California Reading & Literature Project Statewide Office

California Reading & Literature Project (CRLP) provides professional Development to Teachers K-12

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Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington The story of Li’l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa—coming together to help others. Li’l Rabbit is not having a very good Kwanzaa. Granna Rabbit is sick, and so his family won’t celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa this year: a big feast called Karamu. Li’l Rabbit knows what to do! He’ll find Granna Rabbit a special treat for Karamu so she can celebrate anyway. He looks under a pile of logs, in the field, and in the pond and along the way meets Groundhog, Momma Field Mouse, and the frogs—but he doesn’t find anything for Granna Rabbit. Maybe I’m just too little to help Granna Rabbit celebrate Kwanzaa, Li’l Rabbit thinks. Or maybe he just needs a little help from his family and friends.


The Girl Who Ruined Christmas by Cindy Callaghan Imagine you’re a tween visiting a small town that loves nothing more than its prize for—a perfect Christmas tree destined for the White House. Now picture yourself accidentally destroying that tree, making you public enemy number one. Lastly, imagine that to repay your debt, you have to remain in said town for the Christmas season. That’s what happens to Brady Bancroft. When Brady ruins Harper Hollow Fall’s prize tree, she’s sentenced to stay in the holiday-festooned town for the month of December. At first, she couldn’t be more depressed about the whole situation; but during her month there, she is surprised to discover that there’s much more than pine needles to the little town holding her captive. In the end, Harper Hollow Falls reminds Brady of the true meaning of Christmas—and she, in turn, saves the town.​​​​​​​​​


Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, and on the first night of Hanukkah, the scent of her cooking wakes a hungry, adorable bear from his hibernation. He lumbers into town to investigate, and Bubba Brayna—who does not see or hear very well—mistakes him for her rabbi. She welcomes the bear inside to play the dreidel game, light the menorah, and enjoy a scrumptious meal. However, after her well-fed guest leaves, there’s a knock at the door—it’s the rabbi, and all of Brayna’s other friends, arriving for dinner. But there are no latkes left—and together, they finally figure out who really ate them.​​​​​​​​​


Winter: A Solstice Story by Kelsey E. Gross Tonight is the longest night of the year—solstice is here! Deep in the forest, the dark, cold and quiet of winter is all around. Owl, mouse, and Deer all watch the light fade and dark surrounds them, but they have a gift of hope to share with their neighbors. The moon and stars shine down on a lone tree in the forest, and the animals gather around to bask in its light. Winter Solstice arrives as the winter sky brings magic for all to share.


The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree by David Rubel Opening in Depression-era New York City, The Carpenter's Gift tells the story of eight-year-old Henry and his father selling Christmas trees. They give a Christmas tree to construction workers building Rockefeller Center and celebrate together. Through the kindness of the construction workers and neighbors, Henry gets his wish for a nice, warm home to replace his family's drafty shack. He plants a pinecone from that first Rockefeller Center Tree. As an old man, Henry repays the gift by donating the enormous tree that has grown from that pinecone to become a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. After bringing joy to thousands as the Rockefeller Center tree, its wood will be used to build a home for another family in need.


The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington It’s time for Kwanzaa! Light the candles on the kinara! Fly the bendera, and tell stories from Africa! The festival of Kwanzaa was originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga to honor the customs and history of African Americans. The seven principles of Kwanzaa, called the Nguzo Saba, serve to remind African Americans of the struggles of the past, and also focus on present-day achievements and goals for the future. The holiday fun continues with activities at the end of the book, including making your own cow-tail switch and baking benne cakes.


River wants so badly to dance at powwow day as she does every year. In this uplifting and contemporary picture book perfect for beginning readers, follow River's journey from feeling isolated after an illness to learning the healing power of community. Additional information explains the history and functions of powwows, which are commonplace across the United States and Canada and are open to both Native Americans and non-Native visitors. Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation, and illustrator Madelyn Goodnight is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


On the banks of the river that have been Mishomis’s home his whole life, he teaches his granddaughter to listen—to hear both the sounds and the silences, and so to learn her place in Creation. Most importantly, he teaches her about treaties—the bonds of reciprocity and renewal that endure for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


The “Inconvenient Indian” is at once a “history” and the complete subversion of a history—in short, a critical and personal meditation that the remarkable Thomas King has conducted over the past 50 years about what it means to be “Indian” in North America.This book distills the insights gleaned from that meditation, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


In this ocean adventure, young readers will follow the adventures of Ophelia, a brave and curious reader, as she explores the depths of the ocean and discovers the amazing and diverse creatures that live within. From flashy parrotfish to elusive octopi, the underwater world is full of surprises! ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The te****le of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs. Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn't always the best fit. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


“Book Scavenger” by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is a middle-grade mystery novel that follows the adventures of 12-year-old Emily, who moves to San Francisco with her family. In this book-loving city, she discovers a unique game called Book Scavenger, where participants hide books in public pages and provide clues to their locations. Emily becomes engrossed in the game, but things take an unexpected turn when she stumbles upon a mysterious book left by a famous author who has gone missing. With her new friend James, Emily embarks on a thrilling journey to solve the puzzle and find the missing author. The novel combines elements of bibliophilia, friendship, and mystery, making it an engaging read for young readers. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


“Llama Llama Time to Share” by Anna Dewdney is a beloved children’s book that follows the adventures of Llama llama navigates the challenges of sharing toys and attention with his friends. It teaches young readers valuable lessons about cooperation, friendship, and the joys of playing together, making it a heartwarming and educational read. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Animals and kids love to play! This wonderful book celebrates playtime and the connection between children and the natural world. Beautiful illustrations show birds who chase and chirp, bears who wiggle and wobble, whales who swim and sq**rt, owls who peek and peep, and a diverse group of kids who love to do the same, shouting: We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


“How do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?” By Jane Yolen is a delightful children’s book that explores the concept of good behavior and friendship through the playful antics of various dinosaur characters. The book combines humorous illustrations by Mark Teague with catchy rhymes to depict dinosaurs engaged in a range of activities, both positive and negative. As the story progresses, it teaches valuable lessons about sharing, taking turns, and being kind to friends, making it an engaging and educational read for young children. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Resources for Teachers, Librarians, and Readers – Storied Lands: A History of Indigenous Children’s Literature in the United States 11/17/2023

Fantastic information and website to educate not only our students but also ourselves.

Resources for Teachers, Librarians, and Readers – Storied Lands: A History of Indigenous Children’s Literature in the United States Storied Lands: A History of Indigenous Children’s Literature in the United States by Mandi Harris (Cherokee Nation) Introduction These are storied lands. Since time immemorial, the Indigenous Peoples of what is now known as the United States and Canada have conveyed scientific knowledge, cultural ...



”Happy in Our Skin” by Fran Manushkin is a heartwarming picture book that celebrates diversity and self-acceptance. Through lyrical prose and vibrant illustrations by Lauren Tobia, the book depicts children of various backgrounds and skin colors as they go about their daily lives, emphasizing the beauty and uniqueness of each individual. It conveys a message of love, self-confidence, and the joy of being comfortable in one’s own skin, making it a valuable and empowering read for young children and families. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Our world can be a bewildering place, especially if you’ve only just got here. Your head will be filled with questions, so let’s explore what makes our planet and how we live on it. From land and sky, to people and time, these notes can be your guide and start you on your journey. And you’ll figure lots of things out for yourself. Just remember to leave notes for everyone else. Some things about our planet are pretty complicated, but things can be simple, too: you’ve just got to be kind.


The Mapmaker loves maps. He loves to collect them, to study them, and most of all, he loves to make them. But when a girl asks for a map of a perfect place, the Mapmaker is perplexed. She wants a map to a toes-in-the-sand-warm, X-marks-the-spot-place filled with treasures, where it smells like her birthday and she can zip around like a dragonfly. Surely, a place that is all of these things can't exist...can it? Well, after a fun-filled day of exploring the neighborhood, the Mapmaker will discover that the perfect place--home--has been right in front of him all along. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Join a young boy as he hops around the globe, visiting friends in 13 different countries spanning all 6 populated continents. Along the way, each friend introduces us to their country's environment and customs, and shares interesting facts about their country’s culture, language, food, geography, wildlife, landmarks and more. Each country has a dedicated spread with a small map that shows geography and landmarks, letting readers imagine they are traveling, too. The format makes it easy to spot similarities and differences between countries. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


When American soldiers entered World War I, Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act. Some of the soldiers were her students and friends. Almost single-handedly, Moina worked to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. And she devoted the rest of her life to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work, that symbol remains strong today. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts, primary documents, and Moina's great-nieces to better understand Moina's determination to honor the war veterans. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Tayo, a young Native American, has been a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and the horrors of captivity have almost eroded his will to survive. His return to the Laguna Pueblo reservation only increases his feeling of estrangement and alienation. While other returning soldiers find easy refuge in alcohol and senseless violence, Tayo searches for another kind of comfort and resolution. Tayo's quest leads him back to the Indian past and its traditions, to beliefs about witchcraft and evil, and to the ancient stories of his people. The search itself becomes a ritual, a curative ceremony that defeats the most virulent of afflictions—despair. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


“Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story” by Kevin Noble Maillard is a vibrant and heartfelt children’s book that explores the cultural significance of fry bread in Native American communities. The book takes readers on a journey, sharing the history, traditions, and diversity of Native American peoples. It’s a celebration of heritage, family, and the delicious staple of fry bread while also addressing the complexities of Native American history. This book provides an important and engaging window into Native American culture for young readers. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Photos from California Reading & Literature Project Statewide Office's post 11/07/2023

National Native American/ Indigenous Heritage Month is celebrated each year in November. It is a time to celebrate the traditions, languages, and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Island communities and ensure their rich histories and contributions continue to thrive with each passing generation. Please ensure we are including these populations in our classrooms in a meaningful and enriching manner.


In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America's Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the "recruiters" who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing "factories." ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel's mother is too busy preparing her weaving for the market. If they bring a good price, they will have money to pay for Ixchel's school and books. And besides, there is not enough extra thread for Ixchel to practice with. Suddenly, Ixchel has an idea! She collects and washes the plastic bags. Then she cuts each bag into thin strips. Sitting at her loom, Ixchel weaves the plastic strips into a colorful fabric that looks like a beautiful rainbow just like the weavings of Mayan women before her. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


“We Are Water Protectors” by Carole Lindstrom isa a powerful and beautifully illustrated children’s book that highlights the importance of protecting the Earth’s water sources. The story is told from the perspective of a young Indigenous girl who shares the wisdom of her ancestors and the connection they feel to the natural world, particularly water. The book addresses environmental and social issues, encouraging readers, young and old, to take action in preserving our environment. With engaging prose and striking artwork by Michaele Goade, this book serves as a call to action and a celebration of Indigenous wisdom and the fight to protect our planet’s precious resources. ​​​​​​​​​


The story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in his language – Cree – he admits that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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