Embracing Differences and Finding Home

Not Quite NarwhalEmbracing Differences and Finding Home. Not Quite Narwhal. 51aFOgA1xkL._SX496_BO1,204,203,200_ by Jessie Sima features Kelp, the eponymous narwhal who can clearly see that he is quite unlike the rest of his family and friends. His tiny horn, his fluffy tail, his atypical skills even his food preferences all differ dramatically from the rest of the narwhals. because they embrace his differences, Kelp feels welcome and “at home.” As a consequence of feeling accepted, Kelp enjoys security and happiness.

Until…

Until one moonlit night, Kelp ventures close to the surface of the ocean. This single heart-pounding event transforms Kelp’s life. All it took was a glance. Atop a distant peak, he spies a creature–not just any creature–one that looks just like him! Never before has he experienced the glorious affirmation of this commonality. Compelled to investigate, Kelp escapes the ocean and scrambles up the cliff. He comes nose to nose with an adult version of himself. In fact, he has discovered an entire community of lookalikes. They introduce him to the world of unicorns!

exhilaration! Delight! They like the things he likes; they look the way he looks. No longer the “square peg,” Kelp finds where he belongs. Or, has he?

Kelp misses his family, his friends, the sea and the life he shared there. After wrestling with a difficult decision, Kelp decides to return home. Doubt besets him. He fears that once his family discovers he’s a unicorn and not a narwhal, they might not be glad to have him back.

A rousing welcome greets Kelp. He’s informed that they ALWAYS knew he was not a narwhal but loved him anyway. Kelp is thrilled. Yet…

Part of him longs for the sense of “fit” that he experienced among the unicorns. Eventually, he comes to realize that he does NOT need to choose between the two. To be complete, he needs both of his halves.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens It’s an easy stretch to view Kelp’s attachment to both his narwhal side and his unicorn side as a metaphor for adoptive and birth families. The simple, brief text captures much of the subtle and unconscious tug of war that adopted kids feel as they strive to integrate their birth and adoptive heritages. This book offers a gentle pathway to very important adoption-attuned conversations. Kids will appreciate the message that each of their two “halves” are valuable for a lifetime.

Everybody knows what it is like to be the odd duck who doesn’t belong, who doesn’t have “the look,” “the clothes,” etc… We know it feels demoralizing and defeating. Learning how to accept and love ourselves while also learning how to meld in with others requires practice. Lots and lots and lots of practice.

Embracing Differences and Finding Home.Chee-Kee A Panda in Bearland.51In21h2ckL._SX497_BO1,204,203,200_Chee-Kee takes a slightly different slant on being “other,” fitting in, and adjusting to a new life. Written and illustrated by Su-Jean Rim, it tackles this issue straight from her own experience. Her family emigrated from Korea when she was a young girl. Her recollection of her experience, the teasing, the lack of acceptance and the yearning to be like everyone else—all these feelings informed the story line about a “Panda in Bearland.”

The plot follows Chee-Kee as he travels to Bearland which is a place which welcomes everybody.” The Bearlanders who greet the Kee family are enthusiastic. They also notice every bit of mismatch between themselves and the Kee Family. And little Chee-Kee feels each and every difference. Homesick for the familiar world of his native land, he yearns for the comforting feeling of belonging. Chee-Kee tries many methods to transform himself into a Bearland-type of person. Nothing seems to work.

Until…

Until a problem arises that only a panda can fix. Get the book to learn the what and the how of the problem! In the end, Bearlanders celebrate Panda the  for the part of him that was most different. What had formerly kept him on the fringe now became his gateway to acceptance by the Bearlanders and within himself.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens: Adoptees often wrestle with feeling like they don’t quite fit—in their adoptive families, extended families, and among their peers, etc. Thus Chee-Kee’s struggles can serve as an apt metaphor for discussing this feeling of “otherness.” The conversation can be direct—specifically adoption-focused—or indirect—focused on the bear’s experience. Either pathway leads to some important conversation.

Another possible topic can address how Chee-Kee’s talents and appearance and how they set him apart from others. This too offers an easy channel to discuss how an adoptee can look different from and possess valuable talents which differ from those common in his adoptive family. Discussion can focus on both reassuring the child as well as validating his struggles and affirming his contributions as a family asset. Again, this discussion can be overt or subtle: obviously about adoption or metaphorically.

DiverseKidLit
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.

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

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

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.
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, November 19th 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 linkups: Favorite Holiday Books. (Please feel free to share any holiday resources, not just winter holidays.)

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit linkup is Svenja’s Author Spotlight on Ezra Jack Keats. She provides a detailed biography as well as information about his most popular books and characters. Want to learn even more? A new biography of Ezra Jack Keats by Andrea Davis Pinkney just came out this week, titled A Poem for Peter.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestBeth @ Pages and Margins
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 / PinterestMia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / InstagramMyra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / FacebookWant 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!

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.)

Daddy, Papi, Gramps–Whatever the Name, He’s Important

Gator Dad.51aBozfnGOL._AC_US160_Here in Florida, June conjures thoughts of hurricane preparation. (Hurricane season begins on June first.) But for most of us, June brings thoughts of Father’s Day.

Today our first review is Gator Dad by author/illustrator Brian Lies. This delightful book depicts an extraordinary dad engaging with his children. The exuberant illustrations wonderfully fulfill the text. The story opens with dad’s shadow looming over his sleeping children. This iconic image usually evokes fear in kids but these baby gators are EXCITED not afraid. Clearly they associate dad with fun and when he invites them to  “squeeze the day,” they are willing conspirators.

Trips to the grocery store, the park, etc all unfold in rollicking adventures. Kids will delight in the high jinks while adults will identify with the exhausted dad’s periodic suggestion that the little gators need a rest. Imaginative, descriptive language convey a mood of fun and affection. Gator Dad, is a book that every family can enjoy. What comes across clearly is the joyful bond that connects this dad with his kiddos.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ* Lens Dad understands that making fun together intensifies the affection they feel for one another. This presupposition is an important concept for all families, especially adoptive families. Too often we can get caught up in balancing school, homework, behavior, etc that we forget to have fun. But fun is integral to attachment; it must be a strong feature of family life. Fun doesn’t have to mean $$$. This story shows dad having fun even while doing chores!

 

Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug.51+5L5d0OQL._SY424_BO1,204,203,200_In the board book, Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug little ones–human and animal–announce the pet names their fathers call them. Each spread affirms the connection between child and parent. Children delight in knowing their father “sees” them and enjoys spending time with them. The nick names bestowed by the dad’s hold a story-within-a-story. This invites conversation between the reader and the child which adds an extra layer of fun.

 

 

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300AQ* Lens The inclusion of multiple species helps convey the idea that families can look different from one’s own and still be a family that love and and care for and about one another. It also offers a way to talk about how each creature–like each person–is unique and has talents and abilities of their own.

 

Daddy Calls Me ManDaddy Calls Me Man.51mCcu-yd+L._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_ written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell depicts a happy, functioning family. The cover shows Noah and Ad sharing a deep belly laugh which appeals to the reader and makes one want to turn the page for more.

The illustrations are wonderful, full of energy and radiating emotion. The story opens with a spread of shoes: “Big shoes… all I want is big shoes.” Clearly the little boy aspires to fill his papa’s big shoes. Noah imagines many ways in which he can walk in shoes.

At day’s end nestled under his bed covers, Noah peers at the moon, thinking big thoughts “Asking why…” Perhaps he trying to figure out how to make room for his new baby sister. The story concludes with a spread featuring the boy standing beside his father who is seated at an easel. Obviously, dad is an artist, Behind them on the wall are several of the illustrations that appeared throughout the story. This is a delightful surprise which explains the various “styles” of art that grace the pages. Daddy Calls Me Man evokes a warm and tender mood that captures the blessing of family.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300

AQ* Lens: This story pictures an African-American family that is happy and successful. It is not an “issues” book. It’s simply about joyful moments in the ordinary parts of a family’s days. The dad is an artist–a novel choice of occupation to be included in a children’s story. One of the things I like best about this book is that it shows a family being happy, being ordinary. This is an important message to children of color. All too often the stories focus exclusively on the struggle, on poverty, on the urban experience. It is refreshing to see this family of color simply being family.–Gayle H. Swift, “ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book”

 

My Mountain Song.51zUwnNvFeL._SX416_BO1,204,203,200_In some families without a dad, granddad serves as the primary loving father figure, so I’ve included My Mountain Song in this post. This story captures a distinct, rural flavor as a child visits here grandparents’ farm. Brenda Gail is looking forward to her stay–no pesky little brother to trail her, no big one to boss her around. But life delivers surprises–in the form of her cousin Melvin–and spoils the little girl’s plans. He teases her. They fight and Brenda Gail ends up injuring her granny’s favorite chicken.

Guided gently by wise but firm grandparents, there’s a lovely life lesson tucked into the story about unexpected consequences following impulsive choices. In the end the two children make peace. They come to understand the importance of becoming one’s best and true self, of learning to sing one’s “mountain song.”

AQ* Lenmagnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300In addition to the obvious affection that the grandparents have for their grandchildren, they also have standards and traditions which they cherish. This offers an easy digression to the diverse traditions of both of a child’s families–birth and adopted.

The plot point about impulsive behavior, unintended consequences and making amends can resonate with kids who have difficulty with impulsivity.


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

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, June 18th and on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most clicked post from our previous #diversekidlit is The Importance of Author’s Notes in Some Picture Books by Charnaie of Here Wee Read. Her post is a reflection of a recent conversation she got into with other book bloggers about the recent released Thunder Boy, Jr. by Sherman Alexie and illustrated Yuyi Morales. The questions raised by Charnaie and others serve to underscore the importance of author’s notes in helping readers to understand or even interpret a story.

#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.)

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

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

DiverseKidLit

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

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

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

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

Hosted By:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestBeth @ Pages and Margins
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carrie @ There’s a Book for That
Blog / Twitter

Crystal @ Reading Through Life and co-blogger @ Rich in Color
Blog / Twitter / Google+

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

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

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

Myra @ Gathering Books< Blog / Twitter / Facebook

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

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

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

April marks the twentieth anniversary

of National Poetry Month.

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

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

#DiverseKidLit,

#ReadYourWorld and

#WNDB

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300

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

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