new attachments until they are absolutely sure that these new relationships will be safe. In the interim they might choose to resist the welcoming overtures of their new family and can display distancing or negative behavior. We see this reflected in this haiku from Wonton:

“Here, kitty, kitty. Kitty.”

Ha. I’ll stay put till I know”

Are they friend … or foe?

This poem offers an indirect way of talking about the role that caution and with holding can be used as a defense against disappointment of being hurt. Conversations can focus on finding more effective ways to keep oneself safe while still opening up to the possibility that safe and loving relationships are possible.

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is Global Books. Please share your favorite diverse books that take place in countries other than your own. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, June 3rd. We will only be hosting one linkup per month (on the first Saturday) for June, July, and August.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is global books. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now …

  • Our theme for June (3rd) will be books featuring multiethnic families and/or biracial main characters. Sometimes a focus on diversity can feel like forcing people into boxes. Let’s celebrate the diversity that can be found within a single person or household!
  • Our theme for July (1st) will be series. Series books are great for hooking readers, because there’s another book after you finish the first one! Share your favorite book series featuring diverse characters?

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Books for Teaching about Russia from Our Unschooling Journey through Life. This post includes links to 9 different books about Russia as well as an overview of some learning games to play with kids.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by: 

Katie @ The Logonauts  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Gauri @ Kitaab World   an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram
Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+
Myra @ Gathering Books  Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries  Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Get Dirty and Have Fun

Get Dirty and Have Fun.I'm-Dirty

This post will review two fun stories that will tempt kids to turn off their electronic devices, go outside, get dirty and have fun. I’m Dirty by Kate and Jim McMullan features a cocky and energetic backhoe–aptly named “Dirty”– who’s as proud as he is hard-working. He streaks from task to task performing his tasks with pride and skill.  In a single busy day he handles “10 torn up tires … 9 fractured fans … 8 busted beach umbrellas .. ” Young readers will enjoy this counting sequence, laughing and learning as they listen.

One page spread depicts the crushing machine pulverizing the trash. “Dirty” wryly  comments, “Hope ya like noise.” We all know the answer to that rhetorical question! Kids will howl with delight as they join in to speak the sounds. Humor will engage their attention. The story also carries an important message of the importance of hard work and persistence. It is a bonus  to get dirty and have fun in the process.

 

The authors have collaborated on a series of books that feature vehicles as characters. Here are a few. Check them out too.

Get Dirty and Have Fun.Mud + splash = splatter.I'm Brave.61V9Qr1V4ML._AC_UL160_SR160,160_ Get Dirty and Have fun.Mud + splash = splatter.I'm fast.51oIF9QijNL._AC_US218_Get Dirty and Have Fun.Mud + splash = splatter.I'm Mighty.5182AC0QRAL._AC_UL160_SR160,160_

 

 

 

 

 

Get Dirty and Have Fun.Dirt + Water= Mud.51VOVEm80OL._SX462_BO1,204,203,200_Dirt + Water = Mud by Katherine Hannigan introduces us to a unique and un-named girl One look at the cover and readers will suspect that she’s not one of the “usual suspects.” Although she sports a pink tutu, she’s covered in mud–and giggling about it! Clearly, she’s not your typical princess-loving, pink-obsessed girl. He’s discovered how much fun it is to get dirty and have fun! Readers discover that her muddied state happened by choice, after a careful countdown! Her constant companion is a patient and devoted little dog who sometimes gets less than the girl’s best attention. They work out their ups and downs and the story ends with the two friends happily planning the next day’s adventures.

Like the previous title, math also appears throughout this story. Equations appear throughout the story.  (The title itself is an equation.) Sounds dull, but it’s not. It’s zany, silly and fun, e.g., “Mud + splash = splatter … Hose + High up = shower …” The girl’s imagination rockets off to many places. While she enjoys her fantasies, she recognizes that her finest treasure is her dog.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: Most adoptees report having a rich fantasy life around the “what Ifs” of their lives (What if a different family had adopted me? What if I’d never been adopted? What if my birth mother is famous…” A book like this which emphasizes the girl’s imaginary worlds offers an easy pathway for discussing the types of fantasies your child might have. Whether they mention adoption or not, the conversation is sure to be fascinating and enlightening.

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit! Please scroll down to share a favorite  #diversekidlit post or to find amazing diverse resources.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit
We hope this community will grow into a great resource for 
parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! 
Our next linkup will be Saturday, May 20th and on 
the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Themes

Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. Out of respect for everyone’s increased summer busyness, we will only have one hop each month for June (3rd), July (1st), and August (5th). We will return to twice-monthly hops in September. If you’re interested, you can start planning now …

  • Our next hop will take place on May 20th, and the optional theme will be socioeconomic diversity. Consider sharing some of your favorite books that feature characters across a range of socioeconomic situations.
  • Our theme for the June hop will be global books. Please share your favorite diverse books that take place in countries other than your own. Let’s travel the world this summer!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Patricia’s review of the new book, Where Will I Live? by Rosemary McCarney. This timely picture book includes photographs from the UN High Commission for Refugees and proceeds from the book will help support programs for refugees.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestBecky @ Franticmommmy  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World  an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian  Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books  Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries  Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Share Your Link Below

Let the Party—and the Learning Begin!

Let the party—and the Learning Begin!.Let's Celebrate HoliChildren love festivals and celebrations–don’t we all!

What better way to expand cultural literacy than through learning about unique holidays marked by other cultures. Let’s Celebrate Holi, India’s Festival of Colors by Ajanta [Chakraborty] and Vivek [Kumar] brings to live a delightful holiday celebrated throughout India. The traditional observances vary throughout the country but all include bonfires and drenching one another in vividly colored water. Let the Party—and the Learning Begin! Celebrate Holi. This charming book will teach you how.

Kids will delight in discovering a holiday that provides the perfect excuse for drenching themselves and others in brilliant color, hurling buckets of water, exuberant dancing and, watching bonfires. While these elements will certainly grab their attention, children will simultaneously absorb information about the story behind the festivities. This knowledge will help build a foundation of awareness of and respect for, the traditions and beliefs from other cultures. This is a delightful and engaging book which help awaken interest in other cultures and will broaden their cultural awareness.

Let the Party—and the Learning Begin!.holi.3In this book (the third in the series) Maya and her brother Neel visit relatives in India. Their arrival coincides with the festival of Holi which provides the perfect opportunity for the cousins to explain the holiday. As Maya and Neel learn about their heritage and the various ways the people celebrate throughout the many regions of India, readers will also. They will discover that India is an immense country with many states, each of which observes the holiday in unique ways. The book also includes a pronunciation guide which demonstrates the proper ways to speak the Indian words.

The authors of the series also maintain a website which features additional resources, Bollygroove dance classes, etc. Check it out.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300

AQ Lens: An appreciation for one’s cultural heritage is probably the most obvious Adoption-attuned opportunity which Let’s Celebrate Holi, India’s Festival of Colors provides. Because of the inherent elements of fun, color, dancing and water play most kids will find the story appealing. It may even make it easier for adoptees to share their culture with others–and feel safe about that sharing.

Be sure to read the other books in the series:

Let's Celebrate Diwali.Holi.Let the Party—and the Learning Begin!

 

Let’s Celebrate Five Days of Diwali 

and

 

Let's Visit Mumbai.Let the Party—and the Learning Begin!.61aW9I8-2vL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Let’s Visit Mumbai 

Planting Seeds. Harvesting Change. Making Choices.

Rachel Carson and her book. 61AB358vSJL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_In her seminal book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson raised awareness that contributed to the environmental movement which continues through to today. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor and illustrated by Laura Beingessner introduces young readers to Ms. Carson. Since this is both Women’s History Month as well as the cusp of Spring, this book is the perfect choice for this week’s review.

Lawlor does an excellent job oh highlighting the challenges which Carson faced: poverty, lack of educational and employment opportunities for women, the Great Depression, and the effects of World War. The story follows Rachel and her mother as they struggle against adversity and eventually rise. Many factors converge to help Rachel succeed so the story also highlights the importance of helping others.

Her passion for writing and for the environment emerged in her childhood and became her lifelong passion. Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World is an inspiring story that exemplifies how people achieve success: through diligence and determination. It also shows the pivotal influence others have for helping or impeding one’s goals. One must prepare and persist so that when opportunity presents itself, one is prepared to grab for the win.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens:

One theme from this story focuses on the inner forces which drove Rachel to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer and for becoming an advocate for the environment. Parents can ask kids about their own inner passions. This conversation can serve as “permission” for children to speak freely about their dreams for themselves. Since adoptees often bring talents that are dissimilar to the patterns of their adoptive families, this “permission” to be one’s authentic self is profound.

Planting Seeds. Harvesting Change. Making Choices.Mama Miti.61nNkye5e5L._SX375_BO1,204,203,200_Mama Miti: Wangari Maatai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Kadir Nelson features another stalwart woman who shaped the world. She learns from the sacred traditions of her people: cooperation, respect for the trees, engaging in peace. When Mama Miti moved to the city, remembering the beloved trees of her youth, she plants trees to brighten her urban environment. She became renowned for her wise counsel.

When hungry, jobless people come to her for advice, she offers them seeds which they can plant for food. As the trees mature and fruit, they share the harvest with others. These neighbors follow Mama Miti’s example; they plant more trees and share more fruits and berries. The trees provide food, medicine, fodder for animals, materials for shelter and branches for burning.

People refer to Mama Miti as the mother of trees. “A green belt of peace started with one good woman offering something we can all do: “Plant a Tree.” She loves peace, the environment and helping her neighbor. Now that is an awesome example for our children and ourselves.

Kadir illustrations capture the lush landscape and uses many traditional textile patterns to depict them. They add an extra layer of cultural celebration.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens:

This story celebrates African culture and by using the traditional textiles, it implies a respect and valuation of that tradition. Mama Miti also serves as an example of how important a single individual can be in shaping the lives of others. After reading this book, readers can discuss who serves as a mentor in te=their lives. Or, they can talk about the kind of mentor  they wish they had–for adoption issues or for other parts of their lives.

Planting Seeds. Harvesting Change. Making Choices.If you plant a seed.511V106f+0L._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_

If You Plant a Seed is written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It also shares a story of planting and harvesting and takes it a step further. When we share our bounty as described in Mama Miti, many people benefit. The blessings expand. Others are inspired to follow the example and so the generosity ripples through the community.

In Nelson also shows what happens when one refuses to share and keeps the harvests only for their own needs. Another crop grows–envy, anger, selfishness–and it overtakes the situation quickly.

Young readers can evaluate the two scenarios and decide for themselves which “crop” they’d prefer to harvest. Kindness or selfishness?

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens:

This story exemplifies the concept of choice making and how different choices cause different results. Adults might ask young readers about choices they have made and explore the “alternative reality” that might have occurred had they chosen differently. A logical segue from that conversation is to talk about the biggest “what if” in an adoptees life: What if I had not been adopted? What if I had been adopted by other parents. These are BIG Conversations. Adult adoptees report that they thought about these questions frequently. Usually they struggled alone with the exploration because they either did not know how to raise the issue with adoptive parents and/or they felt that the subject was taboo. This book can serve as a gateway to the topic.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in March is the Changing Seasons. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, April 7th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme & Chat

Our theme for the current month is Changing Seasons. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • April 1th and 18th is our one-year anniversary of #diversekidlit! Our theme with be Favorites. Share your top diverse books or authors or topics.
  • Join us on Monday, April 10th from 8-9 pm Eastern Time for a Twitter chat about Diverse Children’s Books! In honor of one-year of the #diversekidlit linkup, we’ll be discussing issues and challenges facing diverse books, as well as sharing our favorites. We hope you’ll join us!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Priya’s review of LadooBook. LadooBook is a new series, aimed at introducing very young children to Indian life, through the eyes of a dog named Ladoo. The book also introduces children to the Hindi names for various animals. You can read Priya’s full review (including coupon code) here.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestCarolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / InstagramMarjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Host for March

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Share Your Link Below

 

Teamwork & Diversity Expands Capability and Possibility

Teamwork & Diversity Expands Capability and Posibility. Mighty, Mighty Construction Site

In their sequel to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator Tom Lictenheld return readers to the world of big building and heavy construction machinery. Kids love the roar and power of these immense machines. They imagine themselves behind the wheel and delight in the idea of controlling so much power. This sense of agency energizes them.

Dawn rises over the construction site. A medley of heavy-duty trucks gather, ready to get to work. Although no human characters grace the pages of Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, the cast of vehicular characters is diverse. They’ve got a huge job to accomplish: erect a skyscraper. But it cannot rise unless they work in unison. Each one is integral to the success of their venture. Bulldozers cannot accomplish it alone, nor can the mighty excavator or cement mixer. Only a team working cooperatively can create it.

This interdependence serves as a great metaphor for the benefits of diversity in people. The activities of our daily lives also depend on team work, draws on the unique skills sets of many people and requires the effort of many who work together for common goals. Teamwork and diversity expands capability and possibility.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens:  This story line can easily lead to discussions of diversity within families, classrooms, communities or countries. With a little sleight of mouth, parents might ask kids to speak about some of the “big things” in their lives which required the contribution of many people to accomplish. Perhaps they will mention their adoption. If you sense the moment is workable, ask them directly if they can draw similarities between adoption and how it required the cooperative effort of many individuals.

As always, allow children to decide if they wish to discuss it or not. Never force “Big Conversations.” However, be frequently openings possibilities or dropping conversation seeds, parents can remind children that adoption is a welcome and important topic for discussion. In the absence of this confident awareness, most kids will infer that adoption is a taboo subject. Thus they will wrestle–unsupported and alone–with big concepts, tough questions and painful realities which are a part of life as adoptees.

Teamwork & Diversity Expands Capability and Posibility
.

DiverseKidLit
Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in March is the Changing Seasons. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?  Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

Upcoming Theme

March 4th and 18th: Changing Seasons. As we eagerly await the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern, let’s share favorite books and resources on the seasons.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Beth’s great roundup of Diverse Novels in Verse, part 2.

(You can catch up on part 1 here.) Novels in verse are an incredible and accessible way for kids to get to know a character inside and out. You will find some new favorites!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

 Jane @ Rain City Librarian   Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestMia @ Pragmatic Mom Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Hosts for March

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

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Birthday Celebration, Tree-style

Americans celebrate many beloved holidays  During February we mark Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and Groundhog Day.  Jewish people celebrate an additional holiday, Tu B’Shevat, “The New Year of the Trees or “the Birthday of the Trees.” In 2017,  Tu B’Shevat is observed from sundown on Feb. 10 to sundown on Feb. 11. 

Happy Birthday Tree.51w8spMfTjL._SX396_BO1,204,203,200_Happy Birthday, Tree: A Tu B’Shevat Story by Madelyn Rosenberg and illustrated by Jana Christy is a charming book centered on “The Birthday of the Trees.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While resting in the branches of her favorite tree,  Joni a little girl living in Israel, ponders how to help celebrate it’s “birthday.” She struggles to find the perfect gift gor her tree.

Lightbulb moment– water, trees need water!

She carefully waters her tree. Although she knows her tree requires water she feels like she wants to give it more. Another idea pops into her mind. Decorations! After she adds them, the tree looks festive but Joni is still not satisfied.

What else does a tree need? Knowing how much she enjoys her own friends, Joni decides her tree needs a companion. She enrolls friends and families to help her. They plant a new tree and she presents it with the perfect gift. Joni promises to care for it well and to “… be good to the trees of the world.”

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens: This story can jump-start many  conversations, for example, that kids can be problem solvers and can awaken adults to take action. This is important to all kids. Adoptees particularly benefit from experiencing competency and acting as agents of their own choices.

The idea to celebrate an obscure holiday might trigger an adoptee’s interest in observing a holiday tradition from their birth culture. Even if they resist the idea of celebrating the event publicly, kids may enjoy learning about it. At the very least the suggestion conveys an interest in and a valuation of their birth culture. That type of validation is vital to adoptees.

 

Kids Find Inner Lion: the Strength of the Hero Within

The Lion Inside.51T3oKWEACL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_

Inside of each of us lives an Inner Lion. Sometimes he is dormant but he is always there waiting for  us to tap into our powerful potential. Even adults often struggle to remember this “hero within” so it is vital for us to help children discover and embrace their Inner Lion. This hero exists in all of us regardless of our stature or age. But he must compete with the other voices inside our heads-the ones who broadcast, fear, self-doubt, timidity and despair

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field brilliantly demonstrates that the most powerful person in my life is me. It also hammers home the truism “Never judge a book by its cover.” So often the face we present to the world hides our genuine selves, the selves that our both brave and fearful, confident and cautious.

When we (both kids and adults) make judgments about others based on externals, we overlook the opportunity to connect with the whole person and all of us lose the chance to be genuine. Ironically, we often treat ourselves no better and criticize ourselves with the same harsh judgment!

Fields’ fabulous illustrations carry a lot of the story’s message. The difference in size between the tiny mouse and the huge lion reinforces the immensity of the mouse’s decision to confront the lion. By connecting to his Inner Lion he awoke the bravery needed to accomplish his goal. Taken from the lion’s perspective, the reader experiences the other side of the equation. Physical size doesn’t protect one from fear. Courage does. Courage acknowledges fear and still chooses to act.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: All kids strive to find their niche in school, their neighborhoods, etc. Adoptees also must learn to find their comfort spot in their new families. Sometimes they can feel as mismatched and powerless as this little mouse when he faced the roaring lion. This story invites readers to consider that beyond stature and externals, each of us has important skills and gifts to contribute, fears to overcome, and opportunities to grow. Each family member benefits from being part of the larger whole. Diversity enriches families. And classrooms, neighborhoods and communities.

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles.51oUYa5gt8L._SY457_BO1,204,203,200_

All of us yearn to be included, to have friends and to be appreciated.  The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles  written by Michelle Cuevas and illustrated by Erin E. Stead tackles this idea from a nuanced perspective. Pastel images convey the watery context of both ocean and fantasy world and strike the perfect note of mystery and dreaminess.

Cuevas writes that the main character–the Uncorker of Ocean Bottles–“Had no name.” This choice is brilliant because his anonymity renders him as “Everyman” that part of all human beings, kids and adults, who crave recognition and validation. The Uncorker dedicates himself to his life task: ensuring that he locates the rightful recipient for every message in a bottle he discovers. Through his diligent efforts, he finds purpose, steps beyond his own loneliness and engages with others. His actions solve his “problem.” He is so pleased with the results of his efforts, he commits to repeating his efforts. Young readers will recognize the great model he sets.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: Action is key to overcoming fear, creating connection and displacing loneliness. This book helps adopted children to see the benefits of reaching out instead of waiting for others to reach out first. (This is not to shift the burden of creating family connection from the parents but rather to show kids how they can contribute to the process.)

Poor Little Guy.51A1ZTLGLWL._SX496_BO1,204,203,200_Poor Little Guy  written and illustrated by Elanna Allen also focuses on the relationship between stature, fear and, courage. Allen conveys a lot of information in her illustrations which include only two characters: an octopus and a tiny, tiny wide-eyed, bespectacled fish. Immense disparity in their size highlights why the fish feels threatened by the octopus.

At first glance readers might think the octopus is playing with the fish. The octopus’ immense arms transform into many things–a fish-sketball net, a complex maze, a bird-cage, etc. Soon it becomes clear that he is actually “toying” with the fish. Each transformation is intended to remind the fish of the octopus’ size, strength and power to control the little fish.

Until the octopus mentions how tasty he thinks the little guy will be. His threat awakens the Inner Lion of the fish. He draws on his courage and his ability to defend himself. The reader discovers that the little fish isn’t so helpless after all. He uses his special skill to successfully defeat the octopus’ evil intentions. Read the book to find out exactly how he accomplishes this! Don’t we all love it when the underdog–er, underfish– is victorious?

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: It is important for kids to recognize how they can stand up for themselves and tap into their ability to be agents of their own success. For adopted children who sometimes encounter bias and bullying because they were adopted, this message of self-advocacy is an important one. Again, this point is not intended to invalidate their experiences. Rather it is meant to add a skill with which they can cope. Dismissing or trivializing bullying does not address the situation!

I wasn't Invited to the Birthday.51QhF7wiBOL._SX428_BO1,204,203,200_I Wasn’t Invited to the Birthday  written by Susanna Isern and illustrated by Adolfo Serra addresses the universal experience of being left out. No one enjoys feeling invisible, inferior or, unaccepted. Among children these slights often occur “publicly” when kids distribute invitations at school. Even in classrooms where that practice is forbidden, kids talk about upcoming events which can leave the uninvited kids feeling bleak and marginalized.

The gift of this book is how it shows kids a way to take control. They can choose to look beyond the ranks of the “in crowd” to find friendship.  (Commonly, a child’s first instinct is to shun others who are on the margins in the hope that they will be “tainted” by befriending an unpopular child. Unfortunately, fear drives them to collude in the ostracizing of other children.)

In this story, however, the uninvited kids band together. The story takes a fantasy vibe and the kids “enjoy an unforgettable afternoon.”

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: For kids wrestling with feelings of rejection–which almost all adoptees report at some time in their lives–reading a story of finding ones “group” is helpful. Perhaps that means befriending other adoptees, or kids who share the same passion for a common interest–sports, the arts, etc. Whatever that common ground is, it is important to reach out and search for it.

As mentioned in the previous review, this point is not intended to invalidate their experiences. Rather it is meant to add another coping skill. Dismissing or trivializing their experience does not fix the problem.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in February is Love. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?  Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, February 18th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is Love. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • February 18th linkups: Love. Let’s continue to spread our love of diverse books by sharing diverse books about love, families, and relationships.
  • March 4th and 18th: Changing Seasons. As we eagerly await the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern, let’s share favorite books and resources on the seasons.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from last time was Marjorie’s review of IBBY Review: Roses Are Blue by Sally Murphy and Gabriel Evans on Mirrors Windows Doors. This novel in verse shares the struggles of a young girl trying to process her new life after her mother is severely injured in a car accident.

My DiverseKidLit Shout-Out

My DiverseKidLit Shout-Out

Now more than ever, we need to share and promote books by and about Muslims, and a great place to start is Kitaab World‘s new series on Countering Islamophobia through Stories. The first entry is a book list featuring Muslim Kids as Heroes.

I am also delighted to welcome Gauri, CEO and co-founder of Kitaab World, as a co-host!

 

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestMia @ Pragmatic Mom Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list.

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Guest Hosts for February

Gauri @ Kitaab World   an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

 

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Families: Each is Special and Unique and Deserves Respect

a family is a family.51FYQ-KDJKL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Family Is A Family written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Qin Leng projects the reader into a moment that overflows with emotion. To show her students that all their families are each special and unique and deserve respect, a teacher asks the class to share what each student feels makes their family special.

Told through the words of a little girl, the story begins, “I went last because…”

What a powerful opening. Who among us hasn’t wanted to go last because we feared not fitting in or felt our situation was something to be embarrassed by, ashamed of, or which others might find inferior in some way? I’m guessing as children we all had some of these kind of moments. (Perhaps even as adults, we’ve had times when our stomach clenched as we imagined how others might judge our looks, our homes, our families … us.)

The story proceeds. Child after child describes his/her family. The reader meets an inclusive array of family configurations. Diversity abounds! We see step-families, interracial families, families with many children, foster families, families with only one child, single-parent families, families with two moms or two dads, families who “match” and families who don’t. The stories premise comes across clearly: all families are unique and… that variety does not make one type of family better or less than others. What counts is that families love, support and connect with one another, not how they look, how they came together, nor whether they “match” or not.

Leng’s delicate illustrations portray the families with a warm and whimsical touch which adds charm and appeal to the book.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: Family provides us a space where we feel connected, valued and safe. This book highlights some of the different ways families are formed. This is important for adoptees because they often operate under the misunderstanding that their (adoptive) family is the only one which is “different. Reading about other “alternative” families helps to put the adoptees experience of difference as a source of commonality. Talk about a paradigm shift! It provides children an opportunity to see that other kids may need to feel welcome and accepted and gives adoptees a chance to be the vector of acceptance and welcome. what a refreshing shift for adoptees to be on the giving side of offering acceptance and welcome instead always being the seeker.

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Marisol Rhymes with Parasol

Colorful rainbow umbrella isolated on white background. 3D illustration

Marisol rhymes with parasol which conjures images of brilliant sunshine. Marisol McDonald, the charming heroine of this series delivers a similar warm and sunny lift. She delights in her quixotic and colorful approach to life. She exudes confidence which provides her an umbrella of security to carry her through her days. The series, written in both English and Spanish by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios highlights the adventures of Marisol. She has a rich ethnic ancestry (Peruvian-Scottish-American) and a penchant for quirkiness which makes for an interesting, colorful and, fun perspective. Most of us–whether we’re a child or an adult–admire spunk and the ability to be comfy in our own skin. Still, the struggle to find acceptance and to fit in is real, especially for kids. A spunky, self-assured character like Marisol delights and serves as a model for what is possible. Click To Tweet Confident people attract our attention. We want to be with them and be like them.

confidence security quirkiness diversity-marisol-mcdonald-and-the-monster-51bcmtoy6vl-_sx437_bo1204203200_The third, and newest book in the series is,  Marisol McDonald and the Monster  It debuted in July 2016 and finds Marisol  confronting a nightly visit by a monster under her bed. Young readers will easily identify with her situation because most kids have had a similar experience at least once. She tries to be brave and to dismiss the nightly encounter as a figment of her imagination but… try as she might, the monster continues to bother her. In typical Marisol fashion, she takes action.

She fashions a monster of her own, one that is real and–since she created it herself, it is not scary at all. Except her efforts prove unsuccessful. The monster and its nightly bump, bump, bump persists. Marisol is determined not to let the monster win. To learn how Marisol defeats the him get yourself a copy!*

confidence security quirkiness diversity-marisol-mcdonald-doesnt-match-510a77mjrpl-_sx421_bo1204203200_Sara Palacios won a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Honor for her drawings in Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match the first book in the series. Her energetic illustrations brings Marisol’s quirkiness to life in a way that enchants readers and showcases the beauty of “not matching.” Whether it is her physical characteristics (carrot-colored hair and brown skin,) her kooky fashion choices or, unusual food concoctions, Marisol’s unique approach is appealing. Even her dog doesn’t “match.” He’s got one brown eye and one blue eye and a most unusual name: Kitty!

Even Marisol is tempted by the desire to blend in. She briefly attempts conformity. Everyone misses the bright spark that Marisol usually contributes and all are relieved when the real Marisol returns. This story provides a wonderful model for kids who all too often surrender themselves to a… Click To Tweet

confidence security quirkiness diversity-marisol-mcdonald-and-the-clash-bash-514-yahfjal-_sx421_bo1204203200_

Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash is the second collaboration between Monica Brown and Sara Palacios. The two previous books revealed that Marisol is one self-assured and unique young lady. It’s no surprise then, that when it comes to celebrating her birthday, the event is far from ordinary. Only one “theme” suits Marisol: a “clash bash!” Her party is a melange of ideas and her guests’ costumes embody variety and personality. Creativity reigns and all have wonderful fun. Inspired by Marisol’s “mix and match” approach, they “borrow” parts of one another’s outfits freely without worrying if it should be for only a boy or girl. There’s no jeering, judging or snubbing as they celebrate. They’re just having fun, fun, fun!

The story includes a wonderful use of contemporary technology which helps Marisol celebrate her birthday with her Peruvian Abuelita.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: Throughout the illustrations in all three books there are elements of Marisol’s rich ethnic heritage: llamas, chullos (the traditional knit hat,) Peruvian textiles. All blend in a colorful and rich celebration of cultural diversity. Highlighting these signposts of culture can easily lead to conversations about the ways an adoptive family honors all the different aspects of culture of the family–birth and adoptive. Marisol clearly values all aspects of her rcially diverse family, her multi-ethnic heritage, and her two languages!

These stories can also open dialog about the urge to fit in and conform, what it costs and how to cope. Since the need to be comfortable with self and to fit in is often complicated for adoptees, these stories can offer a non-threatening pathway for discussions. They can look through the third person perspective of Marisol and or the first person of the reader–if they’re receptive to that direct approach.

*I received a review copy of Marisol and the Monster from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions stated are my own. I purchased the other two books included in this review.

On Jan. 26, 2017 please join myself and the many other sponsors of Multicultural Children’s Book Day and help expand diversity in children’s literature. #ReadYourWorld

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