Today, I’m thrilled to feature recently published books from Peachtree Publishing in anticipation of Multicultural Children’s Book Day coming up on January 31, 2021. This is my diverse book review post that I will be featuring for our celebration and adding to our 2021 Giant Linky.
I’m starting with an Unboxing Video where I visit old friends and meet new ones!
Great Diverse Books from Peachtree Publishing
Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter
This was one of my favorite picture books of 2019. In that post, I wrote, “There aren’t enough books with diversity that simply celebrate everyday life, exposing both cultural differences, but more importantly, sameness. For this family reunion, Kelly Starling Lyons shares the road trip down to the grandparents 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 who fought Jim Crow oppression, and made their dreams a reality. It’s this farm that grows cotton that has gone full circle from enslavement to entrepreneurship. It’s this family that 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]
William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad by Don Tate
This is the story of an extraordinary man, William Still, the father of the underground railroad and a coal entrepreneur who spent his life helping freedom seekers and recording their stories. He is a hidden figure in U. S. history and Don Tate brings his story to the fore, a step in rectifying the centering of Underground Railroad heroes around white abolitionists.
During the 1700s, Levin and Sidney Steel were enslaved in Maryland. At this time, Black people were free in the North but enslaved by whites in the South. Their youngest son, William, grew up hearing stories of his family’s escape from enslavement as well as his siblings who were still enslaved. As a young boy, he helped an escaped enslaved man find safety from his persecutors. William persisted to get an education and worked for an Anti-Slavery Society in Pennsylvania. It was his work here where he collected stories of those who recently found freedom. These stories, including one of his own brothers, became a book to reunite families torn about by slavery and preserve their stories. As the father of the underground railroad, William Still’s story belongs side-by-side in the annals of history alongside Harriet Tubman.
I’ve added this to my post, 5th Grade Enslavement Unit. [picture book biography, ages 6 and up]
Feast of Peas by Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
I have this picture book on my list of Picture Books set in Asia or about Asian-Americans. It’s a story for every avid gardener waiting impatiently for his or her favorite crop to ripen. This is also a story of friendship, forgiveness, and a mutual love of peas!
Every morning, Jiva works in his garden until the sun turns as red as a bride’s sari. He plants peas and other vegetables in the vegetable patch and waits for them to grow. But each time Jiva is ready to pick the peas for his feast, they’re already gone. What has happened? This original story set in India features a deliciously amusing mystery about gardening, anticipation, hard work, and generosity. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Lali’s Feather by Farhana Zia, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Lali’s Feather is part of my Top 10: Best South Asian American Children’s Books (ages 2-14).
Clever Lali! When she discovers a feather, she finds all kinds of creative uses for the plain feather that the other birds underestimated. When her feather is lost to the wind, her bird friends help her to retrieve it. What will happen next when she finds a button?! This is a great picture book about ingenuity and using your imagination. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
King & Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Someone made a mess in the neighbor’s yard and Thor is getting blamed. But can a puppy knock down a heavy trash can? King & Kayla are on the case to clear the dog’s good name. It turns out that there are other animals that ransack trashcans late at night. This is a gentle mystery series featuring a winning pair of dog and human perfect for newly independent readers. It’s featured on my Updated with #OwnVoices: New DIVERSITY Early Chapter Books list. [early chapter book, ages 7 and up]
Nina Soni: Former Best Friend by Kashmire Sheth, illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky
Nina Soni is an Indian-American girl grappling with friendship issues, a science project, and her little sister’s birthday party. She thinks her best friend Jay is mad at her because they aren’t spending time together. But when the entertainment for the party, a magician, can’t make the party, Nina and Jay use science to devise magic tricks of their own.
I love the vivid depictions of Indian cuisine and Hindi phrases sprinkled throughout to bring readers into the daily lives of an Indian-American family. Nina is a relatable character who captures your heart. Perfect for fans of Clementine, Jasmine Toguchi, Yasmin!, Lola Levine, and Ivy and Bean. [chapter book, ages 6 and up]
p.s. Related posts:
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.