“Dream a little, Kulu, this world now sings a most beautiful song of you.”
This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.
Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little Kulu; an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.
A friend of mine just had a baby, and she’s getting this as a gift. I’ve listened to some of Celina Kalluk throat singing as part of my IndigAThon challenge, I haven’t heard her speak, but her singing is so magical that you could just almost imagine this this book sung.
Though the illustrator wasn’t Indigenous I loved their style and though I’ve never been to the Artic it brought the place and the animals to life for me.
I still working diligently towards my goal for Year of the Asian Reading Challenge. My original goal was 10 books I’m at 6 at the moment and working on two at the current moment so I think I should at least hit my goal and hopefully surpass it. For this I went with classic picture book The Name Jar. Although publish in 2001 it still remains relevant plus it a cute story about identity and choosing to be yourself under pressure.
The Name Jar
Though the book is older it deals with the timeless challenge that immigrant children coming to America face. After all being the new kid is hard enough, what about when no one can pronouce your name.
Just having moved from Korea Unhei is just anxious that the American kids will like her so when it comes time to introduce herself on the first day she tells the class she will choose a name by the following week. The class is fasinated by the girl with no name and decide to help her with suggestions by filling a glass jar with names to pick from.
But while Unhei tries on all these names, none of them quite feel right. Meanwhile she runs into one of her classmates in her neighborhood and he discovers her name and its special meaning. On the day of her name choosing the jar has mysteriously disappeared.
Encouraged by her new friend Unhei chooses her own Korean and helps everyone pronouce it Yoon-Hey.
This held up very well for being an older book. I also love the connection that Unhei has with her grandmother and the use of name stamps. I’d have to compare it with other children’s books from the time but her friends encourage Unhei’s agency in a way that you see now but I’m not sure if so much so back then. Worth looking into.
I’m going to give it a four out five just because it’s aged a little.
Written by the wonderful Lupita Nyong’o and illustrated by well regarded illustrator Vashti Harrison. Sulwe is a beautiful reflection on the issue of colorism.
Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family and school and wishes for skin like the color of dawn like her mother and sister have, she even tries various ways to lighten her skin. Her mother reminds her that beauty comes from the inside and she goes on a magical journey to learn the importance of darkness.
This book tackled a big issue but in a beautiful and relatable way for children, I especially like the sun and moon goddesses as pictured below. The journey Sulwe goes on is a sweet story that most children who the book is targeted to can understand. Love the art love the story love the message.
Told from the perspective of the little sister, Faizah knows the first day back to school is going to be wonderful, she has her brand new backpack and light up shoes. But what’s most exciting and important is the fact that it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab. Her sister has picked out a beautiful blue fabric for her new hijab, Faizah thinks of it like the ocean waving to the sky.
But when people around Asiya and Faizah start to see hijab as something that isn’t beautiful. Faziah will have to find new ways to face down those who would take from the beauty of her sister’s special day.
With her new backpack and light-up shoes, Faizah knows the first day of school is going to be special. It’s the start of a brand new year and, best of all, it’s her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab–a hijab of beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waving to the sky. But not everyone sees hijab as beautiful, and in the face of hurtful, confusing words, Faizah will find new ways to be strong.
Written, illustrated and inspired by a trifecta of Muslim talent Paired with Hatem Aly’s beautiful, whimsical art, while Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad is best know for being one of the first athletes to wear hijab at the Olympics, last but certainly not least Morris Award finalist S.K. Ali has multiple books and award nominations to their name, including
I’d been wanting to read this for awhile. I wanted a short uplifting picture book with Muslim characters. This group who put out the book does not disappoint, they get things right about the way Faizah acts age wise, yet she still manages to handle the situation with a maturity and grace that some grown-ups I know don’t possess.
It could be a five star read for the content or the illustration alone but together especially with the fact that Ibtihaj Muhammad was involved, I wish I could give it more than five stars. I will be gifting it to my new family addition when they are older.
I’m trying to find more diverse and #OwnVoices chapter to feature. This will be part of a series featuring different content. Today I’m focusing on books about black girls doing science.
Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows
A cute series that combines real science, magic, and friendship. Zoey is a scientist faced with magical problems. In the first book, Zoey and her cat Sassafras discover that injured magical animals have taken up residence in their backyard barn. Things get serious when they discovered an injured baby dragon, Marshmellow. Will they be able to use science to help figure out what’s wrong with their new friend?
The books use easy-to-read language and illustrations on nearly every page making this book series perfect for a wide range of readers. Each book also includes an age appreciate glossary of the science terms used in the book.
Written By Asia Citro and Illustrated by Marion Lindsay.
After her best friend moves away Jada feels lost at school. She feels much more at home out in nature looking for rocks for her collection. After all finding rocks is easier than finding friends. When Jada’s teacher announces their next project will be on rocks and minerals Jada finally feels like she’s found her element.
But problems come up when Jada’s partner doesn’t seem to like the same things Jada does. Not only that, but her partner doesn’t seem to like her much. Can Jada find a creative way to solve the situation and end up with a winning project and win a new friend in the process?
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons. Lyons is one of the founding members of the blog The Brown Bookshelf, which is aimed at young African-American readers. Illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton who has received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Children’s.
Ada is curious about everything. But sometimes her scientific experiments and elaborate scientific plans don’t go and planned. She must realize the power she has to think things through and remember how important it is to stay curious.
Written by Andrea Beaty, who is also the author of Rosie Revere: Engineer, and Iggy Peck: Architect
If you have ideas for what I should feature next about chapters and picture books. Just post a comment or send me a message via Twitter or IG.