Category Archives: readers’ advisory

New books in Vietnamese

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Xướng xe đạp by Thanh Nam
Bicycles

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Mẹ kẻ̂ con nghe compiled by Thùy Linh
Vietnamese Fairy Tales

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88 Câu chuyện vè̂ các con vật đáng yêu by Ping Deng
88 stories about adorable animals

More on talking to children about race

The news and social media have both had plenty of uncomfortable stories and comments in the past week about how a group of young men from Covington Catholic High School interacted with an older Native American man, Nathan Phillips.

My first thought was to share some books where Native Americans and Catholic schools intersect.

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Shin-chi’s Canoe is a historical fiction picture book about two First Nations children in Canada who are required to go to a residential school. Some schools were run by the government and others were administered by churches. At the school in this book, the children attend mass every day.

Shin-chi and his big sister Shi-shi-etko aren’t allowed to talk to each other at the school. It reminded me of a detail in the news about detained children not being allowed to hug their friends or siblings.

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Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation is a nonfiction book for older readers that also discusses the history of residential schools and other government policies on the Native peoples of Canada. The Displacement of Native Peoples covers similar topics in U.S. history and includes examples of primary sources.

As the story unfolded, and Phillips mentioned singing “the AIM song” while drumming, I thought it would also be useful to explain what AIM was. I can’t remember ever learning about it during my K-12 Catholic school education, but it came up in college.

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American Indian Rights Movement (part of the Civic Participation: Working for Civil Rights nonfiction series) includes some information about the American Indian Movement (AIM) and its historical context.

You can find more of our library’s books and resources for learning about Native American history in this article from last November.

It seems like a good idea to also talk about Native American sports mascots and some of the practices that go with them. The online resource Points of View Reference Center has a few articles on this topic (you get different articles if you search “mascots” or “Native American mascots”).  The American Indian Center of Chicago has more updated information than these articles about the organization’s relationship with the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.

But as the week progressed it seemed like it might be even more important to talk about children learning empathy and appropriate behavior. In the past, this blog has shared some resources for talking with children about race (there are some more resources here).

These are a few more books (including several new ones!) that looked good for promoting understanding:

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Saltypie is a term Tim Tingle’s family used as “a way of dealing with trouble,” starting with the time a boy threw a rock at his grandmother because she was Indian.

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Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham & Charles Waters; illustrated by Sean Qualls & Selina Alko
Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, present paired poems about topics including family dinners, sports, recess, and much more. This relatable collection explores different experiences of race in America. The picture book length book might be a good choice for starting discussions.

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You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino
When her new baby sister is born deaf, Jilly makes an online connection with a fellow fantasy fan, who happens to be Black and Deaf, and begins to learn about the many obstacles that exist in the world for people who are different from her. This title is a chapter book, while most of the books I am listing here are picture books.

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Don’t Touch My Hair! by Sharee Miller
Aria loves her soft and bouncy hair, but must go to extremes to avoid people who touch it without permission until, finally, she speaks up.

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Lila and the Crow by Gabrielle Grimard
A boy at Lila’s new school says that with her black hair and skin that’s darker than his, she looks like a crow. The mean words bother her until she encounters a crow close up and gets a good look at the beauty of its feathers.

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Chocolate Me by Taye Diggs
Other kids make comments about a boy that hurt his feelings, but his mother helps him realize how wonderful he is inside and out.

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Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham
A white child sees a TV news report of a white police officer shooting and killing a black man. “In our family, we don’t see color,” his mother says, but the child can tell that people really do notice color and treat people differently based on what they see.

New books in Tagalog

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Ang Sultan Saif by Severino Reyes; retold by Christine S. Bellen
A retelling of the story about a sultan who, disguised as a beggar, meets a poor but generous couple.

babyAng beybi naming mamaw kuwento ni Eugene Y. Evasco; guhit ni Beth Parrocha-Doctolero; salin sa Ingles ni Becky Bravo
Our Monster Baby by Eugene Y. Evasco; illustrations by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero; English translation by Becky Bravo
Parallel text in Tagalog and English.
A child is finally going to have a sibling. Will they look alike? When will they be able to play together? But when the baby arrives, he feels he as been totally ignored by everyone. More than that, there is something odd about the baby, Could it be it was switiched at the hospital and his mama and papa got a monster couple’s baby?

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Ang Unang Bituin kuwento ni Pamela D. Imperial
The First Star by Pamela D. Imperial
Parallel text in English and Tagalog
In the beginning of time, Moon was the only light in the darkness of the heavens. From the highest branch of a tree, Moon got to know Runt, a tiny eagle. Moon and Runt were both lonely and alone. They became best friends. Years passed and Moon witnessed the changes in Runt’s life. From a feeble bird, Runt became a soaring eagle, with a wife and baby eagles. With Moon at his side, Runt grew old very happy. When he passed away, he left behind one thing very significant–a sign that Moon will never be alone in the heavens again.
Noong unang panahon, si Buwan lamang ang nag-iisang liwanag sa madilim na kalangitan. Mula sa pinakamataas na sanga ng isang puno, nakilala ni Buwan si Bulilit, isang munting agila. Parehong malungkot at nag-iisa sina Buwan at Bulilit. Sila’y naging matalik na magkaibigan. Sa paglipas ng mga taon, nasaksihan ni Buwan ang maraming pagbabago sa buhay ni Bulilit. Mula sa isang lampang ibon, si Bulilit ay naging pumapaimbulog na agila, may asawa at mga inakay. Sa piling ni Buwan, tumanda nang masaya si Bulilit. Nang pumanaw ang agila, nag-iwan siya ng isang napakahalagang alaala–tanda na kahit kailan ay hindi na muling mag-iisa si Buwan sa kalangitan.

New books in Gugarati

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Cālo jhāḍa ropīe by Vinodalāla Hīrā Ishwara
Let’s plant trees

booBūḍabima by Alankrita Jain
Boodabim floats in the sky, he swims in the ocean and he simply glows in stripes! Boodabim can be anything he wants to be.

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Basa ūḍiyā karūṃ lekhana, Saumyā Rājendrana; citrāṅkana, Arūṇa Kauśika, anuvāda, Rekhā Bhīmāṇī
Little Malathi wants to run after hens and chicks, and catch the ripe yellow mangoes as they fall – but how can she, on a wheelchair? She grows up to show that she can do much, much more! Moments and experiences from the remarkable life of disabled athlete Malathi Holla.

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Bakor Patel: Harkhane badale! by Hariprasad Vyas
Adventures of Bakor Patel

New in Arabic

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al-Ḥaqībah al-ʻajībah taʼlīf, Amīmah ʻIzz al-Dīn; rusūm, Tīnā Makhlūf
A story about wanting a new backpack for the first day of school

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Yawm fī ḥayāt ummī, muʻallimat al-lughah al-ʻArabīyah naṣṣ Nabīhah Muḥaydlī; rusūm Rīmā Kūsā
A day in the life of my mother: A teacher of Arabic

Native American Resources


November is Native American Heritage Month (also sometimes worded as National American Indian Heritage Month or American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month). Are you looking for good materials to share with your students?

If you’re looking for children’s books, two great places to start are the organization Oyate and the blog American Indians in Children’s Literature. Both websites offer reviews from a Native American perspective as well as additional resources.

Sometimes these perspectives are very different from ones you find elsewhere. For example, you can read the reactions of Native American children to Newbery Award winners and Newbery Honor books like Caddie Woodlawn and The Courage of Sarah Noble. For a more contemporary example, blogger Debbie Reese has a critical review of Stolen Words (which had a starred review from Kirkus and a positive review in the Horn Book Guide).

What can you offer readers instead? Both of these websites also suggest all kinds of books that they highly recommend (also here), many of them by Native American authors and featuring the art of Native American illustrators. There are also tools you can use as you consider books that might not be listed on either website, commentary on current events and more.

Another source for good books is the website for the American Indian Youth Literature Award.

You might want to also take a look at the library’s online resources including FreedomFlix and TrueFlix, or some of these online resources and places to visit:

American Indian Center (Chicago, IL)

Field Museum (Chicago, IL)

Isle a la Cache Museum (Romeoville, IL)

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (Evanston, IL)

National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.)

(The books depicted at the top of the article are In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III, Mission to Space by astronaut John B. Herrington and When We Were Alone by David Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett.)

New Indie Comics

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Dodo by Felipe Nunes
Six-year-old Laila doesn’t understand why she’s pulled out of school and away from the rest of her friends following her parents’ separation. Now, she spends most of her time observing the park next to her house. When Laila spots a mysterious bird, a dodo named Ralph, the two form an unlikely friendship until Ralph starts to cause trouble and Laila finds the chaos around her growing. While cleaning up Ralph’s messes, Laila begins to understand the complexity of friendship, love, loss, and how to stand on her own.

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Kid Beowulf: The Blood-bound Oath by Alexis E. Fajardo
Inspired by the epic poem Beowulf, Kid Beowulf follows the journey of 12-year-old twin brothers, Beowulf and Grendel, as they travel to distant lands and meet fellow epic heroes therein.

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Scarlet Hood by Mark Evans
Scarlet’s the new girl in town, having just moved to Norway with her parents. But a merciless bully called Greta the Cruel taunts her daily, making every day at school a misery. Then Scarlet’s grandmother gives her a magical hood that carries her back to the age of the Vikings–and a fire-breathing dragon. Kids will love this enchanting story about confronting your fears, discovering your inner powers, and finding strength in kindness.