Lila and the Crow

Book Buzz 4 Kids is now Calico Kidz!
To showcase the vibrant theme of our blog, BookBuzz4Kids.com is now CalicoKidz.com.  Like calico fabric, our blog is diverse and represents various cultures and communities. Learn more about the origin of the word calico at britannica.com. Now, ON TO OUR LATEST REVIEW!

Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? Bullying has unfortunately become an epidemic in the United States, so much so that an awareness month has been set aside to address the problem. In recognition of the effort to end bullying, this month’s book review is of the picture book Lila and the Crow.

In this book, Lila is a Native American child who will be attending a new elementary school, and she’s excited about making new friends. However when the day comes, she isn’t greeted by her classmates as friendly as she had hoped to be. When Nathan, one of her new classmates begins teasing her about her dark skin and dark hair, her excitement for her new school is cut short. Nathan taunts Lila relentlessly, and unfortunately gets his classmates to follow in his bullying of Lila.

At first Lila feels ashamed, and in the following days comes to school wearing a hat throughout the day to hide her hair. Days later, after what seems like a supernatural occurrence with a crow that has been following her home, Lila embraces her dark features, and discovers a way to show the beauty of her differences in a stunning display on the day of the annual school harvest festival.

This beautiful and heartfelt story with themes of courage, self-esteem and resilience is a perfect read for children who may be experiencing bullying in school,  on the playground or even bullying from a family member. The book gives children a brave and original example of conflict resolution, and shows that a positive response to adversity can bring beautiful results. Lila and the Crow also addresses one very important lesson – that one’s culture – no matter what it may be, is to be celebrated, not ridiculed.

Lila and the Crow
Author/illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard

About CalicoKidz.com
CalicoKidz.com reviews books that celebrate diversity for young children ages 1-10. Our mission is to promote educational children’s books that give parents, librarians, and educators of children from diverse communities access to books that represent diverse communities, including those with special needs.

Our vision is to one day live in a world where love of diversity is the norm, and where all cultures, races and religions can exist together in harmony.

 

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Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine

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Ada Lovelace Day is coming in one week! What is Ada Lovelace Day? It’s the day when we celebrate the awesome Ada Byron Lovelace, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculums, AND all things women in technology! This year we will celebrate the Ada Lovelace day on Wednesday, October 11th, and in recognition, we’re reviewing the picture book Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine!

Ada Byron Lovelace was a gifted mathematician who became know as the “Princess of Parallelograms” because of her many inventions and theories using math calculations. Ada’s love of science filled her journals with inventions and equations. One day after testing one of her theories outdoors, Ada got sick with the measles and was temporarily paralyzed and blinded. However, her mother kept Ada busy by challenging her with constant mathematical problems, which kept Ada’s mind sharp while she was sick. Once fully recovered, Ada received tutoring from the scientist and mathematician Mary Fairfax Somerville. Through Ms. Somerville, Ada met scientist Charles Babbage and became his friend and colleague.

Ada eventually worked to help make Babbage’s design of his “Difference Machine” – the first mechanical computer, a reality by creating an algorithm – a set of mathematical instructions to help the machine solve complex math problems. Her algorithm helped to develop the world’s first computer program, and today a computer language used to guide modern air machines is named after Ada Lovelace.

Ada Lovelace’s accomplishments set the stage for women to explore careers in math and science and what eventually became the information technology (IT) field. Every child should know of Ada Lovelace, not only for her career accomplishments, but also because of how she overcome a terrible illness to become one of the most influential women in math and science.  Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is a great book for children with an aptitude for science and math, but also for any child who faces obstacles in their youth. With vivid illustrations that accompany its important  message,  Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is a timeless story that is  both informative and inspiring and a wonderful book that is equally effective for a school report or bedtime reading, and of course a great book to celebrate Ada Lovelace day this October 11th! Learn about Ada Lovelace Day at https://findingada.com/about/history-of-ada-lovelace-day/.

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Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

” Bulldozer clears the way to level ground, and fills the air with thunderous sound!”
“No one’s as tough and strong as he, but now he’s sleepy as can be.”

It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and in recognition, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is our book of the week!

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is a sweet bedtime picture book that encourages hard work through a poetic story. In begins in the early AM, when all the construction trucks begin their workday. Readers learn about four types of construction trucks  – a crane, cement mixer, dump truck and bulldozer, and the individual purposes that they serve on a construction site.

The fun rhyme is an extra treat as are the colorfully somber illustrations that give life and personality to each type of truck.  If you seek a story that will put energetic little little children, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is sure to make any little one say goodnight without a fight.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Written by: Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by: Tom Lichtenheld

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My First Alphabet

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My First Alphabet is a delightful board book that is both fun and educational for children,  as it introduces two of the five senses –  sight and touch, as well as introducing providing a fun introduction to the American alphabet.

The book features colorful and quirky illustrations  of animals and other things found in nature like trees and rainbows, that allow a child to discover what these animals and objects feel like to the touch. For example, the “B is for Ball” page doesn’t just feature a simple illustration of a ball, but rather a piece of plastic material, shaped like a ball.

The “E is for Elephant” page displays a tough, somewhat scratchy surface in the shape of an elephant ear. Then there is the “Z for Zebra” page, that features an illustration of a zebra with fuzzy material in the place a zebra mane.

With its illustrations of smiling animals and colorful pastels My First Alphabet is one of the cutest board books you’ll read. And while meant for very young children, its touch and feel feature  makes it  especially useful for special needs children of any age, especially those with sensory issues.

My First Alphabet
Author: Emma Jennings, Robyn Newton, Amy  Oliver
Illustrator: Jenny Bradley

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Ocean Animals

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Ocean Animals is a picture book for children filled with vivid photographs of animals in their natural habitats. Some of the ocean animals featured in the book are the humpback whale, the great white shark,  and puffer fish. Reptiles like the green sea turtle and mammals including dolphins are also featured.

In addition to great photos of ocean animals, this Animal Planet book also explains how ocean animals live, and what ocean animals eat. For example, there can be up to 12 dolphins in a family of dolphins that work and play together. The size of a great white shark can grow as large as 20 feet. These ocean animals feed on squid and various fish and do not survive well in captivity, so you won’t see them in aquariums.

The green sea turtle is a reptile that can grow up to 700 pounds. They are fast swimmers, and only come on land to nest and lay their eggs. These facts and more are just some of the  interesting tidbits that children learn in Ocean Animals, which is a great read for any child, but especially those that love ocean animals and other underwater creatures.

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My Visit to the Aquarium

117508Summer is here! And there is no doubt that many children will be taking many exciting summer trips to the beach, the pool and even the aquarium! My Visit to the Aquarium. picture book tells the story of one child’s exciting aquarium trip where he explores all sorts of coastal and sea life.

With its bright and colorful illustrations, and extensive description of more than 25 types of aquatic animals and fish, My Visit to the Aquarium does not disappoint!

Some of the fish and sea life highlighted in the book are plant-like animals including sponges and sea fans, as well as colorful parrot and blue-ringed fish. Featured also are seahorse and octopus and details about how they survive. Familiar animals including penguins – which are considered sea birds that do not fly but swim really fast are also highlighted.

My Visit to the Aquarium also teaches children about the kelp forest where fish of all sizes swim, graze and lay their eggs. Different types of sharks and bat rays are also featured, both of which have no bones in their bodies; instead they have soft cartilage skeletons. These, as well as swamp, coastal stream and tropical forest animals are all featured in the book, that goes beyond descriptions of fish and animals. It also discusses how the animals featured in the book are all endangered, and offers ways to help animals survive extinction and pollution. It’s a wonderful book to introduce children to ocean and sea life – as well as give them an appreciation of the environment we live in.

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Harlem Hellfighters

51t2mz830yl-_sx375_bo1204203200_It’s a week away from Memorial Day, and in honor of the holiday, this month’s second blog post is on the book Harlem Hellfighters. It is a great introduction for kids aged 8 and up, who may want to learn about war heroes.

A little known fact: 375,00 African-American soldiers fought in World War I. The 15th New York National Guard was federalized as the 369th Infantry Regiment and later became known as the Harlem Hellfighters.

They called themselves Men of Bronze, and were also musicians that played a mix of jazz, blues and ragtime, led by James “Big Jim” Reese. Even thought they were dismissed by white Americans as “darkies playing soldiers,” 2000 volunteered for the cause. They were butlers, porters, doormen and elevator operators. Many in big Jim’s band signed up in the name of patriotism.

At first, the soldiers were only given grunt work like shoveling dams and building hospitals. They even had to lay bloodied rail lines, and they went three months doing only this type of work until they received a mission for the band to play for French troops on Christmas Eve.

In the Spring of 1918, the men finally received a battle mission.  Harlem Hellfighters  details some of the stories of the soldiers, including Henry Johnson, a reporter from Albany, New York who received France’s highest military honor – the Croix de Guerre.

The Harlem Hellfighters were known as the regiment that “never lost a man captured, a trench, or a foot of ground.” Fifteen-hundred of the Hellfighters were killed or wounded, and 171 received France’s Croix de Guerre.  In 1919, they came home to America as heroes and marched up Fifth Avenue in New York City to patriotic songs, followed by a flood of wives, and mothers hugging and kissing their men returning home.

This Memorial Day, let us salute the Harlem Hellfighters, and their courage to fight for an America that did not always accept them.

Harlem Hellfighters 
Written by: J. Patrick Lewis
Illustrated by: Gary Kelley

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