Greta’s favorite diverse chapter books – part 1

As I’ve mentioned a time or two, we read a lot of books, Greta (9 years old) most especially. (Eloise isn’t far behind, but hasn’t branched out quite as much just yet). I thought it would be fun for Greta to share some of her favorite diverse chapter books. Do you have any to add to this list?

I am Malala- I started reading this book last year and loved it. Malala grows up in Pakistan where her father is a principal. When a radio broadcast starts saying girls shouldn’t go to school, she decides to speak out. Eventually the Taliban shoot her and she is rushed to the hospital. Malala recovers strongly and later received the Nobel Peace Prize. I like this one so much I check it out at the beginning of each school year.

Long Walk to Water- A book that I would call a ‘two-sided story’, A Long Walk of Water tells the story of a child from each rival tribe. In the 1980s, Salva is homeless, on the run with many other boys, trying to escape the civil war. He is adopted by an American family, and raises money for wells to be built back in his home country, Sudan. He meets Nya, living in the village the well is being built in. Another book I’ve read 2 times.

Anything by Grace Lin- Definitely one of my favorite authors. I think my favorite ones are :When the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky, and When the Sea Turned to Silver. I like these because they are sprinkled with stories about ancient China. In When the Mountain Meets the Moon , Minli searches for the Old Man in the Moon so he will grant her a wish. When the Sea Turned to Silver, a girl goes on a search with her friend to find her imprisoned grandmother. In Starry River of the Sky, Rendi runs away and is made a chore boy at an almost always empty home to a girl that annoys him.

Anything by Linda Sue Park- I’ve read 3 of her chapter books, not counting Long Walk to Water. When My Name was Keoko is probably my favorite. It’s about a girl who grows up in Korea under japenese oucupation in 1942. Her brother becomes a solider and volunteers for a mission that will kill an American ship and himself. Keoko worries that she will never see her brother again.

Forever and a long, long time- My mom forced me to read the first 50 pages of this one and I read not only that, but the whole book! Julian and Flora have always been foster kids. Now they’re adopted and have a permanent home. One summer they go and find most of the foster homes they’ve been in. Even though I had no interest at first I’m glad I read the ‘first 50 pages’.

Greta will be back with more soon! Do you have any favorites to add?

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Maryland reunion

Last weekend we backed our bags for our annual college friend reunion. We rotate locations and this year we headed out to Western Maryland, specifically Deep Creek Lake. After a dinner with my uncle, we headed to the house for the weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful! and the leaves were changing. We went on a hike to some waterfalls and enjoyed time just hanging out with our friends. In total we had 13 kids (9 and under) and 9 adults in one house. Surprisingly it didn’t feel cramped at all and every year I’m amazed at how well the kids all get along. The kids and dads even took a quick dip in the lake. Everyone was sad to leave and head back to real life.















some recent favorite books

We read a lot of library books (in addition to our favorites we already own). Here are some of our most recent favorites.

I’m New Here – This book is about several kids who are new immigrants to the USA and how they are learning to fit in at school and learn the language.

New Shoes – The girls LOVED this one. It’s about two African American girls who live in the 1960s America. One girl goes to a shoe store and can’t try on shoes, but has to just take them home with her and hope they fit. They then come up with a plan to start a shoe store for other African American children so they can try on shoes before buying. It teaches them that even small children can make a difference in their community.

This is How We Do It – This book goes through the day with 7 children who live in different parts of the world and talks about how they do different things in their life, such as eat breakfast, sleep, go to school, etc.

My Dadima Wears a Sari – We have gotten a few books by this author and they have loved them all. They are about an Indian girl who lives in the USA, but has her grandparents visit and she learns from them. In this book she learns about why her grandmother (Dadima) wears a sari.

Margaret and the Moon – The girls LOVED this one. It’s about a woman who was instrumental in the space program, especially in the Apollo missions. I love giving them good role models to look up to!

Brothers in Hope – After I read a book about the boys from Sudan, I really wanted to the girls to know about what happened, and thankfully there was a picture book available. This tells of the struggles the lost boys in Sudan felt and experienced. The girls thought it was a terrible thing to happen and were totally shocked by certain parts, but this book definitely does a good job of opening their eyes to the tragedies some children experience.

Suki’s Kimono – Oh how, we loved this book. Suki wants to wear a kimono on the first day of school and her big sisters really don’t want to. This book tells of her experience of doing what she wants, rather than listening to others. And really that is what we want our kids to do in the face of peer pressure.

One Hen – This book is similar to one we already own, called Beatrice’s Goat, where an organization offers a family living in poverty in Africa a small animal to change their lives. Both are a lovely introduction to the many programs out there that exist to help families to provide for themselves.

Yoon and the Jade Bracelet – This book not only references a different culture (Korean), but also deals with lying and trouble with bullies. Yoon learns to stand up for what is right.

Elizabeti’s Doll – This is a series of books, we have checked out the two our library has and loved both of them. Elizabeti’s adopts a rock as a baby doll and loves it oh so much. Again it helps to point out all the luxury we have living our life of privilege and how many places children don’t even have toys.

What picture books have you read lately that you loved?

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Children’s books – where to find diverse books

For anyone who has been to our house, you know we have a A LOT of books. We all love books, whether just to look at, to read aloud or to read to ourselves. We also regularly have 20-50 books out from the library. Of course not all books are created equal and sometimes we pick out some really boring books. I’m always on the look for new title to read, especially books for the older two to read that teach good morals and aren’t filled with trash. Some places I regularly find good book suggestions are:

1. The Read-Aloud Revival – Sarah has oodles of wonderful book lists on her site. Plus she has an awesome podcast that she often interviews authors and illustrators on.

2. A Mighty Girl – I mostly just follow their facebook page and pick up books they suggest (although I will say I don’t agree with all of their selections). Most of them are good, but a few are outside of what I’m comfortable with my kids reading.

3. We Need Diverse Books – Again I mostly follow along on facebook where they share lots of excellent lists of books that are as you guessed focused on diversity. I’m always looking for new titles to request from the library.

4. Give Your Child the World – This is an actual book recommendation that is filled with book lists. Jamie breaks down the book by continent and then there is a list for each age group under each continent. We used this book last summer to pick out lots of books at the library and every few months we look back to see if something new catches our eye, or if I feel like they are mature enough to handle a new category.

5. Read Brightly – Yet another place I mostly follow on facebook, but that compiles wonderful book lists.

You will often find the same books recommended over and over again, so usually those are the ones to check out. I most often start at the library and see what they have. Our library (like most) has a wonderful hold system that you can use to request books online form any county branch and then request it to be brought to your local branch for you to pick up. It’s really wonderful and makes life so much easier and the book selection explodes. There are definitely plenty of titles my library doesn’t have and so I just add them to my amazon wishlist (which is WAY too long) and hope to one day find them on a super sale or at a used bookstore.

Almost every book that I pick up that is about kids who live a different life than us, my kids LOVE. They love to learn about how other kids live in the world or how they experience different things than we do based on either where they live, the color of their skin, the religion they practice, etc. I’m going to try and regularly post some of our favorites.

Audiobook sale!

Every so often Amazon has some amazing audiobook sales and I buy quite a few.

Do your kids listen to audiobooks? If not, you should try! We love to listen to them when traveling or when have some downtime in our rooms or when we are sick or when I’m doing the dishes. Some of our kids’ favorites are on sale right now!

We have always loved the American girl books and right now you can just about all of the series for just $3.95 on audio. Each set is 5-7 hours long! That’s a lot of listening for you and the kids.

No matter how many American Girl books we read, Molly is still the favorite, she is funny and spunky and just about perfect!

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