The 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
Through the Eyes of Om: Exploring Malaysia, written by Sonny Tannan and illustrated by Agus Prajoro, is a sweet story told from the perspective of Om, a young boy with light-brown skin and big brown eyes. Om’s going on his first trip to Malaysia, his mother’s native country, where he will meet his grandparents and other family members for the first time.
Readers learn lots of fun facts about Malaysia, including customs for greeting elders, famous monuments, and basic geography. Prajoro does a lovely job creating vibrant images of clothes, food, and places. Continue reading
Maya Gonzalez’s necessary children’s picture book, When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity in Oppressive Times (2017), sends a positive message to children about the power of creativity, awareness, self-care, and community engagement. When a Bully is President requires reflection and discussion, preferably with a knowledgeable person who can help children work through complex connections between the “big” and “small,” past and present, forms of bullying Gonzalez describes.
How to Code a Sandcastle, written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios, is a silly take on a serious subject – the lack of women, especially minority women, in coding. The text begins with a foreword by Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani suggests that coding should be “a familiar part of every child’s world.” Funk’s book certainly contributes to this project. Pearl, the pigtailed russet-brown protagonist and narrator, makes core concepts in coding engaging and accessible for even very young audiences.