Friday, October 26, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Yafi's Family

Title: Yafi’s Family

Author: Linda Pettitt

Illustrator: Jan Spivey Gilchrist

Publisher: Amharic Kids; 2010

Suitable for:  4 – 8 years

Topics: Adoption, Family, Love, People & Places: Ethiopia

“Raaah!” “Yafi, you Big Little Lion – you scared me! Ethiopian grandma Elsa would be very proud of that roar!”

Book Summary:  An Ethiopian boy’s journey of love, loss and adoption. Yafi (Yafee), his parents, and two sisters, eight-year-old Kari and ten-year-old Anna, remember his early life and his adoption experience by telling stories, revisiting memories, and looking at photographs. Yafi's Family is the story of love, loss, and a boy's discovery of how wide and how deep the bonds of family can be.

Links to resources:

10 Five Minute Bonding Activities for Foster and Adopted Children 
Games and Activities to promote Attachment 
Waiting to Belong has some wonderful tips for helping families bond with their adoptive children. 
Multi-Cultural Coloring Pages  

Why I like this book:
This is a very heartwarming story that shares all the emotions of what families go through during the adoption process. I admit I fought back tears to no avail. Yafi’s Family is a loving tale of adoption from other cultures. I love that this family doesn’t take away his memories of his birth family. The story is told in the style of a conversation between Yafi and his adoptive family as they remember the day they met Yafi, how he adjusted to his new life with them and even validate his feelings of missing a mother he never really knew.

I think this book is great for families who are in all stages of adoption as it shows the different challenges and rewards that adoptive families go through when they open their hearts and homes to children, including challenges of adopting an older child who still has memories of his birth family. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: What Does A Muslim Look Like?

Title: What Does A Muslim Look Like?

Author: Mohamed Abdel-Kader

Illustrator: Abdullah Badawy

Publisher: Twenty Stories Publishing; August 17, 2012

Suitable for: 3 +

Themes/Topics: Muslims, Multicultural, Diversity

Opening: On a bright afternoon in the middle of May, brother Jack and sis Jane left their school to go play.

Book SummaryWhen Jack and Jane make new friends at school, they are surprised to learn that they are Muslim. Their curiosity leads them to discover that Muslims come in all colors and hail from various backgrounds from around the world.

Links to resources:
Coming soon from the author and publisher: lesson plans to go with the book.

Why I like this book:
What does a Muslim look like? Do you know? If you walked down your street or through the mall, could you tell if you saw a Muslim, big or small? "What Does A Muslim Look Like?" is a great introduction for children (and adults alike) to learn who and what a Muslim looks like. The story follows two young children who learn that their new friends are Muslim. But they are confused because their Muslim friends look just like them. Jack and Jane soon discover that Muslims come from all walks of life and different countries around the world, including the US. It is written in fun and simple rhymes. The story does not go into details about the religion per se but mostly describes the diversity of Muslims around the world. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Organization Spot Light: Islamic Writers Alliance

Catch the Spirit…Be a Muslim Champion

We Are Muslim Champions Serving Allah
We Work For The Benefit Of Muslims
We are Champions of Literacy for Muslim Children, Youth, and Teens
We Are Champions of Creative Writing for Muslim Students
We Are Champions for Islamic School Libraries
We are Champions for Aspiring Muslim Writers Striving to Become Published

The Islamic Writers Alliance Inc. (IWA) is a USA based professional Muslim non-profit organization with an international membership. It was founded in 2004. Members include published and aspiring writers, editors, artists, publishers, journalists, playwrights, web designers, retailers, and marketing consultants. The IWA is an inclusive organization and welcomes adult Muslim men and women of all races, ethnicities, linguistic backgrounds, abilities, and creeds.

Purpose: IWA's purpose is to promote literacy world-wide. The IWA has established successful programs designed to meet the established goals and purpose of the organization.

One of its well known programs include the yearly book awards of fiction and non-fiction Islamic books to Islamic school libraries (20 schools to date)

Help the IWA Promote Literacy
Awareness is knowledge, and knowledge is power, and the only way to attain that is through education, which is the opposite of illiteracy. This is the main goal of the IWA, to help empower people worldwide to attain knowledge and power through the easily attainable goal of literacy.

It is easy to donate to the Islamic Writers Alliance, Inc. All you need do is click on the 
Muslim Champion navigation link and use the convenient Donation button to make your gift.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears

Title: Little Mouse’s Emily Gravett’s Big Book of Fears

Author: Emily Gravett

Illustrator: Emily Gravett

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; September 9, 2008

Suitable for: 4 and up

Themes/Topics: Fears, Phobias, self-help for children

Opening: I’m scared of creepy crawlies (especially spiders!)

Book Summary: Little mouse documents all of her fears in a journal but in the end, she realizes that everyone has fears, even big people.

Links to resources:
Visit the author’s website for games and activities
Discussion: Have your child(ren) describe their fears and then write them down. Then have them look up the correct term for their fear using Little Mouse’s list or this List of Phobias
List of Phobias: here.
Phobia Collage: fun activity here. I think this activity can be tweaked and adjusted for any age group.
Analyzing illustrations: This activity is geared for older children.

Why I like this book:
Aside from the awesome and detailed illustrations with mouse-chewed pages, :D I love that the book begins with: Everyone is afraid of something. Living with fear can make even the bravest person feel small. Emily assures children that everyone fears something and that fears can be defeated. The text is very simple, easy for children to understand and relate to as little mouse describes her fears. It is a great book to learn about different kinds of phobias. At the top of the page, the correct term of each of little mouse’s phobias are displayed. The illustrations provide an opportunity to talk about specific fears that a child might have. I love that little mouse’s fears are validated in that she is not told to be brave or to even overcome her fears. But in the end, she learns that everyone is afraid of something, even the lady in the kitchen who is afraid of her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hashtag Alert: Picture Book #bedtimepicks

Hey everyone, here is a fantastic resource for parents out there who are looking for great bedtime books to read with their children and to also share their great picks with others. This fabtabulous idea comes from Tara Lazar who has been using the hashtag #bedtimepicks to share the books she reads with her children at night.

So, what great #bedtimepicks are YOU reading tonight?

Monday, October 8, 2012

In the News: HEART Women & Girls Project

Check out this wonderful website:


HEART Women & Girls is committed to building self-esteem and leadership through health and wellness programming for faith-based communities.


Our vision is to create “leaders of wellness,” who are young girls and women inspired by their faith, to be a voice for health and wellness in their communities.


HEART offers a variety of programming to fit the needs of each community.  Programs can range from one day to six weeks and cover a variety of topics.  HEART facilitates healthy conversations and empowering women and girls with critical thinking and decision-making skills about important issues and health needs focusing on the following areas:
  • Self-esteem / body-image
  • Media literacy
  • Reproductive health
  • Physical activity & nutrition

Friday, October 5, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Global Babies

Title: Global Babies

Author: The Global Fund for Children

Illustrator: Photography

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; February 10, 2006

Theme: Multiculturalism, People & Places, Geography, Baby Faces

Age: 0 - 2

Summary: Appealing photos of babies from seventeen cultures around the globe are woven together by simple narration. Global Babies presents children in cultural context. Diverse settings highlight specific differences in clothing, daily life, and traditions, as well as demonstrate that babies around the world are nurtured by the love, caring, and joy that surround them.

Ideas: Dress up clothes from a variety of countries. Music from variety of cultures. Ethnic food tasting. Multicultural coloring pages. Find the different featured countries on a map or globe.

Why I like this book:
Short and sweet, straight to the point, just the way toddlers like it. No matter who you are or where you are from, babies everywhere are loved! :D The photos are absolutely beautiful. I read this book to my toddler classroom all the time and they love it. It is great for observing and describing what they are looking at. I also keep a copy in their classroom library so that they can get it any time they want to look through the book. The photos are colorful and grabs their attention. A great book to have at home and school to introduce and promote diversity.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.