Tag Archives: diversity

IntersectionAllies: we make room for all

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Written by: Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, Carolyn Choi

Illustrated by: Ashley Seil Smith

For ages: 6 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: Intersectionality (as you may have already guessed), diversity, solidarity, activism, identity, activism, disability, protest.

Summary: 

This book is incredible! Written in an accessible way, the reader is introduced to a group of friends that have unique intersections of identity without it feeling like they were manifested to teach us a lesson about diversity.  There is not only a forward by Kimberlé Crenshaw herself (who coined the term ‘intersectionality’) but a letter to grownups about how to introduce concepts to kids like empathy.  Having this book address presumably the adult reader of the book prepares them for how to talk in-depth about the topics within the book, and frame them in a helpful way for the younger readers/listeners.  The letter emphasizes the importance of teaching solidarity and intersectionality to children from a young age, which is something we couldn’t agree more with.

When reading the story, we meet characters like Allie, the basketball fiend who also uses a wheelchair, and Kate who is non-binary and likes to wear a cape.  Adilah is an avid dancer and hijabi, taking ballet classes with some of her friends.  Nia participates in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the reader learns about protesting.  The kids featured in the book are dynamic and friendly, with bilingual identities reflected as well.

In the back are more resources and a vocabulary guide that mentions specific page numbers, giving valuable and robust information for further discussion.  It is refreshing to have such care taken, thoroughly underscoring the learning that this book provides for all who open its covers.  We cannot say enough good things about it, this book should have a space on every bookshelf and it’s praise shouted from the rooftops.

About the Authors & the Illustrator In their Own Words:

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Dr. Chelsea Johnson

“As a kid, I was often the only Black girl in my classrooms. Growing up as an “outsider within” my mostly white schools piqued my interest in how race, class, and gender shape social life. I gained the tools to understand my experiences as an undergraduate at Spelman College, an Historically Black College for women in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was at Spelman that I became a feminist. I went on to earn a PhD in sociology at the University of Southern California. My dissertation explored how fashion, politics, and culture relate. I traveled around the world, interviewing women with African roots in South Africa, Brazil, The Netherlands, France, Spain, and the United States about their lives. I now use research to help companies design products with underrepresented groups in mind. When I’m not researching or writing, I enjoy watercolor painting, reading fiction, and eating my way through new cities.”

 

LaToya Council

photo_1056258“I was raised in a single-parent mother-headed home. I would often stare at my mother in awe of her super-shero abilities to manage so many family demands while holding multiple jobs to make ends meet. These memories inspired my vision for a more inclusive world and drove me toward studying sociology at Spelman College, where I first learned about the concept of intersectionality. After graduating from Spelman, I studied the inequalities in love and how race, gender, and class intersect to inform relationship experiences for my master’s at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. I am currently working on my dissertation at the University of Southern California, which examines time use and self-care among Black middle-class couples. Intersectionality and the power of love frame how I do allyship and research. When not researching, I enjoy practicing meditation, cooking, and hanging with my cat Mimi.”

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Carolyn Choi

The Los Angeles Riots were a defining moment in my childhood that shaped my identity as a person of color and brought me to feminism later in life. My interests in gender, culture, and immigration led me to study sociology and Korean literature at UCLA. After graduating from college, I began community-based organizing and advocacy work as an intern at Koreatown Immigrant Workers’ Alliance, a non-profit civil rights organization in Los Angeles. I earned my master’s degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2009. A few years later, I began doctoral study in sociology at the University of Southern California. My research tackles issues around migrant labor, human trafficking, and international education and has taken me across the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. In my spare time, I enjoy spreading greater awareness about the Korean arts through performing pansori, a form of traditional folk music.”

Ashley Seil-Smith

lighter“I grew up one of five girls (and a twin!) in Southern California and Texas. My conservative roots prompted questions about privilege and feminism, which led me to study cultural anthropology as an undergraduate, including ethnographic research on women’s health in South India. I eventually moved to New York City and helped launch The Period Store as a vehicle to educate women about all of their options for period management, while also earning my MFA from the School of Visual Arts. When I’m not drawing, painting, or print making, you can find me outside being active or caring for my menagerie of adopted senior animals with the help of my husband, Nate.”

I’m Gonna Push Through [released Feb. 18th]

Written by: Jasmyn Wright

Illustrated by: Shannon Wright

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Empowerment, Self-Confidence, Resiliency, Disability, Diverse Experiences, Growth Mindset.

Summary: 

This book is awesome!  I’m Gonna Push Through! delivers an empowering message for young people to step into their power and overcome anything in their path.  The book is based on a mantra that the author developed for her classroom, it embraces challenge head-on and encourages students to see themselves as masters of their own story.

This story is spectacular for so many reasons!  The illustrations are incredible and diverse, featuring many people I’ve never seen featured in a children’s book before.  Students that use mobility aids, a child using a white and red cane (signifying low or no vision), a girl with a prosthetic leg, as well as a child with vitiligo!  Reading through the book, the reader learns about how many famous adults (LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Jillian Mercado, and Jamie Brewer and more) pushed through any potential roadblocks on their journey, and conquered.

In the back of the book is a lengthy author’s note about Jasmyn’s journey as a teacher and the phenomenon of her Push Through campaign that became known globally.  There is also information about most (not all, unfortunately) of the people mentioned that pushed on through and achieved greatness.  Overall, this is an amazing book that should be used in classrooms everywhere!  I don’t think our review can do justice to this storyline, I urge everyone to find a copy immediately and take in the beauty that is this book.

This book was sent to us by our friends at Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

Jasmyn Wright, a globally recognized educator, was born in Philadelphia, PA, but grew up in Pennsauken, NJ. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Spelman College in 2009, and her Master of Education from Christian Brothers University in 2012. IN 2015, Jasmyn was awarded the Teachers for Global Classrooms Professional Development Fellowship, in which she spent one year taking a global educational course, and learning ways to bring the awareness of global education to her school community. The fellowship required her to create a global education unit plan, and spend three weeks in Manila, Philippines, sharing best practices with government officials, administrators, and educators. She spent her Spring 2009 semester studying abroad at the University of Legon in Accra, Ghana.

A Teach for America alumna and elementary teacher of 9 years, Jasmyn taught in under-served and disadvantaged communities. She’s very passionate about instilling self-awareness and life-skills in her students, and is best known for helping them develop confidence, grit and resilience to overcome adversities, accomplish goals, and maximize their potential.

Jasmyn brought creativity and innovation in her classroom by creating affirmations, programs, and global learning projects that left her students feeling empowered and excited to learn. By fostering growth mindset, she encouraged them to be strong and limitless. Her inspiring and “out of the box” teaching approach allowed her to build authentic, healthy relationships with each of her students, and create a strong classroom culture.

November 2016, Jasmyn uploaded a video to her Facebook page, leading an original call and response mantra called #PushThrough with her then third grade students. This mantra instantly became a social media sensation, reaching over 3.7 million views within one week. Since then, her classroom style of teaching has been recognized and featured in The Huffington PostThe Today ShowBuzzfeed News, NPR News, Fox, NBC, etc. Recently, Jasmyn and her class had the opportunity to film and be a part of a 2017 GAP Kids back to school commercial and campaign, using a shortened version of her infamous classroom mantra, ‘Push Through’. The commercial was also coupled with a 5 minute mini documentary. Her ‘Push Through’ mantra is now permeating throughout classrooms and communities all over the world, and has been translated into 4 languages.

Jasmyn is a global educator and professes that the world is now her classroom. In addition to traveling and leading various inspirational keynotes, youth empowerment workshops, and teacher professional developments across the globe, she also serves as an educational consultant. Jasmyn travels to multiple countries and partners with organizations, leading, facilitating, and organizing teacher training programs. Sharing her best practices and innovative and sincere teaching methods, she’s impacting and transforming educational communities around the world.

Her goal with The Push Through Organization is to continue to use her voice and gift to spread empowerment, speak up and advocate for what society labels as broken, remind people their they were birthed with a purpose and limitless, and positively impact change around the world. For more on Ms. Jasmyn Wright, please visit her website at: http://www.jasmynwrightglobal.weebly.com

Photo by Sarah Schultz Taylor

Shannon Wright is an illustrator and cartoonist based out of Richmond, Virginia. Some of her clients include The Guardian, TIME Magazine, NY Times, Mother Jones, NPR, Google and Scholastic. Her first picture book, My Mommy Medicine, is out on shelves.

Her work tends to explore social issues like race and gender through a slice-of-life lens. She makes personal and original stories invoking nostalgia rooted from her own childhood and life around her. Represented by Writers House. For book inquiries contact Hannah Mann.

Care Giver Fatigue

Common Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market

Written by: Huda Essa

Illustrated by: Mercè Tous

For ages: 4 years and up

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Global Community, Family, Diversity, Kindness, Clothing, Islam, Culture & Traditions. 

Summary: Adam and his parents go to the outdoor market one day, and he sees a bright blue jay.  Following it, Adam doesn’t realize he’s left his parents behind until he tugs on what he thinks is his mother’s tunic but it turns out to be a nun’s dress.  Adam tries to identify his parents clothes in the crowd, only to realize that many different types of people dress in similar ways!  The individuals that Adam mistakes for his parents work together to bring them back together, and connect to each other in the process.

This book has few words, and the rich illustrations do the majority of the plot development.  Adam and his parents live in a diverse community that is wonderfully represented by the similarities in clothing that Adam mistakes for his parents.  The emphasis on community in this story is timely, some people live in fear of differences or the unknown.  In the beginning as well as the end of the book are statements about the power of community and diversity, and how we are stronger together.  This is a really beautiful book that can teach fantastic cultural vocabulary about garments along with the other messaging it promotes.

This book was sent to us by Sleeping Bear Press as an entry in the Best Books of 2019 List, but all opinions and decision to review were our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

huda_finalHuda Essa has been a teacher since she was a child. Her first students were her stuffed animals. When she became a teacher as a grown up, she loved finally having human children as her students! Now, as a speaker and author, Huda is a teacher to adult humans, too. Huda’s debut book, Teach Us Your Name, and her TEDx Talk, “Your Name is the Key!” teach us to use our names to learn more about ourselves and to embrace our wonderful human diversity. Huda teaches all over the world, but lives in Michigan. You can visit her LinkedIn here!

pintant-300x292Mercè Tous lives and works “in Barcelona, my place of birth. I love being near the sea and make the most of the wide range of cultural activities and opportunities for social networking this cosmopolitan city offers. However, whenever I can, I return to nature, my main source of inspiration.

Since I was a child I have always liked drawing, painting and immersing myself in pictures and illustrated books. My grandfather was my first art teacher, who passed on to me the passion for art, instilled in me the curiosity, the value of hard working and the satisfaction of doing a good job. I like all the art disciplines, and I have discovered with illustration a means to search beauty, to tell stories and to express my particular perspective of what surrounds me. I think that having an artistic profession is a chance to make a journey to discover the depth of oneself and, at the same time, to open to the world.

I graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona in 2008. Then I obtained the Art Teacher Certification in the same university. I carried on my education pursuing a postgraduate course specializing in children’s and youth’s book illustration at “Escola Eina” (Autonomous University of Barcelona) as well as three annual courses of illustration at “Escola de la Dona” lead by Ignasi Blanch and other great illustrators such as Cristina Losantos and Roger Olmos. I’ve also participated in several illustration workshops in Barcelona and Italy leaded by illustrators that I admire such as Octavia Monaco, Rebecca Lucciani, Mariona Cabassa and Joanna Concejo. Nowadays I work as a freelance illustrator.”

 

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.

Rad Women Worldwide

Written by: Kate Schatz

Illustrated by: Miriam Klein Stahl

For Ages: 8-16 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Global Community, Activism, Trailblazers, Women in STEM, Artists.

Summary: This book is much like it’s counterpart but on a global and more in-depth scale.  Women from every continent are featured, spanning thousands of years throughout history.  Ancient Mesopotamia to modern day, some of these rad women featured: Maria Montessori, Frida Kahlo, Grace O’Malley, Nanny of the Maroons, Bastardilla, and the ENIAC Programmers among many others.  The graphic illustrations of Rad American Women remain, but the biographies have much more heft.  Amazing figures like Sophie Scholl, Poly Styrene, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Wangari Maathai share pages with more well-known historical figures like Josephine Baker and the Williams sisters.  If the pint-sized rebel in your life enjoyed Rad American Women A-Z, they definitely need to get down to business with this one!

Reflection Questions:

  • Who is the rad woman from where your family lives currently or used to live?
  • Which ones of these people is your favorite?  Why?
  • What activist work speaks to you the most, out of all the women?  Why do you think?
  • How do you improve your community already, and how could to improve it more?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Pick a country featured in the book.  What other activists and artists live there as well?  What kind of work do they do, is it the same as the rad woman we read about?
  • Think about what good you could do for your community now.  Can you do it by yourself, or do you need help?  Many hands make light work, so a long-term community service project as a class or scout troop could be a fun a positive way to start a new school or calendar year!

About the Author & the Illustrator

kate-schatz-webKate Schatz (pronounced ‘Shots’) is the New York Times-bestselling author of Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide, as well as My Rad Life: A Journal and Rid of Me: A Story. She is the co-founder of Solidarity Sundays, a nationwide network of feminist activist groups. She’s a writer, organizer, public speaker, educator, and left-handed vegetarian Bay Area-born-and-bred feminist activist mama.

 

 

 

miriam-klein-stahlMiriam Klein Stahl is a Bay Area artist, educator and activist and the New York Times-bestselling illustrator of Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide . In addition to her work in printmaking, drawing, sculpture, paper-cut and public art, she is also the co-founder of the Arts and Humanities Academy at Berkeley High School where she’s taught since 1995. As an artist, she follows in a tradition of making socially relevant work, creating portraits of political activists, misfits, radicals and radical movements. As an educator, she has dedicated her teaching practice to address equity through the lens of the arts. Her work has been widely exhibited and reproduced internationally. Stahl is also the co-owner of Pave the Way Skateboards, a queer skateboarding company formed with Los Angeles-based comedian, actor, writer and skateboarder Tara Jepson. She lives in Berkeley, California with her wife, artist Lena Wolff, daughter Hazel, and their dog Lenny.

Rad American Women A-Z

Written by: Kate Schatz

Illustrated by: Miriam Klein Stahl

For Ages: 8-16 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Activism, Strong Women, Trailblazers, Musicians, Artists,

Summary: This book goes through the alphabet, each letter representing a famous woman. Jovita Idar, Odetta Holmes, Carol Burnett, and Wilma Mankiller are some of the famous figures written about. Each page has a brief description of her achievements followed by several biographical paragraphs of more detailed information. Illustrations are black and white graphics against a brightly colored background, with names stamped above. Having this introductory conversation about so many strong and revolutionary women can introduce young readers to a variety of new worlds and new access points to activism. Perfect for a quick story or an introduction to a longer unit on any of the topics covered in the book: activism, neurodiversity, music, or comedy. The book leans heavily on activist leaders and could be considered a primer for the aspiring young trailblazer.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which one of these women is doing something you would like to do?
  • Who would you like to learn more about?
  • Which person that we read about is your favorite?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Pick one of the rad women featured and learn more about her accomplishments.  How can you follow in her footsteps and help make the world a better place?
  • Find a rad woman in your own community!  What has she done for your area, and could she come visit the class and talk about what she does everyday?

About the Author & the Illustrator

kate-schatz-webKate Schatz (pronounced ‘Shots’) is the New York Times-bestselling author of Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide, as well as My Rad Life: A Journal and Rid of Me: A Story. She is the co-founder of Solidarity Sundays, a nationwide network of feminist activist groups. She’s a writer, organizer, public speaker, educator, and left-handed vegetarian Bay Area-born-and-bred feminist activist mama.

 

 

 

miriam-klein-stahlMiriam Klein Stahl is a Bay Area artist, educator and activist and the New York Times-bestselling illustrator of Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide . In addition to her work in printmaking, drawing, sculpture, paper-cut and public art, she is also the co-founder of the Arts and Humanities Academy at Berkeley High School where she’s taught since 1995. As an artist, she follows in a tradition of making socially relevant work, creating portraits of political activists, misfits, radicals and radical movements. As an educator, she has dedicated her teaching practice to address equity through the lens of the arts. Her work has been widely exhibited and reproduced internationally. Stahl is also the co-owner of Pave the Way Skateboards, a queer skateboarding company formed with Los Angeles-based comedian, actor, writer and skateboarder Tara Jepson. She lives in Berkeley, California with her wife, artist Lena Wolff, daughter Hazel, and their dog Lenny.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

Written and Illustrated by:: Pénélope Bagieu

For Ages: teens

Language: English

Topics Covered: Historical Figures, Trailblazers, Women in STEM, Activism.

Summary: This book is a graphic novel compilation of stories about strong women and historical figures. It is definitely written for teens and above. Some stories include plot lines with DV, death, civil war, and various sensitive topics. Nzinga, Las Mariposas, Lozen, Agnodice, Christine Jorgensen, and Naziq al-Abid are a few of the incredible stories told by Bagieu.  The illustrations are fantastic and the dialogue sassy.  A book that readers will want to return to again and again, as well as a fabulous jumping off point to research more in-depth about historical feminist figures.  The book fully embodies the rebel path, and it’s perfect to show young people that women don’t have to settle for anything less than what they want.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which one of these women inspired you the most?
  • What person in this book do you want to learn more about?
  • How can you be brave and follow your dreams like these women in the book?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about your favorite story.  What else in their life have you learned about that wasn’t written about by Bagieu?
  • What strong person in your life could you write a comic strip about?  Draw a comic strip about the life of one of your heroes.

About the Author & Illustrator:

Penelope BagieuPenelope Bagieu graduated with a baccalauréat in Economic and Social, she spent a year at ESAT Paris. She studied animation at the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris. She then studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, where she graduated in December 2006. Bagieu is in a rock band where she plays drums, and is a fan of nature shows.  Bagieu created a short animated film entitled No More Laughter. She has created illustrations for advertising campaigns, including for Marie frozen food, on television and on the internet.