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Thiago the Tiger and the Light Within

Thiago the Tiger and the Light Within by [Vanessa Caraveo]

Thiago the Tiger and the Light Within is a charming children’s story about a tiger that is born with colorful stripes that glow. Although he is a cute and magnificent little cub, the children at school make fun of him. But when things get dark on a school trip, only Thiago the tiger can save the day.

This is a very colorful and bright book, which suits the idea of Thiago the tiger having multicolored stipes that shine. This story reminds me of Rudolf the Red Nose reindeer and how he was shunned because of the very thing that made him special. Author Vanessa Caraveo has a written a simple story that easily conveys a powerful message of acceptance.

This is a fun and educational children’s picture book that shows kids how to recognize the differences in others and see the beauty in those differences. Children will surely be drawn to all the colorful art throughout this book and they will easily be able to pick up on all of Thiago’s emotions as well.

Thiago the Tiger and the Light Within is highly recommended for parents and teachers with children that are learning about diversity and inclusion.

Pages: 37 | ASIN: B07L9FW7K1

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Ask Uncle Neil: Why is my hair curly?

Ask Uncle Neil: Why is my hair curly? is an educational children’s book that explains why some people have curly hair and why some people have straight hair. Young Anthony is getting ready for a recital. When combing his hair he begins to wonder what would happen if he grew his hair long. His mother tells him that his hair would be harder to comb because it is curly. Anthony wonders why that is so and in the absence of answers they decide to call Uncle Neil who is a scientist.

I found this book to be wonderfully educational on several layers. I have always wondered why some people have curly hair while others have straight hair. The book presents several explanations and even explains why some people have oily hair and other people do not. All with bright and simple illustrations that any child will understand. I also enjoy the idea that, when in doubt, ask a scientist. This book teaches young kids about hair, but also teaches them a little bit about the scientific process by telling them what a ‘scientific consensus’ is.

All the art in the book is colorful hand drawn art that children will surely be able to relate to. This is a fantastic book to educate young readers and inspire them to find more answers through science. This is one of the best kids book I have read that sets up a question and then answers it in an straightforward and entertaining way while promoting diversity and science at the same time. Ask Uncle Neil: Why is my hair curly? is a fun picture book that will educate readers as it entertains them.

Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07GJX26XQ

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My Black Life Matters

Malik is smart. He loves school, and he runs–he has to. He is teased by kids just like him for loving learning. Malik knows this is unfair, and he is tired of living this way. He isn’t alone. His friend, Keisha, knows how he feels. She and Malik have been there for each other through many difficult days. Matt is their friend, too. Not unlike Malik and Keisha, Matt’s days are spent running from trouble in his own way. One afternoon, while the three friends are gathered at Keisha’s house, the doorbell rings and things change in a way none of them could have guessed.

My Black Life Matters, by Michael A. Brown, is the story of young Malik and his friends, three African American elementary students who explain how they deal with the abuse and bullying endured on a daily basis. Malik, Keisha, and Matt live with mistreatment on many levels, the most painful of which comes from their own peers and family members. Readers of all ages will find Malik’s story relatable, and teachers and parents will recognize many children in Keisha and Matt. They represent a large part of the African American population all of whom deserve to have their voices heard.

Author Michael A. Brown brings to light the incredibly challenging lives of children across the country. In making sure that their lives matter, he gives them voices through his vibrant and engaging characters. Brown’s book is a must-have for school counselors. Brown deals with triggering content in a tasteful way that parents and counselors can easily incorporate into important personal discussions. Kudos to Brown for giving readers a story grounded in real-life with a positive and uplifting message.

Pages: 44 | ISBN: 1735604194

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True Colors

True Colors by [Aditi Nair, Morgan Colonna]

Crystal, a magnificent peahen in her own right, is looking for answers. She wants to know the secret to becoming as beautiful as her best friend, Alejandro, a peacock. Crystal prepares herself for a journey of self-discovery without realizing that she will meet new friends and be reintroduced to her true self along the way. From the very beginning of Crystal’s adventure, she meets with fabulous creatures who offer her words of wisdom and the encouragement that makes all the difference in her own confidence. She soon finds out that what she seeks was inside her  all along.

True Colors, written by Aditi Nair and illustrated by Morgan Colonna, is the beautiful story of Crystal, the peahen, and her desire to change her dull feathers with the help of the magical green elephant. This is much more than an ugly duckling tale. Crystal, the book’s main character, learns a slightly different lesson from each of the animals she meets on her journey. The story gradually builds with each of the characters tacking onto her lesson another aspect of self-confidence and inner strength as Crystal’s story unfolds.

This book is the perfect story with which to introduce or review the concept of a central message to elementary students. Nair’s book is the ideal length for in-depth discussions and offers teachers and students ample opportunities to analyze character traits and motivations. Nair has produced a real asset for classroom teachers.

True Colors gives young readers engaging characters from which to learn some very important life lessons. This beautifully illustrated book is a must-have for teachers in grades 2-5.

Pages: 29 | ASIN: B08VFH7ZJF

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Fill an Educational Gap

Carlie Wright
Carlie Wright Author Interview

The Rainbow Blots teaches children about the colors of the rainbow in a fun and entertaining way. What inspired the idea behind the Rainbow Blots?

The Rainbow Blots was inspired by my son and my niece who had independently drawn little characters with circular bodies, no separate heads but with arms, legs and smiling faces. I was inspired to create characters like these for a children’s book and put colours inside the circular bodies.

There are lots of colours books and I wanted my characters to be unique. It struck me that children are rarely taught the seven colours of the rainbow in order. We teach them ‘purple’ or ‘pink’ but not indigo and violet. This has always bothered me, ever since I realised that yellow was not the second colour of the rainbow, at the ripe old age of eleven! I wanted to teach my children properly and a rainbow storybook teaching the seven rainbow colours in order seemed a good proposition and it would help to fill an educational gap.

Children learn best through play, so it was a great opportunity to have my characters play with objects that were the same colours as themselves in order to teach the rainbow colours.

The art in this book is wonderfully creative. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Victoria Mikki?

I created the overall storyboard for the book and it was important to me that each character had its own personality and physical identifier (e.g. Red Blot’s glasses or Orange Blot’s baseball cap) but Victoria brought all the characters and scenes to life. Her illustrations are so beautiful and humorous! She surprises and delights with every page turn.

I like to have a balance between not being too prescriptive but giving enough information that the illustrations returned are in line with my overall vision. For example, I asked for a Mummy Rainbow character to lower down her Blots by a ladder. I also wanted Mummy Rainbow to appear when there had been sun and rain at the same time. The double spread Victoria returned was so fantastic and inspirational for the opening scene that I knew I had to use the image on the cover as well.

Similarly, I knew what objects I wanted the Blots to be playing with. Victoria was in her element with these playing scenes. They were such a joy to receive as an author and it has been wonderful to hear the feedback from parents enjoying the illustrations and to see and hear children giggling along in delight, too!

This book serves as a great educational tool. How do you see this fitting into a students curriculum?

The Rainbow Blots is brilliant for use in kindergartens (UK preschools/nurseries) and first grade (UK reception class). For early learners, the book teaches colour recognition and helps children associate objects with colours. Rainbow colours are introduced in order and children are invited to recap the colours together. I know one second grade (UK Year 1) teacher who has used my book and song in conjunction with teaching a weather module in class. Older children can also enjoy reading The Rainbow Blots as it is written as a storybook. My six-year-old daughter enjoys reading it to herself and out loud to her toys!

Children learn in a variety of ways. The first thing my children did upon reading my book was to try and sing the colours of the rainbow in order. They couldn’t do it with the rainbow song we all knew, which had ‘pink’ in it. So, as a musician, I composed my own rainbow song called, ‘Do You Know The Colours Of The Rainbow?’ My rhyming song teaches the seven colours in order. The tune is so catchy, and children learn their colours really quickly when my book and song are taught in combination.

I have two versions of the song, with the same tune. Both can be found on my YouTube channel. The original has more of a nursery rhyme style, and I have had it animated in a 2D video featuring the characters from The Rainbow Blots. For slightly older children, there is a dancier version that gives more time to sign the song in sign language. To date, I have only had the song signed in British Sign Language, but I hope it can be translated into other languages as well to aid inclusivity and diversity and help embed a little sign language into a child’s early learning journey.

Do you have future books planned for The Rainbow Blots?

The Rainbow Blots was written as part of a series. I hope to publish ‘The Rainbow Blots Learn Numbers’ later in 2021.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

Meet the Rainbow Blots. They are playful, happy, rainbow spots! 
Have fun learning the seven rainbow colours in order, with Mummy Rainbow and her Rainbow Blots. The Blots love to play with their colours and to play together as a family. Join in with their day and keep a lookout for their special trick!

A Unicorn Named Rin

A Unicorn Named Rin is an adventurous children’s story that follows a qilin, a Chinese unicorn, that must help Princess Pingyang find Fan, the royal Phoenix, before the Friendship Concert begins. Rin sets off on a wonderous journey that takes him to many real life locations where he meets many mythical creatures from real Chinese legends.

This is a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book. Every page is covered in bright colors that will surely keep young readers attention. I loved all the creatures that Rin encounters as they were intricately drawn and each helps Rin when he needs it, and lift his spirits when he is down. In the end they all work as a team to find Fan in a clever twist that requires teamwork, a fantastic message for children. This is the most unique children’s book that I’ve read as it combines Chinese culture in every aspect, from myths, to poetry, festivals, and real geographic locations.

This fairy tale is easy to read, with a couple of larger words that will challenge young readers, but with repetition they are sure to pick it up. The message this story delivers is an important one for children to learn, don’t despair, ask for help, and work as a team. I appreciate how all of this is never stated outright, but learned through the story.

A Unicorn Named Rin is a fun and educational picture book that teaches children about Chinese culture as well as building literacy skills. Highly recommended to parents and teachers who are looking to diversity their children’s bookshelf.

Pages: 32 | ISBN: 1913891127

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