President Biden officially declared April National Arab American Heritage Month and in that spirit, this post will take the opportunity to highlight some picture books about Palestinian Arabs, a group that does not often make it onto our library shelves. For an excellent discussion about the absence and erasure of Palestinian stories from the publishing landscape please see this discussion from November 2022 between Betsy Bird and Nora Lester Murad in SLJ’s fuse 8 blog. The selected picture books listed below celebrate and highlight Palestinian culture, self-determination, and identity, while also acknowledging the loss and trauma faced by Palestinians due to their expulsion from their homeland and subsequent life spent under military occupation, in refugee camps, or in exile. For other related picture books about the refugee experience please see the ALSC blog post Exploring the refuge child experiences through picture books. For books for older readers about Palestinians and…
Tag: picture books
Practice Picture Books
One of the reasons that I love my job is that I can connect my passions with serving my community. In particular, I’ve had this dream of practice picture books as an early literacy service since around 2017, but something always came up and I never got to it. When I became a manager, this dream got put on the back burner’s back-est of back burners. Until now. I often hear parents or caregivers say that they want their toddlers/preschoolers to move past board books and into picture books, but they are concerned that the books are too delicate for their child’s use. They know the toddler death grip is real or notorious destructive preschoolers may accidentally or not, tear or rip the pages of picture books. These fears may sound important to patrons who don’t want to destroy precious books or who may worry about a fine, but at…
Exploring refugee child experiences through picture books
Mirrors and Windows You have likely come across the metaphor “mirrors and windows” as it relates to children’s books before. It is a metaphor coined by Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop when she discussed how books can mirror a child’s own experiences – thereby legitimizing them by showing that people similar to themselves are important enough to be in books. Additionally, she said that books can also be windows through which children can see the lives and experiences of children who are different from themselves. (Bishop, 1990). I am going to apply this wonderful metaphor to some of my favorite picture books about refugee child experiences. Come with me as I explore the ways in which these books can be mirrors (for children with refugee backgrounds to see reflections of their family’s lives) as well as windows (for other children to grow in their understanding of people who have refugee backgrounds)….
Food, Love, and Grandparents
The month of December, when extended families often get together to celebrate their respective religious or cultural traditions, is a great time to also celebrate the multigenerational connections that many children have with their grandparents. The following selection of picture books celebrate the bonds between children and grandparents that are made stronger through cooking and sharing food. Whether it’s identifying which wild vegetables should be harvested and how they should be prepared, waiting for dough to rise, or navigating the multistep process of making tofu from scratch, the deliberate, thoughtful, and often lengthy process of meal preparation leads to deeper communication and understanding between the grandparents and grandchildren in these stories. See also the recent post Around the World With Foodie Picture Books which features several books about children connecting with a grandparent over food. What else is out there that is missing from this list? Please share your favorite…
Around the World with Foodie Picture Books
I want to be a foodie. I don’t claim to have a discerning palate, but I do really LOVE trying international cuisines. With all four grandparents being born in Italy, food is a centerpiece of my family culture, and I just LOVE trying the foods that bring families together around the world.
EDI In Action: Intentionally Inclusive Book Selection
Selecting books for programs is an essential part of a librarian’s job, but how do we do it with inclusivity in mind? We all have those books from our childhood that hold a special place in our hearts, but are those books we want to read in storytime? Should we put those titles on displays or booklists? There are so many new books being published, it can be a bit overwhelming sifting through everything to find the good stuff rather than choosing our favorite go-to classics. When I think of selecting books for programs, I always think about Rudine Sims Bishop’s essay Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors. When a child reads a book about a person who looks or lives like them, they are reading a mirror–they are able to see themselves reflected in the book they are reading. When a child reads about someone who looks or lives…
Why Is Children’s Literature Still Fat-phobic?
Close your eyes and throw a dart in the children’s section, and you’ll probably hit a book that has fat-phobia. It may have a snide comment about a fat character – or a book with no fat characters at all. I’m not sure which one is worse. It’s practically a tradition in children’s literature to depict fatness as synonymous with gluttony, with ugliness, with stupidity, or with evil. In Harry Potter, you have major and minor fat villains: Dudley, Umbridge, Crabbe and Goyle. Stuart Gibb’s best-selling Funjungle series features a b-side villain referred to as “Large Marge” throughout the series, who is regularly derided as idiotic and incompetent. And if we started talking about fatness and Roald Dahl, we’d be here all day. Where does this fatphobia come from, and why do we put up with it?
Royal Picks: Book Recommendations Fit For A Princess
Children’s librarians hear a lot about princesses. “Do you have any princess books?”, “My child will only read princess books”, “Princesses books are silly, I need a real book for my child.” We can answer most of these questions pretty easily. But what about the harder question, what books would you recommend to a princess? Below are some picture book recommendations that I believe princesses might enjoy.