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”

Define “From”

Chants of, “send her back,” accusations of “invasions” and “infestations,” have all become a part of our political narrative. While none of this is new, the outspoken and “everyday” nature of these messages seems significant. Children hear this language and see its effects on a daily basis. While some of it might be difficult forContinue reading “Define “From””

Essential Conversations

A recent article in the journal Language Arts addressed the importance of sharing children’s books about death and grief in elementary classrooms (Husbye, Buchholz, Powell, & Zanden, July 2019). Often, as educators, we like to have a deep understanding of topics that we are going to discuss with our students. Death is one issue thatContinue reading “Essential Conversations”

Reflecting the Passage of Time

Twenty years ago, Tricia Brown and Roy Corral interviewed children from seven Alaska Native cultures and produced the book Children of the Midnight Sun. Recognizing that cultures are constantly evolving and being influenced by global changes, Brown and Corral returned to create Children of the First People. They interviewed kids from the eight Alaska NativeContinue reading “Reflecting the Passage of Time”

A Turning Point

I recognize that, given the time of year, I am a little late with this reflection on two books covering the Stonewall Uprising. However, just like Black history should not only be taught in February, LGBTQ+ history should not be taught solely in June. This is especially true because many schools across the country areContinue reading “A Turning Point”

The Right Age

We are starting to see a greater range of relationships with LGBTQIA characters in young adult literature. There has been a demand for more picture books with gender fluid or transgender children and juvenile fiction has been expanding its depiction of families with two moms or two dads. However, most books that include main charactersContinue reading “The Right Age”

A Spirit of Community

The word “omu” means queen in the Igbo language of Nigeria. In Thank You, Omu!, by Oge Mora, Omu makes a delicious stew and its aroma spreads throughout her urban neighborhood. Omu appears to live alone and the stew was for her dinner, but each time a new person comes to her door to commentContinue reading “A Spirit of Community”