Tag Archives: bullying

Imani’s Moon

21 Oct

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Imani’s Moon written by JaNay Brown-Wood and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell (2014)

Imani was the smallest child in her village. The other children teased her, but her mama told her stories at night which lifted her spirits. One night Mama told her the story of Olapa, the goddess of the moon who won a mighty battle against the god of the sun. That night Imani dreamed that she fought with Olapa and protected the people of the earth. The next day, Imani was determined to touch the moon but she fell from a tree. The following day, Imani built a pair of wings but she crashed into a tree on her first flight. The day after that, Imani watched warriors jump and decided to jump to the moon herself. She jumped all day and into the night, and with one final jump she landed on the moon. Olapa praised her and gave her a moon rock to take home with her. That night, Imani told her mother a story, her story, about a girl who believed she could touch the moon.

JaNay Brown-Wood tells the story of a little girl with big dreams. Set in Africa, in Kenya, in a village of the Maasai people, Imani’s story is told. Rich in language and culture of the people, Imani learns that you must believe in yourself if you want to accomplish something as wonderful as touching the moon. And JaNay Brown-Wood, believed she could write a book for children, and she did! This is her first picture book.

Hazel Mitchell brings Imani’s world to life through her beautiful illustrations. The innocence of Imani’s spirit, the faith of her mother, and the doubt of the unbelievers feel as real as if they were standing in front of you. Hazel Mitchell gives even the animals, human qualities and gives the readers rich details in each scene.

I love this new picture book! It speaks so gently and eloquently to the young reader. It gives children a story in which faith and determination are equally important in reaching one’s goals.

The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade

10 Oct

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The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade written by Justin Roberts and illustrated by Christian Robinson (2014)

Sally McCabe was the smallest girl in the smallest grade. And no body noticed her, but she noticed everything. Sally McCabe was paying ‘super extra special attention’ to everything around her. She noticed the kite stuck in the tree, she noticed that the janitor had 27 keys on his keyring, and she noticed all the bullying going on in her school. She noticed when Tommy Torino was tripped in the hall and when Kevin McKuen got pushed off the slide. She noticed when Billy was dragged away by his much larger father. She noticed all the stares and whispers behind people’s backs. Then one day, Sally McCabe had enough. She raised her hand in the lunchroom and announced, “I’m tired of seeing this terrible stuff. Stop hurting each other! This is enough!” And surprisingly, one after another, other hands went up in the air. Students, teachers, and even the principal all raised their hands with their fingers in the air. Everyone felt that moment, and soon people began taking care of each other and being polite to one another.

Justin Roberts, of children’s music fame and the Not Ready 4 Naptime Players, has captured the essence of bullying that is many times considered too small to matter and often goes unnoticed. He gives voice to the smallest, who are often the ones who do notice but are afraid to stand up.

Christian Robinson, illustrator of Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell, Rain by Linda Ashman, and Harlem’s Little Blackbird by Renee Watson, brings the simplicity of this message through simple drawings. The faces look like they have been drawn by the children themselves (in a good way) with circular heads, dot eyes, round noses and single lined smiles. The pictures look like crayon drawings, leaving the reader ample room to focus on the message. Every detail is clear and unmistakeable.

I love the last line of the book best, “And how the world could transform and a change could be made by the smallest girl in the smallest grade.” Hooray for Justin Roberts and Christian Robinson!

The Monster Who Lost His Mean

24 Apr

The Monster Who Lost His Mean

written by Tiffany Strelitz Haber and illustrated by Kirstie Edmunds

(2012 – debut picture book)

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See that sweet little green monster on the cover? That’s Onster, the monster who lost his mean when the M in the word monster went missing. Without his M, Onster wasn’t mean anymore. The problem is that he is no longer accepted in his monster world. The other monsters tease him and refuse to associate with him. Onster tries looking for his M, but he can’t find it anywhere. Onster tries to pretend being mean, but he just can’t pull it off. Finally Onster accepts his newfound identity and finds acceptance with his new friends.

Tiffany Strelitz Haber’s story is just right for little ones. It tells Onster’s tale in rhythm and rhyme without losing the essence of the story. And Kirstie Edmunds’ illustrations are so detailed that children (and adults) will be scouring each page with Onster searching for the missing M.

Tiffany Strelitz Haber second book, Ollie and Claire will be out soon, and I’ll be first in line to get a copy.

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