Sunday, August 26, 2018

When Cultural Appropriation Ruins the Rest of the Book

I don't read books to pick them apart. I read them to enjoy and figure out which ones will work for, and connect with, the students I serve, and to recommend to other educators. But that doesn't mean I can read without a critical lens. In fact, it's a requirement. In the quest to provide more diverse representation in literature, there is also a need to ensure that kids are getting positive, non-stereotyped, accurate representations in the books we share that can build empathy instead of furthering division, insensitivity, and cultural appropriation.

With all of that in mind, I eagerly picked up Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel - with a Black girl on the cover of a transitional chapter book, I knew I had to read it in the hope that my students would have access to more books with racially diverse characters in the forefront at the elementary level.

What I did not expect was to be surprised 40 pages in to discover a large plot point relating to encouraging the main character to arbitrarily select a "spirit animal" to be for the day. I was so disheartened to find this cultural appropriation in a book that had potential to be a solid selection for my elementary library collection. This appropriation ruined the rest of the book for me.

Some context to help you learn more if you are unfamiliar with the concerns about the use of "spirit animal":









So what will you do the next time you come across this in a book? How will you handle it? What discussion might you have with a creator or students who encounter it?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cover Reveal: Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog by Lisa Papp

Perhaps you've read this book? (And if not, you should - and share it with your students for #classroombookaday!)
Madeline Finn does NOT like to read. But she DOES want a gold star from her teacher. But, stars are for good readers. Stars are for understanding words, and for saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad; when Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it’s okay to go slow. And to keep trying.
With endearing illustrations, Lisa Papp brings an inspiring and comforting book to all new readers who just need a little confidence to overcome their fears.

Well, there is going to be another Madeline Finn dog book!
And Peachtree Press is allowing me to reveal the cover to you all!! 

The second book, Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog (coming March 2019) takes Madeline Finn, Bonnie, and Bonnie’s puppy Star to the animal shelter, where they learn that reading aloud to the animals benefits everyone.
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I'm excited to be able to share the cover of this sweet story for the first time today! 
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Those faces! LOVE!! 

And here's my 11 year old rescue dog, Dooley, who is often sitting next to me when I'm reading...and enjoys sniffing books and being read to. 


Friday, August 10, 2018

#pb10for10 | My Favorite Female Illustrated Picture Books of 2018

I always love participating in Cathy & Mandy's #pb10for10 event celebrating picture books and providing many fabulous #classroombookaday choices! I inevitably end up with a longer wish list and shopping cart and a maxed out hold list at my library. So get ready, and then go check out other educators lists today

My choice of theme this year was inspired by some of the conversation happening around #kidlitwomen & gender inequity in children's literature. Especially the disparity in female winners/honors from the Caldecott award. The day after that post, #kidlitwomen posted this chart on the contemporary disparities courtesy of Jeanette Bradley.

This year for my picture book 10 for 10 list, I'm choosing to highlight & celebrate my favorite female-illustrated picture books of 2018.


(I mean, it wouldn't be a top ten list of mine if I didn't fudge the counting a little bit!)

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse illustrated by Corinna Luyken +
If I Had a Horse written & illustrated by Gianna Marino
ALMA and How She Got Her Name written & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Festival of Colors illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Pearl written & illustrated by Molly Idle
Dreamers written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales
The Field illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
All Around Us illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia 
Friends Stick Together written & illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison
Mommy's Khimar illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers  AND  Fur, Feather, Fin: All of Us are Kin
both illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

You can see my previous year's #pb10for10 lists by clicking on the year:
20172016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013
 
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