Category Archives: Community Involvement

Noodlephant

Written by: Jacob Kramer

Illustrated by: K-Fai Steele

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Social Justice, Activism, Protest, Friendship, Community, Oppression, Community, Ingenuity, Peaceful Action. 

Summary: 

In our next installment of #sweetsandsocialjustice we have Noodlephant! I made some brown sugar cornmeal shortbread, inspired by Noodlephant making pasta from unique ingredients.  Follow the link in bio for the recipe, and tag us if you make this delicious treat!

This book is absolutely phenomenal and teaches readers about social justice, oppression, and community organizing.  Noodlephant is a lovely character for this humorous book that has so many lessons about activism embedded within its pages.  Protesting, campaigns, and the unfairness of treatment under an oppressive law is all covered in this glorious book.  A second book is coming out this year and we are SO excited to see the next installment!

Noodlephant is known for her love of pasta, and hosting lovely delicious parties for her friends.  When the kangaroos in charge start making more and more restrictive rules, like who can and can’t go to the pool, things start to change-and not for the better.  Soon, Noodlephant isn’t even allowed to eat noodles anymore!  Heartbroken, she sets to work to create a machine that will create her delicious and enticing noodly creations under the cover of secrecy.  When she is tried in a kangaroo court and sentenced to the zoo, how will Noodlephant cope?

So we don’t typically post a lot of animal books on here, but Noodlephant is absolutely incredible!  We were thrilled to find a copy for ourselves (spending our own money!) and snatched it up on a trip to our local Contemporary Art Museum, (the second shock of this post being that we actually bought something at a museum gift shop!).

Recipe: Brown Sugar Cornmeal Shortbread

1.5c All Purpose flour (I typically use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gf ap flour for myself)

1/2c cornmeal

1t salt

2 sticks butter

1/2c dark brown sugar

1/3c sugar (I use either maple sugar or white sugar)

1 egg

1t vanilla extract

1t cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla. Add dries and mix just until they are incorporated. For thicker shortbread, put all dough into 1 eight inch cake pan, or split into 2.  Bake at 300 for about 45-55 minutes.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Jacob+KramerJacob Kramer studied writing and filmmaking, and went on to work in community organizing and writing kids books. He tells stories in which people band together to build power and change their world.

If you must know a fun fact, know this: Penelope Taylor and Jacob trained Bags, the cat, to use the toilet using the Mingus Method. Follow Jacob on twitter: @jknotjk

k-fai_photoFrom illustrator’s K-Fai Steele’s website: “If you want to know how to pronounce my name, watch this book trailer for A Normal Pig. I use she/her pronouns.

A Normal Pig is my author-illustrator debut, and is published with Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. I also illustrated Noodlephant by Jacob Kramer (Enchanted Lion Books, 2019), and Old MacDonald Had a Baby by Emily Snape (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, 2019). In 2020 I’m illustrating Probably a Unicorn by Jory John, and Okapi Tale (the sequel to Noodlephant).

I’ve always loved art and books, and I’ve worked in museums and libraries as an adult. I was an Art Handler at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where I got to install Starry Night. I worked at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and later the National Writing Project on an IMLS/MacArthur initiative to co-design creative and educational spaces for young people in public access institutions.

I live in San Francisco and I’m a 2018-2019 Brown Handler Writer in Residence at the San Francisco Public Library. I’m the 2019 recipient of the James Marshall Fellowship at the University of Connecticut, and I received the Ezra Jack Keats/Kerman Memorial Fellowship in 2018 at the University of Minnesota.

I’ve presented at the American Library Association Annual meeting and Midwinter meeting, the Tucson Festival of Books, the Bay Area Book Fest, the Princeton Children’s Book Festival, EpicFest in Charlotte, NC, Kidquake/Litquake in San Francisco, the International Literacy Association annual conference, and the National Council of Teachers of English convention. In 2020 I’ll be presenting at the AISC LitFest in Chennai, India, the Turn the Page! Festival in Oakland, and I’m the featured author for the Danville-San Ramon (East Bay) KidsReads.”

Mrs. Bibi’s Elephant

Written & Illustrated by: Reza Dalvand

For ages: 3-5 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Community Involvement, Friendship, Pets, Family, Chosen Family, Empathy, Economics, Social-Emotional Learning. 

Summary: Mrs. Bibi has a pet elephant, and they spend all of their time together.  The elephant loved playing with the children in the streets, and drinking tea with Mrs. Bibi, listening to stories.  The others in the town are disturbed by the close friendship, they don’t understand why Mrs. Bibi would want a pet instead of fancy objects.  The townspeople decide to send the elephant to the zoo.  Heartbroken, Mrs. Bibi tucks her elephant into bed and makes a plan. It’s quite anti-capitalist, and we’re all about that! Mrs. Bibi doesn’t care about objects, she cares about the companionship that her elephant brings.

The ending of this book is unique (sorry, we can’t spoil it!).  Typically in books there is an apology conversation and a rectifying of the situation.  I actually really like the ending, it’s surprising.  Mrs. Bibi and her elephant decide to leave town because they’re not valued in the community, and because the others in town prefer stock markets and fancy chandeliers over friendships and pets.  When she and her elephant leave, the children are sad and eventually the town does realize that having pets and forming meaningful community connections are better than material objects.  Will the beloved pair come back? Place your bets now, this book will be out soon!

This book was sent to us by Flying Eye Books, but all opinions are our own.  The book will be available in April 2020!

About the Author & Illustrator:

Dalvand_Reza_swReza Dalvand was born in 1989 in the Iranian city of Andimeshk. As a child he had but one idea in his head: to draw. After studying graphic design at Isfahan University of Art, he completed a master’s degree in illustration at the University of Tehran. He has published more than 15 picture books in Iran, Europe, and Asia. He is a member of the Iranian Society of Illustrators and has participated in many national and international exhibitions from countries around the world, including UK, Japan, Iran, Korea, Italy, UAE, Ukraine, and Surbia, and his work was showcased at the Bologna Book Festival in 2018. Reza lives in Tehran.

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work

Written by: Tiffany Jewell

Illustrated by: Aurélia Durand

For ages: YA middle grades and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: BIPOC Narratives, Social Justice, Activism, Anti-Racism, Anti-Bias, Education, Community Organizing, Self-Empowerment, Self-Reflection, Race Theory, Own Voices.

Summary: 

Alright so we might be a little late on this book coming out, but our lives are a bit wonky (just like everyone else’s!) and we’re just getting around to writing about this brilliant book now.  Seriously, where to even begin? This is the book we all need when we’re young.  Written by powerhouse Tiffany Jewell and beautifully illustrated by Aurélia Durand, this book was carried around and devoured immediately upon arrival to our house.  

This Book is Anti-Racist takes what young people know about the world and themselves and expands upon it, empowering young people to stand up for themselves and others by understanding the systems of oppression that are at work everyday.  While this and so much more social justice education should be typical curriculum in schools, it’s often not.  Even CRT classes are hardly offered in teacher education programs, which is a travesty.  In order to create ripples of change, we need education.  Not addressing the white supremacy and oppression that subversively operate is what keeps the wheels of marginalization turning effectively.  This book is one that can be sand in the gears, teaching readers to examine their own lives and the world around them while seeking out ways to change it for the better.

Brilliantly created, this book is required reading for every single human on the planet.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

0115_RW_Tiffany_Jewell_photo_credit_James_Azar_SalemTiffany Jewell is a Black biracial writer, antiracist educator and consultant, and mama. She spends her time baking bread and macarons, building LEGOS, watching British detective shows, and dreaming up how she can dismantle white supremacy. Tiffany currently resides on the unceded traditional land of the Pocumtuc and the Nipmuck with her two young activists, her partner, and a turtle she’s had since she was nine years old. She is in her 15th year as a Montessori educator and nearing two decades of work in schools with young folks, families, and educators. This Book Is Anti-Racist is her first book for children and young adults (and definitely not the last). Follow her on social media @tiffanymjewell.

Portrait-Aurélia+DurandAurélia Durand’s art is a vivid celebration of diversity. She dedicates her artistic voice in making representation matters. Aurélia represents Afro-descendants as joyful, proud, and empowered — a united community whose destinies are intertwined. These colorful personalities present the unified voice of a global community whose hopes, dreams, and desires present a future inclusive of all. 
Aurélia has made a wild variety of creations with augmented reality, animations, paintings, murals, and illustrations.
She has been working with different clients such as Adobe, Facebook, GIPHY, DIPSEA, Instagram, Tinder, Apple music, Standford University, QuartoKids, Refinery 29, Califia farms, ESPN, and more.
Recently she illustrated the book “This book is anti-racist ” through the publisher “Quarto kids” printed for the US, Canada, and the UK.
Take a look at her Instagram: www.instagram.com/4ur3lia/

 

My First Bilingual Book (Multilingual Board Book Set)

Written by: Patricia Billings & Fatih Erdoğan co-wrote : Love, Sharing, and Friends books. These were then translated by unnamed translators. 

Patricia Billings wrote the Empathy (Spanish) book herself in English, and it was translated by an unnamed translator.

Illustrated by: Manuela Gutierrez Montoya

For ages: infant and up 

Language: English & Portuguese (Sharing), Spanish (Empathy), Italian (Love), French (Friends).

Topics Covered: Social-Emotional Learning, Language, Multilingual Learning, POC-Centric Narratives. 

Summary: 

These board books are absolutely lovely!  The illustrations are beautifully diverse and have simple storylines that keep the books from feeling like they are just vocabulary books.  The same characters are present in all 4 of the books we read, and I enjoy this continuity.    I believe they are all students in the same classroom!

These would be a great addition for language learning and social-emotional learning.  There are some lines that can be used to branch off into other conversations about different lived experiences, such as when a character knows her friend was a refuge, and that made her sad and scared (empathy) or another one knows that he should conserve water (sharing).  These simple statements are so nice to see in a board book, so readers can have these conversations and knowledge from a young age!

These books were sent to us by Patricia, but all opinions are our own.  You can check out more language books made by Milet Publishing here. Not sponsored, there’s just a ton more languages available than the ones we reviews!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

unnamed-4Patricia Billings is the author of all 4 of these books! Her Instagram biography says she is a “publisher, author, wisdom worker, vegan, and present in NYC”.

 

 

 

 

image0021Fatih Erdoğan (Izmir, 23 April 1954) can best be described as a pioneer of children’s literature in
Turkey. He finished high school in Robert College and graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department of Boğaziçi University.  In 1980, he founded Mavibulut Publishing
 House, which is the first publishing house in Turkey that focuses exclusively on children’s literature. The same year, his first book Pan ve Çiçeği (Pan and His Flower) received the Best Picture Book Award given by the Association of Librarians. Since then, he wrote 64 children’s books and illustrated many of them himself. Today he is one of the most popular children’s authors in Turkey and his books were sold over 800.000 copies.

Manuela Gutierrez Montoya is the illustrator of all 4 of the books we received, but we cannot find anything about her online!

Enough! 20 Protestors Who Changed America

Written by: Emily Easton

Illustrated by: Ziyue Chen

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: American History, Activism, Historical Figures, Courage, Segregation, Enslavement, Sports, Environmentalism. 

Summary: 

This book opens with an Author’s Note talking about her inspiration to write the book.  Emily’s young cousins had been in a school shooting a few weeks before the devastating event in Parkland, Florida.  Her family was physically fine, and they were empowered to do more.  One of them, Ryan (not the Parkland survivor Ryan, who wrote the Forward), helped to organize the March For Our Lives and their older brother took some time from college to help organize further events and demonstrations.  Emily Easton decided to write a book that described the actions of 20 Americans and their protests to create ripples of change.  In the back, there is also more historical information and dates related to each of the protestors.

The book itself is very easy to read, each page having a single line devoted to the protestor.  They are fairly well-known historical figures like Samuel Adams and Susan B. Anthony that children will eventually learn about in school, but probably won’t learn about their activist side.  I can describe the book as very entry-level, with the first half of it featuring well-known heavy hitters like Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Ruby Bridges.  Rachel Carson is mentioned, which I loved, I don’t think she gets enough attention.  I was also pleased to see Gilbert Baker, creator of the first Pride flag, and Colin Kaepernick as well.

We personally would have left off Samuel Adams (dressing up like Mohawk people before throwing out crates of tea is not so much a protest in our eyes, and more like a scapegoating) but seeing as how children in the majority of public schools will be learning about these figures, they should learn about this activist history at the same time.  However, I do like that this story can be an easy access point into learning whole histories about these American figures and how they fought back against injustice.  Social movements and activism is an important aspect of American history, and students should feel empowered to stand up for marginalized populations and learn about how they can become involved in social justice causes that they care about.  This is a valuable book, because it is a perfect entry point for someone just beginning their journey into the world of social justice and activism.

This book was sent to us by our friends at Random House Children’s Books, but all opinions are our own.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

emily-eastonEmily Easton was the Publishing Director of the Walker Books for Young Readers imprint at Bloomsbury Publishing, until the imprint closed.  Now, she is the Vice President of Crown Books for Young Readers! Emily has diverse editorial taste, editing everything from board books to teen books, from fiction to nonfiction.  She has published numerous bestsellers and award winners, including the Caldecott Honor Book Gone Wild by David McLimans, the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans in World War II by Martin W. Sandler, the Pura Belpre Illustration Award-winner Grandma’s Gift by Eric Velasquez, and the New York Times bestselling “Perfect Chemistry” trilogy by Simone Elkeles.

81Ya0axP-fL._US230_From illustrator Ziyue Chen’s website: “Hi! My name is Ziyue, pronounced as Zzz yuair or you can call me Angeline. I’m a Singapore based Illustrator and graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. I love drawing and visualizing stories through illustrations. I work on mostly Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print.

My life goal has been to have an emotional connection with those who view my work. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, sketching, swimming and spending time with my loved ones. Mixed nuts, goji berries and avocado milkshake are my favourite snack. Yum.”

Jamie and Bubbie: A Book About Pronouns [Cover Reveal!]

Written by: Afsaneh Moradian 

Illustrated by: Maria Bogade

For ages: 3 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Gender Identity, Pronouns, Self-Empowerment, Growing Up, Family, Community. 

Summary: We are excited to be able to reveal the cover of this new book, Jamie and Bubbie! 

This story is the second installment in the adventures of Jamie, also seen in the book Jamie is JamieJamie and their great grandmother (Bubbie) are going to go out for the day and spend some time together.  Bubbie doesn’t live in the neighborhood that Jamie does, so she is unfamiliar with all of Jamie’s neighbors and the pronouns that they use.  Jamie is outspoken and empowered to correct their Bubbie, making sure that the people they interact with have their correct pronouns used.

The story is sweet and simple as it emphasizes the importance of using the correct pronouns, especially when they might have changed since you saw a person last.  Luckily, Jamie is not afraid to correct Bubbie and Bubbie is open and willing to learn!  This is the perfect primer for young children to learn about what pronouns are as well as strategies of what to say if someone you love uses the wrong pronouns for someone.

If you would like to learn more about how to preorder this book, you can follow this link here!

We were sent the advanced PDF copy of this book by Free Spirit Publishing, as well as the cover photo.  However, all opinions are our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

afsanehmoradian-2We are excited to learn more about Afsaneh Moradian, author of the book!  Here is her “about me” section from her website:

“I grew up between Washington, D.C., northern NJ, and New York City. I spent my childhood reading, writing, singing and watching tv.

After college, I started working at a Montessori preschool and my career as an educator began. I went on to get a Master’s in Education and am in the process of finishing a PhD in Education.

For more than 15 years, I have had an amazing time combining my love of writing and creativity with teaching students of all ages (from preschool to graduate school) in a variety of educational levels and settings between the United States and Mexico.

I love sharing my ideas with students, teachers, school administrators, parents, and anyone who will listen.

I write children’s books, poetry, short stories, essays and articles, in addition to writing about education.”

maria-bogade-web-1-2Maria Bogade is an illustrator and author with an animation background. She loves creating illustrations with a strong narrative, colorful and beautifully composed to entertain children and adults alike. Her work is internationally published and is also found on greeting cards and products such as chocolate. With her three children and spouse, she lives in a tiny village in southern Germany where fox and hare bid each other good night (we don’t know what this means, but it sounds lovely!).

Tanna’s Owl

Written by: Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley

Illustrated by: Yong Ling Kang

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English, some Inuktitut (pronunciation guide in back as well)

Topics Covered: First Nations, Residential Schools, Own Voices, Responsibility, Pets, Growing Up, Indigenous Voices. 

Summary: 

This is a lovely book based on author Rachel’s own life experience raising an owl.  Tanna, or main character, receives an owlet from her father one day with instructions to care for it and make sure it has everything it needs.  Tanna jumps at the chance initially, but becomes a bit worn down when Ukpik the owl requires more and more attention without any affection given in return.  It is a wild animal, after all.

We were drawn into this story, with its unique and truthful outlook.  This book acknowledges that Tanna doesn’t always feel like raising Ukpik is rewarding, and that is refreshing.  At the end of the summer, Tanna must return to school (leaving Ukpik behind), which upon reading the Author’s Note the reader learns that she is educated at a Residential School.  When she returns the next summer, Ukpik has learned to fly and isn’t there anymore.  Tanna has a lot of respect for the owl, and is glad that she helped it thrive despite not always being excited to wake up early to catch lemmings for it to eat, or clean up all the poop.

I really loved how Inuit cultural values were woven into this story, and coupled with own voices lived experiences from Rachel’s childhood.  This story emphasizes the value of hard work and appreciation for nature, it’s a fantastic real aloud for young people who might be expressing interest for a pet as well!

This book was sent to us by Inhabit Media, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Qitsualik-TinsleyOf Inuit-Cree ancestry, RACHEL QITSUALIK-TINSLEY was born in a tent on northernmost Baffin Island. She learned Inuit survival lore from her father, surviving residential school and attending university. In 2012, she was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for numerous cultural writings. Of Scottish-Mohawk ancestry, SEAN QITSUALIK-TINSLEY was born in southern Ontario, learning woodcraft and stories from his father. Training as an artist, then writer, Sean’s sci-fi work won 2nd place at the California-based Writers of the Future contest, published by Galaxy Press. Rachel and Sean have worked for decades as Arctic researchers and consultants. In writing together, they have published 10 successful books and many shorter works, celebrating the history and uniqueness of Arctic shamanism, cosmology, and cosmogony. Their novel, Skraelings: Clashes in the Old Arctic, was a Governor General Awards Finalist and First Prize Burt Award winner.

 

Yong Ling Kang is a full-time freelance illustrator. Having worked in animation studios and a publishing company for some years, she’s now living and working from home based in Toronto.  Raised in tropical Singapore, she find comfort in playing water sports, taking walks in green spaces, and savouring spicy food. A glass of milo peng / teh-c siu-dai anytime!