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 (which now includes over 2000 titles) and our archived by topic blog entries.  Happy reading!

October 31, 2023

A Monstrous Halloween

It's the time of year when the subject of monsters comes along--so I have some great recommendations.  A long time ago, Sesame Street decided to help kids by making friendly monsters.  You may remember The Monster at the End of This Book (which has expanded to come in board book form and also have a sequel with Elmo).   I'd like to introduce you to a few kids who are unafraid of monsters in some newer books!

Real to Me is a genius take on imaginary friends brought to us by the creative mind of Minh Lê and GORGEOUS illustrations of Raissa Figueroa.  I won't spoil it for you, but the idea of losing one's imaginary friend is something that worries a lot of kids, so this is a great book to read for that purpose--and just to enjoy the pictures.

Benita and the Night Creatures will introduce some of you to some new monsters - from Peruvian folklore - but don't worry, Benita will tell you why they aren't scary.  Each of the four monsters will appear, hoping to scare her, but she is not fazed.  She's got a good book to read... maybe they'd be interested, too!  Mariana Llanos and Cocoretto give us a truly fun book to quell our fears and maybe even make new friends!  It is also available en Español.  

If you've read my blog for a while, you know I love twists on Little Red Riding Hood, but I've never read one quite like Werewolf? There Wolf! by Kyle Sullivan and  Meg Hunt.  We should expect a good monster story from Kyle Sullivan who has written even board books about some of our favorite monster friends!

If you're looking for a book about a beginning monster hunter, protecting her parents (who just want sleep), then Poesy the Monster Slayer is the book for you.  Through the words of Cory Doctorow, you'll follow Poesy through her study of monsters and how to get them to go away--imaginitively illustrated by  Matt Rockefeller, who is known for his monsters.  It's good fun and perfect for this time of year.

Lastly, I want to include a great SEL book from Tom Percival's Big Bright Feelings series.  Milo's Monster is about that "green-eyed monster" so many of us have faced.  When Milo's best friend seems to find a new best friend, Milo learns about jealousy the hard way.  But, just like in all of the other Big Bright Feelings books, the author takes us through the full story to learn how to work with our feelings at the end.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and that you have a happy and SAFE Halloween!

Just a reminder that any books purchased through the links above will give a small commission back to the work of Teaching Cultural Compassion.

October 5, 2023

Banned Books Week

To celebrate this year's Banned Books Week, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my favorite new books, which hasn't been banned (yet), but it's about book bans!

I have been a fan of Aya Khalil's books before (The Arabic Quilt and The Night Before Eid are excellent) but she's really out done herself with The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale.  With Anait Semirdzhyan, the same illustrator--and same characters--from The Arabic Quilt, she has created a new story that many of our kids seem to be living. 
Kanzi is horribly upset to find that her favorite shelf at the school library (the one with diverse books) is empty, because of a book ban.  She and her friends decide this is too much.  The class plans a bake sale and protest!  With the help and attention of the local news, the school district reverses their ban!  If only all districts were swayed to easily....

For those areas that are still fighting, here are some of my favorite books that have been banned or challenged in the last couple of years.  Buying them helps fight the bans and shows publishers we still want these stories.  The links below will take you to find them on bookshop.org.  Teaching Cultural Compassion will receive a small commission from books you buy through these links.

The Washington Post cites that 75% of challenges in 2021-22 were books with LGBTQ inclusion.  They also noted how many of the books challenged feature main characters who are not white.  For more from that story and other disturbing figures, click here.

For more information on Banned Books week and what YOU can do, click here.

And if you want to get cool stuff that shows your support for all books (and support an organization that donates these kinds of books) check out Kind Cotton's selection!

Because I can't go on and on in this space, I've listed more of my favorites here on Teaching Cultural Compassion's Bookshop page.

September 19, 2023

Read Them More Fairy Tales

When I was a kid, a few authors took on new versions of fairy tales--but they pale in comparison to some of the latest.  From envisioning traditional fairy tales in a different culture... or totally out of this universe, these authors and illustrators have been up to the challenge!

My favorite authors/illustrators who have taken on multiple tales are:

Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt who have created Interstellar Cinderella, Reading Beauty, and Jo Bright and the Seven Bots among others.  These not only take place in futuristic, interstellar space,  but they also challenge gender roles and the ideas of good and evil as a simple dichotomy.

Wallace West has also taken on the idea of specific gender roles and stereotypes in Cinda Meets Ella and Mighty Red Riding Hood.  He has decided this will be a series, so watch for more "fairly queer tales" in the future!

Corey Rosen Schwartz has taken on several fairy tales, including several featuring only animals, to update them to a sillier, more fun form with different power dynamics.  So if you want to see Ninja Red Riding Hood or Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears, check out Corey's books!

I also really appreciate retellings that show us non-European characters.  Why shouldn't The Little Mermaid or Little Red Riding Hood be Black girls?  Jerry Pinkney could certainly imagine them that way!

And what about bilingual versions?  Susan Middleton Elya has written La Princesa and the Pea, Little Roja Riding Hood, and Rubia and the Three Osos to help you have a good rhyming time with mixed Spanish and English.

And some of my favorites are the "Islamic Tale" settings by Fawzia Gilani-Williams .  These versions give us a main character who is good and kind, not simply because she's Cinderella or Snow White and that's how the story goes--but because she is a girl of faith.  Make sure to check out her versions of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel!

These and a few others that I just couldn't leave out can be found here on Teaching Cultural Compassion's Bookshop page.

Reminder that  a small commission for books purchased through TCC's bookshop.org list links go toward furthering the work of Teaching Cultural Compassion.

Latinx & Hispanic Heritage month SALE at bookshop.org!!  
If you're looking for good books featuring Latinx characters, now is your time!  Until October 15, 2023, Bookshop is offering 20% off of THESE BOOKS when you use the coupon code HHM2023

If you use the link above, Teaching Cultural Compassion will also get a small commission from any book you buy!

July 11, 2023

Different Kind of Pride

July is Disability Pride Month!  This month, I want to bring attention to books that feature invisible as well as visible disabilities.  From stutters and color blindness to cerebral palsy and Down's syndrome, these books represent people finding their power and place, no matter their abilities or what others think about them.

Change Sings  is a beautiful poem by Amanda Gorman who found a way to work through her stutter through the spoken word.  It is colorfully illustrated by none other than Loren Long (of Otis the tractor fame) who is color blind.  This book is not about either of those things, but proves to kids that they can be successful in whatever field they love, even if others doubt.

Just Ask  helps encourage kids (and grownups) to ask rather than assume when they see someone whose life experience is different from their own.  As a diabetic herself, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wanted to help people stop whispering and JUST ASK when they are curious.  The diverse kids in the book are brought to life by the illustrations of Rafael López.

I've said before and I'll say again, books as mirrors are important, so if you're a kid with hearing helpers, it's really nice to see them.  Books like Moonlight Zoo, The Wall and the Wild, and Jo Bright and the Seven Bots aren't about the characters' hearing, but they are visually represented.  The same thing goes for vision helpers and mobility aids in books like My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay, Song in the City, Ali and the Sea Stars, and The Way Champs Play.

Finally the list would be remiss without some biographies of those who have been trailblazers for equal rights, understanding, acceptance, and  evening the field of opportunity like the story of Judith Heumann as told in Fighting for Yes!; or Louis Braille in Six Dots; or Temple Grandin in How to Build a Hug; or Judith Scott in Unbound.

All of these and more - featuring kids with autism or Down's syndrome or cerebral palsy and more can be found here on Teaching Cultural Compassion's Bookshop page.

Reminder that  a small commission for books purchased through TCC's bookshop.org list links go toward furthering the work of Teaching Cultural Compassion.

June 9, 2023

History of Pride

If you're paying attention to the new titles of the archives on this site, you'll notice that Pride celebration has been categorized with Assisting Advocacy.  Here are some books that exemplify why that decision was made.

For a well written poetic version of this history for even our littlest kids, read Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick and Juana Medina.  To the rhythm of a famous old poem, this book tells the story of a family getting ready for baby's first Pride Festival and includes the retelling of the history of the movement.

At a slightly higher word count,  Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution by Rob Sanders and Jamey Christoph and Be Amazing: A History of Pride  by Desmond Napoles and Dylan Glynn are both more detailed, but still age appropriate, tellings of the Stonewall Riots and the movement that followed.

And for more insight on how the rainbow flag came about, check out Pride: The story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag and Sewing the Rainbow: A Story about Gilbert Baker

For more recommendations on the history of this fight for equal rights, go to the Pride book list in my book shop!

Reminder that  a small commission for books purchased through TCC's bookshop.org list links go toward furthering the work of Teaching Cultural Compassion.