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    children's books, cover reveal, diverse books

    EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL: Michelle’s Garden by Sharee Miller

    Michelle’s Garden by Sharee Miller

    Today, I am thrilled to collaborate with author/illustrator Sharee Miller to reveal the cover of her forthcoming picture book Michelle’s Garden. This is reveal is especially exciting because Former First Lady Michelle Obama will be debuting her podcast on Spotify later this week! Check out the synopsis from the publisher written below.

    Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers
    On-sale Date: March 2, 2021 available for pre-orders now!

    About the Book
    A tribute to Former First Lady Michelle Obama and her contributions in building a healthier future for all children from acclaimed author and illustrator Sharee Miller.

    Former First Lady Michelle Obama had an idea. A big, inspiring, and exciting idea! She would grow the largest kitchen garden ever at the White House. This wouldn’t be easy, since she’d never gardened before: Where should she start? What tools did she need? What would she plant?

    Everyone needs help when they’re learning something for the first time, even the first lady of the United States. So she gathered the help of local students, the White House staff, and even President Barack Obama. Together, they wouldn’t just grow a garden — they would inspire a nation!

    Mark your calendars for this March 2021 release.

    About Sharee Miller

    Sharee Miller lives and works in Jersey City with her husband and their two cats, Pumpkin and Spice. Her illustrations combine bright colors, patterns, and expressive characters to tell the stories she wishes she had as a kid. She is the author of Princess Hair and Don’t Touch My Hair!

    Visit Sharee’s website here to see some of her work.

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    children's books, diverse books

    Diversify Your Bookshelves: Download this FREE Printable Checklist

    If you’ve been following me for a while, you may know by now how passionate I am about teaching people understand the importance of daily reading and having diversity in literature. Through years of reading and research on my own, along with my own firsthand experience being a parent, I decided to create this checklist and other resources I’ve given away for free over the years, to help people like you and pass on the knowledge I’ve learned.

    My ultimate goal is to help parents, caregivers, grandparents, homeschoolers, librarians, and educators create a diverse library at home or school so they can teach the children in their lives about the importance of diversity, inclusion and the power of reading.

    By downloading this “Diversify Your Bookshelf” checklist, you can take your reading routine/habit the next level AND help diversify your bookshelf!

    This checklist is for you if…

    • You are a parent, caregiver or expecting parent and have a desire to diversify your home library
    • You are an educator or librarian who wants to enhance and diversify your school library
    • You have a desire to help children understand the importance of reading books that serve as both windows and mirrors (a phrase coined by Rudine Sims Bishop)
    • You want to raise anti-racist children

    Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have a goal to diversify your bookshelves:

    1. Start with a small subset of books if you have to, but just start.
    It’s okay if you start with a small, curated list of high quality books. If you can’t afford to purchase books all at once, borrow them from your local library or a discounted thrift store. Don’t worry about trying to check off all the boxes on this list at once. Curating a library takes time.

    2. Keep going. Learning to embrace diversity and anti-racism is an ongoing lifelong commitment.
    Once you’ve started reading diverse books, one of the most important things to do is to make it a priority. Be sure to include diverse titles in your family’s ongoing reading year round. By doing this, you may find that your conversations will deepen over time and the connections between the books and your real life may grow organically.

    3. Let this be about you as much as it is about your kids or students.
    It’s great that parents and educators are now envisioning a more hopeful future for their children or students, but it’s important to also take this journey alongside them. Always remember, kids learn more from what we do than what we say. Be sure to invest any necessary time looking inward too. This may include diversifying your own bookshelf and expanding your immediate social circle. Relish in the journey together.

    Happy Reading!

    Click HERE to download the checklist for FREE!

    Your turn: Have you recently diversified your bookshelves at home or in your school? Feel free to share in the comments.

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    cover reveal, diverse books

    Cover Reveal: Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

    Cover reveals are always exciting around here! Today, I am pleased to collaborate with debut author Joanna Ho to reveal the cover of her forthcoming picture book Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. The book is illustrated by Dung Ho. Check out the synopsis from the publisher written below.

    Publisher: Harper Collins
    On-sale Date: January 5, 2021, available for pre-orders now!

    About the book

    Some people have eyes like sapphire lagoons with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns, sweeping their cheeks as they twirl. Big eyes, long lashes.

    Not me.

    I have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.

    That’s the opening lines to this forthcoming January 2021 picture book release from #ownvoices debut author Joanna Ho. Check out the synopsis below from the publisher.

    This picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes.

    A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

    Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self love and empowerment.

    This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages and is a celebration of diversity.

    Eyes That Kiss in the Corners is available for pre-orders now. Recommended for ages 4-8.

    Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Dung Ho

    Visit Joanna’s website here to see some of her work.

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    children's books, cover reveal, diverse books

    Cover Reveal: Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers by Juliet Menéndez

    I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of this forthcoming 2021 beauty, Latinitas by debut author/illustrator Juliet Menéndez. Check out a quote from Juliet and the synopsis from the publisher written below.

    “In making the cover, I wanted to celebrate this amazing community of Latinas who are inspiring leaders and advocates of change and am so happy to share it with you. I can’t believe that this project I have been dreaming about since 2014 is finally coming to life! As Selena would say, estoy MUY excited!”  — Juliet Menéndez

    Publisher: Godwin Books
    On-sale Date: February 23, 2021, available for pre-orders now!

    About the book

    Meet some of the bravest, most influential Latinas in history! With portraits of the individuals as children and short bios celebrating their accomplishments and lives, Juliet Menéndez brings these amazing women to life. The subjects are a mix of well-known figures such as artist Frida Kahlo and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and lesser known figures, like the spy Policarpa Salavarrieta from Colombia and NASA’s first virtual reality engineer, Evelyn Miralles, from Venezuela.

    The book also features Juana Azurduy de Padilla, Policarpa Salavarrieta, Rosa Peña de González, Teresa Carreño, Zelia Nuttall, Antonia Navarro Huezo, Matilde Hidalgo, Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou, Pura Belpré, Gumercinda Páez, Julia de Burgos, Chavela Vargas, Alicia Alonso, Victoria Santa Cruz, Claribel Alegría, Celia Cruz, Dolores Huerta, Rita Moreno, Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, Mercedes Sosa, Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Mercedes Doretti, Sonia Pierre, Justa Canaviri, Evelyn Miralles, Selena Quintanilla, Berta Cáceres, Serena Auñon, Wanda Díaz Merced, Marta Vieira da Silva, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Laurie Hernandez.

    Recommended for Ages 8 – 12 and up.

    Visit Juliet’s website here to see some of her work.

    Author/Illustrator Juliet Menéndez
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    diverse books, summer reading

    Reading Together Summer Reading Challenge: Download this FREE Diverse & Inclusive Summer Reading Chart for Kids and Adults!

    Happy Juneteenth, friends! I can’t think of a better day than today to unveil my latest FREE resource for you to use with your little readers, your students or on your own. If you’re an educator, it makes the perfect end of school year gift for all of your students no matter what age they are!

    To create this printable, I collaborated with Briana James of Artish Reader, a talented Art student who reached out to me on Instagram. She’s currently building up her portfolio and asked to collaborate on projects a few months ago. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember the first project Briana and I collaborated on for my 31 Days of Women’s History coloring sheet.

    I talked to Briana about my idea and concept and she used her creative genius to produce a high-quality reading chart. I couldn’t be more happier with it! Get in touch with Briana, give her a follow on Instagram, and support her as she continues to build up her art portfolio. It was such a pleasure to work with her once again and help support another Black woman at the same time.

    This coloring printable is a fun way to celebrate summer reading. It features an array of books and other items beautifully stacked on bookshelves. You can enjoy this coloring page printed in various sizes from 8.5 X 11 up to 24 X 36 if you’d like jumbo poster size.

    Each day during the summer months , color in one book or object until the whole poster is complete. Also, be sure to use the checklist to check off books as you read or complete the challenges.

    If you need book recommendations throughout the challenge, I have created several categorized lists in my online Bookshop and Amazon stores to assist you. Also, if purchasing new or used books isn’t in your budget, be sure to utilize your local library. Many libraries will likely have their own summer reading challenges going on as well so do those challenges too. The more reading, the better to help prevent the summer slide.

    Here are a few of my book lists to help get you started:

    The 2020 Ultimate List of Diverse Children’s Books
    Caribbean Picture Book Recommendations
    Muslim Themed Book Recommendations
    Latinx Book Recommendations
    Diverse & Inclusive Picture Books for Kids
    African-American Picture Books Featuring Males
    African-American Picture Books Featuring Females
    Native/Indigenous Picture Books
    Asian & Pacific Islander Book Recommendations

    Happy Reading & Researching this summer!

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS PRINTABLE! (Use this link for poster size printing)

    CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS PRINTABLE! (Use this link for 8.5 x 11 size printing)

    CHECK OUT MORE OF MY RESOURCES (INCLUDING MY POPULAR PRINTABLE READING JOURNAL and SUMMER READING BOARD GAME) ON MY TEACHER’S PAY TEACHERS WEBSITE AND GIVE ME A FOLLOW OVER THERE TOO.

    AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

    Your turn: Are you excited to use this chart for summer reading? Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, diverse books, giveaways

    Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea + A Giveaway!

    KAMALA AND MAYA’S BIG IDEA

    by Meena Harris, illustrated by Ana Ramírez González

    Age Range: 4 – 8 years
    Grade Level: Preschool – 3
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray

    Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two sisters who work with their community to effect change, inspired by a true story from the childhood of her aunt, US Senator Kamala Harris, and mother, lawyer, and policy expert Maya Harris.

    One day, Kamala and Maya had an idea. A big idea: they would turn their empty apartment courtyard into a playground!

    This is the uplifting tale of how the author’s aunt and mother first learned to persevere in the face of disappointment and turned a dream into reality. This is a story of children’s ability to make a difference and of a community coming together to transform their neighborhood.

    In Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea, two sisters decide they need a playground in the back of their building. They won’t take the landlord’s “no” as an answer and rally all the kids who live in the building to help them find a way. I love how at the girls call themselves the “per-sisters” at the end of the book because they were persistent and didn’t give up. Recommended for ages 4 – 8.

    Meena Harris was born into a family of strong women whose legacy continues to inspire her. Her grandmother, Shyamala Gopalan, was a cancer researcher and civil rights activist; her mother, Maya Harris, is a lawyer and policy expert; and her aunt, Kamala Harris, is a United States senator from California. Meena herself is a lawyer and entrepreneur. In 2017 she founded the Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, a female-powered organization that brings awareness to social causes. She currently resides in San Francisco with her partner and two daughters.

    Ana Ramírez González worked as a visual development artist on Pixar’s Oscar-winning film Coco and illustrated the companion picture book Coco: Miguel and the Grand Harmony by Matt de la Peña. Ana is also the illustrator of Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell. She grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico, and lives in Oakland, California.

    Follow Meena on Instagram @meenaharris or at phenomenalwoman.us.

    Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea

    Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea Giveaway

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    children's books, diverse books

    FREE Bookish Printables, Crafts and Coloring Sheets with Diverse Characters

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, very few of us were prepared for the challenge of keeping our kids busy and entertained while working from home. It definitely hasn’t hasn’t been easy in our household. Some days have been incredibly stressful and logistically challenging, but overall we’re coping and have adjusted to our new temporary routine and schedule.

    Thankfully, several authors have created free resources to help us go through this unanticipated staycation. Our state recently announced schools will be closed for the rest of the school year, so we’ll be using lots of different resources like the ones mentioned below in the weeks and months ahead.

    Below you’ll find a list of FREE printables, coloring sheets and activity sheets that feature diverse characters. I hope you find them to be helpful to you and your family.

    Collage Fun at Home with Author/Illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton
    Watch this fascinating video and have kids make their own collages! Vanessa Brantley – Newton Shares a collage project that adults and children can do together to pass the time. All you need is some scrap papers, crayons or magic markers or temper paint, scissors and glue.

    Tiara’s Hat Parade
    Author Kelly Starling Lyons has a variety of different printable resources for her latest book Tiara’s Hat Parade. There are coloring pages, a template for a paper doll and more!

    Vashti Harrison
    Author/illustrator Vashti Harrison invites little readers to create their own Little Leaders, match up Little Dreamers with this activity sheet, and make Little Legends paper dolls with her free printables. There is also a word search activity.

    Sharee Miller
    Author/illustrator Sharee Miller is offering the most adorable printables and activity sheets…all for FREE!

    Princess Hair – This Princess has lost her hair. Help draw her hair under her crown and color her in!
    Draw Your Own Princess – Stretch those creative muscles and draw your own princess (or prince).
    5 Things I Love About My Hair – List 5 things you love about your hair.
    Coloring Pages – A bundle of coloring pages featuring Black characters.

    Janae Marks
    In the mood for baking? Debut author Janae Marks who wrote From the Desk of Zoe Washington has a recipe for Froot Loop Cereal Cupcakes on her website. Download it here. She also has a music playlist which features all of the songs that appeared in the book.

    Photo courtesy of Janae Marks website

    Every Child a Reader
    As an annual tradition of Children’s Book Week, esteemed children’s book illustrators are chosen to create bookmarks which celebrate children’s books and reading. This year, in keeping with the theme of Read. Dream. Share., seven artists have contributed their beautiful and inspiring artwork. These bookmarks are available to print and distribute to children, teens, and book lovers everywhere!

    Download bookmarks and activities here from authors John Parra, Duncan Tonatiuh, Vanessa Brantley-Newton and more!

    Illustration courtesy of John Parra from the Every Child a Reader website

    Your turn: What diverse and inclusive bookish resources have you used with your little readers or students. Should I add any additional resources to this list? Feel free to share in the comments so we can all learn.

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