When it comes to normalizing ethnic fiction, we sometimes forget that means letting ethnic representation just be a normal part of a book. This is why we love Corinne Demas’ series about Toby the dog.
Toby is a naughty pup who is always up to crazy shenanigans in the first installment of this series of picture books. If he isn’t eating whatever Emma’s dad makes off of the counter, he is piddling on the floor or tearing up the family gardens.
Here’s the good part. This is a series about a silly dog, not about his family, but his family just happens to be brown, without emphasis or highlight. It just happens to be Toby’s owners’ skin color, because it’s normal.
Pick up a copy of Always in Trouble from Amazon by selecting the image above. We found the cost to be the same across the board.
Amy Sparkles and Nick East outdid themselves with Ellie’s Magic Wellies. This book is everything you could ask for for a little child, especially a brown one looking for themselves in the fantasy of the world.
Ellie Pengelly is having a boring day. It rained outside. Then, her Aunt arrives with a pair of “fantabulous wellies” and encourages her to go outside. Ellie jumps in a puddle and Flibberty Gibberty jumps out: “I’m Flibberty-Gibberty, hip hip hooray! I’m out of my puddle and ready to play!”
From the language to the lush and incredible vibrancy of the images, this book is a joy to read and an easy favorite for any child. Pick up a copy of Ellie’s Magic Wellies selecting the image above.
Corinne Demas and Nick Z. Jones (illustrator) are back! Toby, the dog, who hates cats, now has a housemate, the hated cat, Pandora, whose neighbors moved and gave her to his owner, Emma.
Pandora and Toby can’t get along, but then something happens and Toby has to make a choice. Should he help Pandora or leave her to her fate? What will Toby choose?
As usual, we loved the ethnic drawings of Noah Z. Jones and the effortless normalization of ethnicity in this book. Normalize ethnic fiction.
You can pick up a copy by selecting the link above!
Tom Percival created a nearly perfect book with his short, colorful book, Ruby Finds a Worry. Ruby, our main character, finds a worry one day, and before she knows it, the worry has grown. Will the worry take over? Will she ever get rid of it? How do you get rid of a worry?
This book is labelled as being for 3-6 year olds, and we think that is the perfect range. It is a great book for learning how to express what bothers you, and to recognize those emotions. It also opens up dialogue about interaction, communication, and working through your problems by talking them out.
Pick up a copy by selecting the book cover above!
Sushree Mishra and Sanket Pethkar (Illustrator) came together to make an incredibly thoughtful, heartwarming story in their children’s book, The Night Monster. Originally printed in India, the book has thankfully been imported and translated for English audiences.
The Night Monster tells the story of Avi and his sister, Swati. Avi is, as most children are, afraid of the dark. He believes that a night monster lives in the shadows, hooting like an owl and making his curtains move at night. His sister tells him to write to the monster, and thus our tale of letters exchanged between a little boy and his fears begins. Filled with lush images, flip-flap letters, and a sweet story about facing your fears, this book is an awesome addition to our reviews.
Pick up a copy by clicking on the book cover above.
Let’s learn the Indian alphabet! In P is for Poppadoms: An Indian Alphabet Book, Kabir Sehgal has provided a wonderful way for children, ethnic or otherwise, to experience Indian culture through this vibrantly illustrated book.
Children get the chance to see their native culture or a new one, and enjoy learning about different foods (we didn’t know there were different types of mangoes! Did you?), concepts such as nirvana or yoga, and geographic locations within India (who knew Uttar Pradesh was so large?). A wonderful addition to the book is the final page that provides different ways of saying hello in Indian dialects, such as Hindi and Urdu or Urdustani.
We found that this book cost about the same on Amazon as it does at Target, so feel free to select the picture above or find it other places, but grab a copy of P is For Poppadoms and get learning!
In the mission to normalize ethnic representation in kid’s books, you may not always end up with a book about just ONE ethnic child. Instead, you may end up with a diverse book such as The Hike by Alison Farrell.
The Hike follows Wren, El, and Hattie, who are off on a hike, through woods and up mountains, with their dog, Bean. The book is filled with amazing illustrations of wildlife and foliage, each named and clearly able to be memorized. We love it for this and for its inclusive representation.
Our staff did discuss a few things that we thought may be perceived as micro aggressions , but we state this as a disclaimer in case you notice them. We do not want to detract from the book’s value and the amazing fact that it is a diverse science book that not only recognizes girl power, but sees no difference in race. Instead, Alison Farrell found a way to show how the girls, each smaller or larger than the other are each smart and capable in their own way. It is an amazing read with plenty to learn each time you open it. We can’t wait to make a leaf basket in the summer.
Pick up a copy by clicking on the main image!
This adorable book is perfect for preschoolers getting their first haircut, but it is also so much more.
We love the ambiguity of the race of Rocco, the main character in John Rocco’s Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom. While there is representation of all kinds of hues of sin, the main character could be anyone. Well, anyone with huge hair, that is.
Rocco is an adorable kid with giant hair, which to our test subjects, translated to a giant afro, and his friends, asian, black, and white, all have wildly free hair, as well. This is what gives them SUPER POWERS. But one day, Rocco and his friends are forced to get hair cuts. Will their super powers survive? Will they go on to live powerless lives? Click the image above to buy a copy and find out!
The wonderful part about finding ethnic fiction books for ethnic kids is the discovery that nearly everything kids love can be found with at least one ethnic representation.
Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner by Gareth Edwards is one of such books. Featuring a small brown-skinned boy, this bedtime book covers a series of silly scenarios, starting with never asking a dinosaur to dinner because he’ll eat anything, and our narrator means ANYTHING.
This is definitely a bedtime book. It even ends with a blanket and a teddy, so we wouldn’t recommend it for a mid-afternoon story time. However, when it comes to normalizing the appearance of brown children in the books we read, Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner definitely falls in the category!
Click on the photo above to buy a copy from Amazon
A Tiger Called Tomas by Charlot Zolotow is a simple story about a little boy who moves to a new neighborhood. He doesn’t know anyone, and he allows his assumptions and fears to stop him from interacting with his neighbors. Day after day, he sits in the same spot. Then comes Halloween, and Tomas is allowed to go out into the neighborhood masked. No one will know who he is, or so he thinks!
Interwoven with Spanish phrases and some Spanish culture, A Tiger Called Tomas lets us meet a small, ethnic boy in a regular situation. He’s new. He’s unsure of himself. He’s lonely. He’s just like the rest of the little boys and girls out there, not more or less strange, but normal.
We love this book for its everyday interactions, for its normalization of Tomas as a part of everyday society, without some grand explanation of his lineage, culture, or language. The ease with which Zolotow introduces us to Tomas makes the assumption that we are Tomas, that we know someone like Tomas, and the beautiful part is: We do.
Pick up a copy by selecting the above picture!
Caron Levi’s Stop That Yawn is a delightful book that just so happens to feature Gabby Wild and her grandmother, two brown-skinned non-sleeping night owls. When I say that this book was amazing?!
Scene: It’s bedtime, and Gabby doesn’t want to go to sleep, so she and her grandmother go on an adventure to Never Sleeping City. It is an amazing trip with beautiful graphics, and the best part for our fuzzy heads is that Gabby has the wild, fuzzy hair we love.
Pick up a copy by following the link in the picture and help support our website!
From visual literacy to coping with other people’s perception of you, from struggling through the rain to finally arriving where you belong, Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney is an incredibly detailed book of few words, but many, many, lessons.
Anyone who has conversed with the staff over here at Fuzzy Afro Logic is well aware of how important visual literacy is us. As with many of the aspects of literacy that we focus on, visual literacy is a real and much needed skill for both children and adults. Visual literacy helps with awareness of surroundings, critical and out-of-the-box thinking, and other aspects of visual interpretation. This is why, we would like you to pick up Double Bass Blues.
While Double Bass Blues is about music and playing the bass, it is also about boyhood, and focus through adversity. The book follows Nic, a talented, ethnic bass player from a school performance to his final destination. Nic is admired, praised, ridiculed, and welcomed, all within the space of a few pages, but much of these interactions are told through the illustrations. Rife with color, space and lines that can be analyzed for hours, Double Bass Blues is the definition of Brian Kennedy’s visual literacy rules: Look, See, Describe, Analyze and Interpret.
Click on the image for a copy, and help support our website.
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