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

 

It’s Routine: Children Find Comfort & Security in Repetition

.It's Routine: Children Find Comfort & Security in Repetition.Kiss Good Night.61WD4351MQL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_In Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest and illustrated by Anita Jeram invites readers to peek in on one little bear’s resistance to falling asleep. It’s a scenario familiar to every child and parent so kids will readily respond to it. Jeram’s illustration are warm and evoke an intimate tenderness between Mrs. Bear and little Sam. As you can see, the cover shows mama and bear nose to nose. Her arm rests gently on his tummy. A red blanket is snugged up to Sam’s chin while he cuddles an armload of stuffed toys. A beautiful vignette.

She oozes patience–in a measure we all good follow–and shows how important each detail of a bedtime ritual is essential to little bear.  Bear insists that the ritual be followed in perfect detail. Eliminating anything is utterly unthinkable, especially on a “dark and stormy night!” This sweet story reminds parents that any attempts to short-circuit beloved bedtime rituals are undertaken at their own risk!

The illustrations are the powerhouse of this book. In some spots the text feels awkward, for example, “the blanket was red” versus simply calling it a red blanket. Nonetheless, the book will delight readers and parents alike as they share their own family bedtime ritual and enjoy the soothing comfort  that repetition and ritual sustain.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens: Kids with trauma histories need and benefit from the reassurance and familiarity of family routines. This includes not only bedtime rituals but other daily and cyclical patterns that create a structure that establish a sense of being enfolded in ways on which kids can reliably and predictably depend. Routines and rituals can include elements that engage all of the senses: music, food, fragrances, touchable props, etc. Become aware of all the “ingredients” that a ritual includes. Be intentional in creating  routines that can promote security, bonding and healing.

It's Routine: Children Find Comfort & Security in Repetition

 

Here are additional books featuring Sam.

Dragons Need Friends Too.

Dragons need friends-dragons-are-real-61pcxriyl9l-_sy498_bo1204203200_Dragons and dinosaurs fascinate children so they’re predisposed to love Dragons Are Real by Valerie Budayr and illustrated by Michael Welply. It delivers the full inside story on the fire-breathing beasts. Who knew dragons need friends and yearn to be a child’s BFF? Or that they crave sweets as much as any kid dreaming of Halloween? All those stories of treasure hoarding paint the wrong picture of the draco species. It’s just that sparkling things dazzle and things catch a dragon’s attention. In actuality, it’s not jewels they crave and hoard. It’s books. Lots and lots and lots of books.

My favorite newly discovered dragon-fact: they love to read. We’re kindred spirits!  I’ve taken the liberty of naming this special dragon: Draco Bibliophilium which loosely translates from the Latin as “Book Loving Dragon.”) He’s near and dear to my heart because I love books too. (Anyone who has visited my office would know. In fact, it looks like the illustrator used my office for an illustration study.)

Dragons Are Real seeks to clear up many misperceptions that identify dragons as evil, dangerous and, scary. The very idea that dragons yearn to capture hapless maidens is preposterous; they’re simply trying to be helpful and make a friend in the process. Now it is true that dragons breathe fire, but only when they want to be useful like toasting hot dogs or making s’mores. It can be very handy to have a friend with a built-in fuel source and an inclination to help out when needed. Turns out, that dragons are loyal and funny. Apparently they love poetry to an excess which can be a bit tedious. But don’t we all have our quirks and faults?

This story transforms a traditional “monster” figure from children’s folklore into a charming and desirable pal, one who loves to laugh and dance and recite poetry. I love that! By turning the myth upside down, which offers young readers a model for looking at the “monsters” in their own personal lives to reinterpret them in a way which enables them to cope. Since dragons are masters of camouflage, they can be “hiding in plain sight.” This concept can easily lead to discussions about how we can overlook people as well as how we choose to hide ourselves and be small. These are big ideas, but understanding them can help kids notice whom they might be overlooking and or how they themselves might be fading into the background. It also invites readers to think about what it is like to need a friend, how to be a friend as well as how to find a friend. All of these are important skills.

The ability to blend in and be part of a bigger picture can be useful. Sometimes, we even want to blend in so well that we become invisible so we can sit back, observe and determine what we want to do. Dragons Are Real makes an import point: We must embrace our “fire.” Allow it to burn brightly so we can be “seen” and cast a light for others to follow.

The illustrations are amazing and vividly interpret the text. The pictures are an adventure in their own right and compliment the text well. They add the perfect measure of whimsy, humor and ferocity.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: It is common for adoptees to spend considerable time thinking about big “what ifs.” (What if I hadn’t been adopted? What if I’d been adopted by someone else? What if my adoptive parents rejects me? And many more.) Many develop chameleon-like skill at blending in and becoming what they think others expect them to be–or do. Adoptees who don’t share a culture or race with their adoptive family may struggle to fit in ad feel “at home” in their adoptive family. Like the proverbial dragon striving to remake his fierce image, adoptees must learn how to blend… Click To Tweet The key is to fit in without losing their authentic selves, like a dragon who breathes fire but learns not to burn down the neighborhood!

 Fun activity

Ask your child to create a dragon from his imagination. Draw it. Paint it. Build it from Legos©, clay or from materials found in your recycle bin. Then give it a name. For an added challenge, try to include a Latin variation as Valerie did.  (J. K. Rowling also included Latin phrases in her beloved Harry Potter series; it sounds ever so mysterious and magical! I’m sure parents and Google, Siri, etc. can provide any needed assistance.) Encourage your child to write his/her dragon’s story; you just might be awakening a dormant talent.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017      (1/27/17)

jump-into-a-book-cropped

is in its fourth year and was founded bypragmatic-mom-banner-cropped

Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book

and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom.

Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE. Valerie and Mia

Dragons need friends-mcbd-2017-poster-final-875x1024MCBD Links to remember:  MCBD site
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use the official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

You can make a difference. Be a driving force for #Diversity in publishing. Click To Tweet Help ensure that we have a robust range of “windows” and “mirrors” so that all children can see themselves in their literature as well as introduce them to a broad array of cultures. Exposure grows familiarity which in turn, nurtures understanding and tolerance.

#BuyDiversity #ReadDiversity #WriteDiversity Click To Tweet

 

mcbd-sponsor-2017mcbd-2017-safety MCBD Author.badge

Embracing Differences in Ourselves and Others

It's Alll GoodIt’s All Good: A Book ABout Self Acceptance & diversity by Gina I. Humber shares a timely and important message about diversity and acceptance, of embracing differences in ourselves and others. It features a sequence of children who happen to be classmates. Each child is different in a visible way and each experiences prejudice and hurtful comments from classmates. Each also participates in subtle “othering” of classmates.

This is one of the aspects which I appreciate in this book. It reminds readers how easy it is to call out others for mistreating us and simultaneously be blind to the biases and “othering” of which we ourselves may be guilty. This awareness is a vital part of addressing and eliminating any biases we–and our children–might hold, many of which we are not even consciously aware of believing. (Sometimes we even hold biases against ourselves!)

By highlighting this subconscious double standard, we help kids to build bridges of acceptance. Once we admit, that we too, have regarded others as less than, it makes it difficult to cry foul. Awareness allows us to move forward to being a conscious force for kindness, respect and equality. And that is a very good thing.

This book offers a wonderful gateway to important conversations about victimization, the collusion of silence and the courage to stand up for self and others. These are big concepts. Very big. They are also essential topics to explore with kids. It’s All Good is a tad heavy-handed. Still, it is a fabulous tool for parents and teachers to share with kids. (And it offers a good reminder to the adults, that they too, have blind spots, biases and feelings of being an outsider.) It also emphasizes the benefit of valuing differences in ourselves and others because differences are precisely what make each person unique.

diversity-is-a-verb-245b4c_101dacdf52394787be75b8ff2e9a9487-mv2The kindle version of It’s All Good: A Book ABout Self Acceptance & Diversity is available on Amazon and the paperback is sold on her website. Gina’s website is chock full of resources. Please visit and take advantage of her work on Diversity Is A Verb which aims to build “platforms for discussions surrounding topics of: global diversity, self-acceptance, special needs, and body imaging for both young and mature adults. …  Diversity is a Verb strives to be a source of empowerment to all involved; improving environmental and social conditions.”

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens This book invites discussion of adoption as it is one profound way that adoptees differ from their non-adopted family, friends, and classmates. It’s also one of the most common ways adoptees find themselves being “othered.” Ask kids about their how they’ve been belittled for being different. Follow this up with explorations of ways they might have been the perpetrators of bias. Conclude with conversations that help them develop action points of to respond and stand up for themselves as well as others. Embracing differences in ourselves and others is a full-circle approach which requires us to live the Golden Rule. How might this principle benefit families, classrooms, schools and our country?

gina-humber-socunow_

Gina I. Humber: “Empowering communities and businesses on global diversity and cultural sensitivity.”

 

http://wp.me/p4vGHg-I6

 

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 4th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme 

Our theme for the current month is Human Rights. 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 4th and 18th linkups: Love. Let’s 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 a review by Alex of Randomly Reading of Ashes,

book 3 in Laurie Halse Anderson’s Seeds of America trilogy.

#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 / Instagram

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

Mia @ 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!

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!

Coexisting Viewpoints: Equally True, Wildly Divergent

i-wonder-51xa9vh-4ml-_sx258_bo1204203200_I Wonder  by Annika Harris exquisitely illustrated by John Rowe, walks the reader through a dreamy world of beauty and wonder. The story follows a girl and her mother as they wander through the forest. Several things spark the child’s interest. “I wonder…” she says. Mom encourages the girl’s thoughts and resists offering a pat answer. Instead, she encourages her child to sit with uncertainty and use it to spearhead further exploration.

The book also includes a useful Author’s Note page which explains her purpose for writing the book: to encourage children to admit what they do not know, to not be embarrassed by it but rather to be challenged to explore and learn. She challenges parents to do the same! There is value in learning to sit with wonder and in accepting coexisting viewpoints as equally true even if wildly divergent.

Adoption-attuned Lens magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Life as an adoptive family is partly steeped in wonder about What if What if I’d never been adopted? What if other parents had adopted me? What if I’d never placed my child for adoption? etc…. Betty Jean Lifton author of Lost and Found describes this world of unknowable possibilities as the Ghost Kingdom: the lost babies [adoptees], the [birth], parents who lost them, and the [adoptive] parents who found them. Each member of the triad wrestles with significant factors that may never be completely known or resolved. A book like this helps open discussion on some very complex issues without putting the child on the hot seat. Begin with the simple, concrete concepts presented in the book and then, if the children  are receptive ask some open-ended questions that, although not specifically adoption-related, can be interpreted as connected to adoption. Follow your child’s lead. Eventually, this book will probably spark some important adoption conversations.

they-all-saw-a-cat-41au1iglll-_sy410_bo1204203200_They All Saw A Cat  written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel delights the eyes as it explores a variety of encounters with a cat. Each two-page spread features a drawing that depicts the cat from a new point of view, for example, “A Child, a dog … a mouse… snake … worm … until it comes full circle with the cat admiring his reflection in the water.. The imaginative illustrations hilariously capture how perception colors and shapes reality. Each is true. Each is diverse. Each is personal.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens  This story can introduce a conversation about how the same situation can be experienced in drastically different ways. For example, a child, a cook, and a turkey all experience Thanksgiving dinner in wildly different ways. As always, talk about the story on a light-hearted level before moving to deeper conversations. Some logical topics: bullying, immigration, and, of course, adoption.

marta-big-small-51rnntszfgl-_sy498_bo1204203200_Marta! Big & Small written by Jen Arena and illustrated by Angela Dominguez is a bilingual book which explores a similar theme. This time the multiple points of view focus on  the senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste. Compared to a cat, Marta is big. In contrast, an elephant perceives her as tiny! Exuberant illustrations portray the theme well. Spanish words appear in the text and the illustration make it easy for readers to infer the English word. Marta! Big & Small offers a fun romp that will entertain as well as teach.

Adoption-attuned Lens magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoptive families dwell in a Both/And world. The same experience can affect each family member in drastically divergent ways. For example, as parents, we thrilled to welcome our children home. We’d hoped and prayed for this to happen. Our children, however, experience adoption in a more complex way.

multiple-pov-weblinkFor them, adoption, originates with significant loss (their first family.) Even in open adoptions, where children know and interact with birth family, children lost the opportunity for their birth parents to have raised them.

Parents, too, had to move beyond the effort to become pregnant and embrace the commitment to become parents via adoption.

The important point which this book can help families understand is that each person’s respective point of view is real, valid and does not alter the perception of other family members. Again, readers are asked to recognize coexisting viewpoints as equally true even in wildly divergent.

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite Diverse Author or Illustrator. Who is your must-read author or must-see illustrator? (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, October 15th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

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

  • October 15th linkup: We will continue the Favorite Diverse Author or Illustrator theme.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit linkup is KitaabWorld’s Bilingual Picks. This great round-up post includes bilingual favorites in a range of Asian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and Urdu. There are also links to more titles and more languages at the end of the article.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

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!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Boxes: Springboard Creativity and Connection

Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connection

Play is an integral element in building family relationships and attachment. Through unstructured creative play, kids tap into inner resources and thoughts; often they unconsciously reveal concerns and beliefs. That’s why I love books that join creativity and play with reading.  I’m particularly fond of books featuring boxes as a theme. Boxes springboard creativity and connection.

A box invites imaginations to soar. We’ve all watched kids opt to play with the box in preference to a gift because kids have an instinctual drive to create and fantasize. Check out this collection of books about boxes. They just may help you have fun together. Or, equally important, they may reveal thoughts and feelings they find difficult to express and share. These books invite conversation and fun. 

In brief and jaunty rhyming text  Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connectionWhat to Do with a Box by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Chris Sheban declares, “A box is a wonder indeed. The only such magic that you’ll ever need.” The dreamy illustrations serve the theme well. Sheban draws the box with all the labels and markings still visible. Instead of limiting the fantasy element, this design choice reinforces the power of imagination to see beyond what is “real” and connect with what is possible.

Whether launching on a solo journey or sharing the box’s magical potential, an empty box dares us to dream and rocket into a flight of fantasy.

 

Adoption-attuned Lens Adoptees have intimate experience with imagining alternate worlds. Click To Tweet They wonder what life might have been like had they not been adopted, or if they’d been adopted by a different family. A book like this invites kids and parents to share a box–and the fantasy it triggers. While journeying together, parents may be amazed at the variety of topics kids will explore. Let them take the lead and remain alert for seeds that can open adoption-connected conversations.

Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connection A Box Can Be Many Things by Dana Meachen Rau and Illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye is part of the Rookie Reader Series which means it uses simple language. (Includes a list or 51 words.) It captures the same exuberant imaginative spirit paired with bright illustrations.

Beginning readers will love the story line and the ability to read it themselves. Not only will this book spark their own flights of fancy, but it will also help build their reading skills. That’s a nice bonus!

 

 

Adoption-attuned Lens This book delivers a similar opportunity for adoptive families as the previous one.  Parents can also suggest that they imagine the box as a time-traveling machine. Imagine the places and people that children might fantasize about visiting. As always, allow children to take the lead on any conversation that touches on “big stuff.” As parents we must ensure that kids know their questions and thoughts are welcomed but we must not force them into having them on our timeline.

Boxes: Springboard to Creativity and connection

How Dalia Put a Big Yellow Comforter inside a Tiny Blue Box by Linda Heller illustrated by Stacey Dressen McQueen takes a different spin on helping kids to realize the power of a box. This book comes from the PJ Library which “helps families explore the timeless values of Judaism.” 

The story describes the Jewish practice of creating tzedakah boxes. The name means “I’m happy when you’re happy.”  The actual translation is “fairness.”Children are encouraged to construct and decorate a box and then work to fill it with coins (or bills.). The money is then used to fund acts of charity and/or social justice.

Dalia tells her little brother that her tiny box holds a comforter, a butterfly bush and a cream pie. Brother  is little but can easily see the box is too small to hold all these things. He decides Dalia’s box is magic.

Everyone in Dalia’s class makes their own  tzedakah  and works to find ways to earn money to fill them. Once they’ve collected enough, they buy the yellow comforter fabric and then decorate it themselves. The story concludes with the children presenting the blanket to an elderly woman. She is overjoyed by their generosity and artistry and appreciates the flowers the children plant in her garden. Mostly she enjoys their companionship. The children discover the real magic of the box is how it elicits their generosity and empathy.

Adoption-attuned Lens Some kids have a strong natural inclination to kindness and generosity. This book is a great fit for them. And, some children especially those adopted from foster care, may have a profound awareness of the needs and struggles of others (their birth families, perhaps, or neighbors, etc.) These children may enjoy the idea of performing acts of kindness and generosity.

This activity may open some important and sensitive feelings. Stay alert for hints that kids wish… Click To Tweet

box metaphorIf this post intrigued you, please also read  Boxing Kids In  another book review blog post on boxes.

Taking Root in America

We Came to America.61njY+LjBmL._SX385_BO1,204,203,200_A refrain repeats throughout the picture book We Came to America : “We came to America, every color, race, and religion, from every country in the world.” Written by Faith Ringgold and illustrated in her signature style, this timely book reminds us that unless we are Native American all of our family lines began elsewhere. We are grafted into the dream of this country. Each of us yearns for the fruits of  education, opportunity, upward mobility, and religious freedom. “In spite of where we come from…We are all Americans.”

This is a good reminder to all readers, youth and adult, that we must stand up for the American ideal “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Each of us must work to ensure that all Americans enjoy equal freedoms. Equality is a group endeavor.

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AQ Lens: 
Kids who have been adopted internationally may especially appreciate this retelling of the universality of our nation’s immigrant roots. Starting a conversation on this topic would be easy.

 

 

Black, White, Just RightBlack White Just Right.51x+J+mQ16L._SX428_BO1,204,203,200_ by Marguerite W. Davo introduces us to a multi-racial family; Mom is black and dad is white. Told through a young girl’s words, the reader learns various ways she is a blend of the differences between her parents: race, personality, size, music preferences, etc. For example, Dad’s got a taste for rap. Mom prefers ballet. Mom bustles. Dad strolls. Mom enjoys African art while dad likes Modern Art.

The little girl discovers that her preferences are a blend of both her parents; she’s able to appreciate her mixed heritage and select her own favorites. Her choices and she, herself, are all “Just right.”

This book offers a surface look at a biracial child’s experience and focuses only on the positive. It does not address some of the more challenging feelings and experiences which biracial children face as they learn how to parse their dual racial identity.

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AQ Lens: 
For kids with a racially mixed heritage, parents might want to extend the conversation to explore the more challenging aspects that result from their diverse heritage. It is important to encourage children to voice the totality of their experiences and emotions and to avoid an exclusive focus on the positive.

 

Mixed.51CDyrx6+iL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_

Mixed: Portraits of Multiracial Kids by Kip Fulbeck is a photo essay on the many “faces” of multiracial ethnicity. The author strove to offer kids a chance “to define themselves” in their photos. The book includes a few of the children’s written comments.

It also includes commentary from many parents which addresses their personal life experiences around their own racial mixtures and how they hope their children’s experiences will be better. Parents reveal memories of isolation, discrimination and being “othered.” They hope this book will support their children so they do not feel alone, diminished, discredited, or discriminated.

Author Kip Fulbeck wanted to advance the cultural conversation directed at people of mixed race beyond being perceived as exotic or aesthetically intriguing. He hoped to communicate one’s uniqueness as a person beyond skin color and yet still recognize that race is a constant. I think part of the value of this book lies in the broad array of racial mixtures among the featured children. Kids will enjoy searching for kindred spirits and will enjoy a sense that they are not the only one is racially mixed.

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AQ Lens: 
Kids often believe that their personal experience defines the experiences of others. This book introduces them to a vast array of racial mixes and encourages thinking, wondering about the experience of these other children. Kids can enjoy browsing this book simply to “see” the faces of diversity.

They can also benefit from the potential conversations that it can open regarding both the gifts and challenges of a racially mixed heritage.

Beautiful Rainbow World.51uMsGRrx1L._SX497_BO1,204,203,200_

The dedication page of Beautiful Rainbow World by Suzee Ramirez and Lynn Raspet, includes this quote from Mister Rogers:

  We want to raise our children so that they can take a sense of pleasure in both their own heritage and the diversity of others”  –Mister Rogers.

Infused with a sense of wonder and beauty for the diversity of people and places, this little book overflows with joy. It includes a free download for the song which provides the simple text. A visual delight, the book’s message is one which is important to repeat regularly. When we truly embrace this belief, the world will indeed be even more beautiful.

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AQ Lens: 
The adoption-attuned value of this book is pretty similar to the previous book. This one is shorter and emphasizes the beauty of diversity of both people and places. It can trigger similar conversations about diversity, prejudice, standards of beauty, etc, all of which are important topics for adoptive families to hold on a regular basis. Kids need constant reassurance–by action and specific invitation–that all of their thoughts, emotions and experiences are valid, valuable and welcome.

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My Chinatown: A Year in Poems by Kam Mak will delight the eye and the ear. The imagery of the poems convey an appreciation for the energy and culture of Chinatown. Readers of any ethnicity will enjoy the boy’s stroll through the fascinating and exotic city. The homesick boy struggles to understand how he can live in America and still honor, appreciate and feel connected to his native home in Hong Kong. Chinese culture exists in Chinatown but its different from the way things are observed back “home” in Hong Kong. Any child who has ever moved, will identify with his longing for “home” and the security and familiarity it represents.


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This book will resonate with internationally adopted kids via the boy’s sense of yearning for “home”–for the way it smells, looks, sounds, and the way things are done there. His struggle to feel at home in America will connect with that rootlessness that many adoptees feel, (even those who were adopted domestically.)

Another “note” which will connect with many adoptees is that struggle to blend a dual heritage into a unified whole that results when valuing and merging both.

Lola's Fandango.61sLCL5MpeL._SX397_BO1,204,203,200_Lola’s Fandango by Anna Witte and illustrated by Micha Archer captures both a child’s struggle with sibling rivalry and a yearning to shine as well as a celebration of one’s culture. Lola idolizes her sister Clementina and is also jealous of her skills, talents and position in the family. She wonders how she will ever be able to compete.

In a moment of mischief, Lola sneaks into her mother’s closet and discovers an old pair of Flamenco dancing shoes. The shoes prompt her curiosity. She learns that her mother had been a Flamenco dancer. Lola persuades her Papi to teach her how to dance.

She practices diligently and proudly surprises her Mami with her performance. Together they celebrate in Flamenco style. Bold illustrations exude energy and color and perfectly capture the zest of the Flamenco style. The rhythm of the language makes one want to snap fingers and tap feet.

One criticism: Lola throws a bit of a tantrum over her lack of a special dress to wear for her dance. Papi surprises her with the ruffled dress of her dreams. I wish the author had omitted Lola’s fit of pique and simply included Papi’s surprise as an acknowledgment of Lola’s efforts and interest in being  like her Mami. Still, Lola’s Fandango is a charming read with a Latin flair.


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This book celebrates a cultural tradition that is vibrant, connects through the generations and which brings joy to all. It presents a great opportunity to talk about whatever traditions are in an adopted child’s history as well as in the adoptive families. Perhaps it might start a family activity inspired by an interest in recapturing and honoring one’s cultural traditions.

A World of Color, Shapes and Beauty–with a Latino Flair

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand new 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.

DiverseKidLit

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.

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

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The diverse post that received the most clicks from the last #diversekidlit is … Diverse Children’s Book Celebrating Cultural Traditions by Adrienne at Reading Power Gear. She shares seven great picture books focusing on different cultural traditions including Divali, Chinese New Year, and more!

Hosted By:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestBeth @ Pages and Margins
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Carrie @ There’s a Book for That
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Crystal @ Reading Through Life and co-blogger @ Rich in Color
Blog / Twitter / Google+

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

Marjorie @ Mirrors, Windows, and Doors
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Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
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Myra @ Gathering Books< Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact Katie at 1logonaut (gmail).

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to subscribe for notification emails.

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

April marks the twentieth anniversary

of National Poetry Month.

National Poetry Month.PicMonkey CollageBoth Round Is a Tortilla, and Green Is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by John Parra and From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems by Francisco X. Alarcón make delightful choices to mark the observance and are good additions to your family reading list.

When searching for other good book suggestions, look for the hashtags

#DiverseKidLit,

#ReadYourWorld and

#WNDB

 

Round is a tortilla.61bzAGqWvTL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_Both Round Is a Tortilla, and Green Is a Chile Pepper are a visual delight that captures the joy of family, the importance of culture and the distinctions of basic concepts (color and shape.). And it do it all with an exuberant celebration of Latino culture.

Round Is a Tortilla is a concept book that accomplishes dual goals well. While it depicts the distinctions of the basic shapes, it accomplishes this with a lively Latino flair. Thong artfully sprinkles Spanish words throughout the text. Readers will easily decrypt their meaning from the context and illustrations. Both books include a glossary to further clarify their meaning.

Green is a chili pepper.61qSNkL1RAL._AC_AA160_Similarly, Green Is a Chile Pepper a Pura Belpré Honor Book by the same author/illustrator team captures the beauty of color, cuisine and culture in this nod to Mexican heritage and family life. This is a treat for the eyes, the ears and the heart. Kids will enjoy this peek into this colorful world.

 

 

 

Bellybutton of the Moon.51Zxc1GLf7L._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_Alarcón’s From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems is a bilingual book. From it’s kid-friendly title to its unbridled celebration of the world–especially Mexican culture, this book delivers. Children can enjoy the beautiful imagery and poetic rhythms in both languages.

This will help them acquire an appreciation of each and can help trigger an interest in learning to speak more than one language. The brilliantly colored illustrations add to the the sensory wallop of this entertaining book.

 

 

 

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AQ Lens: Each of the previous books celebrates and therefore, values Latino culture.  Any time we can expose young readers to messages of tolerance and inclusivity, we all benefit. Whether as members of minority families or not, we all benefit from expanding the cultural appreciation for difference and appreciating the value such difference delivers.

Adoption is one obvious way families can be different but it is hardly the only one. We want our families to be equally valued and respected so must we teach our children to hold other people, families, and cultures with respect and acceptance too.

What Is Seen Depends on Where One Looks

As adoptive families we frequently experience the assault of being “othered.” Some people view our families with suspicion and with a subtle judgment of inferiority. Frequently this prejudice reveals itself in off-hand comments such as:

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“What do you know about her “real” mother?

“Do you ever wish you had children of your “own”?

“How could she give him away?”

“How much did he cost?”

“He brings such chaos, why not just send him back?”

“You’re amazing; I could never love a child who wasn’t my own.”

I believe most people don’t intend to be hurtful or offensive but in their ignorance, they are. Their mistrust of anything perceived as “other” magnifies their fears. They demean what they do not know or understand. Their prejudice appears on levels both minor and major.

Bias is undeniably obvious in the temperature of current political discourse which grows increasingly less civil, less tolerant, and less respectful day by day. The easiest response is to tighten ranks around the status quo, esteeming that which is most similar to one’s circumstances, thoughts and experiences. It takes work to understand and familiarize oneself with the unknown. But it is work that must be done. To thrive as a family, as a community and as a country, we must pull together with mutual respect. We must not tolerate hits on our children’s culture, race, ethnicity, etc. We cannot afford to crush the dreams and talents of those who are different from the norm. We must not condone the “cloak of invisibiltiy” which traps children and people of color in pigeonholed boxes.

Rarely has the influential role of books loomed more pivotal. View this wonderful video by Grace Lin. She is the award-winning author of many books, among which is the classic, Dim Sum for Everyone. She focuses her Ted Talk on the needs of our children, however, her point is crucial for us all. Please watch her brief presentation and then review your family bookshelf. What changes would benefit your family?

Look for my future reviews of Grace’s many books.

 

where the montain meets.grace lin.Starry River.grace lin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filling Your Child’s World With Color

 

Father reading book to daughter

There is a new level of understanding of the role of race in adoption. We now understand that color blindness is both a myth and a folly. Instead, adoptive families must remove the blinders and have the courage to talk about race in myriad ways. Books offer an easy way of opening and exploring these conversations.

It is a truism that books serves as both mirrors and windows–mirrors of our child’s particular experience and windows onto the wider world. We must include books that perform both tasks. Share books that reflect our child’s life and books that also reveal alternate communities, cultures and, experiences. The first type of book connects children to their own world, helps them to understand and function in it. The second type showcase people, places and activities that are different. Reading such books expand  children’s horizons, nurture empathy and allay fears of difference.

global babies.2Humans beings tend to fear that which is different and unfamiliar. Technology and the internet have exploded the old confines of living in a small world. It is important to help our children develop the ability to live in the global world that is their reality.

Commit to choosing books that include a range of characters. Explore stories about other cultures. As reported in this CNN article, the American Academy of Pediatricians advises parents to read daily to their children from birth! We can begin fulfilling this intentional commitment to diversity even when reading with our babies!

Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children is a sweet board book that features close-up photographs of babies’ faces, each from a different country around the world. Global Babies is my five-month-old grandson’s favorite book. He squeals with delight with each page turn.

Whose toes.51nLIrSf+3L._AA160_Whose knees.3.51+A-sReFuL._AA160_Charmingly illustrated by LeUyen Pham, two books written by Jabari Asim: Whose Toes Are Those? and Whose Knees Are These? connect with my grandson in two ways: they mirror his world because like most babies, he has toes and knees and has experienced the activities depicted in the book. Since the illustrations feature African-American characters, the books also serve as a window onto another culture, thus blending both the familiar and the different. (Since both author and illustrator are not Caucasian, these two books offer an added diversity bonus!)

Peekaboo Morning.51UIgUdfHpL._AA160_Peekaboo is a universal game so it is not surprising that my grandson also enjoy Peekaboo Morning by author-illustrator, Rachel Isadora. The illustrations primarily feature an African-American family but also include the toddler’s friend who is Caucasian.

These four board books have universal appeal and make a fabulous and important addition to the family library and help lay the foundation for multiculturalism early in a child’s life.