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    blog tours, children's books, diverse books

    Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team by Susan Hood and Pathana Sornhiran

    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.

    Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team by Susan Hood and Pathana Sornhiran, Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Format: Hardcover
    Pages: 48
    Age Range: 4 – 8

    Synopsis
    One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!

    With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.

    Reflection
    Eleven-year-old Chanin grew up being obsessed with soccer.  At the age of six he started playing and joined the Wild Boars soccer team a few short years later.  Nicknamed “Titan” by his family after the powerful giants of Greek mythology, he was known for his strength which made him an asset to the team.

    On June 23, 2018 Titan and eleven of his teammates entered the Tham Luang Nang Non Caves along with their soccer coach in search of adventure. The storied “hidden city” within the cave excited the boys so they went in search of it.  Little did they know they’d be spending 18 days trapped (June 23 – July 10) there underground surrounded by stone cold water and little oxygen with no food.

    While reading this book I felt a range of different emotions from sadness to nervousness to sheer excitement!  This story is not only captivating, but it’s informative too.  It’s so interesting to read the details about how the team members all made it out alive.  What an incredible journey for the soccer team, their coach and all of the rescuers/volunteers involved!  This is an amazing story of bravery, perseverance, teamwork and community.  The illustrations by Dow Phumiruk are so vivid will take your breath away.  Each illustration really helps to bring the story to life.

    The back matter has more information about the cave rescue including a timeline and other fascinating facts.  For example: while being trapped in the cave, four of the boys missed their birthdays.  There is also a brief interview with British divers Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson.  An inspiring non-fiction book not to be missed this year.

    Watch the Book Trailer!

    About the Authors
    Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s Violin, Shaking Things Up, and Lifeboat 12. She is the recipient of the 2017 E.B. White Honor Award, the 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Américas Award, and the 2017 Bank Street Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, given annually to “a distinguished work of nonfiction which serves as an inspiration to young people.” Visit susanhoodbooks.com.

    Pathana Sornhiran was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University with a major in English and French. She later completed her master’s degree in journalism in London, UK and now works as a journalist in Asia, traveling across the region to find and tell stories that matter.

    About the Illustrator 
    Dow Phumiruk was born in Bangkok, Thailand and came to the United States with her family when she was very young. Her mother was a nurse, and her father, a retired Royal Thai Air Force captain. He worked for Thai Airways for many years, which allowed her family many trips back to Thailand when she was younger. Dow currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three daughters. She is an author and illustrator of children’s books and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2011. Dow is also a general pediatrician who teaches medical students part time. When she is not creating or teaching, she likes to hike the trails near her home. Visit her at artbydow.blogspot.com

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    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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    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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    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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    15+ Multicultural Christian Picture Books for Children

    Looking for some fabulous Christian picture books for children ages 4-8? Be sure to check out the picture books on this list!

    Since our family is of the Christian faith, it’s important for me to read high-quality faith-building books with my children.  In the list below, I’ve rounded up some fantastic Christian picture books with excellent illustrations that put God at the focus of the story.   If you’re looking to instill positive faith values in children or just want to read a fantastic Christian-themed picture book about everyday kids being kids, I hope you’ll find something in this list.  Happy Reading!

    The Creation by James Weldon Johnson

    Set in the Deep South, The Creation alternates breathtaking scenes from Genesis with images of a country preacher under a tree retelling the story for children. The exquisite detail of James E. Ransome’s sun-dappled paintings and the sophisticated rhythm of the free verse pay tribute to Black American oral traditions of country sermonizing and storytelling.

    Who Will I Be, Lord? by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

    A young girl thoughtfully considers her family tree and the vibrant ancestors who populate it. As each family member’s story is revealed, her quiet meditation—about what kind of person she’ll be when she grows up—transforms into a testament to the importance of sharing family stories.

    Come Sunday by Nikki Grimes

    Softly, quietly begins the day of the week that, for LaTasha, is always full of glorious sounds: the pipe organ, tambourine, and drum; the footfalls of ushers marching down the aisle of the sanctuary; the sweet harmonies of the choir; and the rich vibrato of the preacher’s voice. LaTasha sings along with the congregation, confident that Heaven hears each joyful note.  A book of beautiful poems related to going to church on Sunday.

    Psalm Twenty-Three by Tim Ladwig

    The text of the familiar psalm comparing God to a loving shepherd accompanies illustrations which shows the world of love and fear faced by an urban African American family.

    He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson

    Through sublime landscapes and warm images of a boy and his family, Kadir has created a dazzling, intimate interpretation, one that rejoices in the connectedness of people and nature.

    The Lord’s Prayer by Tim Ladwig

    A young girl and her father spend a day together helping an elderly neighbor. The love and guidance the child experiences in her relationship with her dad reflect the heart and will of our Heavenly Father in concrete ways children of all ages will understand.

    Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner

    It’s almost little June’s big day to sing her first solo in the youth church choir and she couldn’t be more excited! But when it’s time to practice at choir rehearsal, June gets a little stage fright. As a result, her voice starts to tremble when she sings.  She overhears her friends making fun of her which hurts her feelings and makes her even more nervous and scared. With the help of her supportive family and community members, June gains back her confidence. But will she be ready to sing her big solo on Sunday morning in front of the whole congregation?

    Sunday is for God by Michael McGowan

    A boy longs to play in the river on this hot summer day, but instead he has to sit quietly in a pew. His collar itches and his tie’s too tight—why does the Lord care whether people get dressed up for church, anyway? But as hymns and prayers fill the room, he begins to appreciate the simple beauty of a day set aside for family and prayer.

    The World is Awake by Linsey Davis

    The World Is Awake, A celebration of everyday blessings, written by Emmy Award winner and ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis with Joseph Bottum, is a lyrical, rhyming story for young children intended to make them feel safe and joyful, cradled in the hands of God.

    When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

    Told in rhyming and playful text with beautiful illustrations, When God Made You inspires young readers to learn about their own special gifts and how they fit into God’s divine plan as they grow, explore, and begin to create for themselves.

    Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer by Tonya Bolden

    A young boy wakes. He has forgotten to say his prayers. Outside his window, a beautiful harvest moon illuminates the city around him and its many inhabitants. As the moon slowly makes its way across the heavens, the boy offers a simple prayer for the homeless, the hungry, and others.

    The Watcher by Nikki Grimes

    Jordan lives in fear of Tanya, the class bully. But Tanya has worries of her own, no matter how much she tries to ignore them. It seems impossible that Jordan and Tanya could be anything other than enemies, but the Lord is watching over them, guiding each of them along a path that might just help them to understand one another.

    Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations by Kelly Starling Lyons

    In 1900, in Jacksonville, Florida, two brothers, one of them the principal of a segregated, all-black school, wrote the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” so his students could sing it for a tribute to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. From that moment on, the song has provided inspiration and solace for generations of Black families. Mothers and fathers passed it on to their children who sang it to their children and grandchildren. It has been sung during major moments of the Civil Rights Movement and at family gatherings and college graduations.

    Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson

    From award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier, a stunning new picture book version of the well-known song that has become known as the African-American National Hymn

    We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands by Rafael Lopez

    Come and read along and sing along as we celebrate the magic of unity. From the rivers to the mountains to the oceans and to the sea — we’ve got the whole world in our hands.

    As an added bonus the sheet music is included in the back of the book for piano, guitar, and recorder for classroom, library, and home sing-alongs.

    I Am: God’s Affirmations for Little Girls by Belinda N. Mays

    This reflection of God’s truth includes memory versus paired with empowering poetry and breath-taking illustrations to help elementary aged girls build the confidence and courage to live by God’s standards.

    God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    It’s a wish that everyone will see they are brothers and sisters, no matter their way of speaking to God, no matter the size of their nose or the shade of their skin. Aided by vibrant artwork evoking such images as a rainbow and a sharing circle, Tutu offers the essence of his ubuntu philosophy, a wisdom so clear and crystalline that even the smallest child can understand.

    When Daddy Prays by Nikki Grimes

    In this collection of new poems by Nikki Grimes, a child learns about prayer from his father, whose prayers carry the family through each day — no matter what the circumstances.

    When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner

    Do you pray over your children and family? If so, this is a definite must add to your collection. It’s SO beautifully written and is the perfect alternative for the book Oh, The Places You’ll Go…for praying families.

    It’s filled with all the hopes and dreams I have for my children as I raise them to be responsible adults.

    Your turn: What books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    diverse books, family fun

    The 2019 National AntiRacist Book Festival

    Have you heard all of buzz about the inaugural 2019 National AntiRacist Book Festival yet?  This ticketed event will be taking place on Saturday April 27, 2019 on AU’s Washington College of Law campus in the neighborhood of Tenleytown, Washington, D.C.  The event is hosted by American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center.

    Along with nationally renowned writers, journalists, poets, and scholars who have recently published critically acclaimed books, the festival will include workshops for aspiring writers with leading literary agents and book editors. This year’s inaugural festival primarily features authors of anti-black racism and its intersections.  There will also be free workshops for educators and youth, and workshops on photography and self-care.

    “The inaugural Antiracist Bookfest will offer one of the most distinguished lineups of anti-racist authors ever assembled for a book festival,” said National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi, the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. “We are making history with this incredible collection of bestselling, award-winning and popular authors, who often headline events. We are delighted they each agreed to come together and launch the Antiracist Bookfest, while supporting our work in the Antiracist Research and Policy Center.”

    Sample of authors in attendance:

    National Book Critics Circle Award-winning historian Carol Anderson
    National Magazine Award-winning reporter Shane Bauer
    Bancroft Prize-winning Yale historian David Blight
    New York Times bestselling-author Robin DiAngelo
    National Book Award Finalist Erica Armstrong Dunbar
    Award-winning Harvard professor and filmmaker Henry Louis Gates
    New York Times bestselling-author Morgan Jerkins
    Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tyehimba Jess
    Award-winning Washington Post editor Steve Luxenberg
    Nationally renowned Campaign Zero Co-Founder DeRay McKesson
    New York Times bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo
    New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds
    Award-winning poet and writer Clint Smith
    PEN Open Book Award winner Nafissa Thompson-Spires
    New York Times bestselling author D. Watkins
    National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jacqueline Woodson
    Very Smart Brothas Cofounder Damon Young

    Ticketed portions of the festival will include author panel discussions and workshops for aspiring writers.  All proceeds from ticket sales for the Antiracist Bookfest will go to the work of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, started at AU in fall 2017. The center is based on a new vision of change that’s grounded in historical revelation and focuses on policy change.

    To purchase tickets click here!

    Media members are required to RSVP with Rebecca Basu, American University Communications, 202-885-5950, basu@american.edu.  For more information about this event click here.

    Your turn: Are you planning to attend this event?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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