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    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    Women’s History Month: Our Legendary Ladies Presents Anandi Gopal Joshi (A Book Review)

    I received this book for free from MCP Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Anandi Gopal Joshi Published by MCP Books Format: Hardcover
    Source: MCP Books
    Buy on Indie Bound
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    A baby book highlighting the life of Anandi Gopal Joshi, the first Indian woman to receive a western medical degree and a trailblazer for women's rights and education.

    The second board book in the Our Legendary Ladies series, this board book introduces tiny readers (ages birth – 4 and up) to Anandi Gopal Joshi.  Born on March 31, 1865, Anandi Gopal Joshi was one of the first Indian female physicians.

    Joshi was married at the age of just nine, which was common in 19th century India, to a man 20 years older than her.  She gave birth to their first child when she was 14, but her baby son died 10 days later due to a lack of medical care for women.  The death of her son served as her motivation to study medicine.

    During a time when it was unthinkable for a woman to get an education, Anandi defied the odds and came to America to study medicine at the Women’s College of Philadelphia.  She later returned to India and received special recognition and congratulations from Queen Victoria.  Anandi dreamed of opening a medical college for women, but due to an early death from tuberculosis on 26 February, 1887, her dream was never realized.  She died at the age of 21.

    In 1997, a crater on the planet Venus was named after Anandi by the International Astronomical Union.  She is one of the few notable to receive this honor.

    Although Anandi’s life was short lived and she is lesser-known, she was a true inspiration and pioneer of her time.

    About the Our Legendary Ladies Book Series
    The books are written by Megan Callea and illustrated by Jennifer Howard.  For each featured lady in this book series, a leading historian signs off on the final version of the book.  Each book is well researched and fact checked for accuracy.  In addition, for each book purchased, a portion of the proceeds, and books, will be donated to these non-profits: Bright by ThreeJumpstart and Operation Showers of Appreciation.  Following Anandi Gopal Joshi, future Our Legendary Ladies books will include Sacagawea, Amelia Earhart and Anne Frank.

    For more information about Our Legendary Ladiesclick here to visit the official website.

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    Diversity in Publishing from A to Z: A List of Book Publishers Who Specialize in Diversity and Inclusion

    While diversity in publishing has been at the forefront of some conversations in the publishing industry as of late, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.  It’s no secret the publishing remains a majority White middle-class dominated industry.  For example, according to Lee and Low’s Diversity Gap in Children’s Books annual survey, Black, Latinx, and Native authors combined wrote just 7% of new children’s books published in 2018.

    So the question remains, what can we (the general public) do to help?

    One of the most important things we can do is support, read and help promote minority voices and diverse/inclusive books and the publishers who create them.  This includes purchasing books from independent bookstores or online and borrowing books from your local library.  If your bookstore or library doesn’t have the book you are looking for request it so they know there is a demand. If you don’t have the budget to buy books, use the library.

    Oftentimes, I request my local libraries to order books, even if we already own it or I plan to buy a copy for our home collection.  This way it will be added to the library’s collection and someone who can’t afford it will have the chance to read it.  I think of it as a nice way to pay it forward to others and still support diverse literature.

    Below I’ve rounded up a list of book publishers who support and specialize in publishing diverse and inclusive books.  While I’m aware many of the larger publishing houses also publish diverse books, this list focuses on: some larger publishers who exclusively publish diverse books, diverse imprints of larger publishing houses, and some smaller/independent publishers who publish diverse books.  You can find most of these publishers on social media including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  If you find a new publisher from this list, give them a follow!

    Agate Bolden – Publishes adult and children’s books that focus on African American writers, fiction and nonfiction.
    Amistad – The oldest publisher dedicated to multicultural voices.  Publishes picture books through young adult works by and about people of African descent that discuss historical and cultural themes.  An imprint of HarperCollins.
    Baobab Publishing – An independent publishing company that specializes in creating quality multicultural children’s books.
    Barefoot Books – Publishes books that “open windows to other cultures and perspectives, while also providing children of all backgrounds and abilities with a much-needed mirror of their own experiences.”
    Beach House Publishing – Publishes board, picture and chapter books that caters to Hawaiian children
    Bharat Babies – Publishes children’s books about India with a story for everyone.
    Brown Girls Books – Publishes adult and children’s books written by Black female authors. Black owned.
    Caribbean Reads – Publishes children’s and adult books that feature Caribbean authors and/or Caribbean themes.
    Cassava Republic Press – Publishes fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children specializing in catering to African writing.
    Cinco Puntos – With roots on the U.S./Mexico border, Cinco Puntos publishes great books which make a difference in the way you see the world.
    Denene Millner Books – An imprint of Agate Publishing that publishes books specifically for children of color
    Feminist Press – Publishes books to amplify women’s rights and feminist perspectives
    Flamingo Rampant – Publishes feminist, racially-diverse, LGBTQ+ positive children’s books
    Groundwood Books – A publisher committed to publishing books for and about children whose experiences of the world are under-represented elsewhere.
    Highwater Press – Publishes a broad range of authentic Indigenous-authored stories. A rich mix of novels, graphic novels, and children’s books, these captivating and exceptional award-winning titles will challenge and engage readers of all ages.
    Inhabit Media – An inuit-owned publishing company that aims to promote and preserve the stories, knowledge and talent of northern Canada.
    Interlude Press – An award-winning boutique publisher of LGBTQ+ general and romantic fiction.
    Just Us Books – Publishes books for children of color
    Kamehameha Publishing – Publishes adult and children’s books that amplify Hawaiian perspectives, culture and language.
    KitaabWorld – A publishing company passionate about making South Asian children’s literature more accessible and easily available in the US.  They advocate to spread awareness about South Asian culture, and provide resources for teachers, librarians and parents.
    Kokila – An imprint of Penguin Random House that brings together an inclusive community of authors and illustrators, publishing professionals, and readers to examine and celebrate stories that reflect the richness of our world.  They publish children’s and young adult books.
    Lantana Publishing – Publishes award-winning diverse and inclusive children’s books that celebrate children in the UK school system who identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME).
    Lee and Low Books – The largest publisher of award-winning diverse board, picture and chapter books for children.  Lee and Low makes a special effort to work with unpublished authors and illustrators of color.
    Lil’ Libros – Promotes bilingualism and Latin American culture through picture board books.
    Make Me a World – A forthcoming 2019 imprint that will publish books that “open up new worlds, possibilities, and pathways for young readers of all ages. Focused on bringing voices of diverse thinkers and artists from all walks of life” into the limelight.
    Marimba Books – A multicultural children’s book imprint of Just Us Books dedicated to publishing titles that reflect America’s diversity
    Melanin Origins – Publishes quality educational materials which inspire young minds to aspire for excellence while embracing their heritage.  Black owned.
    Nothing But the Truth Publishing – An independent publishing house specializing in books written by diverse female authors.
    Orca Book Publishers – An independently owned Canadian children’s book publisher who publishes award-winning diverse books
    Penny Candy Books – A small publishing house that honors diversity and fosters big conversations.
    Piñata Books – A publisher dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States.
    Plum Street Press – A New Orleans based publisher that publishes books for children of color just being everyday kids
    Red Bone Press – Publishes work celebrating the cultures of black lesbians and gay men, and work that further promotes understanding between black gays and lesbians and the black mainstream.
    Read and Glow Books – A publishing company specializing in helping to empower and inspire children “to take pride in their individuality, and to see the beauty of their true selves”.  Black owned.
    Saffron Press – Publishes diverse books specializing in inspiring citizens of change
    Salaam Reads – A Muslim children’s book imprint from Simon & Schuster
    Sankofa Books – An imprint of Just Us Books dedicated to publishing out of print diverse children’s books
    Second Story Press – Publishes feminist-inspired books for young readers and adults
    Shade Mountain Press Specializes in literature written by women — particularly women of color, women with disabilities, women from working-class backgrounds, and women who identify queer/lesbian/bisexual.
    Stone Bridge Press – Publishes books about Asians with an emphasis on Japanese culture.
    The Road Runner Press – A publisher dedicated to publishing juvenile + adult titles by Native Americans.
    Third World Press – Publishes books for African-American children, young adults and adults. Black owned.
    Tiny Owl Publishing – Publishes high quality picture books promoting cultural diversity. Based in the UK.
    Tu Books – An imprint of Lee and Low Books that publishes diverse middle grade and YA books.
    Versify – An imprint of HMH books started by Newbery Award–winning author Kwame Alexander. Features diverse books for children and young adults.
    Yali Books – An independent publisher of picture books, young adult books and graphic novels with a focus on South Asian cultures.

    Your turn: Did you learn about any new publishers after reading this list?  What publishers would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    Go on a BabyMoon and Bring This Picture Book With You: BabyMoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

    I received this book for free from Candlewick in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Go on a BabyMoon and Bring This Picture Book With You: BabyMoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-NealBabymoon by Hayley Barrett
    Published by Candlewick Pages: 32
    Format: Hardcover
    Source: Candlewick
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    five-stars

    Inside the cozy house, a baby has arrived! The world is eager to meet the newcomer, but there will be time enough for that later. Right now, the family is on its babymoon: cocooning, connecting, learning, and muddling through each new concern. While the term “babymoon” is often used to refer to a parents’ getaway before the birth of a child, it was originally coined by midwives to describe days like these: at home with a newborn, with the world held at bay and the wonder of a new family constellation unfolding. Paired with warm and winsome illustrations by Juana Martinez-Neal, Hayley Barrett’s lyrical ode to these tender first days will resonate with new families everywhere.

    Have you ever been on a babymoon?  Do you even know what a babymoon is?

    ba·by·moon
    /ˈbābēˌmo͞on
    noun
    a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before (or after) their baby is born.

    The term Babymoon was first coined in a 1996 book, The Year After Childbirth, by childbirth educator Sheila Kitzinger.

    Essentially, a babymoon is sort of like a honeymoon, only it happens after you confirm that you are pregnant and expecting a baby, and before (or after) the baby arrives.

    My husband and I didn’t go on a babymoon before or after having either of our children.  Why?  Because I had no idea this was even a THING!  Now that I know the definition of what a babymoon is and especially after reading this beautiful book, it ALMOST makes me want to go and make another baby!  Seriously though, as far as I’m concerned, my baby making days are over, but thanks to Babymoon I can live vicariously through these gorgeous illustrations and imagine what a babymoon might be like.

    In this rhyming book, readers meet a sweet family (a biracial family of color) who decide to go on a secluded babymoon with their newborn baby.  The baby is gender neutral which was a purposeful decision.  I love that the family chose to take their babymoon AFTER baby arrived along with their pet cat and dog in tow as a way for them all to bond as a family.

    As first-time parents, they have so much to learn about caring for a new baby.  From changing diapers to nursing to building trust.  If you are a parent then you know having a child changes the family dynamic dramatically.  The baby becomes the center of attention from the moment he/she arrives.

    I like how the parents in this book are investing time and space to be together as a family unit away from home.  It gives me hope these parents will walk into parenthood more connected than ever.

    Newborns should be spending the vast majority of their time in the arms of their mothers and fathers and that’s exactly what this book shows.  And since they were away from their home, they won’t have to worry about being their baby bombarded with the smells of other family members, friends or neighbors.  All of that can be confusing to a new baby, especially when they are still learning to nurse. Babies are primal little creatures and rely on their nose to guide them.

    Although this babymoon getaway is blissful, it is peppered with a bit of anxiety as the parents look like they’re trying to decipher baby’s cries.  This shows the reality of parenthood and how tough it can be at times having a newborn.

    Here together.  So much to learn.  We muddle through each new concern.

    The illustrations in Babymoon will take your breath away and make you feel the love these parents have for their baby.  I think this is some of Juana Martinez-Neal’s best work to date.  Each illustration is so tranquil infused with gentle and loving tenderness.  A definite must-have for newborn parents or parents-to-be.  Add this one to your baby shower gift giving list!

    Your turn: Seasoned parents, what tips or advice would you offer a new family to help them get through the first couple of weeks? Please share your wisdom in the comments below!

    About the Author
    Hayley Barrett wrote BABYMOON to encourage growing families to take time together to rest and fall in love. Once an aspiring nurse-midwife, she honors the arrival of any child, whether newborn or older, by birth or by adoption, as a momentous event.  Hayley lives in eastern Massachusetts.

    About the Illustrator
    Juana Martinez-Neal is the author-illustrator of Alma and How She Got Her Name and the Pura Belpré Award–winning illustrator of La Princesa and the Pea and of La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños, both by Susan Middleton Elya. Juana Martinez-Neal was born in Lima, Peru, but currently resides in Arizona.

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    Black History Picture Book Bingo + Free Downloads!

    I am SO excited to share these Black History Picture Book Bingo cards with you!  When I came across author Kathy Ellen Davis’s Picture Book Bingo on Instagram, I immediately shared it with my Instagram audience.  I then reached out to Kathy and asked if she would create a Black History themed bingo card for me and she kindly said YES!

    If you’ve never played book bingo before, it’s pretty easy and straightforward.  Just read books to correspond with the categories on the card.  I’d recommend it for anyone who:

    • Enjoys reading
    • Likes reading new types of books they wouldn’t normally read
    • Likes to be challenged
    • Is a consistent and dedicated enough reader to complete the challenge

    Most of all, book bingo is about having FUN – even if you don’t complete the entire bingo card due to that thing called “life” we all live.  Really, though, if you enjoy books, I highly recommend giving this a shot at least one time through.  You can do it on your own, with your own children/grandchildren, other family members, friends or with your students.

    To create these bingo cards, I came up with different categories of books and Kathy was generous enough to hand letter them on her own!  I have a huge list of other categories that are not included on these cards so expect to see other versions of these bingo cards on occasion throughout the year.

    I think book bingo is a wonderful opportunity for kids (and adults) to have fun while reading, along with adding an extra incentive to complete the BINGO card.  Have you played book bingo before?

    Download the Black History Month Picture Book Bingo Card here

    Download the Black History Picture Book Bingo Card here

    Why two different versions?

    Use the Black History Month Picture Book Bingo card if you want to use it ONLY during the month of February which is Black History Month.

    Use the Black History Picture Book Bingo card if you want to use it any time during the year.

    Make sense?

    If you need book suggestions, you may want to browse some of my previous blog posts linked below:

    50+ Picture Book Biographies Featuring Males of African Descent

    9+ Black Inventors You May Have Missed In History Class

    Black History Books for 3, 4 & 5 Year-Olds

    29 Black Picture Books for Black History Month, Or Any Month

    18 Picture Books That Help Keep Dr. King’s Dream Alive


    Happy Reading!

     

     

    Your turn: Do you find these Bingo cards to be helpful?  Will you participate and try it?  Feel free to share in the comments.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and perhaps see photos of your completed Bingo cards!  If you share about this, use the hashtag #bhpbingo so I’ll see your posts.

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    Let’s Hear It for the Boys: 50+ Picture Book Biographies to Read Year Round featuring Males of African Descent

    This round-up of picture books highlights prominent and a few lesser-known male leaders of African descent.  Each male featured has a distinct story and legacy, but they all share some commonalities: poise and confidence that no doubt added to their iconic statuses. I hope you’ll enjoy this list and explore each story to witness their perseverance through oppression and their determination through struggle.  These books are great to read during Black History Month or anytime of the year.

    Happy Reading!

    Art Tatum

    Art Tatum, an African American pianist, and one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, was born in 1909, in Toledo, Ohio.  Did you know he was blind in one eye and visually impaired in the other?  He was an amazing child prodigy with perfect pitch who learned to play the piano by ear.

    Arturo Schomburg

    Arthur Schomburg was a Puerto Rican historian, writer, and activist in the United States who researched and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and African-Americans have made to society.

    Barack Obama

    Barack Hussein Obama is an American attorney and politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

    Bass Reeves

    Bass Reeves was the first Black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River. He worked mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory.  During his long career, he was credited with arresting more than 3,000 felons. He shot and killed 14 outlaws in self-defense.

    Bob Marley

    Bob Marley was a powerful musician and messenger; a poet and prophet of reggae culture. His music echoed from Jamaica all the way across the globe, spreading his heartfelt message of peace, love, and equality to everyone who heard his songs.

    Carter G. Woodson

    Carter G. Woodson is known as The “Father” of Black History.  He dedicated his life to educating African Americans about the achievements and contributions of their ancestors.

    Charles White

    Born in Chicago in 1918, Charles W. White was one of America’s most renowned and recognized African-American & Social Realist artists.

    Charlie Sifford

    Charles Luther Sifford was a professional golfer who was the first African American to play on the PGA Tour.

    Claude Mason Steele

    Claude Mason Steele is an American social psychologist.  He is best known for his work on stereotype threat and its application to minority student academic performance.

    Clive Campbell

    Born in 1955 in Kingston, Jamaica, Clive Campbell is known as “The Father of Hip Hop”.

    Cornelius Washington

    Cornelius Washington was a veteran French Quarter sanitation worker who became famous following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    David Drake

    David Drake, also known as Dave the Potter, was an American potter who lived in Edgefield, South Carolina. Dave produced over 100 alkaline-glazed stoneware jugs between the 1820s and the 1860s.

    Dizzy Gillespie (John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie)

    John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singer. Some call him one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all times.

    Ernie Barnes

    Ernie Barnes was an African-American painter, well known for his unique style of elongation and movement. He was also a professional football player, actor and author.  Did you know his popular paintings were featured in the sitcom Good Times?

    Frederick Douglass

    Famed 19th-century author and orator Frederick Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.

    George Crum

    Meet George Crum, inventor of potato chips!

    George Fletcher

    George Fletcher was the first African American to compete for a world championship in bronco riding at the 1911 Pendleton Roundup.

    George Moses Horton

    George Moses Horton was an African-American poet from North Carolina, the first to be published in the Southern United States. His book The Hope of Liberty was published in 1829 while he was still enslaved.

    Gordon Parks

    A man of many talents, Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first Black director in Hollywood.

    Henry Brown

    Henry “Box” Brown was an enslaved man who shipped himself to freedom in a wooden box.

    Horace Pippin

    Horace Pippin was a self-taught African-American painter.

    Howard Thurman

    Howard Washington Thurman was a Black author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader.

    Jacob Lawrence

    Jacob Lawrence was one of the most important artists of the 20th century, widely renowned for his modernist depictions of everyday life as well as epic narratives of African American history and historical figures.

    Jackie Robinson

    Jackie Robinson broke boundaries as the first African American player in Major League Baseball. But long before Jackie changed the world in a Dodger uniform, he did it in an army uniform.

    James Madison Hemings

    Madison Hemings, born James Madison Hemings, was the son of the mixed-race enslaved Sally Hemings. He was the third of her four children— fathered by her master, President Thomas Jefferson.

    James Van Der Zee

    James Van Der Zee was an African-American photographer known for his distinctive portraits from the Harlem Renaissance.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat

    Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen.

    Jimmy “Wink” Winkfield

    Born into an African American sharecropping family in 1880s Kentucky, Jimmy Winkfield grew up loving horses. He later went on to become the last Black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.

    John Coltrane

    John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

    John Lewis

    John Roy Lynch

    John Roy Lynch was the first African American Speaker of the House in Mississippi. He was also one of the first African American members of the U.S House of Representatives during Reconstruction, the period in United States history after the Civil War.

    Langston Hughes

    James Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri.

    Lonnie Johnson

    Meet the inventor of the Super Soaker Water Gun!

    Malcolm X

    Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist.

    Martin Luther King Jr.

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist during  the Civil Rights Movement.

    Michael Jordan

    Regarded by most as the NBA’s greatest all-time player, Michael Jordan won six titles with the Chicago Bulls.

    Muhammad Ali

    Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest boxers of all time.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson, is an American astrophysicist whose work has inspired a generation of young scientists and astronomers to reach for the stars!

    Nelson Mandela

    Born on July 18, 1918 Nelson Mandela is best known for promoting messages of forgiveness, peace and equality.

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Born on June 27, 1872, Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition.

    Paul Robeson

    Paul Leroy Robeson was an American bass baritone concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism.

    Ray Charles

    Ray Charles Robinson, known professionally as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.

    Richard Wright

    Pioneering African-American writer Richard Wright is best known for the classic texts Black Boy and Native Son.

    Romare Bearden

    Romare Bearden was a visual artist who utilized painting, cartoons, and collage to depict African-American life.

    Thurgood Marshall

    Thurgood Marshall was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from October 1967 until October 1991. He was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice.

    Vivien Thomas

    Overcoming racism and resistance from his colleagues, Vivien ushered in a new era of medicine—children’s heart surgery. This book is the compelling story of this incredible pioneer in medicine.

    Wendell O. Scott

    Wendell Oliver Scott was the first African American race car driver to win a race in what would now be considered part of the Sprint Cup Series.

    William “Doc” Key

    William “Doc” Key, a formerly enslaved man and self-taught veterinarian believed in treating animals with kindness, patience, and his own homemade remedies.

    William “Bill” Lewis

    William “Bill” Lewis was an enslaved man who earned enough money being a blacksmith and set a daring plan in motion: to free his family.

    William J. Powell

    William J. Powell was an American businessman, entrepreneur, and pioneering golf course owner who designed the Clearview Golf Club, the first integrated golf course, as well as the first to cater to African-American golfers.

    Your turn: Did you learn about someone or something new after reading this post?  What other books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    black history, book reviews, children's books, diverse books, giveaways

    Black History Month: Waiting for Pumpsie + A Giveaway!

    waitingforpumpsie

    I received this book for free from Charlesbridge in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Waiting for Pumpsie by Barry Wittenstein
    Published by Charlesbridge Format: Hardcover
    Source: Charlesbridge
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    five-stars

    In 1959 the Boston Red Sox was the last team in the Major Leagues to integrate. But when they call Elijah “Pumpsie” Green up from the minors, Bernard is overjoyed to see a black player on his beloved home team. And, when Pumpsie’s first home game is scheduled, Bernard and his family head to Fenway Park. Bernard is proud of Pumpsie and hopeful that this historic event is the start of great change in America.

    This fictionalized account captures the true story of baseball player Pumpsie Green’s rise to the major leagues. The story is a snapshot of the Civil Rights Movement and a great discussion starter about the state of race relations in the United States today.

    Waiting for Pumpsie is based on a fictional character named Bernard and his family, but based on true events from Pumpsie Green’s life.

    All Pumpsie Green wanted to do was play baseball. He didn’t aspire to play for the major leagues initially, but he eventually went on to become the first Black baseball player to integrate the Boston Red Sox. Although Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball in 1947, it took the Red Sox another twelve years to integrate their team. They were the last team in Major League Baseball to have a Black player.

    This is an inspiring and feel good story about equality and change. Pumpsie Green is currently still alive today and is sometimes invited back to Fenway Park to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Red Sox games.

    Click here to see a list of the first Black players for each Major League Baseball team.

    About the Author
    Barry has been a bartender, taxi driver, song writer, substitute teacher and writer for the Major League Baseball.  He grew up as a Mets fan and was eight years old when he first heard the name Pumpsie Green.  He lives in Manhattan with his wife and son.  Visit his website: onedogwoof.com.

    About the Illustrator
    London Ladd currently lives in Syracuse, New York.  He’s a graduate of Syracuse University with a BFA in Illustration. He has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed children’s books including March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World (Scholastic), written by Christine King Farris, the older sister of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass (Disney/Jump at the Sun), written by Doreen Rappaport, and Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and her Secret School (Lee & Low Books), written by Janet Halfmann.  His goal is to open an art center in Syracuse so that young people and families can create their own art.  Visit his website: londonladd.com.

    The Giveaway!
    One (1) winner will receive a copy of Waiting for Pumpsie courtesy of Charlesbridge Publishing.  Open to all US based residents age 18 and over.  Good Luck!

    Waiting for Pumpsie Book Giveaway

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    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel (A Book Review)

    I received this book for free from Penguin Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel
    Published by Penguin Kids Format: Hardcover
    Source: Penguin Kids
    Buy on AmazonBuy on Indie Bound
    four-stars

    A young black girl lifts her baby hands up to greet the sun, reaches her hands up for a book on a high shelf, and raises her hands up in praise at a church service. She stretches her hands up high like a plane's wings and whizzes down a hill so fast on her bike with her hands way up. As she grows, she lives through everyday moments of joy, love, and sadness. And when she gets a little older, she joins together with her family and her community in a protest march, where they lift their hands up together in resistance and strength.

    Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

    Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

    If you look up the phrase “hands up” in many dictionaries, you’ll likely see a negative definition written.

    For example:

    ▪️an order given by a person pointing a gun.  Source: Collins dictionary
    ▪️to admit that something bad is true or that you have made a mistake. Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    ▪️to deliver (an indictment) to a judge or higher judicial authority.  Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (By the way, do you know the history behind raising your right hand to testify in court? Look it up, I found it quite interesting.)

    This book shows a little Black girl named Viv putting her hands up in various everyday situations like: greeting the sun, playing peek-a-boo, raising hands in defense during a basketball game, raising hands in class, picking fruit off trees, and raising hands during praise and worship at church. In the end, readers see Viv a little older raising her hands in resistance and strength with a group of friends at a community protest march.

    With sparse text and lively illustrations, Hands Up! cleverly shows readers lifting your hands doesn’t always imply negativity. It gently encourages children to feel happy and confident to raise their hands. It also supports reticent kids in speaking up or standing up for what’s right.

    It was interesting and refreshing to be reminded of all the times we raise our hands throughout the day from stretching in the morning when we wake to reaching for something high on a shelf like a library book.  My personal favorite page is little Viv raising her hands in church demonstrating joy and praise to God through worship. Viv sets her power aside and praises God by physically and publicly demonstrating to Him that she needs Him which empowers her.

    The back matter has notes from the author and illustrator which explain why this book was written.

    I worry that this world casts Black kids as victims, villains, or simply adults before they’re grown up. – Breanna J. McDaniel

    This brilliant reminder from Breanna helped guide me back to lifting my hands in joy. – Shane W. Evans

    Hands Up! is available now online and where books are sold. Ages 4-8 and up.

    Your turn: Have you read this book yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    four-stars
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