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    children's books, diverse books

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

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

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

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

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

    Children’s Books Set in Sri Lanka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Tea Leaves by Frederick Lipp (Ages 6 and up)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    children's books, diverse books

    15+ Multicultural Christian Picture Books for Children

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

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

    The Creation by James Weldon Johnson

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

    Who Will I Be, Lord? by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

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

    Come Sunday by Nikki Grimes

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

    Psalm Twenty-Three by Tim Ladwig

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

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

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

    The Lord’s Prayer by Tim Ladwig

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

    Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner

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

    Sunday is for God by Michael McGowan

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

    The World is Awake by Linsey Davis

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

    When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

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

    Beautiful Moon: A Child’s Prayer by Tonya Bolden

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

    The Watcher by Nikki Grimes

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

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

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

    Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson

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

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

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

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

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

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

    God’s Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu

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

    When Daddy Prays by Nikki Grimes

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

    When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner

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

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

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

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    children's books

    The Lost Book of Adventure: A Love Letter to the Wild from the Notebooks of the Unknown Adventurer

    Published by Quarto Format: Hardcover

    What would do you if you were walking through the park and found a mysterious notebook with no author? You photograph it and share your findings on social media, of course!

    In celebration of National Take a Walk in the Park Day, (celebrated each year on March 30th) we’ve teamed up with publisher Frances Lincoln Children’s Books to share this amazing book The Lost Book of Adventure.  Written by a person who is only known by the pen name “The Unknown Adventurer”, it contains everything you need to know about how to live and thrive in nature, from the principles of treehouse building to wilderness first aid.  How cool is that?

    If you are reading this, it means my notebooks have been found. I am leaving them here at camp for safekeeping along with a few other belongings that I won’t be taking with me. The notebooks are a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, which I’m passing on to you.

    So reads an excerpt from the weatherworn letter discovered by nature enthusiast Teddy Keen on a recent trip to the Amazon, along with sketchbooks filled with details of extraordinary adventures and escapadesexpedition advice, and survival methodsannotated with captivating colored-pencil drawings. It is thought that the sketchbooks were created for two young relatives of the author. Drawing on Teddy’s knowledge of the outdoors, the pages of the sketchbooks have been carefully transcribed for young readers, as they were originally intended.

    Here are just some of the interesting things you’ll find in this book:

    • How to make a fire and various items from the wild you can use to keep your fire going like pine needles and dry animal poop (who knew?)
    • Campfire cooking essentials including cooking with a stick and making campfire bread
    • Natural antiseptic plants to use when out in the wild and you get hurt: think plantain leaves for insect bites & stings or wild garlic leaves for dressing wounds

    Recommended for ages 9 – 12 and up, The Lost Book of Adventure is packed with extensive survival information for nature enthusiasts or budding explorers.  It’s the perfect companion to bring with you when going camping, canoeing, mountain climbing, hiking or taking a walk in the park on National Take a Walk in the Park Day.

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    children's books, coloring books, STEM

    Mom-Approved Activity Books: Check Out these Activity Books to Keep Kids Occupied at Restaurants, Airports or During Long Car Rides

    Many kids love to color, draw and scribble.  I know mine do!  That’s why I decided to put together this list of some of the most creative and entertaining activity books that will get children’s creative juices flowing.  These activity books are full of fun activities and stimulating exercises to encourage learning and development.

    From playing with colors to learning science, some of these activity books have extra components that build brain-based executive functioning skills and require a little bit of extra mental energy too.  Other books are filled with facts, coloring areas, and fill-in-the-blank slots that keep children learning about how the world works.

    Let’s face it, if you’re a parent or caregiver you’ve been there at some point — at the airport, on the road, or at a restaurant with a bored or restless child. (There’s nothing wrong with being bored by the way – it’s actually a good thing!  But that’s a whole different topic.)  Sure, you can turn on an electronic device like an iPad, tablet, phone or video game to keep the kids entertained, but they don’t do much for their brain. If you’re looking for something a little more engaging, pull out an activity book, where the kids can dive into word searches, coloring, or other crafts.

    Sew With Me: 60 Fun & Easy Projects to Make Your Own Fabulous Décor and Accessories by Brandy Nelson (Ages 7 – 12)

    Easy-to-follow instructions make this book a great place to start for beginners. With the projects divided into three skill levels, it’s a cinch to find one that’s just right for you. Beginner projects use only hand stitching, intermediate ones combine hand stitching with easy machine sewing and advanced ones use only a machine. Filled with pictures, friendly advice and cutout templates, this will become your favorite activity book for playtime.

    The Dinosaur Craft Book by Laura Minter and Tia Williams (Ages 8 – 12)

    Got a dinosaur enthusiast or future paleontologist on your hands?  (This one is recommended for use at home.)  Containing fantastic dinosaur-themed projects to make, The Dinosaur Craft Book will get children crafting and creating in no time.

    Secret Hidden Pictures Puzzles by Highlights (Ages 6 – 9)

    This book is seriously so fun!  It comes with a magic wand to reveal over 1,000 hidden objects throughout the book.  Can you say hours of fun for kids (and adults!)?

    This Hidden Pictures® puzzle-novelty book features an easy-to-store magic lens made of sturdy paper and plastic to locate over 500 hidden objects and discover amazing scenes. Every red-on-blue puzzle is a mystery until the lens reveals the curiosities underneath, such as jet-skiing starfish, a robot workshop, and astronauts in a faraway galaxy. Children ages 6-9 can become Hidden Pictures® detectives by using the clues to help locate the hidden objects and uncovering new surprises every time.

    Awesome Edible Kids Crafts by Arena Blake (Ages 6 – 11)

    Bring out your inner sculptor with Marshmallow Playdough, and engage your artistic side with Coloring Book Cookies or Painted Rainbow Toast. Are you planning a party? Why not make Edible Taffy Balloons to decorate with, or party hats that are fun to wear and tasty to snack on? You can even transform your favorite snacks and treats into zebras, lions, giraffes and more.

    Each project has a difficulty rating and lets you know if you will need a grownup to help you, making it easy for you to find the perfect project to spark your creativity using safe, nontoxic (and delicious) ingredients.

    101 Kids Activities That are the Ooey, Gooey-est Ever! by Jamie Harrington, Brittanie Pyper and Holly Homer (Ages 6 – 12)

    Create amazing concoctions like Fake Snow, Color-Changing Slime and Glow-in-the-Dark Dough. Dig your fngers into Glowing Magic Mud, Shaving Cream Dough and Kool-Aid Foam. Or, if you’re brave enough, squeeze the Spider Egg Sack Slime or the Frog’s Vomit Slime―eek! There are even some special slime that you can eat like Gummy Worm Slime, Pudding Slime and Cookie Dough Dough. With 101 super cool activities (that are also super easy to clean up), you can try them all!

    101 Kids Activities That are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! by Rachel Miller and Holly Homer (Ages 6 – 12)

    Never again will you hear the all-too-common call of, “I’m bored!” with this kid-pleaser for many ages.

    Whether your kid is 3, 5 or 12 years old, there are hundreds of fun, educational and engaging things to do in this book. When they ask to watch television, you’ll have the perfect solution. 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! has time-tested, exciting activities to keep your children laughing and learning for the whole day, every day.

    Low-Mess Crafts for Kids: 72 Projects to Create Your Own Magical Worlds by Debbie Chapman (Ages 8 – 12)

    With tricks like twisting pipe cleaners into fun shapes to avoid glue and using brightly colored cups and patterned paper to avoid paint, Debbie shows that keeping it simple doesn’t mean play time has to be less fun.

    Low-Mess Crafts for Kids brings parents and caretakers solutions to the craft time conundrum. As well as being low-mess, all 72 of these awesome projects feature everyday items like pipe cleaners, pom poms and clothespins, which make playtime a cinch. And with step-by-step pictures, kids of any age can create something they can be proud of.

    Awesome Science Experiments for Kids by Crystal Chatterton (Ages 5 – 10)

    Getting kids excited about science can be difficult. Science Experiments for Kids provides young scientists ages 5-10 with hands-on experiments that teach them how to apply the scientific method.

    Animal Activity Book by Alain Gree (Ages 4 – 8)

    This delightful animal-themed activity book will entertain children who are crazy about all things to do with animals. The pages are crammed with over 100 great activities, including dot to dot, spot the difference, coloring in, simple makes and other engaging puzzles, as well as 4 pages of stickers to be used in the book. Fun and educational, the Animal Activity Book features beautiful, bright illustrations that will draw children in and keep them busy. All of the pages are incredibly absorbing with Alain’s unmistakably rich and appealing style of illustration. And while they are enjoying the mazes, matching and counting, the games are helping them to develop a wide range of skills, including observational, conversational and motor.

    Transportation Activity Book by Alain Greer (Ages 4 – 8)

    This gorgeous transport-themed activity book will be very popular with any child who loves all things that go! With over 100 different activities, including dot to dot, spot the difference, coloring in, simple makes and other engaging puzzles. The Transport Activity Book is educational as well as fun and features beautiful, bright illustrations that will draw children in and keep them busy. All of the pages are incredibly absorbing with Alain’s unmistakably rich and appealing style of illustration. And while they are enjoying the mazes, matching and counting, the games are helping them to develop a wide range of skills, including observational, conversational and motor.

    Photo PuzzleMania! by Highlights (Ages

    The puzzling experts at Highlights(TM) have created a brand-new puzzle direction with this exciting and innovative book–every puzzle is created from intricate, full-color photographs. Kids will love searching photos to find the hidden objects in our unique photo Hidden Pictures puzzles.

    Dinosaur Puzzles by Highlights (Ages 6 – 9)

    This irresistible book is packed with more than 100 favorite dinosaur puzzles straight from our beloved magazine. Drawn in the classic Highlights™ black-and-white style, each puzzle is carefully designed to engage and entertain children while honing their concentration skills and attention to detail. With more than 1,200 objects to find, this book provides kids of all ages with hours of puzzling fun.

    Your turn: What are some of your favorite ways to keep kids entertained on the go or at home?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    children's books

    Women’s History Month Bingo with Penguin Young Readers


    March is Women’s History Month, when we honor the contributions and achievements of women from around the world.  This month we’ve been enjoying reading inspirational stories about women from the Penguin Young Reader’s collection.  They sent us this fun Bingo Card showcasing eight women-themed book titles along with a slot for a Book Freebie.

    There’s still time to join us if you want to play along!  Simply print out the Bingo Card shown below, gather your books from your local library if you don’t already own them and cross off the titles as you go.  All of the titles included in this Bingo Card have already been published and should be available at any bookstore or library.  Can you fill in all the Bingo Card Boxes before the end of March?  Download your Women’s History Bingo Card here!

    This Bingo challenge can be done any time of the year and isn’t just limited to Women’s History Month so join in the fun and read with us!  Below I’ve listed the book publication dates for your reference.

    I am Sonia Sotomayor

    (11/13/2018)
    Ages 5 – 8

    I am Billie Jean King

    (2/5/2019)
    Ages 5 – 8

    Who was Selena?

    (8/7/2018)
    Ages 8-12

    Who was Aretha Franklin?

    (4/3/2018)
    Ages 8-12

    Book Freebie

    Must fit the theme of Women’s History Month

    Turning Pages

    (9/4/2018)
    Ages 4 – 8

    Superheroes are Everywhere

    (1/8/2019)
    Ages 4 – 8

    She Persisted

    (5/30/2017)
    Ages 4 – 8 

    Raise Your Hand

    (3/26/2019)
    Ages 4 – 8

    Your turn: Have you read any of these book titles with your little readers?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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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
    four-stars

    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.

    four-stars
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    book reviews, children's books, diverse books

    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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