So, you know I have been following along with 2, sorta 3, book challenges this year, right? Today I want to share a couple of children’s books that I have read for the “Book Girl Magic Reading Challenge” (#BGRChallenge) with Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks and Carla at Rae La Soul. Decided to try to use (preferably new) children’s books whenever possible to satisfy the prompts for this challenge. That way I am keeping up with current titles in children’s literature. And keeping the dust from settling on my elementary school librarian shingle.
Book Girl Magic Reading Challenge, 2018
I have mentioned this challenge a couple of times earlier this year, but because I discovered it well after the new year, I am combining reviews for January and February’s titles in one post.
To refresh our memories, mine and yours, here are the suggested prompts.
The prompt for the first book of the year was activism. It just so happened that in January, I had been sent an email with book lists of suggested titles on this subject by Lee & Low, a popular children’s book publisher. See that list in the PDF attached below.Title Talk, 02.2018: Book Girl Magic Reading Challenge
The titles on that list reminded me of a book I had purchased over the holidays entitled Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs, artwork by Nizar Ali Badr. And that became my book for January.
Stepping Stones is the story of Rama and her family as they escape their home in war-torn Syria on foot for a brighter, more hopeful life in Europe. The book is beautifully illustrated completely in river rock, collected and artfully arranged by Syrian sculpture Nizar Ali Badr to portray the characters, their hardship, their journey and their eventual joy.
Author Margriet Ruur’s text is as lyrical as a poem about heartache or folk song of struggle. But written in the languages of English and Arabic, using carefully chosen words that convey this message in such a way that even the youngest readers can understand.
We walked to the end of the earth. And when we reached it, there was the sea. We set sail on waves of hope and prayer. I was frightened as the waves battered our little boat. And not everyone made it safely across. We said prayers for those whose journey ended at sea.
Living on the border, I have long been familiar with the stories of families who have fled to America from our southern neighbor, Mexico. But several years ago, Brennyn’s fiance, Mustafa, came into our lives. He and his family shared their story of seeking asylum when they were forced to leave their homeland of Afghanistan, then Pakistan. Reading Stepping Stones became my personal homage to the Orya family’s struggles and sacrifices that led them to Texas where we have connected.
Read more about this lovely book on Goodreads, here. Where it has earned 4.5 stars out of 5. Meet author Margriet Ruurs, on her blog, here and on her author webpage, here. Follow artist Nizar Ali Badr on Facebook, here.
Our prompt for the second month of the year was “Black history bestseller”. To find the title for this subject, I searched Amazon’s children’s books. I wanted a book I could potentially use for research lessons when I work as a substitute librarian. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison fit the bill and was also a #1 Best Seller in
This is a collection of biographies about some well known, some little known (at least to me) women who made a difference in our world. Each woman’s life is highlighted over a two-page spread that features the biographical information on the left and a stylized illustration of the woman on the right. The book’s design is attractive and the simple, paper-doll-like portraits are appealing. For a moment, I was concerned that despite their charm, that Harrison’s illustrations of the women all looked alike, rather cookie-cutter-ish. Then I decided that was a wonderful tool for inspiring young readers to seek out a photograph. Or in the case of the earliest women featured, possibly a painting of the subject.
By the same token, the biographical information is not data-driven but shared in prose. With anecdotes about each woman’s life and what made her important in history. The dates of their lives are given and the women appear in chronological order in the book. But otherwise, these are little vignettes or peeks into the trials and efforts of some amazing women. As such, inquiring young readers will be left wanting to know more. Which makes this the perfect stepping stone for research on these “Little Leaders”.
School Library Journal reviewed this book as follows.
Beautifully designed and chock-full of information, this is a fantastic survey of black women who made and continue to make history.
You can read more about Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History on Goodreads, here. Where this book has earned a well-deserved 4.63 out of 5 stars. Meet Vashti Harrison, here.
March’s prompt is ‘true story’ so I will be looking for a current children’s biography or piece of nonfiction. Hope you will come back to see what I find!
What’s on your nightstand, Kindle or Nook? Are you participating in any reading challenges? Do you ever read children’s books? Often times I prefer them to adult literature. And I have a huge admiration and respect for children’s authors as I am struggling to write my own children’s book.
Thanks for running by. I am going to publish this then take my lazy behind to the gym. Haven’t been but twice since this whole dumb foot incident. Time to get back at it, slowly but surely.
Hugs and kisses,