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.

 

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!

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

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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.

“Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas”– A Twisted Fairy Tale

In Natasha Yim’s picture book, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas, a familiar fairy tale is retold through a Chinese cultural lens and presents readers with a delightful riff on the traditional Goldilocks yarn. All the basic memes appear: the bowls of porridge, the chairs and the beds but with an Asian twist. Several elements of Chinese culture appear scattered throughout the story: Chinese New Year,  turnip cakes fried to perfection, red envelops, almond cookies, dumplings and so much more. Illustrator Grace Yong uses bright acrylics to bring the story to life. Subtle details reinforce the Chinese flavor of the story.

The ending delivers a delightful surprise: Goldy Luck returns to the “scene of the crime” to make things right. Her effort is warmly received and she becomes friends with Little Chan.

The Author’s Note at the end of the story includes additional information about the Chinese Zodiac and the traditions surrounding Chinese New Year holiday observances which follow the lunar calendar. I rate Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas five stars

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magnifying lens AQ.2AQ Lens: Young readers will immediately recognize the Goldilocks similarity in  Goldy Luck and the Three Pandasand will enjoy this ethnic spin on the familiar tale. This book highlights the fun and richness of experiencing the ordinary and familiar through a new lens. The difference transforms and enlivens the tale.

It is an easy segue into discussions about what other parts of an adoptive family are fundamentally the same yet different.  Talking points can highlight that different does not mean less than or better than but simply different. Difference can be seen as an added facet, like the way sugar enlivens the taste of food.

Zong’s detailed illustrations invite exploration as readers search for the cultural spin on the ordinary backdrop of daily life. Challenge them to find something in every illustration. Ask them to imagine Goldilocks meeting Goldy Luck and have them tell you what the two might say and do.

A Full Moon Is Rising focuses on other moon festivals around the world and introduces children to a broader, world-wide sense of how people celebrate feasts and festivals. Commonalities and differences abound–we all celebrate events and cycles, we simply accomplish the observances in different ways. Once again, difference is served up as something to be appreciated instead of scorned.

Marilyn Singer’s poems which vary in style and length capture the flavor of the culture being highlighted. Julia Cairns’ watercolor illustrations create a dreamy mood and complement the poetry well.  As with any good picture book, the illustrations invite exploration for details that are not specifically stated in the text. I rate A Full Moon Is Rising four stars

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AQ Lens: Young readers respond to poetry and can find connection in this lovely book  as they recall celebrating various holidays, festivals and family traditions in their own families. Adoptive families can further their discussions by talking about the many ways adoptive families observe adoption-connected events.

(Parents should keep in mind that some adoptees find celebrations of their birthdays, arrival days, etc., to be emotional landmines. Some kids like to celebrate; others find themselves very stressed by them. And sometimes, they don’t even recognize the adoption connection as the trigger. Parents will need to be sensitive to this possibility. Please read another blog I wrote on Homecoming/Gotcha Day for additional discussion. )