Did you know that the peace symbol was developed in 1958 by an activist in London protesting nuclear weapons? Well, I didn’t until I read Three Lines in a Circle by Michael G. Long. This wonderful picture book provides young readers with a history behind the peace symbol and the man who created it.
Title: Three Lines in a Circle Author: Michael G. Long Illustrator: Carlos Vélez Publisher: Flyaway Books Published: August 31, 2021 Format: Picture Book
ThreeLines in a Circle introduces young readers to Gerald Holtom, the man who designed the popular symbol, and the many peace movements that the sign has been a part of. Beginning with the London to Aldermaston March against nuclear weapons, all the way to nationwide protests for racial justice in 2020, readers will follow along as the world embraces Gerald’s symbol and demand peace, justice, and equality.
The illustrations by Carlos Vélez are so wonderful! I love the way the peace sign is sprinkled throughout the illustrations, creating a perfect opportunity to engage readers by finding them throughout the story.
The back-matter contains an informative author’s note, along with a timeline of peaceful protests across the world. Opening the door to further history lessons, Three Lines in a Circle would make a great addition to classroom and school libraries.
Three Lines in a Circle officially releases next week (August 31, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today at 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Thank you so much to Flyaway Books for generously providing an advance copy of Three Lines in aCircle for me to review!
About the Author:
Michael G. Long has written books for all ages on civil rights and peacemaking in mid-century America, including the stories of Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Jackie Robinson, and Mister Rogers. He lives in Pennsylvania.
About The Illustrator:
Carlos Vélez has illustrated more than twenty books for children and has been recognized with illustration awards from the Catalog of Illustrators of Children’s and Youth Publications and the National Fund for Culture and the Arts. He lives in Mexico City.
If you’re looking for a picture book biography about a lesser known artist with a unique story, I have the perfect pick for you today. Make Meatballs Sing: The Life and Art of Corita Kent by Matthew Burgess and Kara Kramer shares the remarkable life story of Corita Kent, an artist, educator, nun, and activist who unapologetically spread a powerful message of love and justice.
Title:Make Meatballs Sing: The Life and Art of Corita Kent Author: Matthew Burgess Illustrator: Kara Kramer Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books Published: August 24, 2021 Format: Picture Book
Make Meatballs Sing introduces readers to Corita Kent when she was known as Frances Elizabeth Kent, a young girl who loved to read, draw, and daydream throughout her childhood in Hollywood, California. As a teenager, young Frances shocked those closest to her by following her religious calling and joining the Order of The Immaculate Heart, becoming Sister Mary Corita. Through her duties as a nun, Corita continued to follow her passion for art and creativity, teaching young children and eventually joining the art department of the Immaculate Heart College, where she studied art history and printmaking. Corita became an accomplished teacher, sharing the art of serigraphy, or silkscreen.
Corita’s religious beliefs had a great influence on her work, but she was also inspired by the Civil Right Movement. She often spoke out against poverty, war, and injustice in her work, which didn’t always go over well with the leaders of the Church, but did make her a recognized and celebrated public figure who left a mark on the world.
The illustrations in Make Meatballs Sing are fantastic! Kara Kramer perfectly captures the spirit of Corita Kent’s work. The range of bright colors, textures, fonts and patterns on every page mirror Corita’s prints, providing the perfect backdrop for her fascinating story.
The extensive back matter featuring a timeline and informative author’s and illustrator’s notes also make this a fantastic selection for classroom and school libraries.
Make Meatballs Sing will officially be released next week (August 24, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today. Preorders are available 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Thank you so much to Enchanted Lion Books for sharing a review copy of Make Meatballs Sing with me. I am so honored to share this loving tribute to Corita on Mutually Inclusive today!
About The Author:
Matthew Burgess is a full-time professor at Brooklyn College and a part-time teaching artist in New York City public schools. He was fascinated by the lives of saints as a child, and now he loves sharing the stories of his artistic heroes with young readers. Matthew is also the author of Enormous Smallness: A Story of E. E. Cummings and Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring. He lives with his husband in Brooklyn and Berlin.
Kara Kramer is a mixed media artist, and illustrator who loves to PLORK with all mediums. She has taught creative art workshops for both children and adults. Ever since she was little, her happiest hours are spent moving her hands to make something new. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her family.
Today marks the 65th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and I can’t think of a better title to share for Flashback Friday than The Teachers March: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace. Originally released in September 2020, this picture book shares the story of Reverend F. D. Reese and the 1965 Selma Teachers’ March.
Title:The Teachers March: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History Author: Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace Illustrator: Charly Palmer Publisher: Calkin’s Creek Published: September 29, 2020 Format: Picture Book
Reverend F. D. Reese was a science teacher at R. B. Hudson High School who encouraged 104 Selma, Alabama teachers to march from the school to the county courthouse to demand the right to register to vote. The Teachers March follows his journey, along with the other teachers who were often seen as “respectable” members of society who had “better sense than to march”. The teachers were afraid they would lose their jobs or be arrested if they spoke up, but with the help of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Reverend F. D. Reese convinced the teachers that the vote was worth fighting for and organized the Teachers March of 1965.
The teachers of R. B. Hudson High School were not granted the right to register to vote on that January day in 1965, but they did inspire others to march, including beauticians, barbers, undertakers, and even their own students. That summer, with Selma jails filled with thousands of citizens who demanded the right to vote, including many schoolchildren, the Voting Rights Act was passed.
Though The Voting Rights Act was passed back in 1965, voting rights are still under attack today. Since 2013, The US has seen a rise in voter suppression laws, including discriminatory voter ID requirements, polling place closures, blocking access to voting by mail, and even a law that prohibits providing water to voters waiting in line. It is imperative to share the stories of how freedoms were won with children today so they can understand what is at stake. When my son learns of the voter suppression that is taking place in this country, I want him to know that it is a direct affront to the thousands of men and women who put their jobs, bodies, and lives on the line to stand up for “freedom and justice for all”. The Teachers March is a wonderful resource to help him make that connection.
Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace carefully detail the events of the march, and do not omit the “uglier” truths of injustice faced by Black citizens in the sixties. They highlight the fact that teachers taught their students the Constitution every day, though they were not granted the freedoms promised in it. They do not shy away from the rage, hatred, and violence faced by the protestors who were demanding equality.
The backmatter provides both an Authors’ note and Illustrator’s Note. The Authors’ note provides further detail on several teachers who participated in the March, highlighting their lives after the march. I especially appreciated the Illustrator’s Note from Charly Palmer. In this note, he shares that he hired a photographer to restage images from the Teachers March, which he used as his source material. I found the idea so creative, and it clearly worked! The illustrations instantly take readers to that day in 1965, proving an authentic atmosphere for the story.
I am ashamed to admit that I never heard of Reverend F. D. Reese until I read The Teachers March. As a child in an Alabama public school, I was required to take Alabama History in the fourth grade. Regretfully, I did not learn about the Teachers March of 1965 or Reverend Reese back then. This is a prime example of the need to explore an accurate and inclusive history lesson in our classrooms today. The Teachers March fills a gap left in many textbooks, and is an absolute must have for the classroom.
You can find a copy of The Teachers March 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Thank you so much to Boyds Mills & Kane for providing me with a review copy of this amazing book. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with the children in my life, ensuring they know more about the history of the state they live in than I did at their age.
About The Authors:
Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace are award-winning writers of nonfiction titles including First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great and Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, which won the International Literacy Association’s Social Justice Award and a YALSA Award nomination for Excellence in Nonfiction. Sandra’s picture-book biography Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery is the NCTE 2019 Orbis Pictus winner for Outstanding Nonfiction. You can find them online at sandraneilwallace.com and richwallacebooks.com.
About The Illustrator:
Charly Palmer is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. He also teaches design, illustration, and painting, most recently at Spelman College. His two recent picture books are There’s a Dragon in My Closet and Mama Africa, which won the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Please visit Charly online at www.charlypalmer.com.
I’m a little late to the game, but that won’t stop me from sharing We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire with you all today. Released last month, this beautifully inclusive picture book focusing on disability justice is a perfect example of what Mutually Inclusive is all about.
We all move through the world in different ways, and it’s so important to provide young readers with visible examples of the many assistive devices people with disabilities use on a daily basis. Normalizing characters with disabilities in children’s literature is such a great way to accomplish this goal, and We Move Together does it flawlessly.
In We Move Together, we follow a diverse group of mixed-ability children and their families as they overcome everyday barriers and come together to connect with the disabled community. Whether it’s solving accessibility issues or preparing for a protest, We Move Together provides young readers with a wonderful example of a community working together to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
We Move Together offers more disabled representation than I’ve found in any other book. Children who use crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, ventilators, sign languages, and more will see themselves represented on every spread. The bold, colorful illustrations by Eduardo Trejos are fantastic! The careful attention to detail and accuracy in depicting all the assistive devices on each page is a wonderful example of the respect and care We Move Together shows the disabled community.
We Move Together is also an amazing resource for classrooms and school libraries. The back matter contains lots of additional information about accessibility, ableism, and the disability community.
Be sure to pick up your copy of We Move Together 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Dr. Kelly Fritsch is a disabled writer, educator, parent, and feminist disability studies scholar based in Ottawa, Canada. Please visit her website at kellyfritsch.ca to learn more about her and her work.
Anne McGuire is a disability studies scholar and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her Twitter.
Eduardo Trejos is a Costa Rican graphic designer, visual artist, and illustrator based in Toronto, Canada. Please visit his website at edtrejos.com to learn more about him and his work.
I also want to thank AK Press for publishing such a wonderfully inclusive book, and sending a copy my way.
Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac, the award-winning creators of We Are Grateful: Otsliheliga are back at it with a companion title: We Are Still Here!
We Are Still Here! is a nonfiction book documenting the challenges Native Nations have faced and the ways they continue to fight for their rights today. Focusing mainly on the actions taken by the United States Government, this book shares many lessons currently taught in Native-operated schools today.
The book actually uses a Native-operated school as its backdrop as we follow a class working on their Indigenous Peoples’ Day project. On the first page we are introduced to some “familiar” history, but each child’s presentation will focus on topics after treaty making stopped in 1871, such as forced assimilation, religious freedom, and economic development. Every child’s presentation drives home the fact that Native American History is still being made today.
Fans of We Are Grateful: Otsliheliga will be glad to find Frané Lessac’s familiar vibrant style continues into this companion book as well. Each spread depicts the subject of a child’s project, capturing both historical and contemporary Native American experiences.
The back matter contains lots of additional information about each of the twelve topics discussed in the children’s projects, as well as a glossary and timeline, making this title the perfect addition to classroom and school libraries.
We Are Still Here! officially releases tomorrow (April 20,2021), but you can preorder your own copy today where 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Traci Sorell is a dual citizen of the Cherokee Nation and The United States, and is an award-winning author of five children’s books. She lives in Oklahoma, where her tribe is located. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at tracisorell.com.
Frané Lessac is an award-winning author and illustrator of over fifty books. Please visit her website at franelessac.com to learn more about her and her work.
I would like to thank Charlesbridge Publishing for providing me with a review copy of We Are Still Here. I am honored to share such an important book and encourage young readers to learn more about Native American history.
I have to be honest with y’all, the past few weeks have been hard. With hate crimes against the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community, police brutality against the Black community, and targeted legislation attacking the trans community, all during a global pandemic, it can be hard to find a bright spot in our week.
So I was incredibly grateful to receive a copy of The Little Things by Christian Trimmer, because like all good children’s books, it taught me a lesson that I needed to be reminded of as an adult—the little things count, too.
This lesson can be so easy to forget as an adult during weeks like this. Watching the hatred and violence on full display, knowing the pain it causes people I love. Knowing it doesn’t actually affect me as a white cis woman. Knowing so many people like me turn a blind eye while people across our country face these injustices. It’s easy to feel small and insignificant. It’s easy to think that I can’t change anything for anyone. But then I read a book like The Little Things, and I am reminded why I do this. I am reminded of the power we all have.
This wonderful picture book follows several characters, starting with a young black girl (with three wonderful teal pigtails) who finds tons of starfish have washed ashore after a storm. As she spends her afternoon putting starfish back in the water, a man approaches her to ask her why she bothers — she won’t be able to save all the starfish. The girl acknowledges she won’t be able to save them all, but that she can make a difference for each starfish she saves. This message sticks with the man and inspires him to perform his own act of kindness. He shares the message with his grandson, who spreads it to the next person, and so on and so forth, spreading the message of kindness throughout the community, sparking a larger change in their town.
I absolutely adored the illustrations by Kaylani Juanita, who happens to be one of my very favorite illustrators. Fans of When Aiden Became A Brother and Magnificent Homespun Brown will be delighted to see that Kaylani’s character design is as strong as ever. I loved the diversity of the characters in this book, and you can clearly tell how much thought went into each individual.
The Little Things promotes a message of kindness and community action that is incredibly relevant today for readers young and old. It officially releases later this month (April 27, 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
I absolutely adored this book, and it inspired me to write a list of little things we can all do to help the AAPI, Black, and trans communities in the wake of these issues. I will share it here for everyone who wants to try some little things that can make a big difference.
Check on your AAPI, Black, and trans friends. Note: This does not mean asking them to address the traumas they are facing. Just make sure they know they are loved, listen if they want to talk, but give them some extra love this week.
Engage children. Volunteer to host a virtual read aloud at your local school or library encouraging kindness and acceptance, or even directly addressing the issues with children’s books.
Contact your local representatives. Educate yourself on anti trans legislation in your area and ensure your local government is aware that you oppose it. Use your voice and demand an end to police brutality and qualified immunity for police officers. Bring their attention to the rising numbers of hate crimes against the AAPI community and ask them what they plan to do about it. Call, email, fax if you have to, but make sure they hear your voice.
Attend a protest. There are lots of protests being organized for this weekend. Join them. Or if you aren’t able to join, maybe you can contribute in another way. You can support local protests by providing financial support, childcare, transportation, or food for protestors in your community. Reach out to local organizations to see how you can assist.
Support AAPI, Black, and trans creators. Donate to Patreon accounts, pay the POC online who are educating you for free. Purchase the works of folks from marginalized communities, like The Little Things. If you don’t have the funds to purchase this week, request that your local library purchase copies.
Uplift voices. Marginalized folks are sharing their stories every day. Hear Them. Believe them. Share them.
Christian Trimmer is an author and editor based in Hillsdale, New York. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at christiantrimmer.com.
Kaylani Juanita is an illustrator of inclusive picture books based in Fairfield, California. Please visit her website at kaylanijuanita.com to learn more about her and her work.
Thanks again to Abrams Books For Young Readers for proving me with another amazing book to review. The Little Things was just what I needed to put one foot in front of the other this week, and I hope it helps you and yours spread love and kindness through your community too. Together we can do big things.
Did you know that today is World Art Day? Declared a holiday in 2012 by the International Association of Art, World Art Day is a day dedicated to celebrating art and creativity internationally. So in honor of this day, I want to share The People’s Painter by Cynthia Levinson with you all today.
This wonderful picture book biography details the life of Ben Shahn, a Jewish artist, immigrant, and activist who used his discerning sense of justice and artistic talent to bring awareness to social issues throughout his career – issues such as the executions of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in 1927, the struggles of rural Americans during the Great Depression, and much more.
Beginning with his childhood in Lithuania, where Ben’s father was banished for demanding worker’s rights, The People’s Painter teaches young readers about Ben Shahn’s passion for justice. Following his immigration to America, we learn the ways Ben Shahn pushed back against his teachers’ ideas of art. The People’s Painter is not only educational, but a great resource to encourage children to expose injustice and stand up for marginalized communities the same way Ben Shahn did — by finding their voice and following it.
The illustrations by Evan Turk feature bold expressive paintings, drawing parallels to Shahn’s work, creating the perfect backdrop for his story.
The People’s Painter officially releases next week (April 20, 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
Cynthia Levinson is the author of The Youngest Marcher, and the winner of both the Crystal Kite and Carter G. Woodson awards. Please visit her website at cynthialevinson.com to learn more about her and her work.
Evan Turk is an author, animator, and Ezra Jack Keats Book Award–winning illustrator. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at evanturk.squarespace.com.
I would like to thank Abrams Books For Young Readers for providing me a copy of this wonderful book. I can’t think of a better title for World Art Day, and I’m so honored to share Ben Shahn’s story with you all today.
A few days ago, I watched a video on Facebook that spoke about how “funny” it was to see Democrats who opposed the Trump administration’s treatment of children at our southern border accepting the border situation now that Biden is president.
I need to make one thing perfectly clear. I (along with most other Democratic voters) do not support the mistreatment of migrant children at any border, in any country, under any administration. I will continue to demand the fair treatment of migrant children, especially from a Democratic president. If you feel the same, I would recommend Hear My Voice by Warren Binford for Project Amplify.
This moving picture book pairs the stories of children detained in immigration detention facilities with illustrations from 17 different Latinx artists. The stories are told in the children’s own words — in English on one side and Spanish on the other – providing an unflinching look at the experiences of thousands of migrant children who have been detained by the Unites States of America.
These children tell us how old they are, where they are from , how they came to arrive in America, and what their daily life looks like in the facility in which they are held. They share their fear and their hopes, creating a larger picture of the immigrant experience in our country today.
The illustrations in Hear My Voice are flawlessly executed. With a wide range of styles, each spread captures every artist’s unique depiction of the children’s experiences. Contributing artists include:
Some may consider Hear My Voice a difficult read, but I believe it is essential. If we continue to call America “the land of the free”, we have to be honest about who is free and who is not. We must listen to these children and their stories, and we must hold our leaders accountable for their actions and the trauma they are inflicting.
Hear My Voice officially releases next week (April 13, 2021), but you can preorder your copy 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 to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
I would like to thank Workman Press for generously providing me with a review copy of Hear My Voice. As much as I wish these stories weren’t true, I am honored to share the stories of these courageous children.
I’m so excited to share Zonia’s Rain Forest with you all today! From Caldecott Honor and Robert F. Sibert Medal winner Juana Martinez-Neal, this lovely picture book follows a young girl named Zonia who lives in the rain forest with her family.
We follow Zonia through her day as she introduces us to her neighborhood. Zonia adventures through the rain forest, making friends with all of her animal neighbors. We see how she interacts with sloths, snakes, pink dolphins, and more, until she comes upon something she has never seen before. Zonia discovers a portion of the rain forest has been cut down, and her beloved home is in danger.
While this book is fiction, Zonia’s story mirrors the true story of the Asháninka people living in the Peruvian Amazon, who have a long history of being removed from their homeland. The Asháninka people have made it their mission to protect the rain forest they call home through activism and legal action, though their rights to that home continue to be denied.
The perfect pick for Earth Day next month, Zonia’s Rain Forest is a gentle reminder to young readers about the ways our rain forests need our protection. With a hopeful ending, this book will inspire children to protect the rain forest and the rest of our planet.
Fans of Juana Martinez-Neal’s previous titles like Fry Bread and Swashby and The Sea will be happy to see her familiar style in the illustrations. I absolutely adored the way they capture Zonia’s playful personality as she interacts with her friends in the rain forest.
The back matter contains quite a bit of additional information about the Asháninka people, the Amazon, and the threats that they face. There is also a page dedicated to identifying each of the animals featured in Zonia’s adventure.
Zonia’s Rain Forest is officially available next week (March 30, 2021), but you can preorder it wherever books are sold today, 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. I always appreciate your support!)
To learn more about Juana Martinez-Neal and her award-winning work, please visit her website at juanamartinezneal.com.
I also want to thank Candlewick Press for generously providing me with a review copy of this amazing book. I’m so grateful to have the privilege of sharing Zonia’s story with everyone today.
Kids On The March by Michael G. Long is an inspiring book for young activists. Opening in 1903 with the March of The Mill Children and spanning all the way to the George Floyd protests of 2020, this book shares fifteen stories of students standing up for their rights.
With the way some people talk about “kids these days”, some may forget that children have always taken part in civil disobedience in our country. Children were absolutely crucial to the efforts of the March For Jobs on Washington and, of course, the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama. Though they are no longer children, we have them to thank for the end of segregation, proving that no voice is too small to speak up for what’s right.
Though there were several protests I was familiar with, I was very pleased to find some that I was not aware of, like the Bonus March in 1932. I have to admit that I was not always the greatest listener in history class, so it excited me to learn about some lessons I missed in school myself.
There is also a very helpful “Tips For Marching” section at the back of the book, with plenty of advice for young readers who are ready to organize their own protests.
I really appreciate the way Michael Long presents the facts of each uprising while highlighting the injustices Americans were protesting. He clearly lays out the thoughts and feelings of the protestors, helping young readers empathize with their causes.
Kids on The March is sure to inspire another generation of outspoken activists. I believe this title is a must-read for any child showing an interest in fairness, equality, or justice. Though I would recommend this title for a slightly older audience (10 years and up), as there is some discussion of violence, racism, and sexism.
You can pick up your own copy of Kids On The March 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. I always appreciate your support!)
Michael G. Long is an author and editor based in Pennsylvania. Though he has written many books about civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, protests, and politics, Kids On The March is his first book for young readers.
I would like to thank Algonquin Young Readers and Workman Publishing for providing me with a review copy of this fantastic book. I am so proud to share this book with my readers, and can’t wait to meet all the future activists this book will inspire.