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Diverse Children's Books

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country than where you live! (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.) This is my pick:

Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art by J. H. Shapiro, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

MAGIC TRASH: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art. He literally turned trash into art to save his decaying Detroit neighborhood. And it worked. The Heidelberg Project is more than 30 years old.

Visit this remarkable public art display in Detroit or online at www.heidelberg.org.

 

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

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10 Great Books on China for Kids

10 Great Books on China for Kids

We’re creating a Multicultural Children’s Book Day eBook of diversity book resources. Twenty-two bloggers and authors are contributing their best diversity lists to help educators and parents find the books they need: All Done Monkey, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of UsThe Educators’ Spin On It, Franticmommy, Growing Book by Book, Imagination Soup, InCulture ParentThe Jenny Evolution, Jump Into a Book, Kid World Citizen, Uma Krishnaswami, The LogonautsMama Smiles, Marie PasticheElsa Marston, The Measured Mom, PragmaticMomRandomly ReadingWhat Do We Do All Day?, and Youth Literature Reviews. Proceeds from this eBook coming out this fall will be used to donate books to teachers and parents.

At my kids’ elementary school, our second grade spends part of the year studying China. These are my favorite ten books to learn about China, both past and present. It’s a mix of nonfiction and fiction, and also different genres covering picture books, early chapter books, and a graphic novel.

What books am I missing? Thanks for your suggestions!

10 Great Books on China for Kids

10. Mei-Mei Loves the Morning by Margaret Tsubakiyama

Experience life in modern-day China with Mei-Mei, her grandfather, and her bird as they spend the morning on biking through the streets of an urban city in China. First stop is a chat with a cobbler on the street. Then, it’s off to the park for tai-chi. The lao-bing man’s stall for pancakes is their last stop before heading home. Filled with multigenerational warmth, Mei-Mei’s sh0ws kids that life in other countries has the same gentle rhythms of eating, exercising, and playing as their own. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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How a Math Teacher Changed Peter H Reynolds' Life

How a Math Teacher Changed Peter H Reynolds’ Life

Most of us swoon at the mention of picture books The Dot or Ish, making Peter H. Reynolds a household name among those of us who love children’s books. But did you know his twin brother, Paul Reynolds? Together, they are the co-founders of Fablevision and they also write books together.

For any child who doubts the artist inside, read them The Dot, and its sequel Ish. And if you want to see authors and illustrators create their own dot, check out Celibri-Dots.

 

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Finding the artist within can be as simple as making a dot; even when made in anger! How to turn the agony of a blank sheet of paper into an piece of art! This book is dedicated to Peter H. Reynolds’ math teacher who dared him to make his mark … more on that below. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

This companion book to The Dot takes the idea of a frustrated almost-artist a step farther. Sometimes art is in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps hyper-realistic renderings are overrated? Reynolds tries to dissuade the idea that art is not necessarily limited to technical drawing skills. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Celebrating African American Hair Picture Books & GIVEAWAY

Celebrating African American Hair Picture Books & GIVEAWAY

You might recognize Furqan from our Multicultural Children’s Book Day poster! Robert Liu-Trujillo created the artwork for our event. When Rob gave us sketches for the poster, we didn’t know the boy in the flat top was a character in his book; he just appealed to us and we picked him right away!

FREE Downloadable Multicultural Children’s Book Day Poster!

I’m thrilled to be introducing Rob’s book, Furqan’s First Flat Top, today and we are giving away an inscribed copy too (see below)!

 Furqan's First Flat Top

Valarie and I are passionate about the need for more multicultural, diverse, and inclusive books for kids. Today, I wanted to examine this from the perspective of When Whiteness is The Standard of Beauty. Lisa Wade, professor at Occidental College, notes:

One manifestation of white supremacy is the use of whiteness as the standard of beauty. When whiteness is considered superior, white people are considered more attractive by definition and, insofar as the appearance of people of other races deviates from that standard, they are considered ugly.

Non-white people are still allowed to be considered beautiful, of course, as long as they look like white people.

This is a no win standard for women of color, but then think about how this affects girls of color and their self esteem? Read more…

Multicultural Children's Book Bundle Giveaway

Multicultural Children’s Book Giveaway!

It’s time for the 2nd Annual Multicultural Children’s Book Giveaway and KidLit TV is teaming up with Pragmatic MomJump into a BookFranticmommyThe Educators Spin On ItWhat We Do All Day and Multicultural Children’s Book Day to give parents, teachers, and librarians in need, a chance to win a multicultural book bundle for their school library.

Libraries play an important role in everyone’s life. The library is a place where knowledge and the love of reading shine!  However, budgets for school programs are being cut, and school libraries have been heavily affected. Hours for library time have been shortened in some schools, and even non-existent in others.

Up until September 30th you can enter to win a curated bundle of multicultural books featuring StoryMakers guests and additional kid lit authors.

Multicultural Children's Book Bundle Giveaway

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Picture Books for Toddlers About Being a Good Friend

Picture Books for Toddlers About Being a Good Friend & GIVEAWAY!

Maria Ashworth is my guest blogger today with a list of ten picture books to help toddlers and preschoolers learn how to be a good friend. Her picture book is called My Big Tree and introduces counting to 10. Animals in North America join a blue bird in a tree but must reorganize into segregated groups in order to make the bird happy.


10 Great Picture Books for Toddlers About Being A Good Friend

10. It’s Mine by Leo Lionni
Selfish frogs bicker about everything until a disaster strikes their pond. Then do they learn the value of friendship. The book is a perfect story for any child who needs a little reminder on why it is important to learn to share.

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10 Great Picture Books to Learn About Mexico

10 Great Picture Books to Learn About Mexico

My kids studied Mexico in 2nd grade, a unit that was filled with crafts and excitement, including a Mexico Day Party. One of the student’s mother who teaches Spanish at the high school, even participated by dressing up as Frida Kahlo to teach the kids Spanish. At the end of fifth grade, some kids still talked about Mexico Day. Apparently making guacamole was a highlight of their elementary school experience!

Mexico 2nd grade unit

This collection of picture books is meant for all years of elementary school. I noticed that our 5th graders studied the Ancient Mayans.

10 Great Picture Books to Learn About Mexico

10.  Rain Player by David Wisniewski

This reads like a folk tale but it’s actually an original story set in Maya civilization. A drought been foretold. Chac, the god of rain, is displeased when a boy, Pik, speaks disrespectfully. To earn the god’s favor, Pik must win pok-a-tok, sending a five-pound ball of rubber through stone hoops on a walled court. If Pik is defeated, he and his teammates will be turned into frogs. Pik appeals to the Jaguar, the Quetzal, and the sacred cenote, who are persuaded to join his team. Will Pik be able to make the rains fall? [picture book, ages 6 and up]

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Diverse Children's Books

Join Us for #diversekidlit

Looking for #DiverseKidLit?

I’ve been making very, very short videos of picture books like this one, Mama the Alien by Rene Colato Lainez.

The confusion of being a legal alien versus an alien from outer space makes its bilingual Spanish picture book the perfect conversation starter about the naturalization process.

Mama the Alien by Rene Colato Lainez, illustrated by Laura Lacamara

♫ Background song, Englishman In New York, by Sting.

Here’s more…

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!

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
164 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

166 Chapter Books for Difficult Situations: #MGGetsReal

Please welcome my guest blogger today, Kerry Cerra. She’s the author of Just a Drop of Water (9/11 and Religious Intolerance), but she’s here today with author friends –Shannon Wiersbitzky of What Flowers Remember (Alzheimer’s),Kathleen Burkinshaw of The Last Cherry Blossom (Hiroshima), Joyce Moyer Hostetter of Comfort (War Trauma), and Shannon Hitchcock of Ruby Lee & Me (School Integration) — to create a comprehensive list of realistic fiction for middle grade (ages 9 and up).

This list of 165 chapter books covers a plethora of topics. Let me know if you need a category that isn’t listed. I hope you find this list as useful and I do!

  • Chapter Books with Abandonment
  • Chapter Books with Verbal or Physical Abuse
  • Chapter Books with ADD/ADHD
  • Chapter Books with Adoption/Foster Care
  • Chapter Books with Substance Abuse
  • Chapter Books with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Chapter Books Covering Anxiety
  • Chapter Books with Autism/Asperger’s
  • Chapter Books with Blended Families
  • Chapter Books with Body Image Issues
  • Chapter Books with Bullying
  • Chapter Books with Civil Rights/Integration
  • Books for Tweens with Deaf/Hearing Loss
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Parent/Grandparent
  • Chapter Books with Death of a Sibling
  • Chapter Books with Depression and Mental Illness
  • Chapter Books with Discrimination & Prejudices (religious, ethnic, etc.)
  • Chapter Books with Divorce
  • Chapter Books with Dyslexia
  • Diverse Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books with Eyesight/Blindness
  • Feeling like You’re a Bad Friend Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books About Following Your Dreams Despite Odds
  • Chapter Books with Gifted Characters
  • Chapter Books on Homelessness
  • Chapter Books Dealing with Illness
  • Chapter Books on Immigration
  • Books with LGBTQ
  • Chapter Books with Physical Disability/Disfiguration
  • Chapter Books with Self-Doubt
  • Chapter Books with Stepfamilies
  • Chapter Books with Suicide
  • Chapter Books with Survivor’s Guilt
  • Chapter Books About Wanting to Fit In
  • Chapter Books with War Trauma

——————–

Hands down my favorite thing about visiting schools as an author is the ability to recommend books to readers. Of course I speak about my own novel, but I always bring others with me. Lots of them. Why? Because I wholeheartedly believe it’s important for kids to be able see themselves in a story, and I know my book may not be that book for everyone. So I’m thrilled to be part of an exciting campaign, #MGGetsReal, with four other awesome authors. Our goal is simple: to highlight books which kids can relate to on a personal level—so they don’t feel so alone, afraid, or different.

All most of us have to do is remember back to our pre-teen years to know that kids long to feel one with the masses. To be accepted. To fit in. The recent video of a young girl, Emma, from Texas who wears a prosthetic leg is proof of this. With videotape rolling, Emma’s excitement is palpable as she realizes she’s getting an amazing gift, an American Girl doll. And lucky for myself and the millions (yes, millions) of viewers who have now seen the footage, we witness Emma’s genuine happy-shock reaction when she opens the box to discover that the doll is actually sporting a prosthetic leg just like her own. Seriously? Can you imagine anything better for this girl? Go ahead and view it here, but be careful, for Emma’s tears are infectious!

My own middle-grade novel, Just a Drop of Water, is the story of two thirteen-year-old boys—one Christian, one Muslim—and how their friendship is tested in the wake of September 11, 2001. It has strong themes of friendship, loyalty, bullying, and peace. Every so often at a school visit, I’ll encounter a Muslim student who pulls me aside to say how much the book, particularly the character of Sam, resonates with them and to thank me for writing it.

A handful of times, I’ve had kids tell me they are like the main character Jake. They too only see the world in black and white. With no gray. What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. They are Jake! And like Jake, they sometimes get in trouble for it. I feel like the luckiest author in the world when I get to have these important discussions with them about how it’s okay to stand up for what you believe in, but to do so peacefully. And to know that sometimes my book is one that a kid connects to in such a personal way, well, it’s singlehandedly the reason why I write!

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