Tuesday, June 30, 2020

#BuildYourStack: Ten Must-Share Picture Books in 2020

Tonight the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) held their first virtual #BuildYourStack event. I was honored to be able to be a part of it because I've loved getting to share stack recommendations during the annual convention. 

Picture Books for PRIDE (& for #classroombookaday all year long)

As 2020 PRIDE month concludes, and because I have been asked a lot this month, I'm sharing some of the picture books I most often recommend for #classroombookaday around LGBTQIA+ characters & gender identity themes. Because ALL students and ALL types of families should be able to see themselves and their lived experiences celebrated in the books we share in our schools. 
Gatekeeping is a type of soft censorship. By choosing not to share books with these identities with your students, you are censoring their humanity and saying they have no place in your classroom.
In the TREVOR Projects' Facts About Suicide, they share statistics that should be startling to every educator: 
If knowing this, you continue to make a choice to reject these identities in your classroom by not sharing books with LGBTQIA+ characters whole class, you are willingly causing harm. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Honoring Black Lives: A Virtual Picture Book Library

I've been working on a thing! I was already planning on making a slideshow similar to this that would link to my own read aloud videos for my staff at my schools to utilize in further distance learning and teaching if needed. Then when I saw so many educators sharing a different resource that linked to videos that violated copyright, I decided to shift my focus a bit and make this public-facing version first. 

Because it is important that we, as educators, provide good models of digital citizenship for our students and other educators. Yes, even when we are sharing free resources! And especially in an effort to support authors and illustrators! 

Educators need to respect intellectual property rights and follow copyright laws. As a school librarian, it is part of my job to know copyright regulations and help teaching staff understand how to align with copyright laws, so I included parts of that in this resource. 

So, after a week of working on it, I can finally share
A Virtual Picture Book Library Honoring Black Lives

The slideshow includes links to 56 copyright-compliant read aloud videos + 66 more recommended picture book titles (with links to book trailers or author/illustrator video resources if I could find them) that I recommend. These are a mix of picture books that focus on Black Joy & Magic, Empowering Stories, Racial & Community Awareness, & Black People Impacting the World. And I made an effort to curate a collection that is primarily Black authors and/or illustrators.

Because #BlackLivesMatter on our bookshelves
& behind the pages also. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Recommended: You Matter by Christian Robinson + Giveaway

I am always searching for picture books for my school library and to read aloud for #classroombookday that will show students that they matter. The kinds of books that affirm their existence, validate their beings, and support their lived experiences. Books that remind kids that we believe in them and support them, and that even though they are little, the space they take up is theirs to make a difference with. And to know who they are, what they believe, how they want to be - it all matters.

Christian Robinson is a well-known Caldecott Awarded & Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honored Black illustrator in the children's literature world. And now, with this second book that he illustrated AND wrote (the first was ANOTHER), he has created a gem of a book that is what we all need right now. A book that reminds kids that they matter whether they are big or small, first or last, follow the crowd, fall down, are old or young. It's a book without much text – a quiet book that will help kids see that they matter no matter how others see them or they see themselves. The illustrations bring joy, empathy, and love to the pages. And right now, that is the message I hope all kids will get to see and hear.

So on this release day of his newest picture book, I celebrate that Christian Robinson shares his gift freely with us all so it can positively impact children. And I celebrate that this book, YOU MATTER, exists for us to share with kids.
You Matter
They All Saw a Cat meets The Important Book in this sensitive and impactful picture book about seeing the world from different points of view by Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honoree Christian Robinson.

In this full, bright, and beautiful picture book, many different perspectives around the world are deftly and empathetically explored—from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding. Young readers will be drawn into the luminous illustrations inviting them to engage with the world in a new way and see how everyone is connected, and that everyone matters. 
I hope you will read it and share it with the children in your life!
Please support independent bookstores by buying YOU MATTER from Bookshop or your local indie.

Simon & Schuster are offering up a copy of YOU MATTER.
To enter, complete the form below & leave a comment on this post with your recommendation for another picture book from a Black author and/or illustrator.