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 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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Tiny Thinkers: Charlie and the Tortoise


Has a young child ever asked you why birds are different? Have you ever wondered yourself? If so, Charlie and the Tortoise is a children’s book that you will love! The picture book is one in a series of children’s books called, Tiny Thinkers, a series of books for ages 4 to 8 about real life scientists, told from the perspective of the scientists as children on their adventures. Charlie and the Tortoise tells the story of Charles Darwin, very creatively, and is based on Charles Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos Islands where he found 13 types of finches – all with different beaks.

The book is not only great for teaching evolution to young children, it also encourages exploration and love of nature in children. It begins with young Charlie’s travels to the Galapagos islands where he encounters several species of ants, plants, birds and reptiles including turtles and lizards.

Charlie notices the differences between the different bird species of finches and learns all about how that came to be from a shy and slow-speaking tortoise. The tortoise tells Charlie all about the finches and how and why they changed over time.

With fun rhyme and beautifully colorful illustrations and humor, the book is an excellent resource that children will love. At the back of the book is a timeline with fun facts about Charles Darwin, his life and discoveries. It is a wonderful book to get children interested in science and other STEM topics.  Take your child on a fun adventure and read them Charlie and the Tortoise today!

Charlie and the Tortoise: Written by M.J. Mouton

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I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her MarkI-dissent-9781481465595_hr

The first Jewish U.S. female Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, grew up seeing injustice and grew up determined to fight against it. Her story is told in the children’s picture book “I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark.”

I Dissent is the true story of a woman who fought against prejudice and won! Ruth grew up in Brooklyn, New York witnessing prejudice against Jews, African-Americans and fortunately had a mother who wanted her to do more than cook, sew and find a husband. Ruth’s mother took her to the library where Ruth read about female heroes including Amelia Earhart and this inspired Ruth. Upon her high school graduation, Ruth’s mother died; Ruth was devastated, but she went ahead to college because she knew it was what her mother would want.

Ruth excelled in college, and went on to attend law school, eventually becoming one of the first female law professors in the United States to a lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court to fight for women’s rights. In 1993 President Clinton appointed Bader-Ginsberg to the Supreme Court of the United States!

I Dissent is not only historical a funny, informative and inspiring! It is filled with humorous illustrations that convey Bader-Ginsberg’s spunk as a young girl and young woman. It succeeds at explaining aspects of the Supreme Court voting process, and teaches strategy for stage fright and performance anxiey. Most importantly, it teaches children that one person can make a difference and achieve amazing goals – even when faced with tragedy.

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

The new movie “Loving” premiere’s today in select theaters and has been getting a lot of attention including Oscar buzz. The movie tells the story of George and Mildred Loving, who fought to stay married as an interracial couple.

What many don’t know is that there is also a children’s book that tells the Lovings’ story.

Book Buzz 4 Kids

Loving v. Virginia was a Supreme Court case many are still not aware of. What’s unique about Loving v. Virginia is that it had no political motivation, it was motivated by love. Two people wanted to be married, they just happened to be different races. The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage is a children’s picture book that tells their story in a way that is endearing, so much so that even the littlest one would understand.

June 12 is the 49th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, and there is no better time to introduce a child to and celebrate love, unity and tolerance – and reading The Case for Loving is a great way to do it. This book has it all: a great story, emotive illustrations and best of all, a great moral lesson. It is also a great way to introduce…

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