My Name is Celia Cruz: The Life of Celia Cruz / Me Llamo Celia Cruz: La Vida de Celia Cruz

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It’s Hispanic American Heritage Month, and in recognition I’m reviewing the bilingual picture book My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/Mi Llamo Celia Cruz: La Vida de Celia Cruz.

Celia Cruz was a salsa music legend, known as the Queen of Salsa, and rightly so. Had she not brought her beautiful music to the United States, salsa music would not be what it is today in the U.S. Celia was born in Cuba, and she grew up around beautiful music and colorful clothing, both of which influenced her singing. She came from humble beginnings; her father was a railroad worker- but their lives were filled with music that brought them much joy, despite being poor.

Celia was gifted at a young age and would sing songs with both African and Cuban rhythms to her family as well as neighbors. She did well in school and was encouraged by her teacher to “go into the world and sing.” Celia began singing in competitions with her cousin, but some would not let her sing because of her dark skin – but that didn’t discourage her! She left Cuba during the revolution, and moved to the U.S., where she became a U.S. citizen. Celia brought salsa music to America that blended rock, rumba, mambo and jazz music. Celia Cruz was so successful as a singer in America that she was honored by presidents, and became known as the Queen of Salsa.

My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/Mi Llamo Celia Cruz: La Vida de Celia Cruz is a wonderful children’s book, not only because it teaches us about a celebrated singer of Hispanic origin, but also because of it is  a story of triumph, that educates children about a woman who crossed borders and broke boundaries to pursue a talent that enriched and changed the world. The book’s beautiful illustrations do a beautiful job of representing the energy that Celia brought to her music, and the descriptions of the sounds of nature and food she cooked with her family encourages children to pay attention to their surroundings to find inspiration to be creative. Most of all, it is a book that teaches children that you can overcome obstacles if you don’t give up, and that is a lesson any child of color should be taught at a young age, if they are to survive and be successful in life.

Written by: Monica Brown
Illustrated by: Rafael Lopez
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Dress Up Day

Labor Day is upon us and what better time to get children thinking about what he or she wants to be when they grow up by reading them a fun book to get the wheels in their brain turning? Dress Up Day  is a fun picture book that does just that!

Dress Up Day   is a children’s picture book that encourages playtime and dress up with other kids. While it doesn’t discuss Labor Day, it is also a book that can introduce discussion by parents of their own occupation with their children, as well as encourage their child’s dreams for the future. The book invites the reader to play dress up with her and her friends as they  try on several different outfits and visualize themselves in different careers.

Dress Up Day has fun rhymes, and colorful illustrations depicting both girls and boys of diverse backgrounds. Career roles depicted in the book include everything from doctor and farmer, to police officer and fireman, as well as roles children especially little girls – may not normally see in books, including the role of judge, soldier and a pilot. It is a great book for encouraging young children to dream. It’s never too early to start planning for your child’s future, so why not get some help in doing it with a book!

Dress-Up Day: Written by: Tina Marie Kaht &  llustrated by Hatice Bayramoglu

About BookBuzz4kids.com
BookBuzz4Kids.com reviews books that celebrate diverse cultures and educate young children ages 1-10. Its mission is to educate parents and educators about children’s books that promote diversity to give educators that teach diverse populations and parents of culturally diverse and religious backgrounds, including those with disabilities have a source where they can find children’s books that represent children of diverse populations. BookBuzz4Kids.com also aims to support independent self-published authors who write educational and culturally diverse books.

 

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I Am So Brave!

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August is the time of year when children are returning to school, and also when many others will be attending school, kindergarten or Pre-K for the first time. I Am So Brave! is a delightful board book about overcoming fears and the perfect book to calm anxieties that children around this time can develop as they prepare to enter that new stage in their lives called school.

I Am So Brave!  begins with a little boy expressing his fear of large dogs, and ends with the child conquering his fear of saying goodbye to his mother to go to daycare. The book also addresses other common childhood fears such as the fear of swimming, loud noises and the all too familiar fear of the dark at bedtime. The genius of the book is in its approach to helping overcome fear; instead of insisting that there is nothing to be afraid of, which often just makes children feel misunderstood, the book shows children positive, beneficial and even exciting outcomes that result from overcoming each fear.

For example, the little boy, while initially afraid of the dark, turns his attention to the beauty of the star-lit sky at night and  discovers that the night is not something to be feared, but rather something filled with mystery and wonder.

With simple but effective examples in rhyme, I Am So Brave!  teaches children that it is not necessary to fear things that are new, and that new things in life can actually be fun and enriching. It also teaches children that while something may look or sound terrible at first, when viewed objectively can actually end up being something we grow to like or even love, rather than hating or fearing. And with all the different and sometimes difficult stages that children go through in their lifetime, it’s a valuable lesson to learn, and one that can be incredibly helpful when learned at a young age.

I Am So Brave!

Written by: Stephen Krensky
Illustrated by: Sara Gillingham

 

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Monster 2000 Stickers: Goofy, Toothy, and Fun!

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Are you looking for a fun and educational activity book for children aged 5-9? If so, the combination picture, color and sticker book “Monsters 2000 Stickers: Goofy, Toothy and Fun” is the book you’ve been looking for!

This silly book is as educational as it is fun and includes maze activities, simple math problems, hand-and-eye coordination and memory exercises. Among the more than 10 activities in the book are: pages where children can strategically place stickers provided in the book to help monsters build sand castles on the  beach; or they can hunt for a pet through a maze; create and draw crazy concoctions and experiments in the mad scientist monster lab; and identify the odd monster that doesn’t match on the monster dance page.

“Monsters 2000 Stickers: Goofy, Toothy and Fun” is a book that can be enjoyed by both boys and girls that are tickled by funny  songs and sayings. And with the exception of the first two pages that show monsters yelling “sneaky monsters … only come out at night” the book features non-threatening monsters who are very playful that can also teach your child not to be afraid of what they conceive as monsters while inviting them to do fun activities that improve skill and brain function at many levels.

 

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Daniel Finds a Poem

Daniel Finds a Poem

Daniel Finds a Poem is a delightful new picture book that highlights discovery, appreciation of nature and beautifully illustrates a child’s sense of wonder.

One day while in the park, Daniel sees a flyer  about a poetry event taking place in the park. Not knowing what the word poetry is, he takes a walk around the park and talks to some of the animals – a spider, a turtle, a cricket and more to ask them what poetry is to them. Just when Daniel thinks he knows everything there is to know about the park,  he learns all about interesting animal habits and living environments and creates a poem of his own to participate in the park event.

Daniel Finds a Poem  teaches children to not only appreciate nature, but it encourages using one’s imagination to see the beauty of things and that you can learn by watching and paying attention to your surroundings.It is written by Micha Archer who is also the illustrator. Ms. Archer’s collage illustrations are so beautiful they almost outdo the story itself. It is rare that a children’s book is able tell the beauty of  nature through the eyes and thoughts of a child, but that is exactly what Micha Archer does in Daniel Finds a PoemEncourage a child’s sense of wonder and buy this book for one today!

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Kenya’s Art

Kenya’s Art is a picture book about a little girl who finds a creative way to complete a school project. Kenya loves her old toy airplane, even though it only has one wing. Her mother wants Kenya to throw away the broken toy, but Kenya finds a way to keep the toy  and in the process learns the meaning of “Reuse, Recycle.”

When Kenya realizes that she’s done nothing interesting during Spring vacation that she can tell her class for her Spring project, she asks her dad to take her to the park so that she to find something to create. Kenya runs into classmates at the park who tell her all about the fun things they did on their vacation – one even took trumpet lessons!  Worried that she won’t have anything to present for her assignment, Kenya asks to go to vacation school; her dad has a better idea and decides to take Kenya to a local museum.

It is at the museum where Kenya views a beautiful patchwork quilt made out of old clothes, and learns how art can be made from recycled materials like plastic bottles. After her museum visit, Kenya goes back home and together with her family, create funny and unique art that she takes back to school and presents to her classmates.

Kenya’s Art is a great book for introducing recycling to young children. It is written by Linda Trice, former Queens, New York elementary school teacher. Learn more about Linda Trice and other books that she has written at LindaTrice.com

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Mr. Mosquito by Barry Dunlap

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Did you know that it’s the female, not the male mosquito that gives us those pesky, uncomfortable bites during the summer months? You will find this fact in the delightful bilingual picture book, Mr. Mosquito.  As pesky as mosquitoes can be, there is more to the them than most of us know. And for those children who love to learn about bugs, this is the perfect book.

Mr. Mosquito is short and humorous, written in both English and French, in type that is large  and simple enough that a child at middle reading level could easily read on his or her own. It is a wonderful way to introduce children to the French language as the sentences in the book are very fun and include familiar words like “squish” and “bite” among others . The book also gives adults the opportunity to educate  children on unfamiliar words including “misunderstood” and “agile” that would not normally may not be found it children’s books, but clearly illustrated so that it’s meaning is understood.

Whether your little one likes bugs or not, Mr. Mosquito is a fun, silly book that allows children to explore a different language while giving them a giggle.

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