The Paper Boat by Thao Lam

Without the subtitle, “A Refugee Story,” on the cover of The Paper Boat it might be difficult for children to immediately recognize the message that this wordless book shares so beautifully. It isn’t until reaching the end of the book, where there is an author’s note from Lam, that young readers learn exactly what theContinue reading “The Paper Boat by Thao Lam”

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh

Ada is a character who is learning to see herself through her own eyes. For her entire life, she has tried to be what others want her to be. A respectful and religious daughter for her father. An unconditionally loving daughter for her mother. A studious scholar for colleges and a submissive beauty for men.Continue reading “Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh”

The Ebb and Flow of History

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas begins in the late 1970s and ends in the early 1980s. Many of the 10-12-year-olds who read this book will think that seems like ancient history. For many of them, this precedes the birth of their parents. However, if these dates were not shared with them, andContinue reading “The Ebb and Flow of History”

Elevating Black Voices to Support Black Lives

I don’t know what to do or what to say. All I know is that doing and saying nothing is indefensible. Lately, I have been hearing so many people say that actions speak louder than words. This is often true. Still, I believe that words are powerful and that stories can change people’s hearts andContinue reading “Elevating Black Voices to Support Black Lives”

Who Tells the Story

In Color Me In, by Natasha Díaz, issues of belonging and advocacy are contemplated at the deepest of levels. The story begins with Nevaeh Levitz’s introduction to Harlem, where she is now living with her mom’s family, whose Liberian and Jamaican, Baptist background differs significantly from her father’s Ashkenazi Jewish one. Nevaeh has never reallyContinue reading “Who Tells the Story”

Being Together While We Are Apart

Around the world right now, we all have something in common; being kept apart. While some places around the world are starting to return to something resembling normal, there is a sense of insecurity that comes from being around other people. In the time of a global pandemic, it becomes even more important for usContinue reading “Being Together While We Are Apart”

Revolutionary Love

Many of us grew up with Sonia Manzano. We just didn’t know it. To us, for 44 years, she was Maria and she lived on Sesame Street. However, Sonia Manzano is much more than the television character she portrayed (as wonderful and iconic as that character continues to be). One of the many aspects ofContinue reading “Revolutionary Love”

History for Every Month

To me, it seems important that we have sections of the year that are dedicated to the history of marginalized communities. This provides one more “nudge” to encourage teachers to make sure that these communities are included in our instruction. However, these months or weeks devoted to the study of particular identity groups come withContinue reading “History for Every Month”

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”