Tag Archives: diversity

In My Own Backyard…

21 Jun

I saw this article circulating on Facebook just a couple of days ago and was really excited to share with my blogging community. Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse made waves in 2015 when Ariell Johnson became the first African-American woman to open a comic book store on the East Coast. And Johnson’s making waves again with a $50,000 Knight Foundation grant awarded to the store to create Amalagm University a place “where hopeful writers and illustrators can take classes on drawing, writing, pitching and publishing.”

Johnson not only stocks the usuals in her comic book shop, but also focuses on providing a wide variety of materials including diverse authors and illustrators as well as material provided by independent authors. Johnson wants to be able to provide upcoming authors and illustrators access to education that they may not be able to afford otherwise.

What’s more? Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is in Philadelphia – my own backyard! I’m not a HUGE comic book fan, but I’m definitely going to make a trip to North Philly to check out this store and grab some comics for myself!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/5/17

5 Jun

So, what I planned to read, just didn’t happen, but I was proud of myself for getting a stack of books read on Saturday, compliments of my BEA experience!

  • I’m Just No Good At Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith
  • Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  • Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  • The Tickle Test by Kathryn White, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds
  • Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko
  • After the Fall by Dan Santat
  • Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
  • The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag
  • Swing It, Sunny! by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

I’m currently finishing up The Great Library Race by Chris Grabenstein, the third in the series and due out this October.


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR

15 Picture Books to Celebrate Ramadan

2 Jun


  1. It’s Ramadan, Curious George by H.A. Rey, Hena Khan, illustrated by Mary O’Keefe Young
  2. Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman, illustrated by Sue Williams

  3. Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan, illustrated by Julie Paschkis
  4. The White Nights of Ramadan by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon

  5. My First Ramadan by Karen Katz
  6. Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by Lisa Bullard, illustrated by Holli Conger
  7. The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
  8. A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
  9. Ilyas & Duck: Fantastic Festival Eid-al-Fitr by Omar Khawaja, illustrated by Leo Antolini
  10. Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Proiti Roy
  11. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: a Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
  12. Time to Pray by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon
  13. Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon
  14. Ramadan by Suhaib Hamid Ghazi, illustrated by Omar Rauuan
  15. Fasting and Dates: A Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr Story by Jonny Zucker, illustrated by Jan Barger

Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade Releases (June – December 2017)

30 May

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  1. The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea (October 3)
    From the beloved author of Because of Mr. Terupt and its sequels comes The Perfect Score, a new middle-grade school story with a very special cast of unforgettable characters who discover that getting the perfect score–both on the test and in life–is perhaps not so perfect after all.
  2. Wishtree by Katherine Applegate (September 26)
    Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.
  3. The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner (October 3)
    Kirby “Zig” Zigonski lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, buzzers, and motors. Electronics are so much more predictable than people. So when his dad’s visit is canceled with no explanation and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig turns to his best friend Gianna and a new gizmo-a garage sale GPS unit-for help. Convinced that his dad is leaving clues through the popular hobby of geocaching, Zig sets out to search for answers. Following one clue after another, logging mile after mile, Zig soon finds that people aren’t always what they seem… and sometimes, there’s more than one set of coordinates for home.
  4. Greetings From Witness Protection by Jake Burt (October 3)
    A funny and poignant debut middle-grade novel about a foster-care girl who is placed with a family in the witness protection program, and finds that hiding in plain sight is complicated and dangerous.
  5. Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth A. Odhiambo (September 1)
    In 1980s Kenya, 13-year-old Auma must decide whether to pursue a track scholarship that will let her attend high school or stay home to help her struggling family as AIDS ravages her village.
  6. Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste (September 19)
    Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.

    To rescue the missing children and clear her own name, Corinne goes deep into the ocean to find Mama D’Leau, the dangerous jumbie who rules the sea. But Mama D’Leau’s help comes with a price. Corinne and her friends Dru, Bouki, and Malik must travel with mermaids across the ocean to the shores of Ghana to fetch a powerful object for Mama D’Leau. The only thing more perilous than Corinne’s adventures across the sea is the foe that waits for her back home.

    With its action-packed storytelling, diverse characters, and inventive twists on Caribbean and West African mythology and fairy tales, Rise of the Jumbies will appeal to readers of A Snicker of Magic, Breadcrumbs, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.

  7. Patina by Jason Reynolds (August 29)
    Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?
  8. My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson (October 10)
    In an engrossing historical novel, the Newbery Medal-winning author of Bridge to Terabithia follows a young Cuban teenager as she volunteers for Fidel Castro’s national literacy campaign and travels into the impoverished countryside to teach others how to read.
  9. Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley (August 29)
    The magic-infused story of a golden gator, two cursed kids, and how they take their destinies into their own hand.
  10. All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (September 5)
    The author of Roller Girl is back with a graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire.

*All descriptions are taken directly from Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Book

30 Modern, Middle Grade Classics

26 May

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Summer is right around the corner and I don’t know if you hear this at your library, but we often have parents come in asking for classics to give to their children to read over summer break. This request usually makes me cringe on the inside, while I try to find something that will make the parent happy and that the child will enjoy. I’ve also seen/heard a lot about the lack of diversity in children’s classic literature, or when the diversity is present, it is portrayed in an inaccurate and antiquated way. So I curated a list of middle grade titles that I think would be great to highlight as modern-day classics – books with more diversity, great storylines and characters you won’t soon forget. I tried to keep the list filled with fairly recent books (think the past 5 years) and I know I’ve missed a BUNCH of titles that you would most likely add, so please do – in the comment section below.  Enjoy!

  1. Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  2. The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau
  3. The Wednesday Wars  by Gary D. Schmidt
  4. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  5. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  6. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
  7. Pax by Sara Pennypacker
  8. Inside Out & Back Again by Thannha Lai
  9. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
  10. Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
  11. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
  12. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  13. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  14. Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
  15. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
  16. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  17. Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
  18. As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
  19. The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye
  20. Moon Over Manifest by Claire Vanderpool
  21. Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus
  22. I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín
  23. The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
  24. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  25. The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli
  26. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  27. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
  28. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
  29. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  30. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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