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rhymes are the most harmful content a kid can consume, I was so happy to find a book that challenges some of the outdated messages hidden in these songs.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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Five Picture Books to Celebrate Lunar New Year

Today is Lunar New Year, and I want to celebrate with books, of course!

I have put together a list of five picture books that are perfect to read to your little ones today. I tried to specifically focus on multicultural titles, because though this holiday is often portrayed as a Chinese holiday, it is actually celebrated among many Asian cultures in many different countries across the globe.

I will say, finding Lunar New Year titles that weren’t specifically dedicated to Chinese culture was not the easiest task, and I know this list is still lacking true representation of every culture celebrating this holiday. I do hope we continue to see more diverse titles in children’s publishing, so every child can see themselves and their holidays represented in their books.

That being said, lets take a look at five picture books to celebrate Lunar New Year.

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.

A New Year’s Reunion by Li Qiong Yu, Illustrated by Zhu Chen Liang (Bookshop | Amazon)

In this beautifully illustrated book, we follow a young girl whose father works far away and only comes home to visit once a year at New Year’s. In his few days with his family, Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and makes memories with his daughter. This book is both a heartwarming look into the lives of migrant workers and a great introduction to Chinese New Year’s traditions.

This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong, Illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Amazon)

This Next New Year introduces us to a young Chinese Korean boy, who relates the different ways he, his family, and his friends all celebrate Lunar New Year. I love that this book specifically mentions children from different racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrating Lunar New Year, while still keeping the focus on our main character’s family.

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan, Illustrated by Lillian Hsu-Flanders (Bookshop | Amazon)

Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan has so much representation! Set in Hawaii, this book follows the celebrations of a family of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, and white relatives on Lunar New Year. Narrated by a seven-year-old girl who gets make dumplings for the first time this year, this book captures the joy of childhood.

Ten Mice For Tet by Pegi Deitz Shea and Cynthia Weill, Illustrated by To Ngoc Trang (Amazon)

As most of you may know, I generally don’t like a book with only animal characters, but I had to include Ten Mice For Tet, because it is definitely an exception to that rule. One of the only titles I could find dedicated to the Vietnamese celebration of Tet, this is a counting picture book. The illustrations are so fun, portraying mice taking part in all the holiday traditions from gift giving to firework displays.

Our Lunar New Year by Yobe Qiu (Bookshop | Amazon)

Our Lunar New Year is a great pick to introduce young readers to the diversity of Lunar New Year. This book follows five different children from five different countries and highlights the traditions and celebrations unique to each culture. Covering China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and India, this book gives young readers an idea of the many way Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world.

I hope you all enjoyed this list, and found some new titles to introduce your young reader’s to Lunar New Year.

If you are celebrating Lunar New Year this year, what are your favorite books to read? Be sure to share them in the comments below!

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The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

If you’re looking for a picture book about bravery and passion, I have the perfect pick for you today!

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung is a phenomenal picture book biography detailing the life of Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.

Despite being born during a time when racial bias was rampant against Chinese people in the United States, Hazel Ying Lee wasn’t afraid of anything. Hazel fell in love with flying when she was in an airshow with a friend. She worked an “invisible job” as an elevator operator to pay for flying lessons. Regardless of both the gender and racial barriers of her time, she would go on to serve as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II.

I appreciate that The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee doesn’t shy away from the obstacles faced by Hazel, specifically the racism she faced. From an encounter with a farmer who mistook her for a Japanese fighter when she crash-landed in a Kansas field mid-training, to Hazel’s family’s fight to bury her in a whites-only cemetery when Hazel died in service to her country at the age of 32, these examples give us a great introduction to talk to young readers about the racism directed towards Asian Americans, which seems to all too common during the time of COVID-19.

Even with these hard lessons of injustice, The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is a beautiful book celebrating the accomplishments of a groundbreaking woman. I really appreciated the beautiful illustrations by Julie Kwon.

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is available 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!)

Julie Leung is a children’s book author based in New York. She is also the author of one of my favorites: Paper Son: The Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jleungbooks.com.

Julie Kwon is an artist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is her debut picture book. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at julikwonart.com.

Many thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for generously providing me with a review copy of The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee. I’m so grateful to have a part in sharing Hazel’s story.

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New Release Round Up – February 9, 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

We’re Better Together: A Book About Community by Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Ekaterina Trukhan (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Cooperation, helping, and working together are beautifully illustrated in this book that demonstrates the joys of community and teamwork for young readers.

We’re better together when we play, when we make music, and when everyone pitches in. This celebration of coming together to solve problems, support communities, and honor everyone’s differences is perfect for young children who are learning about empathy and cooperation. With durable cardstock pages and approachable language, this book will help spark meaningful conversations at home or in the classroom.”

Picture Books

The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest by Heather Lang, Illustrated by Jana Christy (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Meg Lowman was always fascinated by the natural world above her head. The colors, the branches, and, most of all, the leaves and mysterious organisms living there. As a scientist, Meg set out to climb up and investigate the rain forest tree canopies– and to be the first scientist to do so. But she encountered challenge after challenge. Male teachers would not let her into their classrooms, the high canopy was difficult to get to, and worst of all, people were logging and clearing the forests. Meg never gave up or gave in. She studied, invented, and persevered, not only creating a future for herself as a scientist, but making sure that the rainforests had a future as well. Working closely with Meg Lowman, author Heather Lang and artist Jana Christy beautifully capture Meg’s world in the treetops.”

Old Enough To Save The Planet by Loll Kirby, Illustrated by Adelina Lirius (Bookshop | Amazon)

“An inspiring look at young climate change activists who are changing the world

The world is facing a climate crisis like we’ve never seen before. And kids around the world are stepping up to raise awareness and try to save the planet. As people saw in the youth climate strike in September 2019, kids will not stay silent about this subject—they’re going to make a change. Meet 12 young activists from around the world who are speaking out and taking action against climate change. Learn about the work they do and the challenges they face, and discover how the future of our planet starts with each and every one of us.”

We Wait For The Sun by Dovey Johnson Roundtree and Katie McCabe, Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A beautiful and uplifting non-fiction picture book from Katie McCabe and trailblazing civil rights lawyer and activist Dovey Johnson Roundtree, We Wait for the Sun.

In the hour before dawn, Dovey Mae and Grandma Rachel step into the cool, damp night on a secret mission: to find the sweetest, ripest blackberries that grow deep in the woods.

But the nighttime holds a thousand sounds―and a thousand shadows―and Dovey Mae is frightened of the dark. But with the fierce and fearless Grandma Rachel at her side, the woods turn magical, and berry picking becomes an enchanting adventure that ends with the beauty and power of the sunrise.

A cherished memory from Dovey Johnson Roundtree’s childhood, this magical experience speaks to the joy that pulsed through her life, even under the shadow of Jim Crow. With Grandma Rachel’s lessons as her guiding light, Dovey Mae would go on to become a trailblazer of the civil rights movement―fighting for justice and equality in the military, the courtroom, and the church. With warm, vibrant illustrations from Raissa Figueroa, We Wait for the Sun is a resonant, beautiful story told through one exquisite page turn after another.”

Middle Grade

Ancestor Approved by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

They are the heroes of their own stories.”

Ellie Makes Her Move by Marilyn Kaye (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A magical spyglass reveals secrets that will bring four girls together in this new series.

Twelve-year-old Ellie is ordinary. Absolutely, positively ordinary. Then her dad’s latest community project makes their whole ritzy town, including all of Ellie’s friends, turn against them. Tired of being ostracized, Ellie’s family moves to the other side of the state to live in a rickety 100-year-old house complete with a turret–and Ellie swears off friendship forever.

That is until Ellie explores the turret and discovers an old-fashioned telescope–a spyglass. When she looks through it, the world she sees isn’t the same that’s out the window. There’s a community center that isn’t built yet and her new classmate Alyssa flying around on a broomstick!

To figure out what the magical images mean, Ellie recruits other self-described loners, Alyssa and Rachel. When they see a vision of fellow student Kiara playing tag with a tiger and a donkey–they have their first real spyglass secret to solve.”

Graphic Novels

Sylvie by Sylvie Kantorovitz (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In a wise and witty graphic memoir, a young artist finds her path apart from the expectations of those around her.

Sylvie lives in a school in France. Her father is the principal, and her home is an apartment at the end of a hallway of classrooms. As a young child, Sylvie and her brother explore this most unusual kingdom, full of small mysteries and quirky surprises. But in middle and high school, life grows more complicated. Sylvie becomes aware of her parents’ conflicts, the complexities of shifting friendships, and what it means to be the only Jewish family in town. She also begins to sense that her perceived “success” relies on the pursuit of math and science—even though she loves art. In a funny and perceptive graphic memoir, author-illustrator Sylvie Kantorovitz traces her first steps as an artist and teacher. The text captures her poignant questioning and her blossoming confidence, while the droll illustrations depict her making art as both a means of solace and self-expression. An affecting portrait of a unique childhood, Sylvie connects the ordinary moments of growing up to a life rich in hope and purpose.”

Chef Yasmina by Wauter Mannaert (Bookshop | Amazon)

“In this silly, action-packed graphic novel from Wauter Mannaert, Chef Yasmina and the Potato Panic, a young chef is the only one who can protect her town from an onslaught of scientifically enhanced, highly addictive potatoes.

Yasmina isn’t like the other kids in her city. Maybe it’s the big chef hat she wears. Or the fact that she stuffs her dad’s lunchbox full of spring rolls instead of peanut butter and jelly. She might be an oddball, but no one can deny that Yasmina has a flair for food. All she needs to whip up a gourmet meal is a recipe from her cookbook and fresh vegetable form the community garden.

But everything changes when the garden is bulldozed and replaced with a strange new crop of potatoes. Her neighbors can’t get enough of these spuds! And after just one bite their behavior changes―they slobber, chase cats, and howl at the moon. What’s the secret ingredient in these potatoes that has everyone acting like a bunch of crazed canines? Yasmina needs to find a cure, and fast!”

Girl Haven by Lilah Sturges, Illustrated by Meaghan Carter and Joamette Gil (Bookshop | Amazon)

“Full of wonder, humor, and heart, Girl Haven is the newest original story from the author of Lumberjanes.

Three years ago, Ash’s mom left home and never returned, leaving behind a husband and child and a shed full of mystical curiosities related to the all-girl fantasy world she’d created as a child—Koretris. One day Ash invites a new group of friends from Pride Club over, and they try one of the spells to enter Koretris. To their amazement, they’re all transported to a magical realm filled with human-sized talking animals who are fiercely protective of their world and are ready to fight to protect it. But if Koretris is real, why is Ash there? Everyone has always called Ash a boy—shouldn’t the spell have kept Ash out? And what does it mean if it let Ash in?”

Super Detectives (Simon and Chester Book #1) by Cale Atkinson (Bookshop | Amazon)

“A ghost and a kid team up to solve mysteries and kick butt! A hilarious new graphic novel series for fans of Bad Guys and Dog Man.

Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the MYSTERY OF A LIFETIME.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)

Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.”

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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Opening The Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book

As we enter the second week of Black History Month, I want to share Opening The Road by Keila Dawson with you all.

This inspiring picture book biography details Victor Hugo Green’s creation and distribution of The Negro Motorist Green Book, or as most people call it today, The Green Book.

In the late 1930’s, Black Americans were not guaranteed safe travel throughout the United States. Segregation barred Black motorist’s access to establishments like gas stations, rest areas, or hotels. The high number of “sundown towns”, all white communities that excluded non-white individuals after dark though intimidating and often violent tactics, made it dangerous for Black Americans to travel long distances.

Inspired by a Jewish newspaper, Victor Hugo Green, a US Postal Service worker in Harlem, decided to write a book to help Black travelers find safe options. The Green Book allowed trips to be planned with hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and many other businesses that welcomed Black customers. This travel guide became an invaluable resource for Black Americans throughout the country, and it flew off shelves, eventually selling over two million copies.

I love that the illustrations by Alleanna Harris bring life not just to Victor’s story, but also to the stories of many Black families who were able to safely enjoy family vacations.

Victor’s story highlights the resilience Black Americans have shown amid the countless obstacles facing them throughout our nation’s history. In the face of enormous challenges like segregation and racism, Victor, Alma, and all of Victor’s Postal service friends found a way to distribute vital information throughout the country, allowing numerous travelers safe passage.

The back of the book contains a fantastic author’s note that includes more historical detail, context around why The Green Book is relevant to conversations about safety in Black communities today, and information on current projects inspired by The Green Book, as well as a timeline.

You can purchase a copy of Opening The Road 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!)

Keila Dawson is an author, editor, and former teacher based in Cincinnati, OH. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at keiladawson.com.

Alleanna Harris is an artist and illustrator based in New Jersey. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at alleannaharris.com.

I would like to thank Beaming Books for sending me a review copy of this amazing book. I am so grateful to be able to share Victor Hugo Green’s story.

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Old Enough To Save The Planet – A Picture Book For Young Climate Change Activists

When you hear of young climate activists, your mind may go to well known activists like Greta Thunberg. But there are children across the globe, just like our children, who are taking action against climate change.

Old Enough To Save The Planet by Loll Kirby introduces us to twelve young climate activists, and highlights the actions they are taking to make change in their community.

From New York to Australia, these young children are making huge changes like reducing the effects of traffic pollution, diverting food waste from landfills, and reducing litter pollution.

I love that Old Enough To Save The Planet gives specific examples of different elements affecting climate change, like littering and deforestation, as well as specific ways to address many of those issues. Sometimes, I feel like children’s books about climate change add anxiety for children when they describe the problems facing our planet, but this one is written with so much hope and encouragement that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

The beautiful illustrations by Adelina Lirius capture the beauty of nature, as well as the diversity of our communities, providing a great visual of how we can all work together to save the the planet that we all share

To further assist young readers in making a difference, the back of the book has several empowering ideas, including a list of ten ways young readers can help save the planet, ten ways to make their voice heard, and resources for further reading.

Old Enough To Save The Planet officially releases in North America next week (February 9, 2021), but you can preorder it today 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!)

Loll Kirby is a children’s book author and former teacher based in Bristol, UK, who was inspired to write this book by her students. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at www.gatherandgrow.co.uk.

Adelina Lirius is an extremely talented illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at adelinalirius.com.

I would like to thank Abrams Young Readers and Magic Cat Publishing for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book.

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