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”

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”

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”

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””

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”