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
Three best friends
Author: Robbin Miller
Editor: Jennifer Niles
Publisher: Self-published, 2017
Robbin Miller has published her second picture book entitled, Three Best Friends. Meet Max Thomas, a wheel chair bound boy who is excited about the opening of a new playground and the opportunity to play with his able bodied, best friends, Sophia and Xavier. To his disappointment, the park is not accessible for wheel chairs and leaves him feeling humiliated and stigmatized. In a very child appropriate tone, the story introduces children to the topic of ability, diversity, and bullying. The moral of the story is that all children should be able to play together, however inclusive playgrounds are costly to build. The illustrations were brightly colored and had diverse main characters (White, Black; male, female; abled, disabled). I give this book 5 stars for its creativity, important social content, and representation. You can get your copy here.
While reading this book, things the reader may consider: Is handicapped or special, acceptable terms to use for a child in wheel chair? Why aren’t more parks made accessible to all children? How important do parents think it is for children to play with a variety of children? According to the Landscape Structures Inclusive Play Survey (2014), 74% of parents who responded think it is important. Inclusive environments foster increased social interactions, meaningful friendships, appreciation and acceptance of individual differences, understanding of diversity, respect, empathy, and emotional growth.
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.