Haiku Captures Humor and Heartache, Family and Security

Dogku.51Cr+rMZcsL._AC_US218_

Haiku Captures Humor and Heartache, Family and Security

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

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

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

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

“On Ferris wheel

I regret French fries, milk shake—

those below agree.”

 

I’ll just bet they do!

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

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

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

“Nice place they got here.

Bed. Bowl. Blankie. Just like home.

Or so I’ve been told.”

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

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

“Here, kitty, kitty. Kitty.”

Ha. I’ll stay put till I know”

Are they friend … or foe?

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

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

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

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

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

DiverseKidLit

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

Upcoming Theme

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

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

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

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

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by: 

Katie @ The Logonauts  Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

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

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

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

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

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


One Family of Man

one familyOne Family by George Shannon and Blanca Gomez presents a fascinating introduction into counting with a twist. The reader meets many types of family; each is one example of one kind of family.

We discover that a family can include a range of individuals, colors, ethnicities, and even species and still be one family! This offers a delightful riff on inclusion when it comes to recognizing the many types of families that are common today–and a few more unusual ones. The concept is clear: each is one  example of a family. The story concludes,

“One is one and everyone.

One earth. One world.

One Family.”

We are all part of one family–the Family of Man. As adoptive families, we have a vested interest in this kind of acceptance and inclusion. The detailed and upbeat illustrations invite exploration–and counting–as well as identifying other “collective” nouns. Blanca Gomez, an internationally recognized illustrator, lives in Madrid, Spain.

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AQ Lens: The obvious message that families need not look similar, is one that adoptive families are wise to reiterate on a regular basis. This story has a wonderful sense of joy and humor in addition to its message of tolerance and acceptance. Parents might want to highlight the Hispanic heritage of the illustrator as a way of raising awareness and overtly supporting diversity in our families, books, communities through in our purchases. Family supports family. Celebrate diversity and support our One Family: the family of Man.

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites. 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.)

Exciting News!

Becker’s School Supplies has offered a fabulous prize for participating in our upcoming #diversekidlit Twitter chat on Monday, April 10th from 8-9 pm ET. One winner will receive all four of these wonderful diverse picture books: If Kids Ran the World; Golden Domes, Silver Lanterns; I’m New Here; and Same, Same But Different. These would make a wonderful addition to your home, classroom, or library.

You can find all the details about our upcoming chat, including a list of questions that we will be discussing, by clicking here. We hope to “see” you on Monday, April 10th from 8-9 pm ET – and good luck!

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 15th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme & Chat

Our theme for the current month is Favorites. 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 15th continues the celebration of the 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 discuss issues and challenges facing diverse books, and share our favorites. We hope you’ll join us!
  • Future hops will take place on May 6th and 20th. Leave your ideas for a theme in the comments.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Gayle’s wonderful list of books for Planting Seeds. Harvesting Change. Making Choices. These three books emphasize the central theme of caring for our environment as a means of both action and activism. A great tie-in to doing some of your own planting too!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

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

#DiverseKidLit Guest Hosts for April

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

Kids Find Inner Lion: the Strength of the Hero Within

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DiverseKidLit

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

Upcoming Theme

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

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

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

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

My DiverseKidLit Shout-Out

My DiverseKidLit Shout-Out

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

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

 

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

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

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

Myra @ Gathering Books   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

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

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

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

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Guest Hosts for February

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

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

 

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

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

Family is a Way of Being, Loving and Caring

Recently diversity has been under siege in our country. More than ever, we must learn about other people, other cultures, other family constellations. Understanding yields acceptance and respect. #DiverseKidLit shines a much needed light on difference. The books reviewed today all focus on what it means to be part of a family, whether in our intimate nuclear families or as part of the family of man. Family is a way of being, of loving, caring, and not just genetics.

The Family Book .51eLY1EkfZL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_The Family Book  written and illustrated by Todd Parr with his signature bold style and brevity, captures the variety and importance of family. His illustrations include diverse “races” (pink, blues, yellow, green, etc.), numbers, and configurations–including single parents as well as same-gender parents. The colorful illustrations catch the eye, hold the reader’s attention and affirm the idea that family is about love and connection. Whether a family looks like our own or not is irrelevant. What is important is that they consider themselves family and love and support one another accordingly.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: For adopted children this book can offer a way of discussing differences like race and/or family composition in an abstract way: pink, green and blue people which offers an insulating layer that may make it feel less “personal” and thus “safer” to explore. #AAQ

 

Who We Are. 61AGqwNYmoL._SX451_BO1,204,203,200_Who We Are by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, is subtitled: All about Being the Same and Being Different, is straightforward in its efforts to validate diversity in individuals and in their families. It goes into greater detail than Parr’s The Family Book and is appropriate for a slightly older reader. Using the concept of visiting “Funland” as a logical place to encounter an array families, Who We Are focuses on the commonalities that we share and still affirms that each of us is unique.

The illustrations are broadly inclusive in terms of ethnicity, race, ability, family constellation and body type and activity preferences. The text describes how sometimes differences can make us hesitate or be afraid of people who differ from us in some way. It explains how melanin influences eye, hair and skin color and then highlights the commonalities of the fundamental humanity that we share.
magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: For adopted children this book can offer an easy opening to discussing race as well as the many ways in which children can be both different and similar to their adopted families–and/or their birth families if they have an open adoption or knowledge of their birth information. The tone of the book is both affirming and supportive. #AAQ Kids can be both different & similar to both their families--adopted & birth. Click To Tweet

All the World.51vxq61dL0L._SY478_BO1,204,203,200_All the World  is written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee, strives to picture the universals that all people and families share: family love, the pleasure of play–and its variety, parental nurturing, etc.  The book repeats the refrain: “All the world is …” then the detailed illustrations capture many ways in which each concept is embodied. The vignettes overflow with examples of variety; we see types of cars, boats, gardens, byways, weather, foods, etc. There’s truly something for everyone. The delicate rhymes conclude: Hope and peace and love and trust/ All the world is all of us.” Children will appreciate that the world surrounds us and is within ourselves as well.

I predict that this atmospheric book will be one which readers will select from their shelves again and again. Each reading will yield a new level of appreciation.
magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: adopted children this book can offer a chance to see diversity in a larger swath because the double spread illustrations depict many ways of seeing or experiencing a concept. Instead of seeing difference in an isolated moment or single example, it is seen as part of a complex fabric that holds the varying elements of the spectrum simultaneously.

Here Is the Baby here is the baby.51Vrd+LHFnL._SX436_BO1,204,203,200_ by Polly Kanevsky is a charming book which readers will select from their shelves again and again.  It follows a baby throughout his day. Readers travel with him from Mama retrieving him from his crib until she eases him down for his evening’s rest. During baby’s busy day, his parents and sibling, feed, care for and play with him. Clearly he is a well-loved and nurtured child.

Daddy is the one who walks sister to school, strolls baby around the neighborhood and brings him to the library for story time and plays with him at the park. This is a welcome depiction of hands-on fathering! Although the family is Caucasian, some limited diversity is represented in the characters who appear in the background.
magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 AQ Lens: For adopted children this book shows both parents as involved caretakers. though the story depicts a two-parent family, much of the story shows Dad doing the parenting. This may help it appeal to families that have only a father (or fathers). #AAQ Lens

Our theme for this month’s Diverse Children’s Books linkups is Favorite Children’s Books Featuring an LGBTQ Character(s). (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, December 3rd and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite Children’s Books Featuring an LGBTQ Character(s). Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • December 3rd linkup: Favorite Holiday Books. (Please feel free to share any holiday resources, not just winter holidays.) We will only hold 1 linkup in December, which will be open all month long.
  • January 7th and 21st linkups: Human Rights. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated in the US in January, think about your favorite books to share with children about the importance and the history of human rights and/or civil rights.

ABC cover with badges

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

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

In addition to the previous #diversekidlit linkup, Gayle shares several great book recommendations about adoption and adoptive families.

This is an important reminder about making sure that all children and all families find themselves in literature. Thanks, Gayle!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+
Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors   Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestMia @ Pragmatic Mom Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

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

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

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

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!

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?

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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!

Childhood Milestones Celebrated with a Cultural Twist

universal-childhood-milestones-celebrated-with-a-cultural-twist-tooth-on-the-roof-border-51tn8sa6pjl-_sy485_bo1204203200_In today’s strife-ridden global world, it is reassuring to focus on the commonalities that unite us instead of the differences that divide us. Cultures around the world celebrate universal childhood milestones.  Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from around the World by Selby B. Beeler is a fun retrospective of the varied ways cultural traditions that celebrate children losing their baby teeth. Kids will get a tickle reading about the variety of celebrations. Some will feel similar, some quite unusual and some will strike their funny bones.

In the USA we believe the tooth fairy exchanges teeth for cash. In other cultures this job falls to birds, calves, mice, rats (Yikes!?!) and many more take the tooth and replace it with something valuable. Sometimes the tooth is planted, gold-plated, steeped in milk or simply tossed on the roof. Kids will learn how a specific practice is embraced within  different cultures. While it may seem silly to us, it’s folkloric  tradition in each respective culture–unique, mythical and charming. None is sillier than the rest. Taken as a totality, all the traditions are slightly goofy yet still fun to embrace.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens This story offers a chance to talk about differences between families as something interesting not as something to denigrate. Every family and culture, like the patches in a piecework quilt, contribute an integral element that is part of the overall beauty and success of the whole.

at-the-same-moment-around-teh-world-full-borderAt the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin takes the reader on a world-wide journey. Under a brilliant cloak of dawn-painted clouds, the book begins at 6:00 a.m in Dakkar, Senegal. Each subsequent  page begins with the same refrain: At the same moment in…

Encourage young readers to repeat the refrain, to scrutinize the illustrations for the details identified in the text. The book presents diversity of characters, locations and activities. The end flap includes a pull-out map of the world.

Help kids to understand that the events occur simultaneously even though the “hour” is different (because of time zone changes.) This story captures this complex concept of time in dreamy, detailed illustrations which carry the reader through twenty-four separate vignettes.

Children can see how similar the human story is regardless of where one lives in the world. Understanding this universality encourages tolerance and respect, something which benefits us all.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens This story offers a window onto the diverse ways people around the globe live. At the same time, it reinforces our commonalities. This is also true for families. Although our families came together  through adoption instead of by birth, we have much in common with all families regardless of the way we formed. This book can open conversations about what kinds of things a child’s birth and adoptive  families might be doing simultaneously. Some will be similar, some will not.

 

 

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.

 

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.

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.


magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: 
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.


magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ Lens: 
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.

Dreaming UP: Dazzling Blend of Fantasy with Reality Celebrates Diversity

Dreaming Up.51I-nQ9NtqL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_Dreaming UP: A Celebration of Building written and illustrated by Christy Hale pairs child-built fantasy constructions with photographs of startlingly similar constructions from around the globe.  The result is a magical trip around the world in a way that simultaneously celebrates the diversity of architectural memes with an equally diverse presentation of characters. Hale illuminates the connection between child’s play and world architecture with delightful concrete poems that also mirror the constructions.

The book subtitled, A Celebration of Building   serves as an excellent metaphor for building community, creativity and relationships. The illustrations feature a diverse characters who create universal kid creations: sofa forts, sand castles, blocks, etc. The accompanying architectural photographs bring those imaginary designs to life in real buildings from all around the world. The similarities between fantasy and reality are stunning. Some of them are so unusual it is difficult to believe that they are real. Such fun to see them!

The author has included end notes on each photo which provide fascinating information.

This book can inspire on many levels. Imagine a child’s delight to see constructions similar to many they have created during playtime come to life. Perhaps it might even stimulate  their interest in becoming an architect or engineer so that they too can build such wonderful things.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ* Dreaming UP: A Celebration of Building written and illustrated by Christy Hale  is a great celebration of world community. It obviously values the aesthetics of the many cultures featured. This reinforces the important role of diversity and how it enhances and strengthens our world. Just as in nature, diverse communities are healthy communities. And it serves as an excellent jumping off point for a family project exploring aspects of an adoptee’s home culture and/or the ancestral culture of the adoptive parents.



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, July 16th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Svenja takes “most-clicked” honors again this time with her post on 30 Multicultural Books about Immigration in honor of June as Immigrant Heritage Month. The post is divided into books geared for preschoolers and elementary students, and the elementary recommendations are further subdivided by the continent of origin. You can find more great posts by revisiting the previous linkup here.

#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.)