Friday, June 30, 2017

on the radio...

my commentary "A Four Year Old Helps Her Mother Speak Out" on NEPR  is, of course, inspired by Rain Dragon

So, it looks like being a commentator for NEPR is going to be kind of a sort-of regular gig for me.  Just in case you missed it, last week I recorded this commentary,  "A Four Year Old Helps Her Mother Speak Out," featuring my post election thoughts (some of you may recognize it as an adaptation of my be brave post early in the year).

Hope you like it!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Community Book Stop: Part 2

Making the Book Stop for Rain Dragon's preschool was a multi-step process and needed a team effort. I am so glad there were so many on the Diversity Committee that stepped up to be a part of it!  Here we are, hard at work:


What are we doing? Well, first, in the front of the book,  we are sticking in these reading suggestions. They are general tips to help parents share the story with their kids, just in case they are feeling a little uncomfortable:

And in the back of the book, we are sticking in these little blank notebooks:

These are so parents can write down their impressions of the book to help the next reader!

This part of the project was really important, at least to me!  Because, to me, the books are not enough. Just having them is good, but sharing them--really sharing them-- by having parents and kids observing and discussing...that is what building bonds and a community is about. And  the true purpose of the whole thing!

Want to know what our suggestion sheet said? Here you go: 

Enjoy this book from the Community Book Stop! Sharing a book with your child is a wonderful adventure!

Every child is unique, and children come to these conversations at different times and in different ways. There is no one right way to read with your child, but if you are looking for suggestions, below are some you may find helpful.

1.Don't be afraid to bring up challenging subjects.
Even if you may be uncomfortable, it is better to talk about it with your child.

2. Stop to answer your child’s questions.

 Even if you do not know how to answer at that moment, think of it as the start of many conversations.
3. Pause to ask your child questions.
Help involve your child in the story by asking them things like, “What do you think will happen?”, “How does this make you feel?” “What do you notice here?”

4. Accept and honor your child’s responses.

 There is no wrong way for your child to interpret a story. Use it as a learning moment.
5. Consider talking about how your child could relate to the story. What things are familiar? What things are new?

Use these suggestions during or after your reading, don’t be afraid to reread this book many times. Each reading may spark new conversations.

At the back of this book you’ll see a space for you to record your thoughts and ideas. Please share them with our community!

Maybe you can use it to help make a Book Stop of your own?  Hope so! Stay tuned to see what we did next!

Monday, June 19, 2017

on my desk monday

It's been a long, long time since I've illustrated another author's words...but I'm doing it now! I'm going to be illustrating an updated version of this old book:


Doesn't look familiar? Well, does the author ring a bell?


Yes! It's that Eleanor Roosevelt! I'm honored to say that I will be the illustrator of an updated version of "When You Grow Up to Vote" by Eleanor Roosevelt!

It's going to be a bit of a challenge for me--I didn't realize how rusty I was being "only the illustrator" until now. But, hopefully, I can rise to the occasion...wish me luck!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

School visit, Slingerland NY!

Here is another school visit I did, all the way back in April! This one was in Slingerlands, NY where they did a One Book, One School Read (my favorite thing!) of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon:

Why do I love visiting schools that do this so much? Well, because the kids there are so awesome:

Of course, they are taught to be so awesome by their amazing teachers and librarians who take my little book and turn it into a school-wide opportunity for learning and community building.

For example, they used the idea of the red thread and had students draw who they were connected to:

They even had a red thread  wrap on all the walls of the school to show everyone was connected...with the red thread ended at a mountain, of course.

And this is the first time I've ever seen a class use my TEDx Talk as part of their lesson curriculum. Kids reflected on which parts of the books were like a window and which parts were like a mirror:

As well as pinpointing and illustrating the figurative language in the book:


Oh, and there were also goldfish swimming in the halls:

And, after the visit,  I received this:

Did I mention how the kids were so awesome? Thanks so much, Slingerlands!

Monday, June 12, 2017

School Visit Photo Album

My school visit season is winding down and I'm a bit aghast at how little I posted about them. Dear schools, please know it is not a reflection on how much I enjoyed our event! Because I have visited so many amazing schools that have welcomed me in such creative and fun ways! I love seeing how every school uses my books!

Here are some examples of some schools I visited in April:

There were beautiful welcomes and decorations:

beautiful Kite Flying kites!
look at all the details!

One school had a giant mountain & moon, with student-made goldfish all over the school "leading" the way to it:

And there's my first lego welcome sign:

lego Dragon!
Sometimes the artistic talent shown just put me to shame:

And the projects! Like I said, SO creative. At one school,  kids made "baseball" trading cards of all the characters in Where the Mountain Meets the Moon:

and postcards to and from  characters in the book:

I find this so funny! The Buffalo sending a peeved postcard to the Buffalo Boy because Minli came over.

the goldfish asking Aunt Jin if she's a dragon yet.

And then there were old fashioned book reports done so elaborately and with so much care that they was nothing old fashioned about it...this one actually lit up:

And there's lots more! I just have to get my act together and share them! Thank you, students, teachers and librarians for being so awesome!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Community Book Stop, Part 1

For the past month the foyer in my daughter's preschool has looked like this:

It's the planned location of the Community Book Stop project I mentioned earlier!  We had a book drive asking for parents to purchase or donate the books on our booklist. We crowdsourced it from parents, teachers, and online booklists from libraries and educational journals. Every time a books was donated, we checked it off from the list. It was super fun to see more and more checkmarks everyday!

Do you want to see our booklist? Here it is! Of course, this is just the start of our small library--we hope it will grow and grow in the years to come. So, if you have any suggestions of books to add or see books that we missed, please let me know (fyi, the school is a preschool so the books should skew very young).

And stay tuned to see photos of the finished project!


Faith by Maya Ajmera
Besos for Babies: A Little Book of Kisses by Jen Arena (board)
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie
Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian
I Can Do It Too! By Karen Baicker (board)
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang (board)
The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de le Peña
Chirri & Chirra by Kaya Doi
Abuela by Arthur Dorros
Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle
Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
Monster Trouble by Lane Fredrickson
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox (board)
Whoever You Are (board) by Mem Fox
By Day, By Night by Amy Gibson
Global Babies by The Global Fund for Children (board)
Global Baby Bedtime by The Global Fund for Children (board)
Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall
The Hello Atlas by Ben Handicott
Ganesha's Sweet Tooth by Emily Haynes 
Hush: A Thai Lullaby by Minfong Ho
Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
Happy to be Nappy by Bell Hooks (board)
Be Boy Buzz by Bell Hooks (board)
Skin Again by Bell Hooks
Say Hello! By Rachel Isadora (board)
Julius by Angela Johnson
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats (board)
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
Hooray, a Piñata! by Elisa Kleven (paperback)
Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang
Dim Sum For Everyone! by Grace Lin (board)
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin
I Once was a Monkey: Stories Buddha Told by Jeanne M. Lee
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Kitchen Dance by Maurie Manning
Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. & John Archambault 
Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
Leo Can Swim by Anna McQuinn
Mango, Abuela and Me by Meg Medina
Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon
Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers (board)
I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer
Gracias/Thanks by Pat Mora
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
A is for Activist by Innosanta Nagara (board)
Counting on Community by Innosanta Nagara (board)
Eight Candles and a Tree by Simone Bloom Nathan
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien
Tickle, Tickle by Helen Oxenbury (board)
The Adventures of Sparrowboy by Brian Pinkney
This Day in June by Gayle E.Pitman
The Family Book by Todd Parr
Shade of Black: A Celebration of Our Children by Sandra L. Pinkney (board)
What does Peace feel like? By Vladimir Radunsky
Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson (board)
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
We Came to America by Faith Ringgold
Shades of People by Sheila M. Kelly
All my Stripes: A Story for Children with Autism by Shaina Rudolph
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs
One Family by George Shannon
My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith (board)
Elizabeti’s Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
Toddler Two (board) by Anastasia Suen
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson
Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh
Little You by Richard Van Camp (board)
We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp (board)
Delores Huerta: A Hero to Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford
 Circles of Hope by Karen Lynn Williams
“More More More,” Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams (board)
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis
Wangari's Trees of Peace: A True Story from Africa by Jeanette Winter
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Puddle by Hyewon Yum
Not all Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen