Results matching “diversity”

The Only Road

TheOnlyRoad.jpegThe Only Road (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016) by Alexandra Diaz is a book I wish I could get everyone to read.

After the murder of his cousin Miguel, twelve-year-old Jaime and his fifteen-year-old cousin Angela either have to join the destructive gangs in their village or leave Guatemala. To keep them safe their families spend everything they have to get the two the United States where Jaime's brother Tomas lives. But once the two are on their way, they are on their own. They face discovery by la migra, gang violence, death by train, hunger, thievery, thirst all in their quest for a safe place to live.

The Only Road is inspired by true events (not the author's) and is a Pura Belpré Honor book!

Alexandra Diaz has this at the head of her website: "Writing: to experience life in someone else's shoes." That's one of the reasons we read and why I'd like others to read this book.

Alexandra is also the author of Good Girls Don't Lie--a YA novel--and other books. On her bio page there are lots of links to interviews, too.


The Wolf's Boy

wolf'sboy.jpegThe Wolf's Boy (Disney-Hyperion, 2016) by Susan Williams Beckhorn is a touching tale of a boy who struggles because he doesn't fit in.

Twelve-year-old Kai has a club foot, so he's not allowed to touch weapons, or hunt. When Kai rescues a motherless wolf club, he's warned that she can't eat the People's food. As the yellow cub grows, the People look on her as a threat. With winter approaching Kai and Uff leave the village. How can a boy who can't even hunt survive on his own?

This book is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a 2017 Notable Children's Book. I love the cover too.

Read about Susan here where you can also see a picture of the stone house that she and her husband built themselves. And read about her other books here. She's also an illustrator.

The Water Princess

Perfect Picture Book Friday

waterprincess.pngI love The Water Princess (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2016) by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds so much. It's beautiful--it's sad. The book clearly shows how water, something we take for granted in our country, is not so accessible elsewhere. The book is based on the childhood experience of Georgie Badiel in Africa. This experience is not limited to Africa--I've seen it in Haiti, too. What a good story for kids everywhere to experience.

Listen to the opening words: "I am Princess Gie Gie. My Kingdom . . . the African sky, so wide and so close. I can almost touch the sharp edges of the stars."

You can see Susan's books here and read her bio here. Susan's next book My Kicks, illustrated by Katie Kath, comes out in April.

Peter's illustrations make you feel what Gie Gie is experiencing. You may recognize some of the titles where he is both author and illustrator: The Dot, Ish. He's illustrated a lot of books, which you can start seeing here. Meet Peter here.


Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Mrs. McBee.jpgMrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (Peachtree Publishers, 2017) by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan and Illustrated by Grace Zong is coming out in April and you won't want to miss it. (I'm holding a borrowed ARC* in my hands.)

It's the end of the year and Mrs. McBee has just told her class she won't be returning after summer vacation. The kids are disappointed, but Mrs. McBee wisely prepares the students for their "time together to end." You'll enjoy bossy Jamaika, William who's "not helping," and all the teams preparing the room for the last day.

This sweet book is one teacher's and parents can use to help children with change and good-byes, but I think kids will enjoy the book simply for the enjoyable story of a fun classroom. And the illustrations are absolutely adorable!

Here's Gretchen's author spotlight on her publisher's site. In it, you can read why Gretchen wrote the book. Also visit her website where you can find out about other books Gretchen has coming and about all the school good-byes she's had to make.

See more of Grace's illustrations here. There's also a link to see her other books.

*Advanced Reader Copy


Diverse Books

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I have 271 book recommendation posts on my blog--some of those include multiple books. When I started the blog ten years ago, there wasn't such a big push for diversity as there is now. Recently, I was curious how many of my entries were about diverse books. Doing some research, I discovered 49 of the entries had books with diverse characters who were integral to the story. (That's about 18 percent.) The books were not necessarily fully focused on diversity, but at least presented an important character who was nonwhite or other "abled." (If you want to see what books are included, search my blog for diversity or go to this link where I've done the search for you.) If I'd looked at the fantasy books, many of them would fit the diversity category too, as fantasy books often deal with characters who are different from the mainstream of their culture, but I don't think those books are usually counted as diverse.

I didn't set out to read "diverse" books specifically. Fortunately, I was raised to believe people are people despite skin color, cultural differences, etc., which means when I hear of a good book, or pick up a book, I'm not automatically offended because the main character is not like me on the outside. What I see as I read is that these characters are so like me on the inside. Which is why it is so important for "white" kids, "abled" kids, poor, middle class, and rich kids to read these books. They need to see we are more alike than we are different!

On the other hand, according to the 2015 Census, about 62% of Americans are white only, 17% are Hispanic or Latino only, 13% are black only, 6% are Asian only, 1% are Native American or Alaskan, and 2.5% are two or more races. (Note: Arabs are classified as "white" for censuses.) And these statistics don't include "differently abled." But even with these skewed figures, it'd be hoped that good books are written by/about 40% nonwhite "abled" people. Because people who fit these "other" categories deserve to see themselves represented in story too.

The reality is we're not there yet. Look closely at the above infographic. You might find this source post from September 2016 of interest. And here's an interesting post on CCBC on how books are counted.

WNDB_Button.pngWhat can I as a white writer do? Deliberately support those writers who write diverse books by blogging about those books, buying them, sharing about them, etc. And support diversity organizations. I just came across this list: 2016 LINKY (Diversity Children's Books Reviews). It can be a source for me to find books. Plus, I can let people know about it through twitter, etc. And, of course there's the We Need Diverse Books organization. This site has links to awards for specific types of diverse books. Again, it's another source to find books that I can share. SCBWI has a page on their site that focuses on diversity, plus has two diversity grants. Several of these diversity sites want you to notify them if you know of books, awards, etc. not on their lists. That's something any of us can do.

FYI, Multicultural Children's Book Day is coming up on January 27th. You can download a free kindness kit here.
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