Sacajawea: Her True Story

sacajawea_book cover imageSacajawea was a Shoshone Indian/Native American who assisted the explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition, which was at the request of President Thomas Jefferson. Sacajawea’s story is important for children to know, because no matter what negative events came her way, Sacajawea always stayed strong. Her story is an amazing story of courage and strength in the face of hardship, at a time when women had very little rights.

Sacajawea grew up in the Shoshone reservation Northwest of Canada, but she was kidnapped by an enemy Indian tribe as a teenager, and grew up as a captive. She was later bought by a French fur trader named Toussaint Charbonneu, who took her as his wife. Charbonneu and Sacajawea moved to North Dakota where they met Lewis and Clark, who asked Charbonneu to join their group of explorers. Charbonneu joined the group, who became known as the Corps of discovery, but the group of men had to wait until the Spring to begin their expedition. During this time, Sacajawea gave birth to a son named  Jean Baptiste, who was  nicknamed “Pomp.”

When Spring arrived, the men set off to explore, but realized that they would need horses to go up and over the mountains. The only horses available on the mountain were owned by Shoshone tribe. Sacajawea was the only one who knew the Shoshone language, and they would need her to translate for them, so with her son on her back, Sacajawea traveled with Charbonneu, Lewis and Clark to Shoshone territory.

Throughout their travels to the Shoshone territory, Sacajawea showed wisdom, courage and strength that the men themselves did not display. She prevented supplies from being lost when their boat was tipped over; she kept her group from drowning during a flash flood while exploring a deep ravine, and she told Lewis and Clark about peace signs to wear on their face, which allowed Lewis and Clark to communicate with Shoshone women who got the word to their chief that the group wanted to buy horses. Sacajawea did all of this while carrying her infant son on her back.

It is very possible that without Sacajawea and her resourcefulness, Lewis and Clarke may not have survived their expedition. Sacajawea’s story is one that both boys and girls can appreciate because it is both a story of adventure, as well as one of bravery and courage. Sacajawea’s legend is honored today by a golden dollar coin.

Sacajawea: Her True Story is a Penguin for Young Readers Level 4 book for fluent readers. It has great illustrations and language that is understandable for children ages five years and older. However, for children younger than eight years-old, it is best read to a child by a parent, as the reading level is best suited for children who have fluent reading skills.

Sacajawea: Her True Story
Author: by Joyce Milton
Illustrator: Shelly Hehenberger
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Cancer Daily Life

Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month? If you are looking for a resource to explain cancer to a child, Cancer Daily Life can help. This book for children expresses the many emotions that a child with cancer experiences while dealing with the harsh reality of living with cancer.

One of the emotions a child with cancer often feels is frustration; frustration of ongoing treatment, and the long wait of doctor visits. Other feelings include the sadness of losing hair, but also the joy of accepting a new look. Unfortunately sometimes children with cancer lose friends when they get cancer, but they also find joy in new friendships with kids who understand what they are going through.

Cancer Daily Life also depicts other unique situations that children with cancer deal with. Situations like hearing bad news from a doctor, and feeling overwhelmed by well-intentioned hugs. But what is really great about the book is how it also illustrates feel-good moments such as the love and appreciation felt when people offer to help to cook a meal or provide a ride to doctor visits.

Cancer Daily Life gives a realistic but sweet look at what children go through living with cancer. It tells the bad, the sad and the positive, in a tender way that teaches children how to be sensitive to someone going through cancer treatment. The book is a great gift for:

  • a friend who received a diagnosis of any type of cancer
  • a friend who will start or is undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • a family member or friend coping with cancer, and you don’t know what to say
  • a friend or family member with cancer who feels stressed and needs to know they are not alone

Cancer Daily Life is written by Carla Schmidt, a pediatric oncology pharmacist, and author of children’s books about cancer as well as scientific books for Springer Nature and can be purchased at amazon.com.

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Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten

Clover-Kitty-goes-to-Kittygarten

It’s back to school season, and some little ones will be going to Kindergarten for the first time! Many schools are going virtual due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some states are opening schools and those children may still have anxiety about their first day of school, or being in contact with children they don’t know in a new daycare setting.

Clover Kitty Goes to Kitty Kittygarten is a sweet picture book that tackles the feelings children can have on their first day at school. The book lets children know that it is okay to have these feelings, and offers tips on how to handle issues like hypersensitivity that include overstimulation from bright colors, noises or smells.

The story begins with Clover Kitty’s mother asking Clover if she is ready for the first day of kindergarten. Clover Kitty is not ready! She is worried about so many things! Will it be noisy? Will there be strong chalk or glue smells? Will other students try to high five her?

Like Clover Kitty, many children with special needs are highly sensitive to certain smells, colors and and noises, and even touching hands or being in close quarters within a group can bring anxiety.

Unfortunately, Clover Kitty has many reactions to her five senses on the first day of school. The sun shines too brightly in her classroom, strong smells are everywhere and she has sleep on an itchy blanket during naptime. This is very uncomfortable for Clover Kitty.

Things get worse at playtime outdoors, which felt like a frantic frenzy; kids were asking her so many questions! The same thing happened at the lunch table! It gets to be too much for Clover and she hurries out of school as quickly as she can once the day ends, without saying goodbye to her teacher or her new friend Oliver.

At home, Clover Kitty tells her mother about her difficult day at school and doesn’t want to go back to school. Her mother allows Clover to miss school for a few days but after her mother gives Clover a few tips on how she can avoid having another difficult school day (including bringing her own blanket for naptime), Clover returns to school.

Clover Kitty Goes to Kitty Kittygarten can be purchased at Target and Barnes and Noble, but also at the author’s website at https://laurasalas.com/clover where fun activity sheets are available to download for free!

What’s makes Clover Kitty a Great Book:

  • It gives a great example of friendship
  • It illustrates a supportive home environment
  • It offers solutions to common problems that kids with autism or Asperger’s experience

For more books that explain the challenges of special needs children please check out the autism section of CalicoKidz.com.

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Clover Kitty Goes to Kittygarten
Author: Laura Purdie Salas
Illustrator: Hiroe Nakata

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This is Black Panther

BBlack Panther protects Wakanda in the World of Reading (Level 1) book This is Black Panther

The blockbuster Marvel movie Black Panther, made popular by the outstanding performance of Chadwick Boseman is also available as a book for young readers (ages 3 and up) from Scholastic.

This is Black Panther introduces young children to the African superhero, Black Panther, whose duty is to defend the fictional country of Wakanda, located in Africa, a continent with over 50 countries.

Black Panther is a member of a royal African family made up of King T’Chaka, Prince T’Challa and Queen Ramonda. After King T’Chaka is defeated by a thieving villian named Klaw, Prince T’Challa becomes the Black Panther like his father before him.

What is great about this book:

  • It is a story about courage, that tackles issues of loss and standing up for what is right.
  • It teaches lessons about moving on in the face of hardship.
  • It gives children too young to watch the movie, a chance to learn the Black Panther story without the violence featured in the movie.

This is Black Panther is action-packed for little readers, yet its only display of violence – Black Panther’s fight with the thief Klaw, does not glorify fighting, but rather focuses on pursuing the villian to seek justice. A bonus of the book are stickers that children can use to stick on their favorite notebook, computer or backpack.

This is Black Panther is a great story for children who love superheroes, and stories featuring heroes pursuing of justice. Once read, children can officially be a part of the the Wakanda Forever craze!

The book can be found at Target or anywhere books or sold. Books about Black Panther for older children include Black Panther: The Young Prince, Black Panther: World of Wakanda, Marvel’s Black Panther: The Junior Novel, and many more.

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When I Grow Up I Want to Be Like the Brave Men of Tuskegee

Men of TuskegeeEach  year on August 19th is National Aviation Day, when we celebrate aviation and aviators, men and women who fly airplanes, helicopters and more! But many times  important aviators that changed history are forgotten. However, In the picture book “When I Grow Up I Want to be Like the Brave Men of Tuskegee honors the brave African-American pilots who   fought in World War II and were known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

The book is a story about a young boy who loves airplanes, whose father reads him books about the Tuskegee airmen. In the book, children learn:

  • The Tuskegee airmen came from 29 different states across the United States,  including 16 from Omaha, Nebraska.
  • In 1947, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt rode with the Tuskegee Airmen in a trip across to show America that they were as safe and experienced as white pilots.
  • 992 pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute program.

The book is appropriate for all ages, and focuses not on the racism the pilots faced, but rather the great accomplishments the Airmen achieved. Children also learn the names of of other African-American pilots including Bessie Coleman and James Banning.

“When I Grow Up I Want to be Like the Brave Men of Tuskegee is a great book that focuses on a positive aspect of  African-American history that also instills in young black children that they are capable of achieving great things. For more information on the Tuskegee Airmen, visit tuskegeeairmen.org.

Looking for some fun and educational aviation activities? CalicoKidz.com has you covered! Download and print the 52-page High Flyers Activity Book from on NASA.gov, or these cool coloring sheets from The National Naval Aviation Museum. Also, the Federal Aviation Administration website has activities including aviation bingo, instructions on how to make a windmill, paper airplane or even a parachute! Find that and more at FAA.gov/education/students/activities/elementary/. Go forth and fly!

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A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall_cover imageToday we celebrate Thurgood Marshall, who was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice of the United States. A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall tells the story of how Marshall became one of the most influential trailblazers in American history.

As a child, Thurgood Marshall’s school principal would make him memorize the constitution as a punishment when he got in trouble. Marshall was also introduced to the law by his father, the first African-American to serve on a Baltimore jury HIs father enjoyed the law so much, and would sit in on court sessions where he would bring young Thurgood to listen and learn how to debate.

Marshall first attended college at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, an all-male, all-black college at the time. At Lincoln, he once took part in a silent protest of an all-white theatre. He graduated and hoped to go to University of Maryland, but it was an all-white institution at the time, and he instead went to the law school at Howard University in Washington, DC.

After graduating from Howard University, Marshall began a career at the NAACP, and within three years he became the chief lawyer of the organization. His career at the NAACP brings him several courtroom victories including arguing to for the University of Maryland to admit African-Americans, a case he argued and won with Charles Hamilton Houston.

Thurgood’s most notable achievement however would be winning the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, resulting in the decision to de-segregate public schools in the United States. Marshall would go on to win twenty-nine of the thirty-two cases he argued to the Supreme Court in his legal career before being nominated for Supreme Court by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967.

A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall is a great book to introduce young children to prominent African-American heroes. It is a book all children should read so that they know that before there was a Clarence Thomas, or a President Obama, there was a man who fought for African-American rights, who paved the way for the African-American leaders and politicians of today.

A Picture Book of Thurgood Marshall
Author: David A. Adler | Illustrator: Robert Casilla

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

5133bjgd1il-_sx437_bo1204203200_In 1957, the state of Virginia did not allow blacks and whites to marry. Richard and Mildred Loving got married anyway and were later arrested and thrown in jail – all because they were different races. What came after was the 1968 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case. The picture book, The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage tells the story of how the couple fought peacefully for their right to be married. They took their fight all the way to the Supreme Court and they won!

Today is the anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, and there is no better time to introduce a child to the story of the Loving family to encourage them to  celebrate unity and tolerance. The book has colorful illustrations and is a great way to introduce children to advocacy and activism, while giving them a real-life example of  how standing up for your rights can end in victory.

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Memorial Day

memorial-daySummer is almost here and with it comes Memorial Day! Memorial Day, first called “Decoration Day” is a national holiday observed each year in the U.S., to honor military service men and women who have fought and died to protect our freedoms.

In the book Memorial Day, children learn the history and origins of how Memorial Day began, who the holiday honors, why it is important and how it is celebrated today.

The book introduces words to young children associated with the Memorial Day holiday, including “ceremonies”, “soldiers” and “veterans“, and provides a glossary with definitions of these words in the back of the book.

Not only do children get a civic education from the picture book, but they will enjoy bright illustrations, and fun rhyme, as well as a patriotic song to sing, which  includes musical notes to guide them in the back of the book.

If you want to instill in children an early appreciation of the military and the sacrifices they make, this patriotic picture book is a great introduction.

Memorial Day

Written by: Emma Carlson Berne
Illustrated by: Simone Krüger
Music Arranged & Produced by: Mark Mallman

 

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Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor

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Be different. Be brave. Be you. These are the messages and themes in the picture book  Just Ask! by United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Just Ask is a wonderful book about  communicating to learn about one another’s differences. In the book Justice Sotomayor teaches children about how some kids with special needs use special tools to help them with illness or disabilities – tools such as canes, wheelchairs or a service animal.

Children that read the book will leave with a better understanding of the “quirks” of kids with special needs including:

  • Why a child with Tourette syndrome has ticks
  • Why a child on the autism spectrum doesn’t speak
  • Why children with diabetes have to take insulin

Children will finish the book understanding that kids with special needs can be just as smart and “normal” as those without special needs.

If you want the child in your life to grow up empathetic and tolerant of those different than themselves, Just Ask! is a wonderful book to begin a discussion. It is also available in Spanish under the title Solo Pregunta! which can be purchased on amazon.com.

 

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Everyone Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley

61ouazkboll._sy420_bo1204203200_Thanksgiving is almost here, and it’s a great time to read a book about food! Everyone Cooks Rice is a picture book that celebrates diversity by showing how our differences are more similar than we realize.

The book introduces children to several cultures including Barbados, Vietnam, Haiti and Italy – all through food. Kids learn new words related to rice dishes, such as what rice is cooked in. The book doesn’t simply mention the dish or foreign word – it describes the dish and it’s significance to the culture from where it came.

Everyone Cooks Rice presents immigrants as hardworking, bilingual people with the ability to speak more than one language, which is great way to teach children tolerance and multiculturalism. To further kids’ multicultural learning, the back of Everyone Cooks Rice features recipes mentioned in the book including Biryani, an Indian dish, and tofu with vegetables, a Chinese dish. It’s a fun, educational book that children and adults can both learn from!

Everyone Cooks Rice
Author: Norah Dooley,  Illustrator: Peter J. Thornton

 

 

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