Posts Tagged diversity
The mission of the Children’s Book Council (CBC) is to support the children’s publishing industry by connecting publishing professionals and creators with young readers. And they find a lot of ways to fulfill that mission. Take a look at some of the things the CBC is doing in the world of children’s books.
The CBC Diversity Initiative
Founded in 2012, the CBC Diversity Initiative advocates for an inclusive and representative children’s publishing industry. The initiative is rooted in the belief that ALL children should see themselves and their worlds reflected in books.
As part of this initiative, the CBC champions diverse book creators and their books, and they create and maintain diverse reading resource lists that can be used by teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents.
The #FReadom Movement
The CBC actively supports #FReadom. This movement was launched by Texas librarians in 2021 as a way to combat book bannings. #FReadom resources are intended to highlight the positive impact of intellectual freedom, celebrate school libraries and librarians, and draw attention to the need to make diverse books available to young readers.
The CBC has made available six different coloring pages to support the #FReadom movement. Download the free coloring pages here.
Children’s Book Week
As part of their Every Child a Reader program, the CBC designates two separate weeks during the year to celebrate the joy of reading. Established in 1919, this is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. This year, Children’s Book Week will be celebrated May 1-7 and again November 6-12.
This year’s theme for Children’s Book Week is Read Books. Spark change. You can download printable resources, including the free poster created by Rilla Alexander that speaks to the power of books and stories to inspire positive change.
Partnering with SLJ
In 2022, the CBC partnered with School Library Journal (SLJ) to create two posters celebrating the freedom to read. First, they worked with Penguin Random House and artist Rafael Lopex to create the “Open Books, Open Doors” poster to promote free expression and access to diverse books. You can download Lopez’s poster for free.
Next, they worked with artist Chan Chau to produce a poster themed “Imagining a world with you.” The poster celebrates LGBTQIA+ children and teens, and it was showcased and made widely available by multiple organizations, including the CBC. You can download a copy of Chau’s poster for free.
Banned Books Week
The CBC also partners with the American Library Association (ALA) to support and promote Banned Books Week. Launched in 1982, this annual observance has become more relevant now than ever. This year, Banned Books Week will be observed October 1-7. Mark your calendars!
Free downloads and information from last year’s Banned Books Week observance are still available on ALA’s website. While there, you can also find “Social Shareables” to show your support on multiple social media platforms.
Learn more about the Children’s Book Council and all their initiatives to promote free access to books and celebrate the power and wonder of books for young readers by visiting cbcbooks.org.
In honor of Arab American Heritage month, I wanted to offer a half dozen children’s books that shed a spotlight on Arab Americans as well as an understanding of the Arab world. In particular, the books selected are geared towards elementary school children and focus on various experiences of Arab American migration as well as a celebration of the achievements of Arab women. A diversity of Arab American faiths is also represented.
1) The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
This moving middle grade novel shines a light on the struggles of moving (in this case from Oman to Ann Arbor, Michigan) and leaving behind family and friends. It is ultimately a warm tribute to the love between a boy and his grandfather. The exploration of what it means to feels like to relocate are handled with nuance and levity.
Aref’s father had checked a large blue suitcase. He’d been urging Aref to get rid of extra possessions for weeks now, so Aref wouldn’t try to pack too much. But Aref didn’t like letting go of his things.
–from The Turtle of Oman
2) Spell it Like Samar by Shifa Safadi and illustrated by Saliha Caliskan
When Samar moves the United States from Syria, she confronts new challenges. While at first Samar is intimidated by Jenna, a class bully, as well as her new surroundings, she learns to stand up for herself. An uplifting story about the importance of persistence and resilience. And as a bonus, it’s by MUF member Shifa Safadi!
Samar’s face turned red. “I can’t do it, Ms. Bryan!” she said. In Syria, she had been the best student in her class. But here, it felt like she was the worst.
–from Spell it Like Samar
3) Farah Rocks Fifth Grade by Susan Muaddi Darraj and illustrated by Ruaida Mannaa
This is the first in a series of chapter books about 10 year-old Farrah Hajjar, a Palestinian American who deals with sibling relationships (her brother Samir has special needs), and stands up to bullying. The family is part of a tight knit community that goes to St. Jude’s Orthodox Church and supports Farah’s journey to attend a magnet school. Throughout the narrative, it is evident that Farah loves learning.
Even though I don’t like the word gifted, I’m thrilled about going to Magnet.
–from Farah Rocks Fifth Grade
4) Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
The story of Jude’s relocation from Syria to Cincinnati is poignant and relatable. The novel-in-verse, which was awarded a Newbery Honor in 2021, is accessible and beautiful. It also will challenge stereotypical ideas of Syria.
But our city does not look like Aleppo, before, or after./ It is not sprawling and noisy with buildings/pressed up against/one another/like they are crammed together in an elevator/with no room to breathe.
–from Other Words for Home
5) Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time by Saira Mir and Aaliya Jaleel
This compilation of 21st century Muslim women who are leaders is inspirational. Nineteen women are profiled in this upper elementary picture book, from Amani Al-Khatahbeh, the creator of the website, Muslim Gir,l to NASA’s Hiba Rahmani Kuwait to Dalia Mogahed, an advisor to President Barack Obama.
Mogahed tells girls to be: “Be bold, be fearless and be confident, because you matter”
–from Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time
6) If You Were a Princess: True Stories of Brave Leaders Around the World by Hillary Homzie and illustrated by Udayana Lugo
I’m thrilled to include my newest release, a nonfiction picture book aimed at elementary school students. If You Were a Princess: True Stories of Brave Leaders Around the World features the stories of actual princesses who have made a difference in their community. Several princesses are from the Arab world, including Princess Alia of Jordan who established a wildlife sanctuary, Princess Rema of Saudi Arabia who has trekked up Mount Everest in honor of cancer patients (who is on the cover of the book) and Princess Nisreen el-Hashemite from Iraq, an MD/PHD researcher who worked at Harvard Medical school and established the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
After Princess Haya of Jordan’s mother died, her father presented a young horse to the princess to help her heal. This gift inspired a passion for show jumping. Princess Haya became the first Arab woman to compete in the Olympics, and then served on the International Olympic Committee
–from If You Were a Princess: True Stories of Brave Leaders Around the World
Hillary Homzie is the author of the Ellie May chapter book series (Charlesbridge, 2018), Apple Pie Promises (Sky Pony/Swirl, 2018), Pumpkin Spice Secrets (Sky Pony/Swirl, 2017), Queen of Likes (Simon & Schuster MIX 2016), The Hot List (Simon & Schuster MIX 2011) and Things Are Gonna Be Ugly (Simon & Schuster, 2009) as well as the Alien Clones From Outer Space (Simon & Schuster Aladdin 2002) chapter book series. She’s also a contributor to the Kate the Chemist middle grade series (Philomel Books/Penguin Random House). And her nonfiction picture book, If You Were a Princess: True Stories of Brave Leaders From Around the World is a look at historical and current princesses from many diverse lands who have made their mark (Simon & Schuster, August 2022). During the year, Hillary teaches at Sonoma State University. In the summer, she teaches in the graduate program in children’s literature, writing and illustration at Hollins University. She also is an instructor for the Children’s Book Academy.
She can be found at hillaryhomzie.com and on Instagram, her Facebook page as well as on Twitter