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weneeddiversebooks:

"#WeNeedDiverseBooks because we live in a culturally diverse world."

"#WeNeedDiverseBooks because every child deserves to see herself represented in a good story."

"#WeNeedDiverseBooks because good stories come in all colors."

Submitted by Elizabeth Zunon, children’s book illustrator.

posted 5 months ago with 5,658 notes via spookyseohyun and weneeddiversebooks
tagged as: #TALK TO ME ABOUT DIVERSE BOOKS THO 
Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-Li Jiang, Illustrated by Greg RuthPublisher: Disney Press, 2013Genre:  Historical FictionFormat: Picture Book 
Summary

Tai Shan and his father, Baba, love to fly kites and look at the city. Baba tells Tai Shan stories while they fly their kites. Set during the Cultural Revolution in China, a dark time comes about. People wearing red armbands shut down schools, search houses, and smash stores. Tai Shan is sent to live with Granny Wang and Baba is sent away. They continue to fly their kites until they are able to meet again.

Illustrations

This poignant story has beautiful, detailed watercolor illustrations. It is visually moving. There is a lot of color when Tai Shan or Baba is the focus and the more political aspect has more shadows and is muted. 

Classroom Connections

This would be a great book to have students discuss a time they were separated from someone or something they love. Symbolism is a main part of this story so it would be a great book to work on that concept.

Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-Li Jiang, Illustrated by Greg Ruth
Publisher: Disney Press, 2013
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Format: Picture Book

Summary

Tai Shan and his father, Baba, love to fly kites and look at the city. Baba tells Tai Shan stories while they fly their kites. Set during the Cultural Revolution in China, a dark time comes about. People wearing red armbands shut down schools, search houses, and smash stores. Tai Shan is sent to live with Granny Wang and Baba is sent away. They continue to fly their kites until they are able to meet again.

Illustrations

This poignant story has beautiful, detailed watercolor illustrations. It is visually moving. There is a lot of color when Tai Shan or Baba is the focus and the more political aspect has more shadows and is muted.

Classroom Connections

This would be a great book to have students discuss a time they were separated from someone or something they love. Symbolism is a main part of this story so it would be a great book to work on that concept.
posted 8 months ago
tagged as: #d* #hf* #f* #ch* 
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012Genre:  FableFormat: Wordless Picture BookAward: 2010 Caldecott Medal 
Summary

A wordless twist on one of Aesop’s well-known fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap. 

Illustrations

The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” never was truer. The pencil and watercolor illustrations carry the book since it is wordless. The illustrations are vivid and beautifully show the landscape of the African Serengeti and the characters’ faces are extremely expressive.

Classroom Connections
Perfect for retelling or creating your own story. Great book to introduce picture walks.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2012
Genre:  Fable
Format: Wordless Picture Book
Award: 2010 Caldecott Medal

Summary

A wordless twist on one of Aesop’s well-known fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap.

Illustrations

The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” never was truer. The pencil and watercolor illustrations carry the book since it is wordless. The illustrations are vivid and beautifully show the landscape of the African Serengeti and the characters’ faces are extremely expressive.

Classroom Connections

Perfect for retelling or creating your own story. Great book to introduce picture walks.
posted 8 months ago
tagged as: #a* #ca* #tl* #af* 
Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies, Illustrated by James CroftPublisher: Candlewick Press, 2003Genre: Nonfiction - Informational BookFormat: Picture Book
Summary

The last thing you want to hear when you’re swimming in the ocean is “SHARK!” But really, only 3 out of the 500 species of sharks attack humans. Sharks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes — they can be as small as a chocolate bar! This informational book about sharks will teach you what makes a shark a shark and how different they can all be. 

Personal Response

This book is by the same woman who wrote Extreme Animals (a book I read earlier) and I purposely picked another book by her. Just as her other book, this was hilarious and taught me a lot of fun facts about sharks that I never knew before. She was also careful to use kid friendly language and define words she couldn’t simplify which I thought was really important.

Illustrations

Yet again, this book’s illustrations and text worked in harmony. The pictures matched the funny text, especially the fish wearing sunglasses and the fish in the bullseye. The acrylic and oil pastels gave the book a very simple feel but still made the reader feel like they were underwater. 

Classroom Connections

Have the students work in groups or by themselves and pick a species of shark. Have them draw the shark on a poster and fill the shark’s stomach with information on the type of shark.

Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies, Illustrated by James Croft
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2003
Genre: Nonfiction - Informational Book
Format: Picture Book

Summary

The last thing you want to hear when you’re swimming in the ocean is “SHARK!” But really, only 3 out of the 500 species of sharks attack humans. Sharks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes — they can be as small as a chocolate bar! This informational book about sharks will teach you what makes a shark a shark and how different they can all be. 

Personal Response

This book is by the same woman who wrote Extreme Animals (a book I read earlier) and I purposely picked another book by her. Just as her other book, this was hilarious and taught me a lot of fun facts about sharks that I never knew before. She was also careful to use kid friendly language and define words she couldn’t simplify which I thought was really important.

Illustrations

Yet again, this book’s illustrations and text worked in harmony. The pictures matched the funny text, especially the fish wearing sunglasses and the fish in the bullseye. The acrylic and oil pastels gave the book a very simple feel but still made the reader feel like they were underwater. 

Classroom Connections

Have the students work in groups or by themselves and pick a species of shark. Have them draw the shark on a poster and fill the shark’s stomach with information on the type of shark.

posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #nf* 
Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies, Illustrations by Neal LaytonPublisher: Candlewick Press, 2006Genre: Informational BookFormat: Picture Book
Summary

This book talks about animals and bacteria that survive where no human ever could and how they do it. From emperor penguins keeping warm by huddling together in freezing cold temperatures to fish living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench with the pressure of 1100 atmospheres on them.

Personal Response

This is quite possibly one of the most entertaining informational books I have read in my entire life. The book uses “kid language” which would make it easy for anyone to understand. There is almost a perfect balance of humor while still providing the reader with accurate facts about these tough creatures. 

Illustrations

The illustrations in this informational book are just as funny and informational as the text. The illustrator utilizes a very childish method of cartoon drawing with outside-of-the-lines crayon coloring and spirals and the messy handwriting. It is absolutely perfect for a child. The book is just really fun. 

Classroom Connections

Students will choose an animal or bacteria in this book and make a poster about it. The poster can include facts and drawings to go along with the facts. Students can do some extra research to add more to their poster.

Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies, Illustrations by Neal Layton
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2006
Genre: Informational Book
Format: Picture Book

Summary

This book talks about animals and bacteria that survive where no human ever could and how they do it. From emperor penguins keeping warm by huddling together in freezing cold temperatures to fish living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench with the pressure of 1100 atmospheres on them.

Personal Response

This is quite possibly one of the most entertaining informational books I have read in my entire life. The book uses “kid language” which would make it easy for anyone to understand. There is almost a perfect balance of humor while still providing the reader with accurate facts about these tough creatures. 

Illustrations

The illustrations in this informational book are just as funny and informational as the text. The illustrator utilizes a very childish method of cartoon drawing with outside-of-the-lines crayon coloring and spirals and the messy handwriting. It is absolutely perfect for a child. The book is just really fun. 

Classroom Connections

Students will choose an animal or bacteria in this book and make a poster about it. The poster can include facts and drawings to go along with the facts. Students can do some extra research to add more to their poster.

posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #nf* 
The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon, Illustrated by Lynne AvrilPublisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2010Genre: Realistic FictionFormat: Picture BookAward: Schneider Family Book Award
Summary

Ginny has just started kindergarten and she really loves it. However, she saw everything double and struggled to participate in reading words or numbers. She can’t see very well and has to squint or close one eye to see. The nurse discovers that she has double vision and Ginny wears an eye patch to fix it. 

Personal Response

I thought this book would be great for students just starting kindergarten. Also, children who have vision problems would be able to relate to this book. I really liked it because Ginny’s character was always optimistic no matter what she went through and even put a fun, positive spin on her eye patch. 

Illustrations

The chalk, pencil, and crayon drawings are very lively and accurately depict the double vision Ginny has with the real object being dark and its double be lighter. 

Classroom Connections

Ginny has double vision so have students to write from Ginny’s point of view on what it would be like seeing correctly for the first time. 

The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon, Illustrated by Lynne Avril
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2010
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Picture Book
Award: Schneider Family Book Award

Summary

Ginny has just started kindergarten and she really loves it. However, she saw everything double and struggled to participate in reading words or numbers. She can’t see very well and has to squint or close one eye to see. The nurse discovers that she has double vision and Ginny wears an eye patch to fix it. 

Personal Response

I thought this book would be great for students just starting kindergarten. Also, children who have vision problems would be able to relate to this book. I really liked it because Ginny’s character was always optimistic no matter what she went through and even put a fun, positive spin on her eye patch. 

Illustrations

The chalk, pencil, and crayon drawings are very lively and accurately depict the double vision Ginny has with the real object being dark and its double be lighter. 

Classroom Connections

Ginny has double vision so have students to write from Ginny’s point of view on what it would be like seeing correctly for the first time. 

posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #sfb* #a* #rf* 
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, Illustrated by Ed MartinezPublisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993Genre: Realistic FictionFormat: Picture Book
Summary

Maria was playing with her mom’s ring and helping her mother cook Christmas dinner for her family which consisted of making tamales. She realized later on during the day that the ring was missing and she and her cousins ate all the tamales trying to find the ring but couldn’t. When she went to tell her mother, she realized her mom had the ring on and the entire family made tamales together again. 

Personal Response

I thought this book was really great! I can relate to helping my mom cook Christmas dinners every year although I never lost anything in the food! It’s a great story that kids could relate to because everyone has spent time with their family or played with their parent’s things.

Illustrations

The oil paintings used for the illustrations and colors and patterns used in this book give the book a very warm and Mexican feel. The emotions on the characters faces are very lively in this book. 

Classroom Connections

This could work for a math lesson. Since they are making tamales, it would require a recipe. Providing the students with a recipe and allowing them to manipulate it to feed more or less people would be a great way to have hem learn measurements. 

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, Illustrated by Ed Martinez
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1993
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Picture Book

Summary

Maria was playing with her mom’s ring and helping her mother cook Christmas dinner for her family which consisted of making tamales. She realized later on during the day that the ring was missing and she and her cousins ate all the tamales trying to find the ring but couldn’t. When she went to tell her mother, she realized her mom had the ring on and the entire family made tamales together again. 

Personal Response

I thought this book was really great! I can relate to helping my mom cook Christmas dinners every year although I never lost anything in the food! It’s a great story that kids could relate to because everyone has spent time with their family or played with their parent’s things.

Illustrations

The oil paintings used for the illustrations and colors and patterns used in this book give the book a very warm and Mexican feel. The emotions on the characters faces are very lively in this book. 

Classroom Connections

This could work for a math lesson. Since they are making tamales, it would require a recipe. Providing the students with a recipe and allowing them to manipulate it to feed more or less people would be a great way to have hem learn measurements. 

posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #d* #la* #rf* 
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald No Combina by Monica Brown, Illustrated by Sara PalaciosPublisher: Children’s Book Press, 2011Genre: Realistic FictionFormat: Picture BookAward:Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book
Summary

Marisol McDonald is a Peruvian-American girl who likes to do things differently. Her red hair doesn’t match her darker skin, her stripes and polka dot clothing, and putting peanut butter on her burritos all makes her different. Her classmates make fun of her for the weird things she does so she changes and follows everyone is but is unhappy. Her art teacher writes her a letter and tells her not to change for anyone so Marisol goes back to the way she was and is happy again. 

Personal Response

This book would be excellent to teach students to embrace the things that make him/her unique! Children can be really concern about what is or isn’t cool so reading this book would let them know that being different is great. This is also a great book for biracial or children of other cultures to have someone to relate to and see that there are others who might have trouble finding where they fit.

Illustrations

The acrylic paintings used for the illustrations and colors give this book a very vibrant feel. I liked the colors and how everything was mismatched just like Marisol. 

Classroom Connections

Students could make an outline of a person and fill the person in with words or pictures of what makes them unique. 

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald No Combina by Monica Brown, Illustrated by Sara Palacios
Publisher: Children’s Book Press, 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Picture Book
Award:Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor Book

Summary

Marisol McDonald is a Peruvian-American girl who likes to do things differently. Her red hair doesn’t match her darker skin, her stripes and polka dot clothing, and putting peanut butter on her burritos all makes her different. Her classmates make fun of her for the weird things she does so she changes and follows everyone is but is unhappy. Her art teacher writes her a letter and tells her not to change for anyone so Marisol goes back to the way she was and is happy again. 

Personal Response

This book would be excellent to teach students to embrace the things that make him/her unique! Children can be really concern about what is or isn’t cool so reading this book would let them know that being different is great. This is also a great book for biracial or children of other cultures to have someone to relate to and see that there are others who might have trouble finding where they fit.

Illustrations

The acrylic paintings used for the illustrations and colors give this book a very vibrant feel. I liked the colors and how everything was mismatched just like Marisol. 

Classroom Connections

Students could make an outline of a person and fill the person in with words or pictures of what makes them unique. 

posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #a* #pb* #la* #rf* 
I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada, Illustrated by Elivia SavadierPublisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004Genre: Realistic FictionFormat: Picture BookAward: 2003 Notable Books for a Global Society 
Summary

This bilingual story is about a girl who spends Saturdays with her grandparents and Domingos (Sundays) with her abuelitos (grandparents in Spanish). She compares the things she does with her set of grandparents and how they are similar or different, but still knowing they share the same amount of love for her.

Personal Response

This book would be wonderful to read to children who are biracial. I enjoyed reading this story and seeing how these two distinct families and cultures were so different but the same. 

Illustrations

The watercolor paintings used for the illustrations give the book a very childish feel. The illustrations are a bit messy (I’m not the biggest fan of watercolor) but they match the story well. 

Classroom Connections

Students could work on compare and contrast with a Venn Diagram to show what activities the grandparents do are different or similar. 

I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada, Illustrated by Elivia Savadier
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2004
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Picture Book
Award: 2003 Notable Books for a Global Society 

Summary

This bilingual story is about a girl who spends Saturdays with her grandparents and Domingos (Sundays) with her abuelitos (grandparents in Spanish). She compares the things she does with her set of grandparents and how they are similar or different, but still knowing they share the same amount of love for her.

Personal Response

This book would be wonderful to read to children who are biracial. I enjoyed reading this story and seeing how these two distinct families and cultures were so different but the same. 

Illustrations

The watercolor paintings used for the illustrations give the book a very childish feel. The illustrations are a bit messy (I’m not the biggest fan of watercolor) but they match the story well. 

Classroom Connections

Students could work on compare and contrast with a Venn Diagram to show what activities the grandparents do are different or similar. 

posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #nbgs* #a* #d* #la* #rf* 
26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie DePaolaPublisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999Genre: AutobiographyFormat: Chapter BookAward: Newberry Honor Award
Summary

This nine-chapter book is about the author’s, Tomie DePaola, childhood stories about his life before he moved into the house on 26 Fairmount Ave. It starts off with Tomie experiencing a hurricane and seeing a child holding an umbrella floating down stairs like Mary Poppins! He goes through some funny situations like accidentally eating chocolate laxatives, starting kindergarten and wanting to skip it because he doesn’t learn how to read, taking the struggles of the building the house, and just having a good time with his family. 

Personal Response

I can remember reading this book in elementary school and loving it so much. I started to read a lot of biographies after this book. I think I liked it so much because I had read Strega Nona and he is also the author of that book so finding out more about his life as a child was really intriguing to me. I still find the book funny after all these years. 

Illustrations

The illustrations are all done by Tomie DePaola and they are very minimal, just using black and white drawings on the corners of the page or at the bottoms. Most of the drawings are really cute and it makes the characters even more likable. 

Classroom Connections

Before Reading: Describe the similarities and differences between a biography and an autobiography to students.
After Reading: Have students write their own autobiography. They could write about things they have done and funny stories like DePaola and also illustrate like he did. Provide the students with some sample questions like: 
Where do you live? Did you always live there?
Who is in your family?

26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie DePaola
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999
Genre: Autobiography
Format: Chapter Book
Award: Newberry Honor Award

Summary

This nine-chapter book is about the author’s, Tomie DePaola, childhood stories about his life before he moved into the house on 26 Fairmount Ave. It starts off with Tomie experiencing a hurricane and seeing a child holding an umbrella floating down stairs like Mary Poppins! He goes through some funny situations like accidentally eating chocolate laxatives, starting kindergarten and wanting to skip it because he doesn’t learn how to read, taking the struggles of the building the house, and just having a good time with his family. 

Personal Response

I can remember reading this book in elementary school and loving it so much. I started to read a lot of biographies after this book. I think I liked it so much because I had read Strega Nona and he is also the author of that book so finding out more about his life as a child was really intriguing to me. I still find the book funny after all these years. 

Illustrations

The illustrations are all done by Tomie DePaola and they are very minimal, just using black and white drawings on the corners of the page or at the bottoms. Most of the drawings are really cute and it makes the characters even more likable. 

Classroom Connections

Before Reading: Describe the similarities and differences between a biography and an autobiography to students.

After Reading: Have students write their own autobiography. They could write about things they have done and funny stories like DePaola and also illustrate like he did. Provide the students with some sample questions like: 

  • Where do you live? Did you always live there?
  • Who is in your family?
posted 10 months ago
tagged as: #nh* #a* #b*