Take Me Out to the Yakyu

It’s baseball season! If you know a child who loves baseball, Take Me Out to the Yakyu is the perfect picture book! In this colorfully illustrated book, a young boy tells you all about how he enjoys going to the beloved ballgame in both America and Japan.

In the book, children learn that the word “yakyu” is the Japanese word for baseball. Children also learn the similarities and differences that exist in baseball in America and Japan. For example, in America, before the game, people buy hot dogs and peanuts; in Japan they buy soba noodles and edamame (soy beans).

Another similar custom is how in Japan during the 7th inning, the Japanese sing a team’s anthem, similar to how we sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” here in America during the 7th inning.

The best part of the book is how it teaches children Japanese words for pitcher, fast ball, and even words for family members, and it includes a glossary in the back for the Japanese words used in the book.

If you want to teach a child about the fun of baseball and how it is enjoyed in another culture, Take Me Out to the Yakyu is a great introduction to the game and the Japanese language.

Take Me Out to the Yakyu

Written & Illustrated by: Aaron Meshon
Date Published: 2013
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Plants Can’t Sit Still


Earth Day is almost here! What better way to celebrate than with a book about nature! Plants Can’t Sit Still is a children’s picture book that introduces kids to the behavior of plants, explaining how plants work in a kid-friendly and lyrical way.

In the book, young readers learn that while plants may not have feet like people or wings like birds, plants still are able to move in many ways. For example:

  • Seedlings squirm out of the soil to get to the sunlight to grow
  • Plants have roots that move underground to spread their roots.
  • Some plants climb fences and walls, growing into long vines.

A fun fact also found in the book is how the the Venus flytrap flower catches insects for food; this plant stays closed after trapping an insect until it has digested the insect. Another neat fact: while some plants close their buds at night,  other plants open up at night to be pollinated by night insects.

Plants Can’t Sit Still  also explains how plants move with a breeze: plants move with the wind to float, whirl and glide, many times to land on a beach, desert or field, where they may find water and sunshine to help them grow. This and so much more, including information about 20 different plants species are explored in the book.

In addition to great educational content, what makes Plants Can’t Sit Still a fun book is its colorful, vibrant illustrations and its lively writing that will make kids giggle, think and want to learn more. It is a great book that get young kids 5-10 excited and interested in nature and other STEAM related-themes. It’s many awards and honors include the Riverby Award, Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award, proving it is a book worthy of any educator’s or parent’s bookshelf.

 Plants Can’t Sit Still
Author: Rebecca Hirsch Illustrator: Mia Posada



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Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie

Marie Curie_cover imageDid you know that Marie Curie was a world-recognized scientist who won two Nobel prizes for science? In the delightful picture book Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie educates the youngest of children about this amazing woman in history and her importance in the field of science.

Marie Curie was born in Poland in 1897. She grew up poor but was very smart, and won a gold medal for her school work at a very young age. When it came time for her to go to college, she moved to France, because women were not able to attend college in her home county of Poland.

To attend college in France, Marie had to learn a new language; it was not easy for her, but not only did she learn to speak French, she became the best math and science student in Paris. She met her husband Pierre Curie. Marie and Peter discovered two radioactive elements – radium and polonium, which led them to win the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. Years later, after Marie’s husband Pierre died, in 1911, Marie won another Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Her later discoveries were used to help injured soldiers in World War I (WWI).

These accomplishments and more, including the educational foundation in France created in Marie’s honor are included in  Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie, which is a great picture book for introducing an appreciation of female scientists. As it does not give a detailed description of Marie Curie’s life, it is better suited to children ages 5-7.


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Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans

Heroes of Black HistoryAs Black History Month comes to an end and Women’s History Month begins, the children’s book Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans is a book that observes both.

With lots of colorful illustrations that show great emotion, the book chronicles the lives of four great Americans in black history: Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and our 44th president, Barack Obama.

Harriet Tubman, and the events that led her to seek freedom for herself and others is explained, along with how she received help along the way,  how railroad “stations” were developed, and how railroad “conductors” used secret lingo and talked in code to keep from getting caught. The book breaks down what went into making the Underground Railroad work and the hard choices Harriet had to make, including leaving her parents behind, to help the cause of the Union during the Civil War.

Jackie Robinson’s story is told beginning with how he grew up in a time of segregation and prejudice, sneaking into reservoirs at night to swim because blacks were not allowed. He excelled in high school sports, and played football years before he became a famous baseball player and the first black player in Major League Baseball. After his career in baseball, he went on to work as a newspaper columnist and received an honorary degree from Howard University.

Heroes of Black History begins Rosa Parks’ story with her life growing up on a farm in Tuskegee Alabama, and how her education began at a private school for black girls. Once an adult, Rosa married and began working with the NAACP, which fueled her desire to fight for the civil rights of blacks. The book tells of her brave actions as a major player in the bus boycotts, her work for Congressman John Conyers, Jr.  until she was 75, and being honored in 1996 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Former President Barack Obama is also highlighted in Heroes of Black History, which tells of how he lived in Indonesia then moved back to Hawaii to attend an elite prep school. From his difficulties in college to his triumphs, including being named the first president of the Harvard Law Review, the book gives detail of these parts of his life as well as how he began in politics, from grassroots leader to senator and eventually becoming the first black president of the United States.

Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans is a superbly written book and educational tool for both home and school. While longer than typical picture books, its length makes it great as it gives detail about four well-known figures in black history, information that wouldn’t fit in a typical 26-page picture book.

Other details that make Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans a must-buy:

  • At the end of each chapter, the book features a timeline with key dates in the life of each hero in history.
  • It includes a glossary with definitions of words including “abolitionist”, “boycott” and “sharecropper” – giving further opportunity for educators and parents to explain unfamiliar terms to children.
  • In the back of the book is also an index to reference specific events in history.
  • In addition to the book, you can find a resource guide that offers discussion questions for educators; the guide features a worksheet for book reports as well as activities for children to further explore other great figures in black history.

Heroes of Black History: Biographies of Four Great Americans
Author/Publisher: Time Kids
Introduction by Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Posted in bedtime, Courage, Historical, political, Racism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

There are many great women of black history including trailblazers like Harriet Tubman, who literally blazed a trail to freedom for hundreds of slaves.

There is also Ruby Bridges, who at the age of six became the first student to  attend an all-white school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Many white parents protested outside of the school, and Ruby had to be escorted by U.S. marshals to ensure her safety. Ruby’s courage and grace was instrumental in gaining educational equality for all children, regardless of race.

These women and more are featured in the picture book Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. Some of the 40 women highlighted in the book include:

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is not like most picture books; the book is 87 pages long and not a book to be read in one sitting.  That, however is what makes it a great book. It covers many important black women in history that parents and others can read to children over time.

Little Leaders is a book that all children, whether black or white, girl or boy should read because the majority of the women in the book are not ones that our children will read about in their school history books. It’s a wonderful book for bedtime, for school projects or simply to educate children on great people in U.S. history. This gem of a book will no doubt broaden the minds and lives of any young child that reads it.

Posted in Activism, Historical, Racism, Uncategorized, Women in History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1, 2, 3, Sí!: A Numbers Book in English and Spanish

In celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day tomorrow, CalicoKidz is reviewing 1, 2, 3, Sí!: A Numbers Book in English and Spanish, a colorful, fun and educational board book for young children who are beginning to learn to count. It’s colorful illustrations and photographs of art, music and animals,  some from the San Antonio Museum of Art, instill an appreciation for diversity as children learn how to count in both English and Spanish.

The book begins with page one asking “How do you make music? (Como haces musica), displaying a photo of a guitar (una guitarra).  Another page displays 8 different animal types and asks the question “Can you name each animal?” (Puedes decir el nombre de cada amimal,) featuring eight diverse animals for children to learn, including a zebra, duck and horse .

What’s even more wonderful about 1, 2, 3, Sí!: A Numbers Book in English and Spanish  is how it also incorporates humor into its learning. For example, on another page, it features an illustration of two pea pods with olives for eyes, and asks the reader “Can you play peek-a-boo?”  – in both languages, giving children not only the chance to learn the sentence  in both English and Spanish but giving children something funny to count and laugh at.

I can’t say enough good things about this charming book! If you have a toddler that is just learning to count, it’s a great book! If you know a young child who is multi-racial or bi-cultural who is learning two languages, it’s a great book! If you simply want to introduce a young child to art or language, or numbers,  1, 2, 3, Sí! is a great book! Enrich a child’s life today and buy them  1, 2, 3, Sí!: A Numbers Book in English and Spanish!

1, 2, 3, Sí!: A Numbers Book in English and Spanish 
Author/Publisher: Trinity University Press

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.

Posted in animals, art, Bilingual, board book, diversity, International, Math, Music, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Underwater Adventure

Inline image 1   Thomas_dolphin

Underwater Adventure is a wonderful book that has character customization that allows children to be the hero of there own story! Not only is can the main character in the book be customized, but the book can also be customized to be bilingual, allowing the reader to learn a new language.

Underwater Adventure begins with the child in the story celebrating his or her birthday by going to swim in a big pool for the first time. Once at the pool, an adventure begins where the child meets up with a dolphin, and gets introduced to other ocean life including a seahorse, octopus and an oyster bed of sleepy oysters.  The adventure continues when the two go on a rescue mission to help a turtle caught in a net.

Underwater Adventure is a great book for children ages 4-7, as it introduces young children to have a love of ocean animals, and features themes of bravery. Its wonderful customization features that include a custom child’s name, race, hair and  language, allows children of diverse backgrounds to see themselves in the book which also includes instills messages of activism and interest in learning a new language.

This month’s review is provided in celebration of Multicultural Children’s Book Day which is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Its mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves, while working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. Many thanks to TimTimTom Books, for providing the complimentary book for CalicoKidz.com to review! See a list of all author sponsors by visiting http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/2018-author-sponsors/.

2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors

HONORARY: Children’s Book Council, Junior Library Guild

PLATINUM:Scholastic Book Clubs

GOLD:Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Loving Lion Books, Second Story Press, Star Bright Books, Worldwide Buddies

SILVER:Capstone Publishing, Author Charlotte Riggle, Child’s Play USA, KidLit TV, Pack-n-Go Girls, Plum Street Press

BRONZE: Barefoot Books, Carole P. Roman, Charlesbridge Publishing, Dr. Crystal BoweGokul! World, Green Kids Club, Gwen Jackson, Jacqueline Woodson, Juan J. Guerra, Language Lizard, Lee & Low Books, RhymeTime Storybooks, Sanya Whittaker Gragg, TimTimTom Books, WaterBrook & Multnomah, Wisdom Tales Press

Multicultural Children’s Book Day will hold a TWITTER PARTY sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: It is a super-popular fun annual Twitter Party, and will be held January 27, 2018 at 9:00pm.

Join the conversation to win a Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/

Connect with Multicultural Children’s Book Day on social media; look for the official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

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