The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

We all know that there are some kids in classes who tend to go through school unnoticed. They may be the quiet ones who follow all the rules, and academically they don’t need lots of extra support but aren’t leading the pack, either. They don’t stand out in sports or tell the funniest jokes, but they have so much else to offer. Often, they’re unintentionally overlooked, but sometimes they’re snubbed by their peers. But, they have so much to contribute, if only someone would notice.

In The Invisible Boy, Trudy Ludwig eloquently tells the tale of one of these children, Brian, a child that is invisible to those around him, until his kindness gets the attention of a classmate. Brian’s story starts by being overlooked by even the teacher, not being included in kickball teams (he wasn’t just picked last — he wasn’t picked at all), and listened to all his classmates talk about a birthday party to which he wasn’t invited. Brian feels the weight of these interactions, or lack thereof, but finds joy in drawing. So when Justin, a new student in class, is laughed at for having a different lunch, Brian uses his drawing superpowers to lift up Justin and build the first connections to bridge a new friendship. And as it turns out, just one person and one kind gesture can make a world of different to someone feeling noticed and included.

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Marvelous Marathon Picture Books

Marvelous Marathon Picture Books

Did you know that though the first Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon, was run in 1897, women weren’t officially allowed to enter the race until 1972? And, did you know that the oldest person to complete a marathon was 108 years old??? We bought Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon last winter, and it was one of the most requested read alouds in our house throughout the spring…

Because my husband and I both enjoy running (we’ve each done a handful of half marathons and marathon(s)), and because the girls were so interested in this story, I thought I’d gather a list of books to read to celebrate the Boston Marathon in April. And then COVID happened, so those books got pushed to the side. But, the 124th Boston Marathon is being run virtually this week, so I gathered three wonderful marathon books to read with the girls. Keep reading for quick blurbs and affiliate links to each.

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The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo

The Buddy Bench by Patty Brozo

A few months ago, when I first planned to post about The Buddy Bench this week, I hoped more kids would be in school in person… and that those who were going to school in person would have close-to-normal recesses, playing with lots of kids and able to come within 6 feet of each other. Alas, that’s not the case. But, The Buddy Bench is still an important and thought-provoking read, and I believe that even if your children aren’t at school or don’t have normal free time at school, it can have a lasting impact, ensuring that more students feel they belong and are included in the future.

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The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi

The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi

It’s not the start of a new year, but it is the start of a new school year — so let’s talk growth mindset! Last January, I made a huge list of picture books to promote growth mindset, and you all LOVED that list (it’s still one of my most visited posts on my website!). Today, I’ve got a wonderful (relatively) new release to add to that list: The Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez. 

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The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

With back-to-school season upon us, though it may look different than ever before, many of us are reading all the school stories with our children and students. We’re reading stories about the first day of school and navigating relationships with other children at school, but how about navigating children’s relationships with themselves? Today, I bring you The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein, illustrated by Pett. Whether you’ve got a true perfectionist in your life or not, I encourage you to get your hands on this important book and share it with the children in your life!

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The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes

Let’s talk about The Hundred Dresses. As a teacher, this was the first chapter book that I read aloud to my students each year. We’d talk about kindness, being an upstander, being a bystander, standing up for ourselves, forgiveness, empathy, socio-economic diversity, preconceived notions, and so much more. As a parent, I vowed to read The Hundred Dresses aloud to our girls before school started each year, once they were old enough to sustain attention for a chapter book read aloud. I read The Hundred Dresses with our older daughter last summer, before she started first grade, and we started to reread it with both girls just this week, to gear them up for their upcoming school years. So why do I love this chapter book enough to reread it yearly with my students and now my girls?

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko

Did you know that a mere 53 years ago, interracial marriage was still illegal in 5 states? Not only was interracial marriage illegal, but if an interracial couple married somewhere legally (say Washington, D.C.), and then moved somewhere where it was illegal (say Virginia), then they faced the very real possibility of being arrested. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage, by Selina Alko, illustrated by Alko and Sean Qualls, tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving’s fight for legal marriage and the ensuing Supreme Court Case Loving v. Virginia (1967) which legalized interracial marriage.

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

How do you feel about novels written in free verse? I have to admit that they’re not really my thing… But, in an effort to model open-minded reading for my girls, I have tried to read two this summer. And while I abandoned one of them, I absolutely loved Jacqueline Woodson’s middle-grade stunner Brown Girl Dreaming!

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Adventures in Kindness: 52 Awesome Kid Adventures for Building a Better World by Sophia and Carrie Fox

Adventures in Kindness: 52 Awesome Kid Adventures for Building a Better World by Sophia and Carrie Fox

By now, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that we believe our most important job as parents is to help our children grow into kind, positive, and strong members of our community, and one of our favorite tools in this endeavor is children’s literature. So, when the team behind Adventures in Kindness: 52 Awesome Kid Adventures for Building a Better World reached out to see if I’d like to take a look at their book, I gave my standard, “I’ll happily take a look, though I can’t promise to feature it until we’ve received it and read it…” But this time, I figured this would be a book our family would love. And sure enough, we do! Read on to see what Adventures in Kindness, by mother-daughter duo Sophia and Carrie Fox, illustrated by Nichole Wong Forti, is all about!

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Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack

Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack

A few months ago, I recommended the book The Honest-to-Goodness Truth by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Gisella Potter. And, I was honestly a bit surprised by how many of you had never read any of McKissack’s works! At the time, I vowed to remedy that, and since our family’s focus this month is on resilience, Goin’ Someplace Special by McKissack, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, is the perfect McKissack book for you to get to know and love!

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