Biography, Books and Library, Read Your World

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise

planting stories

Back of Book:
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Anika Aldamuy Denise in exchange for an honest review.
This exquisite and well-researched picture book biography tells the story of Pura Belpré New Yorks first Puerto Rican librarian. Pura realized that the stories of her youth were not in the libraries. So she began to share her tales with the children of her library. The narrative is engaging and informative. Readers become swept up into Pura’s life and the powerful gift that she gave to others. The illustrations are radiant and filled with detail and colors. I felt as if I was sitting with Pura in her library soaking up her amazing tales. The back of the book has a beautiful author note as well as a collection of information including a Selected Bibliography as well as stories of Pura mentioned in this book. Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar have created a masterpiece biography about one woman who lived to share her passion with others and left a legacy for everyone else.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Think of It Like This! ByDeirdre Pecchioni Cummings

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Molly loves her favorite dress. But one day when she twirls too fast and falls on the cement, Molly’s dress tears and goes right in the trash. Molly is so sad-until her mother comes to the rescue and teaches her a valuable lesson. When Billy rides his bike to the store to buy chocolate, he is very disappointed and mad when he realizes the store is closed. Billy must close his eyes and think things through before he loses his cool. Carrie always cries and stomps her feet when she does not get her way. But when she discovers she is losing all her friends, Carrie must change her ways. Think of it Like This! is the inspiring and educational tale of three children’s challenges and subsequent life lessons as they become mindful of their triggers, develop a plan, and make the best of what life has given them.
My Review:
I am excited to be a reviewer for  Multicultural Children’s Book DayIt is on January 25th and is a day dedicated to sharing diverse stories with readers. I was thrilled to receive several books from author Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings.

“Think of it Like This” is a wonderful story that allows readers to see positive examples on ways that they can deal with difficult issues. Each child in the story has something unexpected come up in their life. The text beautifully shows readers that everyone has bad days, but its how they choose to react that matters. The illustrations by Erika Busse are a great mix of diverse characters that allow readers to see themselves in the story. This is a perfect book for the classroom to use to teach social and emotional learning. My students loved hearing this story. It led us to a fantastic writing assignment about how they can deal with disappointment. I highly recommend this story.
Ages 5 and up
44 Pages

 

Read Your World

The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung By Samantha R. Vamos

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Back of Book:
A young girl sets out on errands for the day, and while she’s gone, the farm maiden prepares a piñata from scratch with help from a boy, horse, goose, cat, sheep, and farmer. After they all fall asleep in the afternoon sun, they must scramble to finish preparations in time–just as the girl arrives back to her surprise party. Key English words change to Spanish as the cumulative verse builds to the celebratory ending. With the familiarity of “The House That Jack Built,” the tale cleverly incorporates Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page. This book makes learning the language easy and fun. Back matter includes a glossary, definitions, and directions for making a piñata at home.

My Review:
I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book from author Samantha Vamos in exchange for an honest review.
This is a lovely story that captures the fun and excitement of making a pinata. The story follows a farm maiden as she creates a pinata with some help from a boy and some fun animals. The text is written in a scheme that builds upon itself. It is similar to the story “This is the House that Jack Built” Each page adds another aspect to the creation of the pinata. The story is told with a mix of English and Spanish words including the famous pinata song. The illustrations by Sebastia Serra are nothing short of beautiful! The details and bright color draw readers into the culture and tradition of making pinatas. The back of the book has directions for readers to create their own pinata. There is also a glossary of Spanish words and their definitions. Samantha has crafted a beautiful diverse picture book that shows readers that when everyone works together fun can always be had. A perfect addition to any classroom or school library.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Read Your World

We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Handsby Rafael Lopez

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Back of Book:
Award-winning illustrator Rafael López brings new life with his adaptation of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” saluting the lives of all young people. The rhythmic verse and repetitive emphasis on “we” and “our” encourages inclusive communities and the celebration of unity and diverse friendships all around the world.
My Review:
I was so excited to see this book in the Scholastic catalog. I quickly ordered it with my bonus points and I am so glad that I did. Rafael has taken a simple concept and turned it into a beautiful story. He took the song lyrics that we all know an created a challenge for the next generation. The story follows a lively group of children as they follow a ball of yarn around the world. Each page represents a different aspect of our earth. Be it the sun, mountains, animals, and friends. The illustrations are vibrant in color and absolutely stunning. They show children with a variety of cultures and abilities! Any child who reads this story will be able to see themselves in the illustrations. The back of the book has a piano score as well as notes about the original spiritual song, and a note from the illustrator. This is a diverse picture book that should be in every classroom.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Dog stories, Read Your World

Operation Rescue Dog By Maria Gianferrari

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Back of Book:
This sweet story about a girl named Alma and a stray dog named Lulu shows how a girl and a dog can rescue each other. Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain. Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami’s scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug?

My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Maria Gianferrari in exchange for an honest review.
Operation Rescue Dog is a touching tale about a young girl and her search for something special in her new home. Alma misses her Mami and her home in Iraq. She hopes that having a dog can make her feel like she is home. Lulu is a dog who is scared and alone. She hopes that finding a home will help her find a friend. I love this touching story that shares two perspectives throughout the story. Readers will love watching as Alma and Lulu find their way to one another. The text is lyrical and filled with figurative language. The illustrations are beautiful and show readers the story from both Alma and Lulu views. I can see Maria’s passion for rescue dogs and the people who choose to love them. She wrote an author note and shares how people can rescue dogs and give them a forever home. I am looking forward to sharing this story with my class this year.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Read Your World

If You’re Going to a Marchby Martha Freeman

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If You’re Going to A march.
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.

My Review:
I was excited when I won this book in a giveaway from Here We Read I was very intrigued by how the author was going to write this story. Over the years Marches of all kinds have become more of a family affair. Because of this children have questions as to what a march is. I found this to be an informational story as to what can be expected at a march. The story follows several children of all ethnicities as they explain to readers what can happen during a march. I like that this story shares aspects of a march in a way that children can understand. The illustrations are detailed and fun. I love that any child reading this story can see themselves in this book. There is a short afterword in the back of the book that discusses more information about protests in America. A great resource to share with families.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Read Your World, School

All Are Welcome By Alexandra Penfold

Back of Book:
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Back of Book:
Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year. All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.
My Review:
This is a remarkable and beautifully executed picture book about the importance of diversity and inclusion in classrooms. The story follows several children as they enjoy all aspects of class together. This story shows readers that all students coming to school with different cultures, traditions, and experiences. The illustrations are simply memorizing! Each page of the book ends with the sentence you are welcome here. I also love that the dust jacket turns into a beautiful poster that can be hung on the wall. A great addition to any diversity unit.
Ages 5 and up
44 Pages

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Read Your World

Americans by Douglas Wood

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Back of Book:
What makes Americans great?

Americans are different from one another in many ways. And despite these differences, Americans share certain ways of doing and being that hold us all together. From the Fourth of July to the Bill of Rights, Douglas Wood and Elizabeth Sayles share the story of what it is to be American.
My Review:
When I walked by this book at the bookstore and saw the cover, I knew that I wanted to read this book. The text in this book is nothing short of poetic. Each page teaches readers about something that Americans do. They love, create, dream, fight, choose and more. I absolutely love each description of what the American people do. The text tells readers about the historic events that have made America strong, diverse, and different from other places in the world. It talks about the Bill of Rights, The 4th of July, National Parks and more. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed. I love the diversity and history outlined in each picture. This book should be a part of every classroom library.

40 Pages

Ages 5 and up

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Read Your World

The Dress and the Girl By Camille Andros

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Back of Book:
A little girl and her favorite dress dream of an extraordinary life. They enjoy simple pleasures together on a beautiful Greek island. They watch the sunset, do chores, and pick wildflowers on the way home. One day, the dress and the girl must leave the island and immigrate to the United States. Upon arrival, the girl is separated from the trunk carrying her favorite dress, and she fears her dress is lost forever. Many years later, the girl—now all grown up—spots the dress in a thrift store window. As the two are finally reunited, the memories of their times together come flooding back. While the girl can no longer wear the dress, it’s now perfect for her own daughter—and the new journey of a girl and her dress begins.
My Review:
I was sent a copy of this book by Camille Andros in exchange for an honest review.
I love the concept of this simple, yet powerful story about a young girl’s immigration journey. The story follows the girl as she enjoys life on her island, until one day when she has to leave for America. The message of this story is poetic. Its shows how the simple love of a dress can turn into something extraordinary. Readers will be able to relate to the girl as her life changes forever. The ending is serendipitous and allows readers to believe in new beginnings. The illustrations are soft and show readers a sampler time where life was not so hectic. This is a perfect example of how tender, and empowering diverse children’s literature can be written.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Food, Read Your World

Food Fight Fiesta: A Tale About La Tomatina by Tracey Kyle

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Back of Book:
Every year, the town of Bu?ol in Spain holds La Tomatina, a grand fiesta featuring the world?s BIGGEST food fight! Join in the fun!
My Review:
I received this book from author Tracey Kyle in exchange for an honest review.
This picture book is an adorable look at a cultural event that has become an annual tradition. I had no idea that Spain held a giant food fight every year. The rhyming text makes this a perfect read aloud. The text also has Spanish words woven throughout which give a creative and diverse twist on the story. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and show readers the fun of the food fight. The back of the book has information about La Tomatina as well as a glossary of all the Spanish words. This is a truly adorable picture book and one that I know my students will want to hear over and over.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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