The Little Labradoodle
Written by April M. Cox
Illustrated by Len Smith
We loved, loved, loved this book!!!
What does Christmas mean to you?
By V.A. Trafton and Tasheira Nichole Hurt (2018)
The story follows a ballerina, Olivia and her Nana who have a discussion about what Christmas means.
So you are an educator and you want to introduce more STEM activities to your students? Picture books provide perfect opportunities for teaching the problem-solving skills that are the basis of engineering?
I recently attended a workshop entitled “Engineering a Story” at the STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The workshop focused Engineering Design Process (EDP) — or problem solving — applied to any fiction or nonfiction text.”
When generating a list of picture books to examine problem solving, of course you want that list to feature diverse main characters. You can find these books through the Diverse BookFinder. Click on Search and type in “problem solving.” You could do a similar search on another STEM topics, such as “plants.” Fifteen books pop up, so you are in luck.
Visit Diverse Book Finder to learn more...
A few weeks ago, in the northeast where we currently reside, it snowed. It was still autumn. The snow forced us to think about the inevitable winter that was making its way. It is now December and there are Christmas lights everywhere and it is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. One thing I do not think about much during this time of year is grass. Our beautifully manicured green lawn has now become dried, brown and frostbitten.
But I am thinking about grass, as I read author Christopher Davis Jr’s book entitled “The Man who invented the lawn mower and other inspirational Black-American inventors and their inventions.”
ABC I love me by Miriam Muhammad is a wonderfully told and artistically illustrated story of empowerment and self-love for young children. The story depicts two main characters who happen to be dripping in chocolate, "melanated" skin tones. The story is dedicated to the author’s son and every black and brown girl and boy. Starting with “A is for afro”, then “B is for beautiful” is a great place to start considering the strong connection persons of color have to their hair and the “Black is beautiful” movement. Besides encouraging children to have positive character traits such as “confident”, “fearlessness”, and “talented”, they author also encourages the youth to express emotions such as “joy,” recognize one’s “royalty,” and embrace wholesome values such as gratitude, creating healthy habits for eating and exercise, and being open to trying new things.
Brave Jake is a short story written by Michelle Spray. Brave Jake is a picture book that should be read to children before visiting the doctor. Brave Jake is easy to read and a great length for busy pediatric doctor’s offices, waiting areas, and for those patients who may need a little encouragement. Using bright and captivating illustrations, the author shows children there is no need to be afraid of needles. This book works for children who will be getting vaccinated or children with juvenile diabetes.
However, it can also be used to explain to children that some children go to the doctor more often for treatment. What caught my attention was the diversity of the children in the different scenes. There is also a sister version of the book called Brave Kayla.
Grab your copy on Amazon for a new parent or a parent of a special needs child.
Sunshine’s Friendship Story
Written by: India Haye (2018)
Illustrated by: Araya-Sunshine Ortiz
Published by: Beau Noir Publishing, Philadelphia, PA
Kudos to the mother and daughter team for the creation of Sunshine’s friendship story. Here at Lauren Simone Publishing House, we are always proud to share work of young authors and illustrators.
Illustrated in pencil and pencil crayon, a story of little girl named Sunshine who sat in her room, while other children played outdoors enjoying the warm weather. Sunshine was very blessed to have lots of toys and games, but a friend she didn’t have. Using a rhythmic tone, readers learn of Sunshine’s search for a new friend. It is a message of faith, hope, imagination, patience, and persistence.
India Haye is an author, blogger and mother of three girls from Boston, MA. Araya-Sunshine Ortiz is India’s oldest daughter, who loves to draw and dreams of being an actor and director when she is older. We enjoyed the story and wish the author and illustrator much success. We give this book 4 stars and recommend this book for children who are in grade 2 to 4 due to its word length.
Have you ever wondered who you are and who you were meant to be? Have you already discovered your purpose or are you still searching? Do you compare your traits and talents to others? Have you ever wished to me someone else?
How does one teach children to have confidence in themselves, before they even know who they are? Well by telling them to look into the mirror and showing them that they are created to be just who they are, you can encourage them to accept themselves for who they are. And if that doesn’t work… Children’s literature plays a great role in providing these truths and guiding children’s moral compasses.
Book Review: But I am a cat!
Written by Jamee-Marie Edwards (2013)
Illustrated by Lowell Hildebrandt
Published by Author House, Bloomington, IN
But I am a cat is a fun story involving Mr. Cat, Mrs. Bee, Mrs. Duck, Mrs. Turtle, Mr. Bird and other fun characters. Each character has amazing traits and is happy to be themselves. Join Mr. Cat as he discovers why his life and traits are amazing and perfect for him.
"Mr. Cat's sleepy eyes slowly opened. It's morning again, he thought with a squint. Time for a morning stroll... As Mr. Cat takes his morning stroll he encounters Mrs. Bee, Mr. Squirrel and lots of other fun loving animals. However, to his surprise what seems to be his routine stroll turns into an adventure of self-acceptance." For story quality (content, creativity, engaging interest), we give this book 5 stars. For illustration (color, brightness, esthetic appeal), we give it 3 stars. We strongly recommend this book for 2 to 6 year old children. Find on Amazon!
More about the author
Jamee-Marie Edwards is a Queens, N.Y. native and lifelong artist. Her zeal for writing was fueled at an early age by her grandfather, James Edward Lawrie Sr., who would take her out to the airport and tell stories as they watched the planes take off and land. Jamee-Marie is passionate about leaving a legacy that will inspire others and one of her life's mottos is "Become Inspired and Be An Inspiration."
Jamee-Marie's entrepreneurial spirit has led to the creation of her company Arrie-Mae Inspirations, named in memory of her grandmother (Arrie-Mae Lawrie). Her program entitled "The Me I Need To Be!" Empowerment Program, is designed to help others discover, embrace, and celebrate their unique gifts, talents and abilities through the arts and sciences.
Jamee-Marie currently works in school health and is a NYC D.O.E and Queens Public Library vendor. She can be followed on various social media platforms (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter). Please visit www.maeinspireu.com for more information.
Have you ever been to a store with custom made name bracelets, keychains, birthday banners, coffee mugs, notepads and pens and not find your name? Well that is just one trouble with having a unique name. The other part of having a unique name is having others mispronounce. So what do you do? Politely correct them each time or let them give you a pet name? This was the story of the main character Kareemalayyesseenadeen. This story was told creatively, compassionately, and with inspiring and empowering tones. This is a story I recommend for every child, parent, and teacher to read. It highlights issues of self-esteem, self-love, cultural sensitivity, ethnic diversity, childhood teasing, and the role of family in socioemotional development. It is very important for children to see themselves in the books they read and the stories they hear. This one is truly a mirror, window, and door for children to have that experience. Using watercolor illustrations and not mentioning specific countries allows any reader to connect with the story. I highly recommend.
It reminded me of a speech given by Uzomaka Aduma. She shared of an incident where she told her mother the difficulty her American friends had saying her name. Her mother told her “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”
A student asking bravely to have her or his name said correctly is simply a matter of advocating for oneself. It reminded me of a Key and Peele skit, where the subsitute teacher got all the names wrong, and Denise insisted on being called Denise, not Dee-nice.
This amazing book was written by Huda Essa, who has positively influenced countless communities around the nation through her engaging and thought-provoking learning opportunities. Huda utilizes her extensive experience as a Cultural Competency Consultant, former Teacher and English Language Development Specialist to support organizations in successfully meeting their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Her focus is to empower children to take pride in their many identities while showing respect for themselves and others. Huda continues to write culturally relevant children’s books and is also the producer of a series of short films focused on matters of social justice. To learn more visit www.culturelinksllc.com