May 212021
 
 May 21, 2021  bilingualism, Book Reviews, multiculturalism Comments Off on Learn Chinese with Mandarin Picture Books

Mandarin Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and a gateway to learning about China’s rich culture heritage! And it has never been easier to expose your child to Mandarin. The Mandarin picture books featured below are a wonderful way for children to begin to learn Chinese, whether as heritage learners or with no background at all.

Learn Chinese with Mandarin Picture Books | Alldonemonkey.com

Learn Chinese with Mandarin Picture Books

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Help your child learn Chinese with these engaging Mandarin picture books!

If your child is just starting to learn Chinese, the new picture book First Mandarin Sounds: an Awesome Chinese Word Book is a great place to start! The author is the respected educator behind the popular website Miss Panda Chinese. Her enthusiasm for the language is infectious, and her years of experience teaching Chinese to children is obvious in this new book. First Mandarin Sounds teaches children 37 essential sounds of Mandarin Chinese. All sounds are shown in Chinese characters as well as Pinyin, which utilizes the Roman alphabet, making it easy for non-native speakers to jump right in.

My children loved the adorable illustrations and playing “seek and find” with them. The author has cleverly hidden both the Pinyin and Chinese characters inside each simple illustration. This way children have a fun activity to do on each page, plus it helps them remember the sounds and characters. Great for beginning learners!

Are you looking for a fun way to teach your child Mandarin or just to expose them to other languages? Are you looking for a great story about friendship across cultures? Then you will love Travel, Learn and See Your Friends : Adventures in Mandarin Immersion, a new bilingual book from Edna Ma!

Written in English, Simplified Chinese, and Pinyin, it follows the friendship of two boys that meet in a Chinese language immersion school. I love the fact that one boy is learning Mandarin because it’s his heritage language, while the other (based on a real little boy!) is doing it to learn about a new culture! When one boy finds out he’s moving to another city, can the friends come up with a plan to see each other again?

I love this sweet story of friendship, plus my son (not a Mandarin speaker!) enjoyed looking at the Chinese characters and trying to figure out how to pronounce the Mandarin words (thanks to the Pinyin, which renders Chinese into English characters). Wonderful book to motivate children to learn Chinese.

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Mar 042021
 

Diversify your bookshelf or school library with children’s books that not only have diverse characters but that are written by diverse authors! But you won’t want to read these Own Voices books for kids just because it’s the “right” thing to do. They are simply wonderful in their own right! Each has a special story to tell, told in a unique voice that children (and adults) need to hear. What are your favorite Own Voices children’s books? Let me know in the comments!

Own Voices Books for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Own Voices Books for Kids

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Enjoy these wonderful Own Voices books for kids!

Do you have a little cowgirl or cowboy in your life? Then you won’t want to miss C Is for Country, a fun new picture book from Lil Nas X. (Yes, that Lil Nas X! Now he writes picture books too!) Through this engaging ABC book, the international superstar gives children a glimpse of why he loves country life so much. After all, D is for Dirt, and V is for a Very Naughty Pony! But the pages are also inspire kids towards inclusion and self-love, such as E is for Everybody, since we “can all share the shine.”

I love having a cowboy book that focuses on a Black boy – especially one that loves to wear pink boots and lots of glitz! It also showcases the warmth of Black family life, with meals together around the table and bedtime cuddles. This is a book that shows that everyone belongs, no matter what the genre of story.

Many children have had the painful experience of hearing their names butchered by teachers and students. Frequently, this is connected to overall feelings of being “weird” or just not fitting in with their peers, a feeling amplified by differences of race and culture. The gorgeous new picture book Your Name Is a Song tackles this issue and teaches children to appreciate their unusual names. Because who wouldn’t love to have their names turned into a song?

While the main character is Black, the book includes names from many cultures. My daughter was delighted to see the name of her aunt in Costa Rica included! The mother in the story empowers her daughter, who in turn passes this new appreciation on to other children and even to her teacher. Most poignant of all for me was the inclusion of the name Trayvon, which the author notes was done in honor of Trayvon Martin. I highly recommend this beautiful book, which would be great to have in school libraries. Imagine how wonderful it would be for a teacher to read this on the first day of school!

One of my favorite things about blogging is that it has enabled me to meet so many incredible people from around the world (and some right around the corner!) I had the pleasure of meeting author Meera Sriram several years ago through Multicultural Kid Blogs. She is such a lovely person and does the most incredible work. Her latest accomplishment is A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India, a gorgeous children’s book based on her own childhood experiences going to the market in India.

The reader goes along with a little girl through the marketplace, as she tries to decide on a present for her Amma (mother). I love how the book highlights in text and pictures all the rich colors to be found there, from the yellow of tumeric to the white of the jasmine blooms. A Gift for Amma: Market Day in India (available in Spanish as Un regalo para Amma: Día de mercado en India) is a feast for all of the senses, as we smell the flowers, see the peacock feathers waving in the breeze, listen to the drum beats, jump to avoid the rickshaws, and drool over the stacks of sweets. Not only do you get to enjoy the beautiful illustrations from Mariona Cabassa, you can also see the author’s photos of the actual marketplace at the back of the book.

How do we raise kind kids? This is one of the big questions I wrestle with as a parent, so I’m always glad to find helpful resources! Peacebe is an adorable character that helps kids learn virtues like kindness and honesty. One of the latest in this series is The Adventures of Peacebe and the Heartwatch- Kids Can Make A Difference Too!, which teaches kids about being a good citizen! Author Leneen Faith is a mom and teacher with a Master’s in Elementary Education, so she knows how to create books and activities that really capture children’s imaginations and hearts. Peacebekids is not only a book series but also a website with fun activities for kids.

Stories are such a great way to connect children to their heritage and give them a sense of belonging in the world – one reason why it’s so wonderful for them to spend time with grandparents and community elders. So I was thrilled to learn of the beautiful new book Chasing Butterflies in the Sunlight, inspired by the author’s own childhood and her desire to share it with her children.

Chasing Butterflies in the Sunlight is set in the 1970s and describes the main character’s many childhood adventures in her home on a university campus in Nigeria as well as her travels to Niger, England, and Scotland. I love that the book emphasizes the importance of family plus how it breaks down stereotypes about Africa through its portrayal of a cosmopolitan, well-educated, and well-traveled Nigerian family.

What happens when a mother far from home wants to share the beauty of her homeland with her children? In the case of author Emily Joof, it means beautiful children’s books that we can all enjoy! Joof’s picture books share the beauty of The Gambia, as seen through the eyes of her Swedish-born children. In Mangoes & MonkeyBread: Fruity Fun with Ella & Louis, two children are visiting The Gambia. When the boy becomes homesick for the strawberries of Sweden, his older sister patiently shows him all the wonderful fruit to be found in The Gambia. This is so similar to what happens when my children visit their relatives in Costa Rica!

In Our Favourite Things.: The Story of Home in The Gambia and Sweden, the children and their parents each share their favorite foods, places, and so on, showcasing the beautiful mix of cultures in their family. These books are must reads, especially for families like ours that blend traditions!

Exquisite is the perfect name for this gorgeous picture book biography of Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize, which she did with her second book of poetry. What makes this win even more remarkable was not just who Brooks was but what she wrote about – that is, the people that lived in her working class African American neighborhood in Chicago. Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks is a great way to explore poetry with kids and encourage them to try writing it themselves. After all, Brooks started writing when she was very young, writing about dolls and sunsets!

Another new picture book is Spirit of the Cheetah: A Somali Tale, a coming of age story set in this eastern African country. Inspired by the stories she heard from her own father, co-author Khadra Mohammed has joined with Karen Lynn Williams to weave a powerful story about developing inner strength. Roblay thinks that winning a race will make him a man, but his grandfather teaches him to listen to the wisdom of nature to cultivate patience and call on the spirit of the river and the cheetah for which it was named. A beautiful story to help children think about what qualities they would like to develop, and to spark their interest in the cheetah, which is now an endangered species. Includes a section of fun facts about the cheetah.

Silverworld is a wonderful middle grade fantasy that draws on Arabic culture and legends. At the same time, the main character Sami is dealing with issues that any child can relate to – feeling out of place in a new home, worry over a sick family member, and frustration that no one takes you seriously because you’re “just” a kid. This is an amazing adventure story into a fantastical parallel world as well as an emotional journey as Sami learns to trust her own strength and abilities. I also love that it is such a loving portrait of a close knit Lebanese American family, drawn from the author’s own experiences.

Do you have an older kid that enjoys reading mysteries? Fantasy? Adventure stories? How about all three rolled into one?? Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle is the second in the @prince_of_typgar series. The main character, Nujran, has just started at the prestigious University of Foalinaarc when a body is found in campus. This is only the first strange event that captures the reader’s interest in this fast-paced book, which also includes a prison break, romance, and a kidnapping. This YA thriller is a real page turner, plus fantasy fans will appreciate the incredible amount of detail that went into making this world come to life.

Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle

Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Monks of Meirar

What are your favorite Own Voices children’s books?

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Diverse Picture Books About Inner Strength

Jan 272021
 

Each year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day showcases diverse books for children and raises awareness about why representation matters. (Read more about this event at the end of this post!) This year, as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, I have the honor of reviewing five wonderful diverse picture books about positive qualities that children can develop, like friendship and compassion.

I’m also thrilled that most of the books highlighted below are not only diverse picture books but also #OwnVoices books. In other words, the author shares the same identity as the character whose story they are telling, such as an African-American writing about an African-American character. And each book focuses on children learning to value their inner strength.

Diverse Picture Books About Inner Strength | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Diverse Picture Books About Inner Strength

Enjoy these wonderful diverse picture books about developing inner strength!


Friendship
So many children can relate to Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, a tender tale of two best friends faced with the terrible news that they will no longer be living next door to each other. Daniela and Evelyn are as close as sisters, so for them it is unthinkable to be separated. When moving day comes, the two do their special handshake one last time and hug each other tight. They know that no matter what, they will always be best friends.

I love the vibrant urban setting and the sprinklings of Spanish throughout. Written by Newbery medalist Med Medina, this beautiful story is a testament to the enduring bonds of friendship, no matter the time or distance. Also available in Spanish, as Evelyn Del Rey se muda.

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess

Dreaming Big
Moms often feel guilty for not being there for their children as much as they would like, because of work, school, or other responsibilities. Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess was born out of the challenges author Deedee Cummings faced as a single mom. In the story, Kayla’s mom works long hours but always takes time to start Kayla’s day off with affection and a reminder to never lose sight of your dreams. But these are more than just words: Mother and daughter celebrate together when the mom’s long hours result in a well-deserved promotion.

I love the illustrations, which lend the book a magical, fairy tale quality. Releasing in April 2021, this lovely story about chasing your dreams is a follow up to the author’s award-winning books This Is The Earth and In The Nick Of Time. Don’t miss this wonderful interview with the author and her encouraging words for busy parents.


Believing In Yourself
Best in Me, written by veteran educator Natalie McDonald-Perkins, addresses the topic of bullying head on. A school counselor gathers a group of students who have experienced bullying and helps them see the beauty in themselves. She tasks each of them with writing a poem about what makes them special. Their poems show the difficulties they have faced because of being different – because of disability, language, or looks. But as they share, it also becomes clear that the children have learned to see these differences as something to be proud of rather than ashamed. Moreover, the students show their support for one another, as they deepen their friendships and their empathy for each other. A beautiful book about loving what makes you special and always believing in yourself.

Vy's Special Gift
Compassion
One particularly poignant story is Vy’s Special Gift, based on a true story about pandemic life in the author’s homeland, Vietnam. A young girl stands in a long line in hopes of getting rice for her family. As time drags on, Vy notices a young boy in front of her and begins to sing and read to him to help him pass the time. Then, when she finally reaches the front of the line, she respectfully lets an older woman go first. As she reaches out for her own portion of rice, however, Vy discovers that there is no more. Yet her acts of compassion have not been forgotten. A heart-warming tale about community and neighbors looking out for each other during these difficult times.

Vy’s Special Gift also has the distinction of being read aloud on Room to Read by Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng (Barack Obama’s sister).


Courage
A “Tail” of Three Lions is a picture book from the founder of Green Kids Club, which works to raise awareness among children about environmental issues. In this latest story, we meet Tau, a young lion whose two brothers are taken by poachers. Tau is determined to rescue his brothers, and so, when he grows older, he sets out to find them. Along the way, he learns about the cruelties of lion captivity as well as the efforts to help lions who have been mistreated. This adventure story is a wonderful way to spark a passion for protecting animals and their habitats. I also love the science section at the end of the book, with a deeper look at the issues raised in the story.

What are your favorite diverse picture books?

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2021 (1/29/21) is in its 8th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.
Eight years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues. Read about our Mission & History HERE.

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Medallion Sponsors!

FOUNDER’S CIRCLE: Mia Wenjen (Prgamaticmom) and Valarie Budayr’s (Audreypress.com)

Platinum Sponsors: Language Lizard Bilingual Books in 50+ Languages, Author Deedee Cummings and Make A Way Media

Gold Sponsors: Barefoot Books, Candlewick Press, Capstone, Hoopoe Books, KidLitTV, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

Silver Sponsors: Charlotte Riggle, Connecticut Association of School Librarians, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Pack-N-Go Girls

Bronze Sponsors: Agatha Rodi and AMELIE is IMPRESSED!, Barnes Brothers Books, Create and Educate Solutions, LLC, Dreambuilt Books, Dyesha and Triesha McCants/McCants Squared, Redfin Real Estate, Snowflake Stories, Star Bright Books, TimTimTom Bilingual Personalized Books, Author Vivian Kirkfield, Wisdom Tales Press,

 

MCBD 2021 is honored to be Supported by these Author Sponsors!

Poster Artist: Nat Iwata

Authors: Author Afsaneh Moradian, Author Alva Sachs & Three Wishes Publishing Company, Author Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pedersen, Author Anna Olswanger, Author Casey Bell , Author Claudine Norden, Author Debbie Dadey, Author Diana Huang & Intrepids, Author Eugenia Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Green Kids Club, Author Gwen Jackson, Author Janet Balletta, Author Josh Funk, Author Julia Inserro, Karter Johnson & Popcorn and Books, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, Author Keila Dawson, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture Groove, Author Mia Wenjen, Michael Genhart, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Natalie Murray, Natalie McDonald-Perkins, Author Natasha Yim, Author Phe Lang and Me On The Page Publishing, Sandra Elaine Scott, Author Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, Tales of the Five Enchanted Mermaids, Author Theresa Mackiewicz, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Author Toshia Stelivan, Valerie Williams-Sanchez & The Cocoa Kids Collection Books©, Author Vanessa Womack, MBA, Author Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by our CoHosts and Global CoHosts!

MCBD 2021 is Honored to be Supported by these Media Partners!

Check out MCBD’s Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Diversity Book Lists & Activities for Teachers and Parents

Homeschool Diverse Kidlit Booklist & Activity Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Activism and Activists Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Empathy Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Kindness Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Physical and Developmental Challenges Kit

FREE Teacher Classroom Poverty Kit

Gallery of Our Free Posters

FREE Diversity Book for Classrooms Program

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

Join us on Friday, Jan 29, 2021, at 9 pm EST for the 8th annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party!
This epically fun and fast-paced hour includes multicultural book discussions, addressing timely issues, diverse book recommendations, & reading ideas.
We will be giving away an 8-Book Bundle every 5 minutes plus Bonus Prizes as well! *** US and Global participants welcome. **
Follow the hashtag #ReadYourWorld to join the conversation, connect with like-minded parts, authors, publishers, educators, organizations, and librarians. See you all very soon on Twitter!
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Sep 112020
 
 September 11, 2020  multiculturalism, parenting Comments Off on Multicultural Parenting: My Mixed Life Interview

What does multicultural parenting look like in our family? Today I’m honored to bring you my recent interview on Talking Louis, part of their series of interviews called My Mixed Life. Read on for more details!

Multicultural Parenting | My Mixed Life Interview Alldonemonkey

What does being a “world citizen” mean to me? How does being in an intercultural marriage influence how we are raising our children? Find out answers to these questions and more on this interview on multicultural parenting:

Multicultural Parenting: My Mixed Life Interview

Jun 092020
 
 June 9, 2020  Education, multiculturalism, parenting Comments Off on Resources for Teaching Kids about Racial Justice

Resources to Teach Kids About Racial Justice | Alldonemonkey on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Want to teach your children about racial justice but not sure where to begin? Looking for tools to incorporate discussions of race into your classroom? Luckily there are so many great resources available these days. You can find me today over at Multicultural Kid Blogs, sharing the best resources we have found from our bloggers and across the internet for teaching kids about racial justice. You’ll find everything from lesson plans to children’s books, plus much more:

Resources for Teaching Kids about Racial Justice

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Feb 132020
 
 February 13, 2020  crafts, Geography, multiculturalism, music, raising world citizens Comments Off on Indian Drum Craft and Book

When my friend Daria from Daria’s World Music approached me about sharing her Indian drum craft along with a related children’s book, I was so excited! Daria and I have been friends for a long time, and I’m a big admirer of her work. She does such an incredible job of getting kids excited about world music. You can see below how much fun we had recently making the dhol Indian drum and reading a folktale about it!

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the resources below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Indian Drum Craft and Book

The dhol is a drum from North India and surrounding areas, especially the Punjab region. This double-sided drum is hung around the neck with a thick strap and played with wooden sticks.

You can learn a bit more and watch the dhol drum being played. The rhythms that are played on the dhol are amazing!

Thanks to Daria, you can do this Indian drum craft and make your own dhol at home!

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

It is easy to do with resources you probably have on hand right now.

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

The kids loved getting to decorate the drums with their own designs, but best of all was running outside once they were done to find sticks and get playing!

While the kids were working, I read them The Drum, a folktale from India about a boy who longs for his own drum. Being from a poor family, however, he knows they cannot afford it. But when his mother brings home a magical stick, given to her by a mysterious stranger, the boy’s luck changes. He immediately begins a series of adventures, where his compassion leads him to help people in need, who each repay him as best they can. In the end, he gets his drum! A really fun story of a good-hearted kid being rewarded for his kindness.

Be sure to check out Daria’s store on TpT: you can make your own dhol, learn about the instruments of India, and more! 

Indian Drum Craft and Book | Alldonemonkey.com

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Nov 122019
 
 November 12, 2019  Book Reviews, multiculturalism Comments Off on Inspiring Biographies of Diverse Heroes

As much as I love fiction, I also love reading true stories, which are all the more powerful because you know they really happened. For children, they are also opportunities to see all the possibilities for their own lives, as they draw strength from the examples of others. This is why it is so important that children be exposed to a wide variety of diverse, true life stories from an early age. Below is a collection of inspiring biographies for kids about diverse heroes.

Inspiring Biographies of Diverse Heroes | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Inspiring Biographies of Diverse Heroes

I had heard about Dr. Ellen Ochoa, engineer and first Hispanic woman in space, but there is so much more to her story! As a musician, I loved finding out about her love of music, and that she even played the flute while in space! The Astronaut With a Song for the Stars: The Story of Dr. Ellen Ochoa is another beautiful book from Innovation Press. This picture book biography helps kids learn to overcome adversity and to stay true to their dreams, even when others are determined to shut doors in their faces. I also loved the detail about how Dr. Ochoa made the decision to pursue a career as an astronaut relatively late – in fact, she almost majored in music instead of physics! Good news for those that take their time when making decisions 🙂

Another woman who defied convention was Evelyn Cheeseman, whose story is beautiful brought to life in Evelyn the Adventurous Entomologist: The True Story of a World-Traveling Bug Hunter. As a girl, Cheeseman loved to play and explore in the dirt, even though girls in her day were expected to be prim and proper. As an adult, Cheeseman was an intrepid explorer, heading off on solo expeditions to far-flung locations at a time when women were expected to marry and stay home. A wonderful book to encourage children to be daring and adventurous in pursuit of their dreams.

The House That Cleaned Itself: The True Story of Frances Gabe’s (Mostly) Marvelous Invention is one of the wackiest true stories I have read in a long time! Children today may understand Gabe’s lack of enthusiasm about household chores, but this book does a great job of helping them understand just how tedious they were in those days, and what a burden they were particularly on women and girls. Frances Gabe was not having it, so she invented the self-cleaning house! Despite having low funds and no college education, Gabe patented nearly 70 inventions for her unique house. (Here is a video of Gabe giving a tour of the house). This is such a fun book to read, encouraging kids to think way outside the box when solving difficult problems!

Frida, Queen of the Canvas is one of a beautiful series of inspiring biographies from Queen Girls, which turns the lives of real women into fairy tales for young readers. In Frida, Queen of the Canvas we explore the life of the beloved Mexican artist and activist Frida Kahlo. By showing how Kahlo transformed her pain into art, this book is a wonderful way to teach kids that they can do anything they set their minds to!

While Kahlo’s story was familiar to me, I was delighted to learn more about educator Savitribhai in Savitri, the Teaching Queen. Born in the early 19th century in British India, Savitri was denied an education until her husband taught her to read. That was the beginning of her pursuit of learning, and later, while still in her teens, Savitri helped found the first school for girls in Pune, India, and became its first teacher. She is now revered for her work in education and social reform.

At a time when many observers are wondering how to keep girls interested in the sciences, Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers provides a wonderful means for doing just that. This is a unique book that explores the “super powers” that STEM superheroes possess (such as observation and curiosity). It then shows how 26 women use these super powers in careers (from A-Z) that make the world a better place. For example, civil engineer Vanessa Galvez uses the super power of problem solving to come up with better solutions for handling storm water. Renewable energy analyst Hannah Olmberg-Soesman uses the super power of collaboration to work with power companies and communities in Suriname to make solar power more accessible.

I love this book because it showcases so many amazing women, who are doing really fascinating work! And it focuses on aspects of science that tend to be appealing to girls – that is, the practical applications that have real world benefits for others. A wonderful book to encourage girls and boys to pursue a STEM career!

Of course, let’s not forget that boys need inspiring examples to follow as well, especially in this age where masculinity is being redefined and boys are often sent confusing messages about what it means to become a man. The gorgeous book Boy oh Boy consists of 30 inspiring biographies of positive male role models – from Gandhi to Prince, from sports figures and artists to activists and scientists. The men are incredibly diverse, in terms of race, geography, and career path.

I love that each man chosen displays qualities that we all want to instill in our sons – such as courage and compassion – yet these manifest themselves in very different ways in each case, proving that there are so many different ways to be a man!

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Jul 122019
 
 July 12, 2019  Book Reviews, multiculturalism Comments Off on Awesome Middle Grade Books by Diverse Authors

Looking for more great summer reading for your kids? Here are some wonderful middle grade books we’ve discovered this summer. And big bonus! They are all by diverse authors! Some address race and culture directly, while for others it is more part of the background. Either way, I can promise that your child will not want to put these books down, plus you will enjoy reading them yourself!

Awesome Middle Grade Books by Diverse Authors | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Awesome Middle Grade Books by Diverse Authors

 

My son read New Kid four times before I was able to wrestle it away from him to read it myself. This graphic novel from award-winning author and illustrator Jerry Craft centers on a seventh grader just starting at a new school. Jordan finds himself at a prestigious private school where suddenly he is one of only a few students of color in his entire grade. This book brilliantly captures the ways that Jordan must learn to navigate his new school, dealing with both the wealth of most of his peers, and the many small ways that racism seeps into school culture. For example, he is often mistaken for other students of color, even if they are otherwise nothing alike – and teachers are often some of the worst offenders. Beyond just highlighting these microaggressions, the book shows – often through use of Jordan’s own artwork – how hurtful they can be. Highly readable book that manages to tackle the big issues in a nuanced way and still end on a high note.

 

I was already a big fan of The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora (see my full review), so I was excited to find Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish, a new book from author Pablo Cartaya. Marcus Vega is often misunderstood. He’s big, he’s tall, and he already has the start of a mustache. So people assume that he is a bully, just like they assume because of his name that he speaks Spanish. But the truth is that Marcus barely remembers Spanish or his Puerto Rican father, who left years ago. The only time Marcus gets aggressive is when someone insults his younger brother, who has Down Syndrome. When just such an insult leads to a fight and a possible suspension from school, Marcus’s mother decides it’s time for a family vacation to Puerto Rico. To Marcus this means the chance to finally find his father, yet he ends up discovering much more, like the true meaning of family, and when it is time to let go of someone. He even learns a little bit of Spanish!

This book is incredibly funny and poignant, and its characters are wonderfully complex but very relatable at the same time. Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish is a beautiful tribute to Puerto Rico and its people. It is set before the Hurricane Maria, and Cartaya wrote that it is meant to honor the memory of the lives lost.

 

We are currently in the midst of reading The Last Last-Day-of-Summer. You couldn’t get more contemporary, as it is set in August 2019 – hopefully we’ll finish well before the story actually takes place! The legendary Alston cousins are just looking for one more adventure before school starts, when a mysterious stranger shows up to offer them a gift of a camera. Yet this gift has a sinister side, as it has the effect of freezing time! Now Otto and Sheed must find a way to save their town, before it’s too late! A great read for anyone who likes science fiction or adventure. I love having kids of color front and center in a genre where they are often overlooked. This isn’t a “gritty” urban drama about escaping poverty or gang life, it’s just a clever, funny story about some amazingly heroic kids – who are about to save their small town from extinction!

NewsPrints and its sequel EndGames follow the adventures of Blue, a newsboy with a big secret – he’s actually a newsgirl. Fearing rejection (and losing her job), Blue disguises herself as a boy, which also lets her have many more adventures than she would be allowed as a girl. Indeed, much of the plot of the book focuses on going deeper than the surface, as Blue discovers that many of those around her are hiding secrets, including her own government. In the midst of an ongoing war, Blue and her new friend Crow must learn to trust each other with their true identities in order to save themselves.

A great adventure story that challenges young readers not to judge by appearance but to find out the truth for themselves and trust their instincts, particularly when it comes to knowing whom to trust.

Related Posts:

New Diverse Books for Kids by Diverse Authors

Diverse Books to Inspire a Love of Learning

Adventure Books for Kids

Mar 082019
 
 March 8, 2019  multiculturalism, Purim Comments Off on 10 Fun Facts for Kids About Purim

How much do you know about the Jewish celebration of Purim? I recently wrote a guest post on Multicultural Kid Blogs, teaching kids (and adults!) fun facts about Purim.

10 Fun Facts for Kids About Purim | Alldonemonkey on Multicultural Kid Blogs

Click on the link to find out fun facts about Purim, such as where the name “Purim” comes from, why people eat hat-shaped cookies, and where a very special Purim was celebrated during World War II in Germany:

10 Fun Facts for Kids About Purim

 

Related Posts:

Free Purim Printables

Purim Books for Kids

Plan a Purim Party Your Kids Will Love

 

Feb 142019
 
 February 14, 2019  Baha'i, crafts, multiculturalism Comments Off on Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars

This diversity craft is easy to do and uses materials you probably already have! More importantly, it teaches children about unity in diversity, and how we can celebrate our differences while still coming together to create something beautiful. For those getting ready for Ayyám-i-Há, the nine-pointed stars also make a great decoration!

Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars

Today more and more people are coming to appreciate the joys and strengths in our diversity. Yet others confuse this celebration of differences as fundamentally divisive. This simple diversity craft teaches children that this does not have to be the case!

When we recognize our essential unity as a human family, there is nothing to fear from recognizes our differences. Instead, we can celebrate them. After all, what a boring world it would be if we were all the same!

This diversity craft teaches children about unity in diversity in a visual way, and it’s incredibly easy to do.

Why a nine pointed star? First, it lets you use three different colors, so it’s very beautiful! Also, since nine is the highest single digit, it is often used as a symbol of unity.

Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars | Alldonemonkey.com

What You Need:

  • Tissue paper in at least three colors. You can also use Kite Paper, which is less likely to wrinkle and so makes for even more beautiful stars.
  • Scissors
  • Tape – regular tape works fine, but if you have double-sided, even better!
  • Nine pointed star template (like this one)
  • Piece of light weight cardboard (like from a cereal box)

Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars | Alldonemonkey.com

Instructions:

  1. Ahead of time, trace a nine pointed star onto the light weight cardboard. Separately, use the nine pointed star to trace just one of the star’s triangles. (Just trace the points from the star then connect them to make a triangle). Cut out both the star and the triangle to make your templates.
  2. Use the triangle template to cut out triangles from the tissue paper, 3 per star. (Depending on the age of the children, they can do this step or you can prep ahead of time).
  3. Have the children each pick out three triangles, each triangle of a different color.
  4. Using the star template to see how to position the triangles, have them layer the triangles on top of each other to make a nine pointed star. Use tape between each layer. If you don’t have double side tape, just make a little loop out of the tape so that it sticks to both triangles. Note: I originally used glue instead of tape, but it ends up looking mottled even when dry, so I don’t recommend it.

Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars | Alldonemonkey.com

 

Now you have a cute, multicolored nine pointed star! What’s beautiful about them is that the three colors are seen distinctly in each of the points, but – especially when you hold the star up to the light – the colors also blend to make new shades together! A super simple but powerful way to teach children about the beauty of unity in diversity.

Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars | Alldonemonkey.com

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