Ramadan and Eid Reading List

This year, the holy month of Ramadan will occur for Muslim people from April 13 to May 12, culminating with Eid al-Fitr on May 13. If you’re looking for books to celebrate Ramadan or just want to learn more about Muslim culture, here are some suggestions.

A Party in Ramadan
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
Illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798479 | Boyds Mills Press
Ramadan is coming, and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast every day during the Muslim religious festival, Leena decides to fast each Friday instead. When Leena receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on Friday, she has a dilemma. She doesn’t want to miss the party, but she doesn’t want to miss fasting either. So Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink anything at all. Later, she will join her family for the meal known as iftar, when the daily fast is broken. But when Leena, the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast?

Amal Unbound
By Aisha Saeed
240 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780399544699 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Twelve-year-old Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate. Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It’s clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them – so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones’ safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen.

Amira’s Picture Day
By Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Fahmida Azim
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823440191 | Holiday House
Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is? Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.

Baby’s First Ramadan
By DK
14 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780744026597 | DK Children
Perfect for story time with little ones, this first board book introduces babies and toddlers to the holy month of Ramadan. From the first sight of the crescent moon in the sky, colorful lanterns and sparkly lights, beautiful henna designs, and favorite Ramadan sweets, to prayers at the mosque, family meals, and sweet dates after a day of fasting, all the elements of this wonderful Islamic celebration of the holy month are included. This classic first picture book for babies and toddlers has simple language and engaging, real-life photos that celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.

Deep in the Sahara
By Kelly Cunnane
Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780525645665 | Dragonfly Books
Lalla lives in the Muslim country of Mauritania, and more than anything, she wants to wear a malafa, the colorful cloth Mauritanian women, like her mama and big sister, wear to cover their heads and clothes in public. But it is not until Lalla realizes that a malafa is not just worn to show a woman’s beauty and mystery or to honor tradition – a malafa for faith – that Lalla’s mother agrees to slip a long cloth as blue as the ink in the Koran over Lalla’s head, under her arm, and round and round her body. Then together, they pray.

Fatima’s Great Outdoors
By Ambreen Tariq
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
40 Pages | Ages 4-8| Hardcover
ISBN 9781984816955 | Kokila
Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories – and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like. Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.

Hannah and the Ramadan Gift
By Qasim Rashid
Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593114667 | Viking BFYR
It’s the first day of Ramadan and Hannah wants to be a part of this important month every way she can. But if she’s too young to fast, how can she observe Ramadan? By saving the world, Dada Jaan tells her. And so Hannah learns that by helping her friends and neighbors and by showing kindness and generosity, she can make the world a better place. The debut picture book by human rights activist and attorney Qasim Rashid tells a timely story full of warmth and heart about the observance of Ramadan and the power of good deeds.

My Grandma and Me
By Mina Javaherbin
Illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763694944 | Candlewick
While Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart. At once deeply personal and utterly universal, Mina Javaherbin’s words make up a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader. Soft, colorful, and full of intricate patterns, Lindsey Yankey’s illustrations feel like a personal invitation into the coziest home, and the adoration between Mina and her grandma is evident on every page.

Peg + Cat: The Eid al-Adha Adventure
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536206807 | Candlewick
It’s Eid al-Adha, a very special holiday for Yasmina and Amir, who invite their friends Peg and Cat to check it out. After they all rock out with some singing, it’s time to head to the celebration, where there’s so much food waiting! Amir explains that an important part of celebrating Eid al-Adha is dividing the meat into three equal parts, one third to be shared with someone who has less. But with all three bowls of meatballs holding different amounts, they’ve got a BIG PROBLEM! Thanks to a balancing scale, a trip to a soup kitchen, and an unexpected visit to a housebound neighbor, Peg and Cat learn all about the concept of taking from where there’s more and giving to where there’s less. Even Cat discovers how awesome giving can be. Eid Mubarak!

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Maker
By Zanib Mian
Illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109212 | Putnam BFYR
Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar! Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country. . . . Could that possibly be true? Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs. Omar’s funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.

The Green Bicycle
By Haifaa Al Mansour
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515032 | Puffin Books
Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.

The Night Diary
By Veera Hiranandani
288 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735228528 | Kokila
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity . . . and for a hopeful future.

The White Nights of Ramadan
By Maha Addasi
Illustrated by Ned Gannon
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798462 | Boyds Mills Press
Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as “the three whites,” because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It’s a time when children dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they’ll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate.

Earth Day Books

Earth Day is coming up on April 22! Here’s a great list of new books to encourage awareness, action, and discussion with young readers.

A World of Plants
By Martin Jenkins
Illustrated by James Brown
64 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215328 | Candlewick
Covering more than twenty-five subjects, from photosynthesis and permaculture to the hidden world of Victorian plant hunters, this stylish illustrated guide is packed with scientific insight into the critical role plants play in the drama of life on Earth. Did you know that some plants steal while others defend themselves against attack? That the largest cacti can reach sixty-six feet tall and weigh more than a car? That there are meat-eating plants the size of footballs? Readers young and old will marvel at the wondrous diversity and adaptability of plants, from trees and tropical species to those that have evolved to master extreme conditions. A brisk narrative bursting with facts – all carefully organized with maps and charts in richly patterned vintage-style illustrations – make for a vivid guide to all that grows . . . and a beautiful gift book for anyone interested in the environment.

How to Change Everything: The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other
By Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735270060 | Puffin Canada
Temperatures are rising all over the world, leading to wildfires, droughts, animal extinctions, and ferocious storms – climate change is real. But how did we get to this state, and what can we do next? What if we could work to protect the planet, while also taking action to make life fairer and more equal for the people who live on it? We can – if we’re willing to change everything. In her first book written for young readers, internationally acclaimed, bestselling author and social activist Naomi Klein, with Rebecca Steffof, lays out the facts and challenges of climate change and the movement for climate justice. Using examples of change and protest from around the world, including profiles of young activists from a wide range of backgrounds, Klein shows that young people are not just part of the climate change movement, they are leading the way. How to Change Everything will provide readers with clear information about how our planet is changing, but also, more importantly, with inspiration, ideas, and tools for action. Because young people can help build a better future. Young people can help decide what happens next. Young people can help change everything.

If You Take Away the Otter
By Susannah Buhrman-Deever
Illustrated by Matthew Trueman
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763689346 | Candlewick
On the Pacific Coast of North America, sea otters play, dive, and hunt for sea urchins, crabs, abalone, and fish in the lush kelp forests beneath the waves. But there was a time when people hunted the otters almost to extinction. Without sea otters to eat them, an army of hungry sea urchins grew and destroyed entire kelp forests. Fish and other animals that depended on the kelp were lost, too. But when people protected the sea otters with new laws, their numbers began to recover, and so did the kelp forests. Susannah Buhrman-Deever offers a beautifully written account of a trophic cascade, which happens when the removal of a single element affects an entire habitat. Asides that dig deeper are woven throughout Matthew Trueman’s dynamic illustrations, starring a raft of charismatic sea otters. Back matter includes more information about sea otters and kelp forests, including their importance and current status, the effects of the international fur trade on indigenous peoples, and a list of books and websites for readers who wish to continue to explore.

Kids Fight Plastic: How to Be a #2minutesuperhero
By Martin Dorey
Illustrated by Tim Wesson
128 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536212778 | Candlewick
Every kid can be a superhero, fighting plastic waste at home, at school, and in their community. This engaging guide is chockfull of facts, vibrant art, graphics, and #2minutesuperhero missions – practical ways to take action now. Some ideas may spring to mind right away, such as picking up trash. Others are surprising, such as learning to cook with fresh ingredients or mending clothes. Readers will learn not only how to combat plastic waste head-on, but how to advocate for a cleaner world, beginning at home. Anti-plastic campaigner Martin Dorey brings both extensive experience and boundless enthusiasm to this essential book for young people who want to create a better world.

Maxine and the Greatest Garden Ever
By Ruth Spiro
Illustrated by Holly Hatam
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780399186301 | Dial BFYR
After sketching and plotting and planting, Maxine and Leo know they’ve made The Greatest Garden Ever! But they’re not the only ones who think so. Soon, all sorts of animals make their way in, munching on carrots and knocking over pots. When Leo and Maxine can’t agree on a way to deter these unwelcome critters, it looks like there’s more on the line than saving their garden – they just might need to save their friendship too.

My Nana’s Garden
By Dawn Casey
Illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217117 | Templar
A lyrical, stunningly illustrated book about love, loss, and the healing power of nature.  A little girl visits her grandmother in summer and winter, and together they explore the wonders of her garden. Until, one day, Nana isn’t there anymore. But as winter gives way to spring, the girl learns that life goes on, and so does the memory of those we love.

Rocket Says Clean Up!
By Nathan Bryon
Illustrated by Dapo Adeola
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118993 | Random House BFYR
Rocket, is off to the islands to visit her grandparents. Her family loves nothing better than to beach comb and surf together . . . but the beach is clogged with trash! When she finds a turtle tangled in a net, Rocket decides that something must be done! Like a mini Greta Thunberg, our young activist’s enthusiasm brings everyone together . . . to clean up the beach and prevent plastics from spoiling nature.

Stand Up! Speak Up! A Story Inspired by the Climate Change Revolution
By Andrew Joyner
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593301586 | Schwartz & Wade
Celebrate young climate change activists in this charming story about an empowered girl who shows up, listens up, and ultimately, speaks up to inspire her community to take action against climate change. After attending a climate march, a young activist is motivated to make an effort and do her part to help the planet . . . by organizing volunteers to work to make green changes in their community, from cleaning a lake, to planting trees, to making composting bins, to hosting a clothing swap, and more! Here is an uplifting picture book that is an important reminder that no change is too small – and no person is too young – to make a difference.

Taking on the Plastics Crisis
By Hannah Testa
Illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
64 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593223338 | Penguin Workshop
Youth activist Hannah Testa, founder of Hannah4Change, shares how she led a grassroots political campaign to successfully pass state legislation limiting single-use plastics and how she influenced global businesses to adopt more sustainable practices. Through her personal journey, readers can learn how they, too, can follow in Hannah’s footsteps and lower their carbon footprint by simply refusing single-use plastics.

This Book is Not Garbage: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Trash, and Save the World!
By Isabel Thomas
Illustrated by Alex Paterson
208 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308677 | Random House BFYR
Our planet is in peril and needs your help! If you want to learn to reduce waste and save the Earth, here are practical tips and projects that make a difference! Do you worry about the world’s waste? The bad news is, humans throw away too much trash. But the good news is, there are lots of easy ways you can get involved and make a difference! From ditching straws and banning glitter to hosting a plastic-free birthday party, helping to save the planet is not as difficult as you think. So, take control of your future! Become an eco-warrior instead of an eco-worrier and do your part to save the world from GARBAGE!

This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution and Protect Our Planet!
By Isabel Thomas
Illustrated by Alex Paterson
192 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593308707 | Random House BFYR
Our planet is heating up, and it needs your help! If you want to learn to reduce your carbon footprint and cool the Earth, here are practical tips and projects that make a difference! Are you concerned about climate change? The bad news is, global warming is a real problem that won’t go away on its own. But the good news is, there are lots of easy ways you can get involved and make a difference! From swapping your stuff to assigning your school some eco-homework, helping to save the planet is within your reach. Arm yourself with info about our changing world, become an eco-hero and take control of your future. It’s time to do your part to cool the climate!

What is Climate Change?
By Gail Herman
Illustrated by John Hinderliter
112 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9781524786151 | Penguin Workshop
The earth is definitely getting warmer. There’s no argument about that, but who or what is the cause? And why has climate change become a political issue? Are humans at fault? Is this just a natural development? While the vast majority of scientists who study the environment agree that humans play a large part in climate change, there is a counterargument. Author Gail Herman presents both sides of the debate in this fact-based, fair-minded, and well-researched book that looks at the subject from many perspectives, including scientific, social, and political.

Who is Greta Thunberg?
By Jill Leonard
Illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez
56 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593225677 | Penguin Workshop
When she was just fifteen years old, Greta Thunberg knew she wanted to change the world. With a hand-painted sign that read “School strike for the climate” in Swedish, Greta sat alone on the steps of the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on climate change. Her one-person strike would soon spark a worldwide movement. This exciting story details the defining moments in Greta’s childhood that led up to her now-famous strike and all the monumental ones that have fueled her revolution since, including being named Time’s Most Influential Person of the Year in 2019.

Zee Grows a Tree
By Elizabeth Rusch
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763697549 | Candlewick
On the morning little Zee Cooper is born, a Douglas-fir seedling emerges from the nursery bed at her family’s Christmas tree farm. As Zee and the tree grow up together, they experience many of the same milestones. When Zee starts preschool, her tree is ready to start life outside the nursery. As Zee outgrows all her clothes, her tree grows taller, too. When Zee gets a whole new look for kindergarten, her tree gets a spiffy transformation as well. And as the years go on, Zee takes loving care of her tree, watering it through heat waves and protecting it from winter winds. Combining interesting details about how trees are grown and cared for on a farm with the sweet story of a friendship between a girl and her special tree, Zee Grows a Tree offers a blend of fiction and nonfiction that will draw the interest of young nature lovers everywhere. In the back of the book, readers will find an index, bibliography, and an author’s note suggesting some ways to enjoy a holiday tree without cutting one down.

Zonia’s Rain Forest
By Juana Martinez-Neal
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536208450 | Candlewick
Zonia’s home is the Amazon rain forest, where it is always green and full of life. Every morning, the rain forest calls to Zonia, and every morning, she answers. She visits the sloth family, greets the giant anteater, and runs with the speedy jaguar. But one morning, the rain forest calls to her in a troubled voice. How will Zonia answer? Acclaimed author-illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal explores the wonders of the rain forest with Zonia, an Asháninka girl, in her joyful outdoor adventures. The engaging text emphasizes Zonia’s empowering bond with her home, while the illustrations – created on paper made from banana bark – burst with luxuriant greens and delicate details. Illuminating back matter includes a translation of the story in Asháninka, information on the Asháninka community, and resources on the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife.

CTV Your Morning Kids’ Book Segment on I Read Canadian Day

Our Marketing and Publicity Director, Vikki VanSickle, was on CTV’s Your Morning today to talk about some of her top kids book picks for I Read Canadian Day. Check out our titles from her recommendations below and don’t forget to watch her segment for the full list!

AGES 3-7

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story
By Maureen Fergus
Illustrated by Mark Fearing
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524714512 | Knopf BFYR
After centuries alone in his old castle, Vlad is ready to try something new. When he hears the local hockey team gushing about how they’ll crush and destroy their opponents in the next game, he knows he’s found the activity for him! Vlad immediately gives the game his all, but he soon realizes that super-human powers don’t mean much in hockey without a mastery of the basics. After weeks of practice, he’s finally ready for the big game . . . but can a hundreds-of-years-old vampire really learn new tricks? This hilarious, energetic picture book encourages teamwork, perseverance, and a love of hockey that will last a lifetime, even for an immortal being.

Over the Shop
By JonArno Lawson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536201475 | Candlewick
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space – until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.

AGES 4-8

Maya’s Big Scene
By Isabelle Arsenault
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267602 | Tundra Books
Maya is an imposing, burgeoning playwright and loves to have the kids in her Mile End neighborhood bring her scenes to life. Her latest work, about a feminist revolution, is almost ready for public performance. But as her actors begin to express their costume preferences, Maya quickly learns that their visions may not match hers . . . and as both Director and Queen, Maya demands obedience and loyalty in her queendom of equality! But she soon realizes – with the help of her friends and subjects – that absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!

AGES 6-10

Super Detectives: Simon and Chester #1
By Cale Atkinson
64 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267428 | Tundra Books
Welcome to the world of Simon and Chester, ghost and boy duo extraordinaire.
They like to kick butt and take names.
They don’t like chores.
They are best friends.
And they are about to solve the mystery of a lifetime.
(Oh, and eat some snacks probably.)
Join Simon and Chester in their first adventure, and fall in love with this hilarious odd couple by fan favorite author and illustrator Cale Atkinson.

Lunar New Year 2021

February 12 is the Lunar New Year and it’s the Year of the Ox! Whether you’re celebrating or hoping to learn more about Lunar New Year traditions, we have some books for you.

Books about Lunar New Year:

A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story
By Yu Li-Qiong
Illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780763667481 | Candlewick
Little Maomao’s father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again. This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away – and shows how a family’s love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.

Baby’s First Chinese New Year
By DK
14 Pages | Ages 0-2 | Board
ISBN 9781465484017 | DK Children
The bright and colorful images in this book are the perfect way to discover the new year holiday traditions together. From colorful lanterns, to beautiful traditional clothes, to special animals that each year is named after, Baby’s First Chinese New Year features all the familiar favorites associated with one of Asia’s biggest and brightest celebrations. An ideal baby gift to develop early learning, the simple pictures and sentences promote language skills, and the small, padded format is perfect for babies to hold. Babies and toddlers will enjoy turning the pages by themselves, which helps to foster early reading development as well as fine motor skills. Learn all about the amazing new year holiday with your little one! Baby’s First Chinese New Year perfectly captures the joy of this special celebration and is an ideal preschool learning introduction to the traditions of the festival.

Bringing In the New Year
By Grace Lin
34 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780375866050 | Knopf BFYR
This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. And the dragon parade in our book is extra long – on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story. Grace Lin’s artwork is a bright and gloriously patterned celebration in itself! And her story is tailor-made for reading aloud.

Chinese New Year: A Mr. Men Little Miss Book
By Adam Hargreaves
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Paperback
ISBN 9780593222249 | Grosset & Dunlap
The Mr. Men and Little Misses are celebrating Chinese New Year! Little Miss Neat is having a Chinese New Year party with traditional decorations, a New Year’s Eve feast, and the next day there will even be a dragon dance. What could possibly go wrong?!

Chinese New Year Colors
By Richard Lo
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823443710 | Holiday House
This bilingual color concept book celebrates a rainbow of traditional objects seen during the Chinese New Year. Hóng is the color of explosive firecrackers! Jīn is the hue of lucky coins. Zŏng is the shade of sweet peanut puffs. Welcome to the festivities of the Chinese New Year, where symbolic gifts, foods, and objects come together in a celebration of beautiful colors. This vibrant, simple, and highly graphic bilingual book is the perfect introduction to Chinese and English words for colors as it honors one of the biggest holidays around the world. Includes informative back matter.

Maisy’s Chinese New Year
By Lucy Cousins
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536215649 | Candlewick
Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, and Maisy’s friend Tiger is coming home for the occasion. Hooray! Tiger has brought some beautiful gifts, some with a special symbol that means good luck. Maisy has asked all her friends to her house to celebrate with a delicious feast, and Penguin and Ostrich are handing out lucky red packets with money inside. Now it’s time for Tiger to tell the story of Chinese New Year, while everyone stays up late for fireworks. But the best is to come on New Year’s Day, when Maisy and all her friends take part in a dragon dance! Vivid with red and gold, this First Experiences book – featuring a simple visual glossary of common Chinese New Year’s objects – will be a favorite of little ones new to the tradition as well; as those for whom it’s a beloved event.

Stories to share:

Ten Little Dumplings
By Larissa Fan
Illustrated by Cindy Wume
48 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735266193 | Puffin Canada
In the city of Tainan, there lives a very special family – special because they have ten sons who do everything together. Their parents call them their ten little dumplings, as both sons and dumplings are auspicious. But if you look closely, you’ll see that someone else is there, listening, studying, learning and discovering her own talent – a sister. As this little girl grows up in the shadow of her brothers, her determination and persistence help her to create her own path in the world . . . and becomes the wisdom she passes on to her own daughter, her own little dumpling. Based on a short film made by the author, inspired by her father’s family in Taiwan, Ten Little Dumplings looks at some unhappy truths about the place of girls in our world in an accessible, inspiring and hopeful way.

The Black Friend: Q&A with Frederick Joseph

We got a chance to ask Frederick Joseph a couple of questions about his New York Times bestselling book, The Black Friend, and his answers will inspire you.

Tell us about The Black Friend – what inspired it?

The Black Friend was inspired by a moment of racism I faced while taking the subway to work a few years ago. I sat next to a young white woman who clutched her purse as soon as I sat down, as if I was going to steal from her and then moved her seat next to a white man. I tweeted about the incident and how racist her actions were and many people argued that her actions were in fact not racist. I then realized that we have a very long way to go as a society in understanding that racism is a spectrum and microaggressions are one of the most consistent manifestations of daily racism non-white people face. I wanted to create a text that helped people further understand that fact.

You’ve been behind two successful campaigns – #BlackPantherChallenge and #RentRelief – can you tell us about how both of those started? Did you get the results you expected?

Both campaigns started by me recognizing a need in our society and wanting to do what I could to help alleviate it, though the two needs are very different. #RentRelief is likely the most practical for many. People are facing economic hardship because of the pandemic, so I raised money to send funds in hopes that it would help them during their troubles. As far as the #BlackPantherChallenge, that’s a bit more nuanced. I created that campaign because oftentimes when we discuss marginalized young people, we only talk about how to help them survive. But I believe joy is a very important part of youth as well. So I raised money to give young people a moment for joy and to see themselves represented on screen.

What other writing projects are you currently working on?

This is top secret for the moment. But I will say, I’m going to continue to find ways to support marginalized communities through my writing, especially women and the LGBTQ+ community.

You interviewed so many inspiring people for The Black Friend – were there any people you wish you could have included?

I do wish that I could have had someone who is Native American in the book. I was working on firming up time to interview three amazing people, but scheduling didn’t work out. But I will do everything in my power to get them in a future project.

Related: Who would be at your dream dinner party (once dinner parties are a thing again)?

At my dinner party hmmmm . . . You didn’t specify whether they have to be alive. So I’ll say, my fiancée, Malcolm X, Coretta Scott King, Ayanna Pressley, my editor Kaylan Adair, LeBron James, and Fred Hampton.

You provided an excellent list of recommendations in the appendices. Since releasing the book, is there anything else you’d add to those lists (book, movies, music, people to Google)?

There are SOOOO many pieces of art I wish I could have added to the list. But on my mind at this moment is the upcoming film Judas and The Black Messiah.

How have you been keeping yourself busy during the pandemic?

I’ve kept busy by moving to a new home, writing my top secret projects, and having amazing discussions such as this.

Anything else you want to share with readers?

I want to share one thought with readers: Prioritize your mental health. So much is going on in our world and I want you all to do things to heal and find your peace mentally and emotionally.

Thank you, Fred! If you haven’t picked up The Black Friend yet, it’s a powerful read.


The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person
By Frederick Joseph
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217018 | Candlewick
For Frederick Joseph, life as a transfer student in a largely white high school was full of wince-worthy moments that he often simply let go. As he grew older, however, he saw these as missed opportunities not only to stand up for himself, but to spread awareness to those white people who didn’t see the negative impact they were having. Speaking directly to the reader, The Black Friend calls up race-related anecdotes from the author’s past, weaving in his thoughts on why they were hurtful and how he might handle things differently now. Touching on everything from cultural appropriation to power dynamics, “reverse racism” to white privilege, microaggressions to the tragic results of overt racism, this book serves as conversation starter, tool kit, and invaluable window into the life of a former “token Black kid” who now presents himself as the friend many readers need. Backmatter includes an encyclopedia of racism, providing details on relevant historical events, terminology, and more.

Frederick Joseph: websitetwitter | instagram