Adversity: Empowering Kids to Rise to the Challenge

Adversity: Empowering Kids to Rise to the ChallengeLately adversity hammered the world in many directions: natural disasters of biblical scale, political confrontations that resulted in death and, most recently a madman mowed down more than five hundred innocent people. At some level, it feels like our world verges on the brink of collapse. Children hear and observe what occurs around them. They watch TV and absorb the horrific reports. As adults we bear a huge responsibility to help them frame and understand the facts. We must share age-appropriate information and provide them tools to process and live with the challenging realities all around us. More importantly, we must help them regain a feeling of security and peace.

Provide kids tools to process the challenging realities & help them regain a feeling of… Click To Tweet

We best cope with feelings of overwhelm when we engage in action. Today’s book offers one tool that can help kids access that feeling of self-empowerment. V. Radunsky in collaboration with hundreds of children whom he interviewed  from all over the planet and asked them this seminal question: What Does Peace Feel Like?  Radunsky arranged their responses by senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and, smell. He illustrated the text with child-like drawings in rich, intense colors and simple shapes. The children’s words drive this book.

Parents and teachers can ask their children (students,) for their own ideas which can be made into a personalized book. Working in a group helps children notice the commonalities which all human beings share in addition to the unique perspective which each person takes on these common experiences and emotions. The more that we see one another as “like” ourselves, the less apt we are to view them as “other.” This tends to increase empathy, tolerance and, inclusivity–all of which are good. Unless we choose to live together in harmony, the future is bleak. We must hold difficult conversations, explore complex issues & commit to a solution with which… Click To Tweet

Children and the Fight for Social JusticeAdoption-attuned* Lens This story can offer another pathways to exploring the role of “othering” and how it shapes relationships. People can separate themselves  along many criteria, for example, nationality, religion, and politics. For children, family tends to be the main focus of their “world.” Thus distinctions about family can divide them into separate groups: divorced or intact, bio or adopted, step- or full, one parent or two, etc. Open conversations that can help kids see that these distinctions need not be used to isolate or create a sense of hierarchy in which one type of family is seen as “better” than the other.

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Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is #ownvoices. The #ownvoices hashtag was created to draw attention to diverse authors and illustrators who are creating books that honor their own heritage and experiences. (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, November 4th and the first Saturday of each month.

Upcoming Theme

Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. Do you have a suggestion for a future theme? Share your ideas with us at katie at thelogonauts dot com.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Myra’s linkup post about Remembering Auschwitz through a picture book and a graphic novel. This post shares two powerful resources about the Holocaust in general, and Auschwitz specifically, as well as links to other sources. Thank you for sharing, Myra.

Welcome, Bethany!

#diversekidlit is excited to welcome new host, Bethany, of Biracial Bookworms. Bethany is an educator, blogger, world traveler, wife, and mom to two wonderful girls who inspired her web site. You can read more about her and her family here. We are thrilled to have Bethany joining our community as a host and advocate! Please follow here online: Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads.

#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+
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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Children and the Fight for Social Justice

Children-and-the-Fight-for-Social-JusticeThe Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton introduces the remarkable story of how children helped amplify the tide of the civil rights movement. This book is sure to impress young readers with an understanding that even children can stand up for what is right. Kids can work for social justice in ways both large and public as well as small and personal.

 

Kids can work for social justice in ways both large and public as well as small and personal. Click To Tweet

The social justice movement dominates the news lately. Kids certainly hear the reports and discussions. Some children may feel fearful and powerless. Others may yearn to make a difference, to participate in the solution-making process. Most will probably assume that they can’t do anything because they’re young. This push and pull between the call to action and feeling constrained will frustrate and distress them.

But Audrey’s story shows them that their assumption is false. Children can do something to effect change and to shine a light into the dark corners of society. The courage and righteous indignation of children can often awaken reluctant adults to take action. In a case like the Birmingham Children’s March, children acted when the potential cost to families–job loss, eviction, beatings– prevented adults from acting.

The courage and righteous indignation of children can often awaken reluctant adults to take action. Click To Tweet

Newton’s illustrations and Levinson’s text depict the privations and insults of segregation in powerful and revealing ways: the dirty fountains, the humiliating trek to the back of the bus, being relegated to the freight elevator instead of the passenger elevator used by whites, etc. Kids will feel Audrey’s humiliations and understand her reactions.

Audrey embodies the earnestness, purity of heart and trust of a child raised with faith, love and, respect.  She listens to the words of the famous civil rights leaders who dine at her family’s table. They share food, friendship and, a mission. Audrey takes their words to to heart. In spite of her fear, she takes action and responds with courage.

The story depicts  Audrey’s jail experience effectively yet without overly frightening young readers. The sense of loneliness, hunger, privation come across. One illustration which spreads across two pages, depicts the first time Audrey speaks to a white man. A group of them tower over her and spew questions: “Are you against America? … Why do you march?”

Audrey’s honest response: “To go places and do things like everybody else.” Young readers will understand Audrey’s stance. Kids believe in fairness; they lobby for it regularly. Their protestations start at home where they want to ensure that they and their siblings get equal treatment (and yes, the same “stuff” too.) Eventually, they expand their horizons to include friends, classmates, etc.

Most kids would be horrified at the thought of risking jail but they can understand less shocking and dramatic ways to stand up for right like standing up to the class bully or befriending the new student in class. The Youngest Marcher can open many important conversations about civil rights, respect and equality. Click To Tweet

Children and the Fight for Social JusticeAdoption-attuned* Lens This story can offer an easy way to introduce discussions about fundamental equality and universal rights. Most adoptees encounter instances where people imply that their family isn’t quite as “real”  as families exclusively built through adoption. Trans-racially and trans-culturally adopted children may feel a particular resonance with the struggle for equality.

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

 

We Need Family for a Lifetime: November Is National Adoption Month

In November we observe National Adoption Month to focus particular attention on foster children who wait and hope for families. As we give thanks for our own families, please consider how you can support finding a loving family for every child that needs one. Today, families embody diversity–step families, single-parent families, foster families and adoptive families. This post will review several adoption-themed books to help children understand that all families are valuable regardless of how they come together. This builds understanding, respect and acceptance.

in-our-mothers-house In Our Mother’s House by the award-winning and gifted author/illustrator Patricia Polacco tackles a difficult subject with respect and honesty. As is probably obvious from the title, the story focuses on an adoptive family with two mothers. Readers searching for stories that include LGBTQ families will appreciate this upbeat and poignant tale. Written as a flashback from a now-adult adoptee who recalls some treasured and delightful memories of her childhood, In Our Mother’s House focuses on the positives, on how families can look different but still be about the love and care that connect them. Lesbian parenting is not the focus of the book; it is the backdrop. The story concentrates on the warm, supportive and “regular”  family that the children and their two mothers shared. Love, tolerance and joy thread throughout.

While most of the neighborhood characters welcome and embrace this unique family, one does not. Polacco makes the point subtly—the children wonder why Mrs. Lockner grumps at them whenever they meet her. The mothers concentrate on reaching out to neighbors (all of them) to create community. The illustrations include a dazzling array of diversity. Many lend themselves to further exploration of cuisine, language and neighborliness, etc. Although the story is about a family formed through adoption, it doesn’t concentrate on adoption issues, makes no mention of the emotional struggles that adoptees often face nor does it mention birth parents, etc. In Our Mother’s House is a sweet, feel-good book about the wondrous blessing of a unique, loving family. Great book!

motherbridge of loveI highly recommend Motherbridge of Love, by Xinran (Author), Josee Masse (Illustrator) story about a little girl adopted from China and how both her mothers love her. This wonderful book clearly champions respect for and validates a child’s feelings for his birth and adoptive mothers. When we open the space for a child to hold his birth family in a place of respect, we allow them to honor that part of themselves too. My daughter, an adult adoptee and I both believe this is one of the best adoption books for kids.

 

 

place in my heartAs an adoptive parent and adoption coach, I search for books that support adopted children and help them learn how adoption influences their lives. Mary Grossnickle’s sweet story, A Place in My Heart, is one great example of a story that validates the adopted child’s point of view. Charlie–a chipmunk adopted into a family of squirrels wrestles with the differences in their appearance. Adoptees commonly feel like they don’t quite fit so they will easily identify with Charlie’s struggle. He’s an endearing character, full of mischief and curiosity. His mother recognizes the stress factors that challenge Charlie and she responds in a supportive and adoption-attuned manner. Parents also can identify with Charlie’s desire to be reassured that he holds a special spot in the hearts of those he loves. We all share this need for connection. This is especially true for adopted.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and in the important message of understanding acceptance and validation that it conveys. Alison Relyea-Parr’s pastel illustrations have a gentle, dream-like quality that reinforce the comforting tone of the book. Readers will want to duplicate the “Place in my heart” activity.

ABC IAN Badge - croppedFamilies have evolved to include a variety of parent child combinations. Through friends and classmates, children come in contact with families that look different from their own. Sometimes this can confuse or worry them. Kids need information to help them understand whether bio, adoptive, foster or step families–they are more alike than they are different. It’s as easy as ABC: all families are “real.” The unifying factor is that they love and care for one another. Almost every classroom in America includes some adopted children so this is a topic that interests many children. ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book  explores adoption in a gentle, respectful way. It relies on the familiar scaffold of alphabetical order to structure the book. ABC, Adoption & Me has won numerous awards and helps explain a complex topic to children whether they are adopted or not. It serves adoptive families particularly well and includes a guide to help parents and teachers.

Forever fingerprintsThe wonderful adoption classic, Forever Fingerprints by Sherrie Eldridge is being reissued by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. An adoptee and a staunch advocate for adoptive families writes, who LIVES the adoption journey, Sherrie connects with adoptees’ hearts and validates their experience. She has written many books about the adoption experience. Forever Fingerprints, a picture book serves a younger audience than Sherrie’s other books. Behind its simple story line, Forever Fingerprints models adoption-attuned* relationships. It speaks to child and parent. As an adoption coach as well as an adoptive parent, I know it is important for parents to clearly establish that adoption is a suitable topic for family discussion. While this may seem obvious, to children it is not. In the absence of expressed permission, kids usually assume that adoption conversations are off limits. They will fear that it might hurt their (adoptive) parents if they talk about their concerns, mixed feelings and sharing their thoughts about their birth parents. And so, many wrestle with heavy worries weighing down their hearts. Forever Fingerprints is an easy and enjoyable way for parents to talk about some of the “hard stuff” of adoption.

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children’s book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

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, December 2nd and the first Saturday of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Svenja’s incredible resource: 37 children’s books to help talk about racism and discrimination. This list is helpfully divided into books for elementary, middle, and high school ages and includes a brief description of each along with the cover image. Definitely one to bookmark and come back to again and again!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

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

Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

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+

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

Excitement or Fear: Braving the Dark and Unknown

dark-dark-cave-61ax5z8evol-_sx405_bo1204203200_The cover of A Dark, Dark Cave by Eric Hoffman and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor features two smiling children aiming flashlight beams into the shadows.  The title page illustration shifts the mood slightly. It shows the gaping mouth of a tunnel entrance shrouded in darkness. Readers will wonder what will happen next. Will the children face danger? The next page-turn reveals the children and their trusty dog aiming a flashlight into the abyss. Will they respond with excitement or fear when braving the darkness? Will they choose to enter the cave? 

Yes! An adventure of sight, sound and emotion begins as they explore. They cautiously, bravely continue and encounter a variety of surprises–bats, lizards, sparkling crystals. Until …

Until a brilliant shaft of light pierces the dark and reveals their father looming overhead, admonishing them to pipe down because the baby is sleeping. Readers discover that the children’s adventure  was imaginary play.

Tabor’s illustrations serve the story well as he deftly captures the children’s emotions in each vignette–wonder, hesitation, excitement, fear-a gamut of feelings hint at the children’s experience. This book offers a great way of talking about the mixture of courage and caution that kids need as they explore their world, stretch their skills and dare to try something new. The line between excitement is narrow. Kids need both emotions in  healthy measure.

Imaginative play serves children well as it allows them to try on behavior and skills, to imagine themselves as brave and daring, as defeating fears and feeling powerful.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens Use this story to discuss the need for courage in facing the scary moments of life. This is an especially important message for adoptees who must confront the reality of some big grief and loss issues which resulted from their adoptions. Parents can start the conversation by asking kids to tell them a story of the kinds of things they imagine might occur on a”cave” exploration of their. Children may volunteer some adopted-connected elements. Gently, follow their lead if they do. If they avoid the adoption connection, pose a question like, “What if you discovered your birth mom there?”

Always let your child’s response guide you. If they open up, great; if they resist, do not push it. Ask a second, neutral question and let the conversation flow from there.

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.

Value Difference and Diversity, Fit In, Stand Up

Yearning for acceptance, apprehension about difference, the search for common ground…Here are three books which tackle these big concepts with humor and emotion. They open perspectives and minds while entertaining. Great selections for readers of ANY age.

Bob the artist. 41jSl9F6mzL._SX367_BO1,204,203,200_Embarrassed by his appearance, Bob, the gangly main character of Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars strives to fit in with his short-legged peers. He tries several approaches to alter his appearance: exercise, diet, and costume. Still he peers continue to tease him. Fitting in is exhausting work.To escape his peers’ relentless teasing, Bob roams the neighborhood alone.

Until… he wanders into an art museum. Inspiration strikes. Convinced that this camouflage will distract the other birds and end the bullying he decides to transform his lovely red beak into works of art that honor the famous artists featured in the museum.

Bob discovers he has a talent for art. (Kids won’t even realize that they’re receiving an art history lesson as a bonus!) Proud of his talent, he comes to realize he no longer cares about the rude taunts. He’s happy with himself.

This delightful book entertains and makes its point so well. Young readers will understand two things. First, they can–and should–choose kindness and inclusivity. Second, they need to value their own talents and gifts. This must be done without a sense of superiority but simply as affirming everyone has value.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: 
As I have written many times in other posts, adoptive families have a vested interested in expanding our culture’s definition of what is “real”, “normal” and, “acceptable” Kids naturally yearns for acceptance, fear being ostracized and judges as different. As parents and teachers, we have the chance to teach kids how to own their own uniqueness and how to value the differences of others.

In the story, Bob’s legs caused him to be “othered.” As adoptees, kids experience a level of “otherness” that cuts deep. Non-adopted children and adults often lack appropriate language to express their thoughts and questions and therefore unintentionally say or ask things that come across as especially cruel. Adoptees benefit from adult help in learning how to listen for the speaker’s motive. Giving them the benefit of the doubt may be overly generous; it also may assist our kids in having the confidence to speak up for themselves and “set things right.”

Bob the Artist is delightful and easily lends itself to deep conversations on many topics in addition to adoption.

My Name Is Octicorn. 417MjBeAKSL._SX440_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, My Name Is Octicorn by Kevin Diller and illustrated by Justin Lowe invites readers to consider befriending Octi, a creature whose mom was an octopus and whose dad was a unicorn.  Octi has trouble finding friends because he is so unique. Everyone shuns him. Because they fear his differences, they miss out on the pleasure of knowing him.

Octi showcases his many unique talents he has because he is half unicorn and half octopus. At parties he can juggle and dance with the best. At campfires he can toast marshmallows on his horn!…if he were invited. Ah, but that is the situation. Octi doesn’t get invited.

After presenting his case, Octi concludes his story with an invitation: “Will you be my friend? Yes or No?” This is brilliant writing because the question lands directly in the reader’s personal world. And hopefully, in their heart. Octi challenges them individually. They must make a choice–even if only in their mind. Will they choose friendship or rejection?

Justin Lowe’s quirky, unsophisticated, child like illustrations further the sense that this story is a personal conversation between Octi and the reader. This is a short, easy read with a message that packs an important punch.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: 
This book has an obvious and easy segue into discussions of  the challenges, realities and benefits of being biracial and/or multiracial. So, kids who are bi-racial or multi-racial may feel a special resonance with the theme of this book. One illustration shows a genealogical diagram depicting Octi’s parents. (Dad is a unicorn; mom is an octopus.) This illustration might lead to conversations about the heritages of each birth parent. Parent and child can discuss both the reality and the cultural beliefs of both groups.

The book highlights the benefits of Octi’s dual heritage. This is an important point for all adoptees. There is a richness that comes from muti-ethnicity. We see it as an additive experience instead of as a subtractive one.

Friendshape.51IJjwW9liL._SX496_BO1,204,203,200_
Friendshape–An Uplifting Celebration of Friendship by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld asserts that friends “shape who we are.” They provide many benefits. They help us divide our troubles,  create fun, share our celebrations, and stand by us in good times and in bad. They remember to apologize and forgive each other. That’s a lot of goodness!

But the real message of this book is: Friends do not have to look alike. And yet both children and adults struggle to learn to befriend individuals whom they perceive as “other.” In fact their differences often help us in significant ways. They influence to grow and change in response to the relationship.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: 
Adoptive families will find an easy and obvious segue to discussions about racial and cultural differences among friends and even families. How do these differences inform who we are and how we interact with one another? How does difference influence the way our families are received in school? Whom we choose to befriend? How does the way our friends view us and our families influence our own inner dialog as well as the interactions we all share.

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.

 

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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.

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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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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.

My Chinatown.610aTgEkJFL._SY385_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

The Essential Life Lessons We Must Teach Children

Kindergarten.51CieYvtuXL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Some essential life lessons we must teach kids:

  • Treat others with respect, compassion,  empathy.
  • Disagree without hate
  • Advocate without demonizing other points of view.

As adults, we must work to ensure our country lives up to its promise to provide “liberty and justice for all.” We must ensure our kids understand they are part of the solution and then we show them how to stand up for themselves without stepping on others. We must encourage them to be a force for good and to speak up for others instead of sitting in silence,or even worse–bullying or intimidating others.

Over twenty-five years ago, Robert Fulghum wrote All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It was a best seller that sold millions of copies world-wide. Today’s social climate demonstrates that we need to relearn these basic lessons of fair play and responsibility. Here are two books that will help us to teach them to our children and will serve as a worthwhile reminder to ourselves.

Ouch Moments.51oze-lcWOL._SX399_BO1,204,203,200_Ouch Moments: When Words Are Used in Hurtful Ways by Michael Genhart, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli tackles the topic of meanness in thought, word, action and inaction. Through very simple text, the author shows readers how to identify ouch  moments and how to respond whether one is the target or a bystander. Key points include:

  • Silence equals approval of the meanness
  • Responding in anger makes things worse
  • Seek out helping adults
  • Avoid replaying mean self-talk in your mind
  • Work together to be kind and resist ouch moments
  • Justifying meanness as funny does NOT erase the hurt

Ouch Moments is published by Magination Press, an arm of the American Psychological Association. Their books stand on firm ground. The multicultural illustrations are engaging and feature diverse circumstances. This would be an excellent read for the entire family; sometimes even adults need to be reminded of the important lessons Ouch Moments  strives to teach. This book includes an informative and practical Note to Parents and Caregivers.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: This book offers a fun way to talk about a very serious and painful issue. For adoptees, Ouch Moments can very easily lead to conversations about the adoption-related ouch moments a child has faced. Many children find it difficult to introduce this topic because they want to protect their adoptive parents from this ugliness and hurt. Other kids stuff these experiences but never learn how to handle them and never get the support which parents would willingly offer. Parents must consistently convey a willingness to discuss any difficult topic–whether adoption-related or not. We must reassure our kids that we are strong enough to hear the tough things and eager to be the safe harbor they need.

What were you thinking.51ISMHxAlNL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_What Were You Thinking? by Bryan Smith and illustrated by Lisa M. Griffin addresses common moments from a child’s life. As many parents and teachers can vouch, the answer to the title question is frequently that the child wasn’t thinking at all; they operated on impulse. Or, they were thinking but their behavior was highly unlikely to produce their expected result.

This book helps kids see that doing the first thing that comes to mind may not be their best choice. It might even accomplish the opposite of their intended goal. It also shows how kids sometimes expect something to be funny when it can actually cause others–classmates, teachers, coaches and parents– to be annoyed instead of entertained. Sometimes the “cost” of the laughter they seek, far exceeds the momentary rush of any attention.

The illustrations invite exploration of the book’s theme and make obvious that Braden’s idea of funny does not necessarily match his classmates” feelings. This can lead to conversations about the range of responses one can see within an entire classroom of kids.

What Were You Thinking? outlines a simple four step strategy which kids can practice to help them smooth out their responses and ensure that the result they get is the one which they want. A brief Tips for Parents and Educators is included which offers further information on how to guide children to develop better impulse control. Can also open conversation about intentions & how humor doesn’t lessen the pain of hurtful remarks/behavior.

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AQ Lens:
 
Kids who have experienced trauma, grief and or loss may have weak impulse control, high distractibility. Or they may have been taught negative and/or inadequate behavior strategies. In addition to learning better strategies, these kids may also have to unlearn negative strategies.

This book offers another tool for helping kids fine-tune their emotional literacy and expand their menu of choices. By exploring the gap between intended goal and actual results, families can teach kids to recognize and choose strategies that serves them better.
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, August 6th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Theme Idea for August

We thought it might be fun to try having a suggested theme for the next linkup. Those who are interested in participating in the theme would have from now until the next linkup (August 6th) to write a post based around the theme and then share it with the rest of us. You do not have to focus on a given theme to participate in the linkup, but we thought it might encourage folks to explore and share new diverse books.

The theme for the August 6th linkup is … Diverse Books for Back to School. Please consider sharing a favorite book (or books) either about school / back to school or that might make a great read aloud during those first few weeks of school. We look forward to seeing your choices!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #DiverseKidLit linkup comes from Acorn BooksChicken Man by Michelle Edwards. This book is the winner of a National Jewish Book Award and tells the story of a character named Rody, nicknamed Chicken Man, and how his joy in his work makes everyone on the kibbutz want to try his job next. Make sure you read to the end of the post for an incredibly-tasty looking recipe for Teigelach cookies.

#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.)

 

Summer: Time for Dreaming, Exploring Boundaries, Nurturing Awareness

Summer offers a break in routines, a chance to explore, relax, have adventures and spend time with family and friends. Kids can daydream, play, enjoy hobbies and use this break to discover things about themselves, their world and the people around them. Here are a few wonderful “summer reads” for kids. Each one is a winner.

someday.2.Someday by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Rosie Winstead strikes a dreamlike tone through its delicate collage illustration.  Using a classic style of repetition, Spinelli highlights the broad possibilities pairing various Somedays and Todays. A young girl shares her dreams for the future and contrasts them with ways she spends her days. Unbridled imagination infuses her dreams for her future. But this celebration of possibility does not diminish her willingness to live her todays with joy and adventure. This provides a balance of finding contentment in the now while imagining and pursuing the future.

For example, she imagines herself Someday unearthing dinosaur bones and being featured on the news. Today, by contrast, she is”digging for coins under the sofa cushions.” She also fantasizes Someday befriending dolphins and learning  “all the secrets of the sea” from them. This contrasts with a Today in which she feeds her goldfish who remain silent keeping their secrets to themselves.

Someday is a pleasant read that invites the reader’s imagination to soar while it reminds them to enjoy the delights of the present moments. Five stars

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: This is a great book for adoptive families to read. Its very premise invites exploration of the future, the present and how one can build on the other. It can be an easy segue to invite a child to consider their past and how they can hold both a reality=based awareness of what occurred as well as their own ideas about how they wish it might have been different. This is not an effort to deny or diminish any trauma but rather to affirm what the child should have experienced. (In a previous blog, which i wrote for GIFT Family Services, we explored the power of therapeutic narratives. “You may wonder how reading books differs from sharing a therapeutic narrative. Denise B. Lacher wrote a terrific book on the subject: Connecting with Kids Through Stories: Using Narratives to Facilitate Attachment in Adopted Children

Finding Wild.51R62x1vg7L._SY401_BO1,204,203,200_

Written by Megan Wagner Lloyd Finding Wild was illustrated by Abigail Halpin who brilliantly captures the unbridled, untamed, free spirited energy of life. Ostensibly about the wildness of nature, it’s about so much more than that, more than wild creatures in their natural habitat, more than locations unchanged by humans. It is scent and sound, places and dreams, full of challenge and possibility, risks and rewards. It is determination and persistence. It is flowers growing in sidewalk cracks, trees shattering through boulders doggedly pursuing survival. Life thriving under the most inhospitable of circumstances. It is indomitable human spirit. Though the text is brief, the possibilities it suggests are immense.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: This book also is an excellent potential conversation starter for adoptive families.  Kids feel freer to explore a story that is not overtly their own yet may bear similarities in terms of difficulties, danger or survival. This added layer of dissociation enables them to explore events without fully awakening their own struggles, tough situations, harsh circumstances. Tread lightly. Let kids take the lead. Unless kids choose to speak of their personal events, focus conversation of how “some kids” faced these challenges and survived.

Freedom Summer.519FE8c4wyL._SY453_BO1,204,203,200_Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue won both the 2002 Ezra Jack Keats Award as well as a Coretta Scott King Award. It begins with two friends enjoying the leisurely pace of summer, hanging around, being friends together, swimming in a local creek. “John Henry swims better than anybody” the narrator knows. They ecstatically anticipate the prospect of the local community pool’s opening day. But, when they arrive at the gates, the boys discover that the facility has been bulldozed. No one will swim there again.

Why?

Because this story takes place in a segregated America. In 1960, laws ensured blacks could not share facilities with whites. After desegregation legislation passed, instead of complying, Mobile, Alabama opted to close the town pool, ice cream parlor, and roller rink. Hate and prejudice blinded people to fairness and the rights of all citizens to equality and access to facilities. To deny blacks access, they denied the entire community access.

This award-winning book splendidly captures the boys’ friendship so when they encounter the closed pool, the reader feels dazed by the community’s betrayal. The conversations this book might open are important one on issues such as racism, prejudice as well as loyalty, friendship and thinking for oneself.

The forward by the other offers additional insights about her motives for writing the book as well as her personal encounters with segregation during her own childhood.

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AQ Lens:

The potential for adoption-related conversations is broad. In addition to racial and cultural bias, adoptive families frequently encounter bias against their families. Our family ties are often questions in terms of permanency, depth and reality. This book can help families talk about standing up for ourselves as well as being a voice for others who face discrimination and bias.

 

wolf camp.61Z0WYk-GDL._SY387_BO1,204,203,200_Wolf Camp written and illustrated by Andrea Zuill will delight both adults and young readers. Zany illustrations ripe with energy and humor chronicle the journey of one lovable dog as he tries to get in touch with his inner wolf. His fellow campers include a charming group of canine companions–a chihuahua named Pixie and a golden retriever named Rex. Together they learn to punch through fear, master new skills and make new friends and pull together–all admirable tasks whether you are a dog or a human!

One illustration depicts Homer’s letter to home. It’s a classic. Any parent who’s sent kids to camp has probably received a similar letter. Wolf Camp is a delight with an important–and very subtle–message  about daring to face fears, take on new experiences, make new friends, and grow into a stronger person.

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AQ Lens:

Like the other books reviewed in this post, readers will see the value of friendship, the benefit of being open instead of limited by bias and the willingness to dare–to be stronger, braver and more open-minded. These are great lessons for all kids but especially for adopted children who throughout their lives will frequently be treated as “other” simply because they were adopted.

The conversations which this book might open can include topics like defeating fear, trying new things, and walking in the “shoes” of others.