Peace – A Big Concept For Small Readers

With all the division we see in our world these days, I think we can agree that we could all use a little more peace. So I am thrilled to share Peace by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul with you all today.

This picture book takes a huge concept like peace and makes it completely approachable for young readers.

Peace explores the many definitions of peace and all the small steps we can take to help bring peace to ourselves, our communities, and the world. From pronouncing our friends name correctly to saying “I’m sorry”, our small actions can have a huge impact.

I really appreciate the authors’ message that our inner peace reflects back out into the world and can affect others, including animals and the earth. As someone who is often overwhelmed by the idea of peace and how to bring it to the world, this message really resonated with me and reminded me that I have to start with myself.

I love the illustrations by Estelí Meza, especially all the different animals included. There is also a really fun foldout spread on the last page, which was a lovely surprise.

Peace is officially released next week (March 2, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Baptiste Paul is an environmentalist, activist, and award-winning author who grew up in St. Lucia. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at baptistepaul.net.

Miranda Paul is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and an award winning children’s book author based in Wisconsin. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at mirandapaul.com.

Estelí Meza is an award-winning illustrator based in Mexico City. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at estelimeza.com.

I want to thank North South Books for generously sending me a review copy of Peace. I’m so happy to be able to share such a lovely book with you all.

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Allergic – A Coming Of Age Story of Friendship, Family, and Allergies

Some of you may not know this about me, but I am a sucker for a good graphic novel. Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter definitely fits the bill.

This sweet middle-grade graphic novel follows a young girl named Maggie, who finds herself the odd one out at home.

With her parents preparing for a new baby and her younger brothers off in their own twin world, Maggie can’t help but feel a bit left out. She believes a new puppy will be the answer to her problems, only to find she’s severely allergic to anything with fur.

Luckily, this is just the beginning of Maggie’s story. She sets out on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to find the perfect pet to be her companion. Maggie faces many trials familiar to real world fifth graders, like a new school, new friends, and a new sibling, making her story completely relatable to young readers. The illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter are absolute perfection. They bring Maggie’s whole world to life, capturing all the emotions of her journey.

I absolutely loved Allergic. I read the entire book in one sitting, and I’m honestly thinking of rereading it right now because I enjoyed it so much. It’s one of those pure and wholesome stories that tugs at your heartstrings.

Allergic officially releases next week, but I would highly recommend you run (not walk) to preorder it today at Bookshop, Amazon, your local bookstore, or wherever you normally buy books. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Megan Wagner Lloyd is a children’s book author based in Washington DC. To learn more about her and her other books, please visit her website at meganwagnerlloyd.com.

Michelle Mee Nutter is an illustrator and designer based in Boston, MA. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at michellemee.com.

Thank you so much to Graphix and Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of Allergic. This is my favorite graphic novel of the year so far, and I look forward to reading it again.

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Rainbow Boy – A Picture Book To Challenge Gender Stereotypes About Colors

I am beyond thrilled to share Rainbow Boy by Taylor Rouanzion with you all today, because it’s the perfect pick to discuss something that has been weighing on my heart a bit lately.

Last week, I was speaking to someone I love very much, and she told me that her son (who is expecting a child) “would not let” the child have a yellow blanket if it is a boy. Yellow. The color of taxis, bananas, ducklings, and lemons. Not appropriate for a boy? I was floored. I couldn’t help but hope his child arrives and challenges every notion this man has about gender.

This is, of course, just one example of the ways we put our children into boxes before they are even born. If we offer or refuse things like books, toys, clothes, and colors according to our child’s assigned gender, we are not only limiting their horizons, but reinforcing harmful stereotypes that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Books like Rainbow Boy are the perfect way to challenge these stereotypes at a young age.

This lovely picture book introduces us to a young boy who is often asked “What’s your favorite color?” As a former child who also hated this question, I love our young narrator’s answer. He tells us how much he loves every color in the rainbow, and how he has a new favorite for every day of the week.

Rainbow Boy was one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, and it did not disappoint. This is a great book to teach the youngest readers about colors and the days of the week, but it also presents an opportunity to have deeper conversations about gender. Rainbow Boy provides the perfect example of a young boy who loves pink or blue, and dolls or basketball. His interest are his own and are not based on society’s expectations for him.

The gorgeous illustrations from Stacey Chomiak capture our Rainbow Boy’s personality and imagination in such a fun way. And of course, the colors are stunning.

You can grab your own copy of Rainbow Boy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Taylor Rouanzion is a children’s book author who was inspired to write to ensure children like her gender non-conforming child can see themselves in the books they read. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at taylorrouanzion.com.

Stacey Chomiak is an artist and illustrator who identifies as a gay Christian and loves to advocate to the LGBTQ community. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at staceychomiak.wixsite.com.

I would like to thank Beaming Books for providing me with a review copy of this amazing book. I can’t wait to add it to my arsenal of supportive books to teach my son to unapologetically love the things he loves, even when the world tells them they are not for him.

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You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion

If you are looking for an empowering picture book about inclusion with disabled representation, I’ve got the perfect pick for you today.

You Are Enough by Margaret O’Hair is inspired by viral sensation and Down syndrome advocate Sophia Sanchez. Opening with a lovely letter from Sophia herself, this book is all about being kids, being brave, and being yourself.

Perfect for fans of Be Brave! by Sonia Sotamayor and All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, You Are Enough encourages young readers to embrace their differences, because those differences are what make us who we are.

Throughout the book there is a gentle message that we may be misunderstood, but with courage, conviction, and the support of our friends and families we can be proud of who we are, because we are all enough.

I absolutely love the illustrations by Sofia Cardoso. While I was thrilled to see the extremely diverse cast of characters pictured, I was most impressed with Sofia’s ability to capture the personality of those characters on every single page.

You Are Enough is available next week (March 2, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Margaret ‘Meg’ O’Hair is a mom, teacher, and award-winning writer. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at margaretohair.com.

Sofia Cardoso is an illustrator and designer based in Portugal. To learn more, be sure to check out her website at sofiacardoso.com.

Sofia Sanchez is an actress, model, Down syndrome advocate, and fifth grade student who lives in Northern California with her family. You can learn more about Sofia and her story at sofia-sanchez.com

I would also like to thank Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of such a delightful book. I absolutely adored You Are Enough, and I am so glad to be able to share it with you all.

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New Release Round Up – February 23, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everybody! It’s time to talk about new releases again!

I’m so excited to share all the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all. As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), and fall into a range of genres in both fiction and nonfiction categories.

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Board Books

An ABC OF Families by Abbey Williams, Illustrated by Paulina Morgan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Whether you have two dads, an adopted brother, three stepsisters, or divorced parents, every family is the perfect family. This important book helps the youngest children explore complicated concepts in an accessible, fun, and memorable way. Each entry is explained with clear, simple language, and teaches kids about important concepts in a way that’s easy to understand. Bright, colorful artwork shows people of all different kinds, in all different types of families.
A is for Adoption. You didn’t come from me, but you were made for me.
B is for Blended family. Yours, mine, and ours, blended together to create one family.
C is for Co-parenting. Parenting together, but apart.
A sister title to An ABC of Equality, this book shows us how to celebrate our differences, share kindness, and understand the world.”

Picture Books

What Little Girls Are Made Of? by Jeanne Willis, Illustrated by Isabelle Follath (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Think you know your nursery rhymes? Then think again! In this witty reworking of some nursery rhymes, Georgie Porgie doesn’t dare to make the girls cry, Little Bo-Peep’s sheep are all present and accounted for, thank you, and it’s a female doctor, of course, who fixes Humpty Dumpty. With the combination of clever rhymes and charming, witty illustrations, this remixed nursery rhyme collection is the perfect gift book for any child (or adult!), to read aloud or enjoy alone.”

You can also read my full review of What Are Girls Made of for more detail.

An Equal Shot by Helaine Becker, Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Helaine Becker’s An Equal Shot is a nonfiction picture book introduction to the history and importance of Title IX as civil rights legislature, featuring illustrations by Dow Phumiruk.

You’ve likely heard of the law Title IX. It protects the equal rights of students, athletes, and professionals in America regardless of gender. But do you know about the women who fought to enact this new law?

Here is the rousing account of how Title IX was shaped at the hands of brave politicians who took risks to secure women’s dreams and their futures under the Constitution. From the creative team that brought you Counting on Katherine and told in simple, commanding prose, An Equal Shot celebrates the power of words to defend and unite vulnerable people.”

There Goes Patti McGee: The Story of The First Women’s National Skateboard Champion by Tootie Nienow, Illustrated by Erika Medina (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Tootie Nienow’s There Goes Patti McGee! is an uplifting picture book biography of the first-ever professional female skateboarder and winner of the 1964 National Skateboard Championship for Women.

Brought to life by Erika Medina’s dynamic and joyful illustrations, There Goes Patti McGee! walks us through Patti first place win in the women’s division of the 1964 National Skateboard Championship. She wowed the judges with with what would become her signature move―the rolling handstand. Inspiring and unapologetic, Patti McGee proves that anyone can skate.”

Stay This Way Forever by Linsey Davis, Illustrated by Lucy Fleming (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Inspired by the endearing qualities she sees in her own son, Linsey Davis, ABC News correspondent and bestselling author of The World Is Awake and One Big Heart, has written another beautiful book that parents and grandparents can share with their little ones to let them know how special they are. With charming illustrations from bestselling artist Lucy Fleming paired with playful and heartwarming read-aloud rhymes, this book can help make a lasting impact on young minds as they discover their own unique qualities.”

G My Name Is Girl: A Song of Celebration from Argentina to Zambia by Dawn Masi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A, my name is ALBA and my sister’s name is AYELÉN. We come from ARGENTINA and we are ADVENTUROUS.

Girls from 26 different countries—Argentina to Zambia—are beautifully and thoughtfully represented in this A to Z tribute to global girlhood. Children will enjoy reading about each girl’s name, empowering chracter trait, and country, while learning how we are all connected.

Globally-minded kids can also find the countries on a map at the back of the book and dream of places they’d like to visit.”

Home Is In Between by Mitali Perkins, Illustrated by Lavanya Naidu (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Shanti misses the warm monsoon rains in India. Now in America, she watches fall leaves fly past her feet.

Still, her family’s apartment feels like a village: Mama cooking luchi, funny stories in Bangla, and Baba’s big laugh. But outside, everything is different – trick-or-treating, ballet class, and English books.

Back and forth, Shanti trudges between her two worlds. She remembers her village and learns her new town. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with her friends. She is Indian. She is also American. How should she define home?”

Sato The Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya, Translated by Michael Blaskowsky (Bookshop | Amazon)

“One day, Haneru Sato became a rabbit. He’s been a rabbit ever since.” With these surrealist, yet matter-of-fact opening lines, we are transported to a world very much like our own, yet one that is imbued with an added dimension of wonder and curiosity. In Sato’s world, ordinary objects and everyday routines can lead to magical encounters: a rain puddle, reflecting the sky, becomes a window that can be opened and peered through. A walnut is cracked open to reveal a tiny home, complete with a bathtub and a comfy bed. During a meteor shower, Sato catches stars in a net, illuminating the path home for a family taking an evening walk. This whimsical tale is the first in a trilogy from Japan.”

You can also read my full review of Sato The Rabbit for more detail.

Chapter Books

JD and The Great Barber Battle by J. Dillard, Illustrated by Akeem S. Roberts (Bookshop | Amazon)

“J.D. has a big problem–it’s the night before the start of third grade and his mom has just given him his first and worst home haircut. When the steady stream of insults from the entire student body of Douglass Elementary becomes too much for J.D., he takes matters into his own hands and discovers that, unlike his mom, he’s a genius with the clippers. His work makes him the talk of the town and brings him enough hair business to open a barbershop from his bedroom. But when Henry Jr., the owner of the only official local barbershop, realizes he’s losing clients to J.D., he tries to shut him down for good. How do you find out who’s the best barber in all of Meridian, Mississippi? With a GREAT BARBER BATTLE!

From the hilarious and creative mind of J. Dillard, an entrepreneur, public speaker, and personal barber, comes a new chapter book series with characters that are easy to fall for and nearly impossible to forget. Akeem S. Roberts’ lively illustrations make this series a must-buy for reluctant readers.”

Cooking Club Chaos (Pheobe G. Green #4) by by Veera Hiranandani, Illustrated by Christine Almeda (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Phoebe G. Green has never given much thought to food, but when a new French classmate enters the cafeteria with a lunchbox full of unusual foods, a new love is born. Spunky and likable, Phoebe is a budding foodie who’s sure to win over your heart–and stomach!

Phoebe’s best friend, Sage, has the same lunch every day: a turkey sandwich, a cheese stick, and a bag of popcorn. Phoebe doesn’t understand why he won’t try new things, and is determined to convince him to. She and Camille come up with the perfect solution: a cooking club to show Sage how many exciting foods there are! But will it be enough to convince Sage? Or will it spoil their friendship?”

Middle Grade

Latinitas: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers by Juliet Menendez (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Discover how 40 influential Latinas became the women we celebrate today! In this collection of short biographies from all over Latin America and across the United States, Juliet Menéndez explores the first small steps that set the Latinitas off on their journeys. With gorgeous, hand-painted illustrations, Menéndez shines a spotlight on the power of childhood dreams.

From Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to singer Selena Quintanilla to NASA’s first virtual reality engineer, Evelyn Miralles, this is a book for aspiring artists, scientists, activists, and more. These women followed their dreams―and just might encourage you to follow yours!”

Reckless, Glorious, Girl by Ellen Hagan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Beatrice Miller may have a granny’s name (her granny’s, to be more specific), but she adores her Mamaw and her mom, who give her every bit of wisdom and love they have. But the summer before seventh grade, Bea wants more than she has, aches for what she can’t have, and wonders what the future will bring.

This novel in verse follows Beatrice through the ups and downs of friendships, puberty, and identity as she asks: Who am I? Who will I become? And will my outside ever match the way I feel on the inside?

A gorgeous, inter-generational story of Southern women and a girl’s path blossoming into her sense of self, Reckless, Glorious, Girl explores the important questions we all ask as we race toward growing up.”

The Sea Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by María García Esperón, Translated by David Bowles, Illustrated by Amanda Mijango (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast. Like all humans, these Native Americans sought to understand their place in the universe, the nature of their relationship with the divine, and the origin of the world into which their ancestors had emerged.

The answers lay in their sacred stories.

Author María García Esperón, illustrator Amanda Mijangos, and translator David Bowles have gifted us a treasure. Their talents have woven this collection of stories from nations and cultures across our two continents—the Sea-Ringed World, as the Aztecs called it—from the edge of Argentina all the way up to Alaska.”

Graphic Novels

Forever Home by Jenna Ayoub (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Willow’s nomadic childhood takes a surprising turn as her military parents bring her to the historic Hadleigh House, where her chances of finding her permanent home aren’t looking good when she meets some unexpected occupants—GHOSTS!

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE (A HAUNTED) HOME.

Willow has never had a place she can call home. With two parents in the military and a nomadic childhood, finding a place to make her own has become a total pipe dream. And when the family arrives at their latest stop—the historic Hadleigh House—Willow encounters something that doesn’t help her chances of staying put…GHOSTS!

Hadleigh House’s spectral occupants have been scaring off would-be residents for decades, and they intend to keep the house to themselves. But Willow’s not about to let some nagging spirits force her to move for the millionth time. It’s just a matter of convincing Willow’s parents that this old house is the one for them—ghosts and all…

Acclaimed cartoonist Jenna Ayoub (Adventure Time) presents a heartfelt graphic novel about discovering new friends and new happiness in the place you least expect it.”

Power Up by Sam Nisson, Illustrated by Darnell Johnson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This inventive graphic novel that unfolds online and IRL takes readers from the halls of middle school, to epic robot video game battles, and back again.

Miles and Rhys know each other only as Gryphon and Backslash, and in the video game Mecha Melee they’re an unstoppable team. They’re the best friends they’ve got, online or in the real world, and they don’t even realize they go to the same middle school.

But real-life wrongdoing blasts their duo into a crater the size of Arcticon. With life online and off a complete mess and BattleCon—and the Every Game Ever tournament—just weeks away, can the boys play their way back to each other?”

I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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What Are Little Girls Made Of: Nursery Rhymes To Empower Young Feminists

I have to admit something to you all today. As a first time mom figuring this whole parenting thing out during a pandemic, I allow my son to watch far too much Little Baby Bum. So much that I wouldn’t be surprised if YouTube was the next word he learned. I know, I know, we should be limiting screentime, but during a pandemic, all bets are off.

And while I don’t necessarily think nursery rhymes are the most harmful content a kid can consume, I was so happy to find a book that challenges some of the outdated messages hidden in these songs. What Are Little Girls Made Of by Jeanne Willis does just that!

After listening to nursery rhymes nonstop for an entire year, I am familiar with the stereotypes in them. Whether it’s the five little monkeys, Humpty Dumpty, or Miss Molly’s dolly, the doctor helping them is ALWAYS a man. Girls are often portrayed as scared, helpless objects and the women always seem to be baking, washing, or having their noses pecked off. So I was thrilled to find What Are Little Girls Made Of to offer my son a little perspective.

From Little Bo Peep rescuing her sheep from mud puddles to Little Miss Muffet petting a spider, this book redefines the roles we often see assigned to girls and women in nursery rhymes. In this book, there are no damsels in distress, Georgie Porgie learns a thing or two about consent, and I’m happy to report that there are TWO female doctors.

The re-imagined nursery rhymes are paired with the cutest illustrations by Isabelle Follath, depicting a diverse cast of characters. The colors are absolute perfection and sure to grab the attention of young readers.

While I won’t be turning Little Baby Bum off anytime soon, What Are Little Girls Made Of gives me a great way to share updated versions of these nursery rhymes and actively challenge the stereotypes presented in the originals. I would highly recommend it for any parent looking to talk about the trouble with stereotypes, regardless of their child’s gender. We all benefit when gender stereotypes are challenged and dismissed for the weird social expectations they are.

What Are Little Girls Made Of is available now, wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Jeanne Willis is an author based in London who has written over three hundred books. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jeannewillis.com.

Isabelle Follath is an incredibly talented freelance illustrator who lives in Switzerland. If you would like to learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at www.isabellefollath.ch.

I would like to thank Candlewick Press for generously providing me with a review copy of this lovely book. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and I can’t wait to share it with my son.

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10 Children’s Books To Celebrate World Day Of Social Justice

In 2007 The United Nations declared that February 20th would be celebrated every year as World Day Of Social Justice. Today is all about promoting the need for social justice, which include human rights, poverty, gender equality, unemployment, and more. In honor of this observance, I want to share a few of my favorite titles to inspired the next generation of change makers.

I tried to include something for all age groups (with the exception of young adult, because that’s just not my area of expertise). I should also note that I tried to steer away from picture book biographies for this list, because there are so many amazing stories of people fighting for change that I couldn’t pick favorites. This list is focused on titles that will encourage young readers to raise their voice, and speak up for the issues that are most important to them.

That being said, let’s get into my 10 picks for World Day of Social Justice.

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this empowering new picture book, beloved author Peter H. Reynolds explores the many ways that a single voice can make a difference. Each of us, each and every day, have the chance to say something: with our actions, our words, and our voices. Perfect for kid activists everywhere, this timely story reminds readers of the undeniable importance and power of their voice. There are so many ways to tell the world who you are… what you are thinking… and what you believe. And how you’ll make it better. The time is now: SAY SOMETHING!”

Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley, Adapter by Cedella Marley, and Illustrated by John Jay Cabuay (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A heartfelt and meaningful book that brings Bob Marley’s music to life in a new way: As a young girl goes on with her day in school, she comes across several instances of teasing and intimidation. But with loving action and some help from her friends, she’s able to make things right for herself and others. This cute children’s book includes the impactful lyrics of Bob Marley’s song ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ that has inspired millions of listeners around the world with messages of peace, love, and truth.”

Peaceful Fights For Equal Rights by Rob Sanders, Illustrated by Jared Andrew Schorr (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Protesting. Standing up for what’s right. Uniting around the common good—kids have questions about all of these things they see and hear about each day. Through sparse and lyrical writing, Rob Sanders introduces abstract concepts like “fighting for what you believe in” and turns them into something actionable. Jared Schorr’s bold, bright illustrations brings the resistance to life making it clear that one person can make a difference. And together, we can accomplish anything.”

Equality’s Call by Deborah Diesen, Illustrated by Magdelena Mora (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A right isn’t right
till it’s granted to all…

The founders of the United States declared that consent of the governed was a key part of their plan for the new nation. But for many years, only white men of means were allowed to vote. This unflinching and inspiring history of voting rights looks back at the activists who answered equality’s call, working tirelessly to secure the right for all to vote, and it also looks forward to the future and the work that still needs to be done.”

Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen (Bookshop | Amazon)

“With a spare, inspiring text and gorgeous watercolor illustrations, this is a timeless and important book for activists of all ages. This hardcover picture book is perfect for sharing and for gifting.

Sometimes people march
to resist injustice,
to stand in solidarity,
to inspire hope.

Throughout American history, one thing remains true: no matter how or why people march, they are powerful because they march together.”

Love Is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Mari is getting ready to make a sign with crayon as the streets below her fill up with people. “What are we making, Mama?” she asks. “A message for the world,” Mama says. “How will the whole world hear?” Mari wonders. “They’ll hear,” says Mama, “because love is powerful.” Inspired by a girl who participated in the January 2017 Women’s March in New York City, Heather Dean Brewer’s simple and uplifting story, delightfully illustrated by LeUyen Pham, is a reminder of what young people can do to promote change and equality at a time when our country is divided by politics, race, gender, and religion.”

If You’re Going To A March by Martha Freeman, Illustrated by Violet Kim (Bookshop | Amazon)

“As more and more children attend the growing number of marches across the country, this cheerful guide serves as a great reference tool and conversation starter for youthful participants. Inspired by author Martha Freeman’s own experiences, this picture book addresses many of the questions kids might have: What should I wear? How will I get there? Where will I be able to go to the bathroom? Is it okay to dance? (Yes, it is!). All the while the text stays focused on the fact that the right to assemble is a Constitutional part of our life as Americans . . . whatever our political point of view.”

Together We March by Leah Henderson, Illustrated by Tyler Feder (Bookshop | Amazon)

“March through history and discover twenty-five groundbreaking protest movements that have shaped the way we fight for equality and justice today in this stunningly illustrated and sweeping book!
For generations, marches have been an invaluable tool for bringing about social change. People have used their voices, the words on their signs, and the strength in their numbers to combat inequality, oppression, and discrimination. They march to call attention to these wrongs and demand change and action, from a local to a global scale.
Whether demanding protective laws or advocating for equal access to things like voting rights, public spaces, and jobs, the twenty-five marches in this book show us that even when a fight seems impossible, marching can be the push needed to tip the scales and create a movement. This gorgeous collection celebrates this rich and diverse history, the often-overlooked stories, and the courageous people who continue to teach us the importance of coming together to march today.”

No Voice Too Small by Lindsey H. Metcalf, Keila Dawson, and Jeanette Bradley (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Mari Copeny demanded clean water in Flint. Jazz Jennings insisted, as a transgirl, on playing soccer with the girls’ team. From Viridiana Sanchez Santos’s quinceañera demonstration against anti-immigrant policy to Zach Wahls’s moving declaration that his two moms and he were a family like any other, No Voice Too Small celebrates the young people who know how to be the change they seek. Fourteen poems honor these young activists. Featuring poems by Lesléa Newman, Traci Sorell, and Nikki Grimes. Additional text goes into detail about each youth activist’s life and how readers can get involved.”

Kid Activists by Robin Stevenson, Illustrated by Allison Steinfeld (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Every activist started out as a kid—and in some cases they were kids when their activism began! But even the world’s greatest champions of civil liberties had relatable interests and problems–often in the middle of extraordinary circumstances. Martin Luther King, Jr. loved fashion, and argued with his dad about whether or not dancing was a sin. Harvey Milk had a passion for listening to opera music in different languages. Dolores Huerta was once wrongly accused of plagiarizing in school. Kid Activists tells these childhood stories and more through kid-friendly texts and full-color cartoon illustrations on nearly every page. The diverse and inclusive group encompasses Susan B. Anthony, James Baldwin, Ruby Bridges, Frederick Douglass, Alexander Hamilton, Dolores Huerta, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Iqbal Masih, Harvey Milk, Janet Mock, Rosa Parks, Autumn Peltier, Emma Watson, and Malala Yousafzai.”

I hope this list helps you all find a few extra titles to encourage your young readers to speak up for the issues closest to their hearts.

What are your favorite books about activism and social justice? Be sure to leave them in the comments below!

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Sato The Rabbit – A Whimsical Escape From Reality

Sato The Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya is a whimsical picture book packed with imagination, making it a fabulous addition to every little one’s library.

Originally published in Japan, Sato The Rabbit is being published in English for the first time, translated by Michael Blaskowsky. This is the first book in a trilogy, introducing us to a young boy named Haneru Sato, who becomes a rabbit and finds a dreamy world filled with extraordinary possibilities.

Sato The Rabbit is divided into seven tales and almost feels like an introduction to short stories for young readers. I can see reading one of these to my son for a bedtime story every night in the same way I read a short story before bed.

Starting with “A Tiny Pond”, where we discover a small pond is blowing water into the hose Sato uses to water his plants, all the way to “Forest Ice”, in which Sato experiences different emotions by drinking melted ice from different seasons, the collection provides a completely unique reading experience.

Yuki Ainoya’s beautiful illustrations bring Sato’s imaginary world to life, and the full-page spreads make you feel like you’ve truly escaped reality for just a moment.

Sato The Rabbit officially releases next week (February 23, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. You can also purchase this title directly from the publisher, Enchanted Lion. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Michael Blaskowsky is a translator for literature, video games, and more. You can find out more about him and his work at his website blaskowskytranslations.com.

I would like to thank Enchanted Lion for providing me with a review copy of Sato The Rabbit. This book was incredibly unique and an absolute delight to read.

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New Release Round Up – February 16, 2021

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m so excited to share the new releases I am most looking forward to this week with you all.

As always, these titles will have inclusive characters (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), and fall into a range of genres in both fiction and nonfiction categories.

Please Note: This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission from purchases made, with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Picture Books

Seven Special Somethings by Adib Khorram, Illustrated by Zainab Faidhi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A picture book celebrating Persian New Year by award-winning author Adib Khorram

Kian can’t wait for Persian New Year! His family has already made a haft-seen, and Kian’s baba and maman told him that all the things on it start with S and will bring them joy in the new year. Kian wonders if he could add just one more S, to make his family even happier. Hmm . . . Sonny the cat’s name starts with S–but Sonny knocks the whole table over! Can Kian find seven special somethings to make a new haft seen before his family arrives for their Nowruz celebration?”

Nathan’s Song by Leda Schubert, Illustrated by Maya Ish-Shalom (Bookshop | Amazon)

“The Jewish immigrant experience in the early 1900s is touchingly and joyfully portrayed in this picture book based on the author’s own grandfather.

Growing up in a shtetl in Russia, Nathan is always singing, and when he hears a famous opera soloist perform in a nearby town one day, he realizes that music could be his future. But he’ll need to travel far from his loved ones and poor village in order to pursue that cherished goal. With his family’s support he eventually journeys all the way to New York City, where hard work and much excitement await him. His dream is coming true, but how can he be fully happy when his family is all the way across the ocean?”

I See You See by Richard Jackson, Illustrated by Patrice Barton (Bookshop | Amazon)

“When a brother and sister go for a walk, their imaginations turn the ordinary into the extraordinary in this sweet and whimsical picture book.

Pup is pulling, Maisie is pushing, and Jonah is looking and listening as the three of them set off on their daily dog walk. But what begins as a chore becomes an unexpected celebration of imagination as their neighborhood transforms. Maisie sees butterfly; Jonah sees a popsicle garden! Maisie sees the postman; Jonah sees a sky slide! And…is that…a tree of cats?!

Differences are what brings richness to the everyday in gorgeous homage to the wonders of the world around us—and the worlds we can create—if only we stop to look and listen.”

Rectangle Time by Pamela Paul, Illustrated by Becky Cameron (Bookshop | Amazon)

“This spunky, self-assured cat has always loved Rectangle Time–when the boy and the man he lives with curl up with their rectangle and read aloud from it. The cat knows how helpful he is during Rectangle Time, of course–his presence is vital to the very ritual! But when the rectangle starts to get smaller, the stories start to get quieter, and worst of all, the boy no longer needs the cat’s “help,” the cat must find a way to reclaim his part in Rectangle Time, even if slightly different from before.

In this fun, funny, and ultimately sweet story about growing up, embracing change, and the ways we all can misread social cues, we see the power of stories to bring everyone together–there’s always room for everyone at story time.”

My First Day by Phung Nguyen Quang, Illustrated by Huynh Kim Lien (Bookshop Amazon)

“A visually stunning story of resilience and determination by an award-winning new author-illustrator team.

This is no ordinary first journey. The rainy season has come to the Mekong Delta, and An, a young Vietnamese boy, sets out alone in a wooden boat wearing a little backpack and armed only with a single oar. On the way, he is confronted by giant crested waves, heavy rainfall and eerie forests where fear takes hold of him. Although daunted by the dark unknown, An realizes that he is not alone and continues to paddle. He knows it will all be worth it when he reaches his destination.”

Little People Big Dreams Megan Rapinoe by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Illustrated by Paulina Morgan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Megan Rapinoe, the world record–breaking soccer player and activist.

Growing up in Redding, California, Megan discovered her calling chasing a ball on the school playground. Even if she didn’t always fit in at school, she was a star on the field—and her teammates thought so too. Her passion, skill and leadership took Team USA to Olympic Gold and a World Cup victory, while she continues to champion women’s and LGBTQ+ rights and representation in sports, in the US and across the world. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the US co-captain’s life.”

A House For Every Bird by Megan Maynor, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A young artist’s drawings rebel against her when she tries to put her sketched birds in houses that match how they look, but not how they feel in this hilarious picture book perfect for readers of Julian is a Mermaid and The Big Orange Splot.

A young artist has drawn birds and bird houses in corresponding colors. Now it’s time to match them up. The blue bird goes in the blue house, the orange bird in the orange house, and so on. But wait! The birds don’t agree with the narrator’s choices and, much to her distress, are rebelling by swapping houses. Can the narrator make the birds see sense? Or is it possible that you just can’t tell a bird by its feathers?”

Middle Grade

Kingston and The Magician’s Lost and Found by Rucker Moses and Theo Gangi (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Twelve-year-old Kingston has just moved from the suburbs back to Echo City, Brooklyn—the last place his father was seen alive. Kingston’s father was King Preston, one of the world’s greatest magicians. Until one trick went wrong and he disappeared. Now that Kingston is back in Echo City, he’s determined to find his father.

Somehow, though, when his father disappeared, he took all of Echo City’s magic with him. Now Echo City—a ghost of its past—is living up to its name. With no magic left, the magicians have packed up and left town and those who’ve stayed behind don’t look too kindly on any who reminds them of what they once had.

When Kingston finds a magic box his father left behind as a clue, Kingston knows there’s more to his father’s disappearance than meets the eye. He’ll have to keep it a secret—that is, until he can restore magic to Echo City. With his cousin Veronica and childhood friend Too Tall Eddie, Kingston works to solve the clues, but one wrong move and his father might not be the only one who goes missing.”

Project Startup #1 (Eat Bugs) by Heather Alexander, Laura D’Asaro, and Rose Wang, Illustrated by Vanessa Flores (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Inspired by the true story of two friends who landed a deal on Shark Tank. Sixth-grade students-turned-entrepreneurs are on a mission to save the world, one bug at a time!

Hallie and Jaye are both sixth graders at Brookdale Middle School, but they couldn’t be more different. Jaye is one of the popular kids who’ll do almost anything to maintain her status. Hallie’s only friend has moved away, and she couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of her. So when the two girls are paired up as partners for a pitch competition held by their Business Education and Entrepreneurship class, it’s not exactly a perfect match. After all, Jaye doesn’t want to be seen with the kid who was dubbed “Bug Girl” after eating a fried cricket during a class trip to the zoo!

But the pair are stuck together, and soon enough Jaye is also stuck with Hallie’s idea: finding creative ways to sell bugs as food. Jaye’s not thrilled but is willing to give it a shot, since winners get to compete in the county competition, potentially followed by states and nationals. And Jaye wants to win.

As the competition heats up, can Hallie and Jaye make the judges say “Bug appétit!” or will they only hear crickets?
Based on the true story of a sustainable protein start-up company, this illustrated novel is a reimagining for a middle-grade reader. Chirps founders Rose Wang and Laura D’Asaro met as freshmen at Harvard University and cooked up the concept of selling chips made with cricket flour to help Americans feel more comfortable eating bugs. Together, Rose and Laura appeared on the TV show Shark Tank to pitch their idea and landed a deal with Mark Cuban. Chirps chips are now sold in stores across the nation.”

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“11-year-old Stevie is an avid reader and she knows a lot of things about a lot of things. But these are the things she’d like to know the most:

  1. The ocean and all the things that live there and why it’s so scary
  2. The stars and all the constellations
  3. How phones work
  4. What happened to Princess Anastasia
  5. Knots

Knowing things makes Stevie feel safe, powerful, and in control should anything bad happen. And with the help of her mom, she is finding the tools to manage her anxiety.

But there’s one something Stevie doesn’t know, one thing she wants to understand above everything else, and one thing she isn’t quite ready to share with her mom: the fizzy feeling she gets in her chest when she looks at her friend, Chloe. What does it mean and why isn’t she ready to talk about it?

In this poetic exploration of identity and anxiety, Stevie must confront her fears to find inner freedom all while discovering it is our connections with others that make us stronger.”

Kid Innovators by Robin Stevenson, Illustrated by Allison Steinfeld (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Moving, funny, and totally true childhood biographies of Bill Gates, Madam C. J. Walker, Hedy Lamarr, Walt Disney, and 12 other international innovators.

Throughout history people have experimented, invented, and created new ways of doing things. Kid Innovators tells the stories of a diverse group of brilliant thinkers in fields like technology, education, business, science, art, and entertainment, reminding us that every innovator started out as a kid. Florence Nightingale rescued baby mice. Alan Turing was a daydreamer with terrible handwriting. And Alvin Ailey felt like a failure at sports. Featuring kid-friendly text and full-color illustrations, readers will learn about the young lives of people like Grace Hopper, Steve Jobs, Reshma Saujani, Jacques Cousteau, the Wright Brothers, William Kamkwamba, Elon Musk, Jonas Salk, and Maria Montessori.”

I hope you all enjoyed reading about these new releases, and hopefully you found one or two to add to your young reader’s shelves!

Did I miss any releases you’re excited for? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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A Girl’s Bill Of Rights – An Empowering Picture Book About Human Rights

Happy Galentine’s Day Everyone!

Galentine’s Day is the brilliant creation of Leslie Knope, a lovable character on the show Parks and Rec. While the horrible behavior of two actors on the show may have ruined re-watching the show for me, I won’t let them take away Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day comes every year on the day before Valentine’s Day, and it’s a day dedicated to showing your love for all the women and girls in your life that support you day to day. So in the spirit of celebrating women, I want to share A Girl’s Bill Of Rights by Amy Mucha with you all.

This picture book is all about girls standing up for their right to confidence, freedom, and consent. A Girl’s Bill Of Rights reads a bit like a lyrical affirmation, and to be honest, it has a few lines I should probably be speaking into the mirror every once in a while. This book pushes back on the many societal expectations women, girls, and other femmes are faced with, like the pressure to avoid making people “uncomfortable” with your feelings, or to shy away from being proud of your achievements.

Despite the depth of the subject matter, the illustrations by Addy Rivera Sonda are so fun, and I love that they depict such a diverse cast of characters.

I also love that A Girl’s Bill Of Rights can be used to teach children both how they deserve to be treated, and how they should be treating others. While this is a great book for encouraging girls to stand up for themselves and speak up about how they feel, I think it is an equally important read for boys. I can’t wait to start reading this book to my son so he will know from an early age how I expect him to treat women.

If you’re looking for an empowering book to introduce human rights, I would highly recommend A Girl’s Bill of Rights. It is available now wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Amy Mucha is a children’s book author based in Chapel Hill, NC who is passionate about empowering women and girls. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at amybmucha.com.

Addy Rivera Sonda is an illustrator, animal lover, vegan, and avid activist in various animal rights groups like Animal Save, Anti-Speciesist Action, and Casa Animal “Animal House”. To learn more abotu her and her work, please visit her website at addyriverasonda.wixsite.com.

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for sending me a review copy of A Girl’s Bill of Rights. It was an absolute delight to read!

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