Tag Archives: acceptance

A Boy Like You

Written by: Frank Murphy

Illustrated by: Kayla Harren

For ages: 4-8 years 

Language: English

Topics Covered: Social-Emotional Learning, POC-Centric Narratives, Gender Stereotypes, Toxic Masculinity, Diversity, Acceptance, Kindness, Friendship, Identity, Self-Esteem.

Summary: This is a very sweet book about being a good human with an amazingly diverse group of children depicted in the illustrations.  The book opens talking about how unique every person is, and how the world needs someone exactly like each and everyone one.  Our main character (a young boy of color) demonstrates the many attributes a person can have, and how everyone is different.  Everyone is smart, but in different ways.  Some are more gifted athletically, and some artistically.  But everyone should be kind, polite, and help others.

This book is geared towards boys, to help dismantle the stereotypes that force boys and men to feel pressure to embody a single type of masculinity, which can become toxic.  Murphy tells the reader to leave every place and every person, better than you found them.  We really like this book, and it’s message about the importance of being true to yourself but also a kind and sensitive human being.  Although the words in the book could easily be shifted to include “people” instead of “boys” all the time, the text is sending a profound message to boys that they don’t have to be macho and emotionless in order to be seen as a man.

This book was sent to us by Sleeping Bear Press as part of the Best Books of 2019 list, but all opinions are our own.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Murphy_Head_ShotFrank Murphy has taught a wide variety of grades at the elementary and middle school level. A popular speaker, Murphy is the author of many fun historical fiction books for young readers. He lives in Holland, PA and still teaches full-time!

 

 

 

 

website+headshotKayla Harren graduated from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City with a BFA in illustration.  Books she has illustrated include A BOY LIKE YOU (winner of the 2019 EUREKA gold award) and THE BOY WHO GREW A FOREST (winner of the EUREKA silver award.) Kayla’s work has been featured in the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, 3×3 Magazine, and she’s won the Highlights for Children Pewter Plate Award.

Kayla loves animals, playing volleyball, hiking, and eating cookies with frosting. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Peter Harren, and their adorable dogs.

I’m So NOT Wearing A Dress!

Written by: Julie Merberg

Illustrated by: Mai Kemble

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Tomboy, Acceptance, Family, Sports, Social-Emotional Development.

Summary: Shelby likes to climb trees, dig for worms with her best friend Nate, and wear nothing but her dirty red high tops.  Shelby’s neighbor Sophie always wants her to have tea parties and dress up like princesses but Shelby is NOT interested.  One day Shelby gets home and her parents present her with several dresses and some news-Shelby is going to be a flower girl in a wedding and she gets to dress up fancy!  Shelby declares that she is SO not wearing a dress!  She wants to wear a baseball hat, not a tiara.  She wants to weather sneakers, not high heels.  What will Shelby do?  Is there a compromise to be made?  Will she HAVE to wear a dress?

We all have to compromise sometimes, to make others happy.  What is not fair, is someone that feels like they must constantly suppress who they are in order to be taken seriously, not teased, or receive positive attention from classmates and family members.  This book is cute because of course wearing a fancy dress for one occasion isn’t everyone’s favorite, but Shelby is able to retain a bit of her personality in the end.  This makes it memorable for everyone!

Reflection Questions:

  • Have you ever had a big event like Shelby did, being a flower girl?
  • How do you feel when you are asked to do something you don’t want to do?
  • How do you compromise with others?
  • What is your advice to people that sometimes have to do things like wear a fancy dress when they don’t want to?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

julie-and-booksJulie Merberg is the author of many children’s books including My First Book of Girl Power, My First Book of Feminism (for Boys), In the Garden with Van Gogh (and the rest of the best-selling Mini Masters series), How is Mona Lisa Feeling?, and My Favorite Shoes. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, the writer David Bar Katz, their four hilarious sons, and a sweet mutt named Alvy Singer. Julie Merberg began her publishing career 30 years ago as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster—which now handles sales and distribution for Downtown Bookworks. Many years as an editor and then as a packager led her to launch Downtown Bookworks as a book packaging company in 2005. But it was her experience as a mother of 4 boys that compelled her to start a children’s publishing company with the mission of keeping kids engaged in reading and the world around them. The list reflects her passions—science and nature, the arts, girl power (and her husband’s passion—super heroes). She has written many of our books including My First Book of Feminism (for Boys), Baby’s First Eames, My First Book of Girl Power, and My First Jewish Baby Book. Julie lives in Tribeca with her husband, their sons, and a rescue mutt named Alvy who sleeps under her desk and protects her from delivery people.

photo6775b15dMai Kemble was born in Long Beach, CA in 1981 and raised in Huntington Beach, CA. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) since winning the Illustrator Contest for “Crusin’” in 2007, and was also one of their Featured Artists in 2008. Since then, she has illustrated several picture books with various publishers.

Mai currently lives in Lancaster, CA with her husband Joshua Kemble (Xeric Grant Winner for NUMB/comic book artist/designer/illustrator), their son and two dogs.

Email Mai by clicking here.

Mai also enjoys creating images that feature pets and other favorite animals.  See these featured on various merchandise for purchase at her Society6 page or contact her via Facebook to stay-up-to date with these ever growing images.

You can follow Mai on Instagram @maikemble

What Riley Wore

Written by: Elana K. Arnold

Illustrated by: Linda Davick

For ages: 2-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Friendship, Gender Expression, Gender Neutral Pronouns, Family, Love, Acceptance, Fashion, Creativity, Social-Emotional Learning.

Summary: Riley is a creative dresser, and often dresses based on how they feel!  Some outfits are just right for the first day of school (like a bunny outfit) and some outfits are perfect for the dentist (something to make you feel brave!)

This is an incredibly adorable story about Riley and how the dress.  Riley dresses in whatever they want, and has a creative gender expression.  The book goes through a week of Riley’s outfits and the reasoning behind why Riley chose them.  We really love that Riley isn’t gendered in this book, because clothes are for everyone and there are many children who don’t want to be a boy or a girl (and some who feel like both)!  We also really love that not wearing anything at all sometimes is totally normal!  Normalizing all experiences, feelings, and bodies is something we love to see along with a diverse friend group in a book. Riley themself is racially ambiguous, which is a novel change from the barrage of white characters so often seen in books.

Both non-gendered and non-binary representation is so crucial, as is not promoting gender stereotypes.  Seeing this book is a fantastic representation of how times are changing.  Because really, it doesn’t matter how Riley identifies.  Riley wants to be a good friend and shows several examples of kindness and thinks about others consistently throughout the book.  When a child asks if Riley is a boy or a girl on the playground, they answer in a perfect way that suits them best.  We highly recommend this book, especially for young ones who may be thinking that there are specific clothing pieces or colors that only specific kids should wear.  This is a book we can see being requested to be read over and over!

This book was generously sent to us by Beach Lane Books (an iteration of Simon and Schuster Kids) but all opinions are our own.

Reflection Questions:

  • Do you dress in different ways, depending on how you feel?
  • What’s your superpower?
  • Do you think Riley is right, and that friendship can be a superpower?
  • Do you think it’s important if someone is a boy or a girl to be able to play with them?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

elana-e1484018914417-200x200ELANA K. ARNOLD is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning young adult novels and children’s books, including the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of, and Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat and its sequels. Several of her books are Junior Library Guild selections and have appeared on many best book lists, including the Amelia Bloomer Project, a catalog of feminist titles for young readers. Elana teaches in Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and lives in Southern California with her family and menagerie of pets. 

 

image-asset-2Linda Davick is an author and illustrator with a background in design.

The first book she illustrated, 10 Trick-or-Treaters (Knopf) hit the New York Times best seller list and has sold over 200,000 copies. The first book she both wrote and illustrated I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! (Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster) won an Ezra Jack Keats honor.

Her animation work includes over 200 e-cards for Amazon and over 100 pieces of animation for Whistlefritz.

Some of her clients: Amazon.com, Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, Charlotte Mecklenburg Education Foundation, Crayola, Klutz Press, Knopf, Little Brown, Philadelphia Campaign for Greater Education, and Sesame Street.

Linda lives near a nature preserve in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

 

Deadendia: The Broken Halo [released 10/17]

Written & Illustrated by: Hamish Steele

For ages: YA middle & upper grades (2 vaguely implied sexual situations)

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Neurodivergent Characters, LGBTQ, Supernatural, Friendship, Graphic Novels, Adventure, Love, Family, Acceptance. 

Summary: This graphic novel is the next installment in the series!  We were sent this book by the publisher, Flying Eye Books, (Nobrow in the UK) but all opinions are our own.

We really liked this book, and the diverse cast of characters can’t be beat.  Norma is an autistic POC queer character, Barney is trans, and Badyah is Muslim.  Besides this badass trio, there are a range of demons and angels all vying for control of the 7th neutral plane also known as earth.  Because of previous events, Norma’s soul won’t stay in her body when she’s surprised.  This is both helpful and aggravating as tensions mount between demons and angels.  Barney is hiding a secret career from his boyfriend though, but it’s very lucrative. Norma and Badyah along with some demons are working overtime at the Dead End, a haunted house during the day and demon B&B at night.  We don’t want to give too much about this graphic novel away, but it’s incredible and Corrie had to start reading it right away! It would be helpful to read the first volume before this one, but not necessary.  There are a lot of references to past events but enough context to provide the reader of this volume backstory.  We can’t wait to see what happens next, it’s an amazing series with awesome representation!

About the Author & Illustrator:

Screen-Shot-2018-01-01-at-21.35.01_3_400From the website of Hamish: My name is Hamish Ridley-Steele and I’m a Animation Director and Comic-Book artist from London. Soon after graduating, I directed Dead End, a short for Frederator Studio’s Cartoon Hangover. This lead to me directing two films for Nickelodeon’s International Shorts program, the second of which I collaborated on with Blink Industrieswho now represent me.

In 2014, I self-published my first graphic novel Pantheon thanks to Kickstarter. Since then, it has been republished by Nobrow Press. This year, they will also publish my webcomic DeadEndia which is based on that first Cartoon Hangover short.  I really like crocodiles. My dream is to meet one.

Tutus Aren’t My Style

Written by: Linda Skeers

Illustrated by: Anne Wilsdorf

For ages: 4-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Tomboys, Exploration, Open-Mindedness, Family, Love, Acceptance.

Summary: This book is super cute!  The main character Emma loves playing in the mud, lizards, and climbing trees.  One day, she gets a package from her uncle!  Inside is a tutu and complete ballerina outfit.  Confused, she asks those around her how to be a ballerina.  Some say she must jump a twirl, be delicate and float, and make music.  Instead, all Emma can do is make burping noises and fall over.  Emma decides that maybe she can make her own music and dance moves, instead of take advice from others.  What happens is a routine totally unique to Emma and her life.  She shows this routine to her uncle who surprises her with a visit, and he is very impressed.  He says he never pictured her as a ballerina, which is why he sent her a safari outfit!  The two of them investigate the package he sent, and it turns out the company sent Emma the wrong costume!

This is a sweet story, and a quick read.  Emma is open-minded about trying something she never really considered was for her, and it’s clear her uncle knows her well and supports what she loves.  This is a great book for that lovable tomboy in your life, or to help children be open to a variety of activities.

Reflection Questions:

  • Emma’s uncle seems to know her pretty well. Who knows you the best in your family?
  • Have you ever tried ballet?
  • What did you think about it?
  • Do you think a specific type of person does ballet? Why or why not?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Skeers_Linda-002_d200Linda Skeers is the author of this book!  Here is her author statement from her website:

I realized the power of the written word before I learned to read. Words were all around me – in books, on signs, TV and cereal boxes. I had high hopes on my first day of kindergarten – finally I would learn to read! We colored. We napped on rugs. Ate graham crackers. Finger painted. Then it was time to go home. We had NOT learned to read and I made my displeasure known – loudly! It earned me a Time Out behind the painting easel.
 Thank goodness for Mrs. O’Connor in first grade. I remember the sheer joy of reading the sentence, “Run, Dick, run.”
 I wrote my first book when I was about 9.
 As a child, I went to the library every Saturday morning. One week I’d check out a stack of books about pioneers, the next week it might be UFOs or ghost stories. Or football. Or mysteries. Or snakes. Or poetry. I still read every night and always have a huge pile of books next to my bed. And in the living room. And the sunroom…
When I wasn’t reading, I was outside exploring the woods, building forts, riding my bike, catching frogs, or playing kickball with the neighbor kids.
 I didn’t think of writing as a career when I was younger. I was encouraged to do something practical like be a nurse or teacher. I always liked helping people so I became a nurse and worked in a hospital and a doctor’s office. But I never forgot how much I loved reading and writing.
Too bad there’s no cure for a bad perm!
After I grew up and got married, my husband and I went camping almost every weekend. Here we are at Backbone State Park – our favorite place!
anne wilsdorfAuthor and illustrator Anne Wilsdorf was born to Alsatian parents in Saint-Paul de Luanda, Angola, in 1954. After a childhood and adolescence spent living in many countries (Angola, Congo, Argentina, Morocco, France, and Belgium), she settled in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1976. There, she began publishing her drawings in newspapers and children¹s publications, followed by her first books. She has continued this path ever since, working with publishers in Switzerland, France, Germany and the United States. Her books, numbering more than twenty, have been translated into numerous languages, most recently into Korean.

Anne Wilsdorf was the Swiss candidate for the prestigious Andersen prize in 2000. Complementing her work as an illustrator.  Anne Wilsdorf has illustrated over 20 books for children, including the Ezra Jack Keats honor book, Sophie’s Squash. Anne currently teaches illustration at l’Ecole Romande des Arts de la Communication in Lousanne.

The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali

Written by: Sabina Khan

Cover Art by:

For ages: YA book

Language: English

Topics Covered: LGBTQ, Family, Marriage, Independence, Love, Acceptance, LGBTQ Violence, Homophobia, Bangladeshi Culture & Traditions.

Summary: I could NOT put this book down.  I was instantly hooked.  Warning: you will feel ALL the emotions during this read.

Rukhsana is a teenager, just a few months away from graduation.  Rukhsana’s parents are Bangladeshi, and very strict.  They have no idea that she is dating a white girl named Ariana.  Rukhsana’s parents in fact, would love to arrange a marriage for her but Rukhsana is able to secure a full ride to CalTech for physics and bide some time before that happens.  However, one day Ariana is over and Rukhsana’s mother catches them kissing.  All of a sudden, she is whisked away to Bangladesh to visit her “ailing grandmother”, but then ulterior motives are uncovered and Rukhsana is informed she is not allowed to leave the country until she agrees to a formal engagement with a suitable husband-to-be.  After a botched escape plan where Rukhsana’s passport hiding place is discovered and a tumultuous fight with Ariana over the phone, she feels alone and defeated.  Rukhsana is then informed she must be married before leaving the country, locked in a room, and a shaman is called to perform an exorcism of the bad spirit (jinn) that is making her act so disobedient.  Then Rukhsana meets someone named Sohail, a boy whose parents are pushing for him to get married.  But it turns out, he’s already dating someone…someone handsome that lives in the United States.  Sohail and Rukhsana hatch a plan to feign an engagement and then flee before the wedding where they will part ways and link back up with their partners.  Sohail is also a famous blogger, but he writes about what is wrong with Bangladesh and calls for reform-specifically with the anti-LGBT policies currently in place.  He has thousands of weekly readers but is also being followed by extremists known for violence.  When eating lunch together in a cafe, some thugs sit near the pair to intimidate Sohail.  He quickly wraps up lunch and they finish eating in his office, laughing off the incident.

When the day of the wedding ceremony comes, Rukhsana plans to sneak out of her family’s home into a taxi with her younger brother and go to the airport.  Sohail will do the same and they will catch the flight together.  When Rukhsana arrives, Sohail is late.  She waits as long as she can, but gets on the plane alone and makes the long trek back to America, where some friends pick her up and let her stay at their house.  When Rukhsana finally turns her phone back on, she has many missed calls and voicemails from her parents.  Thinking that they are angry at her for skipping out on the expensive wedding, she ignores them and takes a few days to attempt emotional healing from the extreme trauma and duress that she has just endured over the last few months stuck in Bangladesh.  Her friends sit her down, and tell her she needs to listen to the messages.  Sohail is dead.  On the way to the airport he is murdered viciously with a machete by the thugs, because he is gay.

I won’t spoil the ending, but just know that it will wrench your heart from the very depths inside your soul and be impossible to put down.  I was reading it through tears, enraptured at the emotional complexity of the characters, and the growth of Rukhsana throughout this life-changing endeavor that she found herself inextricably linked to, unable to escape.

About the Author & the Illustrator:

sabina-profileSabina Khan is the author of THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI, a YA Contemporary, was released Spring 2019 from Scholastic. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and three daughters, one of whom is a fur baby.

Keep Climbing, Girls

Written by: Beah E. Richards (Introduction by LisaGay Hamilton)

Illustrated by: R. Gregory Christie

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Self-Expression, Acceptance, Self-Acceptance, Independence.

Summary: This is a poem about girl power!  The main character is determined to prove her bravery and climb to the top of the tree, despite threats from the intimidating figure Miss Nettie that she’ll fall and break her neck.  She is called a tomboy, and that has a lot of negative connotations but our main character doesn’t care.   I would say there is much less negativity surrounding the term these days, and that it is generally more of a descriptor, but in the 1950’s when this was originally written there was a lot more stigma surrounding the term.

A particularly profound stanza of the poem which continues to ring true today is: “But Miss Nettie hadn’t reckoned with the wisdom of little girls. For even they know little boys have the upper hand in this world. The only way to make a bid for a girl’s equality is to climb right up to the toppermost bough of the very tallest tree”. The main character realizes that in order to gain respect, she must do something that would impress the group in power-in this case, the neighborhood boys.  She shows remarkable bravery, both in climbing the tree branches and defying an authority figure (risking punishment after her feat is accomplished).

The poem overall is framed within this tree climbing experience, but can be applied to other experiences in life.  In a patriarchal world, women (especially women of color) are expected to be exemplary in order to be seen as equal.  This poem ages well, and is still both an anthem for tomboys and a call for daring adventures.

Reflection Questions:

  • When have you done something that required bravery?
  • What do you think the main character was thinking about when she was climbing?
  • Do you like climbing trees?
  • What other animals like to live in trees?
  • If you were building a tree house, what type of tree would you like to live in?

About the Author & the Illustrator: 

Beah RicardsBeulah Elizabeth Richardson (July 12, 1920 – September 14, 2000), known professionally as Beah Richards, was an American actress of stage, screen, and television. She was also a poet, playwright, and author.  The poem which serves as the text for the book was originally written in 1951!

Richards was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her supporting role in the film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner in 1968, as well as winning two Primetime Emmy Awards for her guest roles in the television series Frank’s Placein 1988 and The Practice in 2000. She also received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the 1965 production of The Amen Corner.

LisaGay_HamiltonLisaGay Hamilton (born March 25, 1964) is an American actress who has portrayed roles in films, television, and on stage. She is best known for her role as attorney Rebecca Washington on the ABC‘s legal drama The Practice (1997-2003). She also portrayed Melissa Thoreau on the TNT comedy-drama Men of a Certain Age (2009-2011), Celia Jones on the Netflix series House of Cards (2016), Suzanne Simms on the Hulu series Chance (2016), and Kayla Price on the Hulu series The First (2018).

Hamilton’s film credits include roles in 12 Monkeys (1995), Jackie Brown (1997), Beloved (1998), True Crime (1999), The Sum of All Fears (2002), The Soloist (2009), Beastly (2011), Beautiful Boy (2018), and Vice (2018). Her theater credits include Measure for Measure (Isabella), Henry IV Parts I & II (Lady Hotspur), Athol Fugard’sValley Song and The Ohio State Murders. Hamilton was also an original cast member in the Broadway productions of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Gem of the Ocean. In 2005 she won a Peabody Award for creating and directing the 2003 documentary film Beah: A Black Woman Speaks.

4724_29061686R. Gregory Christie is a multi-award winning children’s book illustrator with more than 60 traditionally published books to his credit. He is also the owner of GAS-ART GIFTS (Gregarious Art Statements) an Atlanta based traveling children’s bookstore that provides art services to private and public groups.  R. Gregory Christie received a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Freedom in Congo Square, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. He is a three-time recipient of The New York Times’s 10 Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year Award, a six-time recipient of the Coretta Scott King Honor Award in Illustration, and a winner of the Boston Globe­–Horn Book Award, the NAACP’s Image Award, and the Once Upon a World Children’s Book Award from the Museum of Tolerance. Visit Mr. Christie’s website at Gas-Art.com!

10 Things You Might Not Know About R. Gregory Christie

  • He is an NAACP Image Award Winner.
  • The 2013 Kwaanza Stamp designer.
  • A Caldecott Honor Winner
  • A Six time, Coretta Scott King Honor recipient.
  • Has won many awards from The New York Times and Boston Globe.
  • An artist for a New Orleans Jazz Festival poster.
  • Has films on Netflix through Karyn Parson’s “Sweet Blackberry” projects.
  • He’s done many album covers including John Coltrane’s and Joe Sample’s.
  • One Billion people saw his artwork on the New York City subway cars in 2013.
  • He’s lived in many places including Sweden, Germany, Canada, and Australia