Teaching Cultural Compassion
We're excited you want to learn about Cultural Compassion! Read below for the latest recommendations, but be sure to check out our book search and our archived blog entries! Happy reading!
Lunar New Year is Upon Us
In January I wrote about new beginnings based on the Gregorian calendar date. But February celebrates the Lunar New Year! Celebrated by many of East Asian heritage, the lunar new year is a time for new beginnings and family celebrations. If you want to read some books about kids partaking in this tradition, here are a few:
A Gift written and illustrated by Yong Chen is about a girl of Chinese heritage living abroad. As she and her mother get ready for the holiday, they feel the absence of their extended family--but Amy has a gift waiting for her--from family in China! This is especially good for a younger audience.
Long-Long's New Year: A Story About the Chinese Spring Festival by Catherine Gower, illustrated by He Zhihong follows a boy through his preparations for the new year with beautiful, traditional style paintings!
I hope you enjoy these books and seek out others.
Wishing you all luck in the Year of the Ox!
January and Other New Beginnings
The new year has begun and this country has just transitioned into the beginning of a new government administration. If you're looking for books on transition and change, I have a few recommendations.
It might not be a new school year, but with all of the changes going on, school stories might be comforting. In The Name Jar, Yangsook Choi tells the story of a Korean girl who moves to the United States and faces a decision about whether or not she should change her name to fit in better. In another story about being the only one like you in a classroom, I recommend Jacqueline Woodson's book The Day You Begin. Feeling like you don't fit in is hard, but illustrations by Rafael López will help you see the empathy in this beautiful story.
Sometimes we need a reminder that change can be good. Rafael López also lends his art Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell. It is the story of how one idea of how to renew a community came to life through beautiful colors and empowering art! For another community empowering story about creating beauty, you should check out Kamala and Maya's Big Idea by Meena Harris and illustrated by Ana Ramírez González. The true story of Vice President Kamala Harris and her sister as children organizing the community to create a beautiful space in their neighborhood.
And if you want more about the new Vice President, I can't say enough good things about Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice. (And not to leave out the new President, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wrote a book about her husband as a kid. Joey: The Story of Joe Biden walks us through a day of the new President's childhood, dealing with bullies and finding strength in the love of his mother.)
Hopefully any reader seeking diverse books knows the 1962 classic Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. If you haven't read it in a while, I highly recommend it for a snowy day. If you don't have a copy, the EJK Foundation did a lovely animated version you can find here. But as the snow swirls here, I thought I would introduce you to a few more of my diverse snowy favorites!
If you want to build on your love of Snowy Day, I want to make sure you know about A Poem for Peter, Andrea Davis Pinkney's retelling of the story of how Snowy Day came to be. Illustrated by the artistic team of Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher it is a beautiful ode to the original. It's a sweet true story and you can't help but be moved by it.
For a great story about the northern lights, Jan Borurdeau Waboose and Brian Deines share their talent with us in SkySisters. It is the story of two Ojibway sisters exploring the winter night to see the SkySpirits. The art is captivating and the story of two sisters getting along to see the beauty around them is inspiring.
My Footprints by Bao Phi and illustrated by Basia Tran is a story about a little girl who, after being bullied, finds herself and her strength in replicating other creatures' footprints in the snow. Her loving family helps her remember that she is loved!
Other top picks include Little Red Gliding Hood (recommended in December) and Lemonade in Winter: A Book about Two Kids Counting Money, by Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas. And then, I'm tempted to go into a tangent of penguin themed books... but I think those are stories for another day! I hope you all have a wonderful day and get to see snow, if only in your reading!