It’s National Tooth Fairy Day! Celebrated twice a year on August 22nd and February 28th, National Tooth Fairy Day is a made up holiday that some look forward to celebrating.
My kids and I usually celebrate by reading some of our favorite tooth fairy and tooth themed books. This year the kids are also making their own tooth fairy pillows. For reference, we’re following the instructions in this post for our inspiration.
Below I’ve rounded up a list of a few books for kids that feature diverse characters. I hope you’ll find a book or two to help you celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day with your little readers.
A fun and interesting take on the tooth fairy! Tallulah is not only a tooth fairy, she’s the founder and CEO of Teeth Titans, Incorporated. While the story does have some adult humor throughout that may go over children’s heads, it’s refreshing to see such a diverse tooth fairy that has so much style! Beautiful illustrations accompany this witty and creative story.
Have you ever wondered how the children in other countries dispose of their baby teeth, when they fall out? This book is a wonderful exploration of culture and what others do when they lose teeth. In the book, readers will discover how children in many countries (Canada, America, Denmark, England, Mexico) dispose of their lost teeth.
Did you know that in some parts of the world, children are instructed to throw their tooth on the roof? Find out other interesting traditions like this one by checking out this book.
Little Kaylee loves pulling pranks so it’s no surprise that her favorite holiday is April Fool’s Day. More than anything, Kaylee wants to prank the Tooth Fairy, but what happens when the Tooth Fairy pranks back? You guessed it…a prank war breaks out between Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy. They battle each other with bubblegum, water and more. In the end, Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy learn to work together and become friends.
This is a cute story about a girl named Amina from Portland, Oregon who goes to visit her extended family in Mali, Africa. On the plane Amina discovers that her tooth is loose. Her father tells her that in Mali when you lose your tooth, you get a chicken! This story allows readers to make comparisons between tooth traditions in America and Africa. Readers will learn that instead of receiving money for a tooth (like in America), children in Africa place their tooth under a gourd, in hopes that the African tooth fairy will deliver them laying hens.
Meet El Ratón Pérez, the charming and adventurous mouse who collects children’s teeth in Spain and Latin America.
When both the Tooth Fairy and El Ratón Pérez arrive to claim Miguelito’s tooth, sparks fly under the Mexican-American boy’s pillow. Who will rightfully claim his tooth? This magical tale introduces a legendary Latino character to a new audience and provides a fresh take on the familiar childhood experience of losing one’s tooth. Contains some Spanish words featured throughout with definitions in the back matter.
Your turn: What are some of your favorite books about the Tooth Fairy or losing teeth for kids? Feel free to share in the comments.
About the Book The bilingual picture book Luca’s Bridge / El puente de Luca tells the emotional story of a boy coming to terms with his family’s deportation from the United States to Mexico.
Luca is a U.S. citizen, but his parents aren’t. As a result, they end up being deported back to Mexico. Their family makes the decision to stick together instead of leaving Luca and his brother in the U.S. with relatives like other families sometimes do.
Luca’s Bridge is a sad, but also very sweet and tender story that tackles the tough topics of immigration and deportation.
Synopsis Luca has never lived outside the U.S., but when his parents receive a letter in the mail, the family must pack up and leave home for a strange land. Together in their car, Luca, his brother Paco, and their parents head across the border to Mexico where his parents were born. Luca doesn’t understand why he must leave the only home he’s ever known, his friends, and his school. He struggles through lonely and disorienting times―reflected both in Real’s delicate, symbolic illustrations and through Llanos’ description of his dreams―and leans on music, memory, and familial love for support. Luca’s Bridge / El puente de Luca is a story for everyone about immigration, deportation, home, and identity.
About the Author Mariana Llanos writes books for children and poetry in English and Spanish. She is originally from Lima, Peru, but currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband, their three children and their dog, Juliet. Visit her online at: https://marianallanos.com.
It’s almost back to school season! I love the excitement a new school year brings for our entire family. I always look forward to starting anew with a clean slate and getting back into our school year routines.
Soon many parents and educators will be scouting libraries, websites and bookstores for the perfect “going to school” books. I think the most popular topics for these books fall into a few different categories:
Making new friends
Dealing with new situations, routines and schedules
Helping children (and some parents) cope with feelings of anticipation, excitement and nervousness
This year my “Back to School” list includes picture books for preschoolers, elementary students and a few recommendations for middle grade readers. I hope you’ll find these helpful and possibly a few to read with your children, grandchildren or students. Enjoy! (Note: This post contains affiliate links.)
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.
In a unique narrative, readers meet a diverse group of six children ranging in age from Kindergarten through ﬁfth grade. With nerves and excitement each child gears up for a new school year by hustling in the morning, meeting new teachers and new classmates during the day, and heading home with homework and relief by day’s end.
BACK TO SCHOOL invites young minds to sit in the front row and share the exciting experience of learning with kids just like themselves all over the world. Whether they take a school bus, a boat, or a rickshaw to get there, kids around the globe are going to school and growing smarter and more curious every day.
In this contemporary Tanzanian story, author Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen and artist Christy Hale once again bring the sweet innocence of Elizabeti to life. Readers are sure to recognize this young child’s emotions as she copes with her first day of school and discovers the wonder and joy of learning.
Three students are immigrants from Guatemala, Korea, and Somalia and have trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English in their new American elementary school. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity.
Lailah is in a new school in a new country, thousands of miles from her old home, and missing her old friends. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she doesn’t join them in the lunchroom.
Lola and her family prepare for the first day of school the night before, then get up early, take pictures, and head to class. Lola puts her things in her cubby, chooses her activities, reads, plays, and has a snack. Before she knows it, it’s time to sing the good-bye song and rush into Mommy’s arms for a warm reunion. A comforting, cheerful read that demystifies the school day for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
This is a very sweet story with soft, evocative watercolor illustrations that will help kids to grow comfortable with the idea of starting preschool. Ming is curious and playful and ready for adventure, but even she gets scared of new things sometimes. Kids will relate to her desires and fears and will be excited to see Ming at the top of the slide by the story’s end.
A delightful addition to the popular ‘Princess Arabella’ series. Princess Arabella and her friends embark upon their first day at Princess School. They find themselves taking some very unusual lessons – and when they are allowed to bring their pets to school, fun and games ensue!
A very cute and diverse set of children are seen putting their belongings in their cubbies, playing together, eating lunch and using the potty. They also participate in circle time, story time, sing songs and clean up before laying down for nap time. The sequence of events shown in this book is very similar to the schedule the kids follow at school so it’s very familiar to them. A wonderful back-to-school book for preschoolers to help them get acclimated to routines and adjust to school.
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone’s just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him?
The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he’s not the only one going through first-day jitters.
The first day of school can be lonely and scary, especially when you don’t speak the same language as everyone else. Sumi only knows one phrase in English, “Hello, my name is Sumi.” This doesn’t seem nearly enough to prepare her for a big school with wide stairs, noisy children, and a mean classmate.
There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.
Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week. Her new classmates are fascinated by this no-name girl and decide to help out by filling a glass jar with names for her to pick from. But while Unhei practices being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, one of her classmates comes to her neighborhood and discovers her real name and its special meaning.
The smallest things can pull us apart-until we learn that friendship is far more powerful than difference. In a glorious three-page gatefold at the end of the book, Salma, Lily, and all their classmates come together in the true spirit of tolerance and acceptance.
With his trademark bright colors and bold lines, Todd Parr introduces readers to a perennial source of childhood anxiety and excitement both: school! From morning routines to meeting new people to learning and playing together, Todd explores all the different things that can happen in school, all the while sharing a cheerful, child-friendly message of sharing, inclusion, and community.
Sally notices everything—from the twenty-seven keys on the janitor’s ring to the bullying happening on the playground. One day, Sally has had enough and decides to make herself heard. And when she takes a chance and stands up to the bullies, she finds that one small girl can make a big difference.
It’s the night before the twins are starting kindergarten, and they have the just-about-to-start-school jitters. After all, they will be in different classrooms! What will kindergarten be like when they’re not together all day? But Dax and Zoe will learn that kindergarten is full of new surprises and adventures, and being apart for a short while isn’t so bad.
Brianna Justice is determined to raise enough money for the big class trip to Washington, D.C., but she’s up against a lot: classmates who all pretend to be something they’re not, a new nemesis determined to run her out of office, and the sinking feeling she’s about to lose her two best friends for good. But just when she begins to lose hope, she comes to realize that sometimes surprises can turn out even better than the best-laid plans.
Joe and Ravi don’t think they have anything in common — but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
The whole class is curious about this new boy–he doesn’t seem to smile, and he doesn’t talk much. But after learning that Ahmet fled a Very Real War and was separated from his family along the way, a determined group of his classmates bands together to concoct the Greatest Idea in the World–a magnificent plan to reunite Ahmet with his loved ones.
Balancing humor and heart, this relatable story about the refugee crisis from the perspective of kids highlights the community-changing potential of standing as an ally and reminds readers that everyone deserves a place to call home.
Your turn: What books would you add to this list? Feel free to share some of your favorite school-themed books in the comments.
Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons COVER REVEAL!
In partnership with Lee & Low, I am excited to be revealing the cover for the forthcoming January 2020 book Dream Builder: The Story or Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons. The cover is illustrated by Laura Freeman.
Philip Freelon’s grandfather was an acclaimed painter of the Harlem Renaissance. His father was a successful businessman who attended the 1963 March on Washington. When Phil decided to attend architecture school, he created his own focus on African American and Islamic designers. He later chose not to build casinos or prisons, instead concentrating on schools, libraries, and museums–buildings that connect people with heritage and fill hearts with joy. And in 2009, Phil’s team won a commission that let him use his personal history in service to the country’s: the extraordinary Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon celebrates a contemporary black STEAM role model, a man whose quiet work enabled the creation of an iconic building reflecting America’s past and future. With a stirring text by Kelly Starling Lyons, vibrant pictures by Laura Freeman, and an afterword from Philip Freelon himself, it is sure to inspire the next generation of dreamers and builders.
Check out Dream Builder when it publishes in January 2020!
About the Author
Kelly Starling Lyons is the author of numerous books for young readers including One More Dino on the Floor, Hope’s Gift, Ellen’s Broom, and the Jada Jones series.
About the Illustrator
Laura Freeman received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and began her career illustrating for various editorial clients, including the New York Times Book Review, the National Law Journal, and New York magazine, and previous titles include Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe and Hidden Figures. Laura now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and their two children. Find out more about Laura at lfreemanart.com.
Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role. But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role. They whisper, they snicker, and they glare. Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call? Not Quite Snow White is a delightful and inspiring picture book that highlights the importance of self-confidence while taking an earnest look at what happens when that confidence is shaken or lost. Tameika encourages us all to let our magic shine.
Many fairy tales depict a world of predominantly blonde heroines with twinkling blue eyes and a fair complexion. This is problematic and an unrealistic view of the world we live in today.
Seeing oneself is an affirming moment, but for little girls of color, this mirror image is as rare as Cinderella’s glass slipper fitting properly. We all crave representation and deserve access to reflections of ourselves, and that is why I’m excited by this book: Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin illustrated by Ebony Glenn.
When little Tameika auditions for the role of Snow White, she overhears kids saying she’s “too chubby” and making comments about her having brown skin. They whisper and giggle and stare at her which in turn causes Tameika to second guess her decision about playing the lead role.
I adore this book for so many reasons. It shows all marginalized kids that everything is possible. Tameika auditioning for the role of Snow White is powerful not only for readers of color, but for everyone, enabling us to see beyond the dominant images of White protagonists in childhood stories and fairy tales.
It is revolutionary that fairy tales and stories represent children of all colors. With her brown skin, and kinky hair, Tameika is the furthest from classic Disney fantasies—but closest to my reality. Hopefully all children (and adults) reading this book will realize that we can become our wishes and dreams, and that we’re worthy of being seen despite what others may think or say.
I think this book is a winner! It has great read aloud appeal, beautiful illustrations that inspire, and messages about body positivity, acceptance, self-love, bravery, diversity and inclusion. Ages 4-8 and up.
Synopsis One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!
With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.
Reflection Eleven-year-old Chanin grew up being obsessed with soccer. At the age of six he started playing and joined the Wild Boars soccer team a few short years later. Nicknamed “Titan” by his family after the powerful giants of Greek mythology, he was known for his strength which made him an asset to the team.
On June 23, 2018 Titan and eleven of his teammates entered the Tham Luang Nang Non Caves along with their soccer coach in search of adventure. The storied “hidden city” within the cave excited the boys so they went in search of it. Little did they know they’d be spending 18 days trapped (June 23 – July 10) there underground surrounded by stone cold water and little oxygen with no food.
While reading this book I felt a range of different emotions from sadness to nervousness to sheer excitement! This story is not only captivating, but it’s informative too. It’s so interesting to read the details about how the team members all made it out alive. What an incredible journey for the soccer team, their coach and all of the rescuers/volunteers involved! This is an amazing story of bravery, perseverance, teamwork and community. The illustrations by Dow Phumiruk are so vivid will take your breath away. Each illustration really helps to bring the story to life.
The back matter has more information about the cave rescue including a timeline and other fascinating facts. For example: while being trapped in the cave, four of the boys missed their birthdays. There is also a brief interview with British divers Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson. An inspiring non-fiction book not to be missed this year.
Watch the Book Trailer!
About the Authors Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s Violin, Shaking Things Up, and Lifeboat 12. She is the recipient of the 2017 E.B. White Honor Award, the 2017 Christopher Award, the 2017 Américas Award, and the 2017 Bank Street Flora Steiglitz Straus Award, given annually to “a distinguished work of nonfiction which serves as an inspiration to young people.” Visit susanhoodbooks.com.
Pathana Sornhiran was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where she attended the Faculty of Arts at Chulalongkorn University with a major in English and French. She later completed her master’s degree in journalism in London, UK and now works as a journalist in Asia, traveling across the region to find and tell stories that matter.
About the Illustrator Dow Phumiruk was born in Bangkok, Thailand and came to the United States with her family when she was very young. Her mother was a nurse, and her father, a retired Royal Thai Air Force captain. He worked for Thai Airways for many years, which allowed her family many trips back to Thailand when she was younger. Dow currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three daughters. She is an author and illustrator of children’s books and has been a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators since 2011. Dow is also a general pediatrician who teaches medical students part time. When she is not creating or teaching, she likes to hike the trails near her home. Visit her at artbydow.blogspot.com
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Publisher: Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Format: Hardcover Pages: 32 Age Range: 4 – 8 Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Synopsis It’s up to Daddy to give his daughter an extra-special hair style in this ode to self-confidence and the love between fathers and daughters, from former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry and New York Times bestselling illustrator Vashti Harrison.
Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.
Reflection Twist outs. Braid outs. Wash and Gos. Bantu knots. Locs. Afros. Braids. Top Knots. Ponytails. Today’s natural haired beauties are embracing their kinks, coils and curls more than ever before to express their style. Just ask little Zuri. She wants to have the perfect hairstyle to welcome her mother home. Armed with an iPad, hair products and her dad, she ends up finding the perfect look.
I adore this book for so many reasons. First, it showcases a Black father in a positive light bonding with his daughter doing her hair. We don’t see this enough, especially in the Black community. I personally think a father caring for his daughter’s hair isn’t a loss of masculinity. In fact, I think women admire men even more who take the initiative to learn how to do hair. I love how Zuri’s dad steps up to the plate and figures out what needs to be done to do his daughter’s hair in his wife’s absence.
With the help of social media, Zuri’s father learns how to comb, part, oil, twist, and style Zuri’s hair. This experience allowed Zuri to bond with her dad in an entirely new way, and likely instilled a deep pride about the heritage in her hair.
One thing I notice with my husband is he likes to bond with our kids by playing, roughhousing, teaching them a skill or a sport. But Hair Love shows that fathers talking to their daughters about their hair is an entirely new way to bond. Just like my daughter, many girls love to see and spend time with their dad. So when a father actually does a good job on his daughter’s hair she’ll likely respond with, “Yeah, my daddy did my hair!”…now that’s bonding.
I also love how Zuri’s dad tells her that her hair is beautiful.
Daddy tells me it is beautiful. That makes me proud. I love that my hair lets me be me!
When I was younger I remember people used to always use the word “nappy” to describe natural Black hair. That word was thrown around a lot during my childhood by children and grown-ups and I never liked it. Since becoming an adult and embracing my own natural hair, I no longer use that word to describe my hair or anyone else’s natural hair. You have to be mindful of the things you say to children and teach them about self-love at an early age like Zuri’s dad.
I also think Hair Love does a great job showing readers that being a father is much more than being able to provide for a family financially. Fatherhood sometimes encompasses: cooking, cleaning, AND doing hair. It may also involve showing your daughter how to love herself completely inside and out, how to appreciate her natural beauty, and love everything about herself. Those are things that sometimes men (and women) really don’t think about as being a father.
Lastly, the adorable illustrations by Vashti Harrison make this book a ten on the cuteness scale. Just look at how adorable the front cover is! As always, Vashti does an outstanding job telling the story through her stunning illustrations. A winner!
Hair Tips & Techniques
Learn your daughter’s hair type and what will work best in styling her hair.
Create or find a regimen that works your daughter’s hair and lifestyle. Once you find what works KEEP DOING IT. Consistency is key to growing beautiful, natural hair.
Find people within your family and friends and talk to them about maintenance if you’re unsure.
Utilize social media when necessary. There is a wealth of information online. You can find easy, child-friendly tutorials as well as product reviews.
Browse the hashtag #naturalhair or #naturalhairkids on any social media platform and all kinds of helpful information will be in the palm of your hand.
About the Author
Chicago native Matthew A. Cherry is a former NFL wide receiver turned filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens. In 2007 he retired and moved to LA to pursue a career in entertainment. Now, he directs music videos and short films, including “Hair Love,” the animated short film on which this book is based. Matthew was named to Paste Magazine‘s list of Directors to Watch in 2016.
About the Illustrator
Vashti Harrison is the author-illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, which is also a NAACP Image Award winner. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art, and received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and picture book worlds.
Your turn: How do you teach your children to love their hair? What natural hair tips and techniques would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments.