Girl Power Picture Books

Gathered together here to celebrate Women’s History Month are noteworthy picture books written by diverse authors of great girls celebrating themselves and others, sharing family traditions, and reveling in both small and large accomplishments. I recommend as a great resource for Women’s History Month the National Women's History Museum. The museum’s resources include interesting online exhibits, digital classroom resources, Brave Girl Virtual Storytimes, and more. Enjoy sharing these with your young feminists of all genders!

K-3 Women's History Grab & Go Kits will be available Monday, March 7th while supplies last.

Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand, Nabi H. Ali & Deepti Gupta
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

“Laxmi, an Indian American elementary school student, has a mooch. A mooch, Laxmi explains, is a sprinkling of hairs on her upper lip; it's also the Hindi word for mustache. Laxmi is unaware of her mooch until her friends Zoe and Noah point it out during recess. At first, Laxmi is mortified–especially when she realizes she doesn't have fine, dark hairs just on her top lip but all over her whole body. At the end of the day, she runs home to her parents, who react to her distress with humor and compassion. Mummy explains that Laxmi comes from generations of women with mooches. When Laxmi complains about the hair between her eyebrows, her parents compare her to feminist icon Frida Kahlo. Laxmi is still upset, but that night she dreams of tigers, and, appropriately, in the morning she has a whole new attitude–about herself and about her hair. Debut author Anand skillfully balances humor with sincerity, crafting a narrator who is both vulnerable and powerful, while Ali contributes sunny-humored illustrations that place the appealingly chubby, brown-skinned girl at the center of a diverse classroom headed by a hijabi teacher. Laxmi's journey is both accessible and authentic, and it is a true pleasure to watch her not only embrace her own body, but also teach her classmates how to embrace theirs as well. A picture glossary of the Hindi vocabulary used appears on the endpapers…Fabulous, funny body positivity.” – Kirkus Reviews

I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne & Julia Kuo
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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Libby

“A picture book centering a young emigrant's journey as well as her homecoming. Unlike conventional or traditional narratives that launch immigrant characters on one-way passages and their accompanying plots along linear trajectories, this focused family story illustrates modern migration by choice as an evolving tale of round trips through conscious reconnections with one's origins. The young protagonist moves from Taiwan to San Diego and learns English at school while staying connected with Popo, the grandmother who stayed in Taiwan, via video chats. As time passes, linguistic barriers blur along with ongoing transitions between cultures and geographies: A once-fluent vernacular recedes to accommodate new sounds and expressions until the child even dreams of Popo speaking English. Sympathetic, gentle treatments of aging and illness convey life's inevitabilities with a loving imagination steeped in the scent of sweet osmanthus. Faithful representations of Chinese-language signage, street scenes, and cityscapes evoke nostalgia for those familiar with Taiwan and its vibrant food culture. Whimsical depictions of Chinese New Year at home and Popo's kitchen are authentic, down to the accurate details on a calendar, dumpling making from scratch, and the iconic rice cooker. Readers will connect with this visual story on various levels or learn something new; possibly both… #Ownvoices tributes to childhood memories of home: It is as much an emotional space as a physical place.” – Kirkus Reviews

Becoming Vanessa by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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Libby

“Vanessa's first day of school doesn't go as planned, but she learns that what makes her special is not on the outside. Vanessa is nervous about her first day of school. What if the other kids don't like her? She and her mom decide she can choose an outfit that will showcase her personality and invite the other children's interest in her. All decked out in her tutu, feather boa, shiny shoes, and favorite cap, Vanessa feels ready. But at school, her outfit doesn't have quite the desired effect. And when it's time to write her name, she finds herself wishing her name were shorter and easier to write. At home, Vanessa doesn't want to tell her parents about her day. The next morning, she puts on a plain outfit and complains about her long name with two S's. But when her mother tells her the meaning of her name–it means “metamorphosis,” says her mom–Vanessa realizes that she is special even without her unique accessories, and she learns to relate authentically with her peers. This classic school story offers a full range of emotions and situates this life-loving Black child in affirming family and school settings. The illustrations use variety in texture, color, and composition to effectively draw readers into the energy on the page and to hold interest to the beautiful last endpaper. Vanessa's classmates are racially diverse. A welcome addition to every shelf.” – Kirkus Reviews

My Day with the Panye by Tami Charles & Sara Palacios
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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“Manman is planning a special day for her daughter, Fallon, in the markets of Port-au-Prince, and little sister Naima will have to wait her turn. Charles sprinkles Haitian words into the text that give texture to this loving book, which is part interpersonal story and a part travelogue of sights and sounds.’Manman wraps her hair in a silk mouchwa, brighter than the Caribbean sea. I twist my sun-yellow scarf into my braids, but it doesn't look as good as hers.’ Palacio's brilliant illustrations of slightly stylized, elongated figures with mahogany skin tones, make the meanings clear, as Manman adds a panye, or basket, to the mouchwa on her head, for bringing back supplies. Along the way, Fallon longs to carry the panye, but her mother cautions her that these things take time. There are metaphors for carrying the panye that extend to Haiti itself-that it sways under the weight of sad events but it is not crushed. The poetic writing and Fallon's assessment of her ability will touch children deeply. An author's note tells of Charles's affinity for and connection to Haiti, and the significance of the panye globally. VERDICT A few facts, a generous worldview, and a bonding of mother and daughter makes this book ideal for story hours and lap-sharing.” –School Library Journal

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho & Jess X. Snow
(Grades K-4)
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Libby

“As the granddaughter of a haenyeo diver, young Dayeon yearns to learn this honorable trade from her grandmother. On Jeju Island, at the southern end of the Korean peninsula, there lives a community of women called haenyeo who dive up to 30 meters underwater to gather shellfish. Without using any oxygen masks, the haenyeo divers harvest abalone, octopuses, and sea urchins by hand. The tradition is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and the women who do this work are described as ‘indigenous marine biologists.’ Many of them are over 70 years old. Dayeon understands the dangers involved with diving. ‘What if I can't breathe? What if a shark comes? What if I can't escape?’ The familial determination that has been handed down along with diving skills helps her relax and reach the treasures at the bottom of the sea. The vibrant illustrations in cool, deep blue hues, punctuated by ochers and brick reds, capture the beauty of the natural world and lift the work up to near mythic proportions, befitting Dayeon's perception that they are mermaids. The captivating endnotes provide more information on the tradition, with mesmerizing quotes from actual divers. In Cho and Snow's celebration of this fascinating tradition, the risks and rewards are given only to the worthy–which takes practice, courage, and a grandmother's love. The sea, with equal parts danger and thrill, makes an exciting training ground for a young haenyeo diver.” – Kirkus Reviews

Vivi Loves Science by Kimberly Derting, Shelli R. Johannes & Joelle Murray
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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Libby

“Fans of the series that began with CeCe Loves Science (2018) will enjoy this beach-themed exploration. Vivi, a girl with light-brown skin and big, curly, brown pigtails, loves to study nature, particularly the ocean. She's especially excited when her science class takes a field trip to the beach. Her lab partner, Graeme, a Black-presenting boy, creates a wish list for them: finding seashells, hunting crabs, looking for eels, and seeing a dolphin. Their teacher, Ms. Cousteau, a brown-skinned woman with dark brown locs, leads off the adventure with a lesson on tide pools. The brightly colored images rival those of Dreamworks or Disney in cuteness and charm while also providing information. When Ms. Cousteau teaches the students about different kinds of sharks, the illustrations provide a visual contrasting the bigger and smaller species she describes. As Ms. Cousteau guides the students in creating aquascopes, her instructions are accompanied by an illustrated guide for young readers to create their own, complete with a list of materials and instructions. Equipped with a checklist, Vivi and Graeme enthusiastically explore, best practices for safe (for both humans and wildlife) beachcombing effortlessly folded into the narrative. Backmatter includes a glossary of science facts and instructions on how to create temporary tide pools… A nifty way to help young learners see the beach through the lens of science.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Star Festival by Moni Ritchie Hadley & Mizuho Fujisawa
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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A spunky introduction to the origin and customs of Japan's Star Festival. Keiko, a young Japanese girl, is so excited to experience her fifth Tanabata Matsuri, which will also be her grandmother's 85th. Her mother tries to help Keiko behave, but Oba understands Keiko's bright enthusiasm. Together they all dress up in summer kimonos, put on their geta (one of the sandals falls off of Keiko's foot), and make their way to the festival. Oba recounts the folktale behind the festival, in which two stars fell in love and neglected their duties, causing the Emperor of the Heavens to prevent them from seeing each other. At the festival, Keiko marvels at the taiko drums, streamers, and slippery noodles. Suddenly, Mama notices that Oba is missing! The merry chaos of the festival impedes Mama and Keiko as they frantically search. When at last they reunite, they share the wishes they have made and return home after an eventful day. Themes from the folk story are woven into this family tale, the expressive text seamlessly incorporating Japanese words into the narrative and dialogue. Backmatter includes the story of Tanabata Matsuri as well as information about food, decorations, and instructions on creating a tanzaku for wish making. The warm, rich palette alternates between deep hues of blue and red and more muted pastels, with a particularly eye-catching spread of fireworks. A satisfying family story that weaves together cultural practices and intergenerational connections.

Eyes That Kiss the Corners by Joanna Ho & Dung Ho
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

“A young Chinese American girl sees more than the shape of her eyes. In this circular tale, the unnamed narrator observes that some peers have ‘eyes like sapphire lagoons / with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns,’ but her eyes are different. She ‘has eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.’ Author Ho's lyrical narrative goes on to reveal how the girl's eyes are like those of other women and girls in her family, expounding on how each pair of eyes looks and what they convey. Mama's ‘eyes sparkl[e] like starlight,’ telling the narrator, ‘I'm a miracle. / In those moments when she's all mine.’ Mama's eyes, the girl observes, take after Amah's. While she notes that her grandmother's eyes ‘don't work like they used to,’ they are able to see ‘all the way into my heart’ and tell her stories. Here, illustrator Ho's spreads bloom with references to Chinese stories and landscapes. Amah's eyes are like those of the narrator's little sister. Mei-Mei's eyes are filled with hope and with admiration for her sister. Illustrator Ho's textured cartoons and clever use of light and shadow exude warmth and whimsy that match the evocative text. When the narrator comes to describe her own eyes and acknowledges the power they hold, she is posed against swirling patterns, figures, and swaths of breathtaking landscapes from Chinese culture… This tale of self-acceptance and respect for one's roots is breathtaking.”–Kirkus Reviews

My City Speaks by Darren LeBeuf
(Preschool – Grade 2)
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Libby

“Don't flip to the end and spoil the surprise (revealed in the blue bag Dad carries) as a blind, brown-skinned girl takes a journey with her dad in her busy city. Engaging all her senses, she must hear the city ‘speak’ to ‘see’ it in her mind. Using her cane, she navigates street crossings, curbs, and crowds while the city ‘rushes and stops . . . waits and goes . . . opens and shuts.’ On their trip, they feed the pigeons, play with dogs and kids at the playground, lick an ice cream cone, and ride the subway. Hasty honks, distant chimes, reliable rumbles, speedy sirens, and urgent clangs provide background noises as the pair make their way to their destination at a park for a concert performance. As for that surprise? Our talented girl is the solo violinist! The joyful artwork in cut-paper collage, watercolor, and acrylic gives a tactile pop to the colorful hustle and bustle of a child's day. A positive book featuring a blind character embracing her full life.” – Booklist

Ada and the Galaxies by Alan Lightman & Olga Pastachiv
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

“Ada, a city child, arrives at her grandparents' Maine cottage hoping to finally see stars in a night sky–one unobscured by urban lights and buildings. Alongside Ama and Poobah, Ada kayaks, examines moss, handles shells, spots a crab, and marvels at an osprey's nest, thinking of her stars all the while. Poobah tells her to watch the tidal waterline on a rock to track time; when the rock disappears, night has fallen. Lively, masterful watercolor illustrations capture Maine's exhilarating currents of wind and water, its spiky evergreen needles, knobby seaweed, and bristly bird feathers. They convey Ada's emotions too, through vignettes of her agonized squirms when evening fog blankets the stars. Chapman's impressive specificity dissolves in a magical, breathtaking spread of the fog, hovering all around the cottage at dusk, a murky, muted diffusion of evening light and moisture. Readers feel they're sitting alongside Ada as Poobah opens a book on galaxies to ameliorate her frustration, and together they admire real, seamlessly incorporated pictures photographed by the Hubble telescope. Ada twirls, emulating the swirl of a galaxy; she notes a crab in the shape of a constellation. Young readers will delight in seeing our universe's interconnectedness, and, later, when Ada's family dashes outside to spin in starlight, they will recognize the inextricable bonds among loved ones. All family members have light-brown skin and curly brown hair. Astonishing artwork shines.” – Kirkus Reviews

Areli Is a Dreamer by Areli Morales & Luisa Uribe
Areli es una Dreamer by Areli Morales & Luisa Uribe
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

In her debut children's book, a Dreamer recalls her journey from Mexico to New York and the subsequent reality of living as an undocumented immigrant. Areli's tale begins at Abuela's house, where days brim ‘with family and sunshine,’ delicious ‘mounds of tortillas and pollo con frijoles for supper,’ and calls from Mamí and Papí from America. It's an idyllic life, but it's undercut when Areli's big brother, Alex, born in America, returns to Nueva York, leaving Areli behind. Though Mamí and Papí work hard for ‘a better life,’ the days pass–Areli's birthday, Día de los Muertos, Navidad–with Areli separated from her family. Then one day Areli must leave Mexico and head to New York with a family friend. It's a time of difficult goodbyes for Areli, and in the span of a few wordless pages, Areli's in the midst of the ‘bigger and faster and noisier’ bustle of New York, reunited with her family. In scene after scene of Areli's life, Uribe's colorful yet muted artwork depicts the young Dreamer's voyage from Abuela's house to America with a lovely sense of restrained appreciation. Morales, a DACA recipient, spins an admirable third-person memoir that deeply resonates thanks to keen details that conjure moods with a few choice words. Although Areli's tale packs years of experiences in a tight 40-page picture book, the author maintains command of her readers' attention by translating a life-disrupting migration into a confident, heartfelt story. Key highlights include Areli's adjustment to life in America and an eye-opening trip to Ellis Island in the latter half of the book. Powerful in its cleareyed optimism. – Kirkus Reviews

My Rainbow by Trinity Neal, DeShanna Neal & Art Twink
(Preschool – Grade 2)
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Libby

“A loving mother helps her daughter express herself and feel like a rainbow. Trinity, an autistic, Black, transgender girl wishes she had long hair. But growing it out is a struggle because she hates hair touching her neck. Seeing her daughter's sadness, Trinity's mom, a Black cisgender woman with natural hair cropped close, listens to Trinity's concerns. At first, she tries to reassure Trinity that girls can wear their hair short, but Trinity still doesn't feel happy. Honoring the truth that Trinity knows herself best, Trinity's mom puts her love and devotion into creating a curly, teal, pink, and purple wig for Trinity, with some help from Trinity's older sibling. Richly colored and invitingly detailed full-spread illustrations that complement the story's title and theme accompany the text. The narrative centers a Black family whose members are depicted in the illustrations with skin that is a range of rich browns. In the midst of Trinity's struggle with her gender expression, her mom models listening and affirmation. She acknowledges that her own experiences with societal expectations of gender expression as a cisgender woman are different from Trinity's. Even as the story shifts to show Trinity's cisgender mother's perspective, Trinity's feelings remain the focus and her happiness the motivation. Apart from the use of person-first language (‘kids with autism’) instead of identity-first language, Neal and Neal emphasize that all aspects of Trinity's identity deserve celebration and make her a masterpiece… A revolutionary representation of joy and self-expression.” – Kirkus

Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor & Nabi H. Ali
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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“Zubi Chowdhury is thrilled about her first day of school. She's got a special outfit picked out: a pink shirt paired with overalls tailored in Bangladesh. She's got her hair in a special style: two bouncy, perfect pigtails. And she's got the perfect accessories: butterfly clips and bangles. Zubi feels gorgeous–but the rest of her Bangladeshi Muslim family doesn't. Her mother bemoans her large stomach, her older sister, Naya, is on a diet in preparation for the school dance, and her father frets about how much weight he's recently gained. Then, at school, Zubi's classmate Kennedy calls their classmate Alix fat. Zubi–who illustrations reveal is fat–has always loved her body, but after this onslaught of negative messaging at home and in the schoolyard, she wonders if she's deluding herself. At dinner, she decides to go on a diet. When she announces this to her family, her parents, siblings, and grandmother launch into a round of self-reflection that culminates in a frank conversation about what it really means to be beautiful. This warmly illustrated picture book features characters with varying body types, skin colors, and hair textures. Zubi's slow descent from self-confidence to self-doubt realistically brings to light the subtle messages children get from friends and family about which bodies are valued and which are not. Zubi's conversation with her family is a model for parents and children alike… A spunky and sincere picture book about body positivity.” – Kirkus Reviews

Fiona’s Lace by Patricia Polacco
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

“When the textile mill in Glen Kerry, Ireland, is closed, Fiona's family accepts passage to Chicago to work as servants for the family who paid their fares.Fiona spends the endless journey making lace as her mother taught her. She and her sister, Ailish, love the oft-told story of how their father met their mother, when she tied bits of her lace in a trail from the mill to her home so he could be introduced properly. Since the family gets no wages until they pay off their passages, the parents must take other jobs after hours, but Fiona's lace finds a market, and the family is able to save toward buying land in Michigan. But one evening, when Fiona is making lace and her parents are out working, a fire (the great Chicago fire of 1871) breaks out near their tenement. Fiona and Ailish escape with the lace, which Fiona uses to mark a path so their parents can find them, just as their father found their mother. Polacco weaves her themes well: immigrant history, family lore, poverty and oppression, and hope for the future. The greens of Ireland are beautifully pictured, and the dun and gray of the Chicago tenements are brightened by the sweetness of the lace patterns and the girls' red hair. Polacco's large and multiethnic family yields up another fine story, this one in greens and grays, lace and fire.” – Kirkus Reviews

A Sky-Blue Bench by Bahram Rahman & Peggy Collins
(Grades K-3)
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“An Afghan girl resourcefully finds a way to accommodate her new prosthesis. After losing her leg in an accident, Aria is finally ready to return to school with her new ‘helper-leg.’ But all the school benches have been used for firewood, requiring students to sit on the floor–which hurts Aria's leg terribly. In a montage of awkward positions, Aria attempts to alleviate her discomfort to no avail. Despite the other girls' skepticism, Aria resolves to build her own bench, insisting she ‘can do anything a boy can.’ When she consults kind carpenter Kaka Najar for help, he gives her tools and a can of sky-blue paint–the color of ‘courage, peace and…wisdom.’ With help from her mother, her little brother, and a friend, Aria proudly builds a bench and assures inspired classmates, ‘We can build everything we need, together!’ Gently but poignantly, Collins' richly hued, cartoon-style illustrations convey Aria's discomfort, determination, and joy; family members' and friends' warm eyes and sympathetic faces are reassuring. Background characters bustle in a rainbow of jewel-toned clothing, their faces bearing a variety of expressions. Though Aria's accident is unspecified in the simple primary text, an author's note reveals that Aria's story, partially based on Rahman's childhood during Afghanistan's civil war, honors Afghan children whose lives were changed forever by unexploded ordnance. Most characters' complexions, including Aria's, are varying shades of brown. A timely, eye-opening portrait of resilience, community, and hope.” – Kirkus Reviews

Hair Story by NoNieqa Ramos & Keisha Morris
(Grades K-3)
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“Born with the rich curls of their Black and Puerto Rican ancestors, respectively, Rudine and Preciosa are bright stars for their families. As they grow, their families help them try to tame their hair, but it always returns to its natural, free state. As Rudine and Preciosa look at their surroundings, they find inspiration in the strength of their families and friends, who wear their hair proudly like a crown. Readers will learn about individuals throughout history when Rudine and Preciosa stop to admire a wall depicting individuals who also had afros like theirs. The lovely collaged tissue paper illustrations provide a beautiful appearance of texture on each page, and convey the joy Rudine and Preciosa carry. Additional information about the individuals depicted in the mural is included, along with a glossary of selected words and phrases. VERDICT A lovely lesson in loving and having pride in oneself, perfect for fans of Matthew Cherry's Hair Love and for any shelf seeded with positive messaging.” – School Library Journal

Powwow Day by Traci Sorell & Madelyn Goodnight
(Preschool – Grade 3)
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Libby

“In this contemporary story, an Indigenous tradition inspires hope in a young girl. Powwow Day, a Native American social gathering, arrives, but River is still recovering from an unnamed illness and feels too weak to dance. Dressed in her jingle dress and matching moccasins, she longs to join her family and friends in the Grand Entry procession. She hears the drums–“BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM”–and watches the elders enter the circle with flags and feathers. The fancy dancers “twirl and ribbons whirl,” while the “grass dancers sway and weave themselves around the circle,” but River can't “feel the drum's heartbeat,” and her “feet stay still.” The emcee calls for the jingle dress dancers to enter the arena. Although River needs the ceremonial healing dance, she can't do it. Thankfully, River's friend says she will dance for her. The rows of shiny cones on the dresses make music as the jingle dancers move: “clink, clink, clink.” The girls “dance for the Creator, the ancestors, their families, and everyone's health.” Watching her sister, cousins, and friend dance, River's heart begins to open and conviction enters her soul. She finally feels the drumbeat fully, but is it her time to dance? Goodnight's vibrant, energetic digital illustrations capture the beauty and intricacy of powwow regalia as well as the unique atmosphere of a powwow gathering. Together, the artwork and text sensitively portray and celebrate a powerful ritual that upholds the culture, healing traditions, and creative spirit of Native American communities. No specific tribe is mentioned in the story, though the backmatter mentions the Ponca and Omaha tribes. A heartwarming picture book about the roles of courage, culture, and community in the journey of personal healing.” – Kirkus Reviews

When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling & Aaron Asis
(Preschool – Grade 2)
Library Catalog

“How do I know summer is here?” asks a brown-skinned girl as she awaits her grandmother's arrival from the Philippines. From the minute Lola arrives, clad in red spectacles and a light green pangbahay dress, her granddaughter's world teems with the smells and tastes of Filipino food (‘It smells like suman steaming on the stove for afternoon merienda and tiny red chilies spilling into sizzling sisig’) and intimate familial moments (‘rolling hundreds of lumpia’). In turn, the narrating child shares quiet self-achievements (‘blue silence when I'm finally able to float by myself for the first time ever’) and seasonal activities from her American home, such as harvesting limes and picnicking under Fourth of July fireworks. Asis's (Soaring Saturdays) unlined illustrations in earthy hues and vibrant greens lend the tale a bright, summery feel. Debut author Sterling blends Filipino traditions with popular U.S. summer activities, creating a tender story celebrating culture shared between generations.” – Publisher’s Weekly

Nibi’s Water Song by Sunshine Tenasco & Chief Lady Bird
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

“An enthusiastic but thirsty Anishinabe girl and her French bulldog search everywhere looking for clean water to drink. After playing outside, Nibi and her dog go inside for a nice, cool drink of water. Brown, sludgy water pours from the tap. They run to the river, but even the fish says, ‘You can't drink this dirty water!’ Nibi and the dog go to the next town and run along a street with ‘big, shiny houses.’ She knocks on doors until a lady hands Nibi a small bottle of water. But the water's gone too quickly! She tries again, at that house and the others. ‘KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK!’ But no one answers. She paints a sign: ‘Water Is Life / I Am Thirsty.’ Soon, her friends join her. They make their own signs, and Nibi's quest becomes a peaceful protest. (Even her dog carries a sign: ‘Woof!’) They march in the town with the big, shiny houses, and its people join in, and finally, lawmakers listen. Before long, the river is clear, and clean water runs from the taps. Water activist Tenasco (Anishinabe) effectively uses Nibi's dilemma to illustrate a larger point. Nibi's song–’I am thirsty, thirsty Nibi / and I need water!’–acts as an urgent refrain. Lively, colorful illustrations from Chief Lady Bird (Chippewa and Potawatomi) add to the energy of the story, incorporating stylized fish and flower motifs into the clean-lined illustrations of the brown-skinned, pigtailed girl. One gutsy girl leads the way.” – Kirkus Reviews

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker & April Harrison
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

“Grandparent's Day is fast approaching and Zura's classmates are very excited. Alejo is bringing in his abuelo, an amazing fisherman, who will teach the children how to catch fish. Bisou's mimi is a dentist and is going to give each child a toothbrush. Zura, on the other hand, has great anxiety about introducing her beloved nana Akua to her friends. Nana grew up in Ghana and has permanent tribal markings on her face and Zura has begun to notice that these scars can scare people. She is fearful that her classmates won't understand and will laugh and be mean to her beloved grandmother. After Zura confesses her distress, she and her nana come up with a plan. On the day of the celebration, they show the class different tribal symbols utilizing a handmade quilt and then ask the children to choose one for nana to paint on their faces. Everyone is thrilled. Mixed-media collage illustrations are the perfect medium to showcase this endearing tale. VERDICT This lovely story explores the perennial fear of being different, while showcasing the great love between a grandparent and grandchild. Pair this with Joowon Oh's Our Favorite Day for a winning story hour. Strongly recommended for purchase for all collections.” – School Library Journal

A Bear for Bimi by Jane Breskin Zalben & Yevgenia Nayberg
(Grades K-3)
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Libby

A family from another country moves into Evie's neighborhood. Everyone warmly welcomes them except for one person who has a different perspective. Evie, whose family is White and Jewish, is very curious about the Saids. The parents and child have dark brown skin and are Muslim. Evie's parents confirm that the newcomers, refugees or immigrants, are similar to her own Jewish grandparents. Bimi, the kid in the Said family, is timid the first time he meets Evie. However, they quickly become friends. On moving day, Evie's father, who wears a kippah, helps with carrying boxes, then everyone in the neighborhood contributes items to the new home. The neighbors, diverse in skin color, dress, age, and religion, gather around the Saids' table for a festive meal that weekend. But Mrs. Monroe, a White woman, is missing. Both sets of parents, independently, try to explain to Evie and Bimi what may be behind the neighbor's strange looks and behavior toward the Saids. Throughout the story, the Saids, albeit mostly on the receiving end of help, actively participate in shaping their world, including eventually winning over Mrs. Monroe with kindness and humor. Nayberg's jewel-toned paintings play with perspective and angle, compositions and figuring emphasizing emotion rather than strict realism. An author's note and instructions for making a stuffed bear conclude the book. A lovely story about friendship, welcoming the other, and winning people's hearts with kindness.

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