Each month, the Briarcrest PTA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee will highlight a children’s book in each PTA newsletter that we think can be a powerful jumping off point for meaningful conversations with our kids. Over the course of the year, we hope to spotlight books that cover issues such as race and racism, immigration and multilingualism, gender and sexuality, disability, and more. We also will feature books that appeal to different age/grade levels. We are open for suggestions of topics and books so let us know if you know of a great book!
January 2022 Book
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin, by Julia Finley Mosca; Illustrated by Daniel Rieley
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures is a heart-felt book which uses engaging illustrations and rhyme to tell the story of Dr. Temple Grandin. This book, appropriate for kindergarten and up, explores themes of autism and neurodivergence in affirming ways through the true story of acclaimed scientist, author, and speaker Temple Grandin. We learn about the ways in which Temple was different from her peers, even as a young child: she loved to spin and watch things spin, she was bothered by loud noises and scratchy tags, and she didn’t talk until she was 3.5 years old. As readers, we get a sense of how hard things could be for Temple – doctors and teachers who didn’t believe in her, peers who didn’t understand her – but we also see the support she was given by her parents and by other teachers who stood up for her and helped her discover her passion and talent for science. Ultimately, she comes to understand how the different ways she sees the world are a strength, and uses her talents to explore science, connect with animals, study animal behavior, and ultimately work as a scientist to make farms more humane. We highly recommend checking out this beautiful book about a really inspiring human, and talking with your kids about autism and neurodivergence.
YouTube Read Aloud
Temple Grandin’s Website
November 2021 Book
Children’s Book Spotlight: Dreamers/Soñadores, by Yuyi Morales
This month, we’re featuring Dreamers/Soñadores, a beautiful picture book that fosters conversation with children about the journeys and the bravery of immigrant families, the magic of books, and the challenges and joys of learning a new language. In this award-winning autobiographical picture book, artist and author Yuyi Morales brings to life her own journey to the United States with her infant son. Her vivid illustrations recall her feelings of being lost in a new land, struggling over language and unsure of the unspoken rules. This begins to change when she finds the public library. This place, at first suspicious, becomes a gateway to the impossible, unimaginable, wondrous dream of a new life and language. Throughout, Spanish and English mix together, just as the gifts that Yuyi has brought from Mexico accompany her and her son into the unfamiliar world of the San Francisco Bay Area. Dreamers is a powerful statement that immigrants don’t leave their languages and cultures behind while they explore new worlds.
October 2021 Book
Great Books to Talk About Race and Equity With Kids
Children’s Book Spotlight: The Day You Begin/El día en que descubres quien eres, by Jacqueline Woodson
For our first book, we’re choosing The Day You Begin/El día en que descubres quien eres, by Jacqueline Woodson. This beautifully illustrated book, available in both English and Spanish, talks directly to children about how it feels when suddenly you are looked at as an outsider because of your skin, hair, home language, or the “different” food you bring for lunch. We chose this book for our first spotlight because it speaks so directly to feelings of not belonging (so relevant at the beginning of a new school year!), and features diverse characters who realize that they can connect across their different identities and experiences. It also is a wonderful introduction to author Jacqueline Woodson, whose work spans children’s and young adult fiction and tackles a range of challenging issues with depth and brilliance.
Youtube Read Aloud in Spanish
Youtube Read Aloud in English