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    I’ll Always Love My Mama: 25+ Picture Books to Celebrate Mom or Grandma on Mother’s Day (Or Any Day)

    Mother’s Day.  It’s the one day of the year when many people pay tribute to that one person who gave you life – your mother.  And while every day can be considered to be Mother’s Day, I love the idea of having one holiday set aside to honor moms.  Amidst the demanding schedule of modern day life, Mother’s Day is the most opportune moment to tell your mom what she means to you.

    Mothers are often the foundation of the family, a source of sustenance and support. They are our caretakers, teachers, drill sergeants, cheerleaders and best friends. They anchor us and inspire us to reach for the stars.

    They take time off from work when we are born and have sleepless nights because we cry all night. They put food on the table, clothe us, and put a roof over our heads. When we get sick, the first thing we do is ask for our mothers. When we need advice, she will be there to give it and when we need to vent, she is there to listen. Our mothers are our best friends, even if the relationship between mother and child isn’t all that great.  As a mother, it is their job to protect us; just like it is the job of a lioness to protect her cubs. They hold our hands when we cross the road, but eventually have to let us spread our wings and fly.

    Below I’ve gathered a list of picture books that embrace different kinds of moms and showcase the precious love between a mother (or grandmother) and child.  Check these out to read with your little readers this Mother’s Day and beyond.

    In My Heart by Mackenzie Porter, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
    This is what a mother tells her child as she leaves for work each day. This lovely board book perfectly captures the sentiment that many women feel about being a working mom. The lyrical text takes us through a mother’s day away, showing us that although she’s working hard, her child is always on her mind and always in her heart.

    Me and Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera
    Mama’s love is brighter than the sun, even on the rainiest of days. In the tradition of Someday, this celebration of a mother-daughter relationship is perfect for sharing with little ones!

    On a rainy day when the house smells like cinnamon and Papa and Luca are still asleep, when the clouds are wearing shadows and the wind paints the window with beads of water, I want to be everywhere Mama is.

    Grandmother School by Rina Singh, illustrated by Ellen Rooney
    Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education―when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her.

    Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala by Meenal Patel

    Priya lives in the United Stated and her family is from India. She learns about India through her Babi Ba’s (grandma’s) descriptions of it and in the way that their Indian culture is woven through their lives every day. Priya is the hero in this book – her curiosity about her family’s heritage and the kindness and love that she shows to her Ba help to carry her family’s traditions forward. It’s a story about having pride for all of the pieces that come together to make you who you are and feeling the magic of a place without having been there. Ages 4-8.

    My Mommy Medicine by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Shannon Wright

    A beautiful book that showcases the unconditional love between a mother and daughter.  There’s just something about the instinctive nurturing of some mothers that seems to make everything feel better, right?

    What is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack

    A touching, powerful tale of compassion between a mother and her son.  This book reminds us all that what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.

    Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

    This lovingly-illustrated picture book memoir looks at the myriad gifts migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own strengths wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless.

    Hair for Mama by Kelly Tinkham

    It’s family picture time for the Carters, but Mama does not want to be in the photo this year. All of her beautiful hair is gone because of chemotherapy treatments for her cancer, and she doesn’t want to be remembered without hair. Eight-year-old Marcus knows that the picture won’t be the same without Mama, so he comes up with a plan to find her some hair and make her better.

    In My Anaana’s Amautik by by Nadia Sammurtok, illustrated by Lenny Lishchenko

    Nadia Sammurtok lovingly invites the reader into the amautik―the pouch in the back of a mother’s parka used to carry a child―to experience everything through the eyes of the baby nestled inside, from the cloudlike softness of the pouch to the glistening sound of Anaana’s laughter.

    Nine Months: Before a Baby is Born by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin

    In this pregnancy book unlike any other one out there, watch what’s actually happening through meticulously detailed, actual size illustrations, perfectly paired with a lyrical yet informative text, and culminating in a warm, joyful birth scene.

    Saturday by Oge Mora

    Little Ava loves Saturdays because it’s the one day of the week when her mother doesn’t have to work. This Saturday is an extra special one because Ava and her mother are going to a one-night only puppet show. But first, they have plans to attend story time at the library, get their hair done at a salon and have a picnic in the park.

    Their special day doesn’t turn out as well as they hoped it would at all, but does it end well? You’ll have to read it to find out.

    When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Dennihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha

    “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.

    Hero Mom by Melinda Hardin


    An easy to understand depiction of a diverse group of moms serving in the military.  I like that it shows the women being strong leaders and that this book opens up discussions based on gender/sex roles.  Women are shown fixing military tanks, flying fighter jets, nursing soldiers back to good health and more!

    My Mommy is a Hero by Hannah Tolson

    Each and every day, mothers sacrifice for their children and their family.  But what is especially unique to military mothers is that they sacrifice day in and day out for their country too.

    Just Like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

    Just Like a Mama Alice Faye Duncan

    Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose. Mama Rose is everything—tender and sweet. She is also as stern and demanding as any good parent should be. In the midst of their happy home, Carol misses her mother and father. She longs to be with them. But until that time comes around, she learns to surrender to the love that is present. Mama Rose becomes her “home.” And Carol Olivia Clementine concludes that she loves Miss Rose, “just like a mama.”

    Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow


    Today there are very few good children’s books that have Muslim or Islamic themes.  There are even fewer books that focus on the African-American Muslim experience like Mommy’s Khimar.  I love this adorable story about a little Muslim American girl who likes to play dress up with her mother’s khimar (hijab).  It’s a lively and upbeat story with engaging words and vibrant illustrations that oozes with love!

    Mama’s Belly by Kate Hosford

    A charming and touching story about a curious little girl and her family awaiting the arrival of her baby sister.  The family wonders how life will be different once the new baby arrives.  Would make a great baby shower gift for expectant mothers.

    Ten Cents a Pound by Nhung N. Tran-Davies

    An illiterate, hard working Vietnamese mother persuades her young daughter to go to school. The girl is torn between her desire to stay home with her family and the familiarity of their village, and her desire to discover the world beyond the mountains that surround them. Every time the girl insists that she will stay, her mother repeats that she must go, that there is more to life than the labor in the coffee trees.  A wonderful display of affection and the power of education and literacy.

    Who Will You Be? by Andrea Pippins

    For fans of I Am Enough, The Day You Begin, and The Wonderful Things You Will Be, here is a poignant picture book about how family and community help shape the wonderful people our children become.

    Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border by Mitali Perkins (Author), Sara Palacios (Illustrator)

    It’s almost time for Christmas, and Maria is traveling with her mother and younger brother, Juan, to visit their grandmother on the border of California and Mexico. For the few minutes they can share together along the fence, Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with the grandmother they haven’t seen in years. But when Juan’s gift is too big to fit through the slats in the fence, Maria has a brilliant idea. Here is a heartwarming tale of families and the miracle of love.

    The Best Mother by C. M. Surrisi

    A little girl named Maxine goes in search of trying to find the “best mother” – a mom better than her own.  She’s tired of her mom telling her to do things like brush her teeth or comb her hair.  Maxine “interviews” several other moms at various locations, but in the end she realizes her mom is in fact the best mother of all.

    A Night Out With Mama by Quvenzhané Wallis
    A very talented little girl has the pleasure of going with her Mama to her very first fancy awards show. She’ll get to wear her blue shoes along with her matching dress and headband, ride in a limousine and of course, eat lots of ice cream.  There are themes of: family, confidence, overcoming fears, love, mother-daughter bonding, glitz and glamour.  An absolutely adorable book with gorgeous illustrations for mothers and daughters to enjoy reading together!

    How Mamas Love Their Babies by Juniper Fitzgerald
    How Mamas Love Their Babies is written by a mother who is a former stripper who did what she had to in order to make ends meet for her baby.  The book illustrates the myriad ways that mothers provide for their children―piloting airplanes, washing floors, or dancing at a strip club.  It provides an expanded notion of working mothers and challenges the idea that only some jobs result in good parenting. We’re reminded that, while every mama’s work looks different, every mama works to make their baby’s world better.

    Jonathan and His Mommy by Irene Smalls
    I absolutely love this sweet story about a little boy named Jonathan and his mom spending the day together exploring their neighborhood!

    Mama’s Saris by Pooja Makhijani

    A young Indian girl is about to celebrate her seventh birthday so her mother lets her choose which sari she wants to to wear.  This book is so cute for girls who love playing dress up with their mother’s clothes.  The author’s note at the beginning of the book provides lots of good information related to saris that readers who ware unfamiliar with the culture may find useful.  There is also a helpful glossary of terms that defines some of the Indian words used throughout.  I love the bond that the mother and daughter share.

    Hush: A Thai Lullaby by Mingfrong Ho

    A beautiful rhyming tale set in Thailand that features a mother trying to keep all of the animals in the forest quiet so they won’t wake her sleeping baby.

    Tiara’s Hat Parade by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

    This is a heartwarming mother/daughter story about family, community, hardship, and following your dreams. It also pays tribute to the inspiring African American tradition of hat making. The back matter contains an author’s note and additional information about three famous Black milliners: Vanilla Beane, Mae Reeves and Mildred Blount

    Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby by Patricia MacLachlan

    This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a family that lives near a lake in Tanzania.  Lala Salama means “good night” in Swahili.  A soothing bedtime story for little ones.

    Lullaby (For a Black Mother) by Langston Hughes

    With a few simple words as smooth as a song, the poet Langston Hughes celebrates the love between an African American mother and her baby.

    Bedtime Bonnet by Nancy Redd, illustrated by Nneka Myers

    Every night when the sun goes down, this whole bonnet wearing family’s hair goes up. There are durags, wraps, wave caps, and more.

    In this first-ever picture book celebrating Black culture and bedtime hair traditions, a little girl can’t find her bedtime bonnet. She needs it to protect her hair from tangles while she sleeps, but where can it be? Each family member gets involved helping the girl until she finally finds it.

    Cora Cooks Pancit by Lazo Gilmore

    Cora finally gets her chance to assist her mom in the kitchen. They’re making pancit (pan-SEET), a popular Filipino noodle dish. When dinner is finally served, Cora anxiously awaits to see what everyone in her family thinks of her cooking. A recipe for pancit is included in the back of the book.

    Cancer Hates Kisses by Jessica Reid Sliwerski

    Chances are you know at least one person who has been affected by cancer. Maybe that one person is you.  This upbeat picture book is fantastic for helping children understand and cope with all the ups and downs that come with a parent who has cancer. I love how they refer to their mom as a cancer-fighting superhero! All of the different stages of cancer are mentioned: diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Extra points for having a portion of all proceeds of this book being donated to the American Cancer Society. All the hearts for this gem!

    Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

    What’s inside Grandma Mimi’s purse?  Pure Magic!  This is such an adorable book perfect for reading with Grandma on Mother’s Day, Grandparent’s Day or anytime of the year.  You’ll never know what treasures you’ll find hiding inside of grandma’s purse.

    Mango, Abuela and Me by Meg Medina

    Little Mia finds out that her grandmother is moving out of her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to come and live in the city with her and her parents. Mia isn’t too thrilled about this because her grandmother only speaks Spanish. This is a delightful story about love, learning, friendship, patience, and learning a new language.  Fun for reading with grandma on Mother’s Day, Grandparents Day or any time of the year.

    The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman

    This is one of my favorite picture books starring a strong mom, Mrs. Peters.  I love her story and the resolution– and I adore Marla Frazee’s illustrations!  Oh, and seriously, that is a lot of quality rhyming!

    Mommy, Mama, and Me by Leslea Newman

    Rhythmic text and illustrations with universal appeal show a toddler spending the day with its mommies. From hide-and-seek to dress-up, then bath time and a kiss goodnight, there’s no limit to what a loving family can do together.  Shares the loving bond between same-sex parents and their children.

    My Two Moms and Me by Michael Joosten, illustrated by Izak Zenou

    Families with same-sex parents are celebrated in this board book that follows busy moms and their kids throughout their day—eating breakfast, going on a playdate, heading to the pool for a swim, and settling back in at night with a bedtime story and a good-night lullaby. LGBTQ+ parents and their friends and families will welcome this inclusive and cheerful book that reflects their own lives and family makeup.

    Floating On Mama’s Song / Flotando en la cancion de mama by Laura Lacamara and Yuyi Morales
    Anita’s mama loves to sing. She sings such beautiful, happy songs that something magical happens: Everyone who hears her music floats high above the ground. But then Mama stops singing. Can Anita find a way to bring back happy times and magical moments for her family?

    Up: How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes

    Around the world, little ones are carried in many different ways: in slings, on shoulders, in backpacks, on hips, in baskets, and in loving arms. Up! depicts ten places around the world, from Afghanistan to northern Canada, Peru to West Africa. In each place, a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling lovingly carries a baby.

    Catch a Kiss by Deborah Diesen

    Little Izzie tells her mom to blow her a kiss, then another, and yet another. But when Izzie goes to “catch” the third kiss she misses and her kiss flies away never to be found again or will it?  I like how comforting, loving, playful and reassuring the mother is in this book. I think it beautifully showcases the sweet bond between a mother and daughter.  Izzie’s mother also tells little readers the secret of kisses: “No matter how far they have to go, no matter what they have to get through, and even if they get lost along the way, Mama-kisses ALWAYS come find you.”

    Hats Off To You by Karen Beaumont

    An adorable story with a nice tribute to mothers at the end. Perfect for little fashionistas who like to play dress up or a mother daughter book club with little girls ages 4-8.

    Welcome Song for Baby by Richard Van Camp

    From renowned First Nations storyteller Richard Van Camp comes a lyrical lullaby for newborns.

    Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

    This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.

    My Mama is a Mechanic by Doug Cenko

    Snuggle with Mom for this sweet book about a mother as seen through her son’s eyes. To him, she is a surgeon when she repairs his favorite stuffed animal, a chemist when in the kitchen, and an architect when they play with toy blocks. But no matter what happens, she is always his mama, and that’s the most important thing of all!

    Babymoon by Hayley Barrett, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

    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.

    A Ride on Mother’s Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World by Emery Bernhard

    Through a steamy rain forest in Brazil, along a river in Papua New Guinea, across a frozen inlet in the arctic, this book takes young children on a far-reaching journey to discover how babies worldwide are carried and what they see from their unique vantage points.

    When I Carried You in My Belly by Thrity Umrigar

    A super sweet and beautiful book about a mother sharing details about how she prepared for motherhood prior to her daughter being born.  I love how different members of the family are represented showing them all having a part in the arrival of the sweet baby girl.

    Read for Me, Mama by Vashanti Rahaman, illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick

    Thursday is library day, Joseph’s favorite day at school. Joseph loves books, and Thursday the librarian lets him take two books home: an easy book that he can read by himself and a harder book that someone can read for him. Joseph would love nothing more than to have Mama read for him. But it seems that Mama is always too busy. Then after supper one Saturday night, Joseph takes his book to the rocking chair where Mama is sitting and asks her to read for him. Mama begins to cry. The Truth is that Mama doesn’t know how to read.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there who celebrate!

    Your turn:  What are some of your favorite children’s books starring moms and grandmothers?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books, diverse books, holiday books, holiday gift guide series

    The Ultimate List of Diverse Christmas Children’s Books to Read this Holiday Season

    It’s the “most wonderful time of the year” again and the holidays are here.  One of our family’s favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season is to cuddle up and read lots of wonderful Christmas and holiday themed picture books.

    Each year as soon as the holidays start to roll around, people often ask me for children’s holiday book recommendations – specifically Christmas books for children of color.  As I’ve often said, I don’t discriminate when it comes to reading books on my own or with my kids.  However, I do know the power of children seeing themselves reflected in literature especially around Christmas when they are bombarded with images of a White Santa Claus from the media to retail stores.

    From the story of the nutcracker to the significance of the poinsettia, the multicultural/diverse books on this list include not only some traditional favorites, but also a few great modern additions too.  Check out the list below, complete with publishers’ descriptions included.

    Waiting for Christmas by Monica Greenfield, Jan Spivey Gilchrist Ages 5 – 6

    Sharing a sense of wonder and excitement in the time just before Christmas, two African-American children enjoy decorating the tree, visiting with relatives, and checking for presents one last time.

    Amazing Peace a Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou (Author), Steve Johnson (Illustrator), Lou Fancher (Illustrator) Ages 6 and up

    Angelou’s beautiful, moving, and beloved poem, which she first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony, now comes alive as a fully illustrated children’s book, celebrating the promise of peace in the holiday season. In this simple story, a family joins with their community—rich and poor, black and white, Christian, Muslim, and Jew—to celebrate the holidays.

    The Cajun Nutcracker by Chara Mock, Jean Cassels

    As Merrae dances with her friends and family to the sound of washboards and banjos, her excitement only grows when she receives a Nutcracker from Perrain for Christmas. But later that night, she awakes to find herself surrounded by nutrias and the evil Alligator King. Soon toy soldiers and the heroic Nutcracker come to life and begin to battle the creatures. After Merrae is saved by the Nutcracker, they sail through the swamp to see the Sugar Cane Fairy, where the air smells sweet with magnolias.

    The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora

    A gorgeous re-imagining of the beloved Christmas poem, set in Africa.  Since Clement Clarke Moore penned this Christmas classic in 1825, it has been beloved by children around the world. Now, Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora sets the poem in Africa, capturing the anticipation and excitement of Christmas in her stunning collages.

    My Baby Loves Christmas by Jabari Asim (Author), Tara Nicole Whitaker (Illustrator) Ages 2 – 4

    Celebrate all the lovely things that Baby discovers about Christmas. This board book, the perfect gift for a new baby, features rhythmic poetry.

    A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora (Author), Magaly Morales (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 7

    In this version a little girl receives gifts from a secret amiga, whose identity is a sweet surprise at the book’s conclusion. There are things to find and count in Spanish on every page, with pronunciations provided right in the pictures and a glossary and music following the story.

    The Nutcracker in Harlem by T. E. McMorrow (Author), James Ransome (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.  In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.

    Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Giovanni, Kadir Nelson Ages 6 – 8

    Presented from an African-American perspective by a Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, a holiday tale provides readers with twenty-three charming poems that capture the joy and happiness of one family’s Christmas celebration.

    Walk This World at Christmastime by Big Picture Press (Author), Debbie Powell (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 8

    A collection of global cultures, Walk This World at Christmastime illustrates the ways people around the world celebrate Christmas. Travel to a new set of countries with every turn of the page. Lift the numbered flaps for all the fun of an Advent calendar in a format to be read again and again.

    Tree of Cranes by Allen Say Ages 4 – 7

    As a young Japanese boy recovers from a bad chill, his mother busily folds origami paper into delicate silver cranes in preparation for the boy’s very first Christmas.

    A Stork in a Baobab Tree: An African 12 Days of Christmas by Catherine House (Author), Polly Alakija (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 8

    Set in Africa during the Christmas season, this is the story of a village preparing for a celebration – the birth of a child. The story is told in verse inspired by the traditional carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, but in this version the gifts are: 1 stork in a baobab tree, 2 thatched huts, 3 woven baskets, 4 market traders, 5 bright khangas, 6 women pounding, 7 children playing, 8 wooden carvings, 9 grazing goats, 10 drummers drumming, 11 dancers dancing and 12 storytellers.

    Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico by Marie Hall Ets (Author), Aurora Labastida (Author) Ages 6 -10

    Ceci eagerly awaits Las Posadas, the traditional nine-day series of yuletide celebrations. This year she’ll lead the candlelight procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem. Meanwhile, Mother takes her to the old marketplace to choose her very first piñata. Ceci is dazzled by the colorful array of options, and after making her choice has second thoughts about the fate of her piñata once the posada takes place.

    I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison (Author), Frank Morrison (Illustrator) Ages 3 – 6

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and a mother and daughter are enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season. The little girl hears sleigh bells ringing and carolers singing. She smells chestnuts roasting–CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH!–and sees the flashing lights of the department store windows–BLING! BLING! BLING! She spreads the spirit of giving wherever she goes. And when she reaches Santa, she tells him her Christmas wish–for peace and love everywhere, all the days of the year.

    Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits (Author), Gabi Swiatkowska (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    When Yoon’s teacher lends her a book about Santa Claus, Yoon can’t wait to show it to her parents. To Yoon’s disappointment, though, her mother responds, “We are not a Christmas family.” As Christmas Eve approaches, Yoon learns more and more about this exciting holiday. But no matter how hard she tries to convince her parents to sing Christmas songs or put up Christmas stockings, they always say no. A determined Yoon soon realizes that she must use her own “Shining Wisdom” to persuade her parents that they can indeed be a Christmas family.

    Arturo and the Navidad Birds by Anne Broyles (Author), KE Lewis (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 7

    It’s time for Arturo and his Central American grandmother, Abue Rosa, to decorate their Christmas tree. Abue Rosa shares with him the family history of each ornament as it is hung. But what happens when Arturo plays with—and breaks—a glass bird? Young readers will find out in this touching, bilingual picture book.

    N Is for Navidad by Susan Middleton Elya (Author), Merry Banks (Author), Joe Cepeda (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 6

    Bienvenidos! to a celebration of Christmas, Latino-style! From the ngel (angel) hung above the door to the zapatos (shoes) filled with grass for the wise men s camels, each letter in this festive alphabet introduces children to a Spanish word, and each colorful page takes them through another joyous aspect of the 22 days of the traditional holiday.

    An Angel Just Like Me by Mary Hoffman (Author), Ying-Hwa Hu, Cornelius Van Wright Ages 5 – 6

    An inspiring text and festive illustrations highlight the story of Tyler’s quest to find a Christmas tree angel who does not have golden hair and pink skin, but rather looks like him and his family, is a unique Christmas story that celebrates ethnic diversity.

    ‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong (Author), Sara Palacios (Illustrator)

    It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipping champurrado (hot chocolate). After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it’s time to cheer, “Feliz Navidad and to all a good night!”

    Grace at Christmas by Mary Hoffman Ages 6 – 9

    When her grandmother takes in a stranded family at Christmas, Grace is reluctant to share her favorite holiday with strangers, even though the visiting family includes a “real live ballerina.”

    Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, Ed Martinez

    This is the story of a treasure thought to be lost in a batch of tamales; of a desperate adn funny attempt by Maria and her cousins to eat their way out of trouble; and the warm way a family pulls together to make it a perfect Christmas after all.

    Christmas Soup by Alice Faye Duncan, Phyllis Dooley Ages 4 – 7

    While Mama is making the traditional Christmas soup her children wish for more. When Baby Fannie prays ‘Bless our home with something more’— and that ‘more’ turns out to be two hungry strangers to feed, it seems as if things can’t get much worse. But the soup—a true feast for the hungry pair—is shared, and the Beene children learn a lesson about giving they won’t soon forget.

    Hold Christmas in Your Heart by Cheryl Willis Hudson

    A collection of traditional and contemporary African American Christmas songs, stories, and poems for the very young, illustrated by a selection of respected African American artists.  Works from legends such as Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, and Nikki Grimes (just to name a few) are perfectly complimented by rich illustrations from a number of renowned illustrators including, George Ford, Cal Massey, and Sylvia Walker.

    A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa’s Tasty Trip Around the World by M.E. Furman (Author), Susan Gal (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 7

    A World of Cookies for Santa takes readers across the globe to see all the treats that await Santa on Christmas Eve. Head to the Philippines, where children leave out puto seko cookies and ginger tea for Santa; jet to Russia for a honey-spice cookie; then set out for Malawi for a sweet potato cookie! When you’ve returned home, the journey’s still not over—M. E. Furman provides recipes for children to bake some of Santa’s cookies for themselves. A World of Cookies for Santa is a multicultural celebration that families will return to year after year.

    The Miracle of the First Poinsettia by Joanne Oppenheim (Author), Fabian Negrin (Illustrator) Ages 4 and up

    Originally native to Mexico, beautiful poinsettia plants decorate homes around the world every holiday season. But few people who love the plant s deep red tones know the traditional Mexican tale about how the poinsettia first came to be. In this extraordinary collaboration, Fabian Negrin brings his warm, glowing scenes to Joanne Oppenheim s thoughtful narrative, transporting readers to Old-World Mexico and into the arms of a young girl as her trust leads her straight into a miracle. A beautiful alternative to the traditional nativity story, this book is a wonderful evocation of Mexican customs and culture.

    La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story by Antonio Sacre (Author), Angela Dominguez (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 7

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne Ages 5 – 6

    Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones.

    Baby Jesus Like My Brother by Margery W. Brown Ages 5 – 6

    When Keisha explains the meaning of Christmas to her brother Tony, the young boy finds many similarities between Jesus’ family and his own African American family.

    The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Author), Ellen Beier (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    Virginia’s old coat is too small. The cold South Dakota wind blows across the Rosebud Indian Reservation, making her shiver as she walks to school. Virginia dreams of a new coat arriving in the Theast boxes–parcels of clothing from churches in The East. But, she knows she may not have a chance for a coat this year. Her father is the village Episcopal priest, so her family chooses last, and as Mama always says, The others need it more than we do. Generosity and unexpected joy remind Virginia of the importance of community within this story from the author s childhood.

    Christmas Soul: African American Holiday Stories by Allison Samuels (Author), Michele Wood

    With original stories by Debbie Allen, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, Whitney Houston, D.L. Hughley, Monica, and more. In this collection of poignant and witty original stories, African American celebrities recount their favorite childhood Christmas memories. Accompanied by evocative oil pintings, these stories will illuminate the holidays for years to come.

    A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown, Floyd Cooper Ages 2 – 4

    This lyrical celebration of the miracle of Christmas is now just the right size for little hands! Margaret Wise Brown’s simple, poetic language brought to life by Floyd Cooper’s spectacular paintings offer a fresh perspective on the Holy Family and the miraculous birth of Christ.

    Who Built the Stable?: A Nativity Poem by Ashley Bryan Ages 4 – 8

    Told in gentle rhyme and illustrated with Ashley Bryan’s enormous talent, this is a picture book that captures the reason for the season in all its wonder and beauty. Who Built the Stable? is a celebration of Christmas, of the kindness of children, and of the new hope born with each new baby.

    12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora

    Set in Africa, this beautiful rendition of the classic Christmas carol has a unique twist: colorful icons illustrate the various gifts repeated in each verse of this cumulative song, creating a rebus-style text that gives young children a fun way to follow along and chime in with the lyrics.

    Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano (Author), Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    It’s Christmas Eve and Mami has bought a delicious roast for a Christmas feast. But, oh no! It’s too big to fit in the oven. Jose and Papa need to find an oven big enough to cook Mami’s roast. As they walk from door to door through their apartment building, no one seems to be in the Christmas spirit. So they head down the street to find someone willing to help, and only when they do, lo and behold, the scent—the itself magical smell—of dinner begins to spread, and holiday cheer manifests in ways most unexpected.

    Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson, E.B. Lewis Ages 4 – 8

    Young Steve Satlow is thrilled when his hero Jackie Robinson moves onto his block. After the famed second baseman invites Steve to a Dodgers game, the two become friends. So when Jackie hears that the Satlows don’t have a Christmas tree, he decides to give them one, not realizing the Satlows are Jewish. But Jackie’s gift helps these two different families discover how much they have in common.

    Christmas for 10 by Cathryn Falwell Ages 2-4

    A simple counting format frames a family’s cheerful preparation for Christmas, from one star on top of the tree and one wreath, to ten hands stringing popcorn and ten people wishing peace for all.

    Christmas Makes Me Think by Tony Medina, Chandra Cox Ages 5 – 6

    While thinking about all the wonderful things that come with the arrival of Christmas, an African-American boy begins to think about the less fortunate people in the world and vows to make a difference this year by sharing his gifts with others that are more in need.

    An Island Christmas by Lynn Joseph, Catherine Stock Ages 6 – 8

    As Christmas approaches, Rosie helps her mother and Tantie prepare black-currant cake, sorrel drink, and soursoup ice cream; finishes making her gifts for everyone; and decorates the tree.

    O Christmas Tree by Vashanti Rahaman, Frané Lessac (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator) Ages 2 – 5

    This Christmas, Anslem wants a Christmas tree more than anything else in the world. He wants “to touch it and smell it and get a feel and a smell of real Christmas.”

    But there are no Christmas trees in the West Indies where Anslem lives. He must depend on the boat that brings evergreens from the north. In past years, the trees arrived fresh and green. But this year, the first year his family can afford a tree, the evergreens are so dry that not a single tree has a single needle on it. Anslem is deeply disappointed, until his neighbor Miss Mary shows him that the West Indies have a beautiful Christmas tree of their own.

    Poppa’s Itchy Christmas by Angela Shelf Medearis (Author), John Ward (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    After spending weeks guessing what is in the packages under the Christmas tree, George is unhappy to receive a homemade muffler and itchy long underwear, but they come in handy when he has an accident while ice skating.

    Snowflake Kisses and Gingerbread Smiles by Tori Trent Parker, Earl Anderson Ages 2 – 3

    A sparkling holiday picture book with a soft, padded cover featuring striking photos of young African-American children celebrating Christmas, one of the most popular holidays of the year.

    Messy Bessey’s Holidays by Patricia McKissack (Author), Fredrick McKissack (Author), Dana Regan (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 7

    Bessey and her mother bake cookies for Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, and after cleaning up the kitchen, they distribute the treats to their neighbors.

    Chita’s Christmas Tree by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard (Author) Ages 4 – 8

    Papa and Chita leave downtown Baltimore in a buggy to find a Christmas tree in the deep woods.

    A Doll For Navidades by Esmeralda Santiago (Author), Enrique O. Sanchez (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    Las Navidades are coming. The house smells of cinnamon and coconut, crepe paper festoons the yard, and best of all, the Three Magi will soon bring presents to all the children. Esmeralda hopes they will bring her a baby doll. But instead, she receives something far more precious: she experiences firsthand the magic of giving and the power of her family’s love for her.

    Mim’s Christmas Jam by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Author), Brian Pinkney (Illustrator) Ages 4 – 8

    The best part of Christmas is the whole family savoring Mim’s belly-hum jam together. But this Christmas, Pap is far away in New York City, digging a hole for something called the subway, and his family is missing him something awful. Pap aches to be home, but the heartless foremen of his dig site have decided there will be no break, not even for Christmas. It looks like it’s going to be one lonely holiday for everyone . . . until young Saraleen and Royce send their pap a gift that may just inspire a Christmas miracle.

    Christmas in the Time of Billy Lee by Jerdine Nolen, Barry Moser Ages 4 – 7

    One holiday season Ellie makes three wishes: that her parents will see that her friend Billy Lee is not imaginary; that snow will fall on Septon’s Creek for the first time in fifty years; and that joy will return–especially to her parents, who always seem worried lately. Billy Lee always says, “There is magic in believing something good with all your heart.” When Ellie begins to believe, all kinds of miracles occur, from broken tree lights twinkling again, to angel shapes appearing in snow, to the biggest one of all: a baby brother arriving soon.

    Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko (Author) Ages 5 – 8

    Holiday time at Sadie’s house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa’s arrival.  A great book for blended families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

    EllRay Jakes Rocks the Holidays! by Sally Warner (Author), Brian Biggs (Illustrator) Ages 6 – 8

    It’s almost Christmas and school is going great for EllRay. He’s “blending in” just the way he likes. So when his father tells him he should be proud to be part of the African-American “community,” EllRay isn’t so sure he wants to call attention to his differences. After all, he’s only one of two boys in his class with brown skin. And then, totally by accident, he insults the other boy—one of his best friends—and all at once EllRay’s back to being the center of attention. And not exactly for good reasons.

    The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen (Author), Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator) Ages 5 – 8

    The luminous art of three-time Caldecott Honor recipient Jerry Pinkney transforms the nineteenth-century Danish girl of Andersen’s tale into a child plucked straight from America’s melting pot, shedding new light on the invisibility of the poor among the prosperous-a circumstance as familiar in Andersen’s day as it is in our own.

    Your turn: Which books on this list are your favorites?  Did you discover some new books to read with your little readers?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    If You’re Scary and You Know It by Carole Gerber + A Giveaway!

    Published by Familius Format: Hardcover
    Source: Familius

    Disclaimer: Familius sent me the book to check out and I’m partnering with them for a giveaway!


    If You’re Scary and You Know It by Carole Gerber, illustrated by Noel Ill

    Recommended for ages 4-6
    Published by Familius

    About the Book
    Set to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” this festive holiday book is perfect for all of the boys and gouls roaming around on Halloween night! Ghosts moan and groan, while pirates yo ho! If You’re Scary And You Know It! is sure to be a Halloween hit!

    Reflection
    The popular nursery song “f You’re Happy and You Know It” comes alive with this colorful colorful Halloween sing-along action book that will put a smile on everyone’s face.  Diverse children are featured throughout making this an inclusive board book for all to enjoy.  Makes a great Halloween treat for little ones!

    The Giveaway!  Ready to Enter?

     

    One (1) winner receives:

    • 1 copy of the board book If You’re Scary and You Know It

    Giveaway open to US addresses only.

    Prizing and samples provided by Familius Publishing.

    If You’re Scary and You Know It!

    About the Author
    Poet and author Carole Gerber has written sixteen picture books, three chapter books, and more than one hundred elementary science and reading texts for major publishers. Her most picture recent book, A Band of Babies, was named a 2017 Best Book for Children by Amazon editors. She holds a BS in English education and an MA in journalism from Ohio State, and has taught middle school and high school English as well as college newswriting and factual writing at OSU. Learn more at www.carolegerber.com.

    About the Illustrator
    Noël Ill earned her BFA with honors in illustration from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Throughout her design and illustration career, she has had the opportunity to apply her artwork and tasteful design sense to the publishing and entertainment media fields. Her notable work includes production art for animation, the Be Mine sticker pack for Facebook stickers, and The Sweetest Little Ghost, her licensed illustration for Papyrus greeting cards. She’s inspired by the whimsical books she read as a kid, and her art motto is “Making the world a happier place one drawing at a time.”

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    book reviews, children's books, holiday books

    Three Ways My Children Teach Me About the Joy of Giving

    Disclaimer: I’ve teamed up with Zonderkidz to share how my children taught me about the joy of giving with the Berenstain Bears.

    I enjoy the holidays for many reasons: family time, food, holiday parties, Christmas lights and cheesy Hallmark movies.  Although I’ve always liked the holidays, becoming a parent has reawakened my holiday spirit and the joy of giving in many ways.  I now look forward to the holidays with lots of anticipation and excitement in a way I never did before in my adult years.  Yes, my children have helped me fall in love with the true meaning of Christmas all over again.  They also taught me what it really means to give and to give with grace.

    Three Ways My Children Teach Me About the Joy of Giving

    Give to others without expecting anything in return

    If you feel like doing something for someone, then just do it and don’t think about what you might receive in return.  I find lessons like this can often be learned through your own life experiences as well as through reading books.  When I read books like The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, I am often reminded of some very important lessons like giving without expecting anything in return.  I have always like reading Berenstain Bears books and watching the cartoons on television when I was younger. I think these books teach great moral lessons and allow for further discussion and reflection with the discussion questions that are often found in the back of the book.

    I love how Brother and Sister Bear learn to give generously to others in the book The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of GivingThey gave their remaining money cheerfully to others instead of thinking of themselves.

    It is more blessed to give than receive.

    A valuable lesson to be learned for readers of all ages.  Being a parent is a constant reminder to me to give to others without expecting anything in return.  For everything I do for my children on a daily basis, I never say, “What’s in this for me?”

    When you learn to give freely without expecting anything in return, you are not burdened with the need for praise, thanks, or appreciation.  In a word you learn, grace–where you are recipient of the blessing.

    Give as much as you can year-round

    My children have taught me the importance of incorporating giving into my life all year long. During the holiday season, it’s easy to share our good fortune and blessings with others. We’re constantly reminded to give to fundraisers, food drives, bell ringers and charities.

    When I look at my children, I’m reminded daily to not only give my all to them, but to give as much as I can to others too.  It’s important to me my children see me model charity and giving from January through December.  I don’t want them to grow up thinking people are only in need, or happy to accept help, during the holidays.

    Each act of giving changes the world for the better

    Even the smallest act of giving makes a positive impact.  I witness this firsthand whenever I give to my children or treat them with kindness.  It makes them in turn want to give joyfully to others.  My children constantly teach me whether I’m asked or not, to seek opportunities to help others when you can.

    You never know when a simple act of helping someone will cause a long-lasting, positive ripple effect in the world. It might not be felt right away, but as the ripples spread outward and impact others, they’re likely to bounce back to you in surprising and wonderful ways.

    Your turn: How have your children taught you about the joy of giving?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    About The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
    In The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.

    Books referenced in this blog post:

    The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
    By Jan & Mike Berenstain
    In Stores Now! (released September 2010)
    Recommended for ages 3-8

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    children's books, giveaways, holiday books

    Christmas in September with Santa Bruce + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: We’re thrilled to partner with Disney Book Group for this festive giveaway in time for the holiday season!  Enter for your chance to win a copy of ALL FOUR Bruce books, Santa Bruce ornament & hat, and a box of Santa Bruce holiday candies.Santa Bruce
    By Ryan T. Higgins
    In Stores September 4th, 2018
    Published by Disney Book Group
    Recommended for ages 3+

    ABOUT THE BOOK
    Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother. One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity—again. Kids will howl with laughter as award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins delivers another hilarious story about this bear who just can’t catch a break.

    We’ve read all four of the Bruce books and they never fail to make me and the kids laugh out loud!  This time, Mother Bruce is a victim of mistaken identity, yet again!  One day while outside shoveling snow in his red “Santa like” gear, he is mistaken to be Santa Claus.  Santa Bruce is a cheerful and delightful story that is so fun to read aloud with kids during story time.

    The illustrations capture the story so well too which makes it even funnier.  The facial expressions that Bruce and the other animals make are so spot on and really help to bring the story to life.

    Ready to find out how you can enter to win the giveaway?  Read on.  Good Luck!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Ryan T. Higgins (ryanthiggins.com) is an author and illustrator who likes the outdoors and cheese sandwiches. He is NOT a grumpy old black bear, but he DOES like making books about one—starting with the best-selling Mother Bruce, which received the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids… and too many pets.

    LEARN MORE
    Visit Books.Disney.com

    Follow Disney Book Group on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

    THE GIVEAWAY!

    One (1) US-based winner will receive:

    • Full set of all four Bruce books
    • Branded ornament and Santa hat
    • Plus a Santa Bruce box of holiday candies!

     

    Christmas in September with Santa Bruce Giveaway

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    The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story + A Giveaway!

    Disclaimer: We partnered with Zonderkidz to bring you this fun Easter giveaway!  We received a copy of this book in exchange for our honest review.  As always all opinions expressed are my own.

    The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story by Jan & Mike Berenstain

    About the Berenstain Bears
    Stan and Jan Berenstain published the first Berenstain Bears book in 1962, and the series has gone on to capture the hearts and minds of children across generations and across the globe. In the 50+ years since “The Big Honey Hunt,” the Bear family has grown from three to five members; the Berenstain Bears have been translated into over a dozen languages; and over 300 million books have been sold worldwide.

    About The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
    The Berenstain Bear cubs are candy-crazy this Easter! But Missus Ursula and some Sunday school students tell the cubs about the true meaning of Easter. Includes a sheet of colorful stickers!  Recommended for ages 4-7.

    ***

    As with all of the Berenstain Bears books there are lessons to be learned. In this book Brother and Sister Bear learn the true meaning of Easter, how Jesus rose from the tomb.  I love how the story was presented as part of an Easter play in Sunday School which made it easy for my children to understand.  They are familiar with watching plays at school and going to Sunday school at our church.


    I’m a total fan of the Berenstain Bears books. I read them when I was younger and I am now reading them to our children. I love the lessons taught in each one. I didn’t realize that Stan and Jan Berenstain had both passed away and their son is now writing the books. I’m glad that the tradition is being carried on and that Brother and Sister will still continue to share important life lessons with our children today. I also liked that on the back cover page there are activities and questions that help children apply the lesson learned.

    One (1) winner receives:

    • 1 Copy of The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
    • Egg dye
    • Candy
    • 1 Plush bunny

    Open to US addresses only.

    Prizing and samples provided by Zonderkidz.

    Link to Purchase

    Visit Amazon to purchase The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story!

    Connect with The Berenstain Bears!
    Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

    The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story Giveaway

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    children's books, diverse books, holiday books, holiday gift guide series

    8 Christmas Picture Books Every Black Child Should Read + Clarence Claus

    As soon as the holidays start to roll around, people often ask me for children’s holiday book recommendations – specifically Christmas books for children of color.  As I’ve often said, I don’t discriminate when it comes to reading books on my own or with my kids.  However, I do know the power of children seeing themselves reflected in literature especially around Christmas when they are bombarded with images of a Caucasian Santa Claus.

    So in addition to reading quality books that prominently feature children of color, I also support small Black-owned businesses like Green Top Gifts to show my kids that Santa can look like us – enter Clarence Claus.  Have you heard of him yet?  He’s the Black Santa Claus I wish I had been exposed to growing up.

    Greentop Gifts is a wrapping paper company featuring a Black Santa Claus. Clarence Claus™ truly represents the culture and lifestyle for people of color.  You may have seen the Clarence Claus wrapping paper featured in the list of Gayle King’s Favorite Things in the December 2017 issue of Oprah Magazine.

    We’ve proud to collaborate with Greentop Gifts to showcase their high quality wrapping paper and highlight eight Christmas books I think every Black child should own (or at least read and borrow from the library).  The children’s books mentioned below is a great place to start if you are looking for Christmas stories featuring Black children and families.  Not only are they entertaining, but they also help put children (and adults) in a festive mood.

    Recommended Picture Books (Ages 4 – 8)
    12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora
    Christmas for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
    Christmas Makes Me Think by Tony Medina
    Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson
    The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora
    The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow (Read my review here!)
    Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes and Kadir Nelson

    What are some of your favorite Christmas books to read with your little readers?

    Be sure to enter our Instagram giveaway where you can enter to win:

    • (2) rolls of Clarence Claus Wrapping Paper
    • (4) Clarence Claus Gift Labels
    • (1) Clarence Claus Kid’s Shirt

    Happy Holidays and happy reading!

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