We Move Together

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.

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We Are Still Here! – Native American Truths Everyone Should Know

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.

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The Little Things: A Story About Acts of Kindness

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.
  • Donate to the cause. Whether it’s a bail fund to assist protestors posting bail ( like Community Justice Exchange National Bail Fund, Chicago Community Fund, or Minnesota Freedom Fund) or organizations dedicated to facing the Asian American and Pacific Islander community (Asian Mental Health Collective, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, 18 Million Rising), the Black community (Black Youth Project, The Loveland Foundation, and NAACP) and the trans community (National Center for Transgender Equality, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Trans Life) or a national organization focusing on multiple issues (Human Rights Campaign, ACLU) there are countless organizations in need of your donation.
  • 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.

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The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought For Justice With Art

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.

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Hear My Voice – The Testimonies of Children Detained at the Southern Border of the United States

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 back matter contains quite a bit of information about the situation at the border, a discussion guide for reading with children, and a list of ways you and your family can help. Ordering a copy of this book is an excellent first step, as proceeds will be distributed to Project Amplify, Human Rights Watch, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and Las Americas to help support children in migration.

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.

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Zonia’s Rain Forest

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.

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Kids On The March : 15 Stories of Speaking Out, Protesting, and Fighting For Justice

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.

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Walking Toward Peace: The True Story of a Brave Woman Called Peace Pilgrim

In a world that seems so far from peaceful, I’m so glad to have found Walking Toward Peace by Kathleen Krull.

This masterful picture book biography tells the story of a little-known activist and spiritual leader who was called Peace Pilgrim. In 1953, Peace Pilgrim gave up everything she owned, including her own name, to spread the message of peace.

Before she was Peace Pilgrim, she was a secretary with a busy social life. But she found this life to be unfulfilling. Watching the events of World War II, she couldn’t help but think that the world needed more peace. So she dedicated years of her life to preparing to walk twenty-five thousand miles across America spreading the message of peace.

Peace Pilgrim achieved her goal of twenty-five thousand miles crossing the country seven times, and continued walking countless miles for 28 years. In her time walking she saw the Korean War, the Cold War, and The Vietnam War, but she never gave up on spreading the message of peace. She became a public speaker, sharing her message at schools and churches, and continued speaking until she died at the age of seventy-two.

Walking Toward Peace is a powerful lesson in conviction and being the change you wish to see in the world. The back matter contains more detailed information about Peace Pilgrim’s life for readers who are interested in learning more.

I also loved the illustrations by Annie Bowler and the way they capture Peace Pilgrim’s journey, and all the wonderful friends she met along the way.

Walking Toward Peace is officially available next week (March 23, 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!)

Kathleen Krull was a children’s book author who wrote over 100 books, including Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez and No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am very sad to say that she passed away in January. She leaves behind an ample collection of work for young readers to continue to see history through her eyes. To learn more about Kathleen Krull and her work, please visit her website at www.kathleenkrull.com.

Annie Bowler is an illustrator and art teacher based in Washington D.C. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at www.anniebowler.com.

Many thanks to Flyaway Books for sending me a review copy of this magnificent book. I am honored to be able to share both Kathleen Krull’s words and Peace Pilgrims story with my readers today.

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Send A Girl: The True Story of How Women Joined the FDNY

Send A Girl by Jessica Rinker was one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, so I was thrilled to find it on my front porch this week. I’m excited to announce that this wonderful book lived up to my very high expectations.

Following Brenda Berkman, a New York City firefighter, Send A Girl tells young readers all about female firefighters fight against discrimination in the Fire Department of the City of New York.

From her childhood when Brenda started an all girls football field, to her career as a lawyer, Brenda never listened when people told her an activity or job was “not for girls”. When she heard that the New York City Fire Department would finally allow women to take the exam to become firefighters, she knew she had to try.

When she found out that the exam was unfair and that every woman who took it failed, she was not deterred. She used her experience as a lawyer to sue the fire department, and she won. Once a new exam that included actual firefighting duties was put into place, Brenda and forty other women passed and were allowed to become firefighters.

Though she continued to struggle to be accepted in a male-dominated space throughout her career, Brenda still took the time to uplift and support other female firefighters, founding the United Women Firefighters organization.

I love that Send A Girl doesn’t read like a biography that lists dates and events, but more like a story with heart. Jessica Rinker beautifully weaves Brenda’s experience with the historic facts, while keeping our focus on equality. Combined with Meg Hunt’s amazing illustrations, this makes Send A Girl an incredibly engaging read.

The backmatter contains additional information about Brenda Berkman, as well as resources for readers who are looking to dig deeper.

Send A Girl 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!)

Jessica Rinker is the author of both picture book biographies and middle grade fiction. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jessrinker.com.

Meg Hunt is an illustrator, print maker, and all around maker of things. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at meghunt.com.

I want to thank Bloomsbury for generously sending me a review copy of Send A Girl. I am so thrilled to be able to share Brenda’s story with my readers.

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Your Life Matters – A Validating Picture Book For Black Children

I am so honored to be able to share Your Life Matters with you all today. This beautiful picture book is an empowering reminder for Black children that their lives matter. No matter what they see on TV or social media, no matter what whispers they overhear, no matter the shouts that may be directed at them, Your Life Matters communicates the message all Black children need to hear. They are seen, and they matter.

Written by Chris Singleton, who lost his mother in the 2015 Charleston church shooting, this book encourages young readers to persevere through racial adversity by validating their very existence. Each page features a famous Black hero mentoring a child and encouraging them use their heart, voice, courage, and strength to follow their dreams.

As well as uplifting Black children, Your Life Matters is a great resource to discuss race with non-Black children. The honest depiction of Black children’s experiences provide an age-appropriate example to use in conversations about race, highlighting the way their experiences may differ from that of their Black friends or classmates..

I loved the illustrations by Taylor Barron and the way they bring a bright atmosphere to such a serious topic.

The back matter also contains short biographies for young readers who would like to learn more about the Black heroes listed, such as Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, and Katherine Johnson.

Your Life Matters is published by Bushel & Peck Books, who has an amazing “book-for-book promise”. Bushel & Peck Books donates one book to a child in need for every book they sell. You can even nominate a school or organization to receive donations at their website bushelandpeckbooks.com.

Your Life Matters officially releases next week (March 9, 2021), but you can preorder it today on Bookshop and Amazon. You can also purchase your copy directly from Bushel & Peck 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!)

Chris Singleton is a former professional baseball player and inspirational speaker who travels the country speaking to students. You can learn more about him and his work at his website chrissingleton.com.

Taylor Barron is an artist based in Paris, France. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at taylorbarron.com.

I would like to thank Bushel & Peck Books for kindly providing a review copy of Your Life Matters. I am truly honored to be able to share this beautiful book with such an important message.

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