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Diverse Children’s Books Link-up: Favorite International Book(s) for Children

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country than where you live! (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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DiverseKidLit
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We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, September 3rd and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Themes

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • September 3rd linkup: Diverse Book(s) Featuring a Character with a Disability. (Need ideas? Check out past winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards.)
  • September 17th linkup: Favorite Bilingual Book(s). Think about your favorite book or books that are published in bilingual (or multiple language) editions.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the United States (By Continent) from Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. They each share a favorite book from the five populated continents, excluding North America.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

 

Beth @ Pages and Margins
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Host for August

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

back to school

Diverse Books for Back-to-School

The voices vary. But whether it’s a girl from Iran adjusting to school in America, a deaf girl learning to incorporate her hearing aid into her school life, or a native boy attending a white school off the reservation, they all have stories to tell and perspectives to share. School isn’t the only topic addressed in any of these books, but it serves as a central space in all of these stories, as the characters work out their struggles and identities.

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel – by Firoozeh Dumas

it ain't so awful

This is the funny and heart-warming story of Zomorod, a young Iranian girl who changes her name to Cindy in order to fit into 1970s America. The Iranian hostage crisis occurs as the story progresses, forcing Cindy to confront her cultural identity in new ways. (Ages 10+)

Save Me a Seat – by Sarah Weeks and Rita Varadarajan

save me a seat

It’s the first week of 5th grade for both Ravi and Joe. Ravi was the star student in his school in India, but he can’t seem to get the hang of this new school in the US. School has always been difficult for Joe because of his auditory processing disorder, but he’s expecting this year to be even worse. A difficult first week of school unites the boys in ways they didn’t expect. (Ages 8+)

Unidentified Suburban Object – by Mike Jung

unidentified

Chloe is fed up with being the only Korean-American in her school. She’s tired of her band director comparing her to the famous Korean violinist, Abigail Yang, and she’s tired of everyone assuming that she’ll be good at math and music just because of her heritage. Her frustration and confusion isn’t helped by the fact that her parents refuse to discuss their Korean heritage. Told in Chloe’s spunky first-person voice, and ramping up into a fun sci-fi themed adventure, this book is hard to put down. (Ages 8+)

Full Cicada Moon – by Marilyn Hilton

full cicada moon

The year is 1969, and Mimi has just moved to a small town in Vermont with her Japanese mother and African-American father. Her mixed ethnicity is enough to set her apart, but she’s also a girl with stereotypically “male interests” — she’d much rather attend shop class rather than home-ec, and wants to go to the moon someday. Told in a series of narrative poems, this story is strikingly beautiful and stays in the imagination long after the book is put down. (Ages 8+)

El Deafo – by Cece Bell

el deafo

Cece lost her hearing in a childhood bout of meningitis. This is her warm and funny memoir (told in the format of a graphic novel) about what it was like to grow up and attend school with a bulky hearing aid strapped to her chest. (Ages 8+)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – by Sherman Alexie

absolutely true diary

When Junior decides to attend a mostly white school that’s off of his reservation, he’s almost immediately confronted by the issue of his split identity. The other members of his native tribe consider him a traitor and white-lover for attending the new school, and his classmates single him out as the only Indian in the school. Written in a strong, robust voice, and dealing with issues of racism, poverty, and alcoholism in a realistic yet compassionate way, this book is a powerful addition to the conversation around diversity. The book doesn’t shy away from confronting difficult subject matter, and is recommended for ages 12+.

 

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Diverse Children’s Books Link-up: Back to School Edition

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Diverse Books for Back to School. Please consider writing and sharing your favorite books either about school / back to school or that might make a great read aloud during those first few weeks of school. (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are still 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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DiverseKidLit
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We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, August 6th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Themes

Our theme for the current linkup (beginning Aug. 6th) is Diverse Books for Back to School. Themes are a suggestion only, all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • August 20th linkup: Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country!
  • September 3rd linkup: Diverse Book(s) Featuring a Character with a Disability. (Need ideas? Check out past winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards.)

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #DiverseKidLit linkup comes from author Gayle H. Swift: The Essential Life Lessons We Must Teach Children. Gayle shares her thoughts about some of the most important lessons we teach children, as well as a detailed review of two great books to use with kids. This is a useful resource for teachers and parents alike!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest 

Beth @ Pages and Margins
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Host for August

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #diversekidlit Recommendations on Pinterest!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

 

books and suitcase

A Reading Life: {Guest Post} Reading: A Time and a Place

Reading: A Time and a Place

by Danielle Young

It’s a universal experience, isn’t it? The way that a smell or sound can instantly transport you back in time. The smell of cinnamon and apple cider takes you back to Christmas at Grandma’s, or the smell of nail polish reminds you of getting ready for high school prom. We’ve all had that experience.

I’m sure that the readers among us can attest to a similar tie between books we’ve read and the times and places we’ve read them.

I’ve always been a reader, one who grew up among readers. We had more books than space in my childhood home, but it was cozy to be surrounded by so many opportunities for adventure. Even as a kid, I drew strong emotional connections between the story being read and the situation I was in at the time.

Dr. Seuss’s Oh Say Can You Say? belongs on the lap of my mom, snuggled back in the corner of the gray-beige couch. I fingered the fraying threads—pulled loose by a family cat—on the couch’s right arm, and giggled as my mom huffed and puffed and mock-muddled her way through the silly rhymes of bottles and beetles and battles.

And Charlie on the Chocolate Factory belongs to my dad’s lap, and his old leather chair, a hand-me-down from a great-grandfather I barely remembered. Behind me, my dad is firmer than my mom—less silly, more serious, but delighted in Dahl’s dark humor and full of animation as he performed the parts of Augustus, Veruca, Violet and Mike.

The Chronicles of Narnia—all of them, read quickly, back-to-back—belong on the couch under the front window in blazing hot summertime. I wore a tank top and pajama shorts. The front door was propped open by a steady stream of the air conditioner installation crew and the hope that this would finally be the day they got it working. The Narnians wanted Christmas—I just wanted a breeze.

I first met The Hobbit on a plane ride to India. I made friends and learned about a foreign culture while I traveled; and I watched dwarves and a wily little hobbit defeat an evil dragon. The hope of doing the impossible still lingers when I think about the struggles faced in the region where my Indian friends live.

In college, after dark and long hike through some hills, lying flat on the rocky soil and bundled in a sweatshirt and blanket, with the heads of six friends clustered in a circle over our books and the lamplight, we took turns reading aloud—and there is Homer’s Odyssey. I don’t remember the details of the story, but I remember being cold and having to pee, and the thrill I felt when the story swung upward just as the sun peaked over the horizon.

I met Anna Karenina at camp, the summer before I moved out of my parents’ home and considered myself a “real” adult. Anna warned me to be true: be true to who I am, yes, but hold on to the Truth more firmly than ever.

In Italy, the local bookstore had one shelf of English books, and so I spent the end of a three week trip sprawled in front of a window fan reading half a dozen Nicholas Sparks books. The Von Trapp Family Singers are on a bus in Greece, when I could stay awake long enough to make sense of what I was reading. Louise Penny belongs at my in-laws’, where Small Town, Utah mirrors Three Pines, and John Green is in a guest house on the Central Coast, with my babies napping on the other side of the door and me worrying that someday they will be teenagers.

Isn’t that one of the amazing things about stories? The authors wrote them in a certain time and place, and shared them with me, and the stories became a part of my life. My college days are inextricably tied to Homer, just as Roald Dahl shaped my childhood. And the stories that have become part of me continue to share themselves: I will share with my children the stories that spoke loudest to me, and in turn, those stories become a part of our home and are woven in my children’s life stories.

Not every book belongs somewhere—many, probably most, fade into distant memory without a clear emotional connection to the place. But sometimes—the right book and the right place collide, and the two become inseparable.

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danielleDanielle Young lives in California with her husband, kindergartener son and preschool-aged daughter. In between working full-time with homeschool parents and raising her own littles, Danielle blogs at SensibleWhimsy.com, where she writes about homeschooling, parenting, and, of course, reading.

 

 

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Interested in being a guest blogger for A Reading Life? Submit your ideas here.

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Diverse Children’s Books Link-up {July 16-August 5}

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

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, August 6th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Theme Idea for August

We thought it might be fun to try having a suggested theme for the next linkup. Those who are interested in participating in the theme would have from now until the next linkup (August 6th) to write a post based around the theme and then share it with the rest of us. You do not have to focus on a given theme to participate in the linkup, but we thought it might encourage folks to explore and share new diverse books.

The theme for the August 6th linkup is … Diverse Books for Back to School. Please consider sharing a favorite book (or books) either about school / back to school or that might make a great read aloud during those first few weeks of school. We look forward to seeing your choices!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #DiverseKidLit linkup comes from Acorn BooksChicken Man by Michelle Edwards. This book is the winner of a National Jewish Book Award and tells the story of a character named Rody, nicknamed Chicken Man, and how his joy in his work makes everyone on the kibbutz want to try his job next. Make sure you read to the end of the post for an incredibly-tasty looking recipe for Teigelach cookies.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

To link-up, press the button below!

Zora

A Reading Life: {Guest Post} Barbara and Zora

Barbara and Zora: Reflections on Reading as Tribute

by Whitney Lorraine

My grandmother left small town North Carolina when her family realized that her big mouth was going to get her killed one day. Grandma asked too many questions for a short dark skinned black woman in the South. She spoke out of turn. She was too smart for her own good. Knowing her, she probably held gazes instead of looking away.

She left for the city— Fayetteville— to get her college degree, before following her military man to Washington DC. There, she earned her master’s degree at American University, concentrating in Special Education. Strict, patient, and determined, she taught behaviorally challenged children for over 30 years before retiring.

I was no match for her. Bright yet rebellious, I attempted to reject everything she taught. Attempted being the operative word. She refused to buy digital clocks and watches until I learned how to properly tell time. She refused to give me the 5 cents when I failed to calculate tax on a candy bar. She charted my good days on the fridge, and took me to the movies when they began to outnumber the bad days. Kudos Grandma, for sitting through The Ring while I kept my face covered throughout the majority of the film.

When I discovered books, it was Grandma who would spend hours with me at Borders bookstore (Rest in Peace Borders), when I couldn’t decide between the latest “I’m a witch discovering my powers in high school” and “the new boy in school is really hot but has a secret” books. As a teenager, she was the person who drove in the dark when I absolutely had to pick up Deathly Hallows at midnight.  She cultivated my intellectual development while others emphasized my athletic ability.

When she passed, two cancers simultaneously overtaking her body, I searched her home for something I could take with me. Her modest estate wouldn’t be released for months following, but I was looking for something with more sentimental value than monetary. Walking around the house in her plush white cotton robe, my gaze settled on a bookshelf near the door to the garage.

Moses, Man of the Mountain. Seraph on the Suwanee. Their Eyes Were Watching God.

There were more, but those were the three I took. Taking more felt less like picking a token and more like the beginnings of clearing her home.

Now, these three books sit together on my bookshelf, an altar to a woman who quite literally taught me everything I know.  I’ve made a pact to myself to spend her birth month—August—familiarizing myself with Zora Neale Hurston’s work as my own personal tribute. I’ll finish these three, interspersing them with her poems and short stories, before moving on to Mules and Men, which was left on the shelf in North Carolina.

I like to think she saw herself in these books. Perhaps somewhere in Hurston’s accented dialogue are echoes of our family in North Carolina.  But I also like to think she saw herself in a bold and unyielding woman like Zora Neale Hurston— maybe in reading more of Zora, I’ll find that I have Barbara on my bookshelf too.

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whitneyWhitney Lorraine is a 20-something book reviewer and blogger at Brown Books & Green Tea, where she focuses on diverse literature. Born and raised in Maryland with roots in the Bahamas, she’s hopelessly devoted to seafood, tea, and rum. She’s also quite friendly, so hit her up on Twitter or Instagram with great book recommendations!

 

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Interested in being a guest blogger for A Reading Life? Submit your ideas here.

reading statue

A Reading Life: {Guest Post} The Influence of Books in Early Childhood

The Influence of Books in Early Childhood

by Katie Fitzgerald

During the past few months, I have read two wonderful vintage books about the influence of reading on families with young children. Annis Duff’s Bequest of Wings (1944) is a lovely reflection on her family’s relationship to all different books as her children grew from infancy to adolescence. Drawing on her training as a children’s librarian, Duff provides recommendations of favorite books for others to enjoy as well as anecdotes about her children’s conversations and make believe games inspired by those books. In Books Before Five (1954), another children’s librarian, Dorothy White, shares the diary she kept in the first five years of her daughter’s life. Here she has carefully documented each book her daughter enjoyed and the impact of these titles on the young girl’s imagination and worldview.

My daughters, who will turn one and three this Fall, are the children of two librarians, and they have both been surrounded by books since birth. I have always recognized the importance of reading to children, and the positive influence it can have on a child’s development of language. What I did not realize, however, is how delightful it would be to see the more personal influence of books on my individual children’s lives. Thanks in part to Duff and White, I have been paying close attention lately to how the books I and my husband share with our older daughter infiltrate her play, her conversation, and her understanding of the world. What I am learning is that books do much more during early childhood than prepare a child for independent reading; in truth, they help a child build up her own relationship to the world.

Books enrich a child’s vocabulary. The most obvious way books have influenced my daughter is by building up her vocabulary. From books, she has learned to say “I scraped my patella” when she skins her knee, and that grasshoppers breathe through spiracles. She doesn’t just push a basket across the room, she gives it a “mighty heave” a la the animals in Mr. Gumpy’s Motor Car, and thanks to a National Geographic easy reader, she knows that owls “swoop and snatch” their prey. On Fourth of July weekend, when we went to see fireworks, she said, “I wish every day could be the Fourth of July!” quoting a favorite character from her Highlights High Five magazine. Books give her words that the average adult doesn’t use every day, and she incorporates them into her own daily speech in unique and surprising ways.

Books help a child make sense of the world. It is always easier to learn something new when you can build upon knowledge already established. Books have given my daughter background knowledge in everything from the work of firefighters, to the clothing we wear in the winter, to how to interact with a new baby. When she sees a firetruck, she recognizes it because “that’s what Dot the Fire Dog rides on!” Thanks to a poem from Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young called “The Mitten Song” she knows exactly where to place her thumb and fingers when putting on mittens to play in the snow. And the many big sister books we bought and borrowed when her baby sister was born last September gave her the confidence to assume her big sister role with great aplomb. It is also much easier to explain new concepts to a child who has been read a variety of books, as there is always something on which to hang the new information. I have used Stanley the Mailman to explain to her what the mail carrier in our neighborhood is doing each day, and nonfiction easy readers have helped prepare her for seeing fireworks, going to a baseball game, seeing the doctor, playing a piano at her grandmother’s house, and attending a birthday party.

Books inspire a child’s imagination. My daughter’s make believe world, which is frequently brought to life on the living room floor with blocks and peg dolls, is a mishmash of the many characters, authors, and themes she has first encountered in books. For a while, she was calling one of her baby dolls “Maurice Sendak” after the beloved author of Where the Wild Things Are. After reading The Relatives Came, she suddenly became insistent that peg dolls of certain colors all be addressed as “uncle,” and she announced periodically that her toy cars were headed to Virginia. At the park, clumps of trees become “the forest” and passing dogs might be identified as Harry (Harry the Dirty Dog), George (Bark, George), or Willie (Whistle for Willie.) Her rubber ducks are sometimes called by names from Make Way for Ducklings (Jack, Kack Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and/or Quack), and she frequently reenacts dramatic scenes from The Tub People and The Pea Patch Jig, complete with entire sections of dialogue lifted from the books. Because hearing stories has allowed her to look in on experiences she has not had in her own life, her pretend play is complex and nuanced in a way that it could not be without books.

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katieKatie Fitzgerald is a trained children’s librarian, author of Story Time Success: A Practical Guide for Librarians (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), and blogger at storytimesecrets.blogspot.com. She lives in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, with her academic librarian husband and two daughters.

 

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Interested in being a guest blogger for A Reading Life? Submit your ideas here.