Graphic novels are my secret weapon to get any kid reading. My recent discovery is that there are also multicultural, diversity and inclusive graphic novels that bring kids into different perspectives like what it’s like to have hearing loss or go through a civil war. Graphic novels also let us experience new worlds, both present, past and future. And it’s the illustrations that tell part of the story with a low word count. It’s actually this inferencing … getting the story from both the words and the pictures that make graphic novels a valuable reading comprehension tool for learning.
So there you have it. Kids love to read graphic novels. It’s fun for them. They don’t realize how much they are learning by reading the story from both the images and words, especially the reluctant readers. And they can get a wealth of experiences by reading multicultural/diversity/inclusive stories.
I’m not telling kids about the educational benefits. You shouldn’t either. Shh!!! Let’s just keep them in front of our kids! Read more…
My son has a poet in residence for fourth grade. For three sessions, he’s learning to write poetry. There’s even homework assignments that he agonizes over. He’s had a poetry unit every year — in 2nd grade, he wrote a color poem based on Mary O’Neill, but this is the first year that the poetry seems to flow out of him. To encourage the poet inside him, I’m introducing books about sports that use poetry to tell the story.
Hoops by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
like a piece
of the thin long reach
of your body.
It was such a challenge to entertain all three of my kids with just one book when they were smaller given their age differences. When my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, was in first grade, age 6 with younger siblings clocking in at 4 and 2, I read them all piles of picture books. That worked really well in terms of content, but we could read 10 picture books in one sitting so I was going to the library three times a week, searching for the “good books.”
Another approach which I wish I had thought of is to read a gentle chapter book to all. I compiled a separate list for girls and boys, but, upon reflection, wanted a list to share of diversity/multicultural/inclusive chapter books that would also work for kids ages 6 and up. The plot must be riveting but the action not too scary or confusing. Read more…
It’s been such a great year for those who love both multicultural/diversity/inclusive books for kids AND novels in verse! I picked five amazing favorites that I’ve loved from this past year and hope that the popularity of these books will encourage more diversity books to be published!
What are your favorite novels in verse? Please share! Thanks!
These are the Young Adult books from the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society. Part I from the list of picture books is here and Part II of middle grade books is here.
Best Multicultural Young Adult Books for Teens
Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle
Did you know that there was an Apartheid system in Panama during the construction of the canal? Whites were paid in gold and those of color, much lower wages — in silver. Margarita Engle’s background as a botanist and agronomist is evident as she tells a story of the ecological impact of the Panama Canal as well as the Civil Rights story that is largely unknown.
I have an interview with Margarita Engle on Silver People at the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog. [novel in verse, ages 12 and up]
It was so much fun to judge the final round of the Cybils for Best Easy Reader and Early Chapter Book. I felt like our committee really pondered long and hard to come up with the winners in a multi-step process:
- We procured the books, mostly from the library (copies were sent by publishers if your library didn’t have it)
- We read all the books within about a 3 week period
- We shared notes on each book via a shared Google Doc
- We ranked the books within each category on the Google Doc
- We meet via Google Chat to discuss and choose winners (about an hour)
- The winners were written up with editing from the group
And the Cybils winners are …
Cybils 2014 Easy Reader Winner
Valarie from Jump Into a Book and I are starting series of book lists to highlight our favorite multicultural children’s books. We plan to turn this into an eBook which we will give away next January for Multicultural Children’s Book Day and sell the rest of the year to raise money for our non-profit so that we can donate more books to kids.
I’m kicking off my lists with my favorite multicultural board books for babies and toddlers. I’ve always loved board books; they are full body entertainment for babies who might explore them with their teeth and virtually indestructible for toddlers! But it was surprisingly hard to find board books with diversity and inclusive themes. I hope you like my first list!
What are your favorite multicultural board books? Please share!
This is Part 2 of the 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, for middle grade readers ages 8 and up. I haven’t read them all so I’ll use book jacket blurbs with age range to make this list more helpful for parents and teachers looking for books for kids.
Many of these chapter books deal with difficult themes like genocide, racism, and violent civil wars. Will kids and parents actually put themselves through these kinds of experiences where the protagonist goes through unimaginable hell? I hope so. These are important stories that haven’t received the attention they deserve and if kids are aware of the mistakes made by their elders in the past, perhaps this is our best hope they will not be repeated in the future.
Part I from the list of picture books are here. I will post on the best young adult books from this list at the next Kid Lit Blog Hop. Read more…