I Want to be a Reader!


I Want to Be A Reader is a colorful and fun board book with a short and simple message: learning to read is a right of passage to be celebrated!

Sure to please both children and parents with it’s wonderful message and adorable illustrations that include a cat reading to its kittens, and hiding within a book itself, I Want to Be A Reader encourages children to aspire to be a reader and the importance of celebrating the accomplishment.

What also makes  I Want to Be a Reader a great book is that it goes through the steps of what it takes to finish reading a book: understanding the letters, pronouncing the words, and reading page by page, helping children to understand that learning to read is a process.

I Want to Be A Reader is a must read for toddlers who have shown a desire to read as well as a great introduction to children beginning to talk. Celebrate one of the most important developments in childhood with this wonderful book today!

I Want to be a Reader!
Author: Mark Powers Illustrator: Maria Montag

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Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book

Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book
addresses autism spectrum disorder in children, giving a truthful yet tender view of what it’s like to have a friend with autism. The book also demonstrates the struggles with acceptance that kids with autism frequently face.

Matt suffers from  autism spectrum disorder or ASD, and because of this, he acts different than most normal functioning kids. But Matt is a friend to his neighbor across the street, who is the narrator of Since I We’re Friends, who tells how he and Matt play basketball, go swimming and play on the jungle gym like other kids. But how Matt responds to situations is different from other children and seen as strange to many. Children with autism can be in a constant state of anxiety because they are overwhelmed or overstimulated by things like loud noises at a basketball game – things that don’t normally adversely affect normal functioning children.

The narrator explains that since he is Matt’s friend, he helps him in these situations, by being supportive and helping to distract Matt so he doesn’t get too upset. The book also discusses the importance of routine is to those with ASD, and when an autistic child’s routine is change, his or her behavior can be misinterpreted as bad behavior or a tantrum.

Since We’re Friends also addresses behaviors such as getting overly excited which can lead to hand flapping, or other characteristics that others classify as odd.  It addresses bullying and being treated like an outcast by children that don’t understand the way autism children speak differently, or why they may not speak at all.

Since We’re Friends  is an excellent book for teaching both children and adults to understand how and why autistic children are different, and why those differences should be respected and not labeled as “weird” or bad behavior. School Library Journal describes the book’s message as  “not to be ignored” and the Autism Science Foundation lauds the book as a “major step in building a more compassionate community for all our children.”

Autism Awareness Month is coming to an end. As kids with autism can have a tough time making friends due to behaviors and characteristics normal functioning children categorize as odd or weird, this book is an excellent choice for educating the children in your life that autism is something to be understood, rather than feared. For activities to help in explaining autism to children, take an Autism 101 course online or check out these Books for Kids, Parents, and Teachers.

Since We’re Friends: An Autism Picture Book 
Author: Celeste Shelly; Illustrator: David Harrington

About BookBuzz4Kids.com
BookBuzz4Kids.com reviews books that celebrate diversity and culturally educate young children ages 1-10. Its mission is to celebrate children’s books that promote education, diversity and fun, and to give educators, librarians, and parents access to books that promote cultural, religious, racial diversity as well as those with special needs. Our vision is that one day we will live in a world of acceptance of all, to bring peace and love between all cultures and religions.

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I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism

Autism_A First Look

I see Things Differently: A First Look at Autism is a beautifully written book that helps young children and adults alike understand what autism is, and why children with autism display behaviors that may not make sense to a child without special needs.

For example, many autistic children find it difficult to play with others, or engage in activities that most find fun, such as attending a baseball game. This is because their minds, which develop differently, can get overwhelmed by excessive noise such as clapping or cheering.  The book also explains that autistic children deal with nervousness and anxiety regularly because  of the different ways their minds process information.

I see Things Differently: A First Look at Autism further explains how all differences of autistic children aren’t odd, as they can also possess exceptional gifts, such as advanced computer skills or great artistic ability, which is shown through watercolor illustrations. The author does a great job of explaining in plain language the need for sensitivity to these differences. Even better, the book provides additional reading resources for both children and adults in the back of the book.

1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and currently more than 3.5 million Americans live with ASD.  For this reason,  it is important that we educate our children and ourselves to become empathetic to those with autism and other special needs. April is Autism Awareness Month;  it is the perfect time to educate children about this disorder that affects so many. Do your part and read I see Things Differently: A First Look at Autism to a child in your life.


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Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman

Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman  tells the story of Bessie Coleman the first African-American woman to receive a international pilot’s license. It is a wonderful book for children, as it teaches the important lesson that no matter where you come from, you can make something of yourself. Born in 1892 in in Atlanta, Texas, Bessie Coleman was the granddaughter of slaves and grew up working on up on a plantation picking cotton. But Bessie applied herself in school and learned math and worked two jobs so that she could advance beyond an 8th grade education and attend college.

When she was old enough, she left home and attended college, but unfortunately only had enough money to attend one term of college. She wanted a better life than what she had in Texas where she had grown up, so she moved to Chicago, Illinois where her brothers had found employment, and where she hoped to find a job in the big city too. When she got to Chicago, her brothers who had served in World War I, told her about how there were female pilots in Paris who were very popular. She also read about these brave women in the newspapers, including the Chicago Defender. Bessie thought about how exciting it would be to fly planes too, and decided she too would become a pilot!

Bessie got a job in a restaurant and as a manicurist to make money to pay for flying lessons. She also took French language classes to prepare her for her trip to France. At age 28, Bessie boarded a ship and sailed to France where she took flying lessons for a year. She returned home to America where she performed several air shows in New York. She became a star and was well-loved. She would visit African-American schools and encourage children to have goals. She would tell  children “You can do something too! Fly high!”

Because flying a plane was very new at the time, it was very risky and accidents were common. In 1926, 20 days before Bessie was to  fly in a show in Jacksonville, Florida, she crashed during a rehearsal flight and died. Five-thousand people attended her memorial in Jacksonville, Florida. Her formal funeral in Chicago brought 10,000 mourners.

While her death was tragic and untimely, her life is a celebration that women, just like men, can do uncommon and great things, when they put their minds to it. And for the child, boy or girl, who has dreams of becoming a pilot, Bessie Coleman’s story is a great story for teaching that lesson.

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Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm


Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm is a true story about an integrated all-female music band that were known as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. They came into fame during the 1940s in the United States, and faced discrimination on their way to the top.

The book tells of how the sisters went to a  special home for African-American orphans in Mississippi called Piney Woods Country Life School. They excelled in music at the school and played in a band that performed for churches and schools, until they branched out on their own to become part of an interracial band known as the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. They traveled in Europe and played for American soldiers overseas, and broke records set by big-bands of the time.

While Swing Sisters is a children’s picture book packaged for kids, the content seems better suited for older children ages 10 and up, as the book reads very  much like a Wikipedia biography. However, thanks to the exceptional illustrations, the characters do exude joy, and young children may better enjoy the book more as a source for a school book report or other project rather than as a bedtime story.

Overall, Swing Sisters is an excellent book! It is incredibly informative, equipped with a bibliography; which is helpful for readers who may want to do their own personal research to learn more about the group. It is an excellent read for Women’s History Month, and is a great book that gives inspiration to older children who aspire to be musicians.

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Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!


I love the cherry blossoms that bloom every year in Washington, D.C. – and so does the rest of America! That’s why I’m reviewing  Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!, a great picture book that tells of many Japanese traditions, including one that celebrates the blooming of cherry blossom trees!

Some of the many celebrations described in the book include a doll festival, Children’s Day, the Star Festival, Greenery Day, cherry blossom viewing parties, and more. The book not only tells what the celebrations are, but gives both the English and Japanese names for each celebration, and provides a helpful glossary in the back of the book as a reference. For example, the Japanese word for “cherry blossom” is “sakura.” The Japanese word for the cherry blossom viewing parties held to celebrate the blooming of the cherry blossom trees is “Hanami.”

Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars! also educates children on typical phrases such as thank-you, which is  “domo arigato” in Japanese. Children will learn not only about the celebrations, but the foods that are eaten during these celebrations, the arts and crafts made during celebrations and words and letters of the Japanese language.

If you seek a great book that educates children on the aspects of Japanese culture, Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars! is a great choice!

Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!
Written and Illustrated by Betty Reynolds
About BookBuzz4Kids.com
BookBuzz4Kids.com reviews books that celebrate diversity and culturally educate young children ages 1-10. Its mission is to celebrate children’s books that promote education, diversity and fun, and to give educators, librarians, and parents access to books that promote cultural, religious, racial diversity as well as those with  special needs. Our vision is that one day we will live in a world of acceptance of all, to bring peace and love between all cultures and religions.
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STORY PAINTER: The Life of Jacob Lawrence


STORY PAINTER: The Life of Jacob Lawrence tells the story of the artist Jacob Lawrence, born in 1917, Jacob, known as “Jake” grew up during the Great Migration, the largest migration of African-Americans to the North, since the days of slavery. Jake documented this historic American event in his series of painting entitled The Migration of the Negro.”

In the beginning, Jacob Lawrence’s childhood was difficult, as his parents had moved and lived in three different cities by the time Jake was six years old. He later moved to Harlem, growing up during the Harlem Renaissance, and was influenced by the sights and sounds and energy of the city. Although he did play stick ball like the rest of the neighborhood kids, his favorite pastime was exploring the streets of Harlem, where each block told a different story.

By the time he was 13, he began having difficulty in school, and his mother, afraid he would be recruited by a gang, enrolled him into a neighborhood program, where he first began creating art.

Years later, Jake would experience overnight success as an artist which led to pressures he was not prepared for; however he overcame the obstacles, and became one of the most celebrated and renowned American painters. In 197o, his painting of Jesse Jackson was featured on the cover of TIME magazine; and in 1977, he was one of five famous American artist to be invited to President Jimmy Carter’s swearing in ceremony.

Jacob Lawrence is most loved and recognized for his “Migration of the Negro” series and his depictions of Harlem life .

STORY PAINTER: The Life of Jacob Lawrence is a beautiful re-telling of an amazing artist’s life and a great introduction to African-American history. Unlike other picture books, STORY PAINTER is over 50 pages long and features over 20 reproductions of Lawrence’s work, along with historical black and white photos documenting aspects of his life. Therefore, it is a book where children ages eight years-old and younger would need to read it or have it read to them in several stages, however this makes it a great story for bed time. It is a wonderful book that should be read all children, as it tells the story of an important man who documented two very important and historic times in U.S. history.

The Life of Jacob Lawrence: Written by John Duggleby


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