National Diversity Day and Three New Mirrors in Children’s Books

National Diversity Day and Three New Mirrors in Children’s Books

Today, October 4, 2019, is National Diversity Day, a day established in 2005 “to celebrate and embrace who we are, despite our differences… A day to reflect on and learn about different cultures and ideologies. A day to vow acceptance and tolerance…” (from the National Diversity Day website). Fifteen years before that, almost 30 years ago today, Rudine Sims Bishop wisely challenged diversity and representation in children’s literature, giving us the ideas of books as windows, sliding glass doors, and mirrors. She wrote: 

“Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.” (Rudine Sims Bishop, 1990, quoted from the National Council of Teachers of English)

To honor both National Diversity Day and the emergence of more mirrors for more Americans, I bring you three important recent publications for children: The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali, Under My Hijab by Hena Khan, and Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow. Continue reading “National Diversity Day and Three New Mirrors in Children’s Books”

Our Favorite Halloween-y and Halloween Books

Our Favorite Halloween-y and Halloween Books

It’s October 1, which means you’re already almost too late to try to grab Halloween books from your local library! Fortunately for you, I’ve got you covered with all sorts of Halloween reading. Below, you’ll find lists of our favorite Halloween-y (but not Halloween-specific) books, Halloween picture books, Halloween books for the youngest readers, and even Halloween chapter books for your older audiences! So take a look below, put some (or all…) of these titles on hold from your local library, and have a great time getting into the spirit of Halloween this month! Continue reading “Our Favorite Halloween-y and Halloween Books”

Our Favorite Fall Books

Our Favorite Fall Books

It’s the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere! While we still have weather in the 90s here and our leaves don’t really start to change until about Thanksgiving, I know many of you around the country are starting to pull out sweaters and sweatshirts, enjoying cooler mornings and evenings, and maybe even seeing some color on your trees. So, even though we don’t need to read books about changing seasons just yet in our house, I wanted to share some of our favorite fall books for those of you who may need them before we do. Read more to find our favorite fall picture books, some fall-ish books with fantastic social-emotional lessons, and board books for the littlest readers! Continue reading “Our Favorite Fall Books”

Jack B. Ninja by Tim McCanna

Jack B. Ninja by Tim McCanna

Do you love stories with surprise twists at the end? We do! From Chris Van Allsburg’s ever-present twist of fate to the laugh-inducing surprise at the end of one of our newest favorites (Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima), we’ll read these books over and over and over again, even once we know what to anticipate. Once the magic of the surprise draws us in, we reread and reread again, looking for clues or ways that we may have predicted that twist all along. Jack B. Ninja, by Tim McCanna and illustrated by Stephen Savage, is another recent find with a delightful surprise at the end! Continue reading “Jack B. Ninja by Tim McCanna”

Our Favorite Books About Apples

Our Favorite Books About Apples

We are fortunate to live close to many opportunities to pick fresh fruits, and we try to take advantage of that whenever we can — we love berry picking in early summer, we visit pumpkin farms in October, and we pick apples each September. And, of course, I love to create a good themed bookshelf to help the girls get excited about whatever we’re picking next. This year, our chosen day to pick apples landed closely after the start of school, so apple picking books got mixed in with back-to-school books on the shelf, but we still had a blast reading these books, and an even better time picking apples!

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(If you were an early, early follower on my Instagram page, you might remember my apple list from last year. I’ve updated it just a bit, so be sure to check out the list below. Age ranges are publisher recommendations, and all links included are Amazon Affiliate links).

Below, you’ll find both fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as books for a range of ages, so hopefully you’ll find a great book for your family’s or classroom’s needs! Continue reading “Our Favorite Books About Apples”

Three Terrific Books for 9/11

Three Terrific Books for 9/11

In less than a week, we will acknowledge the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001. Aside from reading one of the books I’m recommending below, we have not intentionally talked with our daughters about the events of 9/11. But, now that they’re getting older and may be talking about that historic and tragic day at school, I wanted to search for some books that we could read with them to help them understand, in an age-appropriate way, what happened to our country that day. Below, I’ve got three titles I feel are excellent books about 9/11 to read with preschoolers and early elementary students. I’ve also got a few titles that I couldn’t easily get my hands on, so please check those out too, and comment below if you’ve read them and would recommend them (or not!). Continue reading “Three Terrific Books for 9/11”

Three Wonderful Books Highlighting Socio-Economic Diversity and Kindness

Three Wonderful Books Highlighting Socio-Economic Diversity and Kindness

Last week, I posted lists of our favorite first day of school books, as well as our favorite school stories for building empathy, kindness, awareness, and self-love. Today, I thought I’d highlight three of those favorite stories: The Hundred Dresses, Each Kindnessand Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse. All three of these stories build around similar themes (socioeconomic diversity, inclusion, and kindness among others!) but can target different ages or interests, and all three are absolutely worth reading! Continue reading “Three Wonderful Books Highlighting Socio-Economic Diversity and Kindness”