Friday, July 20, 2018

Spotlight Friday - representation matters, part two 7.20.18

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

Today's post is brought to you in part of Kristen Picone's tweets (@kpteach5) a couple of months ago, plus some new ones I've come across!  If you didn't seen them, no worries, here's a small roundup of books to keep you busy!  Hopefully you had a chance to see part one of the series!
We know, representation in our classroom library matters.  Do your students see books with mirrors of themselves within the pages?  Although my goodreads shelf says "diverse books", what is diverse?  Is it a diverse book for an African American to see images of themselves within the pages?  Is it diverse for a Muslim to read about a piece of clothing they wear everyday?  No, but it shows representation.  They matter.  Their customs, heritage and beliefs matter.  Having books that represent that in your library, matters.
Some books you may want to find and add to your collection:

My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay
written by Cari Best
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Yes!!!  Love this book!  Without ever mentioning it, the reader figures out Zulay is blind.  She wants to do everything her classmates are doing and we see that modifications are in place to allow her to succeed.  Until her name is called out because it is time for her to see her special teacher.  Instead of going to gym like everyone else, she has time with a teacher to practice using her cane to help her navigate her world.  And for Zulay, that cane is one more reminder that she is different from everyone else.  
A book like this is so important to have.  I wish I had this book when my daughter was younger because it would've been a mirror for her.  As someone who has always had a large shoe lift due to her limb length discrepancy, I don't know how many times we've argued over putting modifications in place.  She always argues she doesn't need them and the reason being because it would've been one more thing that made her feel different.  
This book gets it right.

Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton
Introducing Teddy: a gentle story about gender and friendship
written by Jessica Walton
illustrated by Dougal MacPherson
Thank you to Aliza Werner for introducing me to this story.  Teddy the bow tie wearing teddy bear has always known that he was a girl teddy who would prefer to be called Tilly and wear the bow in her hair.  This book shows characters who defy gender norms by having males that have tea parties and girls that build robots.  The important thing is everyone accepts Tilly for who she is and continue to go about the activities that make them happy.  
Acceptance = happiness in this book.

Mommy's Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Mommy's Khimar
written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
illustrated by Ebony Glenn
The khimar, or hijab, is an important part of many Muslim women's lives and what I love about this book is instead of discussing what it is, it becomes a part of a young Muslim-American girl's play.  It is something that holds a lot of meaning for her because it is something of her mother's and therefore is something to treasure.
I hope books like this aren't used as a token read to explain, but as part of a unit, perhaps on families or traditions.  

Drawn Together by Minh Le
Drawn Together
written by Minh Lê
illustrated by Dan Santat
I love how beautifully Lê's text and Santat's illustrations work together in this book about bridging the gap between language and communication.
Something I have learned from every EL workshop I've gone to is how important it is to keep a strong first language base because as a child grows older, it becomes harder to communicate with parents and older generations when they don't have that strong base.  However, as I see EL students assimilate with the English language and their peers, I see them growing uncomfortable using their primary language.  I see in other families where students are second generation Americans and they don't know much of the family's original language at all.  I love how in this story Lê uses the arts as a way to bridge the communication between the generations.

Destiny's Gift by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Destiny's Gift
written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
illustrated by Adjoa J. Burrowes
Something that is important to note is making sure you have books that show mirrors of readers and have them be realistic fiction - about situations that are familiar.  For example, in this book, a little girl is doing her best to help keep a neighborhood bookshop from closing because it's a place that she loves, particularly because of her friendship with the owner.  The girl loves books and loves writing words.  It just happens to feature an African American bookseller and (possibly, hard to tell for certain from illustrations) a biracial family.  Make sure your books that have African American characters are not mostly based on historical situations, but reflect your readers today.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
by Yuyi Morales
I think this is one of the most important books published in 2018.  Definitely a book you'll want to share.  To share the immigration experience.  To share what it's like to not understand a new language.  To share what it's like to learn a new language.  To share the importance of books... of libraries... of reading.
The story is beautiful.  The art is amazing.
Make sure you preorder this one - available Sept. 4th.

The Day You Begin
The Day You Begin
written by Jacqueline Woodson
illustrated by Rafael López
I will continue to celebrate this book for a long long time.  Woodson and López bring the stories of three different children who all, for one reason or another, are feeling left out in different situations at school.  But as one of the children learn, by sharing stories, we can start finding things we have in common, even though we still have differences.  Another book by Woodson that will continue to be used and discussed in the years to come.
Another must preorder - available August 28th.

The 5 O'Clock Band by Troy Andrews
The 5 O'Clock Band
written by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews with Bill Taylor
illustrated by Bryan Collier
I am so glad these two have collaborated again and have given us more Trombone Shorty stories.  And after being at ALA in New Orleans, this book has even more meaning to my life!
I love having stories that bring music, especially music that is so culturally important, to life.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
by Grace Lin
I love Lin's books and how she weaves parts of Asian culture and traditions into her stories.  A sweet story about a young girl... she makes a mooncake with her mom and is dressed in star pajamas.  With the black background, the stars and mooncake really pop for the reader.  It's not until you go a little further you realize you're reading a story about the phases of the moon.  Don't miss Lin's note on the back book flap that explains how she choose pieces of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (an Asian holiday) into this story.
Available Aug. 28th

Want more like this?  Check out:
Representation Matters part one

Representation Matters in nonfiction


  1. Drawn Together and The Day You Begin are two of my favorites this year. I feel so grateful that they exist in the world. I loved reading your comments about them both. Quite frankly, I just enjoy that we continue to align in our interests, book-wise. :)

  2. Thank you for such an inspiring set of books! Some of them are new to me and going straight onto TBR.