,Stunning, powerful and spiritual, this book is a poetic presentation of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s final months. The Pinkneys, who have collaborated on many fine books, join their talent, wisdom and heart to take you on an emotional journey through history. The author's hope is "that each poem brings insight and dignity to the men and women who risked everything to end injustice, while also painting the story of humanity's power, against all odds, to change the world by working peacefully together." The artist sought to "create visual metaphors to symbolize how Martin embraced his own family with his love...that ultimately cast its luminescent power throughout the world." This is the most tender and moving tribute that I have seen; read this illuminating book and share Dr. King's dream.
Danza! tells the story of Amalia Hernandez, the founder of El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. She drew from local dance traditions throughout Mexico and combined them with ballet and modern techniques to create spectacular performances. The costumes are inspired by local tradition and when the company tours it takes more than three tons of costumes with it! Tonatiuh captures these beautifully by combining digital collage with his hand-drawn illustrations. I love this mixed-media approach which uses photographs to fill in fabric, hair, and other materials and adds a wonderful texture. Amalia's life and the spread of Mexian folkloric dance is an inspiring tale. I'm lucky enough to have seen the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico perform and recommend that you do too, but first read this book!
This colorful and practical guide leads kids through a variety of exercises in mindfulness. The bright illustrations and simple language make it an engaging way to teach mindfulness to even the youngest kids. The exercises are broken down into five sections: Be Calm, Focus, Imagine, Make Some Energy, and Relax. Each exercise gets a fully illustrated two page spread with large text in appealing fonts explaining what to do in kid-friendly language. I love the squirrels with their kindness exercise and the wolf that leads the get your grumpies out exercise, but it's afternoon as I write this, so I am most drawn to the energizers. This example from that section certainly looks appealing to me. Just look at that lion!
Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey, illustrated by Anni Betts
Feminism Reinventing the f-word by Nadia Abushanab Higgens explores the history of feminism in the U.S., then goes on to highlight twenty-first-century feminists who are pushing for diverse beauty standards, improved access to reproductive control, freedom from sexual violence, LGBTQ rights, affordable health care and individual expression of femininity. After reading this book, you will be able to respond to "Am I a feminist?" with an informed voice
Here We are: Feminism for the Real world edited by Kelly Jensen Forty-four voices write, draw and speak from many perspectives. They are serious, funny, personal and historical. The book includes comics, poetry, song lyrics, illustrations, interviews and lists. The writers, artists and dancers have contributed works about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl relationships in fiction. Feminists come in every shape, size, form and background. They believe that every person—regardless of gender, class, education, race, sexuality, or ability—deserves equality. Have you ever wanted to be a SUPERHEROINE? Join a FANDOM? Create the perfect EMPOWERING PLAYLIST? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the 21st century? You’ve come to the right place.
Tessa's Picks, 6th-8th grade, Nonfiction, Social Justice, LGBTQ
Identity and Gendertalks about how family, culture, and values shape our identities and that it is important to be happy with who you are. Equality and Diversity discusses having the same rights, opportunities, and status as everyone else and recognizing the importance of different cultures in society, while still protecting their equality.
Tessa's Picks, 5th-7th grade, Nonfiction,LGBTQ, People of Color, Social Justice
Justyce is one of the few black kids in his privileged private school and the kid his friends call to ensure that his drunken ex-girlfriend gets home safely. While trying to help her into the back seat, he is racially profiled and handcuffed; this traumatic experience shakes his whole world. A good student headed for the Ivy League, he finds his life beginning to unravel when another police incident brings tragedy. Justyce turns to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to make sense of the racism around him and how to navigate through it. His friends are real characters who bring their own perspectives to the story. People need to walk in Justyce’s shoes to experience the hard truths conveyed in this compelling story. "Raw and gripping." —Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling coauthor of All American Boys
"A must-read!” —Angie Thomas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut, a William C. Morris Award Finalist.
Tessa's Picks, 8th grade, Character drive, Contemporary Fiction, People of Color, Issues Fiction.
This book is inspired by an annual event in the author's community. Hundreds of volunteers come together for The Labor of Love gathering where they help repair the homes of the elderly, disabled and needy. Young Wilson visits his elderly neighbor GiGi and each time tells her that ONE DAY he will fix a part of her house that is worn or broken. All year he dreams of the plan until the day comes when neighbors and friends come together to take care of one of their own. One day is here. Share this story of compassion and generosity to spark the spirit of can-do kindness.
This books is about your heart. (The little bit inside of you that makes you, you!) In simple words and evocative images, the message is conveyed that words have extraordinary power. They can heal or hurt, they can create or destroy. Words can spread love. Read this book and foster empathy and compassion in the youngest readers. "Today, somebody's world can be a better place because of you! Doesn't that make your heart feel good?" Pass it around.
Reading comforts me. I find magazines in trash piles. Reading leads to writing. I find poetry in tomato fields, and stories in the faces of weary workers.
-from "Tomas Rivera" by Margarita Engle
This gorgeous collection of poetry highlights many lesser-known figures from artists to activists. The poems are short but inspiring and made me want to learn more about the people described. It would be a great class share, especially with the full-page mixed media illustrations that could each make beautiful posters on their own. Brief additional biographical information is included in the back, but you will probably want to do more research on your own after reading.
Bravo!: Poems about amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael Lopez
When Lola spills orange juice all over a nice, white armchair she exclaims "I've ruined everything! I'll hide in the library! They have books and bathrooms. And I'll stay there till I'm a grownup." But on the way to the library one catastrophe follows another and soon Lola's gathered a large group. When everything seems to go wrong a little bird whispers "accident" and shows everyone how to own up to their mistakes make it all better again instead of running away.
I would have spent hours pouring over the details in these illustrations as a kid. There's so many small, humorous moments in the background. Above all I like that it emphasizes that accidents are okay and everyone from kids to adults can have them. The characters' overreactions are funny, but in the end the message that is clear that calmly admitting your mistake and helping to fix it is the way to go.