We're a bit late on this, but in January the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) released the 2013 Rainbow List. The GLBTRT strives to serve "the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender professional library community, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender information and access needs of individuals at large" (from this website). We're only posting the Top Ten, but you can see the full list here.
Below are the Top Ten of the 2013 Rainbow List (in alphabetical order by author last name):
We recently came across something amazing that we wholeheartedly support called The Birthday Party Pledge! When you take The Birthday Pledge you are committing to these three things:
To give multicultural books to kids in your life as birthday presents for a year.
To encourage the kids in your life to read about and appreciate diversity in all its forms.
To help build a new generation of readers!
We love that the pledge not only encourages kids to read (which is great), but encourages adults to intentionally help kids become more aware of diversity through books (even better!). You can read more about The Birthday Pledge (and find lots of book recommendation lists) by following this link. We hope you'll take the challenge and actively help to promote diversity and reading!
Tonight marks the first night of the Jewish holiday of Passover, or Pesach. Over the course of the eight nights of Passover, we'll be posting a few book recommendations, good for those who celebrate Passover and those who want to learn more about the holiday. Our first recommendation:
Over at Publisher's Weekly KidsCast there is a great audio interview with Alaya Dawn Johnson, author of The Summer Prince, a YA dystopia set in future Brazil. In the podcast, Johnson talks about her connection to Brazil, the germination of the idea that became The Summer Prince, technology, how she became a novelist, and her next project, among other things.
If you've readThe Summer Prince, or are considering picking it up, this interview is full of great insights. If you're still undecided after listening to the interview and reading our review, see what NPR had to say (but beware, there are minor spoilers!).
is the true story of the night Amelia Earhart and First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt went for an unsanctioned nighttime plane ride--and all while still
attired in their evening wear. Having similar courageous hearts,
Roosevelt and Earhart were friends before the flight chronicled in this book. When Roosevelt heard Earhart would be in Washington D.C. to make a speech, she invited Earhart and her husband to The White House for dinner. When the
dinner conversation turned to the joy of flying at night (at the
time, only a few pilots--including Earhart--had attempted night flight), the two friends make a spontaneous decision to skip out on
dessert in favor of a quick trip to Baltimore and back.
Ryan and Selznick celebrate the independent spirit of two of the most famous and
inspiring women of their time. Selznick's illustrations are as superb as
ever and capture the magic of their night flight. An author's note
sifts fact from fiction.
Last fall, a class of 6th graders in New York City began a study of book covers. Apparently, it began as an examination of race and book covers, but expanded to consider various other aspects of diversity.
Here is a taste of the students' thoughts regarding whitewashing and the obscuring of characters of color on covers:
illustrated by Chris Soentpiet, Mary GrandPre, Raul Colon, Sonia Lynn Sadler, Bryan Collier, Jon J Muth, Yuyi Morales, Diane Goode, LeUyen Pham, and John Hendrix
This tributeto the poem and song, "America the Beautiful," features a different illustration for each line of the first stanza of the song from a truly impressive collection of artists. The art in this book displays an incredible amount of diversity which left my heart thoroughly warmed.
In the future city of Palmares Tres, located in modern-day Brazil, a Summer King is elected every five years. In a city ruled by women, the position holds little power--the main purpose of a Summer King is to reaffirm the right of the Queen to reign for another five years. This affirmation is given as the Summer King dies, sacrificed on an altar, his throat slit by the Queen herself. When June Costa's father takes her to see her first Summer King sacrificed, she is eight-years old and horrified by the bloody practice. However, by the time she is eighteen she is used to the tradition, but everything changes the year Enki, a beautiful, defiant young man, is elected as Summer King. The entire city falls in love with Enki--including June and her best friend, Gil. Like June, Enki is an artist, and together they produce some incredible art that shakes the very foundations of the principles their city is built upon. But unlike June, Enki wasn't raised in privilege, and his willingness to sacrifice his life to be Summer King is rooted in a purpose more radical than June is willing to accept. The closer June gets to Enki, the harder it is to accept his impending death. In the end, June will have to choose whether following the rules to achieve her dream of becoming a successful artist is more important than her principles.
During the reign of the last Ming Emperor, a girl was born who was named Jingyong, meaning "Quiet Courage." Scorning a future for his daughter as a lady-in-waiting, her father raised her as a son, having her tutored in the five pillars of learning, including martial arts. Jingyong excelled at Kung Fu and when her city was overtaken by enemies, she journeyed to study with the monks of the Shaolin Monastery. Seeing her incredible skill at Kung Fu, they renamed her Wu Mei, which means "Beautiful Warrior." When a local girl is bullied into accepting a marriage proposal from a thug and comes to her for help, Wu Mei teaches the girl Kung Fu so she can solve her own problems. This is an excellent retelling of the legend of Wu Mei and does a superb job of helping readers understand the principles behind Kung Fu. An Author's Note further expands readers understanding of the art, explaining that there is much more to Kung Fu than what we see in Western movies.
In my internet perusals, I recently came across the video below. In it, a woman named Angela examines a book published by Disney called Furry Friends! which is a part of their "It's a Small World" series.
With such a series title, one might think Disney is attempting to introduce young readers to diversity--a good thing. However, as Angela points out, there is something very wrong with this offering. Please take a few minutes to listen to Angela's observations.
With such a seemingly sensational title, I expected this book to be little more than YA fluff entertainment. I couldn't have been more wrong. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Assby Meg Medina (available March 2013) is a well-written, affecting story about a girl dealing with the horrors of bullying.
Over at the HuffPost, they've posted an article on Resources for Talking to Your Children About Race. Though I disagree with the authors contention that at some point all children begin to exclude others based on outside differences (pretty sure this never happened to me), I agree with her assertion that race and racism needs to be discussed with children intentionally. I thought her suggestions for opening dialogue about race, exposing children to racial diversity, and her book recommendations were worth passing along--you can read the article in its entirety here.
Do you agree or disagree with the article? Do you have any favorite books you use for discussing race with children? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
I Had a Favorite Dress written
by Boni Ashburn and illustrated by Julia Denos is a fun book about a
girl who outgrows her favorite dress. Instead of parting with it, the girl's smart and inventive mother helps her
re-imagine the dress into something new. As the little girl continues to grow, they continue to use their creativity to morph the dress into various articles of clothing.
March is Women's History Month here in the U.S. We love the above quote and think that teaching women's history is key to ensuring women and girls everywhere are respected as human beings. This March we'll be focusing on celebrating girls and women and hope to introduce you to some new titles that portray strong, smart, and creative female characters. Gloria Steinem once said, "Women have always been an equal part of the past. We just haven't been a part in history," and we at Ink & Pen want to do our part to change that!