We are so excited to present our #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2020 in conjunction with Children’s Book Council! This year we have 10 amazing authors with unique book lists to share. Each author is also doing a book giveaway!
We are thrilled to have Nikki Grimes today to kick off our #ReadYourWorld Book Jam 2019 with the Children’s Book Council. She’s a pioneer in children’s book publishing as a diverse voice across a wide range of genres.
We are giving away 3 copies of Nikki Grime’s newest picture book, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
Here are five of my favorite picture books featuring characters of color in light, everyday situations, with universal themes. What connects them all, for me, is joy, familial love, and a distinct counter to the often joyless, single-story tropes about the lives of people of color.
1. Saturday by Oge Mora
This picture book, overflowing with dynamic language, tells the story of a mother and daughter’s Saturday afternoon that doesn’t quite go according to plan. Mora captures the universal energy and excitement of a young child looking forward to spending precious time with the parent who is most often too busy for outings or play. I love how space was left in the telling for readers to figure out elements of the story on their own, guided by visual clues, especially at the end. (I won’t give it away, here!). [picture book, ages 4 and up]
2. Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Everyone can attest to the mystery and magic of a grandmother’s purse. Countless grandmas have come for a visit bearing treats for a favorite grandchild, as the grandmother called “Mimi”; does in this story. But what else does the purse hold that speaks to who Mimi is? As the answers are revealed, we see a grandchild intent on mimicking her Mimi’s unique style and beauty. I love the book’s bright colors and patterns that invite a closer look, the special bond between grandmother and granddaughter evident throughout, and the joy apparent on every page.
3. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
A welcome counter to the single-story that Black people don’t swim, this black protagonist prepares for his first leap off the city pool’s diving board. Most children will relate to Jabari’s trepidation at the prospect, but the story is less about fear than the process of overcoming it. Step by step, Jabari works through his sense of dread, showing the reader that a small child can overcome a big fear, and reap joy in the accomplishment. Jabari’s success comes with ample encouragement from his father, who is fully present and fully engaged. I love how the story gently, yet powerfully, mirrors a close, loving relationship between father and son. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
4. A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin
In the world of the child, there’s something irresistible about breaking the rules of bedtime. For me, it was the secret joy of reading under the covers, with a flashlight, long after I was supposed to close my eyes and go to sleep. In the world of Little Snow, it was jumping up and down on the bed his mother specifically told him not to! Each night, he would promise to obey, and each night he’d wait until he thought his mom was out of earshot so that he could slip out of bed and jump, jump, jump up and down as hard as he could! Readers won’t be able to resist giggling any more than Little Snow can resist his nightly antics. There’s more to the story than that, but I won’t give away the delicious twist at the end. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
5. The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Vaness Brantley-Newton
What could be more universal, or momentous, than a child’s first day in kindergarten? But is the little one ready for the big day? Any young reader will be after spending time with “the king.” Armed with encouragement from Mom and Dad, and bubbling with enthusiasm about what the day might have in store, our young hero puts the “h” in happy and the “K” in kindness. I love the book’s diverse cast of characters, reflective of the real world, the strong familial bonds, and the black teacher (how often do you see them in picture books?) The sheer joy, woven into both language and art, make this book shine. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
3 Book Giveaway of picture book Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
We are giving away 3 copies of Nikki Grime’s newest picture book, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, to 3 winners. Please fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. We can only mail to U.S. addresses.
New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey’s Choice, ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin’s Notebook, Talkin’ About Bessie, Dark Sons, Words with Wings, and The Road to Paris. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.