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

Coming Soon: Dani Gabriel’s Sam!

Sam!

Sam!, Penny Candy Books’ upcoming release about a transgender boy’s decision to share his gender identity with his family, is thoughtfully written by Dani Gabriel and warmly illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo. The story centers on a racially ambiguous family, all with thick dark hair and tan skin warmed by yellow undertones. This makes it one of only a handful of queer children’s books to engage both racial and gender diversity through major characters. Continue reading

Suzanne Dewitt Hall’s Rumplepimple (2015) and Rumplepimple Goes to Jail (2017)

Rumplepimple (The Adventures of Rumplepimple) (Volume 1)

Rumplepimple Goes to Jail (The Adventures of Rumplepimple) (Volume 2)Rumplepimple (2015) and Rumplepimple Goes to Jail (2017), written by Suzanne Dewitt Hall and illustrated by Kevin Scott Gierman, focuses on the exploits of Rumplepimple, a wire fox terrier with lots of energy and a strong sense of adventure. Rumplepimple lives with his cat sister, Chicken, and his two moms. Continue reading

Syrus Marcus Ware’s Love is in the Hair (2015)

Love Is In The Hair

Love is in the Hair, published in 2015 by Flamingo Rampant, is written and illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware. The sweet story, perfect for bedtime, focuses on a little girl, Carter, with light brown skin and a big smile. Carter is about to become a  sister, and is unable to sleep the night before her sibling’s arrival. Her mom and dad are at the hospital and her two uncles are caring for her. Continue reading

Erica Silverman’s Jack (Not Jackie) (2018)

Jack (Not Jackie)

Jack (Not Jackie) (2018), written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Holly Hatam, adds an important perspective to the existing archive of children’s picture books about transgender and gender creative kids. This thoughtfully told and cheerfully illustrated tale is narrated from the point-of-view of a girl experiencing her transgender younger brother come into his identity. In an article for Watermark Online, Ryan Williams-Jent, writes: “It’s the second picture book in a partnership between GLAAD—the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization—and Bonnier Publishing USA, which publishes over 150 books annually. The collaboration aims to integrate and elevate positive LGBTQ representation throughout children’s literature by releasing at least four titles annually.” Continue reading

Atkins’ A Name on the Quilt (1999)

A Name on the Quilt (1999), published by Antheneum Books, was written by Jeannine Atkins and illustrated by Tad Hills. Simple, but warm illustrations face evocative text that describes the family and friends of Ron, a man who passed away from AIDS complications, sewing a quilt to memorialize him. Continue reading