January 26, 2016

Amazing Places

Lee and Low Books

"Just think, when Mother was my age, 
she could build a fire with sparks from rocks, catch a bunch of grasshoppers..."
- from Campfire by Janet S. Wong

Tomorrow is Multicultural Children's Book Day and I am reviewing Amazing Places in honor of the day, as it is a great picture book from multicultural publishers Lee and Low that features diverse landmarks and entertainment hubs of the United States through poems and vivid illustrations.

The book is beautiful and educational cover to cover, with a front inside book panel featuring an illustrated United States map, reminiscent of map puzzles, indicating what states and landmarks are featured in the book. States features included Philadelphia, Alaska, Texas, Wisconsin and many more.

My favorites featured in the book are the following:
These and more poems tell all about some of the best attractions, both cultural favorites and entertainment venues such as Fenway Park, the Liberty Bell, the Grand Canyon, and Niagara Falls. While I love the originality of the poems, some of them may be a little advanced for children under twelve and I recommend and adult or older sibling read the book with young children, as young ones may find some of the poetry difficult to comprehend. Fortunately, there is summaries provided in the back of the book, with descriptions of each monument and landmark highlighted, as well as a "Sources" page which provides a bibliography.

If you or your child is a fan of travel, this is the book for you! Check it out today!

About BookBuzz4kids.com
BookBuzz4Kids.com reviews books that celebrate culture and educate young children ages 1-10. Our mission is to celebrate children’s books that promote diversity so that parents of all cultural, diverse and religious backgrounds, including those with disabilities have a source where they can find children's books that represent their children. BookBuzz4Kids.com also aims to support independent self-published authors who write educational and culturally diverse books.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day
Our Mission: The MCCBD team’s mission to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Our young readers need to see themselves within the pages of a book and experience other cultures, languages, traditions and religions within the pages of a book. We encourage readers, parents, teachers, caregivers and librarians to follow along the fun book reviews, author visits, event details, a multicultural children’s book linky and via our hashtag #ReadYourWorld on Twitter and other social media.

Co-creators: Mia Wenjen, Pragmatic Mom and Valarie BudayrJump Into a Book/Audrey Press. 

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January 10, 2016

The Bookworm

Meet Sesha. He's different, He doesn't speak much and he doesn't play with other kids, which is odd, because Sesha is 10 years old. Fortunately Sesha finds comfort in books, and becomes more than just another bullied kid in The Bookworm.

Each Thursday, Sesha picks out a new library book and buries himself in it during recess. Other kids think this is strange, and make up a not-so-nice song about him. But it doesn't bother Sesha, and he continues reading. One day, Sesha gets picked on by two school bullies, and the brown notebook he carries around with him lands in a puddle of muddy rainwater. Sesha, understandably upset, breaks his silence and manages to stutter out the word "bullies!" in response to the bullies' actions.

Unfortunately, Sesha is taunted even more after his encounter with the bullies. That is, until one day when his classroom teacher asks him to answer a question about tigers by writing his answer on the chalkboard. What happens next so impresses his fellow students, that Sesha no longer is the boy who is bullied, rather he becomes the student that others follow to the library every Thursday morning!

The Bookworm is a wonderful book that teaches children two valuable lessons:
  1. Having a disability or being different doesn't mean that you're any less of a person, and 
  2. When you stay true to yourself, others will eventually see you shine. 

Written by: Lavanya N.A.
Illustrated by: Shilo Shiv Suleman

December 17, 2015

LITTLE HOUSES: A Counting Book

Do you love seeing a child learning to count for the first time? If so, you will love Little Houses: A Counting Book,a wonderful new picture book from Laurence King Publishing. It is full of educational lessons that not only teach children to learn to count, but also helps to teach children about colors, hand-eye coordination skills, and memory skills .

What makes Little Houses: A Counting Book a unique picture book is its introduction of the different types of houses that are from various countries around the world, including Sweden, South Africa and Japan. The book's extra large size is an extra bonus. Another unique feature of Little Houses is the photographs of construction paper houses that stand in for traditional illustrations that you normally see in children's picture books. This really makes the book that more special.

Little Houses is great for both parents and teachers to share with children. For parents, it's a great book to bond with a child, as it is interactive, and reads like playing a memory game, or "find the hidden picture" if you will. For educators, it's a great book for teaching how to count from 1 to 10, but it also educates the reader about different cultures, giving a fun lesson in geography as well as one in math. If you are looking for a fun, unique, educational children's book, Little Houses: A Counting Book is a must-read, especially for children ages 2 to 6 years old, as well as children with special needs who may learn to count in later years. A truly brilliant book, and one that makes a wonderful gift for this holiday season!

By Helen Musselwhite

November 19, 2015


Orange is the color of my henna designs, they cover my hands in leafy vines.
Silver is a fanoos, a twinkling light, a shiny lantern that glows at night.

There is much religious turmoil going on in our world right now. As a devout Christian, I always hope that those who do not share my religion will still respect it. In turn, I make an effort to respect religions that are different from my own. For that reason, this week I am reviewing the educational picture book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. It is my hope and belief that if we teach children at a young age the beauty of other religions, then they will grow up with a love of their religion, as well as tolerance for others.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a beautifully written children's book. It is a  positive introduction to some of the cultural practices of the Muslim religion featuring breathtakingly beautiful illustrations, and rhyming prose that educates young children about different colors. Some of the cultural practices highlighted in the book are of women wearing a hijab (scarf) and henna (tattoo-like artwork), and the hanging of a fanoos (lantern) during Ramadan. At the end of the book is a glossary of the terms used in the book that explains what each word means and why it is important in the Muslim culture.

It is not always easy to embrace customs that are different from ours, but if we are to use the golden rule - to treat (respect) the beliefs and customs of others, the way that we in turn would like to be treated - then embracing different cultures, and educating our children about them is something we must make an effort to do. For this reason, I strongly recommend reading Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns to children who are both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that is a great educational tool for teaching young children colors as well as well as introducing children to Muslim traditions. If it is your hope to educate and/or raise a tolerant and educated child who respects those different from him or her, this is a wonderful book to read to a child of any religion, and a great way to introduce a child to the concept of peace and tolerance.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
Written by: Hena Khan
Illustrated by: Mehrdokht Amini

BookBuzz4Kids.com reviews books that celebrate culture and educate young children ages 1-10. Our mission is to celebrate children’s books that promote diversity so that parents of all cultural, diverse and religious backgrounds, including those with disabilities have a source where they can find children's books that represent their children. BookBuzz4Kids.com also aims to support independent self-published authors who write educational and culturally diverse books.

November 6, 2015

We are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians

It's Native American Heritage Month and in honor of the many contributions of that countless Naitve Americans have made, I am reviewing We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians.

Have you have heard of Sacajawea, the woman who is now on the gold one-dollar coin? Perhaps you know or have heard of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Native American Chief of the Cherokee nation. But I bet you haven't heard of the first Osage Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief or the Dakota artist Shumka-Ishnala aka "Lone Dog," or how about the 420 code talkersNavajo Native American soldiers who helped defeat the Japanese in World War II. These and more notable Native Americans are highlighted in We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians.

One of my favorite people featured in the book are Tisquantum aka Squanto, one of the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims survive a sickness that was killing off hoards of people. He taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn with fish, and how to catch fish with tall, thick grass that was weaved into fishing nets. The pilgrims thanked Tisquantum by inviting him and other Native Americans to a feast, now known as Thanksgiving.

We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians is a wonderful historical picture book that every child should read, as many of these figures - if not all, are rarely depicted in U.S. history books. The book also provides a small pronunciation guide at the end to help readers practice the correct pronunciation of Native American names. It also provides a reading list for young readers so that children can continue their learning about Native Americans.

The best part of the book is that it doesn't just state facts, it tells a  personal story about each person profiled. It tells of how Susan La Flesche Picotte, a doctor from the Omaha nation struggled by horseback in a snowstorm to reach a child with pneumonia. These and more personal stories are told in the book. Others profiled in We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians are Olympian Jim Thorpe, writer Sherman Alexie, and the Conley sisters of the Wyandot nation - lawyers who helped to keep a Wyandot cemetery in Wyandot control. If you value the contributions made by Native Americans, this book is a must read for the children in your life.

Written by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

November 3, 2015

When I Am the Leader

"When I am a representative,
I will be a member of the House of Representatives within the United States Congress
I will more or less fulfill the people's interests and objectives."

Do you ever have a difficult time trying to explain politics to kids? What about the election process? If so, When I am the Leader is a great book to start the conversation. Not only does it describe the roles of elected officials, it also highlights occupations in education that children are familiar with. For  kids who already have aspirations of what they want to be when they grow up, When I am the Leader is a great readr. It describes more than 20 occupations, many of which are determined through elections. The book explains what it means to be a senator, school principal, police officer, mayor and many other professions.

The rhyming prose makes the book easy to read, and makes up for the lack of color in the illustrations. The back of the book features a substantial notes section, which is helpful for classroom lessons. This book is effective in teaching children what it means to be a leader, because it focuses on the duties of each occupation, not on how much  money is made, which can be why many children do or don't want to go into a specific profession.

If you know a child who demonstrates leadership abilities and/or qualities When I am the Leader is a great way to instill future ambitions in them. When I am the Leader is written by Fannie T. Brown and is available at BarnesandNoble.com. Or if you live in, or plan to visit Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, you can find the book at the Grand Strand Cultural Arts Foundation, which is located at 1208 Hemingway Street in Myrtle Beach, SC.

October 10, 2015

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words

"We will bring change through our voice."
"Our words can change the world"
- Malala Yousafzai

Today is the anniversary of Malala Yousafzai being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize one year ago today. In honor of Malala and her achievement, I am reviewing Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words- a picture book about how Malala became an internationally known advocate for education.

Malala was born in Mingora on the River Swat in northern Pakistan. Her father, a school principal, named her after a Maiwand woman who helped save her village from invaders over 100 years ago.

When the Taliban took control of Malala's village, they forbade girls to go to school. Malala continued to go to school anyway, and shea began writing a blog about why everyone should have the right to an education. The blog was published in Urdu, but also in English by BBC.

In 2011, Malala was recognized for her writing, and received Pakistan's first National Youth Award for Peace. This angered the Taliban, and in 2012, Malala and two of her friends were ambushed and shot while riding in a school bus. Thankfully, everyone survived, and on her 16th birthday, Malala spoke at the United Nations urging every nation to help make it possible for every child to go to school for free.

Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words is a wonderful book that celebrates courage, and is an example of how one person can make a difference. Malala Yousafzai is now world-known as an advocate for education. Learn more about Malala and the work she is doing at www.malala.org

Illustrated by: L. C. Wheatley

October 3, 2015

My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz

Do you love salsa music? I love it, and in celebration of Hispanic American Heritage Month, I am reviewing the bilingual picture book My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz.Celia Cruz was a salsa music legend, who is known as the Queen of Salsa, and rightly so. Had she not brought her beautiful music to the United States, salsa music would not be what it is today in the U.S.
Celia Cruz was born in Cuba, and she grew up around beautiful music and colorful clothing, both of which influenced her singing. She came from humble beginnings; her father was a railroad worker- but their lives were filled with music that brought them much joy, despite being poor.
Celia was gifted at a young age and would sing songs with both African and Cuban rhythms to her family as well as neighbors. She did well in school and was encouraged by her teacher to "go into the world and sing." Celia began singing in competitions with her cousin, but some would not let her sing because of her dark skin - but that didn't discourage her! She left Cuba during the revolution, and moved to the U.S., where she became a U.S. citizen. Celia brought salsa music to America that blended rock, rumba, mambo and jazz music. Celia Cruz was so successful as a singer in America that she was honored by presidents, and became known as the Queen of Salsa.
My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz is a wonderful children's book, not only because it teaches us about an important Hispanic woman in history. It's exceptional because it is a story of triumph, that educates children about a woman who crossed borders and broke boundries to pursue a talent that enriched and changed the world. The book's beautiful illustrations do a beautiful job of representing the energy that Celia brought to her music, and the descriptions of the sounds of nature and food she cooked with her family encourages children to pay attention to their surroundings to find inspiration to be creative. Most of all, it is a book that teaches children that you can overcome obstacles if you don't give up, and that is a lesson any child of color should be taught at a young age, if they are to survive and be successful in life.
Written by: Monica Brown
Illustrated by: Rafael Lopez