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Inspirational Role Models Books for Kids & 3 Book GIVEAWAY

Most of these books are picture book biographies but not all these books are. Yet, they still are inspirational showing that the human spirit can rise above adversity. I’m giving away of three of these books. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

Inspirational Role Models Picture Books

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness by Donnal Janell Bowman, illustrated by Daniel Minter

William Key was born into slavery in 1833 but his masters allowed him to be educated along with their children. He had a special talent in caring for injuries and illnesses of both animals and people. After the Civil War, he was a free man and set up a veterinarian clinic where he sold a medicine he formulated. He became famous for a horse that he raised from a sickly colt and taught to read. It was through kindness that his horse, Jim Key, responded, proving that animals were intelligent, capable of emotions, and willing to learn if treated well. Together, Doc Key and his horse helped to raise funds for humane organizations including the ASPCA. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddleley

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Did you know that Supreme Court justices wrote:

The nature and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.

Woman has always been dependent upon man.

Ruth really, really disagreed with this, and she happened to be one of the few law professors in the country so she went to court to fight for equal treatment of women. In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first Jewish woman justice on the Supreme Court. She never forgot the discrimination she experienced as a child, and was and continues to be a voice for equality and justice. RBG is high on my list as a role model for girls, and indeed, anyone who pursues justice for all. [picture book biography, ages 4 and up]

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My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

I’ve rounded up every book review that I could think of over the last seven years of blogging to try to compile my #WomensHistoryMonth book list below. What are your favorite books celebrating women’s achievements? Thanks for sharing!

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

My daughter  and I love this gorgeously illustrated and designed book celebrating 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world. So many of these female scientists were overlooked and not given credit for their achievements because they were women. The women of color even more so. For example, Rosalind Franklin actually discovers the structure of DNA. “James Watson and Francis Crick snuck a peak at Rosalind’s work, without her permission, and used her findings to publish their own work without giving her credit.” [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Katy Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

I love everything about this short biography picture book from the Andy Warhol inspired images to the selection of activists and trailblazers that are highlighted in this book. [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

What’s the Big Deal about the First Ladies by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Learn about the achievements of the First Ladies. Did you know that Edith Wilson helped decode secret messages during WWI? Rosalind Carter encouraged world leaders to help suffering refugees, and Laura Bush helped millions of people in Africa get medicine for AIDS. With an engaging format, this picture book is full of interesting factoids about our amazing first ladies. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

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#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Carole Boston Weatherford in Roxbury, Massachusetts last year. I was struck by her quiet elegance and dignity. Her books reflect that too.

Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes with Mia Wenjen

Carole Boston Weatherford is on the left. Ekua Holmes is on the right.

I didn’t realize how many #BlackHistoryMonth stories that would have remained largely untold if not for Carole’s work. Today, I wanted to share with you her books in honor of #BlackHistoryMonth.

#BlackHistoryMonth by Carole Boston Weatherford

The Legendary Miss Lena Horne by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Lena Horne

Lena Horne, image from Wikipedia

Lena Horne was both an legendary actress and activist, born into a well educated and high achieving family. During the Great Depression, Lena started her career at the Cotton Club as a dancer in the chorus line. Her career catapulted from there, to Broadway, headlining an all-white band, to Hollywood. During WWII, her activist side emerged in full force, which resulted in being blacklisted during McCarthy’s Red Scare. Still, Lena persisted. With a new husband, she was able to further her career to become an international star, and use her fame in the fight for civil rights. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Congo Square New Orleans

Congo Square, U.S. National Register of Historic Places, image from Wikipedia

“Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square.” The back story of the birth of jazz in New Orleans: because Louisiana was a French colony, then a Spanish colony, even slaves had Sunday off from work. In most states, African drums and music were banned. But once a week at Congo Square in New Orleans, hundreds of slaves and free blacks would congregate, play music, and dance. Told in simple rollicking rhyme, this picture book is exuberant as it is informational about a little known story that expresses a human’s capacity to find hope and joy even in the most difficult circumstances. And this resulted in the birth of jazz, America’s only original art form. Carole Boston Weatherford’s books are all exceptional. Both she and illustrator R. Gregory Christie are Coretta Scott King Honorees. Freedom in Congo Square is one of my (accurate) Caldecott picks. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

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Nobel Peace Prize Winners Picture Books

9 People Who Changed The World: Nobel Peace Prize Picture Books

It surprises me that only a few of the Nobel Peace Prize recipients are represented in picture books for children. I was able to find these nine people who changed the world and, in doing so, received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some the picture books are biographies, others are their own books reflecting their philosophies but presented to children. Perfect, right? I hope it inspires a new generation of activists who believe they can change the world. Because I know that they can. 

9 People Who Changed The World:

Great Picture Book Biographies of Nobel Peace Prize Winners

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Is Coco Chanel a Real Person?

Is Coco Chanel a Real Person?

PickyKidPix who is now in 8th grade surprised me with this question: Is Coco Chanel a real person? First of all, how does she even know about Chanel? I think she watches too many YouTube beauty bloggers. And secondly, how strange that she only knows Chanel as a brand name because in fact, she knew Chanel by the handbags and make up.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel, 1920. Wikipedia

I just happened upon this picture book at the library and gave it to my daughter who was delighted to read it.

Coco and the Little Black Dress by Annemarie Van Haeringen Read more…

Fannie Mae Hamer Book event

Meeting Voices of Freedom: The Fannie Mae Hamer Author and Illustrator

It was an honor and a thrill to meet author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes of Voices of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Did you know that Voices of Freedom won:

  • 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
  • 2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book
  • 2016 John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner

Meeting Voices of Freedom: The Fannie Mae Hamer Author and Illustrator

The book also won a silver medal at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, a Parent’s Choice Gold Medal, and the Flora Steiglitz Straus Award for nonfiction from Bank Street College of Education. Read more…

Who Dream of Flying

10 Books for Children Who Dream of Flying

Please welcome my guest blogger today, author Carole Boston Weatherford! Her novel in verse just came out, a stunning perspective of the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen during Jim Crow WWII America. This is a family endeavor, the dramatic scratch board illustrations are by her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford.

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

… before 1940, African Americans could not become pilots in the U.S. military.

Carole Boston Weatherford’s novel in verse tells the story of the Tuskegee Airman, the pioneering African-American pilots of World War II and of life for blacks during this time. Jim Crow laws permeated the military during this time; the SS Mariposa actually had a rope to separate black soldiers from white. But it also curtailed training and leadership opportunities for African Americans, both male and female. Top brass claimed that blacks for not fit to fly.

Of the more than 400,000 pilots trained by the Civilian Pilot Training Program, only 2,000 were black; less than half of a percent. With tremendous pressure to prove their worthiness,The Tuskegee Airmen earned 900 plus medals including Distinguished Crossed, Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts. Their accomplishments paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military. [novel in verse, ages 9 and up]

She created a list of books for children who dream of taking to the skies … not unlike the pioneering aviators of the Tuskegee Institute. Need more books about flying? I have a list of female aviators: Fabulous Flying Females. What books about flying did we leave out? Thanks for sharing! Read more…

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

Top 10: Best Picture Books for Spring

You wouldn’t guess that it’s spring here in Boston given the snow we’ve been getting in April! Still, I am dreaming of spring and getting my little garden going.

These are my favorite picture books for garden inspiration. These books demonstrate that gardens can transform an environment, bring neighbors closer, and even become a political touchpoint. Ideas for Earth Day include starting a compost pile, planting a tree, or even just germinate seeds.

 

What are your favorite spring picture books? Are you planting a garden this year of any size? Please share! Read more…

African-American Pioneering Female Musicians

African-American Female Musicians Picture Books

March is Women’s History Month so I’ve started off with a video of a musician that is new to me, Hazel Dorothy Scott, a jazz prodigy who was prominent during the 1930s and 1940s. I could not find a picture book biography on her (yet) but here’s hoping that someone will write out. In the meantime, below the video I’ve rounded up picture book biographies of other women who paved the way in music. Have I missed any? Please let me know and I’ll add! Thank you!

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