Kids' Corner, Picture Books

Kids’ Corner: Diverse Children’s Picture Books in Review (January 2017)

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Hello bookworms!

Welcome to another new feature in the Kids’ Corner section of my blog.  If you have been a follower of my blog for a little while, you may remember from my 2017 goals, that I wanted to not only start reviewing more children’s books, but that I wanted to also review and promote DIVERSE children’s books. What do I mean by diverse children’s books?  I mean children’s picture books that are written by or about people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and any other minorities.  The #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement has inspired me to not only reevaluate my reading, but also the books I read to my children.  Diversity in books is just as (if not more) important in children’s literature.  I know this is cliché to say, but children are our future and it is our job to teach them to celebrate diversity.

Books included in this post: Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion , My Brother Charlie,  Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?, Worm Loves Worm, & One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree.

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*All titles link to Goodreads & all author/illustrator names link to their websites
**I am not affiliated with Amazon or The Book Depository

» Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith

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Published: July 26, 2016

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC characters

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion is a retelling of the classic story, Little Red Ridding Hood This book was such a refreshing take on one of the most recognized fairytales that dates back to the 10th century.  I loved the silliness of this book.  Little Red’s Auntie gets sick and she packs a basket of spot cream and doughnuts?  I’d say that doughnuts are an upgrade from chicken noodle soup.  Ever wonder what a lion looks like with its mane braided?  Yup, Little Red goes there.  Don’t lie, you are totally curious now.

You know what I loved most about this book?  That our young heroine doesn’t need a huntsman to come save her, she outsmarted the lion all on her own.   I loved Little Red’s sass!  I also loved that she had a pet goat side kick always by her side… It did annoy me that we never learned the goats name, but whatever.  The illustrations are very well done, each page has a lot going on.  With such a bright color pallet of reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows, this book had a vibrant and cheerful feel.  I think even those children who tend to have shorter attention spans will be completely captivated with this book.

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Teachers could utilize this book in the classroom to have students compare and contrast this book with the original version of Little Red Riding Hood.

Recommended to: fans of Little Red Riding Hood

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» My Brother Charlie by Holly & Ryan Peete (Illustrated by Shane W. Evans)

mybrothercharliePublished: March 1, 2010

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC characters; character with autism; POC authors

Have the tissues ready before you pick this one up!  Honestly I don’t know when I’ve read a children’s picture book that has touched my heart like this book did.  What a powerful tool to help children understand autism.  This book should be read to or by all children either in a classroom setting, or at home.  My Brother Charlie not only teaches children how certain things are hard for those with autism, but that they also have their own individual strengths and interests.  The biggest take away here is that people with autism express their feelings differently.

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This book was based off the own experiences of this mother/daughter team with their son/twin brother, RJ who is autistic.  If the book wasn’t emotional enough, I then went on to read the author’s notes at the end of the book.  The moment I read that Holly was told her son would never tell her he loved her, or that Ryan put together a “autism 101” for her classmates to help them understand her brother, I was a hot mess all over again.

This book needs to be in the hands of educators, librarians, and any child that has a relative with autism

Recommended to: everyone

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly? by Dan Richards (Illustrated by Jeff Newman)

canoneballooonmakeanelephantfly

Published: August 23, 2016

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC characters

I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this book, as there wasn’t much to the actual story.  This was my biggest issue with the book: I wanted more story.  The premise of this story is how many balloons would it take for certain animals to fly.  This was a book of few words, many pages only included pictures.  Definitely not a good book for story time, but would be better as a one-on-one read.  I did really enjoy the charcoal style illustrations, and think it is worth it to pick this book up if only to admire the artwork.

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Recommended to: fans of charcoal style art

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian (Illustrated by Mike Curato)

wormloveswormPublished: January 5, 2016

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: LGBTQ+ characters; LGBTQ+ illustrator

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When two worms decide to marry, all the bugs are in distress because this is not how things have always been done.   I love how this book tackles the types of questions that surround same sex weddings: Who will wear the dress? Who will wear the tux? Who stands where?  When cricket brings up that the traditional wedding with a bride and groom is how it has always been done, worm & worm answer that they are going to do things a little differently.   In the end, the details of the ceremony do not matter because worm loves worm!  Worm Loves Worm is very matter of fact, simple, and very appropriate for children.   An excellent way to teach children to normalize same sex couples. 

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Recommended to: parents who want to open up a discussion about same sex marriage

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

» One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom (Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel)

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Published: May 3, 2016

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC main character; POC author

I have no doubt this book will make my “top picture books I read in 2017” list.  What a perfect collaboration here between Daniel Bernstrom and Brendan Wenzel.  I really hope this duo will work together on more books!  One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree is the perfect book to read aloud in a class setting or to your children at home.  I love a good children’s book that rhymes and has a good flow to it, which I felt this book has in spades.  When a book is fun to read aloud, it really enhances the reading experience for all parties involved.  This is the type of book that kids will remember and request to be read over and over again.

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The illustrations by Brenden Wenzel are colorful and visually interesting, which is so important in children’s literature.  This is one of those illustrators that puts so much detail into his art that you discover new little details every time you read the book.  He has definitely earned a spot on my radar of illustrators to keep my eye on.  Don’t be surprised if you see him on a “favorite illustrators” list in the future.

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Recommended to: animal lovers; teachers; librarians

*You can purchase this book on Amazon and The Book Depository

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Have you read any of these books to your little ones?

Do you have any #DiverseKidLit picture book recommendations?

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17 thoughts on “Kids’ Corner: Diverse Children’s Picture Books in Review (January 2017)”

    1. I actually read Worm Loves Worm and My Brother Charlie to my 10 year old because I wanted to use them to open up a dialogue about Autism and same sex marriage. We had a long discussion about Autism and how there is a boy in one of his classes that has Autism. It was a wonderful conversation for both of us 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. i dont have kids nor do i want any but omggggg i love this feature! i do know some parents who still have little ones and i’ll be sending them the link to this post =)
    thanks for sharing!!

    Like

  2. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion looks like so much fun, love that there isn’t a savior in this one. My daughter would most def love this one. I think my son would appreciate One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree the most. These kids of mine have very interesting taste in books as it is & these sound right up our alley. This is an AMAZING feature you’ve created & I’m so in LOVE with it! thank you for bringing great books for tiny humans to my attention <3!

    Like

    1. Do you have 3 kids? I thought you had 2 daughters?! Or do you have one of each?! Oops! I may have turned your son into a daughter in my mind lol

      Thank you so much! I am really enjoying this feature. Can’t wait to share the next installment this month.

      Like

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