Category Archives: Global Community

Sound Off Saturday Featuring: Dr. Meza!

TTA: Introduce yourself!

Dr. M: Dr. Rocio Rosales Meza, I am a Xicana Feminist Psychology Professor and Mother. I am a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, a native Spanish speaker, and a first generation college student.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

Dr. M: I am passionate about liberation and social justice and gentle, feminist parenting. My mission is to create a liberated, conscious, peaceful community in the now and for future generations.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

Dr. M: I am currently working on setting up a Patreon community to share resources related to the intersections of liberation, parenting, psychology, education, and social justice. I’ve received so many requests for resources and from folx wanting to hear more and learn more from me, so I’m finally in the process of getting this together for our IG community. I’m excited about all the possibility to connect and create!

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

Dr. M: Folx can support me and my work by engaging with me on Instragram, joining my email list to learn about the things I’m working on and resources I’m sharing, and eventually joining my Patreon community to make my work sustainable. I am honored to be of service.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?

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Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines

Dr. M: My favorite book in 2018 was Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. It speaks so much to my experience as a Mother of color and how motherhood has liberated me. It inspires me to continue to be revolutionary in my mothering, resisting compartmentalizing, hiding my motherhood and child, my life. It encourages me to continue to show up as my full self to resist the patriarchy as both a woman of color and mother of color. A must read for all.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

Dr. M: I’m looking forward to building a community of folx that want to raise conscious, liberated children and selves. I am looking forward to encouraging more mothers, mothers of color, women of color to show up as their full selves…to step into their power, to know they deserve to be well, at peace, free, and to not just survive but thrive. I believe our children, the world will benefit when womxn, mothers, especially womxn of color and mothers of color are liberated. Social justice and equity is important, but even more than that is our liberation…freedom to unlock our every potential, our every strength, our every dream…IMAGINE alll the possibilities! We already accomplish so much in the face of the patriarchy, imagine how much more we can accomplish in liberation, in peace, in wellness, together…thinking of that is just awe inspiring!

Let’s create a new world together, for us, and for our children

because they, we, are so worthy.

Stay Connected

with Dr. Meza!

Dr. Meza’s Website

Dr. Meza on Instagram

Dr. Meza on LinkedIn

Yo Soy Muslim

Written by: Mark Gonzales

Illustrated by: Mehrdokht Amini

For ages: 3 years and up

Language: English & Spanish, mention of speaking Arabic (but none in book).

Topics Covered: Family, Religion,Muslim Identity, Culture & Traditions, Love, Community, Islamophobia, Social-Emotional Learning, Multicultural Families. 

Summary: This is an incredibly beautiful story written from the perspective of a father’s letter to his daughter about being part of a multicultural family.  Much of the book is about how to joyfully approach the world and the questions that both you have for the world and that others in the world have for you.  This book doesn’t get into great detail about Islamic faith or particularities of the religion, mostly speaking of appreciation of the world around us.  The central message is appreciation for one’s culture and the natural world around us, as well as learn how to respond with love when faced with Islamophobia.  This unique perspective of a Spanish-speaking Muslim family is not one written about often, but much needed!

These illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful.  Amini has preciously illustrated a joyful girl interacting with the world, navigating and asking questions.  Short lines text do not interrupt the flow of the pictures, and instead enhance them.  Rich colors and patterns fill the pages, catching the eyes of readers at any age.  This book briefly touches on how some days people will not be kind and smile at you, prompting discussion with younger readers on how to develop social-emotional skills around engaging with others.

Reflection Questions:

  • Has a loved one of yours ever written you a letter like the father in the book does for his daughter?
  • How do you think the daughter feels when she reads and listens to his words?
  • How can you help friends or family members “learn what it means to be human”?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • This book focuses on teaching how to respond to people when faced with Islamophobia specifically, but can be broadly applied to a variety of situations.  How can we as people learn to approach others with love in the face of unfamiliarity rather than immediate suspicion or fear?
  • Mehrdokht Amine uses high jewel tones in many of her illustrations, with intricate patterns in the backgrounds.  Try using different artistic techniques to create your own unique spin on illustrations like Mini does!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

2112941545_thMark Gonzales is a father, futurist, and one of the most innovative storytellers of our time. His creative portfolio spans twenty countries and includes: 3 TED stages, HBO Def Poetry, Stanford University, and the United Nations. Yo Soy Muslim is his first venture into children’s literature, a journey inspired by his daughter and the stories she’ll grow up reading. Currently, Mark journeys between California and northern Africa with his family, seeding ways to excite the human imagination.  Here is another great article that interviews Mark!

 

mehrdokt aminiMehrdokht Amini has illustrated several books for children including Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor, which won the 2016 Children’s Africana Best Book Award, and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan. She has illustrated books published in Iran, Poland, Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Mehrdokht grew up in Iran and now lives in Surrey, England. Visit her website at MyArt2C.com!

Sky-High Sukkah

Written by: Rachel Ornstein Packer

Illustrated by: Deborah Zemke

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English and some Hebrew

Topics Covered: Judaism, Community, Holidays, Jewish Culture and Traditions, Friendship.

Summary: Leah has no place to build her Sukkah since they live in an apartment building. Ari is her best friend, and his parents don’t have any money for a sukkah. Luckily at Hebrew school, there is a poster contest and the prize is a real sukkah! Ari wins, and is so excited to tell his parents. Unfortunately, they say they can’t accept it because there is no storage space in their apartment but then Leah comes up with a plan that involves the whole community!

The neighborhood bands together to carry the pieces and cook food for everyone to enjoy, even the grocer on the corner surprises them with greenery and fruits for decorations! This book is an introduction to the community spirit of Sukkot, as well as camaraderie. Leah is not a passive observer. Rather, she provides the critical thinking it takes to solve problems and is an active doer when there are so many examples in other stories of female characters being passive. This book could be improved with a Hebrew glossary, but overall is a cute and fun story featuring a strong girl role model!

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think the neighborhood felt when they worked together towards a goal?
  • Does your community celebrate Sukkot?
  • How have you helped others solve a problem that arose and impacted your community?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Do you know all of the holidays that are celebrated in your neighborhood?  The first step to celebrating differences is gaining more knowledge!  Learn more about cultural events in your immediate community and why they are significant to those who celebrate.
  • Building things is fun!  Whether it’s a fort, Sukkah, or imaginary castle, it takes hard work.  Draw out plans for the structure of your dreams, it could be a hideout or something that would be a great addition to a playground for everyone to enjoy!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

993c59_f374e861817e46a8adcd5a628c0bfe78Rachel Ornstein Packer wasn’t always a writer. In fact, when she was in college, Rachel wanted to be a dancer. When Rachel got older, she became a social worker because she wanted to help her community. After Rachel had children, (their names are Leah and Ari-not a coincidence) she started writing. At first, she would write about food allergies because Ari was allergic to peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. Rachel wrote many articles for newspapers, magazines, and blogs, mostly about recipes for families with allergies.  However, Rachel always had a dream about writing my own children’s book.  In fact, Sky High Sukkah didn’t start out with that title. It changed FOUR times! It took a long time to find the right home for her book and Rachel is so glad that she had persistence because here she is-FINALLY.

6a00e54fb51001883401b8d1287656970c-800wiDeborah Zemke has illustrated over forty books! Deborah has also written eight books. Some are made with gouache paint on paper, and some are made with digital pixels. All are made with enthusiasm. If you’ve ever wondered how to draw a quokka, you can find out in the book, Doodle A Zoodle . Frogs are another favorite critter for her to draw. See one frog’s story in this Critter Crackup for Ranger Rick magazine. Deborah likes the alphabet! Here are some of her favorite letters. Some of the publishers that Deborah has worked with include Dial Books for Young Readers, Creston Books, Blue Apple Books, Ranger Rick magazine, Dutton Children’s Books, Grosset & Dunlap, Handprint Books, Houghton Mifflin, Andrews McMeel, National Wildlife Federation, Scholastic/Children’s Press, Sterling Publishing, and Workman Publishing.

 

 

Introducing: Rad Girl Revolution

TTA: Introduce yourself!

RGB: Hi there! We are Sharita Manickam and Jen Bruno. Sharita is the author and Jen is the photo illustrator for the empowering new children’s book, RAD Girl Revolution. We both reside in Forest Hills (Queens) NY.

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TTA: What are you passionate about?

RGB: Sharita is the mother of two little girls, ages 2 and 6. Jen is the mother of a little boy, age 5. We are passionate about debunking the typical gender stereotypes that often begin to set in children as early as age six. Sharita wrote a poem for her first born daughter about all the possible things her daughter could one day become, paying special attention to include a future undefined and achievable regardless of her sex. That poem was the inspiration for what has now become our book, RAD Girl Revolution. We want our children to pursue their dreams and support that pursuit in others regardless of their gender, age, or race. We believe representation and diversity matter, and that society benefits when all children are able to see themselves represented.

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!Strong-Girl-Books

RGB: We recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and self published our first children’s book, RAD Girl Revolution. Our book shows storybook style images of real little girls in jobs typically underrepresented by women- fields like president, firefighter, astronaut, CEO, military member, etc. It was important to us for all little girls to see themselves represented on the pages of our book, Our book features 68 girls and 5 boys from over 30 ethnicities and also includes a little girl with Type 1 Diabetes (and a visible Omnipod), a little girl with Down syndrome, and a little girl with Autism and a hearing impairment (her aid is visible).

The “RAD” in our book stands for Rise Above Doubt to Reach Any Dream. We want children to look at the pages of our book and grow up with the confidence to know they are able to do and be anything they dream.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

RGB: Our book is available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle versions. It is also becoming available in many local indie bookstores.

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TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?

RGB: In terms of children’s books, we’ve really loved “The Day You Begin” by Jaqueline Woodson, and “Island Born” by Junot Díaz. For adult reading, we loved “This is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel, “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, and, of course, “Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

RGB: With the recent publication of our book, this year is full of many exciting unknowns. Last year we spent navigating the world of creating our work and navigating self publishing for the first time. Our goal for this year is to maximize our exposure. We hope to make all the inspiring young girls who graciously modeled for our book pages proud, while reaching the masses. Our goal is to show little girls possibilities for their futures they may not otherwise know exist and to engage little boys in becoming advocates for equality. We believe the future is better when we all work together to demolish gender barriers and stereotypes.

Stay Connected with the

Rad Girl Revolution!

 

imageRad Girl Revolution on Facebook

Rad Girl Revolution on Instagram

Clambake; A Wampanoag Tradition

Written by: Russell M. Peters

Photographs by: John Madama

For ages: 6 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Community, Native Culture and Traditions, Wampanoag, Family, Love, Friendship, Growing Up.

Summary: This book specifically covers the Wampanoag tribe in Mashpee on Cape Cod. It introduces members of the tribe and pairs them with photographs. Steven is the book’s main character and his grandfather Fast Turtle is teaching him to put on a clambake. The whole family gets involved with harvesting quahogs and getting stones ready for the fire pit. The book also talks about the Wampanoag traditions of protecting the earth, and the obligation each generation has to keep the land safe and clean for the next seven generations.

This book is incredibly descriptive, and covers both the physical preparations for the clambake as well as the cultural significance of Steven (whose tribal name is Red Mink) learning how and putting on the clambake to honor a tribe member named Hazel. The book covers a brief history of the tribe and how they were affected by the colonization of their land in the 1600’s when English settlers arrived by ship. This is a really beautiful book, and being written by Fast Turtle himself, the reader gets a true feeling of community and the reverence that tribe members have for the earth and each other.

Reflection Questions:

  • Fast Turtle is teaching Steven something important to his culture and tribal community by putting on a clambake.  What have older family members taught you?
  • How would you feel if you put on such a large event like Steven does?
  • Have you ever been to Cape Cod?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • A lot of times classrooms only learn about indigenous peoples and native communities during November, around Thanksgiving.  It is crucial that these communities are not stuck in time and taught in a current manner so that students realize these people continue to thrive today, and we are all living on stolen tribal land.  What tribes are from your area, and do they have a strong presence today?
  • In the book, Steven talks specifically about a love for nature and preserving it for future generations.  What can you do to help the natural areas near where you live?  Try meeting with a local parks & rec department, or hosting a playground cleanup with some friends!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

AR-303059958Russell M. Peters, also known as Fast Turtle, wrote this book in order to continue his life’s work of preserving his Wampanoag community and their traditions.  Unfortunately, he passed away in 2002 and little is able to be found online about his life and devotion to these causes.

 

 

 

Even less is able to be found about photographer John Madama!  We would love to find out more information, if anyone knows anything!

The Shofar Must Go On…

Written by: Lina Schwarz

Illustrated by: Yong Chen

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, Love, Religion, Jewish Culture & Traditions, Problem-Solving, Community. 

Summary: It is almost Rosh Hashanah and Harry is missing his mother, a talented trumpeter, who is out of town playing a concert. Even more unfortunate is Harry’s father, who always blows the shofar at their synagogue, is sick and can’t play it this year.

When Harry’s mother returns, he gets an idea. She is the one that blows the shofar at their temple to ring in the new year, and Harry thinks maybe it is time for him to start to practice the shofar as well!

This book, much like Sky-High Sukkah is an introduction to a Jewish holiday. It explains the importance of the holiday and the ram’s horn shofar as a significant piece of that. While Harry’s mom is not named in the book and several other adult male characters are, having a female character be able to perform an important honor for the holiday proceedings is a breath of fresh air.

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you think Harry feels when his mom is out of town?
  • Would you feel proud if one of your family members were so good at doing something that they got invited lots of different places?
  • Blowing the shofar at synagogue seems like a very special event, how would you feel if you were asked to do so?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Is there a large Jewish population in your community?  If so, the shofar might be a well-known object to you!  If so, how can you use your knowledge to help others that might be unfamiliar with Rosh Hashanah?  If you’re the unfamiliar one, where can you find out more information?
  • Learn about other musical instruments that are used for either holidays or other special occasions.  How are they made and when are they used during special events?  If possible, take a field trip to a local instrument shop and learn more in-depth about how instruments are made.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Author Lina Schwarz keeps a very low profile online and we can’t find anything out them!  If you have any leads, let us know!

yong_2018Yong Chen is the illustrator for this book! Before Yong Chen immigrated to the United States, he was a high school art instructor and science teacher. After immigrating to the United States in 1989, Yong studied graphic design, painting and illustration in Boston, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hartford.

Yong is a published author, illustrator and painter. He has illustrated/authored children’s books and children’s magazines. His oil and watercolor paintings have been exhibited in art galleries and museums both in China and United States. He is also a pioneer of teaching painting using online technology for college students and through his website EnjoyingArt.com.

 

Introducing: Colours of Us

 

Happy Saturday!  Today we are featuring Colours of Us, a beautiful website run by Svenja.  This website is a catch-all for insightful blog posts, multicultural books, toys, and clothing.  After you finish reading our interview with Svenja, hop on over to her website and explore all that she has to offer!  


 

TTA: Introduce yourself!

CoU: Hi, I’m Svenja, an adoptive mom and social worker, originally from Germany, living in South Africa. As a mom of two little Black girls, I always search for multicultural children’s books that have a positive message, and that do not support stereotypes. I share my findings on my website, Colours of Us.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

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Svenja’s Adorable Daughters, reading on the couch!

 

CoU: I am passionate about diversity, social justice and promoting diverse books. I believe all children deserve to see themselves reflected in the books they read and the toys they play with. Representation matters!

TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on!

CoU: For this year I want to focus specifically on promoting own voices, i.e. books that are written by authors of the same culture/race/ethnicity they are writing about. In addition to the multicultural books, toys and clothes that I feature on my website, I am also working on adding other multicultural resources for children. My aim is for Colours of Us to be a one-stop source for all multicultural children’s resources.

 

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

CoU: By spreading the word about my website (www.coloursofus.com) and sharing my book lists on social media. I am also always happy to collaborate with like-minded people.

 

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The front cover of  I Am Enough

 

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?

CoU: Ah, that is always such a difficult question because there are so many multicultural children’s book me and my daughters love! But it would probably have to be I Am Enough by Grace Byers, a beautiful lyrical ode to loving yourself, respecting others, and being kind to one another.

TTA: What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

CoU: I’m looking forward to exciting new book releases and meeting more like-minded people. The network of multicultural children’s book bloggers is so supportive and I have met some amazing people through my work!


Stay connected with

Colours of Us!

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Colours of Us

Colours of Us on Instagram

Colours of Us on Facebook