Black Heroes of the Wild West

Written By: James Otis Smith

Illustrated by: Kadir Nelson

For Ages: 7 years & Up

Language: English

Topics Covered: History, Black Historical Figures, Wild West, Colonization, Violence, Alcohol,

Summary: This graphic novel is SO cool! It’s broken into 3 chapters, each covering a Black historical figure that lived out in the west. First, we learn about Stagecoach Mary, who seemed to do a bit of everything. She was born into enslavement, liberated, and moved to Montana when a friend of hers fell ill. She once defended herself in -30 temperatures against a wolf pack for the entire night after her mail delivery stagecoach broke down! My favorite anecdote is that she was the only woman allowed in some of the saloons to play cards and drink with the men. In the next 2 chapters we learn about Bass Reeves and Bob Lemmons, who became well-known in their own right.

The book contains historical photos, and is suited for ages 7 and up. Of course it being the Wild West, there is mention of violence, alcohol, and racism. There is also mention of converting Indigenous people to Christianity and other colonialist topics. I like this graphic novel because it introduces the reader to the idea that not all cowboys were white, and the inclusion of historical information in the back tells more about how what we see as cowboys in the media was not the norm: many of them were Mexican, Native American, and Black. The photos in the back do a fantastic job of specifically naming the tribal nations of the individuals pictured, and discusses interracial relationships between Black people joining Indigenous communities (particularly Seminole). The blending of the topics of Indigenous colonization and forced migration with Black liberation from enslavement can provide powerful historical context for readers to better understand that life in the Wild West wasn’t all saloons and roping cattle. This book bucks the tradition of whitewashed cowboy media that we see, and with it’s exciting comic style and illustrations by Kadir Nelson how can you not want to jump on horseback right after reading?

This book was kindly sent by PubSpotlight and published by Toon Books. All opinions are my own!

James Otis Smith

James Otis Smith is a multi-talented artist whose work spans illustration, comics, motion graphics, and video. Formerly a member of the Act-i-vate Comix collective, he designed and illustrated the children’s book Ancient Lands with writer Jason McCammon, among others. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. 

Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson (b. 1974) is an award-winning American author and artist based in Los Angeles, California. His paintings are in the permanent collections of several notable institutions including the United States House of Representatives, the Muskegon Museum of Art, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, United States Postal Museum, the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, and most recently, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, the World Trade Center, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Nelson received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and upon graduating with highest honors, he was summoned by DreamWorks Pictures to create conceptual artwork for Steven Spielberg’s Oscar® nominated feature, “Amistad” and the animated feature, “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”. He is the recipient of multiple awards from the Society of Illustrators in New York, including the prestigious Hamilton King Award as well the 2020 recipient of the Caldecott Medal and Coretta Scott King Award for illustration. He adds this to multiple Caldecott Honors, Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, New York Times Best Illustrated Book Awards, several NAACP Image Awards and an Olympic Art Bronze medal, among others. Mr. Nelson has also created artwork for a host of distinguished clients, including but not limited to National Geographic, HBO, Nike, Disney, Hennessy, and Sony Music, for whom he painted the cover artwork for Michael Jackson’s posthumously released album, “Michael,” which was listed in the Guinness Book of Records® for the largest poster in the world. Nelson’s artwork was also featured on the cover of recording artist Drake’s multi-platinum selling album, “Nothing Was the Same”; over a dozen commemorative US postage stamps honoring American legends, such as Major League All-Stars Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio, NBA great Wilt Chamberlain, and most recently Motown’s Prince of Soul Marvin Gaye, which altogether have sold several million stamps.

Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light

Written & Illustrated by: Apryl Stott

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Nature, BIPOC Protagonists, Animals, Friendship, Kindness.

Summary: Most of you have probably heard my flippant comments about bears in books, because they’re such a popular character, and here’s where I eat my words (and some of these cookies). Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light is a story that follows a little girl named Coco try and help her friend Bear convince the other forest animals that he’s actually quite nice (and an excellent dancer). The pair decide to bake some cookies and craft some lanterns in accordance to an idiom that Coco’s grandmother often said, “When life gets dark as winter’s night, share some kindness, bring some light.” Things don’t go exactly according to plan, but Coco and Bear take things in stride and figure out a way to embody the old saying.

This story is really adorable, and I love Coco’s character. She sees an innate goodness in others and wants to help her friend not be misunderstood. The story is also a lesson about what kindness really means, and can lend itself to larger discussions on intent vs impact. You know I’m always on the lookout for BIPOC protagonists (especially girls!) out in nature, and having an SEL component in the story is an added bonus. Such a cute winter story that has no holiday connotation, I definitely recommend checking out this debut by Apryl Stott and sharing some cookies with friends of your own!

This book was kindly sent by Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are my own!

Apryl Stott

Author-illustrator Apryl Stott grew up drawing and making delightful creative messes. Her first story, “How to Get Rid of My Baby Sister” was written in third grade. Since then, she has learned how to be kind to her sister and how to clean up after herself. Mostly. She spends her days working in her studio, listening to podcasts, and picking up after her daughter’s delightful creative messes. Share Some Kindness, Bring Some Light is her first picture book.

My Rainbow

Written By: Trinity & DeShanna Neal

Illustrated by: Art Twink

For Ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: LGBTQ Youth, Transgender Youth, Family, Empowerment, Neurodiversity, Autism, Own Voices.

Summary: This book is absolutely phenomenal, made all the more powerful by it being a true & own voices story. Trinity is a young, Black, autistic girl and has a wonderful relationship with her family. She’s playing with her siblings one day when she tells her mom she can’t be a girl, because her hair is too short. Confused for a moment, Trinity’s mother points out her own short hair. Trinity explains that it’s different, because she’s transgender. She needs longer hair to feel more whole. Trinity’s mother, DeShanna, and one of Trinity’s siblings Lucien, go to the wig shop to find something for Trinity as a surprise. DeShanna loves and celebrates her daughter, and comes up with a plan that will help Trinity have hair that represents her.

I love many things about this story, and the empowering language is probably the number one aspect that I can’t say enough about. DeShanna unequivocally supports and celebrates her daughter, knowing that everything that makes her unique adds to her beauty. DeShanna trusts her children and recognizes that they know themselves the best. My Rainbow is a beautiful story that reflects Black trans youth and neurodiversity, and having Trinity and DeShanna write the book, and a QTPOC illustrator makes it that much more meaningful. Our literature should reflect the multifaceted lives of all global citizens, particularly those that are underrepresented and marginalized. I love the way DeShanna describes Trinity as a masterpiece, which is how every person should be described by the people that love them most. DeShanna is committed to ensuring her family is treated with love and respect both in and out of the home, and that other transgender children are understood and loved in their communities as well, which is truly such a beautiful goal that is unequivocally achieved by this book.

Trinity & DeShanna Neal

DeShanna and Trinity Neal are a mother-daughter team of writers, advocates for black and transgender rights and awareness, and have been featured in major publications such as National GeographicThe Advocate, and Essence. DeShanna and Trinity write to foster understanding between transgender, cisgender, and nonbinary children.

This photo is from 2017, and was found here!

Art Twink

Art Twink grew up drawing critters they thought up to comfort themselves and their friends, and that mission continues to this very day. For Art Twink, art is for creating community and safety in a world that offers very little of either. After 6 years of working in graphic apparel design for brands like Disney, Marvel, Nintendo, and Star Wars, Art Twink is well versed in the technical and commercial world of visual art. However, at heart Art Twink is a storyteller. They carry on the tradition of telling stories that inspire, validate, and comfort people and creatures in hard times as a trans artist of color.

Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak & Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue

Illustrated By: Roy Henry Vickers

Written by: Robert Budd

For Ages: Infant & Up (board book)

Language: English

Topics Covered: Indigenous Voices, Nature, Animals, Pacific Northwest, First Nations.

Summary: I’m in LOVE with this series! The artwork by Roy Henry Vickers is stunning, and I love the textures that add tactile details for readers. The colors are bright and the simple text introduce language and colors to readers using the natural world and various PNW critters. I also love the iconic First Nations imagery that is worked into the landscape and textures as well.

Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak: This book focuses on different sounds a person would hear when they’re enjoying the West Coast natural wonders. I like that the combination of sounds are both humans and animals, with beautifully rich colors used on the pages.

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue: This book focuses on colors found out in nature, and it’s just as beautiful. Language evokes sense memories of the different seasons, and raised details provide lovely inspiration to run fingers over the pages.

I’m so pleased to have been able to read these books from First Nations creators from the West Coast. Living on the East Coast, the distribution isn’t as widespread over here. I love the blending of culture and nature, and the text is so lyrical I can see these books becoming treasured stories for many years to come.

These 2 board books were kindly sent by Harbour Publishing, but all opinions are my own!

Roy Henry Vickers

Roy Henry Vickers, a world – renowned Canadian First Nations artist began his career as a print maker. He made a name for himself when he built the Roy Henry Vickers Gallery in 1986 in Tofino, BC. People from all over the world travel to witness his creations, from the Limited Edition Prints, to his Original Paintings and the building he built himself with close friends and family.

Robert Budd

Robert (Lucky) Budd holds an MA in history and has digitized many high-profile oral history collections including that of the Nisga’a First Nation. He is the author of Voices of British Columbia (Douglas & McIntyre, 2010), a bestseller which was shortlisted for the 2011 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, and its sequel, Echoes of British Columbia.

In 2013 Budd co-authored Raven Brings the Light with Roy Henry Vickers, who contributed 19 original art pieces to the book.The book became a national bestseller in Canada. They collaborated again in 2014 on the book Cloudwalker, in 2015 on the book Orca Chief, and in 2016 on the book Peace Dancer. Their first three books together were each short-listed for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes. Orca Chief was also the winner of the Moonbeam Spirit Award for Preservation, and nominated for the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award and Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. And all four books have also been national bestsellers and referred to as the Northwest Coast Legends Series. 

Budd currently lives in Victoria, BC.

Cover Reveal: Ocean Soup

Written By: Meeg Pincus

Illustrated by: Lucy Semple

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Environmental Activism, Sustainability, Nature, Ocean, Empowerment.

Summary: Hey everyone! When Sleeping Bear Press reached out about doing a cover reveal about a book that focused on environmentalism and sustainability, I was so excited! Here is what the publisher says about this forthcoming book:

Ocean Soup: A Recipe for You, Me, and a Cleaner Sea “is the story of a recipe for environmental disaster. From the surface, young readers may not realize how much plastic and debris is stewing deep at the bottom of the ocean– but there’s a lot. Tons and tons of it, in fact, that has built up after decades of man-made pollution and environmental negligence. This “plastic smog” threatens the ocean’s future, infecting marine creatures and ocean life, including the fish we humans eat.   

But there’s still time to turn it around! At the back of the book, a “Recipe of Hope” is given that instructs readers on the efforts they can make in their everyday lives to slow the boil of “ocean soup.” As a southern California native, author Meeg Pincus wrote this book in order to examine her own ecological choices. At the end, Meeg invites readers to join her and commit to do better by our oceans. This book releases just in time for Earth Day in March, and can be included in lessons on ecology and activism!”

I was also lucky enough to be able to ask author Meeg Pincus a question about the book, and I really wanted to know why she felt compelled to write this book! Here is her response: 
“I grew up near the beach and married a surfer (we now have two surfing kids), so I have a personal connection with the ocean and keeping it healthy. But, what really compelled me to write Ocean Soup was realizing that most young kids’ education about ocean plastic focuses on recycling and “cleaning it up.” 
Microplastics—broken-down plastics that have seeped into the world’s waters—can’t be cleaned up. (They’re what have created “Ocean Soup.”) And, while it’s good to recycle, recycling is not working as a main solution. Expert scientists say we must drastically reduce mass plastic production—in other words, we must be activists calling on plastic producers to change—to even make a dent in this huge problem, alongside our individual and community habits. 
I knew young children could understand the (really fascinating) science of ocean microplastics and the real needed solutions, if it all was presented to them in a kid-friendly manner. So, I set out to write that book for them.”

Ocean Soup will be released on March 15, 2021! The book is available for presale online and at Diesel Del Mar which is actually Meeg’s local independent bookstore. You can also check out more information on the Sleeping Bear website here.

Meeg Pincus

From her website: “Meeg Pincus is a kidlit nonfiction author. Humane educator. Book editor. Library lover. Diverse kidlit advocate. The happily book nerdy list goes on.

I have a lifelong passion for nonfiction books. Reading them, writing them, editing them. I’ve been writing & editing nonfiction in some form or another for over 25 years—and I still love it. (Learn more about my writing/editing background—and my much longer, full name—here.)

I’m also passionate about education & making our world a kinder, healthier, more inclusive & affirming place. This led me to the field of humane education: teaching people to be “solutionaries”—problem-solvers who help people, animals & the planet.

Nowadays I write “Solutionary Stories” for elementary-age children—nonfiction & informational books that inspire kids to make a difference.”

Lucy Semple

Midlands based Illustrator specialising in children’s publishing.  

From her website: “I love creating little worlds for fun, humorous characters to live in, which are often inspired by my daughter, who when I’m not illustrating is taking up most of my time.”

The Heart of Mi Familia

Written By: Carrie Lara

Illustrated by: Christine Battuz

For Ages: 4-8

Language: English & Spanish

Topics Covered: Multilingual Families, Bicultural Experiences, Latinx, Social-Emotional Learning.

Summary: This book follows a young girl as she talks about the two different sides of her family: her father was born in Central America and her abuela still lives there; her mother was born in the US, after her family immigrated several generations ago.

Our main character is helping both her abuela and grandma get together a special birthday surprise for her younger brother. The story beautifully weaves together a bicultural family, Spanish, and happy memories from various events with grandparents. In the back in an author’s note from Carrie Lara, PsyD, she draws on both professional and personal experiences to talk at length about empowering bicultural children to embrace their unique identities and experiences. It includes tips about supporting students and children, as well as dealing with discrimination. The story overall is beautiful and focuses on the similarities between the different family members houses, and what she does with her cousins.

I really love this publisher because of the care they take to have well-researched and thorough information at the back of the books. They tackle topics with care, professionalism, and background knowledge that leaves the parent, caregiver, or educator feeling prepared to discuss the finer points of the story with a single or group of young readers.

This book was kindly sent by Magination Press, but all opinions are my own!

Carrie Lara

Carrie Lara, PsyD, specializes in working with children and families on child and human development, including foster and adoptive youth, those with learning disabilities and special education, and children dealing with trauma, using attachment-based play therapy.

She lives in Sonoma County, California.

Christine Battuz

Christine Battuz has illustrated more than 60 children books, including Marvelous MaravillosoMy Sister Beth’s Pink Birthday, and Shy Spaghetti and Excited Eggs. Her work appears in educational books, magazines, toys, and toy packaging. She teaches art to adults and children of all ages.

She lives in Bromont, Quebec.

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

Written By: Joanna Ho

Illustrated by: Dung Ho

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, Asian Protagonists, Self-Esteem, Confidence, Social-Emotional Learning, Own Voices.

Summary: This book is stunningly beautiful in artwork and text. This empowering story has a main character that loves that her eyes are the same as her family members, their eyes all kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea. The story focuses on joy and loving family; the things they do together, the happy moments they relish, and their eyes that glow like a revolution.

In a society that has very entrenched Eurocentric beauty standards portrayed in the media, self-esteem and confidence is truly a revolutionary act. The illustrations that Dung Ho brought to life phenomenally support the text. The colors are bright, and the pictures are a mix of actual family moments and abstract imaginations from our main character.

I’m sure you’ve been seeing this book all of Instagram lately, and rightfully so! Eyes That Kiss in the Corners is a story that fills the reader with warm joy, and I’m so, so excited for it to be out in the world in early 2021!

This book was kindly sent by HarperKids, but all opinions are my own. This beautiful story will be released in January, but you can preorder it here!

Joanna Ho

From Joanna’s bio for silly people:

“I live in the Bay Area, California with my two rascally children. When I’m not at home stepping on LEGOs and chasing around a toddler who won’t put on her pull-up, I’m at my school doing big, important vice principal things like chasing around teenagers who refuse to go to class.

In the summer, you can find me in a muumuu and flip-flops planning trips to the beach and eating buckets of Marianne’s 1020 ice cream. In the winter, I live in baggy sweats and fuzzy socks, and I turn into a holiday tradition overlord who is determined to pack every possible holiday activity into not enough time. This is how I became a writer of children’s books; I was hunting for holiday books with diverse characters for my newborn, and realized there weren’t very many. I started writing because I believe all kids need to see themselves and others in books. 

If I’m not writing, vice-principalling, or mommying, I am most likely searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, reading books by diverse creators, or tromping through nature on epic outdoor adventures.” 

Dung Ho

Dung Ho is an illustrator based in Viet Nam. Dung focuses on children books, game design, character design.

Okapi Tale

Written By: Jacob Kramer

Illustrated by: K-Fai Steele

For Ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Anti-Capitalism, Social Movements, Community Organizing, Pasta, Sequels.

Summary: Listen…I know…I KNOW I’m late to reviewing this book. It’s been out for over a month, and I’ve just now gotten my life together enough to gather my thoughts on it.

But seriously, Okapi Tale is amazing. I’ve known it was amazing…because I got to read it before it came out! So I sat on it, doing my best to not spoil it. And I did that so well I’m finally reviewing it now, for December’s #fictionfeast winter extravaganza!

Noodlephant has gone traveling, off to find the tastiest noodle dishes the world has to offer. While she’s gone, and Okapi comes to town, illegally buys the publicly-owned Phantastic Noodler, and begins to create a noodle-opoly by building a factory and buying all the grocery stores in town. When Noodlephant returns from her journey, she and her friends must topple over the empire the Okapi-talist has built and return Beaston to the creatures.

Okapi Tale continues the lessons that Noodlephant began, emphasizing the importance of workers rights, community organizing, and anti-capitalism. Noodlephant focused on the civil rights of citizens, and Okapi Tale focuses on another aspect of human rights: safe work environments and resisting price-gouging. I don’t post a lot of books with animal main characters, but this set of books is the exception. The lessons are essential for young readers, especially to help develop their critical thinking skills and Okapi Tale is the latest required reading when focusing on a curriculum that foregrounds social justice education.

Jacob Kramer

Jacob 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 Steele

From illustrator’s K-Fai Steele’swebsite: “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.”

Grow

Written By: Cynthia Platt

Illustrated by: Olivia Holden

For Ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Community, BIPOC Protagonists, Garden, Cooperation.

Summary: I’m a sucker for a community garden story, and Grow is an adorable rendition of one. A young girl sees an abandoned lot in her city and decides to plant a packet of seeds there. Slowly, more people catch on and join her. In a community effort, the lot is transformed into a usable and beautiful space in the community for everyone to gather!

The prose in this book is simple and beautiful, and the illustrations perfectly match the text. I actually really love the serene smile on the main character’s face for the entire story. She seems to be happy working by herself, and happy to be joined by others. When the project is completed, she’s surrounded by neighbors that she’s inspired to help create the garden. It’s a lovely example of how a person of any age can inspire creative action in their community, and be the catalyst for cooperation to create beauty that is for the public, just for the sake of beauty. There aren’t any profits to be made or gatekeeping of certain folks out of the space, it was created for everyone happily and for the love of spending time outdoors.

This book was kindly sent by Amicus Publishing, but all opinions are my own!

Featured image for this post found on Twitter!

Cynthia Platt

From Cynthia’s website: “I’m a children’s books writer and editor, which means that books for young people form the dark core around which the molten magma of my existence flows (unlike Earth, though, I lack a hard, exterior crust). I’m the author of Panda-Monium and A Little Bit of Love, both published by Tiger Tales, the upcoming Grow from Amicus Ink, and numerous Curious George books.

Along with my daughter and husband, I live in a little yellow house that looks like something out of a storybook. We’re a stone’s throw to the beach, where I can spend endless hours searching for sea glass.”

Olivia Holden

Olivia is an illustrator and print maker currently based in Lancashire. In 2015 she obtained a degree with first-class honours in Fashion and Textile Design at the University of Huddersfield.

Following her studies Olivia has lived up and down the UK and developed her growing love and practice for illustration. She has worked professionally with a variety of publishers across the globe on many book, editorial and licensing projects. Her process combines different mediums including pencils, acrylics and gouache, to welcome an organic painterly style to her colourful work. Olivia loves to portray strong narratives within her illustrations, specialising in bringing whimsical scenes to life and building upon different textures in her work whilst taking inspiration from everyday life and objects.

When she’s not at her desk Olivia can be found hiking in the Lake District or baking some fresh cakes and jams in the kitchen.

The Fighting Infantryman: The Story of Albert D.J. Cashier, Transgender Civil War Soldier

Written By: Rob Sanders

Illustrated by: Nabi H. Ali

For Ages: 6-9 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: LGBTQ History, Historical Figures, Military History, Trans Experiences, Friendship, Civil War.

Summary: Sometime around the 1850’s, and Irish immigrant traveled with their stepfather from Ireland to America. In 1861 they enlisted in the Union army and fought in the Civil War. This person was known by one name in Ireland, but went by Albert in the States. For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week, I chose to scrape together random scraps in my kitchen and made some blueberry cornmeal scones. I imagine that when deployed, Union soldiers did much of the same thing when cooking together, searching the woods for berries and using up the last bits of random ingredients from their rations.

Albert was transgender, and he was also a veteran. He passed the physical examination when enlisting by just having his hands and feet inspected. Albert worked and was a part of his community for decades afterwards, living his life quietly and comfortable in his identity. When Albert injured his leg in an accident in 1911, word soon spread that he was transgender. It became national news, and his army pension was threatened. But, in a show of active ally ships and true friendship, veteran friends of Albert’s wrote letters on his behalf. Affirming his identity and bravery in the war, they plead with the government to reinstate Albert’s pension. This would both help Albert financially and ensure that he was recognized by the correct name both in life and afterwards in history.

This book is so important and shows the existence of the LGBTQ community has been around throughout history, and there have always been those that accepted and celebrated us. This story is beautiful, it tells the multifaceted existence of Albert. The transphobia he faced, and the comrades he had that acted on his behalf when he was ill and those that ensured he was buried in his military uniform with the correct name on his gravestone. All of our lives are beautiful and complicated, and the legacy of Albert Cashier is reflective of many identities today, a crucial read for young people everywhere.

This book was sent by little bee books as a submission for the #bookstagang_bestof2020 list, but all opinions are my own.

Recipe: Buttermilk Cornmeal Scones with Blueberries

Ingredients:

2c all-purpose flour

1/2c cornmeal

1T baking powder

1/2t salt

1 stick cold butter

2/3c buttermilk

3/4-1c dried blueberries

Directions:

Whisk dry ingredients together, and cut in the stick of butter until crumbly. Add in buttermilk and blueberries, kneading until the dough comes together. Turn out of bowl and pat into a disk. Brush the top with egg wash or buttermilk, and sprinkle on top with sugar. Cut into 8 wedges and place on parchment, baking at 375 for 15-20 minutes. If you want, lemon zest is also a great addition to the recipe!

Rob Sanders

Throughout junior high and high school, Rob Sanders had wonderful English teachers who taught him to diagram sentences, speak in public, read the classics, show what he learned in creative ways, and who taught him to write. He wrote letters, poems, stories, plays, radio scripts, and more. Even now those teachers would be considered among the best. He is still reading and writing today. As a matter of fact, every school day he teaches kids about words and books, and stories and writing. Helping his students become strong writers is his favorite thing to do. Now he also writes books. Explore his website and learn all about them!

Nabi H. Ali

Nabi H. Ali is an illustrator of Tamil descent based in Orange County, California. He enjoys creating works that foster inclusivity and intersectionality in art and media. His hobbies include painting, researching South Asian culture, and writing poetry.

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