Monday, July 25, 2016

Children’s books that support diversity, ‘connection’ and engaging in ‘the work’

Collages upon paper, arranged on a table. The collages, made from seeds, display flowers and peace symbols
Pictures from seeds, created by children in ‘Religious Explorations’

My work in library “Readers Advisory” can surface any time, in any capacity. At the church where I work part-time as administrative coordinator for Religious Explorations, I was asked to identify children’s books that reflect the church’s mission: to “Embrace Diversity, Empower Connection, Engage in the Work.”

My research identified possible candidates for each aspect of the mission, and I confirmed availability of each book through our public library.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match /
Marisol McDonald no combina
by Monica Brown
(Juvenile Spanish, E BROWN M)
“A Peruvian-Scottish-American spitfire, Marisol McDonald has flaming red hair and brown skin, wears polka dots with stripes, and brings peanut butter and jelly burritos to school for lunch. And that’s the way she likes it ... that is, until she begins to feel self-conscious about the way she stands out. Will she take the other children seriously when they try to tease her into fitting in with everyone else? Or will she take her kindly teacher’s advice and continue to be her wonderful self?”
(Barnes and Noble, ‘10 Children’s Books That Celebrate Diversity’)

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
(Children’s Easy Nonfiction, E 582 CAR)
“Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed is a beautifully simple introduction to the life cycle of a seed for any age group. It’s the story of one seed, and describes all the dangers that surround it, from people stepping on it to birds eating it. It also shows how important the right weather is for making the seed grow strong and how, when the seed grows, it produces a new plant which, in turn, produces more seeds.”
(The Guardian, ‘What are the best nature books for children?’)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
(Children’s Easy Non-Fiction, E 621.453 KAM)
“Inspiring story of how William Kamkwamba, a 14-year-old boy, brought electricity to his village in Malawi. William had to drop out of school because he had no money for the fees, but a picture of a windmill on a book lit a spark in him. He worked hard to research and build a windmill for his impoverished and drought-stricken village. A truly amazing story about the power of perseverance.”
(What Do We Do All Day, ‘17 Books to Inspire Kids to Change the World’)

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