December 21, 2018
The displays at your local library offer a bevy of wonderful new titles for you to take home!
This month the Madison Branch Library reopened to much rejoicing. Newly remodeled, the new branch is a site to see, and worth the wait. While visiting the new space on its big day, I perused the new book displays in the revamped children's space, and found some titles that deserve your attention.
As a Curly Girl, I love this book. Keeley comes home dejected from a day at school. No one else at school has curly hair, and she'd rather fit in than stand out. Through rhyming text, Keeley's mother shows her just how unique and versatile curly hair is, and what it needs to be healthy and cared for.Representation matters! I came of age in the 90s, during which sleek, straight hair was de rigeur. Unfortunately, my hair was in fact rather wavy, and the humid Florida weather did not help matters. After decades of blow drying and flat ironing, I am embracing my natural curls, and am glad to see books in which young girls with curls can see themselves reflected and represented.
To reiterate a point made above, representation matters. Originally from Onigaming First Nation, Wab Kinew is a writer, journalist, university administrator, politician, and hip hop artist. In Go Show the World, Kinew uses rhyming text to feature a diverse group of Indigenous heroes from North America. Included are perhaps more familiar names like Sacajawea and Crazy Horse, yes, but also lesser known people like Sue LaFleshche Picotte and John Herrington. Don't know who they are? Well, read this book!
Throughout the book, the following refrain from one of Kinew's songs appears:
"You are people who matter.
Yes, it's true.
Now go show the world what people who matter can do."
If we intend to show children that they matter, we need to make certain that they see themselves-and others- in the books they read. Children also need to see that all sorts of people-male, female, young, old, and of different backgrounds from the mainstream norm-can do extraordinary things.
Women and girls of all backgrounds doing extraordinary and ordinary things are the focus of The Truly Brave Princesses. Although they may not wear their crowns all the time, princesses are out there: working the late shift in the emergency room, acting in school plays, or organizing movie nights for the whole neighborhood. Perhaps they are lawyers who bake in their spare time, firefighters who plant flowers, or architects who commute by bike while their prince stays to take care of the little ones. This book is perfect for the princess crazy child in your life! I l also like it because it expands the normal category of who is "good," "worthy," or "beautiful" enough to have the title of "Princess."
These, and other new books, are available at your local library branch. During your next visit, make sure to see what your librarian has on display. You're bound to find something good, just like I did!
In a former life, Klem-Marí was a Religious Studies scholar. She much prefers being the Family Literacy Coordinator for Bringing Books to Life! She wants you to read and share books with the children in your life, and for those children to see you to read as well. Originally from Puerto Rico, Klem-Marí also enjoys her cat, baking, yoga, and the works of Octavia Butler.