American Dreamers

When Mia Yang’s parents decided to immigrate from China to the United States, they were convinced it was because they would have endless economic opportunities and would be free to pursue their dreams. Friends and colleagues had written home about their success and sent money to family members in China. This was the opportunity ofContinue reading “American Dreamers”

Undeniable Courage

I have written about several books that contain brief biographies of courageous individuals across history. I am particularly fond of these books because I think they can inspire future, deeper study of the people profiled as well as the causes they champion(ed). There are many wonderful books that fit into this specific category of juvenileContinue reading “Undeniable Courage”

Searching for Friends

There are many picture books about making friends and playing with friends. But few address the challenges involved in this process as beautifully as A Friend for Henry written by Jenn Bailey and illustrated by Mika Song. Henry is on the autism spectrum and he navigates the world of his classroom differently than his peers.Continue reading “Searching for Friends”

Comfort Food

In Salma the Syrian Chef, written by Danny Ramadan and illustrated by Anna Bron, we are reminded of common bonds and universal languages that we all share. Languages like laughter, cooking, and beauty. In this book, which will be published in March 2020 by Annick Press (received as an ARC from NetGalley), Salma has justContinue reading “Comfort Food”

Representing the 14%

We need more books for children and young adults that feature main characters with disabilities. This seems evident even without statistics, but just to provide a bit of context: The most recent figures that I could find which specifically focused on children’s books featuring characters with disabilities were from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center inContinue reading “Representing the 14%”

Keeping Cultures Alive

I am in no way an expert in culturally sustaining pedagogy. Still, it is something that interests me and something that I would like to learn more about. Social justice isn’t just about accepting differences and fighting against inequality. It also involves making sure that cultural traditions, languages, and beliefs remain active and appreciated. OneContinue reading “Keeping Cultures Alive”

Developing a Dream

Sometimes I question whether or not I took enough time to talk with my students about the process and effort involved in creating works of wonder. We read plenty of books, but I don’t know if all of my students realized that some of those books took years to write. One book that does anContinue reading “Developing a Dream”

Humanity Eclipsed

The last residential school for Native American Indian children in the United States was closed in 1973. The last residential school for First Nation Canadians closed in 1996. These schools were specifically designed to force children, native to their countries, to assimilate to the cultural norms of white people. The methods used to force thisContinue reading “Humanity Eclipsed”

Not Alone

Lynne Kelly dedicates her book, Song for a Whale, to everyone who’s ever felt alone. This is the perfect way to introduce a story that highlights the experiences of an underrepresented group, while also reflecting the thoughts of children from every background. Kelly’s book centers around Iris who is twelve and the only Deaf studentContinue reading “Not Alone”

Picturing Home

Home is a bit of an abstract concept. While the dictionary defines home as the place where someone lives, people have been expanding that definition for many years. We have all read things or said things such as: home is where the heart is, home away from home, or home is the people who loveContinue reading “Picturing Home”