Category Archives: Global Community

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

 

Dinosaurs Divorce; A Guide for Changing Families

Written & Illustrated by: Laurene Krasny Brown & Marc Brown

For ages: 6 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, Love, Community, Divorce, Friendship, Social-Emotional Learning.

Summary: This book begins with a Contents page and list of ‘Divorce Words’ with definitions. The book covers lots of sensitive topics, like fighting parents or ways that parents show they’re angry with each other. Next brings some explanations about how the reader (ostensibly the child whose parents are getting divorced) might be feeling, and how they can express it to parents. Specifically mentioned is not having to listen to one parent speak poorly about the other. This book encourages the child advocating for themselves with needing affection, space for processing emotions, and getting into the routine of living in two houses. Next up are more tricky topics of meeting one parent’s ‘new friend’ and how to navigate a potential step-parent, step-siblings, and moving into a bigger house to accommodate a growing family.

This book touches on a lot of emotional issues, and explains them in a developmentally appropriate manner for young children. It doesn’t shy away from issues like a child not loving their step-parent and instead emphasizes respecting them instead of insisting that they try and love them. While a child may grow to love the step-parent, the book very much validated the beginning emotions that children experience when a new adult joins their life. Overall, the book emphasizes love and the love parents have for their children despite getting a divorce. The book does touch briefly on only spending time with one parent, but does not go into great detail. The next illustration after offers spending time with other trusted adults instead and shows a grandmotherly figure. This book is from 1986, but continues to ring true today!

Reflection Questions:

  • How can you let others know what you’re feeling, and what you need because of it?
  • What are some things you can do to be a good friend to someone who may be going through a family-changing event?
  • If any of your family members ever got divorced, do you think this book would help them?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Families come in all shapes and sizes, and live all different distances.  Instead of celebrating a specific family member on a holiday, try having a Fancy Friendship party or Family Day where all loved ones can gather and spend time together.
  • A big part of this book are the comic panel illustrations!  Try writing and drawing your own comic book.  Work by yourself or in a small group to decide what characters you will have in your comic book, and get to drawing!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

bio-image-handsLaurene Krasny Brown was born in New York City, NY!  Prior to her career in fine art, Laurene authored, and in one volume also illustrated, sixteen popular picture books for children. She has broad academic and professional experience in education, the arts, and children’s cognitive development.

 

 

PT_grab_about_brownMarc Brown is best known for the Arthur book series!  Marc Brown is also one of the most prominent names in children’s literature. Author of the bestselling Arthur books, as well as the creator of the six-time Emmy Award–winning animated Arthur series on PBS (with 17 Emmy nominations), Brown is a household name and has been entertaining generations of young readers with his relatable stories featuring Arthur the Aardvark. Over 65 million copies of his Arthur books have been sold, and in recent years, Brown has illustrated such award-winning and critically acclaimed picture books as Wild About Books, Born to Read, ZooZical!, and Wild About You! His latest book, In New York, introduces children to the city he now calls home.

Marc enjoys speaking to children, students, educators, parents, and all who are interested in his work. Not only does he speak about his career as an author-illustrator, but he frequently discusses the importance of reading to young children and is considered by many to be one of the prominent voices in the push to make literacy a priority in families and children’s lives. Marc has given lectures tailored to art students, and has spoken on college campuses about the power that art and illustration can have. An energetic, thoughtful, and engaging speaker, Marc is sure to provide a wealth of knowledge to each group of people he speaks to.

 

Introducing Line4Line

 Line 4 Line grew out of LSU’s Neighborhood Arts Project in Baton Rouge. It’s one of the outreach programs of LSU’s Museum of Art, as well as the Art Works Program, a program which focuses on bringing kids from low-performing schools to the art museum. The LSU program is so much more than just a reading program at a barbershop. They have worked to add books and reading to so many different parts of their community, including reading programs during museum tours and Little Libraries.

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Lucy Perera

O’Neil Curtis and Lucy Perera were kind enough to answer our questions, and we couldn’t be happier to help spread the word about their amazing literacy program!

TTA: Introduce yourself!

L4L: We are O’Neil Curtis and Lucy Perera, founders of Line4Line. O’Neil was born and raised in Baton Rouge Louisiana and is owner of O’Neil’s Barber and Beauty Salon. Ever since he was young he always wanted to be a barber, but he also has always been interested in helping others. O’Neil has a daughter in 5th grade and realizes the importance of literacy as a key to success in life. He also has experienced many of the same obstacles that lead children to not identify as readers and thus created Line4Line as a creative program to show boys that reading is cool. Lucy Perera was born in Boston and had two high school kids. She helps with all of the program details of Line4Line that don’t involve cutting hair. She loves art, animals and children’s books specifically diverse culturally relevant books –  so that children can see themselves and relate to what’s on the pages.  Lucy has worked in the field of arts / museum education for 20 years and loves to develop community programs that serve a direct need.

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O’Neil Curtis

TTA: What are you passionate about?

L4L: O’Neil –  is passionate about his community, family, helping others, being a role model for young boys and young men.  Lucy is passionate about nature, history and kids –like O’Neil Lucy believes in the goodness and potential of everyone  and thus works to create programs that creatively work to inspire kids to be their most creative talented selves.

IMG_1730TTA: Tell us about a project you’re currently working on! 

L4L: Getting our library backspace up so that books can be available for kids to check out who visit the barbershop and to have Saturday programs in that space.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

L4L: We appreciate suggestions of books, authors sending us new books, having people share our program and of course donations. Line4Line is run 100% through volunteers, funds raised go towards books and program materials. In a dream world we could have funds to expand our program into other barbershops around our city, state, region and beyond.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018? 

L4L: So many great books —-Lucy’s Favorite adult book was Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.  Her favorite children’s book was Julian is a Mermaid! – O’Neils favorite adult book was the art and science of respect by James Prince, and children’s book was 12 rounds to glory: the story of Muhammad Ali” by Charles R. Smith jr.

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

L4L: Continuing to make a difference — one book, one haircut and one conversation at a time.

Stay Connected with Line 4 Line!

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Line 4 Line

Line 4 Line on Instagram

Line 4 Line on Facebook

Introducing: Aminata Jalloh of Readers Inspired!

Hello everyone!  We hope you have been enjoying this series as much as we have, it’s been great to connect with others in the children’s literature community.  This week, Readers Inspired!  Aminata’s answers are so thoughtful, and we hope you head over to the links to her website and social media below to check out her work more in-depth!

TTA: Introduce yourself!

View More: http://beyajohnsonphotography.pass.us/aminata-headshotsAJ: My name is Aminata Jalloh and I am children’s book author and education blogger. Through my platform, Readers Inspired, I highlight African heritage picture books, share advice on publishing books for children and tips for supporting reading development and comprehension for young children.

During the day, I work as an Education Adviser for an international development and humanitarian organization. Through this work, I have co-authored teachers’ guides, student workbooks and learning aids to help children around the world learn to read and write better.

TTA: What are you passionate about?

AJ: I am extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion, moreover, the role of education to support young children to build positive attitudes about diversity and inclusion. As a first generation, Sierra Leonean-American, the intersections of identities always interested me. However, in elementary school, I did not see books that told stories of intersections of identities.

Over a decade later, when I began my career in education as a classroom teacher not much had changed. This is what inspired me to write The Biggest Little Brother,” the story about a black immigrant family split between two countries. The story follows the experiences of the two siblings—one who was born in the US and one who was born and lived in Sierra Leone— as they navigate their relationship.the biggest little brother

Although, things are improving when it comes to the availability of children’s books about African identities, cultures and experiences, many of the traditionally published African heritage children’s books are not written by #ownvoices authors. Moreover, rely on stereotypical and monolithic representations of African identities and experiences. I have been reaching out to some amazing #ownvoices authors writing African heritage books and sharing insight about their experiences on the Readers Inspired blog.

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

AJ: Right now, I am working a series of teaching resources for KG-3rd-grade teachers in the United States who want to teach about contemporary Sub-Sahara Africa.

I am super excited about it and putting my African Studies concentration to use in the creation of learning materials.

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

AJ: People can stay support the journey by joining the Readers Inspired family through our monthly newsletter! They can join here.

Also, people can tell friend and family about “The Biggest Little Brother,” and even suggest it as a title for their local library to carry.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?drawn together

AJ: My favorite book for 2018 is Drawn Together by Minh Lê! It is a great story about the intergenerational relationship of a young boy and his grandfather.

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

AJ: In the coming year, I am looking to collaborating with more creative and publishing my second children’s book!

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Stay Connected with Aminata!

Readers Inspired

Readers Inspired Monthly Newsletter

@readersinspired on Instagram

@ReadersInspired on Twitter

Readers Inspired on Facebook

Introducing: Matters of Representation

Welcome to the second installment of our Sound Off Saturday Series!  

We are pleased to introduce you to

Laura Obuobi of Matters of Representation:

TTA: Introduce yourself!

MoR: Hello! My name is Laura Obuobi. I was born and raised in Ghana, but have been living in the United States for several years now. I am currently a Preschool Teacher in New York City, and have been teaching for the past 8 years. 

TTA: What are you passionate about?

MoR: Reading and books is something that has always held a soft spot in my heart. I love a good story. I was an avid reader as a child, and even though adulting and work responsibilities make it difficult at times, I am trying to read as avidly as I did when I was a child. I have a long and ever growing TBR list! Over the years, and soon after I started teaching preschoolers, I became really interested in children’s books, and soon I started looking out for multicultural books. About a year ago, on October 12th, 2017, I started Matters Of Representation to address this yearning to collect and curate multicultural children’s books. A few months into that, I decided to focus my search only on books featuring girls and women of color – picture books, middle grade, and Young Adults books, written by authors of color. I am also deeply interested in Black History, and issues related to the Black Diaspora; I am constantly hungry for information pertaining to the history of my people, and the connections we hold with one another. I care about the way African children are represented in children’s books as well, and keep my eyes on the look out for African centered picture books that stay away from the stereotypical safari, charity, and poverty vibes that we often see depicted in books about Africa. The generalizations and lack of specificity that is often made in these books bothers me, and I hope to find and accumulate a collection of books that feature African children and people in a way that is true of the diversity represented on the continent.

I really care about how women and girls are featured not just in books but in the media, and even in the toy industry. If you visit my page, you will see the occasional doll posted. Dolls channel another way to tell stories about ourselves, and it is important for children to be able to see themselves represented in dolls. Dolls of color are underrepresented, and there are not many to choose from. The few black dolls that are available for children often do not accurately depict the varying shades of brown skin and importantly, hair texture that is representative of the Black community. So, when I come across a doll company that is doing this work, I share their work with my followers. I really feel that girls and women of color do not have enough nuanced, positive representations of themselves in the media and especially books. My goal with Matters Of Representation is for it to become a resource that houses a vast collection and array of books and other information that empowers and inspires other girls of color. I have also recently started writing, and hope to get published one day soon! And I hope that one day I will open my own publishing company! These are the things that consume my thoughts outside of my 9 to 5!    

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

MoR: I am constantly thinking about how I can continue to improve, grow, and evolve on the work I am doing with regards to Matters Of Representation. Creating a website to complement the Instagram page has been on my mind for a while, and I hope to get that squared away in a few months.   

TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

MoR: Follow my page, share my posts, recommend books, articles, or resources that support the empowering of young girls of color.

TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?

MoR: I didn’t have to think too hard or long about this one – Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi. I could not put it down. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance. 

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

MoR: Discovering more authors/illustrators of color, and reading more books!

Girls Think of Everything; Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

Written by: Catherine Thimmesh

Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet

For ages: 9-13 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Women in STEM, Inventions, Historical Figures, Feminism, Global Community.

Summary: This book is designed for elementary students, to learn more in-depth about women inventors.  Covering inventions like Scotchguard, Kevlar, Liquid Paper, and the Illusion Transmitter, the book is illustrated with colorful collaged artwork to accompany the stories.  Each story is around two and a half pages long, with a full-page picture and a few other small pictures interspersed.  There are also small facts written in bold, hot pink cursive about the inventions themselves such as what the packaging facilities of the Snugli looked liked, or how many lives have been saved by Kevlar bulletproof vests.

This book’s design really meshes educational with creative!  The stories are more detailed for older readers, but still short enough to be readable in a few minutes during a short car ride, waiting for an appointment, or before bed.  The stories are exciting rather than just dry and academic.  In the back of the book is the address for the US Patent Office, as well as sources and more information about the inventors featured.  This is a great YA book to inspire both future inventors and artists alike!

Reflection Questions:

  • Which of these inventions have you used before?
  • Did you know the origin story of how the invention came to be?
  • Do you think being an inventor sounds like a fun job?
  • What do you think might be challenging about trying to design something that’s never been seen before?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Think about something you use on a regular basis.  Do you know who invented it?  Learn more about them.  Are there any books written about them?  If not, write one of your own!
  • What is something that would make your or someone else’s life easier, but it hasn’t been invented yet?  Draw up some plans and make a prototype.  Will your product work, or is it back to the drawing board?
  • Get in touch with an engineer or inventor in your area.  Skype them or have them visit your classroom!  Learn about what it takes to design products and all of the steps to have them be released into the market/into use.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

A1zITsthAQL._UX250_Catherine Thimmesh is the Sibert Medal-winning author of Team Moon. Her newest book, Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled, explores the scientific sleuthing that paleoartists continually perform to make sure they’re accurately representing dinosaurs in their paintings and illustrations. Madam President, a New York Times notable book, was recently updated to reflect recent advances for women in politics, including Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the presidency. Catherine’s previous books, Girls Think of Everything and The Sky’s the Limit, have been translated into Korean and Chinese. Girls Think of Everything won the 2001 IRA Children’s Book Award, was a Children’s Book of the Month Best Nonfiction Book 2000, a Minnesota Book Award finalist, and a Smithsonian Notable Book 2000 (amongst other honors). The Sky’s the Limit won the Minnesota Book Award in 2002, was a Smithsonian Notable Book 2002, and an Outstanding Science and Social Studies Trade Book for Children 2002. The author lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota with her husband and two children.

melissa-sweet-flounderMelissa Sweet has illustrated over 100 books as well as many toys, puzzles, games for eeBoo. Her work has been in magazines, on greeting cards and as drawings on her living room walls.  She has written four books: Carmine: A Little More Red, a New York Times Best Illustrated book; Tupelo Rides the Rails; Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, a Sibert Award winner (for informational books) and a NCTE Orbis Pictus winner (for nonfiction).  Her most recent book, Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, was a New York Times Best Seller and garnered an NCTE Orbis Pictus award.  Melissa has illustrated three books by author Jen Bryant: A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos WilliamsThe Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, both garnered Caldecott Honors. A Splash of Red: The Art of Horace Pippin, was a Sibert Award and Orbis Pictus Award winner.

Introducing: Embracing Equity

Welcome to the first installment of our Sound Off Saturday Series!  

We are pleased to introduce you to Daisy Han of Embracing Equity:

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Daisy Han

TTA: Introduce yourself!

I’m Daisy Han, and I believe in the power of education to nurture resistance and dismantle systems of oppression. With over 10 years of experience teaching in the classroom and serving as a socio-emotional learning (SEL) facilitator, I value and have seen the impact of uniting people from diverse backgrounds and providing experiential opportunities for meaningful community building. I am a partner at The Wildflower Foundation, a co-founder and Director of Curriculum at DEEP (Disruptive Equity Education Project), and am a founding board member of Montessori for Social Justice. I have Montessori teaching certifications in lower and upper elementary and secondary I and secondary II education. Recently, I taught a yearlong course on “Leading for Equity” at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and I continue to partner with school leaders in dismantling systemic racism and creating equitable opportunities for all students in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My most recent work focuses on adult learning and the spiritual preparation of self in one’s own racial and ethnic identity through an organization I founded called Embracing Equity.

 TTA: What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about embracing equity, justice, and delicious food to fuel the revolution! 

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

I am currently working on a project to offer teacher education programs an affiliation to social justice education work. This would allow for us to have far-reaching influence on how teachers are trained and impact the adult learning that is happening before educators enter the field. 

 TTA: How can people support you on your journey?

Advocate for Embracing Equity to come to your school/organization/workplace. We provide experiential learning opportunities grounded in research-based adult learning for people to build their consciousness, capacity, and skills to tackle the white supremacy culture that has been internalized as well as the systemic racism that has been embedded in our society — across all industries and fields. We offer programs that are both accessible online as well as in-person so that we can meet you where you are and link arms in this movement for justice. 

 TTA: What book was your favorite in 2018?

Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva 

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

I am looking forward to marrying the love of my life back home in Maui, Hawaii!

TTA: Thank you so much! If you would like to get to know the organizations that Daisy is involved with, including Embracing Equity, check out the links below!

Embracing Equity

The Wildflower Foundation

DEEP (Disruptive Equity Education Project)

Montessori for Social Justice