Teamwork & Diversity Expands Capability and Possibility

Teamwork & Diversity Expands Capability and Posibility. Mighty, Mighty Construction Site

In their sequel to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator Tom Lictenheld return readers to the world of big building and heavy construction machinery. Kids love the roar and power of these immense machines. They imagine themselves behind the wheel and delight in the idea of controlling so much power. This sense of agency energizes them.

Dawn rises over the construction site. A medley of heavy-duty trucks gather, ready to get to work. Although no human characters grace the pages of Mighty, Mighty Construction Site, the cast of vehicular characters is diverse. They’ve got a huge job to accomplish: erect a skyscraper. But it cannot rise unless they work in unison. Each one is integral to the success of their venture. Bulldozers cannot accomplish it alone, nor can the mighty excavator or cement mixer. Only a team working cooperatively can create it.

This interdependence serves as a great metaphor for the benefits of diversity in people. The activities of our daily lives also depend on team work, draws on the unique skills sets of many people and requires the effort of many who work together for common goals. Teamwork and diversity expands capability and possibility.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens:  This story line can easily lead to discussions of diversity within families, classrooms, communities or countries. With a little sleight of mouth, parents might ask kids to speak about some of the “big things” in their lives which required the contribution of many people to accomplish. Perhaps they will mention their adoption. If you sense the moment is workable, ask them directly if they can draw similarities between adoption and how it required the cooperative effort of many individuals.

As always, allow children to decide if they wish to discuss it or not. Never force “Big Conversations.” However, be frequently openings possibilities or dropping conversation seeds, parents can remind children that adoption is a welcome and important topic for discussion. In the absence of this confident awareness, most kids will infer that adoption is a taboo subject. Thus they will wrestle–unsupported and alone–with big concepts, tough questions and painful realities which are a part of life as adoptees.

Teamwork & Diversity Expands Capability and Posibility
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DiverseKidLit
Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in March is the Changing Seasons. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

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

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

Upcoming Theme

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

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Beth’s great roundup of Diverse Novels in Verse, part 2.

(You can catch up on part 1 here.) Novels in verse are an incredible and accessible way for kids to get to know a character inside and out. You will find some new favorites!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

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

Myra @ Gathering Books   Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Hosts for March

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

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!

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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!

We Are All Born Free

we-are-all-born-free-51twoo0uhul-_sx433_bo1204203200_We Are All Born Free: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights edited by Amnesty International illustrated by several award-winning and world-famous artist. It affirms the fundamental rights of all human beings in simplified a child-friendly version. The book builds on this foundation of commonality and depicts it with lavish diversity. Each artist brings their signature style and interpretation to these important words.

The text begins with the words: “We are all born free and equal.” The accompanying illustration by John Burningham features children  bouncing for joy on a trampoline. This captures the exhilaration that freedom offers to each of us.

The next page says, “We all have the right to  life and to live in freedom and safety.” Niki Daly chose “Freedom Park” as the inspiration for his illustration. Children of varied ethnicities and races parade through the park. They march passed a statue of Nelson Mandela, play music fly kites, speak from a soap box and thoroughly enjoy the blessing of freedom.

Page after page, each artist, inspired by one of Amnesty International’s Thirty Universal Rights uses their talent to bring the concept to life in a way to which children can relate. Many of the ideas are complex. Some serious and sad. Each is important, e.g., religious freedom; equal protection under the law; freedom of independent thought; the rights to assemble, to speak out, to work, to rest and relax.

One of the final illustrations accompanies the twenty-ninth right: “We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.”

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: For adoptive families, I propose two additional rights. First, the right to know one’s roots, to embrace all parts of oneself–both birth and adoptive, to have those roots respected and to be encouraged to discuss adoption freely. Second, adult adoptees should have access to their original birth certificates. Sealed files do not serve the adoptee but are relics of a past that sought to shame and isolate.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

DiverseKidLitDiverse 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, January 21st 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 …

  • January 21st linkup: 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.
  • February 4th and 18th linkups: Love. Let’s spread our love of diverse books by sharing diverse books about love, families, and relationships.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time:

 5 Positive Picture Books for Ramadan by Katie at The Logonauts. This post shares five different books about the holiday of Ramadan, some that take place in Middle Eastern countries and others in America. All highly recommended!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts     Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ 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!

Goodwill to All Lights the Season with Hope and Joy

trees-of-the-dancing-goats-51omzsvscgl-_sx377_bo1204203200_Christians around the world celebrate the Christmas holiday and its beautiful message of compassion, inclusion, hope, and light a season with good will to all.  The Trees of the Dancing Goats by multi-award-winning author/illustrator Patricia Polacco. The curiously-titled book delivers an inspiring story of neighbor helping neighbor, Jew respecting Christian and reveals how one family “rescued”  Chritmas for their ailing community.

The cover features a childhood version of Polacco. In her hands she carries both a menorah and a tiny, decorated Christmas tree. Readers will intuit that the story blends parts of both traditions. They will discover a heartwarming, fact-based story that will inspire children and adults. The story takes place in Michigan where the snow falls deep, the temperatures plummet and neighborliness flourishes. When scarlet fever devastates the community, leaving families too ill to put up and decorate their trees, Patricia’s family saves the day. This  story will touch the hearts of adult and child readers and remind us that the best gifts are intangible.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300 Adoption-attuned Lens: This book can open conversations about how we live together, first within our families and then beyond to our communities. Adoptive families combine disparate elements–birth and adoptive family heritages and traditions–so they will appreciate this story as a model for blending and respecting both.

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?

gina-humber-socunow_

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!

Food Bridges Cultures and Nurtures Friendships

Rice & Rocks by Sandra L RichardsIn today’s divisive climate, I appreciate books that highlight our commonality instead of our differences. We have more things in common with other people and cultures than things that separate us.  In all cultures around the world, families come together to share meals, make music, celebrate joys and shoulder sorrows. Rice and Rocks written by Sandra L. Richards and illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan uses food as a theme to bring home this point.

Like most kids Giovanni seeks his friends’ acceptance and fears their disapproval of his family’s traditional Jamaican rice and beans dish which he disparagingly calls “rice and rocks.” His fear of being an outsider cause him to feel shamed by this cultural tradition.  Jasper, his chatty pet parrot, intervenes to set Giovanni straight. With a bit of magic, Giovanni, his aunt and his two dogs shrink and become small enough to ride on Jasper’s back. They embark on a journey around the globe.

In every country which they visit, the boy and his parrot meet the national bird and learn about the local version of “rice and rocks.” (These various national symbols serves as another way differing cultures are alike. Each has a national bird but the particular species varies by country.)  Sullivan’s elaborate illustrations complement the fantasy story line. Variations in scale enhance the sense of dream-world magic.

When Giovanni’s friends join his family for a meal, one of them asks if they are celebrating anything. The story comes full circle because “Rice and Rocks” no longer embarrass him. He understands that they reflect the common desire of people to gather together at table and enjoy one another. So, Giovanni responds with pride, “We are celebrating family, friends, and traditions,” I said. I grinned, glad that my friends liked rice and rocks. “It’s really nice to spend time with all of you.” That is indeed something worth celebrating.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned Lens: Trans-national and transcultural adoptees will particularly appreciate a book that validates the unique traditions of many cultures. This book does a good job of showing how similar the individual traditions are which reinforces the universality that all people and cultures share. This story can lead to conversations about the specific cultural and family heritage of all adoptees whether trans-racially, trans-culturally adopted or not.

Sandra L Richards Sandra Richards’ Social Media links:

Twitter:  Facebook:    Goodreads:   Instagram:   LinkedIn:

 

 

Megan Sullivan Megan Sullivan

Ready for School?

Hand to hold.51dShZYSNeL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_A Hand to Hold by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Purple Wong. I find many things to recommend about this book. The little girl enjoys both her parents but the story focuses on the loving father-daughter relationship. The girl sees her father as strong, loving, encouraging and compassionate. Though she’s “not a baby anymore,” she still reaches for his steady hand when he “blinks his hand…open, closed, open, closed.” His hand provides her comfort.

It is Daddy that accompanies her on her momentous first day of school. With her “heart going BOOM BA-BOOM BA-BOOM,” He leads her into the classroom. He encourages her to confront her fear, to be brave and join the world of the classroom.

When Daddy heads for the door, she’s left with only her own hand to hold, her own courage to trust. The teacher introduces the girl to Ginny, a girl with tear-streaked face. Our heroine recognizes that Ginny looks “sad and a little bit scared.” She knows how steadying holding hands can be so she offers her hand to Ginny in a gesture of friendship. Together, they both feel steadier, stronger and ready to play. The story reminds me of the adage that you have to leave the shore to reach the opposite bank.

This is a wonderful getting-ready-to-go-to-school-for-the-first-time book. Still, I do have two criticisms. First, I wish that the author had provided a name for our heroine because I think it would make her feel more real. Second, in the scene where they enter the classroom when Daddy tells her “Don’t be afraid.” Adults often advise kids that they shouldn’t feel cry (feel sad, lonely, etc.) While well-intentioned, this invalidates the child’s emotions, judges them as wrong or inappropriate. Children are better served by acknowledging their emotion (in this story, her fear.) Parents can then help kids cope with and move forward to a steadier emotional state. Perhaps this sounds like hair-splitting. In fact it teaches kids to recognize, own and then shift their emotions. This kind of emotional literacy is a vital social skill.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: All kids must face their first day of school; kids adopted at an older age also have to face the first day in a new family. Many similar emotions are reflected in this story. So conversations can easily diverge to talking about those memories as well as the ongoing challenges of growing into a new family.

School Days around the World.51+4W8FAp8L._SX376_BO1,204,203,200_ School Days around the World by Margaret Ruurs and illustrated by Alice Feagan shows readers that school means much more than a building or a classroom or a specific curriculum or course of study. The world serves as a school. And “classrooms” around the world may look different from the ones with which they are familiar.

At their core, however, schools have much in common. They teach the fundamentals of language, reading, mathematics, physical education and cultural traditions like music and arts. Human beings share the same basic needs, so the specifics may differ from country to country, but the purpose of education remains the same: to open minds and touch hearts and provide for the common good.

Simple illustrations depict kids being kids and reinforce the point that we have more in common with one another than may first appear to be the case. Readers will enjoy learning about the variety of games, musical instruments and “classrooms” in which children around the world attend school. A fun and informative read.

magnifying-lens-AQ.2-161x300Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: This book provides an easy way to discuss transcultural and transracial differences. The story also mentions orphanages in Kenya. (Although it does not mention the AIDS crisis it does say that the children are there because their parents died.) For adoptees who spent time in orphanages, this might be a valuable part of the story to explore.

 

So Big, So Soon.51K1MQSSSDL._SX493_BO1,204,203,200_As a little boy prepares for bed the night before his first day of school Mama comments  How Did You Grow So Big, So Soon? Thus begins a story that reminisces about the  ways in which the boy has grown and catalogs the variety of skills he’s accomplished. The recounting of this history reassures both of them. Anne Bowen’s text unfolds in a question and answer format. The boy poses them and Mama replies. She reminds her son that his successes resulted from persistence and learning through many failures: “You stood up and tried again.”

This message that success results only through persistence is crucial for kids to understand. School won’t be easy but it will be worth it. And they are capable of achieving success.

Mama and the boy talk about how the day will unfold, what he can expect and how he will cope. He asserts, “I’m not little anymore, Mama” as a refrain which both comforts and encourages him. Mama also reassures him that though she’ll miss him while he’s gone, she’ll be comforted by his presence in her heart. He need not worry about her. She will be fine and so will he.

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Adoption-attuned (AQ) Lens: Transitions can be challenging for  adopted children. Leaving the security of home and entering the unknown world of school can be more intimidating for our kids. This book specifically refers to being pregnant with the boy: “I knew your heart first, beating beneath mine, a tiny fist curled inside me.” This may prove to be uncomfortable to an adoptee or it might provide s chance to talk about  a child’s birth mother, birth family, etc..

Al Pha's Bet.51nCt7EfVmL._SX413_BO1,204,203,200_ Al Pha’s Bet by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Delphine Durand delivers a silly, engaging explanation for how the alphabet came to be arranged in the familiar order. We all know how kids like to reread their favorite books often until they can “read” it from memory and we parents are just barely hanging on to our sanity.

Kids love zany, hyperbolic explanations like the one this story delivers. They might actually find the story line useful to help them remember the alphabetical sequence. At the very least, they’ll laugh at the silly story which will help lighten their hearts as they contemplate the beginning of the school year.

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Diverse Books for Back to School. Please consider writing and sharing your favorite books either about school / back to school or that might make a great read aloud during those first few weeks of school. (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are still always welcome.)

What’s 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, August 6th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Themes

Our theme for the current linkup (beginning Aug. 6th) is Diverse Books for Back to School. Themes are a suggestion only, all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • August 20th linkup: Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country!
  • September 3rd linkup: Diverse Book(s) Featuring a Character with a Disability. (Need ideas? Check out past winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards.)

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #DiverseKidLit linkup comes from author Gayle H. Swift: The Essential Life Lessons We Must Teach Children. Gayle shares her thoughts about some of the most important lessons we teach children, as well as a detailed review of two great books to use with kids. This is a useful resource for teachers and parents alike!

#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 / Facebook

Guest Host for August

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!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

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.

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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.)

Being Family–Nuclear and World

On the heels of Mother’s Day we review books that expand our understanding of what it means to be part of a family and that validate the spectrum of family constellations in our children’s world.

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.

 

 

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 those “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 reassures readers by highlighting the commonalities of 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 moody book will be one which readers will select from their shelves again and again.

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.#AAQ Lens

 

Here Is the Baby here is the baby.51Vrd+LHFnL._SX436_BO1,204,203,200_ I predict that this moody book will be one which readers will select from their shelves again and again.by Polly Kanevsky 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 LensFor 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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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

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