A Child of the Civil Rights Movement

A Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young-Shelton, tells the story of the civil rights movement with mention of Dr. King, and the role he played, as seen through her then four year-old eyes. Young-Shelton, the daughter of Civil Rights activist and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, begins the story begins with Paula and her family moving from New York, where there were no Jim Crow laws, to the south, where inequality and Jim Crow laws ran rampant. She describes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a way many of us have rarely seen – a man full of joy with a twinkle in his eye –  a man that the media rarely portrayed, but a man that no doubt did exist in the presence of his loved ones.

In the story, Young-Shelton refers to Dr. King as “Uncle Martin,” because while he was not her blood uncle, she explains that like her father Andrew Young, Dr. King was part of the American civil rights movement family – a family she describes as frequently eating dinner together at one another’s homes, where like a biological family, they would have heated discussions together, many times about the next steps to take in the civil rights movement; and like a a family, they struggled through the era of inequality together, they worried together, and  they marched together like a family from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama – an event she is proud to have been a part of, since it led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

A Child of the Civil Rights Movement is beautifully told, and the illustrations by Raul Colon add to beauty of the book. From the expressions on the faces of the characters to the corn rows in young Paula’s hair, the illustrations vividly capture the essence of the story and those in it.

A Child of the Civil Rights Movement is an interesting re-telling of the civil rights movement that children can understand, that will also keep adults interested. It is a thoughtful introduction to the civil rights movement, and stirs up emotions you don’t expect from a children’s picture book. I felt sorrow for the loss of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but I also felt pride in the African-American leaders he worked with who like Dr. King, sacrificed time with their families; who were beaten and thrown in jail so that they and African-Americans could have the right to vote like those of white Americans.

This book touches on these subjects and more in a way that will not scare children, but make them think about and realize how much they have to be thankful for – and those who helped them have the basic human rights they are able to live with today.

Child of the Civil Rights Movement: Written by: Paula Young Shelton and Raul Colon

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Feast for 10

Image result for feast for 10 board book Feast for 10_snippet


Thanksgiving day is just three weeks away, and what better time is it to celebrate food and family!  In anticipation of the holiday, calicokidz.com is reviewing the delightful counting board book book Feast for 10.  This delightful counting book shows a family shopping together for a meal that they all prepare together. The book also shows the steps it takes to prepare a special meal – from the trip to the grocery store to food prep, to putting the food in the oven to cook, and setting the table.

Feast for 10 introduces special foods used to prepare pumpkin pie as well as southern foods like collard greens. Most importantly, the book presents a counting lesson for children while addressing the importance of helping one another with cleaning up after a meal, instilling a sense of responsibility in the reader. Colorful illustrations  that give detail to both children’s and adult ethnic hairstyles, and positive portrayal of a happy family that enjoys being together makes Feast for 10 an enjoyable book for both kids and parents to read.

Throughout the book, there are smiles on the children’s faces, presentation of healthy foods, with a recycling message at the end. Feast for 10 is a wonderful book, not only for African-American families, but any family that wants to teach counting in a fun way to a child, as well as families who want to promote healthy eating. Available at Target and and Amazon.com, Feast for 10 is the perfect book to read during holidays that prepare special meals, including Thanksgiving and religious holiday meals.

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Night Creepers

Night Creepers by [Stanek, Linda]Halloween is almost here! Halloween is one of the most fun nights of the year and since night animals are frequently featured in Halloween stories, it’s a great time to teach kids about the nocturnal animals that come out at night!

In Night Creepers  picture book, children learn all about nocturnal animals and their behaviors. With lots of awesome illustrations, it is a great STEM story for bedtime.

Some of the animals featured in Night Creepers include the flying squirrel, the red fox, skunks, fireflies and more.

Here are a few facts that children learn in the book:

  • The flying squirrel does not actually fly, but glides with its parachute-like arms.
  • Bats eat mostly insects but also fruit and some small animals.
  • White-tailed deer that are mothers, are called does; they leave their babies, called fawns alone sleeping during the day to keep them safe from predators.
  • Owls don’t have eye muscles, which is why they have to look around with their heads. They have both excellent night vision and great hearing.

At the end of the book is more information about the night habits of the animals featured in the book, along with educational sorting and matching activities. If you know a child who loves animals, especially the mysterious kinds of animals, Night Creepers is the perfect book to introduce them to the world of nocturnal animals. Find more information on nature and wildlife for kids here; for more books on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathmatics) subjects, visit http://calicokidz.com/category/stem.

Nocturnal Animals: Author: Linda Stanek l Illustrator: Shennen Bersani

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Whoa, Baby, Whoa!

Whoa Baby Whoa

Did you know that it’s Baby Safety Month? And  Whoa, Baby, Whoa!, about a baby who gets into all sorts of mischief is the perfect book for children to teach them of the importance of being careful around babies. The book is a delightful and humorous one, giving a good reminder of why it’s so important to keep your eyes on babies at all times.

Have you had the pleasure to watch a baby grow from crawling to toddler? If so, you remember how quickly they can get into trouble. Whoa, Baby, Whoa! depicts a super speeding crawling 1-2 year old who wants to get into everything his legs will allow him. In the book, the curious unnamed baby is bi-racial – his mother is African-American, and his father is white – but that tidbit is never mentioned throughout the story. The author treats this fact as normal, not unusual, focusing instead on the antics of the baby – something any parent, black or white can relate to.

Whoa, Baby, Whoa! features the little baby getting into all kinds of things he shouldn’t; from mom’s makeup top of the bookshelf – that is until mom or dad, or another family member catches up with him in time to keep him out of harm’s way. Baby, however, still manages to get into the newspaper and rip it to bits, grab grandpa’s glasses off his nose, and get mashed potatoes all over his face while eating in his high chair at the dinner table.

The author’s ability to portray a typical day in the life of a baby – whose family just happens to be mixed-race, is both humorous and heartwarming, and sure to give both children and adults a giggle. It’s a great book for those seeking a tale about life with baby, but also a great book to read to a young child to prepare him for a new sibling that’s on the way.

Illustrator Eleanor Taylor provides wonderful details in depicting of the mischievous baby, with pictures that show the baby sitting in a high chair with one shoe on and one shoe off, adding to the heart and humor of the story.

Whoa, Baby, Whoa! was is a joyful read for any parent or person who has babysat an energetic baby and great for teaching young siblings the importance of keeping baby out of trouble.

Whoa, Baby, Whoa!
Author: Grace Nichols Illustrator: Eleanor Taylor

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ODDphabet – Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

ODDphabetSchool is back in and many children will be entering kindergarten and learning their ABCs. In this weird and wonkey board book, children will learn about animals they’ve never heard of before and some downright strange animals that are noone knew existed in nature.

ODDphabet will give children a good laugh and will stretch their imaginations farther than ever before!

Some of the different and unusual animals kids learn about in the book include:

  • A blob fish –  a pink sea animal
  • A  Frog with six-legs
  • An Iguana – a lizard that looks like a mini dinosaur
  • A Narwhal – a medium-sized toothed whale with a long, pointy tusk-like tooth

Not only does ODDphabet  help children learn their ABCs, it teaches them all about animals they may not have known existed. With its fun rhymes and silly illustrations it also gives little ones a good giggle . If you want to find a fun way to teach the alphabet to a young child, ODDphabet is a great book to begin with!

About CalicoKidz.com

CalicoKidz.com reviews books for young children ages 1-10 that celebrate diversity and promote education. Our mission is to review children’s books that give parents, librarians, and educators of children from diverse communities including those with special needs, an place where they can find cultural and educational books that feature or represent diverse communities.

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

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Nobody Owns the Sky

Nobody Owns the Sky_Bessie Coleman pb_cover image Today is National Aviation Day, which began in 1939 to celebrate aviation and the birthday of aviation pioneer Oriville Wright. Other great aviators in history include Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes and Charles Lindberg, whose daughter, Pamela Paprone wrote Nobody Owns the Sky, a wonderful picture that tells the story of African-Aerican female pilot Bessie Coleman, also knowns as about “Brave Bessie.”


Written in fun rhyme, Nobody Owns the Sky

takes the reader on a fun ride and tells how “Brave Bessie” came to be the the first African-American pilot – man or woman, in the United States.

Here are a few historical facts children will learn from the book:

  • As a Bessie worked picking cotton. After graduating high school, she went off to college but she couldn’t stay because she didn’t have the money.
  • When she earned enough money to get flying lessons, Bessie was turned away from U.S. flying schools, so she went to learn to fly in Paris, France.
  • She was called “Brave Bessie” because of the daredevil stunts she performed in air shows all over the U.S.

Growing up in the south, Bessie was  constantly told that she couldn’t become a pilot because she was black, and a woman, but she didn’t take no for an answer. And although it was her daring stunts that eventually caused her death, Bessie lived bravely, going after her dreams, despite being told that her dreams were unrealistic. Bessie defied the odds and proved, as the name of the book states that nobody owns the sky!

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LaDonna Plays Hoops

Ladonna Plays Hoops_cover imageIt’s the family summer family reunion and LaDonna can’t wait to see all of her cousins. The last time she went to a family get-together, she played basketball with her cousin Tyrone, the family hoops star, and lost big; but that was before she went to basketball camp. So once she arrives to the to the reunion, LaDonna joins her girl cousins in jumping rope double-dutch, and even though she skins her knee, she still gets the courage to play Tyrone for a rematch to see who is the best.

From being called “half-pint” to being taunted for skinning her knee, cousin Tyrone does everything he can to lower LaDonna’s confidence. But LaDonna, cheered on by the rest of the family never quits and completes the game of  one-on-one, first to ten, two-oint spread with Tyrone until the end.

With lots of basketball jargon for those who love the sport of basketball, and positive messages of being a supportive family member, to teaching children that being a good sport is more important than winning, LaDonna Plays Hoops is a great book that teaches important lifelong lessons.

LaDonna Plays Hoops is an endearing and fun read for girls and boys alike, but is especially a great books for children dealing with self-esteem, as it includes messages of courage, girl-power and self-confidence. It also comes in a version for children with dyslexia. Both versions can be found and purchased at https://mcp-store.com/.

LaDonna Plays Hoops
Author: Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle / Illustrator: Heath Gray

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