asian-american, black lives, book list, hispanic, social-emotional

List: Moving to a New Home

Goodbye House, Hello House (Blue Dot Kids Press)
Written by Margaret Wild
Illustrated by Ann James

For ages: 3-7
Emma is moving from a home in the country to one in the city. The rhythmic prose follows the girl as she notes all the last things she does in the only house she’s ever known. When she arrives at her new home, she does the opposite, recognizing a whole host of firsts. The symmetry of the narratives makes it perfect for comparing and contrasting or talking about accepting change healthily. Ann James’s illustrations feel like a child’s crayons or watercolor paints, letting colors bleed over lines.

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black lives, hispanic, social-emotional

Author Spotlight: Christian Robinson

Christian Robinson grew up in situations very similar to the characters in the stories he illustrates. He grew up in Los Angeles, raised by his grandmother in a one-bedroom home shared by six people. Christian credits his high school art teacher, Elizabeth Kim, as his greatest influence in working full-time in the visual arts. She helped him build a portfolio and even drove him to college campuses for tours and interviews. At first, Christian wanted to pursue animation. Ben Butcher, an writer/illustrator, made adaptations of Disney films that helped mentor the young man in this new medium. Additionally, Christian’s boyfriend is a 4th-grade teacher and has helped the artist interview children in pieces used in the books’ trailers. One of the lessons I see from Christian’s life and his work is the importance of community & mentorship. Everyone needs a helping hand, and in turn, they should be that for someone else in the future.

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black history, culture, disabilities, hispanic, illustration, social-emotional

Book List: Our Beautiful Hair

Happy to Be Nappy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Written by bell hooks
Illustrated by Chris Raschka

For ages: 1-5
This board book is not your typical baby lit. Instead, it’s taken from the words of noted author bell hooks and celebrates the beauty of Black hair. Hooks provides beautifully descriptive language to talk about her hair, comparing it to the fluffiness of cotton, frizzy, fuzzy, and able to be styled in a seemingly endless number of ways. Hair is evoked as a method of bonding. Mothers & daughters spending time together. The illustrations by Chris Raschka evoke the crayon drawings of a young child for whom this book is intended, playful stick figures with colors going outside the lines. While appearing simple from the outside, Happy to Be Nappy is a beautiful celebration of Black hair and its many styles and presentations.

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african, arabic, book list, culture, hispanic, social studies, social-emotional

Book List: Refugee Stories

It’s calculated that at least 26.4 million people worldwide are classified as refugees, but the number of people displaced as a whole is closer to 83 million right now. If you live in North America or Europe, your life has been touched by these people seeking a safe place to live their lives. To not have the refugee experience represented in your school or classroom library is to do a disservice to the children coming in and out of your classroom. Adults often have the most difficult time getting outside of their comfort zone, and we see it so often with the most pressing human rights issues of our day. Children who are refugees and the children of refugees have a right to be seen in the literature they and their peers are reading. I hope you find some great selections here that you can add to your stacks.

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culture, fairy tales, hispanic, science fiction

Middle Grade Must-Reads: The Last Cuentista

The Last Cuentista (Levine Quierdo)
Written by Donna Barba Higuera

For ages: 9-14
Halley’s Comet has become a threat to humanity, barreling towards Earth. Scientists have determined it will impact and destroy the planet. So adolescent Petra Peña’s family was chosen to join one of three space arks leaving to restart human civilization on the distant unpopulated world humans have named Sagan. During this journey, all the scientists and their families will be put into stasis, frozen as they are, and given vast quantities of knowledge over the centuries it will take to reach Sagan. Another group of people have been chosen to maintain the stasis pods and will teach this to their children and on and on until the grand day arrives. While it is heartbreaking to leave Earth behind, everyone has hopes for this new chance.

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