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Need Halloween costume ideas? We’re here to help! There are three things we love most here at the First Book office:

  1. Providing books and educational resources to educators & children in underserved communities.
  2. Reading.
  3. Dressing up.

We’re proud to wear our fandom for children’s literature on our sleeves (literally). Here’s a few costume ideas from First Book staff parties of Halloweens past!

  • What kind of underwear do vegetables wear? A few years ago, our Marketplace department gave us a “brief” explanation when they dressed as the characters from the picture book Vegetables in Underwear.
  • What’s that sound? It’s the animals on the farm writing letters on a typewriter! Our Executive team dressed as characters from the classic picture book Click, Clack, Moo.
  • Inspired by Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical and Green Eggs & Ham, our Marketing & Communications department dressed as the cast of Green Eggs & Hamilton (starring Alexander SamIamilton).
  • For a deeper dive into history, pick up Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. Three years ago, our Publisher & Author Relations team dressed as their favorite characters in the series!
  • People have the misconception that being a penguin is all fun & games. Not so, as illustrated by the book, Penguin Problems. Our Marketplace team loved this picture book so much they dressed as all its characters last Halloween!
  • While not technically a book, our Member Services department dressed as a “Reading Rainbow” in honor of our partners & the creators of Skybrary School®!

We hope we’ve inspired your own Halloween fun! Keep an eye on our Facebook page to see what costumes we’ll wear this year!

Happy Halloween from your friends at First Book!

The post Halloween Costume Ideas from First Book Staff appeared first on First Book Blog.

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Children’s books are not just for children. As educators and program leaders, children’s and young adult books can be an essential tool to help you learn how to connect with the children you serve. By reading the books that they are interested in, you gain insight into what kids are going through, what matters to them, and how they see the world.

These books can be powerful conversation starters. First Book experts have curated a great section of books that deal with specific, difficult life experiences. These books can help you breach tough topics like grief, violence, divorce, and so much more.

Even if you are not you are searching for issue books, reading children’s books can be just plain fun. You can find quality writing, and soon enough you’ll be able to recommend awesome new titles to your kids.

Here are some of our favorite books that readers of all ages will love: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope.

—- This story is about to hit the big screen. The movie adaptation, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, comes out on November 17th. This is THE book adults should read. Everyone will be buzzing about it at Thanksgiving!

Check out the Official Movie Trailer below:

Wonder (2017 Movie) Official Trailer – #ChooseKind – Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson - YouTube

Flying Lessons & Other Stories Stories by various authors, edited by Ellen Oh

Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

—- This collection features work from some of the great literary minds of our time: Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson. It is both humorous as it is heartfelt.

It Takes A Village by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s first picture book tells a heartwarming and universal story of how a community coming together—believing in each other, helping each other, and sharing burdens and joys—can make a difference.

—- This book is the epitome of a children’s book for adults. It is inspired by her New York Times bestselling book It Takes a Village and is illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee. With Frazee’s beautiful illustrations, it tackles abstractions that can serve as a great conversation starter.

Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring

This stand-out picture book biography follows iconic artist Keith Haring from his days doodling in his childhood home to his meteoric rise as one the most influential artists of the late ’70s and ’80s. This biography sheds light on Keith’s great humanity, his concern for children, and his disregard for the establishment art world.

—- This story will make you want to grab a pen and paper. It is a reminder that art should be accessible to all. Written by Keith’s sister, Kay, it features reproductions of his original artwork. Haring fans of all ages will love this book.

The War That Saved My Life  by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the World War II, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

—-  This book is an exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds. It is an honest account of the long-term impacts of neglect and abuse, as well as, living life with a disability. The sequel, The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, is also available on the First Book Marketplace.

Hour of the Bees

by Lindsay Eagar

While her friends are spending their summers having pool parties and sleepovers, twelve-year-old Carolina—Carol—is spending hers in the middle of the New Mexico desert, helping her parents move the grandfather she’s never met into a home for people with dementia. The thin line between magic and reality starts to blur as he tells her crazy stories about bees that will bring back the rain.

—-  As a girl finds magic in the real world, she learns about her family and comes to embrace her roots. This is book is from the same vein as Tuck Everlasting; it is absolutely mesmerizing.

For more titles, explore the curated section of Children’s Books for Adults on the First Book Marketplace at http://www.fbmarketplace.org/great-childrens-books-for-adults

The post Great Children’s Books for Adults appeared first on First Book Blog.

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“The biggest draw was that the event was not put on FOR the parents, it was put on by the parents with the support of the school community.” – Tiffany Coulson, Volunteer

We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 Estela & Raúl Mora AwardMattawa Elementary School of the Wahluke School District in Mattawa, Washington! They put on a fantastic Día celebration this year, and with the help of parents and several community partners, spread bookjoy to the children they serve.

The Mora Award was established by author and poet Pat Mora and her siblings in honor of their parents, and recognizes outstanding schools/programs that celebrate Día (Children’s Day, Book Day) as a way of connecting all children to bookjoy and promoting literacy all year round.

Mattawa Elementary school is part of an small community located almost three hours away from Seattle. The tiny town is home to the highest percentage of people born in Mexico than anywhere in the US. 95% of the community is Hispanic with a small percentage of Caucasian farmer families and members of the Wanapum Native American tribe.

Although most of the students’ parents work in the agricultural industry and were awake since dawn, over 200 people showed up to the school’s Día celebration. The whole community was invited; the turnout was huge for a school of 500 students.

According to First Book community member Tiffany Coulson, the biggest barrier to interaction among families in their area is that a lot of them speak different languages. She told us that, “All of the activities planned welcomed both monolingual English or Spanish speakers as well as bilingual families so everyone could participate together without the stigma of language differences.”

The after-school event was three hours and, according Coulson, it had something for everyone. They had an authentic taco dinner, an outside bounce house, a soccer obstacle course where kids could earn prizes, dancing, a coloring station, Lotería (a game of chance similar to bingo), carnival games, and a raffle. The school library also held a book giveaway – if a student brought a parent or caregiver to the library and they read a book together, each child in the family could take home a free book!

Kids playing lotería

“The event focused on drawing parents to the school library to see the collection of Spanish and bilingual books available to their children.  Circulation for these titles is low – we wanted children and parents to understand the importance of reading books together in both English and their heritage language,” Coulson said.

The school recently received a Laura Bush grant for their library and were able to purchase multicultural graphic novels, bilingual books, and a collection to honor the cultural heritage of the local Wanapum tribe.

Last year, a community survey showed that 60% of parents had never been to a library, although 80% expressed an interest of being able to browse books with their children. “In a community where 95% of families are Hispanic, multicultural books are essential to connecting home and school,” Coulson said.

Mattawa Elementary School will receive a $1,000 credit for brand new books from the First Book Marketplace, as well as a Mora Award plaque to be displayed in their school.

__________________________________
We would also like to congratulate our two Honor Award recipients, Safford K-8 School in Tucson, Arizona, and John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo, California. Both organizations will receive a $500 credit for brand new books from the First Book Marketplace.

Thank you to everyone who showed interest and/or submitted applications for this year’s Estela and Raúl Mora Award. We received over 100 applications – the highest number of submissions in the award’s 17-year history! Thank you for celebrating Children’s Day, Book Day by linking books to kids and spreading bookjoy!

The post The 2017 Mora Award Winners: A Día to Remember appeared first on First Book Blog.

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October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and thousands of schools, organizations, and communities across the country are mobilizing to educate kids about the serious consequences of bullying, and techniques to prevent it.

From PACER, founders of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month:

National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. This campaign has grown from an initial week-long event to a worldwide effort with thousands of individuals participating in multiple activities throughout October.

First Book has curated a collection of books for all ages that address bullying and can be used to start tough conversations in classrooms or programs. These five books are just a few of our favorites that will help young readers grow into empathetic citizens:

We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio

The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, soon to be a major motion picture, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kindness to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

Real Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness.

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way by Luis J. Rodriguez

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way is a compelling tale of a young boy’s encounter with the world of gangs—a world that author Luis J. Rodríguez knows firsthand. Through his mesmerizing true-to-life story and the dynamic illustrations of artist Daniel Galvez, we see how Monchi is both attracted to the community of gang life and repelled by its violence. There is no easy answer to his dilemma, but the love and respect of his Uncle Rogelio help him find a way out.

Check out the Bullying section on the First Book Marketplace, and use these powerful and inspiring stories to help raise awareness about bullying prevention in your school or program.

The post Our Favorite Books That Help Prevent Bullying appeared first on First Book Blog.

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Author Katherine Applegate’s newest book, Wishtree, is a delightful middle-grade story about never losing hope and the importance of wishes. The book has already been met with praise far and wide for its ability to draw out reluctant or hesitant readers. Wishtree joins Katherine’s other works like The One and Only Ivan and Crenshaw as books that open children’s imaginations to exciting new possibilities.

First Book had the opportunity to speak with Katherine about Wishtree, the world of children’s books, and even boogers and farts.

Wishtree is available here on the First Book Marketplace.

First Book: Which comes to you first – a character or a story?

Katherine: It varies. I often find it’s like a recipe: a pinch of this, a cup of that. But then, I’m a notoriously lousy cook, so maybe that’s not the best analogy.

You tackle subjects in your books that adults are sometimes reluctant to discuss with children – animal abuse, food insecurity, prejudice. What evidence have you seen that readers are ready for – and hungry for – these conversations?

Every time I visit a school to talk about a book, I’m reminded of just how idealistic and hopeful kids are. They know so much more than we give them credit for. We can’t shelter them from the hard realities of the world—though we try—but we can find ways to talk about those things. I’m always amazed at how ready kids are to discuss complex and nuanced topics.

Of course, they also like to discuss boogers and farts.

Publishers Weekly called Wishtree “a distinctive call for kindness.” What do you hope readers will take away from this story?

I dedicated the book to newcomers and welcomers. I hope readers think about what “welcoming” might mean in their own community:  a smile, an attempt to see things from another point of view, a small kindness.

What are your thoughts about the current children’s book climate, especially regarding advances in diversity and the need for a wide range of experiences?

There’s nothing more wonderful than seeing a child hug a book and say, “This character is just like me!”

We can’t help ourselves and hate to limit you to one, so, can you tell us what are your top three wishes at this moment in time? And, secondly, what do you wish for a book like Wishtree which comes at such a very troubling moment in US history? Can you speak to the reason behind the voice of the old oak tree and what it symbolizes for you in this story?

If Wishtree helps foster conversations about how we can create a more tolerant country, I would be thrilled indeed. Red, the old oak tree, proved to be a wonderful narrator. Sometimes you need an outside perspective on the world, especially our world. 3 wishes? Let’s see:

  • A book tour where I get to see old friends and make new ones. (Feeling pretty confident on this one.)
  • An entire week where I don’t feel the need to turn off the news for the sake of my sanity.
  • A world full of welcomers.

MacMillan children’s publishing has offered to donate a book for every social media share with #wishingday. Click here to learn more about nationwide wishing day, today, September 28th.

The post On Writing & Wishing: Q&A with Author Katherine Applegate appeared first on First Book Blog.

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As other parts of the country brace for the impact of upcoming hurricanes, clean up efforts after Hurricane Harvey are just beginning. Team First Book in Matagorda County has made many friends in their communities over the years. One individual described the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Wharton, Texas as, “heartbreaking, just heartbreaking.”

Entire streets were covered with furniture and people’s belongings; trash and grass hung from fence lines. Half of the students in one classroom at Sivells Elementary School reported that they no longer had homes.

But still, smiles were on all the faces of the faculty. “Their greatest concern is taking care of their kids at the school,” she said.

Concern for their neighbors was common among Wharton residents.

“[We] went into several businesses and even though the owners have lost everything, they are still worried about everyone else in town and trying to help out,” she said. “One owner said ‘I can buy myself stuff but a lot of these people can’t. I will be ok!’”

“I am amazed that through this all, people are still friendly, smiling, and so willing to lend a helping hand, all while dealing with their own losses and chaos. Today, I am Wharton proud more than ever.”

First Book, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation were in Houston last week delivering books, resources, and basic needs items to hurricane-affected schools. Watch the live event.

The three partners have launched a targeted effort to deliver brand-new books and basic needs items, in coordination with first responders, educators, and volunteers, to hurricane-affected areas. This hurricane relief effort falls under the overall mission of the recently announced Essentials for Kids Fund, which is a new national initiative created to address the need for books and materials—including items like hygiene kits, clothing, and school supplies—in public school districts across the country that are underfunded.

If you have been affected by the storm and would like to be made aware of financial support to obtain books and resources from First Book, and are not already a member of our network, please sign up here. We will be reaching out to as many individuals as possible to share funds as they become available. There are also very affordable resources available now on the First Book Marketplace and First Book National Book Bank for those affected by the storms or fulfilling the needs of their classroom or program.

First Book and its partners welcome gifts to this fund; 100 percent of donations will support educators. To donate to the fund, click here. Or, you can support the effort by setting up your own fundraising page here.

If you are a publisher or supplier and can help with a donation of new books or resources, click here.

The post Hurricane Harvey Update: An Educator’s Story appeared first on First Book Blog.

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Betty Metz, Founder and President of Books-A-Go-Go.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” says Betty Metz, Founder and President of Books-A-Go-Go.

Luckily for kids in Jacksonville, FL and later all over the world, she figured it out. During the past 10 years Betty and Books-A-Go Go have distributed more than 1 million books to kids in the United States and in 25 different countries. It all started with one person looking to make a difference in the lives of children in need.

“I moved from Pittsburgh to Jacksonville and I wanted to get involved with something, volunteer-wise,” says Betty, “and I got involved with an art program that was going to inner-city schools.”

West Jacksonville Elementary is where Betty volunteered and there she saw the toll living in poverty can have on students who are eager to learn but might not have everything they need to do so.

“A friend of mine who worked at an exclusive private school in the area said, ‘Betty there’s some old books in the library that they don’t want anymore, would the kids at your school want them?’”

With that, the seed was planted.

That holiday season, students at West Jacksonville Elementary received a book that was all their own to take home. For many, it was the first book they had ever owned.

“It was like a pride thing. They carried their books back-and-forth and were always bringing them up, like if I were to ask you for the time and you say, ‘well let me check my Rolex’ that kind of thing, except with their books” says Betty.

Soon others began reaching out to Betty with books they wanted to donate. Eventually word spread to other Jacksonville schools serving kids in needs and they asked Betty for books too. It was a lot to take on, but what had started as simply volunteering was blossoming into much more.

“I mean, I’m not a parent or a teacher,” says Betty, “and I was raised with books, but all my friends who are teachers or literacy specialists were coming to me with this passion about what’s going on so I thought, okay I’m going to do a book drive.”

In organizing the book drive, Betty was introduced to First Book, then just a small, up-and-coming organization trying to make a difference. Using First Book’s expertise and resources, Betty and her book drive were featured on the local news, in newspapers, and the mayor even reached out and said directly, “we want to partner with you.”

Not bad for a woman who, “had no idea what she was doing.”

Within a year after that initial book drive Books-A-Go Go was launched as a nonprofit and has been distributing books to kids in need ever since.

“But the thing is—First Book has always been there,” says Betty.

In 2017 Books-A-Go Go is celebrating a milestone, giving out its millionth book. In addition to used book donations, they’ve used the First Book Marketplace and First Book National Book Bank to provide brand-new, high-quality books for kids in hospice care or who have been affected by natural disasters.

Betty Metz (left) at a book distribution event

After 10 years together, Books-A-Go Go and First Book have helped bring the joy of reading to kids who may not have much to be joyous about otherwise. “There was one kid, it was about eight or nine years ago,” says Betty, “and he was having a whole lot of problems in school and elsewhere. We gave out books and there was this one, he just kept reading it over and over and over. The principal of the school told me that book changed his life and that he still– he’s in high school –he always cherishes that book because it just meant so much to him.”

When First Book delivers books and resources to children in need, that is the kind of long-lasting impact that can happen. It doesn’t take a degree, lots of wealth, or powerful connections to affect the lives of kids for the better. Anyone who cares about kids can work with First Book to make a positive impact.

And if you ask Betty Metz, you can make an impact even before you know exactly what you’re doing.

To read more inspiring stories, click here. Please visit the First Book Marketplace and browse our collection of award-winning books and educational resources.

The post Books-A-Go Go & First Book: 10 Years Later, One Million Books appeared first on First Book Blog.

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All of us at First Book are deeply saddened to see the horrendous flooding and devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Our hearts are especially with our First Book family: the thousands of Gulf Coast-area educators we serve, their students, and our Team First Book supporters in Matagorda County and Houston. While first responders help families with shelter, food, and water, we know that the next phase of restocking books and resources is just as critical. Books and essentials can support the social-emotional well-being of children following this catastrophic event. Once schools reopen, replacing moldy books in school and home libraries, and providing resources to support a return to normalcy are also needed.

This week, First Book, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, launched a Hurricane Harvey Relief campaign, with support from First Book’s publishing partners. The initiative is part of a new Essentials for Kids Fund – which will support books, educational resources and basic needs items for educators and students at underfunded schools nationwide. We are also continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma to provide additional support as needed. You can read the full news release about this initiative here. First Book is included in Charity Navigator’s approved list of highly-rated organizations responding in the aftermath of the storm.

If you have been affected by the storm and would like to be made aware of financial support to obtain books and resources from First Book, and are not already a member of our network, please sign up here. We will be reaching out to as many individuals as possible to share funds as they become available. There are also very affordable resources available now on the First Book Marketplace and First Book National Book Bank for those affected by the storms or fulfilling the needs of their classroom or program.

First Book and its partners welcome gifts to this fund; 100 percent of donations will support educators. To donate to the fund, click here. Or, you can support the effort by setting up your own fundraising page here.

If you are a publisher or supplier and can help with a donation of new books or resources, click here.

In addition to the support needed in disaster-affected areas, across the country, classroom teachers are spending hundreds of dollars out of their own salary each year to purchase books and supplies for their classrooms. Many teachers also step in to provide the children they serve with basic items to ensure that their students have a warm jacket, socks, and hygiene products such as shampoo and toothpaste.

This Essentials for Kids Fund will support the full range of educational needs – so that children can focus on learning and teachers can focus on what they do best – teach. The fund is seeded with more than $200,000 – including $75,000 from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, $75,000 from AFT, with additional funding from Coca-Cola, Team First Book Charlotte, individual donors and crowdfunding efforts. AFT has designated $25,000 of its contribution for Harvey-affected educators; 100 percent of the funds from the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation will be used in affected areas.

First Book’s publishing partners – including Candlewick Press, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Penguin Random House – have contributed 500,000 books to date.

A story at bedtime, a change of clean underwear, a new toothbrush. These seem so basic until you don’t have them. Join First Book and partners in helping to rebuild lives: with a donation, and by helping us spread the word so that we can provide support quickly, and where it is most needed.

The post First Book and Partners Respond to Hurricane Harvey appeared first on First Book Blog.

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You could win a First Book Marketplace credit!

First Book’s mission includes delivering possibilities for children in need – which means making high-quality books and resources available to the educators serving them at the best possible value. The First Book Marketplace offers books, school supplies, basic needs items, computers and tablets, and games at a fraction of the retail cost. But just how many amazing resources can you get on a budget? Take the Shopping Cart Challenge to find out!

How it works:

  1. Take a look at the awesome assortment of resources in the picture above (Hint: there’s even a tablet in there!).
  2. Comment on this First Book Facebook post with a guess on how much you think it would cost if you ordered all of these items from the First Book Marketplace (not including tax). Make sure to ‘LIKE’ our page while you’re there!
  3. The closest guess without going over (Price is Right rules apply!) will win a First Book Marketplace credit to fill up their own cart!*

*You must be a registered member of the First Book community of educators to win. Eligible educators should enter to win by posting their guess to this status on First Book’s Facebook page before 12AM on September 6, 2017. The closest guess that does not exceed the correct value will be considered the winner. If more than one person submits the correct answer, a winner with the correct answer will be chosen at random from all correct responses. The winner will chosen on Facebook and notified via email by September 15, 2017.

Looking to more ways to stretch your back-to-school budget? Visit the First Book Marketplace $2 and Under section.

The post Take the Shopping Cart Challenge! appeared first on First Book Blog.

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As students return to start a new school year, a national online conversation has emerged among educators and advocates around the country. Catalyzed by the violence and unrest in Charlottesville, VA, as well as other national events, teachers and organizations are sharing resources for dealing with topics of race, hate speech, and bias with the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum. Classroom teachers and program leaders view themselves as being on the front lines to create inclusive, welcoming environments, and to advance empathy and civic engagement among their students.

Last week, First Book co-founder and CEO Kyle Zimmer released a statement Citing Charlottesville Unrest and its Harmful Effect on Children. As the nation wrestles with Charlottesville and its aftermath, First Book stands fully in support the heroic teachers who – in addition to academic development – view it as their mission to protect the children they serve. In particular, First Book is aware of the support needed for children from low-income areas, including communities of color, immigrants, rural communities, and other under-served populations.

As Zimmer stated, “We have seen first-hand the power of stories to blunt hate, create empathy, and change lives.” First Book is ensuring that the students we serve have access to transformational stories that lift them up, build understanding, and bind our communities together.

Here are our recommendations for a #CharlottesvilleCurriculum:

Elementary School City Green by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan

Right in the middle of Marcy’s city block is a littered vacant lot. Then one day she has a wonderful idea that not only improves the useless lot but her entire neighborhood as well. Marcy and Miss Rosa start a campaign to clean up an empty lot and turn it into a community garden.

We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio

Now parents and educators can introduce the unforgettable bestseller Wonder and the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio. We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.

Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz

When an Iraqi family is forced to flee their home, they can’t bear to leave their beloved cat, Kunkush, behind. So they carry him with them from Iraq to Greece, but during a crowded boat ride, his carrier breaks and the frightened cat runs from the chaos. In one moment, he is gone. A few days later aid workers find the lost cat. They spread the word on the Internet, and after several months the impossible happens—Kunkush’s family is found.

I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Maria is from Guatemala, Jin is from Korea, and Fatima is from Somalia. All three are new to their American elementary school, and each has trouble speaking, writing, and sharing ideas in English. Through self-determination and with encouragement from their peers and teachers, the students learn to feel confident and comfortable in their new school without losing a sense of their home country, language, and identity. I’m New Here demonstrates how our global community can work together and build a home for all.

Middle School Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Everything is different when Amina enters middle school. Her best friend Soojin suddenly starts hanging out with the “cool” girls in class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. This book brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

What if who you are on the outside doesn’t match who you are on the inside? Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. This novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle

Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother’s tropical island country, but most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. When revolution breaks out in Cuba, Margarita fears for her far-away family. This poetic memoir tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

High School American Street by Ibi Zoboi

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American student. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They’re going to have to find a way—if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

Thanks to our partners the NEA Foundation, First Book is offering 20% off all books in the Creating Welcoming Schools & Communities section on the First Book Marketplace. This opportunity is first-come, first-served while funding lasts. For more ideas on using these titles to starting thematic discussions, take a look at our free Welcoming Week Time Saver.

The post Book Recommendations for K-12 in the Wake of Charlottesville appeared first on First Book Blog.

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