Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Constitution Day!

There are so many wacky days we can celebrate each year. Every day there is something to celebrate. In honor of whoever came up with these days, CKBTS will acknowledge a few of these holidays a month. Each post I will give you a book suggestion and reading activity to help you celebrate! Happy reading and Sunkisses.
We the Kids
Candid Thoughts
Constitution Day (September 17th)!
Happy Constitution Day! To celebrate this holiday I suggest reading We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States illustrated by David Catrow. This book does not go into vast detail about the U.S. Constitution; however, it is a good way to begin a conversation about it. Catrow’s illustrations are fun and engaging. He inserts his dog Bubbs into each illustration and you find yourself looking for him each time you turn the page. The topic of the U.S. Constitution is a hefty one for children to chew. Catrow does a good job at putting the complex concepts of the Constitution into manageable chucks for children to understand. However, the approach has a very “kumbaya” feel to it. Meaning, it does not address that people of color were not included in the writing of the U.S. Constitution. He did not address this issue making me believe he wrote this for a very young age group. He did however; insert a very cute little black girl as a re-occurring character throughout the book. I thought that was nice even though the constitution was written without her in mind. This book has great illustrations and would be a great way to begin the conversation about the U.S. Constitution, but if you are looking for a book that is more encompassing of the entire dialog about the U.S. Constitution, this is not the book for that.

Things to Think About
The U.S. Constitution is heavy stuff in relationship to African Americans. We were not thought of when it was drafted, nor at the table, or afforded the rights within it. It is hard to address tough topics like racism and discrimination to young people especially when those encounters are far less than that of our ancestors. I think young people feel they are so far removed from such a discriminatory and racist past but they are not. We have been out of slavery less time than we were in it. When you really reflect on that it puts things into perspective.
Reading Activity
In honor of National Constitution Day have your child(ren) write a household constitution. Start by reading We the Kids and discuss the issues above. Have your reader(s) read the definition of constitution (a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed). Explain that you all are going to draft a household constitution. As they begin to come up with ideas remind them to be inclusive and fair to everyone in your household. Get creative with it and put it on nice paper for them to decorate. Post it somewhere in the house for everyone to see and be reminded of their household rights.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Babies Need to Read Too!

Wow it’s been since May 2013 since I last posted. Life changes have caused me to abandon writing about a topic I love. However, that life change has also inspired me to have an increased passion about literacy and promoting African American literature. That life change was being pregnant and giving birth. This is my first child. And I don’t think anything or anyone could have prepared me for all of the ups and downs of being pregnant or for child birth, breastfeeding, taking home an infant, and working full time with an infant. Going through this I have found that women are super beings. What we go through only someone with super powers can survive it!
As my due date got closer and closer, I couldn’t wait to read to my new baby. Apart of the items I packed in my bag for the hospital was several board books. The day she was born I read to her every day in the hospital and every day since then.

Your baby is not too young to read to. Research shows that reading to your child is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child for reading and learning. There is a national campaign called Read Aloud 15 Minutes (http://www2.readaloud.org) that promotes the importance of reading aloud to children. Spending 15 minutes reading with your child is the minimum it takes to expose them to reading. Over the span of 5 years if you spend 15 minutes reading to your child they would have spent 27,375 minutes reading-that’s 456.25 hours.
If your baby or toddler has an older sibling(s) get them involved too. I have an 8-year old step daughter and since day one in the hospital, I have had her read to her sister too.  On top of figuring out when you have 15 minutes to read to your baby, consider what books you are reading to him or her. As they get older their vision gets better. It’s important for African American babies to see themselves in books.  So look for books that reflect multicultural children. Below is a list to get you started and remember just 15 minutes of reading a day is enough to make a huge impact in your baby’s learning development. Take a look at one of my past post about board books http://childrenkissedbythesun.blogspot.com/2012_07_01_archive.html

A list of African American Board Books:

  • Girl of Mine by Jabari Asim illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  • Whose Toes are Those? by Jabari Asim illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  • I Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
  • You Can Do It Too! by Karen Baicker illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
  • Little Mister by Randy DuBurke ( hard to find may be out of print)
  • Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  • Animal Sounds For Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson illustrated by George Ford
  • Good Morning, Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson illustrated by George Ford
  • Good Night, Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson illustrated by George Ford
  • Let's Count, Baby by Cheryl Willis Hudson illustrated by George Ford
  • Joshua by the Sea by Angela Johnson illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell
  • Rain Feet by Angela Johnson illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell
  • Please, Baby, Please by Spike Lee, Tonya Lewis Lee illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  • I Smell Honey by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Brian Pinkney
  • Pretty Brown Face by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Brian Pinkney
  • Shake Shake Shake by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Brian Pinkney
  • Watch Me Dance by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Brian Pinkney


Monday, May 20, 2013

Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Candid Thoughts
In my opinion, comics are great for children to read and to create. Comics can offer fun and complex story plots that children love.  They are also a great tool for teaching children how to write stories using dialogue. Like all books, it’s important for African American children to see themselves in books, and comics are no different. This genre has scarce representation of African Americans and it can be difficult to find comic books and graphic novels that have African American characters and experiences. However, this is changing and there are some good ones out there(see the list below).

Things to Think About
If you have a resultant reader or want to give your child a new genre to read, comics and graphic novels would be a great start to igniting the pleasures reading. Comics may not be your thing or you may not approve, but consider offering them to your child. Who knows it may become their favorite reading genre!

Reading Activity
There are a variety of programs that children can create comic books online. Most of them are user friendly and FREE! Here is one that can get you started. Check it out:

Suggested Book List (Comics and Graphic Novels)

  • The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard and Harold Hutchins illus. by Dav Pilkey ( from the creators of Captain Underpants)
  • Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss
  • WordGirl: Coalition of Malice by Chris Karwowski illus. by Steve Young
  • Monster and Me by Robert Marsh illus. by Tom Percival
  • Billions of Bats: A Buzz Beaker Brainstorm by Scott Nickle  illus. by Andy J. Smith
  • The Boy Who Burped Too Much by Scott Nickle illus. by Steve Harpster
  • Invasion of the Gym Class Zombies. by Scott Nickle  illus. by Matt Luxich
  • Ker-splash! by George O’Connor
  • Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson. Charles R. Smith illus. by Shane W. Evans.

Middle School / High School
  • In Search of the Fog Zombie: A Mystery About Matter by Lynda Beauregard  illus. by Der-Shing Helmer.
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Vol. 1. Brian Michael Bendis  illus. by Sara Pichelli
  • Living on Spongecake: The Curtis Chronicles. Vol. 2. Ray Billingsley illus. by author.
  • Mama's Boyz: The Big Picture; What You Need To Succeed! Jerry Craft  
  • The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. Eleanor Davis  
  • The Prison-Ship Adventure of James Forten, Revolutionary War Captive by Marty Rhodes Figley adapt. by Amanda Doering Tourville. illus. by Ted Hammond and Richard Pimentel Carbajal
  • Muhammad Ali: The King of the Ring. by Lewis Helfand  illus. by Lalit Kumar Sharma The Sons of Liberty. Vol. 1. by Alexander and Joseph Lagos illus. by Steve Walker
  • Investigating the Scientific Method with Max Axiom, Super Scientist by Donald B. Lemke  illus. by Tod Smith and Al Milgrom
  • Shadow Rock. by Jeremy Love illus. by Robert Love
  • Patricia C. and Fredrick L. McKissack, Jr. Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love. illus. by Randy DuBurke.
  • The ElseWhere Chronicles: The Shadow Door. by Nykko Bk. 1. tr. from French by Carol Klio Burrell. illus. by Bannister
  • Media Meltdown: A Graphic Guide Adventure by Liam O’Donnell illus. by Michael Deas
  • John Henry, Hammerin' Hero: The Graphic Novel. by Stephanie Peters   illus. by Nelson Evergreen
  • Bessie Coleman: Daring Stunt Pilot by Trina Robbins illus. by Ken Steacy
  • 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago
  • Archie & Friends All-Stars. Vol. 3: The Cartoon Life of Chuck Clayton by Alex Simmons  illus. by Fernando Ruiz  
  • Ororo: Before the Storm by Marc Sumerak  illus. by Carlos Barberi and Scott Hepburn
  • Princeless: Save Yourself. Bk. 1. by Jeremy Whitley  illus. by M. Goodwin.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Reluctant and Struggling Readers

If you have a struggling reader at home there are some tips that can help you to motivate them to read. Here are some things to think about before you try some reading activities with your reluctant reader. Reading 30 minutes a day helps your child get into the routine of reading. It becomes expected before bed. Allow your child to choose his or her own reading materials. Do not put them in a box; the first step is getting them to read often and for pleasure. Last, remember children model behavior. If your child never sees you read what makes you think he or she will believe that they need to read.  A struggling or reluctant reading is not the end of the world. Instead of freaking out and overloading them with work, help them find enjoyment in reading, and it will become natural in no time!

Here are five tips to help your struggling reader:
  • Pair books with audio. Whether you go to the library and get books on CD, tablet or phone this gives your child the opportunity to interact with the text in a different way.
  • Create your own audio books. Record your child reading ; play it back and read along with the book.
  • Turn the closed captioning on your TV or DVD. This way your child can see how images, spoken, and written language work together.
  • Comic books. Comic books are fun to read and not as text heavy as books. Comic are a great way to get your struggling reader involved in reading.
  • Wordless books. Wordless books allow children to come up with their own version of the story. It encourages creativity and builds on language skills.

Here are some book suggestions for your struggling reader:
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee illustrated Kadir Nelson
  • Keena Ford series by Melissa Thomson
  • Miami Jackson Series by Patricia McKissack, Fredrick McKissack and Michael Chesworth
  • Christopher Paul Curtis books
  • Hip Hop Speaks to Children with CD: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (A Poetry Speaks Experience) by Nikki Giovanni, Alicia Vergel de Dios, Damian Ward, and Kristen Balouch
  • Shel Sliverstine poetry books
  • The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by George Beard and Harold Hutchins illustrated by Dav Pilkey. (Creators of Captain Underpants)
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Mr. Chickee's Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • The Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

See a more extensive list of books in the “Book List” tab above.

Leave a comment, become a follower, and share with a friend!!!!!! Sunkisses-Candid

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Reading Month 2013!

March is National Reading Month!  This year for National Reading Month, create a reader friendly home.  Reading shouldn’t just happen at school, it should be encouraged and displayed at home as well. Here are five activities you can do with the children in your life to promote reading.
  • Instead of hiding your books on a bookshelf or piled up in a bin, display them! Try laying out four or five books on the coffee table or side tables. This will encourage them to pick up a book and read. Rotate the books every couple of weeks to keep their interest. I set books on the table in our living room. My step-daughter will just be passing by, stop, and pick up a book. Then sit down and read one after the other. Prior to sitting books out I couldn’t even get her to look at any books on her bookshelf.  Keeping books out in a common area screams pick-me-up and read me!
  • Have a Read-A-Thon sleepover. Have the kids bring sleeping bags and books. Allow them to create reading forts. Turn out the lights and let them read with flash lights. Break up the read-a-thon by cooking snacks (allow them to read the recipe directions and prepare the snacks with you), storytelling, act out a book, and create crafts that allow them to re-tell a story they read. Have each child keep track of how many books they read that night and give out certificates and prizes for completing the Read-A-Thon.
  • If you don’t already, read at least 30 minutes a day with your child. Don’t allow busy days to be the excuse on why you didn’t read. On busy days just read a poem or a few jokes from a joke book. Now is a good time to begin a reading routine. You want your child to get to a point where they remember to read before bed before you do.
  • Tell a family story and have your child draw what you’ve shared. You can also read the title of a book (do not show them the cover) and have them draw the cover then compare the covers. It is interesting to see the variations of covers.
  • Visit the library and allow your child to get their very own library card. Keep a list of books that you and your child want to check out. Remember this is an opportunity to demonstrate the value of books. Help them learn responsibility by taking care of the library book, remembering when it is due, and how to repair pages if they rip them.
Share your experiences with these activities and share your own encouragement reading activities by posting comments below!
                                                                                                                                                                      –Sunkisses Candid

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Use MLK to Help Children Navigate through Today’s Violent World.

Violence in urban areas continues to hurt communities everywhere. The residue of senseless gun violence is difficult for adults to process and even harder for children. I live in the number one most dangerous city in American according to the 2012 FBI’s 25 most dangerous cities in America list. Many children in my city have lost a parent, family member, or friend to gun violence. My step-daughter’s has a friend whose mother was shot and killed. Can you imagine losing your mother at the age of 6? I admire that little girl’s strength and wonder how she processes the death of mother. My husband’s friend was murder right in front of him when he was 13 years old. At age 30 he still struggles with what he witness and the loss of his friend in such a horrific way. Unfortunately for urban communities this is all too normal. Children experience unnatural deaths all around them and they are expected to fully function in school as if it never happened. There is no greater shock when children are the victims of senseless crime such as the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how Sandy Hook children move forward from the massacre they experienced. Violence in our nation has truly scarred and stained our history. Whether it was violence during the Civil Rights Era or now, the root of is HATE. One man who had a dream of a non-violent nation and knew the only thing that could conquer hate/violence is love. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed history forever operating in love and that same principle can help us change the future.
Martin Luther King Jr. was such a visionary and game changer that you can’t even begin to scratch the surface of what he embodied. Teaching about him on his national holiday should be more than about what he did for African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement or viewed as just a day for African Americans; his legacy is for everyone. This year teach your child or students the principles Dr. King promoted and the accomplishments he achieved based on those principles. Discuss the violence your child or students have experienced or seen in the media. Discuss how Dr. King’s principles could have helped in those situations and how they can react to violence or bullying the way Dr. King did. Use this day to teach how Dr. King’s teachings can be applied across races, cultures, and genders. Have students or your child commit to a non-violent lifestyle and create their own dream for their home, city, state, and country.  So this month don’t just inform students about MLK and what he did in history help them to see how his legacy can continue through them.  –Sunkisses Candid
Here is a list of books about Dr. King and his wife Coretta:
·         Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange illustrated by Kadir Nelson
·         I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr. illustrated by Kadir Nelson
·         Dare to Dream: Coretta Scott King and the Civil Rights Movement by Angela Shelf Medearis illustrated by Anna Rich
·         Coretta Scott King: First Lady of Civil Rights by George E. Stanley illustrated by Meryl Henderson
·         Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport illustrated by Bryan Collier
·         Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.! by Eleanora Tate
·         I Have A Dream by Martin Luther King Jr.
·         My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Christine King Farris illustrated by Chris Soentpiet
·         March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Christine King Farris illustrated by London Ladd
·         As Good as Anybody: Martin Luther King and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom  by Richard Michelson illustrated by Raul Colon 
Ntozake Shange (Author)
·         Visit Amazon's Ntozake Shange Page
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·         See search results for this author
·         Are you an author? Learn about Author Central
·         See search results for this author
·         Are you an author? Learn about Author Central

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December Dilemma: Celebrating Kwanzaa

This time of year is so hectic and stressful for teachers. They are faced with the “December Dilemma.” The dilemma of making sure all cultures and religions are respected, not forgotten, and celebrated. 
Kwanzaa is among one of the Holiday’s included in the “December Dilemma.”
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the U.S. and Canada honoring African heritage. It is observed from December 26th-January 1st of each year. It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Kwanzaa has seven principles unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

As a child I was unaware of Kwanzaa. It wasn't until I was in high school that my mother decided to make Kwanzaa a tradition in our home.  My mom and I observed the Holiday just the two of us or sometimes with another family. I enjoyed celebrating it as a teenager, but as an adult I haven’t continued celebrating this tradition.

This made me curious as to how many Black people celebrate Kwanzaa? I posed the question on Facebook and the results revealed that most either never did or they participated in a Kwanzaa school program. With the popularity of Kwanzaa in the schools, I wonder if there is the assumption that all African Americans celebrate this holiday and know what it is.

 I would like to encourage teachers this year when addressing Kwanzaa to not assume that the African American students in the class celebrate and/or know about Kwanzaa. Keep in mind the Kwanzaa activities and lessons may be some students’ first encounter with the Holiday. View it as an opportunity to introduce cultural tradition in an authentic and accurate manner.

African traditions and culture was stripped from the slaves and unfortunately African Americans could not celebrate homeland traditions. However, this shouldn't discourage people from understanding its purpose and embracing it as an African American tradition. I encourage all African American families to honor African heritage by celebrating Kwanzaa every year!

Happy Kwanzaa!

Here is a list of African American Holiday books to share with the sunkissed child in your life!
  • My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz
  • 'Twas the Night B'Fore Christmas: An African-American Version by Melodye Benson Rosales
  • Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington and Shane W. Evans
  • Grace at Christmas by Mary Hoffman illustrated by Cornelius VanWright
  • Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis and Daniel Minter
  • A Treasury of African-American Christmas Stories edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas
  • Santa's Kwanzaa by Garen Eileen Thomas and Guy Francis
  • Hello, Santa! (Little Bill) by Catherine Lukas  illustrated by Bernie Cavender and  Etsu Kahata
  • The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora
  • Imani's Gift At Kwanzaa by Denise Burden-Patmon and Floyd Cooper
  • Christmas with Little Bill by Eric Weil illustrated by Daniel M. Kanemoto
  • An Angel Just Like Me by Mary Hoffman illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
  • It's Kwanzaa Time!: A Lift-the-Flap Story by Synthia Saint James
  • The Bells of Christmas by Virginia Hamilton illustrated by Lambert Davis
  • A Kwanzaa Celebration Pop-Up Book by Nancy Williams  and Robert Sabuda
  • Chita's Christmas Tree by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard illustrated by Floyd Cooper