• 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 5 Amazing Multicultural Novels in Verse and the Kid Lit Blog Hop

    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 […]

  • What Do Muslims Really Want Anyway?! 17 Books on Muslim World for Kids

    Please welcome my guest poster today, author Elsa Marston who is my resident Middle Eastern Children’s literature go to! She has a list of recommended books for kids and teens at the bottom of the post. ———— Lately we’ve been reading about terrorist actions by Muslims in Europe and other places, events that have again […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Alouds for 4th Grade

    Fourth grade at my elementary school marks a really interesting immigration unit that introduced my kids to their first group project experience. They learned, the hard way, about freeloaders but the end result was a “Wax Museum” where each child played a wax statue that, when prompted by dropping in a fake coin in a […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade

    I chose a collection of some of my favorite chapter books and picture books for second grade read alouds. Truth be told, I don’t really remember exactly what books my kids were read to in the classroom during 2nd grade. For some reason, it’s drawing a blank at our house. Second grade at our elementary […]

  • Top 10 Life Skills Kids Need Before College

    My book list of Top 10 Books to Teach Kids to Be More Responsible made me start to think about life skills that kids need before going off to college. That and the fact that my oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, will be starting high school next fall so we have only 4 years to tackle this […]

  • Get Kids Reading Strategies: 12 Surefire Ways

    I searched five years of digital photographs looking for photos of my kids reading and I only came up with the handful here. Why? It’s not easy getting kids reading, especially to love reading enough that they choose it over more exciting things like screens, playdates or sports! I started my blog after my oldest […]

  • 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 3rd Grade

    I had the great fortune to meet The Nerdy Book Club founders at a dinner for Anne Ursu hosted by Walden Pond Press to celebrate her latest chapter book, The Real Boy. (It’s wonderful. I put it on my  Newbery 2014 Contenders list! And it just won a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdie). Colby Sharp, one of […]

  • 23 Great Picture Books for 5th Grade

    A reader asked me for a list of picture books appropriate for 4th and 5th grade. I wasn’t sure myself. Sure, there are advanced picture books but does the list have to hit the Core Curriculum agenda? Don’t 4th and 5th graders want to read solely chapter books, having left picture books behind in 1st […]

Native American Folklore by Native Americans

Native American Folklore & Creation Stories by Native Americans

You might have missed the drama caused when Nancy Bo Flood was invited to join the “Indigenous Experience in Children’s Literature” panel. Native American children’s book blogger, Debbie Reese objected:

“As regular readers of AICL know, I’ve been studying the ways Native peoples are depicted in children’s literature for decades. In that time, I’ve come to know the work of many people who–like Flood–are not Native, but write books about Native peoples. Amongst that body of White writers, there are many instances in which the writer has done particularly egregious things.”

Her objection is well said. The United States was founded on Native American genocide, with their lands taken away, their treaties violated, and their cultural heritage stolen through forced a boarding school system. In my opinion, it’s not right that their stories are stolen or “retold” by non-Native Americans unless there is explicit permission from the specific tribe.

To the best of my ability, I make this Native American folklore list as part of my Folk Tales series with books by just Native American authors. What am I missing? Thanks for your help.

p.s. My other Folk Tales posts include:

15 Great Korean Folk Tales for Kids

Filipino Folk Tales

21 Wonderful Japanese Folk Tales for Kids

Hawaiian Folk Tales and Children’s Books

 

Native American Folklore & Creation Stories by Native Americans

Beaver Steals Fire: A Salish Coyote Story told by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, illustrated by Sam Sandoval

“This story represents thousands of years of oral tradition. In Beaver Steals Fire, fire is a gift from the Creator brought by the animal beings for human beings who are yet to come.” from Acknowledgements

“For those who use this book in the classroom, this story should be read or discussed only during winter when snow in on the ground. The elders usually bring out the stories in November and put them away again when the snow is gone. It is said that snakes will come to those who do not follow this custom or that cold weather will come during the warm months.” from A Note to the Reader

Since I do not want to disrespect the Salish and Kootenai traditions, and this is July, I am not reading the book as snow is not on the ground here in Boston and I certainly don’t wish for cold weather to come sooner than it already does. Please enjoy this book at the first snowfall. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Crossing Bok Chitto: A Choctaw Tale of Friendship & Freedom by Tim Tingle (a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), illustrated by Jeanne Rorex Bridges (an artist of Cherokee ancestry)

Crossing Bok Chitto is a tribute to the Choctaws — and Cherokees and Creeks and Chickasaws and Seminoles — and Indians of every nation who aided the runaway people of bondage. from A Note on Choctaw Storytelling in the backmatter

In the days before the Trail of Tears, the river Bok Chitto was a boundary, separating the Choctaws from the Mississippi plantation owners. This river was the line between slavery and freedom for their slaves. When Martha Tom, a young Choctaw crossed the river in search of blackberries, she met Little Mo, a young black slave who helps her find her way home. Their friendship continued as the years passed, Martha Tom crossing Bok Chitto on her way to church and sitting with Little Mo’s family. When Little Mo’s mother was to be sold, Little Mo had a plan. His family, with the help of the Choctaws, would cross to freedom. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Following the singing of the Treaty of the Dancing Rabbit Creek in September of 1830, the government forced thousands of Choctaws from their homes in Mississippi. The Choctaws began the trek to Indian Territory, thus becoming the first travelers on the Trail of Tears. from Choctaws Today: Two Properous Nations, One Strong People in the backmatter

Read more…

Diversity, Inclusion & #Activate4Autism Movement

Diversity, Inclusion & #Activate4Autism Movement

Please welcome, Jodi Murphy of Geek Club Books, with today’s pots on #Activate4Autism movement.

———–

“When we speak about diversity and inclusion, it’s important to include everyone in our community, and that includes those on the autism spectrum. I activate my voice for autism.”

I’m speaking out for diversity and inclusion for all. For the last 3 years, I’ve participated in Multicultural Children’s Book Day because, like its founders Mia and Valerie, I believe that children must be able to find themselves in the books they read. Beyond seeing diversity in literature, I want to see inclusiveness spread into every aspect of our culture, especially for those on the autism spectrum.

Chances are someone in your community or social network is on the autism spectrum. You may not be aware of the challenges they face. Most grow up with a sense of shame because they’ve been stereotyped, judged as strange, and often bullied for being different. If you have a loved one with autism, you know how important it is that we help the public gain a deeper understanding of the autism experience. Read more…

Marc Gargaro boxing trainer for US National Elite Team

HOW TO COACH GIRLS Progress Report

We are so thrilled to have fifteen coaches lending their wisdom to How To Coach Girls. The lineup of coaches is below. After the interviews were conducted, two of these coaches received recognition:

Acacia Walker, Head Coach of Women’s Lacrosse, Boston College was named NCAA Division 1 Women’s Lacrosse Coach of the year!

Marc Gargaro, Boxing Trainer, Nonantum Boxing Club was selected as a national coach for both the men’s and women’s USA Boxing Elite National Team that competes in the Pan Am and Olympic games.

Marc Gargaro boxing trainer for US National Elite Team

With 70% of kids quitting organized sports by age 13 and girls quitting at six times the rate than boys, it’s clear the the priority for coaches and parents is to keep their girls in sport!

The benefits of sports for girls are numerous: higher self esteem, higher high school graduation rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, less issues with body image, travel opportunities, overcoming adversity, setting and reaching goals, making new friends, and fitness for life.

We hope our book will help parents feel confident to volunteer as coaches, and coaches to feel like they have a resource that has practical ideas for creating team chemistry and keeping girls engaged in sport.

Ainslee Lamb on how to keep girls in sport:

And now for our lineup of coaches:

Fabian (Fabe) Ardila, President at MGA Sports Inc., and High Performance Court Coach, USA Volleyball

Fabian (Fabe) Ardila has coached volleyball for almost 30 years. In addition to having held the position of Assistant Coach for Harvard University, he has coached high school volleyball for both boys and girls at Newton South, Wellesley, Sacred Heart, and Weston High Schools. He currently coaches at the club level for Smash Volleyball, as well as at his own club, MGA. For the U.S.A. Women’s National Volleyball Team, Fabe was a coach for the setters who competed at the Rio Olympics under Coach Karch Kiraly. He is currently working at U.S.A. Volleyball with high performance athletes, training future Olympians. Last, but certainly not least, he coached his three daughters who all play at an advanced level.

How to Coach Girls Read more…

#MistressOfAllEvil

#MistressOfAllEvil Prize Pack GIVEAWAY!

I’ve partnered with Disney Hyperion for this Mistress of All Evil Giveaway. They are supplying the prize package.

Why does Maleficent curse the innocent princess? What led to her becoming so filled with malice, anger, and hatred? Many tales have tried to explain her motives. Here is one account, pulled down from the many passed down through the ages. It is a tale of love and betrayal, of magic and reveries.

It is a tale of the Mistress of All Evil.

Are you excited for the fourth book in this series? I’m giving away a prize pack that includes all four books and a color changing branded mug! Read more…

FREE Classroom Empathy Kit: Immigration & Refugees

FREE Classroom Empathy Kit: Immigration & Refugees

Our FREE Classroom Empathy Kit is ready to download and share!

As our fifth Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday approaches on January 27, 2018, we are thrilled to present our second Classroom Kit for teachers, librarians, parents, and guardians.

Our 2017 Multicultural Children’s Book Day Classroom Kindness Kit is here.

Our 2018 Classroom Empathy Kit has a special poster from award-winning author Juana Medina. This kit’s emphasis is on understanding the immigrants and refugee experience and includes a booklist along with some excellent activity ideas. Read more…

Picture Books That Celebrate Working Together & 2 Signed Book GIVEAWAY!

Picture Books That Celebrate Working Together & 2 Signed Book GIVEAWAY!

I fell in love with Finding Wild when I first read it. It was lauded by a lot of picture book bloggers and Instagramers that I follow, so it caught my eye. I hunted it down at my local book store, and I thought it was such a gem. It captured childhood and adventuring in a sweet, gentle way. It’s the idyllic childhood that we all dream about.

Now, the author and illustrator of Finding Wild are back with another picture books that captures the small joys and adventures of childhood: fort-building. I haven’t read it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

 

Fort-Building Time by Megan Wagner Lloyd, illustrated by Abigail Halpin

From the creators of Finding Wild, a new picture book that follows the changing of the seasons and is as cozy as a fort.

Author Megan Wagner Lloyd is here today, sharing her 10 favorite picture books that celebrate working together. It won’t surprise you that her list includes other sweet and gentle adventures of friendships both new and old.

We are giving away 2 signed copies of Fort-Building Time! Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.

10 Picture Books That Celebrate Working Together

10. Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

In this classic picture book, kids build their own pretend town called Roxaboxen. One thing I love about this story is that it shows how the line between work and play can be so fine for kids. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

9. Colette’s Lost Pet by Isabelle Arsenault

This sweet new picture book shows a group of neighborhood kids coming together to help Colette find her lost pet. In a darling twist, it doesn’t seem to matter to the kids that Colette never had a pet to begin with—they’re ready to be her friends! [picture book, ages 3 and up]

Read more…

Asian Culture Series: Asian Crafts and Activities & 2 Book GIVEAWAY

Asian Culture Series: Asian Crafts and Activities & 2 Book GIVEAWAY

I’m excited to announce a quarterly series with Debbi Michiko Florence, author of early chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi! We want to highlight Asian culture in a way that kids can relate to and that means … hands-on activities, food they can help prepare and eat, and a book list!

Mia Wenjen and Debbi Michiko Florence

We have crafted a series of six topics, one per quarter for the next year and a half, that explore Asian culture in a fun way: Asian New Year, Asian Drumming, Pink Flamingo Day, Picnic & Scavenger Hunt, Snow Statues and Sumo! We hope you will enjoy this series!

To kick of this series, we are also giving away two of Debbi Michiko Florence’s Jasmine Toguchi books. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom.

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Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit #ownvoices Linky

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is #ownvoices. The #ownvoices hashtag was created to draw attention to diverse authors and illustrators who are creating books that honor their own heritage and experiences. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

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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