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I love my hair!

i love my hairEvery night before she goes to bed, Keyana sits down between her mother’s knees to have her hair combed. But no matter how gently Mama pulls, it sometimes still hurts! Keyana doesn’t feel lucky to have such a head of hair, but Mama says she is because she can wear it any way she chooses. This is a wonderful book about self-acceptance for black girls with natural hair. The little girl as a black doll which I found wonderful, especially knowing how difficult it is to find black dolls in Canada (where I live). It is sometimes difficult for black girls to accept and love their hair as it naturally grows out of their head for various reasons. I believe lack of positive representation greatly contributes to this phenomenon. Young girls as little as 4 or 5 years old sometimes refuse to wear their hair a certain way because none of their friends do, and they never see hair like theirs on TV. This book can contribute to build self-esteem in young girls. It also gives them a positive representation of themselves, which is often lacking in popular media.

Author(s) / illustrator(s) : Natasha Anastasia Tarpley & E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication date: 1998
ISBN: 0316522759
Target audience: 4 to 8 years old

Learn more about American author Natasha Anastasia Tarpley 

natasha tarpley

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Elizabeti’s Doll

elizabetiA rock can be whatever a child imagines. In this sweet, beautifully illustrated story, a young Tanzanian girl desperately wants a doll to love and care for, and she finds the perfect one, in the form of a rock. This book beautifully illustrates the naive imagination of a child and the love of a mother for her daughter. What is a young girl to do when her only plaything is a rond-shaped rock? When her baby brother is born, Elizabeti looks at her mom and wants to imitate her as she takes care of her new-born. Wonderful illustrations of a loving family living in a rural area.

Author(s) / illustrator(s): Stephanie Stuve Dodeen & Christy Hale
Publishing company: Lee and Low Books
Publication date: 1998
ISBN: 1880000709
Target audience: 3 to 6 years old.

*An Ezra Jack Keats Book Award

You might also like: Dessine!, a wordless book on the power of imagination.

Did you know that Mistikrak is on FACEBOOK?

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Jamaica’s find

jamaica's findJamaica finds a stuffed dog at the playground and after taking him home without trying to find the owner discovers her conscience as well. Jamaica’s honest and appealing character inspired five more books, each about a childhood ethical dilemma.

Hum. I have conflicted feelings about this book. It was an amazing story, one from which children will learn a lot about right and wrong, and empathy. Beautifully written and accompanied by soft realistic water-painted illustrations. The audio book did a great job with musical arrangement and sound effects. The sound of birds chirping and steps on the ground and wind blowing in trees truly draws the reader in the story. There are two tracks: one with page turn signals, and the other without. The signal itself is not too strong, just enough not to disturb the fluidity of the reading. The thing that I did not like was the actual book. For a twentieth annyversary edition, I at least expect nice flyleafs and a hard cover. At least. The soft covers and the ads at the end of the book really diminishes the quality of the book. Such a shame. Still. This is a very, very nice story.

❤ this book!

Author(s) / illustrator(s) : Junita Havill & Anne Sibley O’Brien
Publisher: Reading Rainbow Book (Houghton Mifflin Company)
Publication date: 2009, 1986
ISBN: 9780395453575
Target audience: 5 to 7 years old

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My best friend

best friendIt’s summer, and Lily spends lots of time at the community pool, where she sees tamika. Lily decides that Tamika will be her new best friend. Only, Tamika already has a best friend, and no matter how hard lily tries, she can’t seem to impress Tamika. But without Tamika, who will be Lily’s best friend?

This book marvelously captures the essence of the innocence of childhood, the difficulty of making new friends and the perks of growing up. The hyper-realistic water-color illustrations are so vivid it almost looks like you, the reader, are by the pool by Lily and Tamika’s side. A very poignant story of one little black girl’s summer. Amazingly good book. Highly recommended!

❤ this book!

*Ezra Jack Keats Award

Author(s) / Illustrator(s) : Mary Ann Rodman & E. B. Lewis
Publishing company: Penguin Group
Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0670059897
Target audience: 4 à 8 ans
You might likre: Freedom summer, the story of two young boys, one white, one black, and the summer when a new anti-segregation law changed their lives.

Learn more about illustrator E. B. Lewis

lewis

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Jamaica and the substitute teacher

jamaica teacherJamaica likes the substitute teacher, Mrs. Duval, right away. So when there’s a spelling test, of course Jamaica wants to please her by spelling all the words right. But this time something goes wrong and Jamaica has to make an important decision. . . . What will Mrs. Duval think of her now?

The book really captures the essence of childhood. I could almost bring myself back to my first grade class as I was reading this book. I love the Jamaica books. And she every much so ressembles me: black, braided hair with colorful ornaments. All Jamaica books teaches a valuable lesson to young children about right or wrong. Here, Jamaica wants to please the substitute teacher so bad that she copies from a friend during the test. Mrs Duval helps her understand that she does not have to be perfect to be special. Although the book was published more than 15 years ago, it does not really show and can easily be read to today’s children. Highly recommended.

❤ this book!

Author(s) / illustrator(s) : Junita Havill & Anne Sibley O’Brien
Publisher: Reading Rainbow Book (Houghton Mifflin Company)
Publication date: 2009, 1986
ISBN: 9780395453575
Target audience: 6 to 8 years old
You might like: Jamaica’s find

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Freedom summer

freedom summerJoe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they’re different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn’t allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there . . .  only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people’s hearts… This stirring account of the “Freedom Summer” that followed the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 powerfully and poignantly captures two boys’ experience with racism and their friendship that defied it.

I absolutely loved this book. What wonderful and realistic illustrations that marvelously capture this one summer between two friends. It was a pleasure to read and to follow the lives of the boys and witness how the end of segregation affected their friendship. This is a intime story set in a very important moment in the United States recent history. A must read.

❤ this book!

*Ezra Jack Keats award, 2002

freedom-summer-9781481422987_in03

Author(s) / illustrator(s) : Deborah Wiles & Jerome Lagarrigue
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 2001
ISBN: 9780689878299
Target audience: 7 to 11 years old

Learn more about french-american illustrator Jérôme Lagarrigue:

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Going North

51FZ7eeu60L__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Leaving behind Big Mama, loving relatives, and the familiar red soil and cotton fields of Alabama, Jessie and her family are going north to Nebraska. They are pioneers searching for a better life, one with decent schools and jobs. But traveling through the segregated South is difficult for an African American family in the 1960s. With most public places reserved for « whites only, » where will they stop to get gas and food?

The illustrations, rich with warm colours and paint strokes, really make this book stand out. The story is a wonderful tale of growing up black in during the 1960s in southern United States. This book coul dbe used as a started point to a discussion about US history or race relations. The CD was pretty plain, I wished it would have included some sound effects like the sound of tires against the pavement, the « taw-whomp » of Big Mama chruning the butter, or the sound of crickets singing in a deep dark night, half-way through the road-trip. That said, the narration by the actor was great. I love historical everyday stories, and « Going north » is one of them. Very poetic.

Author(s) / illustrator(s) : Janice N. Harrington & Jerome Lagarrigue
Publishing company: Melanie Kroupa Books
Publication: 2004
ISBN: 0374326819
Target audience: 6 to 8 years old.

Did you enjoy this book? Let me know in the comments section!