The Climb to the Top

Sky Dancers-the-climb-to-the-top-climb-fear-skill-familyI loved climbing trees as a child, that exhilarating, terrifying race to the top. I can still remember the thrill of reaching hand over hand until I found myself high in the canopy of leaves. The world appeared smaller, less intimidating. Hidden from sight, ensconced in a private world, my imagination soared. To this day heights both fascinate and intimidate me.

So, when I came across Sky Dancers written by Connie Ann Kirk and illustrated by Christy Hale, I was particularly intrigued. It tells the story of a young Native American boy’s family tradition as steel workers on some of New York’s largest, tallest and most famous constructions. It is a fictional piece based on history.  The boy’s family represents many Mohawk tribe members who actually worked the high steel in the early years of the twentieth century.

The story opens with John Cloud trying to talk himself into climbing a tree beyond where his fear holds him in place. He thinks about his dad, who at that very moment was walking the girders of a Manhattan sky scraper building it higher and higher into the sky.  John replays memories of his grandfather‘s tales of his own time as a sky walker.

The boy wonders if he’ll ever be as brave and strong as his dad and grandfather. He also wonders if his grandfather will ever fulfill his promise to bring him into the city and actually see his dad on the job. When that day finally comes, John is overawed with pride.

This is a sweet story of inter-generational links that bond families together. Click To Tweet It offers a welcome window onto an ethnic group that tends to be under served in children’s literature. The story is a refreshing break from the typical themes we see associated with Native Americans: riding horses, hunting, etc. And, it is not an “issues” book. On the contrary, it depicts these Americans as normal families who do the typical things all families do: love on another, share family stories, go to work, etc.

AQ #AdoptionAttunementSky-Dancers-the-climb-to-the-top-climb-fear-skill-family Adoption-attuned Lens:  This story easily lends itself to discussions of generational family patterns which could include both those of the birth and adoptive families. Each has value, attraction and contributes to making the child who he is and who he will choose to become.

Sky Dancers prods us to ponder the way we overcome our fears, grow our skills and develop mastery. One of the cultural memes about the Native Americans historical role in the high steel construction industry attributes their skill to their having a special aptitude. Some people feel that categorizing their bravery and skill as an unearned “gift” that comes to them effortlessly diminishes the personal fortitude and persistence it takes to overcome instinctive fear and perform in dangerous conditions. Sky Dancers offers an easy path to discussions about talent, perseverance and achievement and how each contributes to one’s success.

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, October 7th and the first Saturday of each month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for October (7th) will be #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. Please share your favorite titles or authors / illustrators with us!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was one I am sure we all could use: 19 Multicultural Children’s Books teaching Kindness & Empathy. This fabulous collection of picture books covers a wide range of cultures and topics including issues around immigration, acceptance, jealousy, and more. Thanks for sharing, Svenja!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

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

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

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

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

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

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

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

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

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

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

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

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

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

Share Your Link 

Wardrobe Choices: An Annual Back to School Challenge

Wardrobe Choices: An Annual Back to School Challenge Suki's KimonoSuki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki and illustrated by Stephanie Jorisch makes a perfect choice for reader’s who will soon be returning to school. As first-grader Suki selects her clothes for the first day of school, the spunky heroine of the story makes a dramatic decision.”  Rather than choose a predictable outfit as her older sisters suggest, she decides to wear a beautiful kimono. She ignores their predictions that kids will laugh at her. More importantly, her outfit reminds her of the wonderful day her  obachan (grandmother) gave it to her. Young readers will identify with her desire to “dress up” at school. While parents will chuckle as they consider times when they resisted a child’s wish to wear a tutu, cowboy outfit or, superhero cape to school.

Suki’s two sisters advise her to change her wardrobe choices and to opt for “something cool.”  But, Suki feels beautiful in the traditional garb and remains undeterred.  Confident about her decision, she follows her sisters out the door. The older girls race ahead and pretend they don’t know their dramatically dressed sister who clatters behind them in her red geta (clogs).  The breeze flutters Suki’s voluminous sleeves like butterfly wings. Memories of her special day with her obachan warm Suki’s heart. She doesn’t mind looking unusual; she revels in it!

Of course, once she gets to school, the other children quickly judge her outfit. Some simply note that it is unusual. Others take a far less tolerant stand. Suki remains confident which is a great piece of modeling for young readers. She doesn’t allow the other kids’ assessments to spoil her feelings about her choice. Click To TweetWhen it is her turn to share  a summer memory with her class, she amuses them with the tale of her special day with her obachan: the street festival, the dancing, the traditional foods and the booming thud of the taiko (drums.) Lost in her precious memory, Suki dances  for them. Her confidence and joy win over her classmates.

At the end of the day the sisters meet for their walk home. The two older girls trudge home and complain that no one noticed their “cool” clothes. In opting to conform, the girls got lost in a sea of sameness. Suki on the other hand, buoyed by her day, “danced all the way home.”

AQ #AdoptionAttunement Wardrobe Choices: An Annual Back to School Challenge Suki's Kimono Adoption-attuned LensThis sweet story offers several paths for discussion. First, to stand up for oneself and “own” one’s choices. By doing this, Suki created a successful day for herself and built on the treasured memory of her day with her grandmother. She did not allow others to spoil it for her. This is a life-lesson which most of us struggle to master. For adoptees, especially those who do not share their adoptive family’s culture or race, Suki’s enthusiasm for her cultural roots is refreshing and inspiring.

Second, Suki resists the temptation to follow the crowd and wear something predictable and acceptable to the group. She takes an important step in thinking for herself. She makes her own decisions and does not allow the crowd to choose for her. This is another essential life skill. The proverbial parental admonition comes to mind: Would you jump off a cliff just because everyone else was doing it? For adoptees who often wrestle with a visceral need to fit in, Suki offers a charming role model. Click To TweetStanding up for oneself can be scary and powerful.

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is socioeconomic diversity. Kids from all economic brackets should be able to find themselves in books – as well as to learn about the lives of others in different economic situations. (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, September 2nd and the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was What is Family? 18 Picture Books about Loving Families in All Forms from Barefoot Mommy. This post includes new books as well as old favorites including multigenerational, multiracial, LGBTQ, foster, adoptive, and divorced families.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestBecky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / InstagramCarolina @ 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 / PinterestInstagramGayle 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

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


https://goo.gl/UVeO9L

Embracing Our “Differentness”

Book reviews by Casey Swift

exclamation pint

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a delightfully adorable story about an exclamation point that feel as though he doesn’t fit in with the other punctuation marks. One day he meets question mark and soon realizes that he just hasn’t realized his potential yet. Once he realizes his strength, he is able to show the world what awesome things he can do. Kids will be able to relate to this story and how difficult it can be to fit in if you haven’t realized your potential. The illustrations are adorable and the humor is sweet and witty. This is an amazing book for all.

AQ Lens: Adoptees often tell us that they struggle to fit in, so it is easy to see how this simple story can help them get in touch with those feelings. The spare text and delightful, spare illustrations combine to create a simple but powerful metaphor. All of us benefit from the reminder that our uniqueness deserves to be treasured and appreciated.

Mama’s Sarismama's saris by Pooja Makhijani is a truly beautiful book with amazing illustrations done by Elena Gomez. Not only are the illustrations true art, the story tells a tale of youth, culture, and understanding. Like most little girls, the character in this story is fascinated by her mother’s clothing and wants to know when she can wear a Sari.

The story tells of a tradition in a family carried down from generations, and mixes current culture as well. Readers learn about the various types of saris and the beauty behind the fabrics. Children often try to look like their parents and this story defines the importance of this. It is really a beautifully told and illustrated story.

AQ Lens: Mama’s Saris provides an enjoyable peek into Indian culture and can be enjoyed by everyone especially children whose heritage is Indian. Awareness of other cultures helps our kids prepare  to be global citizens. It also balances the “differentness” of being adopted with another kind of difference: that of being a different ethnicity.