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!

Looking for resources for Indigenous People's Day or Latinx Heritage Month? Please check out my recommendations from last year by clicking here. I will add that I have a few new favorites since last year including What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez and Kate Alizadeh, listed just below; Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz and Micah Player, listed in the ice cream article below; When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith and Nicole Neidhardt; and We Are Still Here!: Native American Truths Everyone Should Know by Traci Sorell and Frane Lessac.

September 12, 2021

Celebrating Grandparents Day

Intergenerational relationships are so important. We have so very much to learn from one another. Unfortunately, I did not get to know my biological grandfathers because they both died before I was born. I did, however, get to know both of my biological grandmothers and adopted many many others as "grandparents" throughout my childhood and even into adulthood. The grandparent/child relationship is a very special one. For Grandparents Day, I thought I would bring your attention to some of my favorite books featuring that relationship, biological or otherwise.

What Will You Be? by Yamile Saied Méndez and Kate Alizadeh features a little girl asking her Abuela what she will be when she grows up. No one could be more imaginative about the future than her Abuela. (Also available in a Spanish edition!)

Saturdays Are for Stella by Candy Wellins and Charlie Eve Ryan walks the reader through the special relationship of a boy and his Stella, and the loss of his Stella. It completes the circle of life with the birth of a new Stella.

In Birdsong by Julie Flett, a girl who has just moved finds an unexpected friend in the older woman next door. (Julie Flett has several grandparent books.)

You'll find yourself giggling at the fanciful adventures of Skyfishing: (A Grand Tale with Grandpa) by Gideon Sterer and Poly Bernatene. A little girl finds a way to help her grandfather be more comfortable in his new city home.

Sometimes, we don't know how to relate to our elders, but Minh Lê and Dan Santat have a creative solution for such a situation in Drawn Together. When language is a barrier between this boy and his grandfather, they find that art can build a bridge!

Lastly for this list, the story of another young person adopting an older friend in Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal. A salty old sea dog wants to be left alone... till he refinds his smile with a small visitor!

There are so many more great books and you can find them on my BookShop list. There are books about loss of memory and loss of relationship, stories of acceptance and growth, stories of lessons that couldn't be learned from anyone but a grandparent. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


Just a reminder, I will make a small commission if you buy any books through the BookShop links above.

August 23, 2021

Get Schooled by Picture Books

I know my experience is not universal--no one has that. However, I know that, particularly generationally, we learn different things in school. I truly hope that kids now are learning more diverse stories than when I was in school. Every time I read a biography or historical picture book, I'm reminded of how many stories were silenced for so many years. It makes me a little mad to know that I didn't know these sides of history before--but also grateful that amazing picture book writers and illustrators are making them come alive for me now, and that kiddos now get to grow up knowing these stories! I figured I would pass along a few of my favorite books that can be added to the "today I learned" category of my life.

As we fear going back to classrooms, remembering those who feared going to school in the time of de-segregation. What you might not know much about is Lemon Grove and its history! Todos Iguales - All Equal by Christy Hale tells the story of how immigrant children were needlessly taken out of public schools in Lemon Grove, CA in 1931, and how they won the right to go back!

When I was a kid, I didn't see a lot of women in STEM as role models. We have recently learned more in pop culture about Katherine Johnson and the women of Hidden Figures, and that was eye opening for so many of us! To add to that list, I'll also share Queen of Physics by Teresa Robeson, illustrated by Rebecca M Huang and Instructions Not Included by Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn.

In an example of African American lives who are important to our culture but remain untold in most schools, I want to offer two. One of a slave who was also an amazing artist. If you don't know about Dave the Potter, you're not the only one. Luckily, Laban Carrick Hill and Bryan Collier fixed that for me! Before the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century, there was a firecracker journalist paving the way in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You can get to know her like I did in Yours For Justice, Ida B. Wells by Phillip Dray and Steven Alcorn.

I can't possibly list all of them here, but I CAN list more of them in my bookshop list that you can find here. Particularly at the bottom of that page, you'll find a few multi-biographies of groups of inspiring people you didn't know enough about before!!

I hope you feel as educated and inspired by these books as I do,


July 27, 2021

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream.... ICE CREAM!

I don't know about you, but where I am, it's HOT. Being hot makes me think of eating something COLD. Which made me want to read about eating something cold. :)


My first two suggestions today might be unfamiliar to you if you're used to a standard middle-American ice cream, but I promise, these books will make you want to seek out these treats to try them for yourself!

Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh is the story of an Iranian immigrant family's first visit to an American beach--and what the protagonist misses about the beaches in Iran--mostly, SAFFRON ICE CREAM!!

Paletero Man by Latin Grammy Winner Lucky Diaz is accompanied by excellent illustrations by Micah Player. The story of a boy in LA running through his neighborhood to find his favorite Paletero for a cool treat. It even has a very catchy song version!

What Can You Do With a Paleta? is another ode to the cold treat, this one by the team of Carmen Tafolla and Magaly Morales. When that paleta wagon comes around, you never know what you can do. This beautiful book comes in English, Spanish, and bilingual editions!

The Little Ice Cream Truck is a great edition for any little people library. Margery Cuyler and Bob Kolar team up for another classic--this time following the route and effects of an ice cream truck on a diversely represented neighborhood!

For the non-fiction crowd, I'd like to recommend Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons and Millions, Billions, & Trillions by David A. Adler and Edward Miller. Ice Cream: The Full Scoop will take readers all the way back to the beginning of ice cream and then take a tour through what production looks like today--with lots of answers to lots of questions! Millions, Billions, & Trillions will aid readers in thinking about giant numbers by giving fun facts, like how many ice cream sundaes you could buy with a BILLION dollars!!

I hope these recommendations cool you off and get you excited for more summer!


Whether you're a Kiwanian and saw the print version of Kiwanis Magazine's summer edition, or you're just interested in some other things I'm doing to promote compassion, you might be interested in this article. Hardwired to Help was the feature story for which I was interviewed to talk about how important it is to instill the value of compassion in our kids so that they can grow to be compassionate adults. There are also wonderful contributions from Dr. James Doty of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University and Thupten Jinpa, president of the Compassion Institute in Half Moon Bay, California. Lots of great insights into how we can become a more compassionate society!

Looking for "Teaching Cultural Compassion in an era of righteous anger"?