Board Book Review: Pretty Brown Face

Our 44th board book has a wonderful message for brown-skinned toddlers.

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Pretty Brown Face by Andrea and Brian Pinkney.
Red Wagon Books, Harcourt, 1997.
Board book, 16 pages.

A young child discovers the wonders of fir own face.

Pretty Brown Face cover resized

This simple but well made book is sure to appeal to a wide variety of families and childcare professionals.  There are only two characters – a small child encountering a mirror and a male caregiver (presumably father, but never named as such).  At first I assumed the child was male, but no pronouns or male references are used, so this book could work nicely for a child of either gender.

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Review: Only One Year

” ‘We have to go to work, go to school. We cannot pay so much attention to our little boy.’ Her voice cracks. ‘We have to do what is best for Di Di,’ she whispers, ‘not what is best for us.’ ” p. 8

Only One Year by Andrea Cheng, illustrations by Nicole Wong.
Lee & Low Books, New York, 2010.
Elementary realistic fiction, 97 pages.
Lexile:  620L  .
AR Level:  3.3 (worth 1.0 points)  .

Di Di is leaving to spend a year in China with his grandparents and extended family, but Sharon and middle sister Mary aren’t so sure about that.  A year is a long time, and they miss him at first, but then get busy with their own lives.  When Di Di returns, it is a difficult adjustment for everyone.

Only One Year cover

I actually was familiar with this idea through friends of mine, who lived in their family’s country of origin from the time they were weaned until preschool and then flew back each year to live there over the summer.  However, for many readers it will be new.  This topic is also briefly explored from a different perspective in American Panda.  In that book, the father decided to send the children to his family in China against their mother’s wishes, and it was challenging for the family.

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Board Book Review: Story of Rosa Parks

Our thirteenth board book, this simple biography of Rosa Parks proved more engaging and interesting than expected.

The Story of Rosa Parks by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Steven Walker.
WorthyKids/Ideals, Nashville, Tennessee, 2007.
Board book biography, 26 pages.

This deceptively simple biography of Rosa Parks covers all the major events in her life in a manner appropriate for even the youngest children.

The Story of Rosa Parks cover resized
The Story of Rosa Parks by Patricia A. Pingry, illustrated by Steven Walker.

Honestly, I was surprised by this book.  We have several of Pingry’s religious board books, and they are solid additions to the church rotation but not especially moving.

If we teach kids about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. as toddlers, then by grade school they should be ready to learn about Lonnie Johnson, Fannie Lou Hammer, Dave the Potter, Mae Jemison, and more.  Then in middle school they can move on to studying people like Claudette Colvin, Misty Copeland, Ida B. Wells, and John Lewis.  That’s the ideal, right?

This book was purchased for Baby.  I did not expect the older kids to show any interest in it.  However, N picked it up under the guise of “reading to baby” and kept looking at it even after Baby went off for a diaper change.  My new reader wanted to use it for reading practice.  The kids sat through more than one reading of it.

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Review: Everything She Lost

“She didn’t think she’d ever be capable of hurting her children,and she couldn’t get over the fact that she’d gotten to a point where people felt they needed protection from her.” p. 72

Everything She Lost by Alessandra Harris.
Red Adept Publishing, Garner, North Carolina, 2017.
Adult thriller, 309 pages.
NOTE: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Nina Taylor is in recovery from a mental breakdown, and honestly, still suffering from an unexpected loss almost a decade ago.  Her best friend is single mom Deja Johnson, a woman with a tragic past of her own.  While Nina is wondering if a full recovery is even possible, Deja is wondering where her own life will go next.

Everything She Lost

I don’t review many thrillers, mainly because I haven’t found many good diverse ones yet.  The description of this one immediately sucked me in, especially since I’m always looking for new books about people of color with disabilities.

This book has alternating viewpoints, with one chapter from Nina’s point of view, and the next telling Deja’s part of the story.  Normally I’m not a fan of alternating viewpoints, but it worked well here.  The narration is from a third person limited point of view rather than first person, and the action moves so quickly that the back-and-forth worked.  This book takes place over only a few weeks.

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Review: Keeping the Dream Alive

A unique coffee table book with ample photos and information about legal work for justice.

Keeping the Dream Alive: The Cases and Causes of the Southern Poverty Law Center by Booth Gunter.
Southern Poverty Law Center, Montgomery, Alabama, 2014.
Non-fiction, 248 pages.
Not leveled.

This is a book with photographs and text from the history of the Southern Poverty Law Center, from its founding and earliest cases, to their current educational efforts.

Keeping the Dream Alive resized
Keeping the Dream Alive: The Cases and Causes of the Southern Poverty Law Center by Booth Gunter.

I love shopping at library sales and used bookstores.  This book was incredibly cheap and didn’t appear to even have been opened.  It’s not something I would have sought out, just a great random find.

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Web: Bright April and More

Found an article by librarian and author Vaunda Micheux Nelson, detailing how influential the book Bright April was for her.  She also talks about the process of weeding (where minority books might be lost if a circulation-based weeding policy is followed) and how important it is to keep reading and promoting backlist diverse books.  All important points that we agree with here at CBR!  Nikki Grimes has a similar point in this older post about celebrity authors who overlook the backlist of diverse books (and she gives a great list of authors).

Booktoss has An Open Letter to Well-Meaning White Women which ties nicely into this article by Tracey Baptiste about the need for intersectionality.

It’s an older article, but Wheelchair Users in Fiction: Examining the Single Narrative is sadly still very relevant.

Finally, via Reading in Winter, this article by one of the authors about the gender breakdown of Canada Reads winners.

What articles have you read lately?