Spring officially arrived on March 20, 2016. With the return of warmer temperatures, new plant life and longer days our hearts lift. Good thing, because in today’s political climate optimism and collaboration are in short supply. Today we review four books sure to rekindle our spirits and to remind us that we share more in common than not. We rededicate ourselves to seeing the humanity in others. Through that lens, we seek to build a better world for ourselves and the people we love.
Music Everywhere displays a wide variety of instruments from cultures around the world. Photographs capture the joy that music brings to both musicians and audiences. Kids will especially appreciate that it features children in the photos. Brief text highlights the energy, movement and joy that music contributes. Music Everywhere is a five star book from Global Fund for Children. Five Stars.
Also written by Maya Ajmera, Elise Hofer Derstine and Cynthia Pon, What We Wear is another Global Fund for Children Book. Similarly, the photo illustrations include images of children in a dazzling array of colors and designs. Brief text explains that “dressing up means celebrating who we are … and what we believe.” This book exudes energy and joy and will delight children while it reinforces a message of commonality. Five Stars.
Home by Carson Ellis is a delightful riff on this theme of commonality in diversity. The dramatic, oversize pencil and watercolor illustrations feature homes both real and whimsical, human and animal, local and exotic. Cottage or castle, pirate ship or underground lair, palace or apartment, homes are as varied as the people and animals who create them. A fun, lighthearted read with an important core message: home is wherever we live.
AQ Lens: Each of the previous books delivers an important message of inclusivity and commonality. I have repeatedly mentioned that adoptive families have a vested interest in broadening tolerance and stretching the cultural understanding about what is “normal,” “real,” and “valued.” Each of these books offers an appealing read that support this goal.
Everywhere Babies written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee (She also wrote and illustrated Rollercoaster which I reviewed here earlier.) Is there anything as endearing, as heart-tugging as babies? This delightful book captures the everyday moments–and charms–of babies around the world. The sweet illustrations depict babies of every color and culture as well as the families and communities that nurture them. Children will enjoy remembering when they were babies and seeing how “busy” they kept their families. Parents will identify with the exhausted folks who love and care for their children regardless of country or culture. A sweet and satisfying read. Five Stars.
AQ Lens: Like each of the books reviewed today, Everywhere Babies illustrates the common thread of humanity that people and families around the world share. It also offers a unique chance to explore conversations with adopted children about their early start in life. For children adopted in infancy, it can repeat family stories of their arrival and early years. For kids adopted internationally, Everywhere Babies offers a chance to look at how the culture of origin might have welcomed and supported your child until they were adopted. For kids adopted from foster care or after other trauma, it opens an important window to talking about how adoptive parents wished they could have been there and might suggest ways they would have nurtured children.