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”

You Are Enough

We know that young people often struggle to define their identities and their place within society. However, once comfortable in one’s identity, new challenges often arise. One of those challenges is feeling uncertain of whether you live up to society’s expectations of someone who is (insert identity here) . I am Jewish, but I amContinue reading “You Are Enough”

Equal Members of Our Community

Often when we teach about community activism, particularly in the elementary grades, we use examples of adult advocates. However, there are many examples of young people who have refused to be silent when confronted with injustice. Claudette Colvin is an example of a young activist during the Civil Rights Movement (there are several children’s booksContinue reading “Equal Members of Our Community”

What Can be Repaired

We know as educators that trauma has lasting effects. The physical signs may disappear, but emotional scars can last a lifetime. In Lucky Broken Girl, Ruth Behar tells her own story of trauma in childhood that still affects her today. Lucky Broken Girl won the 2018 Pura Belpre Award for its portrayal of the Latino/LatinaContinue reading “What Can be Repaired”