L.I. Forsete’s Gabe Faces Ignorance

Sugar Free Books‘ inaugural publication, Gabe Faces Ignorance, is the first children’s picture book I’ve read that tackles Islamophobia. Written by L.I. Forsete and illustrated by Gemma Gould, the story focuses on the friendship of Gabe, a white Christian boy, and Sophie, a tan-skinned rosy-cheeked Muslim girl. The two classmates and neighbors walk home from school together every day. The story is told from Gabe’s point-of-view, but Sophie’s feelings are present through Gabe’s increasing awareness of them as well as confrontational dialogue between the children. Continue reading

Angela Joy’s Black is a Rainbow Color (2020)

Black Is a Rainbow Color

In February I received a gorgeous book from Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers. The book, Black is a Rainbow Color, written by Angela Joy and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is an event.

Holmes impressive illustrations are thick with meaning but inviting enough to capture and keep the attention of young readers as is Joy’s rhythmic prose. Continue reading

Saureen Naik Desai’s The Adventures of Princess Pudding Pie (2020)

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51-VrUtAfNL._AC_UY327_QL65_ML3_.jpgThe Adventures of Princess Pudding Pie (2020), written by Saureen Naik Desai and illustrated by Marco Mazzarello, follows a round-faced little girl with black pigtails and tan-colored skin on a journey around the world. The little girl, Princess Pudding Pie, introduces readers to brief greetings and yummy delicacies from a variety of countries including the USA, France, Kenya, and Japan.  The illustrations feature popular landmarks and regionally-specific clothes from the countries explored. Desai’s subtle lyricism makes reading aloud enjoyable for children and adults. Continue reading

Mia Wenjen’s Sumo Joe

Sumo JoeI’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and I get “book mail” often. In fact, my four-year-old always asks if the package I’m opening contains something we can read together, and it usually does. When I received Sumo Joe, Mia Wenjen’s debut picture book, the two of us did what we usually do – we cuddled up on the couch and read the book. Then we read it again, and again, and again. You get the idea.

This book is many things: 1) a lyrical kid-friendly introduction to sumo, 2) a story about sibling love (and competition), 3) clever and accessible commentary about gender and cultural traditions, and 4) an empowering story that reminds young readers that size doesn’t always matter, even in competitive fighting. Continue reading

Dena Fitzpatrick’s A Puggle in Paris (2018)

Puggle in ParisA Puggle in Paris (2018), written by Dena Fitzpatrick and illustrated by Amelia Gossman, takes readers on a charming romp through Paris, France. Pretty pastel colors, dominated by pink, set the scene with feminine flair as Lucy, a beret wearing puggle, journeys alone to France. Lucy enjoys lunch at the Eiffel Tower, shopping along the Champs-Élysées, and viewing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Less well-known attractions  like Sacré-Cœur, the Catacombs, and Napoleon’s Tomb are also on Lucy’s itinerary. Continue reading

Dinobibi’s Travel for Kids Series

Dinobibi publishes an exciting interactive non-fiction series of travel books for children. The Travel Series is accessible to school age children and each book comes at $12 price point that parents will appreciate! Countries available to explore include Spain, China, Italy, and South Korea.

Dinobibi sent me two titles to review: France and Mexico. Each book is jampacked with information about the highlighted country, including history, weather, flora and fauna, food and culture, famous people, and major cities and attractions. They are professionally written, illustrated, and edited with the clear aim of engaging young readers. Each book includes a variety of photographs to help introduce readers to each country’s rich diversity.

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Lisa and Michel Zajur’s The Piñata Story (2018)

The Pinata StoryThe Piñata Story (2018), written by Lisa and Michel Zajur and illustrated by Samira Mobayed Murray, explores the cultural history of piñatas while introducing young readers to Spanish vocabulary.

Mobayed Murray’s luscious illustrations of brightly colored homes and storefronts transport readers to an idyllic pueblo in Mexico where they are introduced to a young boy named Pepe. Pepe recently developed some bad habits and is ignoring his parents. Concerned with Pepe’s behavior, his parents seek wisdom through prayer at the iglesia. Continue reading

Cultural Diversity

This fall my 4-year-old son began a French-track dual-language Pre-K program at a public school in North Texas. In addition to a rigorous language component, the school focuses on cultural diversity! My interest in children’s literature has always been shaped by my personal journey as a mom and I’ve been adding more books about cultural diversity to our library over the last few months.

I’ll be reviewing some of our favorite books here as well as tagging relevant past reviews. I have always very intentionally reviewed diverse books, but this category will focus less on social justice themes and more on books that help young readers become familiar with various religious, ethnic, and regional cultural practices. I hope my readers find this new dimension of the blog informative!

 

Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha’s 47,000 Beads (2017)

47k small47,000 Beads (2017), written by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Adeyoha and illustrated by Holly McGillis, is a Flamingo Rampant publication about a child named Peyton who does not want to participate in her community pow wows because she isn’t comfortable wearing a dress. Her Auntie Eyota acknowledges Peyton’s feelings and works with family and community to help Peyton connect with her cultural traditions while creating an identity she is comfortable claiming. Continue reading

Hena Khan’s Under My Hijab

Under My Hijab

Under My Hijab, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, is a celebratory picture book that highlights the diversity of Muslim women and girls. The story unfolds from the point-of-view of a pre-adolescent girl who does not often wear a hijab, likely due to her age. The reader is introduced to women in her world who do wear a hijab, all of whom the narrator admires. Continue reading