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 1900 titles) and our archived blog entries!  Happy reading!

March 27, 2023

National Craft Month

If you didn't know it, March has also been National Craft Month--don't worry, there's still time to add some crafting to your life--you can implement that at any time!  For inspiration, here area few of my favorite books about crafting and crafters:

As an avid knitter myself, I have to start with two great books about knitting and intergenerational love.  A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards and  G. Brian Karas is a story of two neighbors, young Sophia who thinks knitting is hard and Mrs. Goldman who knits for everyone she knows.  Sophia learns about taking care of others from her older neighbor... and knows just what to do when Mrs. Goldman gives her own hat away.  Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo tells the story of a loving grandmother who lives in the city, the grandkid who is wary of the city, and the knitted cape that gives them the bravery to explore together!

Crafting can also be part of one's heritage and tell a family story, the next two recommendations include family quilts and family visits to school.  In both The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and  Anait Semirdzhyan and Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker and April Harrison, kids are able to teach their classmates about their heritage through the beauty of  their family's quilts.

Crafting doesn't just have to be knitting, crocheting, quilting, etc, but envelops many forms of creative expression.  The last two recommendations are less traditional crafting stories.  Ari Arranges Everything by Katie Vernon is about a kid who loves to arrange things (and animals and even people!) to create a different vision.  Unbound by Joyce Scott (Judith's sister), Brie Spangler, and Melissa Sweet tells the true story of mixed media artist Judith Scott who was born deaf and with Down Syndrome, and didn't let that stop her from creating inspired art!  You can see a little more detail about her art here.

There are a few more titles I couldn't leave out on the list at bookshop.org, check them out, too.  March may be almost over, but let your creative juices flow and find a craft to try!

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

March 6, 2023

International Women's Day and National Women's History Month

When it comes to honoring the history of women, I can't even come close to narrowing it down.  Because feminist movements in this country have often centered on the white women, but certainly aren't only white women, I have chosen to narrow down my recommendations this month to biographies and historical accounts of Black, Indigenous, and other women of color.  Luckily, Bookshop doesn't make me narrow it TOO much more!! You can find a list of my top 25 here.

Here is a little info about the pictures featured here:

Justice Rising by Katheryn Russell-Brown and Kim Holt is a new book that tells the lesser-known stories of 12 female Civil Rights pioneers.

Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle and Rafael López is the true story of Teresa Carreño who played piano so beautifully at the age of 10 that she was asked to travel all the way from Venezuela to play for Abraham Lincoln!   Also available in Spanish.

In Malala's Magic Pencil ,  Malala Yousafzai tells about how, when she was very young, she wished for a magic pencil to erase and redraw all of the world's problems.  Her imagination comes to life with illustrations by Kerascoët.

Red Bird Sings by Gina Capaldi and Q. L. Pearce is the life story of Zitkala-Sa, or Red Bird Sings, who was a Native American author, musician, and activist, singing for the rights of her people.

Stacey Abrams and Kitt Thomas tell a story from Stacey's childhood in Stacey's Extraordinary Words.  She also relates how her love of words has impacted the work she now does.

Queen of Physics by Teresa Robeson and Rebecca Huang is the story of Wu Chien Shiung and her part in figuring out how atoms work.  She came all the way from China to be the first woman to be hired as an instructor at Princeton University!

Estela Juarez has been fighting for her family to stay together in the United States since she was 8 years old.  She has vowed to continue to speak, Until Someone Listens.   Lissette Norman and Teresa Martínez help her tell her story in this beautiful book that is also available in Spanish.

Sharice Davids is a current congresswoman from Kansas who is also the first Native American woman to have that title.  In Sharice's Big Voice  Sharice and  Nancy K. Mays tell the story of how she has never been afraid to speak... and listen.  Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley is a Native artist who helps tell this story with flare!

Shining Star by Paula Yoo and Lin Wang tells the true story of the first Chinese American movie star, Anna Wong!

When Marian Sang by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Brian Selznick recounts the moving, brave, historic concert Marian Anderson gave at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939.  

I hope you enjoy all of these books for Women's History Month, both those in the past, and those making history now!  

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

February 2, 2023

Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Bookshop is honoring some Black authors by offering 20% off of certain titles by using the code "BlackHistory" when you check out.  I have the compiled list of picture books that qualify for the discount linked here!

I'll highlight some of my favorites from the list for you!

The ABC's of Black History by Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer is a great primer for your youngest kiddos, but has enough info to grow with them when they are old enough to tak in more info.  Another historical story with great illustrations is The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora.  This book gives the inspiring story of a woman born into slavery who would never back down. 

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi and Ashley Lukashevsky has received a lot of attention in the last few years, not always positively, like in congressional hearings.   I believe it is a great start for those of us who want to create not only inclusive, but antiracist homes.

Just Like Me written and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton and The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López are both lovely books about being proud to be yourself, even when you feel different.  The former full of poems about kids in varying situations, the latter about unique kids in the same classroom.

The story of Sulwe  was written by Lupita Nyong'o  (yes, the famous actor) and beautifully illustrated by Vashti Harrison (honestly one of my favorite illustrators.  It is a story in which a young girl learns to appreciate the deep color of her skin (as compared to her sister).

If you'd like to check out their Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult books that qualify, you can see those lists and find a local Black Owned Bookstore near you to benefit from your purchase here.

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

January 24, 2023

Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which happens this week is the yearly remembrance of those who suffered (and especially those who died) during the Holocaust.  As survivors get older and older and there are fewer and fewer, the charge to Always Remember, Never Forget relies on our next generations.  In order to help you start talking about the Holocaust with kids, here are some picture books to read together.

One of the newest additions to this topic of books is Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter SísThe story of a young man from England who helped resettle over 700 children in his native country.  Not many words per page makes this a good choice for young readers. 

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story  by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee is an award winning book of the true story of a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania who helped thousands of Jews escape through Japan.

Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier is a graphic novel about a fictional French-Jewish girl whose story is like many told, hiding with neighbors until the end of the war.  A graphic novel based on a true story of a family who was able to leave is Maurice and His Dictionary by Cary Fagan.  It is his father's story of running from the Nazis from Belgium, through France, Spain, Portugal, and eventually Jamaica before being allowed to go to university in Canada.  And if you like graphic novels, be sure to preorder Hour of Need: The Daring Escape of the Danish Jews During World War II: A Graphic Novel by Ralph Shayne and Tatiana Goldberg coming later this year.

If you have older children at home who would like to read personal accounts on their own, I would always recommend Night by Elie Wiesel and The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank.  Also recommended for older kids are Parallel Journeys by Eleanor H. Ayer, I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson, and Tutti's Promise by K. Heidi Fishman.

I realize there are several others in the bookshop.org list that are on backorder currently and even more that are no longer in print.  I have created a longer suggested list with library links here.

Special thanks for the recommendations in this post that came from Amanda Friedeman, Associate Director of Education at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.

On this day may we remember, and may these stories and the memories of those who inspired them be a blessing.

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

January 18, 2023

The Year of the Rabbit

Lunar New Year is almost here and to ring in the Year of the Rabbit, I thought I'd recommend some books about Lunar New Year and a book or two that involve rabbits.

I very rarely include board books in my recommendations, which I am working on, but I found two great board books on this topic!  I highly recommend Chinese New Year Colors by Rich Lo (a simple bilingual color book), The Animals of Chinese New Year by Jen Sookfong Lee (featuring beautiful photographs and descriptions of the zodiac animals' traits) and Lunar New Year  by Hannah Eliot and Alina Chau.  Alina Chau also illustrated another of my favorites, The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang.  Both books feature jubilant drawings of celebration!  Another great re-telling of that tale is Nian: The Chinese New Year Dragon by Virginia Loh-Hagan and Timothy Banks.

My newest favorite is Friends are Friends, Forever by Dane Liu and Lynn Scurfield, the story of two best friends in China celebrating the new year, knowing one of them will be soon moving to the US.  After the move, Dandan learns about her new country and finds a new friend... who would like to understand her traditions!

Because it's the Year of the Rabbit, I thought I'd also include The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld (an excellent book on grief and queit presence) and the classic Knuffle Bunny trio by Mo Willems (together, the full childhood experience of a kid and their stuffy).

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