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Mrs. G

    blog tours, children's books, diverse books

    Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry (Book Review) + Natural Hair Tips & Techniques

    Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

    Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison

    Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 32
    Age Range: 4 – 8
    Grade Level: Preschool – 3

    Synopsis
    It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.

    Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.

    Reflection
    Twist outs. Braid outs. Wash and Gos. Bantu knots. Locs. Afros. Braids. Top Knots. Ponytails.  Today’s natural haired beauties are embracing their kinks, coils and curls more than ever before to express their style.  Just ask little Zuri.  She wants to have the perfect hairstyle to welcome her mother home.  Armed with an iPad, hair products and her dad, she ends up finding the perfect look.

    I adore this book for so many reasons.  First, it showcases a Black father in a positive light bonding with his daughter doing her hair.  We don’t see this enough, especially in the Black community.  I personally think a father caring for his daughter’s hair isn’t a loss of masculinity.  In fact, I think women admire men even more who take the initiative to learn how to do hair.  I love how Zuri’s dad steps up to the plate and figures out what needs to be done to do his daughter’s hair in his wife’s absence.

    With the help of social media, Zuri’s father learns how to comb, part, oil, twist, and style Zuri’s hair.  This experience allowed Zuri to bond with her dad in an entirely new way, and likely instilled a deep pride about the heritage in her hair.

    One thing I notice with my husband is he likes to bond with our kids by playing, roughhousing, teaching them a skill or a sport.  But Hair Love shows that fathers talking to their daughters about their hair is an entirely new way to bond. Just like my daughter, many girls love to see and spend time with their dad.  So when a father actually does a good job on his daughter’s hair she’ll likely respond with, “Yeah, my daddy did my hair!”…now that’s bonding.

    I also love how Zuri’s dad tells her that her hair is beautiful.

    Daddy tells me it is beautiful.  That makes me proud.  I love that my hair lets me be me!

    When I was younger I remember people used to always use the word “nappy” to describe natural Black hair.  That word was thrown around a lot during my childhood by children and grown-ups and I never liked it.  Since becoming an adult and embracing my own natural hair, I no longer use that word to describe my hair or anyone else’s natural hair.  You have to be mindful of the things you say to children and teach them about self-love at an early age like Zuri’s dad.

    I also think Hair Love does a great job showing readers that being a father is much more than being able to provide for a family financially.  Fatherhood sometimes encompasses: cooking, cleaning, AND doing hair.  It may also involve showing your daughter how to love herself completely inside and out, how to appreciate her natural beauty, and love everything about herself. Those are things that sometimes men (and women) really don’t think about as being a father.

    Lastly, the adorable illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this book a ten on the cuteness scale.  Just look at how adorable the front cover is!  As always, Vashti does an outstanding job telling the story through her stunning illustrations.  A winner!

    Hair Tips & Techniques

    • Learn your daughter’s hair type and what will work best in styling her hair.
    • Create or find a regimen that works your daughter’s hair and lifestyle. Once you find what works KEEP DOING IT.  Consistency is key to growing beautiful, natural hair.
    • Find people within your family and friends and talk to them about maintenance if you’re unsure.
    • Utilize social media when necessary.  There is a wealth of information online.  You can find easy, child-friendly tutorials as well as product reviews.
    • Browse the hashtag #naturalhair or #naturalhairkids on any social media platform and all kinds of helpful information will be in the palm of your hand.

    About the Author

    Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver turned filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens. In 2007 he retired and moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment. Now, he directs music videos and short films, including “Hair Love,” the animated short film on which this book is based. Matthew was named to Paste Magazine‘s list of Directors to Watch in 2016.

    About the Illustrator

    Vashti Harrison is the author-illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, which is also a NAACP Image Award winner. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art, and received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and picture book worlds.

    Your turn: How do you teach your children to love their hair?  What natural hair tips and techniques would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    literary road trip series, product reviews

    Literary Road Trip Series: Adorablue Travel Tray for Kids + A Giveaway!

    Have you ever wondered how your child can make better use of their downtime while traveling on road trips or running daily errands in the car?  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s okay to just look out the window and watch cars or people pass by.  However, if you’re looking for a travel tray to help keep kids entertained, I’d highly recommend the one made by AdoraBlue.  It’s convenient for kids to eat, draw, watch movies and most importantly it helps keep things organized.

    On one side of the tray, there is a station for kids to eat, play with toys (like the AdoraBlue Scavenger Hunter game) read books, or to watch/play on the iPad/tablet at eye level.  The erasable side is for drawing, writing and creating.  Yes, it’s reversible!

    I love the media tablet holder being secured by a zipped plastic pocket to keep it protected from accidental spills.  We all know how messy life can get with kids, right? I also like how versatile and portable the travel tray is.  You can either use it as a lap desk in the car/stroller, on a plane for various fun activities, or use it indoors sitting on the couch or in a restaurant.  The custom design appeals to boys and girls alike.  It also has easy access to a large storage with zippers and a built-in bumper to keep your space mess-free whether your child is creating a masterpiece or munching on snacks.

    Here are some of the features:

    • Made of a vegan leather surface that is is easy to clean and soft to the touch.
    • It buckles either around the child’s car seat or stroller.
    • It has large mesh storage pockets on the side and a 2 inch wall to stop food, toys, markers or crayons from falling.
    • It is ideal for short and long trips.
    • It’s portable!  It can also be used indoors at home on your couch or in a restaurant.
    • Fits most car seats and boosters.
    • Comfortable, safe and 100% waterproof.
    • Includes cup holders for baby bottles, water bottles or sippy cups
    • Erasable board for drawing and expressing creativity.
    • Contains 3 different stations to play, eat, draw or use the iPad/tablet in a zipped, waterproof casing.

    The best part?  Our friends over at AdoraBlue were gracious enough to sponsor an Instagram giveaway for one (1) travel tray.  In addition, for a limited time, our audience can get 40% off a travel tray as part of a Mother’s Day promotion.  Click here to get a travel tray using the 40% discount (discount applied at checkout).

    Connect with AdoraBlue!

    Website | Instagram | Facebook

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    children's books, diverse books, giveaways

    Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants by Andrea Beaty + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: Abrams Books sent me the book to check out and is partnering with me for a giveaway!

    by Andrea Beaty, Illustrations © David Roberts

    Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants: The Questioneers Book #2 by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

    Release date: April 16th, 2019
    Recommended for ages 6-9
    Published by Abrams Books

    About the Series
    A mystery! A riddle! A puzzle! A quest!  The Questioneers are the best!

    If you’re already a fan of Ada Twist, Iggy Peck, and Rosie Revere, get ready for a new Questioneer! Sofia Valdez, Future Prez joins the class Election Day 2019. More info.

    About the Book
    Ada Twist is the queen of questions. Like, why does hot coffee smell stronger than cold? What kind of birds live in her backyard? And, especially, why does her brother Arthur get so cranky when she borrows his stuff for experiments?  But Ada’s questions really come in handy when her friend Rosie Revere needs help. Rosie’s Uncle Ned has gotten carried away in his famous helium pants, and Ada needs some answers—fast!

    How high can Uncle Ned float? Will he fly off into outer space? And, most important, how can they get him down? With the help of her fellow Questioneers Iggy Peck and Rosie Revere, her brother Arthur, and some new friends, Ada Twist is ready to save the day!

    We are huge fans of the books Iggy Peck, ArchitectRosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist.  We also thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book in The Questioneers chapter book series, a spin-off of the popular bestselling picture books.  You can read my full review of that book here in case you missed it.

    The second book stars our favorite curious STEM loving character, Miss Ada Twist.  In true Ada fashion, she asks a myriad of never-ending questions and performs several science experiments.  This is a fun, engaging and entertaining chapter book for children ages 6-9.

    The Giveaway!  Ready to Enter?


    One (1) winner receives:

    • Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants
    • plus Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists.

    Giveaway open to US addresses only.

    Prizing and samples provided by Abrams Books.

    Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants

    About the Author

    Andrea Beaty is the author of Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist; among other children’s titles. She is an advocate for STEM and her books have been read around the globe and in space on board the International Space Station. She lives just outside Chicago. Visit her online at andreabeaty.com and on Twitter.

    About the Illustrator

    David Roberts has illustrated many children’s books, including Iggy Peck, Architect; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Ada Twist, Scientist. He lives in London where, when not drawing, he likes to make hats. Visit him online on Tumblr and Instagram.

    For more information about The Questioneers visit the Official Site

    Connect with Abrams Kids on Social Media!
    TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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    children's books, cover reveal, diverse books

    Exclusive Cover Reveal: Sam! by Dani Gabriel

    Sam! by Dani Gabriel COVER REVEAL!

    In partnership with Penny Candy Books, I am thrilled to be revealing the cover for the forthcoming September 2019 book Sam! by Dani Gabriel.  The cover is illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo.

    • Total Pages: 36 pages
    • Publisher: Penny Candy Books
    • Publication Date: September 10, 2019
    • Recommended Ages: 8-12 and up
    • Pre-Orders: Available for Pre-Order Now!

    Synopsis

    Sam is a nine-year-old boy who loves riding his bike and learning about the American Revolution. There’s just one problem: Sam’s family knows him as a girl named Isabel. Sam feels a sense of relief when he finally confides in his sister Maggie, and then his parents, even though it takes them a while to feel comfortable with it. But with lots of love and support, Sam and his family learn and grow through Sam’s journey to embrace his true self. In the vein of I Am Jazzby Jessica Herthel, Sam! is based on a true story. With a note from the author explaining her family’s experience, Sam! is an important addition to a list of books that help children and adults discuss gender identity.

    Check out Sam! when it publishes in September 2019!

    About the Author
    Dani Gabriel is a poet, writer, activist, and teacher, the author of The Woman You Write Poems About (Civil Defense Press) and coauthor of Molotov Mouths (Manic D Press). She holds a BA from UC Berkeley in Peace and Conflict Studies and an MFA from Mills College in Creative Writing. This is Dani’s debut picture book. She lives in the Bay Area.

    About the Illustrator
    Robert Liu-Trujillo is an author/illustrator and publisher from the Bay Area. He has worked on several picture books including Furqan’s First Flat Top, which he wrote and illustrated, One of a Kind, Like Me by Laurin Mayeno, which he illustrated, and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina, for which he contributed an illustration. He is a co-founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective, a contributor to Rad Dad, and the founder of Come Bien Books. He lives in Oakland, CA, with his wife, son, and daughter.

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    adult books, children's books, technology

    Screen-Free Week: Unplug With These Books for Readers of All Ages

    Are you looking for Screen-Free Week book recommendations for readers of all ages?  We’ve got you covered!

    Every year during screen-free week, thousands of people participate and commit to unplug from screen-based entertainment for an entire week.  Are you up for the challenge?  You can visit the screenfree.org website to find out more information, discover local screen-free week events and find great resources to help you.

    What is Screen-Free Week?

    From the Screen-Free website: Screen-Free Week is an annual invitation to play, explore, and rediscover the joys of life beyond ad-supported screens.  Each year, thousands of families, schools, and communities around the world will put down their entertainment screens for seven days of fun, connection, and discovery.  Even though it’s about turning off screens, Screen-Free Week isn’t about going without – it’s about what you can get! An hour once dedicated to YouTube becomes an hour spent outside; ten minutes wiled away on social media turn into ten minutes spent doodling; a movie on a rainy afternoon is replaced by time spent reading, chatting, or playing pretend!  You can celebrate Screen-Free Week at home, in your school, in your community, or anywhere – just put down those entertainment screens and do literally anything else! You might be surprised at what you find.

    Below are a few book recommendations for members of your whole family to enjoy during screen-free week.  These books are all related to the themes of living life unplugged or technology.  Happy Reading!

    Kid/Teen Recommendations

    Unplugged by Steve Anthony (Ages 3-5)
    One day, Blip becomes unplugged after a blackout and discovers the outside world beyond screens.  Blip explores the outdoors and also makes new friends.  A fun story with a timely message that shows kids it’s possible to have fun without electronic devices.

    When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Dennihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha (Ages 4-8)
    “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. This clever story, complete with a recipe for lemonade, celebrates the pleasures of patience, hard work, nature, community . . . and putting down the electronic devices just for a while.

    Blackout by John Rocco (Ages 4-8)
    This is a wonderful story about how a power outage brings families and neighbors together by turning off all the distractions. I like reading this one with the kids Enjoy in the dark with a flashlight under the covers.

    If You Give a Mouse an iPhone: A Cautionary Tale by Ann Droyd (Ages 4-8)
    A funny and lighthearted parody of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  Shows kids the good and bad consequences of too much screen time.

    No More Screen Time by Patti Price (Ages 4-8)
    A cute an informative book about unplugging from devices, playing outside and spending time with family and friends.

    Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd (Ages 4-8)
    “In a bright buzzing room, in the glow of the moon-and iPhones and Androids and Blackberries too-it is time to say goodnight…”  A whimsical parody about living a life filled with technology and screens.

    How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk (Ages 4 – 8)
    All summer, Pearl has been trying to build the perfect sandcastle, but out-of-control Frisbees and mischievous puppies keep getting in the way! Pearl and her robot friend Pascal have one last chance, and this time, they’re going to use code to get the job done.

    What Does it Mean to Be Safe? by Rana DiOrio (Ages 4-8)
    What Does It Mean To Be Safe? explores physical, emotional, social, and cyber safety in unthreatening ways that spark meaningful conversations between adults and children.

    Jaden Toussant, The Greatest Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time by Marti Dumas (Ages 5-7 )
    Jaden Toussaint, 5 year-old scientist and all around cool dude, is on a mission to convince the grown-ups that he needs more SCREEN TIME. His only weapons are science, ninja dancing, and his super-powered brain power. Can Jaden Toussaint get the grown-ups to change their minds?

    But I Read It on the Internet by Toni Buzzeo (Ages 8 – 12)
    Hunter and Carmen disagree whether George Washington really had wooden teeth, and Mrs. Skorupski encourages them to research the story on the internet and use her “Website Evaluation Gizmo” to evaluate websites and come up with the correct answer.

    The Teen’s Guide to Social Media… and Mobile Devices: 21 Tips to Wise Posting in an Insecure World by Jonathan McKee (Ages 12 – 18)
    The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices will help you navigate the digital world with 21 refreshingly honest and humorous tips that will not only inform, but that also just might change the way you think about your social media interaction.

    Adult Recommendations

    Raising Humans in a Digital World by Diana Graber
    This book is packed with at-home discussion topics and enjoyable activities that any busy family can slip into their daily routine. Full of practical tips grounded in academic research and hands-on experience, today’s parents finally have what they’ve been waiting for—a guide to raising digital kids who will become the positive and successful leaders our world desperately needs.

    Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
    Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He shows how digital minimalists are rethinking their relationship to social media, rediscovering the pleasures of the offline world, and reconnecting with their inner selves through regular periods of solitude.

    Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time by Victoria L. Dunckley, MD
    Follow the steps outlined in this four-week plan to end meltdowns, raise grades and boost social skills.

    The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life by Anya Kamenetz
    Finally, an evidence-based, don’t-panic guide to what to do about kids and screens.

    Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner
    Screenwise helps parents recognize that the social wisdom they have gained throughout their lives is a relevant and urgently needed supplement to their kid’s digital savvy. These skills can help set kids up for a lifetime of success in a world fueled by technology.

    The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch
    Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal?

    Screen-Free Fun: 400 Activities for the Whole Family by Shannon Philpott-Sanders
    Screen-Free Fun offers over 400 ideas to disconnect from tech devices and reconnect with our families in a healthier way. You can pick from DIY activities to games to weekend outings. Since many of the activities work well for kids at various ages, your family will be able to grow along with the different projects and make plans for both younger and older siblings alike. You can try indoor projects, outdoor activities, or learn more about your favorite destinations with activities like a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood or an i-spy game at the zoo. There is also space for your family to add your own favorite activities so you never forget a great idea or memory! From summer vacation to holiday breaks and every rainy day in between, with this book you and your family will always have something fun to do together—without ever having to resort to a tablet, phone, or computer.

    Your turn: Are you planning to participate in screen-free week?  What other books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

     

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    adult books, children's books, podcasts

    The Ultimate List of Literary Podcasts for Book Lovers of All Ages

    Are you a book lover looking for a new literary podcast to listen to?

    I love listening to podcasts instead of watching tv or mindlessly surfing social media.  I usually listen to podcasts while folding laundry, commuting or when I’m washing dishes.

    I think podcasts have so much to offer people of all ages.  The ones I like to listen to have exciting stories, interesting facts, and lively sound effects.  That’s basically everything you need for an entertaining listening experience.  The best part?  There are podcasts for every member of your family to enjoy!

    Below I’ve rounded up some of my current favorite literary podcasts for kids, tweens/teens, young adults and adults.  I hope you’ll find at least one podcast that resonates with you or other members of your family.  Happy listening!

    Oh, and just in case you never listened to a podcast and don’t know how to do it, I’ve included some of the most popular options for listening:

    •  
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    Kids

    All the Wonders
    Weekly interviews with Authors, Illustrators, Award Winners, Up-And-Comers, and Everyone In Between

    Book Club for Kids
    The place where young readers meet to talk about books. The show includes a celebrity reader and an interview with the author.

    Books Between
    A Podcast to help connect kids between 8-12 to books they’ll love.

    Circle Round

    Circle Round is a storytelling podcast for kids ages 3 to 10.  The show features folktales from around the world with an eye towards inclusivity. Stories are 10 to 20 minute diverse episodes that delve into topics such as kindness, persistence and generosity.

    Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls
    Based on the popular book, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, the global best-selling book series written by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, inspiring millions of girls and women around the world to dream bigger, aim higher and fight harder.

    Little Stories for Tiny People

    A podcast featuring original kids’ stories and poems that will delight the tiny people in your life.

    Lu and Bean Read
    Join Lu, Bean and friends as they hear stories read by children’s picture books authors and interview the authors about their books.  Writer and blogger Tracy Babler and daughters Lu and Bean share their favorite children’s books and stories.

    Picturebooking
    A podcast that showcases the authors and illustrators of some of your favorite children’s books.

    Stories Podcast

    The perfect kids podcast for imaginative families. Whether you’re driving with your children or just want to limit your kids’ screen time, Stories Podcast delivers entertainment that kids and parents alike will love.

    Storynory
    A podcast offering  a mixture of original stories and myths from around the world.

    Story Pirates
    Story Pirates is a group of world-class actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians who adapt stories written by kids into sketch comedy and musical theater.

    Story Time
    Story Time is a free fortnightly audiobook podcast for children ages 2-13.  Each story is usually less than 20 minutes long, just long enough to keep toddlers, preschoolers, and little ones engaged.

    Talking About Books for Kids
    A podcast that explores diverse books for kids and teens through conversations with authors and those that love reading children’s literature.

    The Yarn
    A narrative adventure. The Yarn takes listeners behind the scenes of children’s literature, and lets them look at all the threads that must be weaved together to create a book.

    Adults / Young Adults

    All the Books! Podcast
    A weekly book podcast of recommendations and discussions about the most interesting and exciting new book releases.

    Am Writing
    In conversations between us and guests like David Sedaris, best-selling romance author Sarina Bowen, Jennifer Weiner, Alan Alda, Anna Quinlan, Cal Newport and many, many more, the podcast gives you all we can about getting started and keeping going in all aspects of the writing business.

    Black Chick Lit
    A podcast that talks books by and about black women.

    Black & Read
    A book club podcast hosted by Terry Brown. Each week Terry and his guest will discuss a piece of literature from the unique perspectives of a person of color.

    Books and Boba
    A book club dedicated to books written by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

    Currently Reading Podcast
    A podcast dedicated to the love of books and reading. Two bookish friends discuss what’s on their nightstands, in their earbuds, and on their Kindles right now, in addition to books they’ve loved forever, and a variety of other readerly topics.

    The Guardian Books Podcast
    A weekly look at the world of books, poetry and great writing presented by  Claire Armitstead,  Richard Lea, & Sian Cain

    Hey YA
    A literary podcast for book lovers who enjoy YA (young adult) books.

    Kidlit Women Podcast
    A podcast of interviews and essays focusing on women’s and gender issues, including non-binary and gender fluidity, in the children’s literature community and all its intersectionality.

    Levar Burton Reads
    In every episode, host LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow, Roots, Star Trek) invites you to take a break from your daily life, and dive into a great story.

    Lit Up
    A literary podcast that beyond the book and ask the writers and thinkers what they’re reading and what they are thinking, and the truth about who they really are.

    Literary Disco
    A podcast where writers talk about reading.

    Minorities in Publishing

    The brain child of publishing professional Jenn Baker, MiP is a podcastdiscussing diversity (or lack thereof) in the book publishing industry with other professionals working in-house as well as authors and those in the literary scene.

    The Bookstore Podcast
    A podcast for book news, reviews, and discussion hosted by two former booksellers.

    The Stacks
    Host Traci Thomas chats with a wide array of guests from film and television stars to community leaders, publishing professionals, and best-selling authors.

    Read Aloud Revival

    A podcast to equip and inspire adults to make meaningful and lasting connections with children through stories.

    Reading Women Podcast
    A podcast discussing books by or about women.

    What Should I Read Next?
    Hosted by Anne Bogel, of the popular blog Modern Mrs Darcy, this podcast features interviews with readers about the books they love, the books they hate, and the books they’re reading now. Then, Anne she makes recommendations about what to read next.

    Your turn:  What are your favorite literary podcasts to listen to?  Feel free to share in the comments.  I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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    children's books, diverse books

    South Asian Children’s Books Set in Sri Lanka + Tips for Talking to Children About Tragic Events

    The latest terror attack against Sri Lanka has left me silent and deeply saddened by the heinous act.  The attack came just one month after dozens of Muslims were killed in a shooting at two mosques in New Zealand.  Like many people, I’m left wondering: When will these senseless acts end?  What can we do collectively to find answers to end such violence?  I wish I had the answers, but I don’t.  The sad truth is terrorism remains our number one global enemy.

    Following any tragic event, I like to concentrate on what our family can do now to help those most directly affected and to promote safety, tolerance and acceptance in our community.  Hence, I decided to write this blog post in an effort as a small way to help others.

    Tips for Talking to Children About Tragic Events
    Parents, caregivers, grandparents and educators often want to know how to handle talking to children in relation to tragic events such as shootings and terrorist attacks.  Since my children are still young, I often begin difficult conversations like this by reading books.  These may be books we have on hand in our home library or ones we borrow from our local library.  In addition to reading books, I continue the conversation by following any (or all) of the steps listed below:

    • Ask what they already understand about the event that happened (they may learn about events by hearing adults talk about them, hearing others talk at school, from their friends or hearing about them on the news)
    • Clear up any misunderstandings, scary rumors or worrisome thoughts they may have heard about the event
    • Tell them the truth in simple and direct terms and avoid trying to mislead them – no sugarcoating
    • Reassure their safety at home, school, church/mosque/place of worship and community
    • Ask them if they have any questions and answer them honestly
    • Limit repetitive media coverage about the event (Once we discuss the event, I limit exposure to hearing about it over and over again)

    Children’s Books Set in Sri Lanka

    Below I’ve rounded up a few children’s books set in Sri Lanka.  I hope this list helps children learn more about Sri Lanka, the little island in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of India.  Sri Lanka is often called “the teardrop island” for its unique shape and “the spice island” for its delicious flavors.

    Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira (Ages 5 – 12)

    From the publisher: Through the fascinating stories of 50 women from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, South Asian girls will have a chance to dream about lives for themselves that radically differ from the limited narratives written for them by their culture, wider society and the media. From a prominent suffragette (Sophia Duleep Singh) to the Indian princess who spied for Britain in World War II (Noor Inayat Khan) and a Booker Prize-winning author (Arundhati Roy), Stories for South Asian Supergirls seeks to redress the imbalance for young girls of colour by empowering them to break new ground for themselves and to inspire others in the process. 100% of the author’s share of proceeds from book sales will be donated to charity.

    Ruby Rides An Elephant by Ruby Lovell (Ages 4-8)

    From the publisher: Ruby is on a fantastic holiday with her parents on the tropical island of Sri Lanka. What exciting adventures will her parents take her on? She certainly never expected to go on this ride. NO not in a car, NO not on a bus – but on an Elephant! Through forests, jungles and lakes. Ruby also makes a new best friend in Rani the Elephant.

    When the Rain Comes by Alma Fullerton (Ages 4-8)

    From the publisher:  It is time to plant the rice crop in Malini’s Sri Lankan community, and the little girl is both excited and nervous to help for the first time. What if she does it wrong? Will she be responsible if the crop fails? When the oxcart rumbles in loaded with seedlings, she reluctantly agrees to watch the big, imposing animal while the driver takes a break. Suddenly, the skies go dark with monsoon rain. A flash flood pours down the road, separating Malini from the driver and her family. They are shouting for her to run for higher ground, but what about the rice? Summoning up courage she never dreamed she possessed, Malini resolves to save ox, cart, and seedlings, no matter what it takes.

    Tea Leaves by Frederick Lipp (Ages 6 and up)

    From the publisher: Nine-year-old Shanti, who lives in the mountains of Sri Lanka, has her wish come true when her Uncle Nochi takes her to see the Indian Ocean.

    Petscapade: Mystery Book #1 by Nadishka Aloysius (Ages 9 -12)

    From the publisher: Written in homage to the Enid Blyton mystery books, this story is set in Sri Lanka. It is a coming of age tale, and the youngsters learn to travel through an adult world of prejudice and social norms as they attempt to solve the mystery. This will also appeal to lovers of cozy mysteries and herald a new era of amateur sleuths.

    Elly Rose in Sri Lanka by Maggie O’Hara (Ages 5 – 8)

    From the publisher: Elly Rose and her mother fly from Sydney, Australia to Sri Lanka, to attend the famous Esala Perahera festival, and to meet Shalinka and his daughter Aruni. When a baby elephant is lost, Elly Rose knows she must help find its family. It’s a race against time. What will they do when a cheeky monkey steals their map? Will they find the elephants family or will they get caught in the monsoon rains?

    An educational book about culture, friendship and being selfless. This book embraces travel and adventure and explores different cultures and traditions in Sri Lanka. An Australian and a Sri Lankan girl go on an adventure together to find the baby elephants family. Together they learn a little more about each other and their different cultures.

    The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers by Mike Masilamani (Ages 12 and up)

    From the publisher: The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers is a darkly satiric account of childhood in times of war. Set in Sri Lanka, the events it narrates could equally happen elsewhere — in all places where human deaths are reduced to numbers, and where guns do not differentiate between adults and children. Mike Masilamani’s ironic narrative centers around an unnamed boy who is more at home with numbers rather than words. Along with a constantly chattering — and prophetic — cow he bears witness to a bizarre and violent time.

    Do You Really Want to Meet an Elephant? by Cari Meister (Ages 6 – 9)

    From the publisher: A child learns about domesticated elephants and then goes on a trip to Sri Lanka to view Asian elephants in the wild.

    Mariah the Little Wanderer by Tahira Perveen Sheriff (Ages 4 – 8)

    From the publisher: Anyone can be Mariah! Every little girl and little boy can experience the same adventures as Mariah- The Little Wanderer if they put their heart & mind to it. Mariah- The Little Wanderer is centered around the city of Colombo in the Island of Sri Lanka, and it’s portrayed as a whimsical land everyone just dreams of living in. It inspires little children to wonder about the outside world, the beauty in making friends with people from all walks of life, and most of all broadens their minds to the endless beauty of travel and living life to the fullest.

    Sri Lanka: Cultures of the World by Jo-Ann Spilling (Ages 10 – 13)

    Explores the geography, history, government, economy, people, and culture of Sri Lanka.

    Little Sid: The Tiny Prince Who Became Buddha by Ian Lendler

    Note: This book isn’t necessarily set in Sri Lanka, but I included it because a majority of people from Sri Lanka are of the Buddhist faith.

    From the publisher: A spoiled young prince, Siddhartha got everything he ever asked for, until he asked for what couldn’t be given­―happiness.  Join Little Sid as he sets off on a journey of discovery and encounters mysterious wise-folk, terrifying tigers, and one very annoying mouse.

    Your turn: What books would you add to this list?  What tips can you provide to help talk to children about tragic events?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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