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
Hello readers!!!! Welcome to LSP Blogs. My name is Olivia Lauren. I am a child author and publisher. My mom, sister, and I created Lauren Simone Publishing House to provide a place for talented youth to share their stories and their art. Today I am interviewing my friend and fellow mini-author, Imani Ariana Grant.
Olivia: Hello Imani. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Imani: I am a nine-year-old girl who loves to dance, sing, do art, play the violin, and play with my friends. I also love fairy tales, myths, and animation. So far, I love to write! I also love my new book!
Olivia: What inspired you to write a book?
Imani: My baby brother inspired me to begin to write and still does! One day, I was sitting on my porch and I saw my brother watching a show about planets. And that is who inspires me and why.
Title: When I grow up, I want to be myself
Author: A. Cole
Publisher: Self-published, 2016
Pages: 24 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Author A. Cole urges children to be themselves! When I first opened the book, I immediately loved it looking at the beautiful illustrations of a happy, little, African-American, confident, girly girl. I loved what I saw. But as I read, I wondered, would this be another self-esteem, love your hair, Black books? Not that it isnt an important message, but don’t we have enough of those?
But I was pleasantly surprised. As I read I really enjoy the story and I think children too (girls, especially) will enjoy the story because of the way it is written. It flows and shows a character with lots of personality. Children can relate to her pondering and self-reflection. I think what I like most about this book, is the author's ability to accomplish so much in so few pages. First, it covers the topic of IDENTITY. She lets children know that they should find out who they are and what they like. They should be proud of who they are and own their choices.
Second, it covers the topic of occupations. It teaches that there are lots of different jobs and no matter what you look like, you can be whatever you want to be. Don’t allow gender, race, ability or socioeconomic status to deter you from your dream. You have as many options as you believe are open to you.
Third, it covers the topic of the SUCCESS. Very early society tells children to pursue jobs that offer stability, status, and wealth. Success is often considered to be something external such as material gain, rather than an internal sense of satisfaction.
However, the author challenges the third notion with three main principles:
The last principle really stuck with me. We are so busy offering our children every opportunity to be successful such as a good education, a safe home, a million extracurricular activities, and teaching them about financial literacy. In an age of rampant bullying, harassment, and professional misconduct, it is very important that we as parents and educators try to foster and raise decent human beings for generations to come.
How often do modern day parents take the time to teach the children the importance of being kind, giving, respectful, dressing with pride, and listening to your heart above the noise of the world with its naysayers and comparison makers?
The author concludes “Think about what type of person you want to be when you grow up” instead of what you will do to earn a living. “Being the best you” would really ease some of the anxiety and depression that I see amongst the college population that I teach. Thank you so much A. Cole for sharing your wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement with our young people. They really need to hear it. We really need to hear it. I also loved the diversity of the classroom scene. I give this book 5 stars.
Title: My little ol grassy waters
Author: Rickeria Lendale
Publisher: Smashwords, 2017
Pages: 14 pages
Genre: Children’s picture book
Have you ever been to the South? More specifically, have you experienced grassy waters? Perhaps you have taken a swamp tour or swam in a lake? What images come to mind?
My little ol grassy waters is a children’s book where the main character reflects on life living near grassy waters. She recalls sugar cane, rabbits, alligators, dogs, children playing, and Southern charm. It is a sweet memoir of “home sweet home” and I love the melanin richness of the many characters in the story. If you are looking for books with African American characters, this one has plenty!
Although the author never states where this grassy water was located, it took me back to New Orleans. The language as seen in “little ol grass waters,” “my mind going back” and “Yes ma’am” reminds me of southern dialect. The main character yearns to be home. If you watch and enjoy Queen Sugar, I think you would enjoy reading this book to your children. It is short and to the point. She misses her grassy waters.
As a teacher I would have liked to see a lesson at the end of the book. Maybe the author could have describe locations where grassy waters are found. Or have a discussion about types of habitats with one being the wetlands. Or maybe a lesson on Southern charm. The story and the illustrations were beautiful but something felt missing. I give this book 4 stars.
Lauren Simone Publishing House has had a very exciting first year. They announced on their instagram page, @laurensimonepubs, with a display of photos highlighting their achievements that they had garnered:
1 Spanish translator, Tanesha Bramwell-McKen
2 interviews by @kaesani and @fashionista_milan of @kiddustry
3 published book series called He and She, More2Learn, and Olivia Lauren
4 kids authors: Brazil Dowe, Princeton Dowe, Alyssa Simone, and Olivia Lauren
5 youth illustrators: Niquey, Leo, Simonne-Anais, Zachary-Michael, and Simona
6 published books: Days of the week, Siblings fight, Occupations A to Z, Guide to becoming an actor, Olivia travels, and their latest, Olivia Connects (described below)
7 book events (Book readings, story time, and book signings in NY, NJ, and CT)
Over a dozen book reviews on Amazon
Published essays and art in The Evolution Project
Online presence on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Createspace
Found in local book stores in Florida and Connecticut
Over 200 website visitors
Over 500 social media followers
The past year has been hard work, dedication, and determination. They anticipate increase in the coming year.
On the anniversary of its inception, they proudly release Olivia Lauren book series' fourth volume entitled “Olivia Connects”. Written by Olivia Lauren’s older sister, Alyssa Simone and mother, Dr. John, the book is about modes of communication. In a fun and engaging way using bright colors, interesting locations, and diverse characters, children learn about different communication styles and devices used for communication. The characters also explore communication devices used before the age of technology and those used by those with physical challenges (blind or nonverbal). They had a great time collaborating with youth author, Lionel Emabat, who they will continue to work with in the future.
This book is recommended for children aged 6 to 9. Available in print and kindle online at Amazon.com, bn.com, and Createspace. Enjoy! Share pictures with @laurensimonepubs on Instagram and please write a review.
The book can be purchased immediately at https://www.createspace.com/7376669
Get the insider scoop and see sneak peek photos in the gallery.