National Womens Month, Read Your World

A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice By Nadia Hohn

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Back of Book: Jamaican poet and entertainer Louise Bennett Coverley, better known as “Miss Lou,” played an instrumental role in popularizing Jamaican patois internationally. Through her art, Miss Lou helped pave the way for other poets and singers, like Bob Marley, to use patois in their work.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picturebook from Owl Kids Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This bright and engaging picture book follows the early life of poet Louise Bennett Converley and her joy of writing. Louise was filled with words that bubbled up from inside. The problem was that not everyone agreed with her words. It took courage and determination for her to pursue what she loved. pieces of Louise’s poetry is sprinkled throughout the text. It gives readers a great introduction into the words that Miss Lou loved so much. The illustrations by Eugenie Fernandes are filled with color and life. Thre is a note from the author in the back of the book that shares more about life and writing. The back of the book also has a glossary and references.
This is a beautiful nonfiction picture book that is a perfect addition to any poetry unit, or Nations Women’s Month unit.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Growth Mindset, Princess stories, Read Your World

Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin

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Back of Book:
Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role.
But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role.
They whisper, they snicker, and they glare.
Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call?
My Review:
Social and emotional learning is a newer standard at my school. I love using picture books to help teach the standards in a relatable way. “Not Quite Snow White” is an excellent story to show children an example of confidence and loving yourself. Ashley took a sensitive topic and created a beautiful example of how important it is to love the skin your in.
Tameika is such a dynamic character that so many readers can relate to and connect with. I believe that this book will give children the extra courage that they need to try something new. The illustrations by Ebony Glenn are glossy and bright. The details convey the emotions of each child throughout the story. I look forward to sharing this book in my classroom this year.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Family, Read Your World

Hair Love By Matthew A. Cherry

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Back of Book:
Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.
My Review:
The first time I saw the cover of this book I knew I would love it. The text is charming and follows a dad attempting to navigate his little girl’s wild locks. The story is humorous and shows Zuri’s daddy trying unsuccessfully to style her hair. Finally, they come up with a plan to create the perfect hairstyle. I love that the text is written in a first-person narrative. It allows the readers to connect with Zuri and her story. The illustrations by Vashti Harrison are colorful and bright. They beautifully capture the love between Zuri and her father. I look forward to sharing this book in my classroom during the school year. This story shows readers that everyone’s hair is special and unique. A must-have for any classroom or school library.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Read Your World

Where Are You From? Yamile Saied Méndez

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Back of Book:
When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one.
Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving Abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.
My Review:
This is a fantastic story by debut author Yamile Saied Mendez that addresses culture and identity in a gentle and sweet way. The story follows a young girl as she navigates the question where are you from? Unsure of how to answer the little seeks out her Abuelo for guidance. His answer is a beautifully lyrical response that will touch any readers heart. The illustrations by Jaime Kim are soft and warm. They bring the text to life and capture the essence of having pride in one’s heritage. This is a must-have for all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Family, Read Your World

Sumo Joe By Mia Wenjen

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Back of Book:
On Saturday mornings, Sumo Joe is a gentle big brother to his little sister. But on Saturday afternoons, he and his friends are sumo wrestlers! They tie on makeshift mawashi belts, practice drills like teppo, and compete in their homemade dohyo ring. They even observe sumo’s ultimate rule: no girls allowed! But when Sumo Joe’s little sister wants to join in the fun, Sumo Joe is torn between the two things he’s best at: sumo, and being a big brother.
I received a copy of this picture copy of this picture book from Lee and Low books in exchange for an honest review.
I have been following Mia on her blog Pragmatic Mom for several years and am thrilled that she has entered the world of writing kidlit.
I loved this fun informational story that blends together knowledge of Sumo wrestling, with the importance of family. Joe loves practicing Sumo with his friends. He is, however, relucent when his sister asks to join in. By the end of the story, Joe realizes that everyone can enjoy practicing the art of Sumo. The text is written is a simple scheme that allows readers to follow along easily. The back of the book has a note from the author that shares more about Sumo with readers. The back of the book also has a glossary of definitions along with pictures of the different moves described. The illustrations by Nat Iwata are bright and detailed. They bring the Sumo moves to life.
This is a fantastic diverse picture book to share in the classroom or at home.
Ages 5

Food, Grandparents, Read Your World

Grandpa Cacao: A Tale of Chocolate, from Farm to Family By Elizabeth Zunon

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Back of Book:
Chocolate is the perfect treat, everywhere!
As a little girl and her father bake her birthday cake together, Daddy tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao, a farmer from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In a land where elephants roam and the air is hot and damp, Grandpa Cacao worked in his village to harvest cacao, the most important ingredient in chocolate. “Chocolate is a gift to you from Grandpa Cacao,” Daddy says. “We can only enjoy chocolate treats thanks to farmers like him.” Once the cake is baked, it’s ready to eat, but this isn’t her only birthday present. There’s a special surprise waiting at the front door
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Bloomsbury Press in exchange for an honest review.
Although, I am a huge fan of all things chocolate I have never studied the process of how chocolate is made.
Grandpa Cacao is an informational story that opens readers eyes to the work and dedication of chocolate farmers in the Ivory Coast. The story follows a little girl and her father as they make a chocolate cake for her birthday. As they bake the father tells his daughter all about Grandpa Cacao and his work in the fields. The text beautifully blends the past and the present in a way that flows seamlessly. It ties in the importance of family, culture, and tradition. The illustrations are stunning and full of color and life. I was awed by the details in each picture. , The back of the book has more information about fair trade the science behind chocolate as well as a chocolate cake recipe.
This book is a true experience in a world that is fairly unknown. I learned so much about the chocolate making process and am now more committed to locating items that are certified as fair trade.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Growth Mindset, Read Your World

There’s Only One You By Kathryn Heling & Deborah Hembrook

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Back of Book:
This feel-good book reassures kids that, whoever and whatever they are, it’s awesome being YOU! Expertly written to include all kinds of children and families, it embraces the beauty in a range of physical types, personalities, and abilities. Kids will love discovering and recognizing themselves in these pages—and they’ll feel proud to see their special qualities acknowledged.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Sterling Book Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This is a delightful story that focuses on the importance of teaching children how important it is to be themselves! As a teacher, it is imperative for me to find books that show children that it is special for them to be different. Kathryn and Deborah have weaved together a beautiful tale that provides a mirror in which children can see themselves. The rhyming scheme is engaging and allows readers to realize all the aspects that make them unique. The illustrations by Rosie are nothing short of breathtaking! I loved the wide variety of diverse people groups and cultures that are showcased within the pages. This is a perfect read aloud to use as a part of any mindfulness
Ages 5 and up
32 Page

Parents, Read Your World, Skills Children Learn

Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color by Monique Fields

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Back of Book:
A young biracial girl looks around her world for her color. She finally chooses her own, and creates a new word for herself―honeysmoke.
My Review:
Once in a while, I come across a book that stops me in my tracks and amazes me at the depth of today’s kidlit. HoneySmoke is one of those books. The story follows a young girl named Simone as she tries to find her place in the world. She asks her parents is she is black or white? Her parents tell her that she is a bit of both. Simone wants a color of her very own and sets off to find it. She asks her friends and compares the colors around her. Finally, she realizes that her special color is a mixture of her two parents.
I loved the positive message that all humans have different skin tones and that is what makes them unique. It encourages biracial children to explore their colors and label it with a special name. There is even a place in the back of the book for children to write in their special name. Readers of all ages will fall in love with Simone and her creative look at how she is. The illustrations by Yesenia Moises are soft and warm. They create a type of magic within the pages. A must have for all elementary and school libraries.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Read Your World

Festival of Colors by Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal

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Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!
My Review:
I am so excited to use this story in my class this week to teach my students about the Indian Festival of Colors. Holi is a time to celebrate the coming of spring and flowers. The book follows two siblings as they collect flowers of all colors to turn into powder. The text is written in simple language that allows readers to easily understand the holiday of Holi. The illustrations are beautiful and showcase a community coming together to celebrate spring. A fantastic book to share with readers about Holi.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Read Your World

Inspirational Books By Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings

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My Trip to the Beach
Back of Book:
Just like adults, children can have bad days too. The good news is that, just like adults, children can better cope with stress by learning and practicing mindfulness.

Through simple exercises that help strengthen concentration, decrease stress levels, reduce anger and impulse issues, and aid in better self-awareness, seasoned therapist Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings provides poetic perspectives on life and its struggles that encourages children to focus on imagery, positivity, and the important message that with each sunrise comes a chance to begin again.
My Review:

My Trip to the Beach is a terrific book that allows readers to focus on the concept of mindfulness. The story stresses the importance of finding a quiet place and concentrating on the beauty around you. I love that Deirdre reminds children to focus on the people that love them, and the things that they are good at. This book allows children to feel frustrated while giving them skills to cope and deal with their feelings. The illustrations are warm and inviting. The colors are soft and show the simple beauty in life. This is a book that should definitely be in every school and children’s counselors office. A perfect book to add to any mindfulness unit!
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Heart
Back of Book:
A children’s book to remind us that when we close our hearts from fear-we close off other emotions like love, peace, and joy. Inspired by her work with foster children, author Deirdre Pecchioni Cummings’Heart speaks directly to our hearts. This simple story with beautiful illustrations is about love, life, faith, and the power of prayer. Heart will help lift your spirit and serves as a guide to the path to healing
My Review:
Heart is a moving and emotional picture book that focuses on the importance of guarding your heart, from people who will hurt and take advantage of you. The story also focuses on the importance of trust and finding a balance between the two concepts. It is truly heartbreaking to me that so many young children are closed off because of the damage that has been done to them. This is a much-needed book for children of all ages. I love that the books overall message is to find faith and believe that there are good people in the world. This is a book that should definitely be in every school and children’s counselors office.
Ages 5 and up
24 Pages

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If a Caterpillar Can Fly, why can’t I?
Throughout her work as a therapist with children, Deirdre Cummings, has recognized two major areas of concern affecting the esteem of today’s youth. One is too much screen time and emphasis on how the world sees you (or worse approves you) through social media. The second is a lack of focus on goals and a real belief that it is possible to achieve them. This journal is fun and thought-provoking. It is never too early for kids to begin working towards their dreams. If A Caterpillar Can Fly, Why Can’t I teaches children the value of having of being self-aware which fosters greater resilience, increases dreaming and motivation, and improves relationships with the people in their life who matter most. It is not only a roadmap but a time capsule of hopes and dreams for tomorrow’s future leaders!
My Review:
This is a fantastic and inspirational resource for young audiences. This interactive journal allows readers to participate in their own growth. The book is completely in black and white and allows readers to color the pages. There are also list prompts that can be filled out and inspirational quotes throughout the pages. All children should have this book in their lives.
Ages 5 and up
84 Pages