Flashback Friday – Hot Pot Night!

I can’t think of a more timeless topic for a picture book than food, so for Flashback Friday this week, I am thrilled to feature Hot Pot Night! by Vincent Chen. This delightful picture book celebrates food, community, and diversity while capturing the joy of sharing food with your neighbor.

Title: Hot Pot Night!
Author/Illustrator: Vincent Chen
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Published: September 8, 2020
Format: Picture Book

Vincent Chen’s debut follows a young Taiwanese boy as he invites the residents of his apartment building over for a communal meal, portraying the way communities can come together to care for one another. Each neighbor brings a different ingredient that combines into one amazing meal, creating a lovely metaphor for the way that each individual neighbor adds up to a greater whole of the community. With the rhythmic text, Hot Pot Night! is also a fantastic choice for a read aloud, encouraging young readers to chant along.

The illustrations are wonderful, too. I have to admit, my toddler got his hands on this one before it made its way to my desk, and he literally carried it around saying “Mmmm!” asking the adults in the house to read it to him all day. If you can make a toddler hungry with your illustrations, you’re doing something right!

Complete with a hot pot recipe in the back, Hot Pot Night! is a wonderful addition to bookshelves everywhere. You can pick up a copy 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 Charlesbridge for sending me a review copy of this wonderful book. I can already tell this will be a new favorite in our household!

About The Author:

Vincent Chen is a recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. He enjoys watching films, collecting art books, and eating copious amounts of potato chips. Ever since he was a kid, he has loved sharing hot pot with his family and friends. This is his first book.

You can find Vincent online at vinchenart.com, on Twitter @carrot_boi, and Instagram @c4rrotboi.

You Might Also Like:

Lala’s Words: A Story of Planting Kindness

We are starting the week out with a beautiful picture book about two of my favorite things: kindness and plants. Gracey Zhang’s debut, Lala’s Words, teaches young readers a powerful lesson about the magic of kind words.

Title: Lala’s Words
Author/Illustrator: Gracey Zhang
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: July 6, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Lala’s Words follows a young girl named Lala, who is a bit messy and boisterous. Lala’s mother wants her to be stiller, quieter, and calmer, but Lala can’t help running around leaving a mess behind her. Her favorite place to be is a vacant concrete lot where weeds grow. While Lala hears discouraging words from her mother, she gives her plants nothing but kind words of encouragement. One day Lala’s mother has had enough, and she keeps Lala indoors all day. Lala worries about her plant friends all day, but wakes up in the morning to find that her plants have grown large enough to shade the whole neighborhood, cooling the summer day and showing Lala’s mother the power of positive words.

I absolutely adored the illustrations in Lala’s Words. Everything has a muted grey color scheme with vibrant pops of green and yellow that become more and more prominent as the story progresses. It’s such a genius way to provide young readers with a visual contrast between kind words and unkind words.

Lala’s Words officially releases tomorrow (July 6, 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!)

Thank you so much to Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of Lala’s Words. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share this wonderful book.

About the Author/Illustrator:

Gracey Zhang is an illustrator and animator with a love of storytelling and verse. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and received her degree in Illustration from RISD. She is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she can be found window watching from the train when she’s not scribbling away at her desk. Lala’s Words is her first picture book. You can visit her at graceyzhang.com.

You Might Also Like:

Flashback Friday – When We Are Kind

I am so excited to announce an additional feature here on Mutually Inclusive called Flashback Friday! I know so many amazing books were released during the pandemic, but because everyone’s life was turned upside down, many titles didn’t get the level of attention they deserved. So starting this week, I will share a review for a previously published title every week. I think this will be a wonderful reminder about those books that might have flown under the radar, especially with the chaotic year and a half we’ve all had.

My first Flashback Friday selection is When We AreWhen We Are Kind / Nihá’ádaahwiinít’íigo by Monique Gray Smith. Originally published back in October, this wonderful bilingual picture book provides examples of kindness for young readers with text in both English and Diné (translated by Mildred Walters).

Funny story: I actually wanted to request When We Are Kind back when I first started Mutually Inclusive, but I was just figuring out how review copy requests worked, and I thought I missed out because I didn’t request it before the publication date. I’m so glad I was wrong!

In this precious picture book, we follow a group of Indigenous children as they tell us all the ways they give and receive kindness. When We Are Kind encourages readers to be kind to our families, our communities, our elders, the earth, and ourselves, but I love that it also talks about how being kind makes us feel. I feel like we often tell children to be kind for the sake of others’ feelings, but we overlook the way being kind to others can be a kindness to ourselves. When We Are Kind encourages young readers to evaluate their own feelings, creating an awareness that it so necessary for social and emotional development.

The illustrations by Nicole Neidhardt are wonderful! I love the way they capture the connections we all have to our families and our communities. You can feel the love and kindness on every page.

You can pick up your copy of When We Are Kind 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!)

Monique Gray Smith is a mixed-heritage woman (of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish ancestry), an international speaker, and an award-winning author based in Victoria, British Columbia. Please visit her website at moniquegraysmith.com to learn more about her and her work.

Nicole Neidhardt is a Diné (Navajo) artist of the Kiiyaa’áanii Clan based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at nicoleneidhardt.com.

I want to thank Orca Book Publishers for sending me a review copy of When We Are Kind. I’m so grateful to have a second chance to review this beautiful book.

You Might Also Like:

I Am A Kindness Hero – A New Kind Of Role Model For Boys

As a mother who has a son, I’m always on the lookout for picture books encouraging kindness and gentleness, especially “for boys”.

This isn’t because my son is particularly unkind, or because I think boys in general have a tendency to be unkind, but rather that I believe society doesn’t expect kindness from boys in the same way we expect it from young girls.

While my husband and I do not buy into gender stereotypes, I am very aware that the world will tell my son all about the dangers of being “soft”. He has lived a pretty secluded first year thanks to COVID, so there’s no one to tell him he shouldn’t gently hug his stuffed animals and make that sweet little “MMmm” sound. However, I know the day is coming when those kinds of behaviors will be ridiculed because they don’t mirror societal expectations of masculinity.

To get ahead of this negative message, we love a book that provides positive examples of boys being tender. I Am A Kindness Hero by Jennifer Adams depicts this role model perfectly.

A companion to I Am A Warrior Goddess, this book follows a young boy practicing kindness. Whether he is helping someone cross the street, standing up to bullies on the playground, or just helping his little sister tie her shoe, our main character reminds us to lead with patience, love, and kindness.

The illustrations by Carme Lemniscates are fantastic. I especially love the warmth of the colors, and how they mirror the warmth we associate with kindness.

I would highly recommend this book for any young reader, because its message is truly universal. I don’t believe the world can ever have too much kindness.

I Am A Kindness Hero will officially be available next week (January 26, 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!)

Jennifer Adams is an editor and accomplished author (with 50 books published!) who lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, who is also a writer. You can learn more about her and her work by visiting her website at jennifer-adams.com.

Carme Lemniscates is an author, illustrator, designer, and the founder of Lemniscates Studio. To learn more about her and her work you can visit her website at lemniscates.com.

I would like to thank Sound True for providing me with a review copy of I Am A Kindness Hero. I know I will read this one to my son for many years to come, in hopes it will encourage him to stay sweet and kind forever,

You Might Also Like:

A New Alphabet for Humanity : A Children’s Book of Alphabet Words to Inspire Compassion, Kindness, and Positivity

A Is for Abundance

B is for Bravery

C is for Compassion.

As soon as I saw A New Alphabet For Humanity by Leesa McGregor, I knew I had to feature it on my blog!

This sweet little picture book introduces children to 26 alphabet lessons inspiring them to be compassionate, kind, and respectful to both people and our planet.

My very favorite books for my little one’s library are always the ones that teach me a little along the way, and A New Alphabet For Humanity definitely did. Reading this book, I couldn’t help but tell myself that I could benefit from keeping a few of these lessons a little closer to my heart (Anyone else struggle with forgiveness sometimes, or is that just me?).

This book is the perfect introduction to all the values we strive to instill in our children. Rereads offer the reminder (for children and adults alike) that we can always improve on this qualities as we grow.

In the back of the book, there are some great talking points and empowering questions to encourage continued conversation around demonstrating compassion, empathy, gratitude, kindness, and respect.

I love that the adorable illustrations by Daniela Sosa accurately depict the diversity in the world around us, so everyone can see themselves in A New Alphabet for Humanity.

I think my favorite part about this book, though, has to be that it practices what it preaches! For every book purchased, one tree is planted. It is also printed on recycled paper, using non-toxic soy inks.

You can grab your own copy of A New Alphabet for Humanity at Bookshop.org, Amazon, or directly from the Alphabet From Humanity Team at AlphabetForHumanity.com. (Please note: Some of these these links are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using affiliate links at no additional cost to you. This commission will be used to maintain this website and continue to bring content to you.)

I would like to thank the Alphabet For Humanity Team for providing me with a review copy of this fantastic book! I know I will be reading this one to my little boy for years to come.

You Might Also Like: