Book Reviews, Kids' Corner, Picture Books

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

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If you are new to my blog,  then you may not be aware that I review a batch of diverse children’s picture books every month.  What do I mean by diverse children’s picture 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 as parents (and/or educators) to teach them to celebrate diversity.

Books included in this post: Ada Twist, Scientist, Suki’s Kimono , Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher , Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match & And Tango Makes Three

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*All titles link to Goodreads & all author/illustrator names link to their websites

» Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty (Illustrated by David Roberts)

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Published: September 6, 2016

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: POC characters; women in science

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Kudos to Andrea Beaty for creating a book that centers around girls in science!  I would like to say that it is refreshing to read a book to my daughter that isn’t about a princess or ballerina… not that there is anything wrong with those types of books, but we need more books like these that empower little girls to value their minds and not just their looks. 

This is a must have for all the little science lovers in your life.  I love that this book encourages children to ask questions, be curious, and follow their passions.

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While reading the author’s note, I was pleased to find that the main character’s name, Ada Marie is actually a combination of two women who made great contributions to the fields of science and math.  Ada comes from Ada Lovelace, who was a mathematician and the first computer programmer.  Marie comes from Marie Curie, who discovered the elements polonium and radium and whose work led to the invention of the x-ray.

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Andrea Beaty has degrees in both biology & computer science.  You go Andrea Beaty!

My Rating:

5-Star Rating System

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

» Suki’s Kimono by Chieri Uegaki (Illustrated by Stephane Jorisch)

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Published:  September 1, 2005

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: Japanese characters; Japanese-Canadian author; #OwnVoices

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There are some wonderful themes in Suki’s Kimono: individuality, pride in your heritage, holding your head high when you face adversity… This would be a wonderful book to use in a classroom setting.

The watercolor style illustrations are absolutely beautiful as well!

My Rating:

5-Star Rating System

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

» Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher by Becky Ray McCain (Illustrated by Stacey Schuett)

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Published: November 24, 2006

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: Indigenous (Chippewa) characters

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I was very interested to learn some of the folklore that surrounds dreamcatchers.  Legend has it that a grandmother asked the Great Spirit for help for her granddaughter who suffered from bad dreams.  The Great Spirit sent the grandmother a vision of a dreamcatcher circle, so the grandmother made one and hung it above her sleeping granddaughter.  A spider came down and built a web inside the circle to catch all the bad dreams.  Obviously I was familiar with dreamcatchers before reading this book, but I had never heard one of the legends behind them.  I couldn’t find this exact version anywhere, but I found many versions like the legend shared in this book.

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While it is true that this book is mostly about dreamcatchers, it is also about the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter.  I love reading books about children and the special relationships they hold with other relatives like grandparents, they are such a big part of a child’s life.

It is very clear that McCain is very familiar with Native American culture, which she lists as one of her passions along with teaching children with autism.

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5-Star Rating System

*3.5 Stars

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

» Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown (Illustrated by Sara Palacios)

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Published: September 27, 2011

Why it’s #DiverseKidLit: Multiracial (Peruvian-Scottish-American) main character; Biracial (Peruvian-American) author; #OwnVoices; Bilingual book (Spanish)

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I strongly encourage you to read the author’s note at the end of the book where Monica Brown explains why she wrote this book.  #SpoilerAlert: It’s because this is an #OwnVoices book and its for the 6 million + Americans who are multiracial.

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My Rating:

5-Star Rating System

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

» And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (Illustrated by Henry Cole)

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Published: June 1, 2005

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

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

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Have you read any of these books to your child(ren)?

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

  1. The penguin book is so cute! All of these are great, Amanda. Could you tell where the Native American book was set? I grew up on the Saginaw Chippewa reservation in Michigan, but the Ojibwe (or the anglicized Chippewa) are all over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t believe the book mentioned where it was set specifically. If I still had it from the library, I would double check. I had no idea you grew up on a reservation. So are you part of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation? ((Is that the correct name? That’s what came up when I googled it…)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I CAN’T PICK FAVORITES THIS TIME, AMANDA!! I want them all, haha! You are so lucky I don’t live closer to you or you’d read these pretty books to your daughter AND to me hahahaha! ❤ Loved your reviews!

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  3. Great post. I’ve seen Ada Twist, Scientist in stores and have been tempted to check it out.
    And Suki’s Kimono looks great. Really like the art in it. I’ll have to check it out.

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  4. I LOVE this feature & since i’m home sick, I’ve opened up notepad on the desktop and added all of these lovely reeks to my tiny humans TBR’s lol. I have Ada Twist Scientist which is AMAZING & my little scientist adores it. We just recently p/u Iggy Peck Architect by the same author but I doubt that ones diverse (not sure though). Def picking up Suki’s Kimono & Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match this weekend *excited* EPIC post as always Amanda 🙂

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