25 December 2018

Diverse Matters: Books released in January

Hi Y'all!
I hope you had a very happy holiday season and to get you ready for the new year,

I've found some great titles that will be coming out soon.

All these books will be available during the month of January! What a great way to start the new year...with new books!!

This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which allows me to purchase more books to be able to share with you! Click on any of the pictures or titles to grab your copy.

What is Given from the Heart by Patricia Mckissack

Released January 8, What is Given from the Heart is a story about giving. While a little boy and his mother have fallen on hard times, they still find a way to give selflessly to another family in need.  The lesson of giving should not be reserved for the holiday season and this book is a perfect way to help students remember the importance of putting others first.

A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan

Did you know Gwendolyn Brooks was the first Black author to win a Pulitzer Prize?  A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks tells the story of the life of Gwendolyn Brooks all through the use of poetry.  This book will be released January 1.

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome

James Ransome is an incredible illustrator. The story of The Bell Rang is a story of hope, something that is often missing from the modern day portrayals of slave life.  The story takes us through a week on a plantation. Day after day they live through the same routine, until one day, Ben cannot be found.  He has run away. While the family is fearful for what it means for Ben to be gone, they hope he has made his way to freedom.  The Bell Rang is available January 15.

Dress like a Girl by Patricia Toht

I remember being told to "dress like a girl" or "sit like a lady" or any other gender sayings we continue to tell our children in hopes to have them conform.  This book will be a fun and important way to explore the idea of identity. It's important to help children understand that clothes are an opportunity for people to express themselves regardless of gender.  Dress like a Girl is available January 22.
Here's a quote from the book:
What does it mean to dress like a girl?
Many will tell you in this big, wide world
that there are strict rules that must be addressed,
rules you will need when looking your best.
But when you are given these rules to obey,
the secret is heeding them—in your own way.

Grandpa Stops a War by Susan Robeson

If you're not familiar with Paul Robeson, take a minute to look him up.  Written by his granddaughter Susan, Grandpa Stops a War tells the story of Paul Robeson's bravery and activism.  From the authors' note: 'Grandpa Stops a War tells the story of four powers that shaped my childhood as a Robeson: the power of music to move hearts and minds, the courage to act according to your beliefs, the artist as a citizen of the world, and the power of compassion'. 
Beautifully illustrated, Grandpa Stops a War is released January 22.

Fearless Mary by Tami Charles

I had never heard of Mary Fields before I read this book.  She was an amazingly brave woman.  Fun facts: she had a pet eagle, she never lost a package on her route, and she was the first Black female stagecoach driver in America.  This book would be a great addition to your study of  Westward Expansion. I plan on using this book when we talk about community helpers, it will help reinforce the idea that women often played a large role in the establishment of jobs that are now traditionally held by men.  Fearless Mary is available January 1.

The Piñata that the Farm Maiden Hung by Samantha Vamos

Arriving January 8, The Piñata that the Farm Maiden Hung tells a story of a community coming together to surprise a little girl.  Told in the style The House that Jack Built, the story is sprinkled with Spanish words, making learning the language easy and fun.  Also included are instructions for the reader to build their own piñata. 

Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise

So so so very excited about this book! Another great story to use when talking about about famous women or community helpers, Planting Stories is the story of Pura Belpré.  Pura was NYC first Puerto Rican librarian and pushed for the incorporation of bilingual literature into libraries.  The book will also be available in Spanish on January 15.

 Mary Wears What she Wants by Keith Negley

Based on a true story, Mary Wears What she Wants is the story of a woman who decides to wear what she wants, pants.  In an age when only men wore pants, Mary decides to challenge gender norms and wear pants.  Dr. Mary Edwards Walker was an abolitionistprohibitionistprisoner of war and surgeon. She is the only woman to ever receive the Medal of HonorFemale colleagues in medical school criticized her choices, and patients often gawked at her and teased her. She nevertheless persisted in her mission to reform women's dress. Her view that women's dress should "protect the person, and allow freedom of motion and circulation, and not make the wearer a slave to it" made her commitment to dress reform as great as her zeal for abolitionism.  Mary Wears What she Wants is available on January 15.

Brave Ballerina by Michelle Meadows

I am VERY excited about this book, and have already featured it on my Diverse Reads Instagram page. Out January 8, the Brave Ballerina is the story of Janet Collins the first Black Ballet dancer for the Met Opera House. Did you know in order for her to perform with a company in Monte Carlo she was expected to paint her face, arms, and legs white? Can you believe? She refused and went on to do amazing things. Despite the racism she encountered she never gave up on her dreams and is an incredible pioneer dancer for women everywhere. 

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan

If you don't own anything written by Hena Khan, please take a second and purchase everything she's written. I can not wait for this book, which debuts January 22. Under My Hijab explores the diverse ways women wear their hijab. Each woman making a personal choice to express their personality through their hijab. 

The Roots of Rap by Carole Boston Weatherford

A new book coming to us in January 8, has my heart beating fast! The Root of Rap written by Carole Boston Weatherford and beautifully illustrated by Frank Morrison pays tribute to the founding kings and queens of rap. If you incorporate music into your classroom (as you should because...music is everything), this would be a great way to start a conversation about the pioneers of music that our students listen to now.  

Yasmin Series by Saadia Faruqi

I am just in LOVE with the Yasmin series.  They are such an amazing addition to our classroom. An early reader this new set of four books debuts January 1. The price point for these books is perfect, set right under $6 each.  The Yasmin series features a young girl name Yasmin, who goes on a number of adventures in her community.  She is a typical girl who just happens to be Muslim. I'm sure your students will fall in love with Yasmin.

Which titles are you most excited about?


31 October 2018


Now that I live in NYC I’m on Germ Alert. Riding the bus and subway provides more opportunity to come into contact with germs that can get you seriously sick. And now that it’s cold and flu season I want to be sure to be extra careful. The folks at Lysol produced a Healthy & Happy Classroom guide to help teachers and students stay healthy this season. You can get yourself a Healthy & Happy Classroom kit by going to: http://bit.ly/myhealthyclassroom

Who doesn’t want a healthy and happy classroom this year? We all do! That’s why Lysol created this free guide for teachers that’s filled with tons of tips and tricks for keeping your students and classroom the healthiest they can be all year long.
The guide is free! Sign-Up at bit.ly/myhealthyclassroom and you will receive a Classroom Kit to your school. Just fill out the form below.
(Kit signup ends November 30, 2018. Limit one kit per classroom per school. While supplies last.)

Here’s a peek at what’s inside your free teacher guide: 
  • Tips for boosting the “happy” in your classroom
  • Ideas for raising money for your classroom
  • Facts about the germiest spots in your classroom (You’ll be surprised!)
  • A free, printable Healthy Habits Bingo game
  • Blueprints for a DIY quick and easy classroom organizer
Plus, there’s awesome stuff for families, too!
  • 3 tips for making homework time a happier time
  • Healthy Habits Punch Card to get kids on track with healthy habits
  • Tips on how to tackle germ “hot spots” in your home 

08 September 2018

Bloomz app for back to school!

Y’all have you heard of @bloomzapp ? I’ve used other messaging systems before but this one is a little bit special. Did you know you can message him agents and they won’t ever know your number or info?  And my most favorite part is it’s free!!! You can schedule conferences without using an additional website  Like its all on the app y’all!! Read more at: bitly.com/bloomzbacktoschool


04 August 2018

Frog Street Press Conference

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I spent last week in Grapevine, TX attending/presenting at the Frog Street Press conference.

I had never attended this conference before I had a BLAST!
There were so many amazing sessions and such a positive and fun environment.
If you teach the littlest littles up to about first grade...then you should definitely consider attending next summer.
Here are a few pics of the fun!


18 July 2018

Diversity Matters: Back to School Part 2

Hi Y'all!
I am finally back to blogging about my most favorite thing....BOOKS.
I've got a list of some great new and upcoming books to share with you.

But first, a quick update.
If you follow me on social media, you know that I have recently made the big move from Massachusetts to Brooklyn!
I am so excited to start a new adventure here and I'll be sure to keep you updated!
So let's get to the books!

If you have questions on how to take advantage of these (and many other books) wonderful books during the entire school year, please email me at thetututeacher@gmail.com...we can chat!
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which allows me to purchase more books to be able to share with you! Click on any of the pictures or titles to grab your copy.

I've featured some books that are currently out and available, and a few that you'll have to patiently impatiently wait for.
Let's get into it!

Harrison P. Spader, Personal Space Invader
by Christianne Jones
I cannot WAIT for this book to come out (release date: August 1). I just know this book will serve as the perfect mentor text at the beginning of the year when we discuss body space. Most students have the best intentions when they get right up in your face to ask a question, but I'm sure once they see how Harrison's friends react, they'll be able to get a better understanding about personal space. It's also important for teachers to rem ember that certain families and cultures look at personal space in different ways. Since this book isn't out yet, I can't give it a rating. Check back to see what I think once it arrives.

Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal

Oh how I love this book! Alma is a sweet girl who doesn't like her very long name.  After an in depth exploration into their family's history and culture, Alma learns that her name, well, ALL her names, are beautiful and important.  I personally connected with this story as my name is 5 names long. I almost always take up the entire space on a paper when writing my name. But each name has a special history and significance. ALL my names make me who I am.  This book would be a great addition to your classroom library. Especially at the beginning of the year when discussing names.

All Are Welcome
by Alexandra Penfold

This book should be in every classroom.
There's no need for me to tell you all about this book because you are purchasing it for your classroom right now.

Hello School!
by Priscilla Burris

Hello School! is a great addition to you Back to School collection. The story helps children familiarize themselves with the expectations and events that take place in school. This book would work wonderfully for an early childhood classroom, as students come to us with little school or classroom experience.  What I love most about this book, is that the classroom teacher looks like me!

Mae's First Day of School
by Kate Berube

Oh this book. If you've been teaching for awhile, you definatiely have had a Mae in your classroom.  Mae is that sweet child, who on the first day of school, can't seem to make eye contact, has trouble speaking up or feeling comfortable. Mae's feelings are important to recognize and discuss.  I am sure many children will connect with Mae's feelings on the first day of school.

The Day You Begin 
by Jacqueline Woodson

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK! I can't even stand how much I need this book in my life! Set to release, August 28, The Day You Begin is about finding yourself in any place, when it seems as if it is impossible to find yourself. The entire book is written in verse, and there is one specific verse that sticks out to me:
"And in that room, where no one else is quite like you, you'll look down at your empty hands and wonder, What good is this, when other students were flying and sailing and going somewhere."
That really resonated with me, as we return to school and ask students what they did or where they went, that some students, might not see themselves in the opportunities or experiences other students have had. How to we level the playing field so every child can see themselves in the classroom.  Because this book isn't out yet, I'm unable to rate it...but I have no doubt it will be amazing!!

Lena's Shoes are Nervous
by Keith Calabrese

Similarly to Mae's First Day of School,  Lena is a little nervous about her first day of kindergarten.  She and her father work through her nerves by hunting down those nervous shoes of hers. This is a fun and silly way to discuss that it's ok to feel nervous or scared. What a great way to validate the anxious feelings many of our students will have.

What if...
by Samantha Berger

I LOVE THIS BOOK.  I think this book can be used any time of the year. However, I think this is perfect for back to school. It's a perfect story of the power of imagination, creativity, and never giving up. The story sets up the expectation we teachers have for our students to dig deep, try anything, and be brave.  The illustrations ALONE will capture the hearts of students.
I have shared this book at a few of my presentations, and teachers have fallen in love. It is just perfect.

What other books would you add to this list?
Don't forget my initial Back to School post, you can find that list below:

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon. By purchasing an item on the Amazon site using these links, I will receive a small commission on your purchase. For more information about my Disclosure Policy, please visit this link.

17 June 2018


  • Have you heard yet?!? Britt from The Superhero Teacher is teaming up with We Are Teachers and LYSOL to give one lucky teacher the classroom of their dreams! Five lucky teachers will be selected based on their entry to win a $100 gift card. From there, winners will need to work closely with their administrator to complete a form about what can be renovated in their classroom. One of the first place winners will be named the grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will receive an Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition from The Superhero Teacher, which is an amazing classroom makeover is valued at $5,000! Brittany Wheaton, aka The Superhero Teacher, will lead a complete renovation of your classroom. She will work one-on-one with you to build your dream classroom.
  • 1️⃣ Post a picture of your classroom on instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #flipmyclassroom
  • OR
  • 2️⃣ Go to myhealthyclassroom.com and share your picture and story there!
    Thanks again We Are Teachers and LYSOL for the mini-makeover— I love it and can’t wait to see who wins (contest ends June 30)
Check out what you could win!

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