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 2,500 titles) and our archived by topic blog entries.  Happy reading!

Penguin Random House is offering an extra 10% off of these
Picture Books That Help Keep Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Alive!  You must enter the code MLKJR10 at checkout!

January 16, 2024

A Retrospective 

2023 was another great year for diverse picture books!  Statistics say the numbers are growing--still not great, but moving the right direction. That is partly why I had a hard time narrowing this list down... and it is still very long. The widget below and the Bookshop site have my top 50, but here, I'll focus on my favorite in each of three categories:

-Board Book: My favorite board book from this year is Every Body which is from the First Conversation Series, led by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli.  This one has great illustrations by Tequitia Anderws. Pointing out differences in bodies and celebrating them all, this book is another home run for this series. Made simple enough for board books, this series also includes questions for discussion, so you can read them with your babies, but they all also come in hardcover to read with your older ones!

-Silly Picture Book: Cindy and Panda are the best of friends-- which means they're great at making messes, getting mad, and forgiving one another.  This wonderfully cute, totally silly book written and illustrated by Benson Shum is sure to make you giggle!

-Serious Picture Book: I already swooned over The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale during Banned Books Week (click to read what I wrote in October), but it stayed a top favorite! Thank you for another wonderful book,  Aya Khalil and  Anait Semirdzhyan!

There were also a number of great picture books about grieving this year, so check out the Talking About Grief list, as it has been updated. The end of the Favorites list also has several non-fiction/biographical books that were standouts. Please check those out, too!

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

I was honored to be a Fiction Picture Book & Board Book Panelist for the Cybils Awards for 2023!  As a panelist, it was my job (with 7 others) to help narrow down the over 360 books that were nominated to 14 finalists - 7 fiction picture books and 7 board books.  The winners won't be announced until February, but you can see the list my panel recommended along with the non-fiction, early reader, and up books!  Always a great way to add to your To Be Read pile! Click here to see the finalists.

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.