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A Sky-Blue Bench

2021

by Bahram Rahman and Peggy Collins

"A young Afghani amputee matter-of-factly removes her own barrier to education, building a bench from discarded wood so that she and her “helper-leg” can sit through school in comfort. It's Afghani schoolgirl Aria's first day back at school since her accident. She's excited, but she's also worried about sitting on the hard floor all day with her new prosthetic "helper-leg." Just as Aria feared, sitting on the floor is so uncomfortable that she can't think about learning at all. She knows that before the war changed many things in Afghanistan, schools like hers had benches for students to sit at. If she had a bench, her leg would not hurt so much. The answer is obvious: she will gather materials, talk to Kaka Najar, the carpenter in the old city, and learn to build a bench for herself. In A Sky-Blue Bench, Bahram Rahman, author of The Library Bus, returns again to the setting of his homeland, Afghanistan, to reveal the resilience and resolve of young children—especially young girls—who face barriers to education. Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author's note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan, which has the highest concentration of landmines of any country in the world." -- publisher

Oppression & Resilience

Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip

2021

by Michael W. Waters and Nicole Tadgell

"Based on a real-life trip, Liberty and her friend Abdullah visit significant places from the civil rights movement, inspiring them to come together with others to create a better world. Time to board the bus! Liberty and her friend Abdullah, with their families and a diverse group of passengers, head off to their first stop: Jackson, Mississippi. Next on their map are Glendora, Memphis, Birmingham, Montgomery, and finally Selma, for a march across the iconic Edmund Pettus Bridge. As told through the innocent view of a child, Liberty's Civil Rights Road Trip serves as an early introduction to places, people, and events that transformed history. The story is inspired by an actual journey led by author Michael W. Waters, bringing together a multigenerational group to witness key locations from the civil rights movement. An author's note and more information about each stop on Liberty's trip offer ways for adults to expand the conversation with young readers. A portion of the publisher's sales proceeds will be donated to Foot Soldiers Park in Selma, Alabama, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring the history and continued relevance of the Selma movement." -- publisher

Cross Group Oppression & Resilience

Malala Yousafzai

2021

by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Manal Mirza

"In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Malala Yousafzai, the incredible activist for girls' education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate?. In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Malala Yousafzai, the incredible activist for girls’ education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate​. When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence. She was shot in the left side of her head and woke up in a hospital in England. Finally, after long months and many surgeries, Malala recovered, and resolved to become an activist for girls’ education. Now a recent Oxford graduate, Malala continues to fight for a world where all girls can learn and lead. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life." -- publisher

Biography Oppression & Resilience

Saving American Beach

2021

by Heidi Tyline King and Ekua Holmes

"This heartfelt picture book biography illustrated by the Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes, tells the story of MaVynee Betsch, an African American opera singer turned environmentalist and the legacy she preserved. MaVynee loved going to the beach. But in the days of Jim Crow, she couldn’t just go to any beach—most of the beaches in Jacksonville were for whites only. Knowing something must be done, her grandfather bought a beach that African American families could enjoy without being reminded they were second class citizens; he called it American Beach. Artists like Zora Neale Hurston and Ray Charles vacationed on its sunny shores. It’s here that MaVynee was first inspired to sing, propelling her to later become a widely acclaimed opera singer who routinely performed on an international stage. But her first love would always be American Beach. After the Civil Rights Act desegregated public places, there was no longer a need for a place like American Beach and it slowly fell into disrepair. MaVynee remembered the importance of American Beach to her family and so many others, so determined to preserve this integral piece of American history, she began her second act as an activist and conservationist, ultimately saving the place that had always felt most like home" -- publisher

Biography Oppression & Resilience

Ten Little Dumplings

2021

by Larissa Fan and Cindy Wume

"If one son is lucky, then ten must be great luck indeed! But where does that leave an only daughter? Based on a true family story, this inspiring picture book about a different perspective tells the tale of a girl determined to be seen, who finds her own voice and makes her own luck. 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." -- publisher

Oppression & Resilience

The Librarian’s Stories

2021

by Lucy Falcone and Anna Wilson

"A town is left in ruins after the bombs fall. The beloved library is turned to ash. Home will never feel the same. But then one day, the Librarian appears in the square. Seated on a bench in front of the library ruins, she opens a book and begins to read aloud. The village children stop to listen. "Foolish woman," Papa says. "Too dangerous," Mama agrees, hurrying the children away. Day after day, as she returns to her post, the Librarian’s stories bring comfort to the broken hearts of the people. Little by little, seeds of hope are planted, and the town begins to heal. Inspired by the true story of the Cellist of Sarajevo, a compassionate musician who played his cello for 22 days to honor the deaths of 22 innocent people killed after the bombing of a bakery during the Bosnian war. The Librarian's Stories is a testament to the enduring connection between stories and hope." -- publisher

Cross Group Oppression & Resilience

The water lady

2021

by Alice B. McGinty and Shonto Begay

"Underneath the New Mexico sky, a Navajo boy named Cody finds that his family’s barrels of water are empty. He checks the chicken coop—nothing. He walks down the road to the horses’ watering hole. Dry. Meanwhile, a few miles away, Darlene Arviso drives a school bus and picks up students for school. After dropping them off, she heads to another job: she drives her big yellow tanker truck to the water tower, fills it with three thousand gallons of water, and returns to the reservation, bringing water to Cody’s family, and many, many others. Here is the incredible and inspiring true story of a Native American woman who continuously gives back to her community and celebrates her people." -- publisher

Biography Oppression & Resilience

Unspeakable

2021

by Carole Boston Weatherford and Floyd Cooper

"A remarkable look at a significant moment in our nation's past, shedding light on racial violence and offering hope for a better future. Celebrated author Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Floyd Cooper provide a powerful look at the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community. News of what happened was largely suppressed, and no official investigation occurred for seventy-five years. This picture book sensitively introduces young readers to this tragedy and concludes with a call for a better future." -- publisher

Informational Oppression & Resilience

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