Book Review: Lying Up a Storm

 Author: Julia Cook
Illustrator: Michelle Hazelwood Hyde

From the Book Jacket: Whenever Levi doesn't like the truth, he kinda, sorta makes up other stuff to say. One day his mother explains to him that telling lies will damage the trust of his friends and make him very sad. 

This book is a great resource to help children understand not only the consequences of telling a lie, by also how one lie can often lead to telling several more. It will help parents and teachers understand that lying can be a normal and sometimes healthy response for a child and offers tools to guide children toward truthfulness. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Such a great teaching book on honesty and making good choices. I also loved the line of "whenever you tell a lie, your inside sun goes away." Because you not only hurt others with dishonesty but you hurt yourself! Levi also tries to minimize his lies and make excuses as to why it's okay to not be truthful sometimes. The other message kids pick up in this book is it's okay to make mistakes - we all do. Just be honest about it and you will feel better about yourself and the mistake. 

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Book Review: Sulwe

Author: Lupita Nyong'o
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison

From the Book Jacket: Sulwe has skin the color of midnight. She is darker than everyone in her family. She is darker than anyone in her school. Sulwe just wants to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey in the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. 

In this stunning debut picture book, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story that will inspire children to see their own unique beauty. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Wow. This book belongs in every classroom library. It addresses the issue of colorism or shadeism which is discrimination based on skin color usually from members of the same race in which people are treated differently. Author and actress Lupita Nyong'o brings us a story that shares the pain this treatment of people can cause. She adds an author's note at the end letting readers know the journey of self-love she has been on - her transparency is inspiring. Cannot recommend this one enough!

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Book Review: Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You

Author: Sonia Sotomayor
Illustrator: Rafael Lopez

From the Book Jacket: Sonia and her friends are planting a garden, and each one contributes in his or her own way. Rafael has asthma and sometimes has to stay calm so he can breathe better, which gives him time to paint beautiful rocks for the garden. Anthony uses a wheelchair to get around and can move super fast, directing the group. Anh has a stutter and prefers to listen, so she knows just how to plant each flower. All of the friends are different, but they all have one thing in common: They like to ask questions and learn about one another. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This book should be in every classroom. We need to create a community where kids can be more transparent and not made to feel that differences are bad. This is the perfect resource to teach children the message of acceptance and it's okay to be who you are and be proud of it!

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