I’m excited to be Skyping all day with elementary schools across the United States for World Read Aloud Day this Wednesday, Feb 5th!
I’ll be reading early versions of Sumo Joe to show kids the editing process. I will also be book talking these diverse picture books below. Finally, I’ll wrap up by taking Q and A with the students.
Diverse Picture Books for World Read Aloud Day
Nian: the Chinese New Year Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan
Chinese New Year started January 25th and we are in the Year of the Rat. The celebration lasts about fifteen days so you are still in the zone to celebrate! I have more Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year picture book recommendations and Chinese New Year activities here and here.
The Nian monster comes every spring and terrorizes Mei’s village. She lost her father and younger in years past. Because was born in the Year of the Golden Dragon, a magical warrior tells her that she has fifteen days to defeat it and gives her his cane. With it, she chases away the Nian monster banging the cane against a cooking pot.
Five days later, the Nian monster returned. This time Mei used a piece of her red robe to tie to her magical cane and fire to chase the monster away. On the tenth night, Mei knew that she needed a plan to defeat the Nian monster. Her idea was to trick the monster using a scarecrow filled with food and the magical cane. The monster choked on the cane and the magical warrior was able to capture it. They became a magnificent stone statue in the middle of the village.
And so, this is why Chinese New Year is celebrated over fifteen days using food offerings, firecrackers, red clothes, and lanterns. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Birdsong by Julie Flett (Cree-Metis)
Katherena and her mother move cross country far from the sea. Their new neighbor, Agnes, is welcoming and Katherena visits often and is inspired to draw again. As the seasons pass and Agnes gets weaker, Katherena and her mother offer their support. Katherena shares her artwork, decorating the walls of Agnes’ bedroom. Finally, Agnes passes away. Katherena’s sadness is tempered with gratitude for knowing Agnes. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter
Kelly Starling Lyons shares a road trip for a joyful family reunion with the grandparents down in the south. The importance of family is a theme that everyone can relate to, but so too is the celebration of their family history as people stolen from Africa, fought Jim Crow oppression, and made their dreams a reality. The grandparent’s farm grows cotton and is the embodiment of resilience, having gone full circle from enslavement to entrepreneurship. This family has not just survived but thrived. It is a reminder of the bonds of family and the strength that it gives. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Common Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market by Huda Essa, illustrated by Merce Tous
When Adam loses his family in the crowd, he mistakes other people who also wear traditional Muslim clothing for his parents, but they are happy to help him. It’s a book to spot similarities and differences to find that we are more alike than different. [nearly wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]
Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo by Anthony Browne
I’ve always loved the gorgeous artwork by Antony Browne. Here he is inspired by Frida Kahlo’s diaries to capture her creative mind in this imagined autobiographical story. Frida always dreamed about flying, but it was though her imagination that she soared. Because she was afflicted by polio, she always felt like an outsider. In her diaries, Browne brings to life Frida’s imaginary friend, abnd takes the reader into the young mind of one of Mexico’s most celebrated artists. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Hope you all have a wonderful World Read Aloud Day at home, in the library, or in the classroom! What will you be reading?
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More great diversity books and book lists on our Multicultural Children’s Book Day group Pinterest board. Please follow for great ideas all year!
p.s. More of my diverse book lists here:
Diverse, Multicultural, and Inclusive Book Lists for Kids and Teens
- Asian American
- Korean American
- Japanese American
- Chinese American
- South Asian American