May 112018
 
 May 11, 2018  Book Reviews, Spanish, spiritual education Comments Off on Books that Inspire Kids to Be Leaders

Encourage your young world changers with these incredible books that inspire kids to be leaders! From picture books to chapter books, these works showcase people overcoming obstacles to follow their dreams as well as real life heroes who made a difference in the world. What inspires you?

Books that Inspire Kids to Be Leaders | 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.

Books that Inspire Kids to Be Leaders

Mayanito’s New Friends/ Los Nuevos Amigos De Mayanito is a beautiful allegory of a young prince who befriends children from distant lands and journeys far from his rainforest home to visit them. The animals of the jungle help him on his quest, until he is reunited with his friends and even brings them back to the his village to celebrate their global friendship. Prince Mayanito declares all the children of the hemisphere as his tribe and from his home at the equator can listen to music coming from his world map. A lovely story from the late poet and playwright Tato Laviera, with gorgeous illustrations of Mayanito’s lush rainforest home. I love stories like this that celebrate what unites us despite our differences and that recognize that children don’t have to wait to to grow up to become leaders.

One of the most famous Latin American leaders was José Martí, the Cuban poet who traveled the world to advocate for the oppressed and to speak out for Cuba’s independence from Spain. This wonderful picture book tells of the inspiration behind his convictions as well as the sacrifices he made for them, living in exile from his beloved island for so many years and later dying in battle in the war for its independence. I love that Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad uses Martí’s own verses to tell his story, inspiring another generation with the legendary words of this great freedom fighter. Includes historical notes at the end for even more information about this incredible figure.

Remember the Ladies (Ellis the Elephant) celebrates the often overlooked contributions of America’s first ladies, such as Abigail Fillmore, who helped build the collection of the national library, and Edith Wilson, who helped fulfill her husband’s duties when he became ill. These women are remarkable leaders in their own right, including one of my personal heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt. Written by a diplomat, this book keeps a steady hand even when discussing more recent first ladies, celebrating achievements from women from both sides of the political aisle. Featuring the adorable character Ellis the Elephant, it also includes more detailed biographies of all the featured women at the end of the book.

For most kids, reading about the history of the US Senate would seem incredibly dry, but the story of Dennis Chávez is completely the opposite. Dennis Chávez: The First Hispanic US Senator/ El Primer Senador Hispano De Los Estados Unidos is a beautifully done biography for older kids of the first US-born Hispanic Senator, one of the most remarkable leaders you’ve never heard of. Indeed, as I was reading, I found myself asking over and over, Why is this the first time I am reading about him? Born in rural New Mexico before it was even a state, Dionisio Chávez grew up speaking only Spanish, tending sheep, and living in a house with dirt floors and no indoor plumbing. But he was bright and motivated, and quickly learned English and excelled at his studies. Then in 7th grade, he had to drop out of school to work and was never able to complete high school or college.

Yet he went on to graduate from Georgetown Law School and serve as a US Senator for 27 years. Inspired by his own first hand experiences of injustice, he fought tirelessly for minorities and workers, even standing up to McCarthy at a time when speaking out against him was virtually unthinkable. Throughout it all he maintained his optimism and commitment to faith and family.

This gem is written by the Senator’s own granddaughter and puts Chávez’s accomplishments squarely within the context of history. She also brings out the warmth of his personality and sincerity of his convictions. A book that will inspire any child to stand up for what they believe in, no matter how great the obstacles.

Do you ever wish you could teach bullies a lesson? The Shameless Shenanigans of Mister Malo/ Las Terribles Travesuras De Mister Malo is a wonderful bilingual chapter book about a boy who does just that, on a regular basis. Through his secret persona Mister Malo, Lance takes assignments from other fourth graders – with payment in fruit snacks – to take care of kids who are making their lives miserable. But when his payback to one playground bully backfires, Mister Malo is forced to look deeper to try and discover why bullies act like they do. Lance also faces a bully of his own and must learn to stand up for himself, without the comforting mask of Mister Malo.

This book not only teaches important lessons, it’s incredibly funny as well – but parents should be warned that there is plenty of bathroom humor, though of course young readers will love this! Let’s just say that the climax of the book is when Lance and his buddies create a school project all about why people fart! This, um, unique project is not just for laughs – it actually resolves a bully problem for a young girl who has been teased mercilessly for tooting on the playground.

Really fun bilingual chapter book for young readers about how to deal with bullies in unconventional ways.

Among the great inspirational figures of the twentieth century is the groundbreaking Jackie Robinson. The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend is written by none other than Jackie Robinson’s daughter! An accomplished author, Ms. Robinson tells the charming tale of a young white boy and his incredible friendship with the legendary baseball player during the beginning of his career in the major leagues. It was common at that time for Dodgers players and their families to rent rooms in Brooklyn neighborhoods during the season, so when 8 year old Steve finds out his hero is moving to his street, he feels like he’s just won the lottery!

But Jackie Robinson teaches Steve about more than just baseball. He shows Steve how to deal with bullies and inspires him to do well in school and follow his dreams. Even more than that, during a time of deep racial and religious divides, this African American legend showed a young Jewish boy how to reach across lines and build bridges instead. The Robinson and Satlow families remain close to this day, and their story gives a wonderful glimpse of the remarkable man behind the myth.

Baseball is also center stage in Out of Left Field, a wonderful new chapter book about a girl determined to bring the real history of baseball to light. The year is 1957, and Katy Gordon loves nothing more than standing on the mound and throwing one of her famous pitches, shocking the boys who never expect a girl to be able to play ball like she can. But when she is barred from Little League because baseball has supposedly always been a man’s sport, she turns her frustration into a zeal for digging up the forgotten history of women in baseball in order to prove them wrong.

Young readers will easily relate to Katy, an ordinary girl driven to do extraordinary things because of a passion for justice and her beloved baseball.  They will also enjoy getting to know her unconventional family – the professor mom who encourages Katy in her quest, and her sisters, an engineer and an artist, who inspire Katy to follow her passion. I love that throughout Katy’s mom takes her seriously, offering support and advice without condescending or doing the work for her. And being from California, of course I enjoyed the detailed portrait of life in San Francisco during the era of Sputnik and the Little Rock Nine.

While the story is fictional, many of the women showcased in the story – such as Maud Nelson, Jackie Mitchell, and Toni Stone – are not. Generations before Mo’ne Davis pitched a shutout in the Little League World Series, girls and women fought simply to have a place on the field. This book brings well deserved attention to their struggle and their incredible talent.

How do you inspire your children to be leaders?

Related Posts:

Raising Kids Who Do the Right Thing

Gifts for Kids that Want to Change the World

Biographies for Kids About Following Your Dreams

Jan 162017
 
 January 16, 2017  bilingualism, Spanish Comments Off on 3 Must-Have Resources for Spanish-Speaking Preschoolers

Thank you to MommyMaestra for this post on 3 must-have resources for parents of Spanish-speaking preschoolers!

Many parents feel that the best time to learn multiple languages is when children are small and their brains are more efficient at processing language. And today, more and more parents are working hard to pass on their heritage language to their children. For Hispanics, that means Spanish tools and resources are in high demand, but sometimes hard to find. While children can learn languages simply through communication with family and friends, there are a few tools that parents should stock up on to help them make the learning process extra fun.

3 Must-Have Resources for Parents with Spanish-Speaking Preschoolers | Alldonemonkey.com


If you have Spanish-speaking preschoolers at home, check out these must-have resources.

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

3 Must-Have Resources for Parents with Spanish-Speaking Preschoolers

Bilingual Books

Lucky for us, the number of Latino children’s literature is increasing (albeit slowly). But for preschoolers, there are quite a few exceptional titles that not only teach them basic skills such as numbers, colors, shapes, and letters, but they teach these concepts in Spanish! And don’t forget books with traditional nursery rhymes and fingerplays which were originally created to help children learn. Some of my favorites include:

Related Post: Favorite Homeschool Resources for Teaching Spanish

Bilingual Music

There are so many great musicians who have recently come out with fun and educational albums in Spanish for children. Research shows that music is a great learning tool for children because the repetitive rhythms help children remember the concepts being taught. And it is easy to see how this works when you listen to the joyful songs available for kids. Make listening to music a part of your daily routine. And some of these musicians even have fun music videos to enhance your child’s learning. From dinosaurs to opposites, your children will move and sing their little hearts out to these outstanding albums currently available for purchase online as MP3 downloads or CDs:

Related Post: 3 Easy Ways to Use Music to Teach Preschool Spanish

Spanish Apps

While I strongly advise limiting your child’s access to tech, you might as well ensure that their time spent staring at a screen be educational. There are quite a few remarkable apps that are available for both iOS, Android, and Kindle. All of them are vibrant and engaging, but I encourage parents to sit with your child the first time or two to ensure that the app is appropriate for their age. Here are my favorite apps for preschoolers:

About the Author

MonicaMonica Olivera is a homeschooling mother of two and a freelance education writer. Her site, MommyMaestra.com, helps Hispanic parents get more involved in their children’s education by providing resources, tips, and opportunities. She is also the co-founder of Latinas for Latino Lit and the content creator of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program, the first national, online program designed specifically for Latino families. Her education articles have appeared in numerous online sites such as NBCNews, latinamom.me, and PBSParents. To learn more, visit her About.me page.

Connect with Monica on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Dec 202016
 
 December 20, 2016  bilingualism, Book Reviews, Geography Comments Off on Travel Books for Kids: Top Cities

I love books that beckon children to travel and to imagine themselves as the heroes in great adventures. The travel books for kids highlighted below do this by focusing on particular cities – Kyoto, Paris, Mumbai, and London – and introducing young readers to the sights and culture of these noteworthy locales.

Travel Books for Kids: Top Cities

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.

Travel Books for Kids

Learn about Kyoto along with a young girl traveling there with her grandfather in Megumi’s First Trip to Kyoto. This is a really lovely book. The illustrations are wonderful, and I love that through the story we learn language and culture as Megumi and her grandfather count the things they will see in Kyoto: 10 bonsai trees, 9 orange koi, and so on. Japanese words are sprinkled in throughout the story, with footnotes giving the meaning and pronunciation. At the end there are also fun facts, a map, and Japanese numbers 1-10. But beyond this, what really makes the book come to life is the close relationship between Megumi and her grandfather. The affection between them lends a warmth to this story and will attract young readers even as they learn more about this beautiful city.

Related Post: Global Adventure Books for Kids

Take your kids on a gentle adventure through Paris with Beep Beep In Paris. Beep Beep is an adorable little red car who has adventures throughout Paris with his friend Chocolat the Cat (who has a habit of disappearing to eat desserts!) Poor Beep Beep does have some minor mishaps, but he is always helped by Chocolat, who helps Beep Beep feel at home in this new city. I have read this book many times with my preschooler, who loves the curious little car and his feline friend. (I actually won this book a few years ago from a friend’s blog: read her review of the book!) This sweet bilingual French and English book is a great way to practice vocabulary and take a virtual tour of the major landmarks of the city of lights. Read it with a cup of hot chocolat!

I was excited that our friends that wrote a wonderful Diwali book are now back with a new Maya and Neel adventure! Let’s Visit Mumbai! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 2) is a fun, beautifully done story about two siblings from the US who are exploring Mumbai with their pet squirrel Chintu. Kids aren’t the only ones who will learn from this book – I never knew that Mumbai was originally a group of 7 islands! And did you know that Bollywood comes from Mumbai? There is even an “info zoom” spread about Bollywood as well as another on the famous dabbawallas who deliver food throughout Mumbai. The graphics are so colorful and engaging, and the story packs in a lot of information in a natural way. And I love that just as in Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! there is a visual recap of the adventure at the end of the story. My only complaint about this (and the other books on this list) is that they don’t come with samples of the mouthwatering foods they feature!

Travel Books for Kids: Click the Book - London

If you are looking for innovative travel books for kids and/or want one that is customizable in two languages, you need to check out Click! London. This fun-filled adventure is not only a fast-paced story for children about London, it is also fully bilingual, in the languages of your choice! (Right now Spanish, English, and Italian are available, with more to come). Come along as two children take a wild, somewhat surreal ride through the sights of London!

Jan 222016
 
 January 22, 2016  bilingualism, Book Reviews 8 Responses »

Bilingual Board Books | Alldonemonkey.com

Do you live in a bilingual household or simply want to teach your kids a little Spanish?  Bilingual board books are a wonderful way to introduce your children to Spanish at an early age, and the text is simple enough for kids (and adults!) that have only a rudimentary understanding of the language.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of Lil’ Libros books; however, all opinions are my own.

It doesn’t matter what age your children are, they will be instantly drawn to Lil’ Libros board books.  The artwork is incredibly engaging: colorful and eye-catching without being too “busy.”

Bilingual Board Books | Alldonemonkey.com

Lil’ Libros produces beautiful “first concept” books: in other words, books that teach about basic ideas like numbers, colors, body parts, etc.  As your child is mastering these early concepts, why not teach them in Spanish as well?  You don’t need to be a fluent speaker to teach your children at this level.  You are introducing simple vocabulary with self-explanatory illustrations, so you can learn right along with your child!

And if you are bilingual yourself, you will appreciate how high-quality these books are, and the fact that they teach culture right alongside the language.  Thankfully these days it is getting easier to find Spanish children’s books here in the US; however, the vast majority of these are translations from English.  So even as you worry about how good the translation is going to be, you know that the book will likely teach your child nothing about Hispanic culture.

Bilingual Board Books | Alldonemonkey.com

Lil’ Libros solves this dilemma by brilliantly making use of prominent aspects of Hispanic culture in their books.  For example, children learn about body parts through pictures of Mexico’s famous lucha libre wrestlers (brilliant!) and learn their numbers with representations of artist Frida Kahlo.

I highly recommend Lil’ Libros books to anyone wanting to teach their little ones Hispanic culture and beginning Spanish vocabulary.

Multicultural Children's Book Day

Are you worried about the lack of diversity in children’s literature?  So were Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press.  That’s why they created Multicultural Children’s Book Day, a unique event whose mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

Young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag (#ReadYourWorld) on Twitter and other social media.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2016 Medallion Level Sponsors! #ReadYourWorld

Platinum: Wisdom Tales Press * StoryQuest Books * Lil Libros

Gold: Author Tori Nighthawk * Candlewick Press * Bharat Babies

Silver: Lee and Low Books * Chronicle Books * Capstone Young Readers T

Tuttle Publishing, NY Media Works, LLC/KidLit TV

Bronze: Pomelo Books * Author Jacqueline Woodson * Papa Lemon Books * Goosebottom Books * Author

Gleeson Rebello * ShoutMouse Press * Author Mahvash Shahegh * China Institute.org * Live Oak Media

Multicultural Children’s Book Day CoHosts

Multicultural Children’s Book Day has 12 amazing Co-Hosts (including yours truly!):

All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Educators’ Spin on It, Growing Book by Book, Imagination Soup, I’m Not the Nanny, InCultureParent, Kid World Citizen, Mama Smiles, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Spanish Playground

I’ll be reviewing another set of books in the next few days, plus come back on January 26 to see all of the reviews from the Multicultural Children’s Book Day reviewers!

Jan 212015
 

Children's Books to Teach Geography and Critical Thinking {Multicultural Children's Book Day} | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I received a free set of I See the Sun books for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

This month I officially started homeschooling Monkey, after kinda sorta doing it in the fall.  As such, I’ve been on the lookout for materials we could use that would extend the global/multicultural activities we have been doing already.  That is why I was thrilled to receive a set of I See the Sun books from Satya House Publications to review as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  They are wonderful books to teach children geography and critical thinking, as well as appreciation for other cultures.

Each I See the Sun book follows a day in the life of a child in a different country, such as Mexico or Nepal.  We see the important people in their lives, discover their beliefs and rituals as well as favorite foods and games.  The illustrations are stunning, capturing the setting through unique collages that include paintings, photographs, and other elements like pieces of fabric.

I adore that the books are so culturally sensitive, making use of local sources so that the stories are accurate and translated correctly.  (Books are written in both English and a local language).  Each story is unique yet contains common elements, so that they lend themselves easily to further study as a unit.  They can also be read on different levels: Children can enjoy the books simply as stories without getting bogged down in too many details, or they can explore further using the in-depth explanations about the country at the back of the book.

Activities for Further Study

Here are some ideas for using the wonderful I See the Sun series in your homeschool or after school studies.  Pick and choose the elements appropriate to the age and interests of your child:

Compare and Contrast

For individual books:

– Look at the map at the beginning of the book.  Can you find your country as well?  How near/far apart are they?  Do you think it would take a long trip to get there?

– What is school like for the child in the book?  How is this alike/different from yours?

– What chores/work does each person in the family perform?  How is this alike/different from your family?

– What religious beliefs/practices do you see in the book?  Can you guess what religion they belong to?  How is this alike/different from your family?

– What foods do they eat?  Would you like to try one?  How are the foods in the book alike/different from ones you like?  Find a recipe for one dish and try it out!

– What games/sports do the children play?  How are they alike/different from ones you play?  Would you like to play them, too?

– What modes of transportation do you see people using?  Do you use any of the same ones?  Is there one you would like to try?

– How are the people in the country connected to the outside world (other countries)?  How is this alike/different from where you live?

– Do the people in the book live in a small village or a big city?  How can you tell?  How is this alike/different from where you live?

– Research the other language used in the book.  Try to find out a bit about the script and how to write words like “home” or “family.”  Find a website where you can hear some of the language spoken.   Can you understand any of it?  What does the sound remind you of?

– Pick one of the important landmarks from the country mentioned in the story, using the information at the back of the book and other resources from your library and online.  Make a pamphlet to introduce tourists to that landmark.

– Make a family diagram, showing the names used for family members in the book and their equivalents in your own language.

– Make a presentation to your family/friends about the country.  You can make a poster to show them or act out parts of the story.  You could also pretend you are the child in the book and give them a “tour” of your country.

As a unit:

– Make a chart that compares and contrasts one or more of the elements above.

– Make a recipe book with a dish from each country.

– Print a map of the world and color in each of the countries.  For older children, research the distances and come up with an itinerary for an around the world trip to visit each country.  How would you get from place to place?  How long would it take you to make such a trip?

– In which country are children allowed more time to play?  Where do they have to do more work?

– Which child lives in the most rural environment?  Which in the most urbanized?  How does this affect their daily lives?

– Have an “around the world” party featuring food and games from each country.  Make a playlist with music from each.

Discussion/Essay

For individual books:

How is life in this country different from your own?  What is the same?  Would you like to take a trip there?  What do you think your trip would be like?  (Use this as a way to review the elements above).

As a unit:

Which child’s daily life is most like your own?  Which is most different?  Which country would you most like to visit?  Do you think the children would have fun playing together?  What other elements could have been included in the book?  Why do you think the authors chose to focus on these elements?  Do you think that daily life for everyone in the country is the same as what is shown in the book?  How might it be different if the person had more/less money?  Lived in a more rural/urban setting?  Practiced a different religion?

Make Your Own!

Put together your own book about your country!  You can do this on the computer or using pen and paper.  Include a map at the beginning.  What does a typical day in your life look like?  Be sure to think about elements like foods, chores, school, games/sports, and beliefs.  Illustrate with your own drawings or photographs.

I See the Sun Books

 

Multicultural Children's Book Day

This post is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day – the annual event to celebrate and encourage the publication of multicultural books for children.

Did you know: 37% of the United States population is of multi-cultural or diverse nature but only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Multicultural Children’s Book Day is on a mission to change all of that.

This event, founded by Valarie Budayr of Audrey Press and Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen of Pragmatic Mom, continues to grow and evolve from year to year.  Here are highlights for this year:

– A brand new, stand-alone website that will be homebase for book reviews from noted bloggers all over the world, giveaways and book-related activities for young readers of all ages.

– The MCCBD team is also partnering with First Book to create a Virtual Book Drive for the event, and with The Children’s Book Council to offer readers quality resources along with fun and informative author visits.

– Multicultural Children’s Book Day is now a non-profit!

Over 100 established bloggers reviewing multicultural children’s books.

– All Done Monkey is thrilled to be one of the nine co-hosts that will help use their sites, readerships and reach to pass the word about MCCBD:

Multicultural Children's Book Day - Co-hosts

Africa to America

All Done Monkey

The Educators’ Spin On It

Growing Book by Book

InCultureParent

Kid World Citizen

Mama Smiles

Multicultural Kid Blogs

Sprout’s Bookshelf

2015 Sponsors

MCCBD’s 2015 Sponsors include Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop; Gold Sponsors: Satya House, MulticulturalKids.com, Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof; Silver Sponsors: Junior Library Guild, Capstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books, The Omnibus Publishing; Bronze Sponsors: Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing, Rainbow Books, Author Felicia Capers, Chronicle Books, Muslim Writers Publishing, East West Discovery Press.

There is also a great line-up of Author Sponsors.  Find out more about them and their multicultural books on the Author Blogroll Page!

Multicultural Children’s Book Day also now has its own Paper.li! A Paper.li is a free online newspaper that aggregates information on the topic of multicultural books for kids from all over the Internet. You can subscribe to stay up-to-date with this topic. Also watch for the hashtag: #ReadYourWorld and connect via Twitter and Facebook!

#ReadYourWorld - Multicultural Children's Book Day

 

Jul 172014
 

ArteKids: Bilingual Books about Art for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary copies of these books for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.

If you are a multi-tasking parent like me, you will love ArteKids books!

Teach basic concepts like numbers and shapes?  Check.

Teach English and Spanish?  Check.

Expose to great works of art?  Check.

Introduce to Latin American culture, ancient and modern?  Check.

Have FUN?  Check!

ArteKids: Bilingual Books about Art for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Baby Monkey loves ArteKids books and requests one to read every night at bedtime.  I think children are naturally drawn to great works of art, especially the colorful pieces included in these books.  They are not the typical, somewhat stuffy pieces you might expect, but rather they are fun, colorful pieces from the San Antonio Museum of Art.  Definitely not the usual suspects!  What kid wouldn’t want to learn about shapes from an ancient Aztec statue or a colorful toy animal from Oaxaca?

ArteKids: Bilingual Books about Art for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

For adults and older kids, you can learn more about all of the artists in a guide at the back of each book.

These bilingual books are an instant classic – a wonderful way to introduce children to both the world of language and the world of art!

Jun 142014
 

This post is part of the World Cup for Kids project from Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Each time Costa Rica plays, I will be doing a post on some aspect of that country’s culture.  Today I am sharing some children’s books to teach kids about this beautiful country!

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you for your support!

Costa Rica is very dear to my heart, as it is where my husband is from and where we have spent so many wonderful visits.  It is important to me to teach my sons about this side of their heritage, plus it is just a wonderful place for anyone to get to know!  Reading is a great way to introduce a child to another country.  Here are some great books for kids to read about Costa Rica.  If you have any other recommendations, please let me know!

We just adore The Parrot Tico Tango by Anna Witte.  This funny tale of a greedy parrot is fun to read aloud – and to act out!  The text is delightfully rhythmic, and kids will love the colorful illustrations of the jungle animals.


The Remembering Stone by Barbara Timberlake Russell is a new favorite.  In part, I must admit, I love it because it’s not about the rain forest, as so many of the books about Costa Rica are!  But I also love that it is such a sweet tale about a girl’s desire to fulfill her mother’s wish to return to her native Costa Rica.  The imagery in this story is just beautiful, as the girl imagines herself as a bird returning to to her mother’s homeland, bringing back news of her family there.  It is a story of family, love, and the importance of having dreams to believe in.

Sophia's Jungle Adventure - Giselle ShardlowFor a wonderful interactive read, try this yoga adventure from Kids Yoga Stories!  Sophia’s Jungle Adventure tells of a girl from the US who travels to Costa Rica with her family, delighting in the beautiful nature she finds there but saddened by the deforestation and what it will mean for the animals.  You can read my full review here.

 

We also love this story by Douglas Keister, Fernando’s Gift/ El Regalo de Fernando.  Kids will instantly relate to Fernando, a boy who loves his dogs and taking long walks with his grandfather.  Yet they will also be fascinated by the details of Fernando’s life in the rain forest – and how he is working to help prevent the forest he loves from being destroyed.  Text is side-by-side in English and Spanish.

 

 My Monkey and I really enjoyed reading When the Monkeys Came Back by Kristine L. Franklin.  It is the story of a young girl who witnessed the destruction of the forest surrounding her village and the subsequent departure of the monkeys who had lived there.  Determined to bring the monkeys back, she dedicated her life to rebuilding the forest, bit by bit.  She is rewarded for her lifetime of hard work when, as an old woman, she witnesses the monkeys return.

Morpha: A Rain Forest Story by Michael Tennyson tells the adventures of one of Costa Rica’s famous Blue Morpho butterflies, as she learns to navigate the dangers of the rain forest – from spiders to humans!

 

Don’t forget you can also follow my Costa Rica board on Pinterest:


World Cup for Kids - Multicultural Kid Blogs

See all of the posts in the World Cup for Kids project, plus follow our World Cup for Kids board on Pinterest, and join the conversation on Facebook and Google Plus!

 

Feb 192014
 

Book Review: My Way - A mi manera - Lynn ReiserToday I am so happy to be posting for my good friend at Toddling in the Fast Lane.  I am so impressed by all the bilingual learning activities she does with her daughter, so I am happy to share about a bilingual book we discovered lately.

Read all about it over at Kristen’s fabulous blog:

A Mi Manera: Book Review

And be sure to also visit my collaborative Pinterest board on Bilingualism!


Sep 122013
 

Multicultural Kid Blogs Book ClubJoin the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club!

Starting next month…

– A wonderful opportunity to read books related to multicultural topics and discuss them with Multicultural Kid Bloggers, their readers, and the authors themselves

Weekly posts with reflections on the chapter of the week, and thought-provoking questions

– Read along and join the conversation as we talk about topics shaping the future of our families and our world

October – November: Bilingual Is Better

Bilingual Is Better

Our first book is Bilingual is Better by Ana Flores and Roxana Soto.

– This parenting memoir includes practical tips and resources to help parents from all backgrounds give their children the benefits of bilingualism. Bilingual Is Better also addresses topics such as bilingual education and cultural heritage.

– Authors Roxana A. Soto and Ana L. Flores co-founded the popular parenting blog SpanglishBaby. Both are award-winning bilingual journalists.

The Conversation

– Starting Oct. 3, we will be posting once a week on a new chapter of the book.

– Join in the discussion by following the participating blogs and leaving comments with your thoughts and questions.

– Share your ideas in the Multicultural Kid Blogs Google + Community.

– Bloggers, link your posts to the linky on the Multicultural Kid Blogs website.

These bloggers will be hosting the chapter discussions:

Where to get the book

Bilingual is Better is available from several popular booksellers.

Multicultural Kid Blogs Book ClubRead more about the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club on our main page.

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Sep 092013
 

Are you looking for some great multicultural books for your kids?

I was so pleased to be contacted by Lee & Low Books, one of the premier publishers of multicultural books for children, about reviewing some of their wonderful books.  This independent publishing company is dedicated to sharing stories that all children can relate to and enjoy.  Who couldn’t agree with that?  Lee & Low is also one of the few minority-owned publishing companies, and they make a special effort to work with authors and illustrators of color.

Lee & Low has also been a supporter of Multicultural Kid Blogs, donating a prize for our recent Pinterest Scavenger Hunt.  So needless to say I was thrilled to have a chance to help spread the word about their great books.

Great Multicultural Books for Kids - Lee and Low Boos Review - Alldonemonkey.comThe package we received contained a mix of books for very young children and preschoolers, so both Baby and Monkey were able to enjoy them.  The first book, Baby Born by Anastasia Suen, was an instant hit with both boys.  This beautiful board book cleverly links the changing seasons to the phases of a baby’s first year.  Just as seedlings lift their heads in spring, so do the babies, and a baby learning to walk falls to the ground just as the snowflakes do.

Although it is geared towards very young children, it also appeals to older children, especially those with younger siblings.  Monkey asked to read it over and over again.  He enjoyed the illustrations of the seasons, plus he laughed to see what the babies were doing, comparing it to our Baby.

Great Multicultural Books for Kids - Lee and Low Boos Review - Alldonemonkey.comWe also received the board book America: A Book of Opposites by W. Nikola-Lisa.  This bilingual book seems very simple on the surface (“wet land, dry land”), yet it also challenges children to think about the social contrasts of our country (“rich land, poor land”).  It is illustrated by 12 different artists from diverse backgrounds, whose work celebrates America at the same time as it prompts the reader to look more deeply.  To be honest, Monkey had more trouble getting into this book, but it is aimed at a slightly older audience, so we will cycle back to it in the future.

 

 

Great Books for Multicultural Kids: Lee & Low Review - Alldonemonkey.comI Know the River Loves Me/Yo sé que el río me ama by Maya Christina Gonzalez was particularly special for me because the author based it on her love affair with the Yuba River, not far from where we live in Northern California.  The main character describes her relationship with the river in beautiful yet simple language that brings the outdoors to life for young readers.  It helps children to identify with their environment in a personal way and encourages them to care for it as they would a friend.  This book quickly became a bedtime favorite in our house.

 

 

Great Multicultural Books for Kids: Lee and Low Review - Alldonemonkey.comFinally, we had the pleasure of reviewing Arrorró, mi nino: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games by Lulu Delacre.  I literally did a little dance when I saw this book in our package.  I adore this type of book, which teaches songs and games to enjoy with your little ones.  The boys and I love doing these together (Baby still goes nuts for patty-cake), so I was thrilled to find a book that shares such gentle songs and games from Latin America.  What I really love about this book – other than the illustrations – is that it is so easy to understand.  Unless you grew up with a certain game, it can be difficult to explain in words, but this book does a wonderful job of doing so, and of conveying the joy and intimacy that they help create with your child.

Lee & Low has a wealth of wonderful multicultural titles to enjoy with your family.  It is not only a company that you can feel good about supporting but one whose products you will just plain love.  I highly recommend that you try any of the books reviewed here or browse their catalog to discover your own treasure.

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary copies of these books for purposes of review, yet all opinions are my own.

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