#DiverseKidLit – Indigenous Children’s Literature Month

It’s Indigenous Literature Month at The Book Wars!

The word Indigenous within a Canadian context encompasses First Nations and Inuit and Métis peoples.

Indigenous Literature in North America was once almost exclusively written by white settlers, who, with or without permission from the knowledge-keepers and elders of a community (usually without) published stories that belonged to a community they were not part of. Some of these authors had good intentions; some did not. Even more frequently, Indigenous characters appeared in settler stories only as stereotypes: one-dimensional figures whose sole purpose in existence was to teach the white (usually male) protagonist secret knowledge or to be defeated by him.

Fortunately, through the long advocacy of Indigenous authors and artists, #ownvoices stories are reclaiming their place and displacing harmful narratives. You can look forward to some pretty fantastic stories this month in a range of genres and for a variety of ages, written by authors of different nations, ages, and experiences.

All month long we’re going to be sharing Indigenous children’s materials, including board books and picture books, verse novels, YA and more! We’ll be sharing stories from Canada and around the world, exploring and experiencing #ownstories from a vibrant array of cultures and traditions. Indigenous literature is as diverse as the communities it represents, and we hope you’ll join us as we celebrate Indigenous Month!

The Book Wars is a blog all about literature for young people – we share reviews, news, interviews, guest posts, cover reveals and more! We all have different areas of expertise and interest, so there’s really something for every kidlit lover. Join us, won’t you?


Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in March is the Changing Seasons. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, March 18th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current month is Changing Sesons. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • March 18th: Changing Seasons. As we eagerly await the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern, let’s share favorite books and resources on the seasons.
  • April 7th and 14th is our one-year anniversary of #diversekidlit! Stay tuned for some big events to celebrate!

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

 

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Beth’s great roundup of Diverse Novels in Verse, part 2. (You can catch up on part 1 here.) Novels in verse are an incredible and accessible way for kids to get to know a character inside and out. You will find some new favorites!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestCarolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Hosts for March

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children’s books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Celebrate Saturday: Diverse Kids Lit!

It’s Saturday, and that means it’s time to celebrate! I’m joining with Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community to connect, share and celebrate life’s small joys.

Discover. Play. Build.

This week, I’m celebrating a group of dedicated, hard-working teachers, librarians, writers, parents and book-lovers who are passionate about supporting diversity in children’s literature. I’ve participated in this group for several months now, and I’m always inspired by the diverse literature I discover. Diversity and representation are major challenges in the world in the children’s literature. Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of colour, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. This has got to change, and those of us who work with both books and young people are in a perfect position to support the fight.

Read more

#DiverseKidLit – Favourite Holiday Books!

Our theme for this month’s Favorite Holiday Books. (Please feel free to share any holiday resources, not just winter holidays.) The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, January 7th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite Holiday Books. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • January 7th and 21st linkups: Human Rights. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated in the US in January, think about your favorite books to share with children about the importance and the history of human rights and/or civil rights.
  • February 4th and 18th linkups: Love. Let’s spread the love of diverse books by sharing diverse books about love, families, and relationships.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from last time from The Barefoot Mommy: 15 Diverse and Inclusive Books about Christmas. Rebekah includes an overview of each book as well as a downloadable felt ornament craft. The stories showcase a wide range of cultures and countries celebrating Christmas, some focusing on the holiday and others happening around that time. A great place to start for thinking about this linkup’s holiday theme!

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Beth @ Pages and Margins

Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon : Baseball Bats for Christmas

For this entry in The Caffeinated Book Reviewer‘s holiday readathon we’re going way up north, all the way up to the remote Nunavut community formerly known as Repulse Bay, for a Christmas story with an Inuit twist!

hohohorat2016

Baseball Bats for Christmas by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak

baseball

When a bush pilot delivers Christmas trees to the remote northern community of Repulse Bay (now known by its Inuit name Naujaat) in the winter of 1955, the Inuit children don’t know what to make of these strange, spindly pieces of wood, which they dub “the standing-ups”. Their community lies far north of the tree line, and the children of Repulse Bay have never seen a tree before! Seven year old asthmatic Arvaarluk (the author) and his friends, led by Yvo, the smartest boy in the village, eventually realize that the tree trunks can actually be used to make baseball bats, and set to work making themselves wonderful Christmas presents that they enjoy all year long.

bats

Inspired by Inuit author Kusugak’s own childhood experiences growing up on the Arctic Circle, Baseball Bats for Christmas is a warm, charming story about the ingenuity of children, which gently pokes fun at the biases and assumptions of those of us southerners who live south of 60 – why on Earth would Inuit communities in the far north ever want or need Christmas trees?! They live above the tree line! Still, the Inuit children turn these assumptions and expectations upside down, and use their creativity to turn something useless into something special, something that meets their needs, and which has real value for their community. You can almost see Kusugak shaking his head as he tells the story, and rolling his eyes at the completely oblivious outsiders, especially the ones who seem to mean well, but just honestly don’t have a clue.

eyeroll

Michael Kusugak is a Canadian treasure, and was one of the first Inuit authors to achieve nation-wide success and recognition. He is perhaps best known for the book A Promise is a Promise, which was co-written with fellow Canadian legend Robert Munsch, and which is based on the Inuit legend of the terrible Qallupilluit creature. His stories introduce children to Inuit life and culture, both traditional and contemporary. Set in 1955, Baseball Bats for Christmas shares a way of life that has largely disappeared in Inuit communities, but the warmth, generosity, ingenuity and spirit of Inuit communities remains unchanged. Illustrator Krykorka, though not Inuit, collaborated closely with Kusugak on several of his books, living in Nunavut with him and his family, immersing herself in the environment and the community.

Baseball Bats for Christmas is a wonderful reminder for young readers of the importance of trying ti avoid making assumptions about other communities, and is a charming tale of ingenuity and creativity, as well as a beautiful introduction to Inuit culture. Certainly worth exploring at this time of year!

Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon – Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

The diverse holiday readathon continues!! I’ve realized that The Caffeinated Book Reviewer‘s holiday readathon is wrapping up soon and there are still so many books I want to share, so I’m going to be putting together some bonus posts in the next few days – lucky you! 😉

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ARGH!

tantrum

You know what’s been driving me NUTS recently? Trying to find Kwanzaa books that actually sound, look and feel like they’ve been written for children who ALREADY CELEBRATE KWANZAA.

Take a look at the Christmas section at your local library and you know what you’ll find? Picture books that don’t just explain Christmas, but which tell stories set at Christmastime, stories with actual NARRATIVES. Characters have to find the perfect present for their parents, or worry about being in the school play, or go on a Christmas adventure through time. In other words, not every Christmas-themed book is designed to teach children the basic facts about Christmas.

But Kwanzaa?

kwanza_book

There is always a need for picture books that introduce and explain a holiday, but there’s also a real need for picture books written expressly for children who already celebrate the holiday, and which allow children to see their culture represented and appreciated.

rabbit

One of the few Kwanzaa books I could find that wasn’t primarily an illustrated introduction to the holiday and which offered a bit of a narrative was this little cutie – Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa. Li’l Rabbit is feeling blue because Granny Rabbit is sick and cannot celebrate the Kwanzaa feast of Karamu with Li’l Rabbit and his family. Li’l Rabbit decides to bring Granny Rabbit a special something to cheer her up, but he can’t seem to find just the right treat, no matter how hard he looks. Li’l Rabbit wonders if he’s just too small to help Granny Rabbit after all, but eventually learns that sometimes all you need is a little help from the people who love you.

As someone who doesn’t practice Kwanzaa I can’t attest to the accuracy of the holiday’s portrayal in Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa, but as a librarian I can say how glad I was to find a cute little holiday story that doesn’t just hit readers over the head with FACTS.ABOUT.KWANZAA. Yes, there is information and explanation throughout Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa, making the text accessible to children who are new to the holiday, but there’s also a narrative. This is a Kwanzaa story in which characters learn the true meaning of the holiday, as well as important lessons about themselves.

What we need, need, need are more diverse books that are actually written by and for the communities they represent. Picture books that let all children experience their holidays to their fullest, and make them feel like their cultural celebrations are just as valid and important as anyone else’s. Finding books like this shouldn’t have to be so dang hard, especially not for children.

Admittedly Kwanzaa is a predominantly American holiday, so it’s entirely possible that there are great Kwanzaa books that simply aren’t available here in Canada. If you know of any great Kwanzaa story books that contain a narrative (rather than being primarily informational), please send your recommendations my way!

Sharing is caring, so share that knowledge!

Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon – Tree of Cranes

The Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon is a celebration of seasonal reads hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

hohohorat2016

Today we’re looking at an intercultural, inter-generational Christmas story brought to us by celebrated, award-winning and deeply treasured Japanese-American author/illustrator Allan Say. When I was growing up, Say’s semi-autobiographical novel The Ink-Keeper’s Apprentice was one of my favourite novels, and he is perhaps best known for his poignant picture book Grandfather’s Journey.

Tree of Cranes by Allan Say

Inspired by Say’s childhood memories, Tree of Cranes tells the story of a little boy growing up in Japan whose American-born mother blends Japanese and American traditions to create a unique Christmas celebration. The little boy watches as his mother brings a small pine tree into the house, which she then decorates with candles and carefully folded paper cranes. His mother then shares with him stories of her childhood in San Francisco, and the Christmases she celebrated with family and friends long ago. “When all the candles were lit, she fell silent. She was remembering. She was seeing another tree in a faraway place where she had been small like me.”

Immigration is a common thread throughout many of Say’s captivating works, and there’s a real poignancy and bittersweetness to Tree of Cranes. It’s a story of homesickness and longing, as the boy’s mother quietly reflects on her far-away hometown and the traditions she grew up with, but there’s also a real feeling of strength and resilience, as she works with what she has to introduce her young son to a celebration that still holds great meaning for her.  Gentle, elegant and evocative, Tree of Cranes feels as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1991. As families move around the world, some traditions are lost, but others are re-imagined, adapted and shaped in new ways for new generations.

tree

Check back in tomorrow for another diverse seasonal selection!

Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon – Diverse Seasonal Reads

Winter is the season of celebrations. Whether you celebrate Noche Buena, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Christmas Day, Solstice, Saint Lucy’s Day, or just the quiet beauty of a winter’s day, the season is brimming with festive and joyful celebrations. I’m joining up with The Caffeinated Book Reviewer to take part in the Ho-Ho-Ho Readathon, which runs November 9th through the 15th. Over the course of this period I’m going to be sharing some of my favourite diverse and inclusive holiday reads for children and young people. Whether you’re planning your seasonal library displays, looking to refresh your holiday collection, planning your gift shopping, or just look to explore other cultures with young readers, hopefully you’ll find this celebration helpful and meaningful. I’m not going in any order, and there’s no real criteria here other than that I think the book is worth checking out.

hohohorat2016

I’d love to hear your suggestions, thoughts and ideas as we move through this read-a-thon together. Now more than ever it’s vital that we share and celebrate the beautiful differences and commonalities that make up our patchwork world. I hope you’ll join me!

#diversekidslit – November 5, 2016

Our theme for this month’s Diverse Children’s Books linkups is Favorite Children’s Books Featuring an LGBTQ Character(s). (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, November 19th and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite Children’s Books Featuring an LGBTQ Character(s). Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • December linkups: Favorite Holiday Books. (Please feel free to share any holiday resources, not just winter holidays.)

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit linkup is Svenja’s Author Spotlight on Ezra Jack Keats. She provides a detailed biography as well as information about his most popular books and characters. Want to learn even more? A new biography of Ezra Jack Keats by Andrea Davis Pinkney just came out this week, titled A Poem for Peter.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

Poetry Friday: brown girl dreaming

 

poetryfriday

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

In this deeply moving collection of semi-autobiographical poems, award-winning author and poet Jacqueline Woodson reflects on her childhood as a Southern-born, New York-raised African American girl in 1960s and 1970s America.

While every passage is memorable and moving in its own way, as a librarian and educator, I found stevie and me particularly poignant.

browngirl

stevie and me

Every Monday, my mother takes us

to the library around the corner. We are allowed

to take out seven books each. On those days,

no one complains

that all I want are picture books.

Those days, no one tells me to read faster

to read harder books

to read like Dell.

No one is there to say, Not that book,

when I stop in front of the small paperback

with a brown boy on the cover.

Stevie.

I read:

One day my momma told me,

“You know you’re gonna have

a little friend come stay with you.”

And I said, “Who is it?”

If someone had been fussing with me

to read like my sister, I might have missed

the picture book filled with brown people, more

brown people than I’d ever seen

in a book before.

The little boy’s name was Steven but

his mother kept calling him Stevie.

My name is Robert but my momma don’t

call me Robertie.

If someone had taken

that book out of my hand

said, You’re too old for this

maybe

I’d never have believed

that someone who looked like me

could be in the pages of the book

that someone who looked like me

had a story.

We need libraries. We need diverse books. We need to look beyond reading levels and lexiles and strive to connect young readers with books that speak to them, motivate them, and inspire them.

We need to do more, because our kids deserve nothing less.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014. Print. Pages 227-228.

#diversekidslit – Sept 17, 2016

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite Bilingual Book(s). What are your favorite children’s books in two or more languages? (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit
DiverseKidLit

We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, October 1st and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Theme

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite Bilingual Book(s). Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • October 1st and 15th linkups: Favorite Diverse Author or Illustrator. Who is a must-read author or illustrator for you? Share your favorite(s) with us for next time.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Miss T’s post on 7 Diverse Books Featuring a Character With A Disability was our most-clicked post of the previous #diversekidlit! This compilation reviews a great mix of fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and novels featuring characters with a range of disabilities. This is a great resource for all readers.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Beth @ Pages and Margins
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Host for September

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook
Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!