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!

A Reading Life: {Guest Post} Surprised by Reading

Surprised by Reading

by Laila Archer

Like all voracious, life-long readers, my reading life has taken some twists and turns. Certain things have remained consistent throughout the years.  For instance, I’ve loved mysteries since discovering Nancy Drew, Cam Jansen, and Encyclopedia Brown as a child.  I’ve also kept a record for years of what I read, both in a paper book journal and on Goodreads.  

Other things about my reading life have changed over time.  There was the time in my early 20s when I had mono and couldn’t read for weeks because it was simply too taxing.  (Simply staring at the wall was too taxing.)  Like many Gen X-ers, I had my “chick-lit” phase in my mid-twenties.  (Those Red Dress Ink books were favorites of mine.)  Then, in what shouldn’t have been surprising but was, reading my first book after my son was born took me six weeks.  Finishing it felt like a victory, as if my identity (which was obliterated by new motherhood) was slowly returning.

In the past couple of years, however,  I’ve found that my reading life has zigged and zagged into uncharted territory, and I couldn’t be more pleased.  For basically my whole life I told myself that I didn’t read fantasy or science fiction, with the exception of the Harry Potter series.  And then everyone at my favorite bookish website, Book Riot, started talking about Jeff VanderMeer’s Area X Trilogy.  I was intrigued.  It sounded like a cross between The X-Files and Lost, two of my all-time favorite television shows.  I started reading the first book, Annihilation, and was utterly enthralled.  I devoured the other two in the series as soon as they were published, and just like that, I was a self-proclaimed fantasy/sci-fi reader.

I just started listening to podcasts late last year.  I had just assumed that I didn’t have time for podcasts.  Why would I take time to listen to something when I could be reading, right?  Then I heard that two of my favorite authors, Jess Walter and Sherman Alexie, were hosting their own podcast called A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment.  I decided to give it a try.  It was funny, moving, and just plain interesting, and BAM!  I was a podcast person.  I discovered that I could find time to listen to them while I was doing mundane tasks, like laundry, or dishes, or getting ready for work – time I wouldn’t have been reading anyway.  It’s been so much fun to continue to explore the infinite world of podcasts – mostly bookish ones, of course!           

But by far the biggest change in my reading life has been becoming a book blogger.  A few years ago I never would have envisioned myself writing about books, and having other people regularly read what I write about books!  What started as a way for me to have an outlet for expressing my love of reading has evolved into a beautiful connection with other passionate readers.  I had no idea when I began just over 18 months ago that there were so many book blogs out there, and that you people were all so darn nice!  I love building relationships with other readers.  That has definitely been the most pleasant surprise of my reading life journey.    

So now I’m a fantasy-reading, podcast-listening book blogger.  I can’t even begin to predict how my reading tastes will change in the future, and this really excites me.  The past two years have shown me that I am a dynamic individual, capable of far more than I previously thought.  They’ve shown me the value of curiosity, of following that little nudge inside that says, “Now that’s interesting.”  I’ve realized that we are often held back only by the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves.  It’s time to start testing some more of my half-baked notions, like, “I can’t cook,” or “I don’t ride bikes.”  As reading has reminded me over and over, it’s time to tell some new stories.   

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Laila
Laila Archer is the wife of a strictly nonfiction reader husband, mom to a very active five year old boy, and works as a Senior Branch Assistant at a small public library in Knoxville, Tennessee.  She loves Bruce Springsteen, the What Should I Read Next? podcast, and obsessively fiddling with her Goodreads TBR.  You can find her bookish thoughts at bigreadinglife.wordpress.com and on Twitter @rosewatercandy.

 

 

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

Diverse Children’s Books Link-up {June 18-July 1}

Diverse Children’s Books is a new 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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We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, July 2nd and on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most clicked post from our previous #diversekidlit is 2016 Américas Award Winning Children’s Books by Svenja at Colours of Us. She provides a brief description of each of the winners, finalists, and commended titles from this year’s awards announcement. The Américas Award is a great resource for incredible books about Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the US.

#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.)

Diversity in Verse Novels – Part I

I love verse novels. (If you’re not familiar with the genre, they are books written entirely as a series of narrative poems. It’s becoming more common, particularly in the middle grade fiction world.) There’s an immediacy to the language in verse novels that’s striking, and an intimacy in the characters that’s hard to ignore. I usually come away feeling like I truly know the characters, and I find myself missing them when I put down the book.

I find the intimacy and strong narrative voice of verse novels is particularly compelling to me when I pick up a book about someone who comes from a very different background than I do. It helps me to understand. It helps me to feel as if I’ve been in the character’s world and can relate to where he or she is coming from. It gives me empathy with those around me.

As I’ve explored the world of verse novels that feature characters from diverse backgrounds, I’ve found a few that have struck me as truly exceptional. Here are some of my favorites:

Inside Out and Back Again – by Thanhha Lai

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Ten-year-old Ha is forced to leave her beloved home in Saigon due to the upheaval of the Vietnam War. Her journey leads her onto a crowded refugee ship, and eventually to a bewildering new home in Alabama. Her perspective is honest, poignant, and often funny, and the book is filled with a variety of cultural interactions — some beautiful and powerful, and others downright heart-breaking.  I found this book to be rich and complex, and it’s one that keeps coming to mind when I interact with people coming to the United States from other countries.

Enchanted Air – by Margarita Engle

enchanted air

This beautifully written memoir describes the author’s childhood as the daughter of a Cuban mother and an American father, living in the US during the Cold War. The writing is stunning, and the insights into the experience of belonging to two cultures are fascinating. I was particularly struck by the descriptions of the lush beauty of Cuba, the feeling of between-ness in navigating two cultures, and the fear and isolation as Cuba and the United States discontinued diplomatic relations. I found this book to be particularly poignant since I was reading it when President Obama became the first American president to travel to Cuba since 1928.

Blue Birds – by Caroline Starr Rose

blue birds

This lovely book follows the beautiful, unlikely friendship between Alis, a member of the European settlement on Roanoke Island in 1587, and Kimi, a native Roanoke girl. The book goes back and forth between poems from Alis’ perspective and those from Kimi’s, giving insight into the difficulties of language and cultural barriers, and how the two girls overcome their differences. The poetry is beautiful, the history is well researched, and the story is compelling.

House Arrest – by K.A. Holt

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Twelve-year-old Timothy is on probation. Not because he’s a bad kid, but because he’s desperate. His younger brother has serious health issues, his mom is single, and there just isn’t enough money to do what they need to. So Timothy resorted to stealing, to help his family. Timothy’s voice is powerful and raw — not what I usually expect from verse novels — and it comes through with force and vitality. This is not an easy story. My heart broke for Timothy as I read it. It was truly moving, and wrapped up in a way that was real but satisfying.

Full Cicada Moon – by Marilyn Hilton

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The year is 1969, and Mimi has just moved to a small town in Vermont with her father (who is black) and her mother (who is Japanese). No one else looks like them, and even with the encouragement of her warm and supportive parents, Mimi struggles. Her bravery and resilience stand out, as she learns to stand up for who she is — in terms of her ethnic heritage, but also as a young woman who wants to be an astronaut, who would rather be in shop class than home-ec, and who is a true friend to those around her.

Three other books that should probably be on this list are Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and The Crossover and Booked by Kwame Alexander. They’re on hold for me at the library, but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet! I’d love to hear your other suggestions for other verse novels that feature diverse characters in the comments.

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Now on to the link-up!

Diverse Children’s Books is a brand new 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.

DiverseKidLit

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.

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, May 7th and will continue on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

 

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The diverse post that received the most clicks from the last #diversekidlit is … Diverse Children’s Book Celebrating Cultural Traditions by Adrienne at Reading Power Gear. She shares seven great picture books focusing on different cultural traditions including Divali, Chinese New Year, and more!

 

Hosted By:

Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact Katie at 1logonaut (gmail).

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to subscribe for notification emails.

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