A resident of Wayne, New Jersey, is doing his part to help children with the power of reading. According to Norfolk Daily News, the man is Zach Jorgensen, a 22 year old resident of Wayne who is a graphic designer, author, motivational speaker, vlogger, and hip hop artist. Zach has published a picture book, intending to show kids that wheelchairs aren’t scary.
The subject is important to Jorgensen, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a genetic mutation that prevents the body from producing a specific protein muscles need to work properly. He requires a wheelchair for obvious reasons but is often upset at how children view his disability, saying:
“Throughout my whole life of being in a wheelchair, I have noticed that children are scared of my wheelchair. Some would even cry and try to hide from me.”
Image via Northfolk Daily news
His new book, Wheelchairs Aren’t Scary, is intended to help inform kids that, well, wheelchairs aren’t something to be afraid of. The book will showcase to kids that people with wheelchairs are just like you and me, they just move a little differently.
Jorgensen did research to see what publishing entailed before he wrote the book, which he intends to self-publish through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon. The book is to be targeted towards 3-8 year olds, who are often the most uneasy around wheelchairs or other handicapped people. For his part, Jorgensen hopes the book is a fun learning experience and gets kids to be much more comfortable around wheelchairs.
The book will release on Amazon on August 12th. Go and pick yourself up a copy! This should surely be a fun education opportunity, for kids and maybe even some adults.
Children’s books are powerful tools that help instill a sense of empathy in young readers. They are testing grounds for new ideas and exercises in ethics. Reading, at any age, teaches us that the experiences of other people are not only valid, but influential to our own lives. It’s for this reason that representation in children’s books matters.
According to reporting from Cooperative Children’s Book Center of Education, in a study of 2,500 titles, less than 1 percent of books for children and teens had Black authors or illustrators in 1985. Although that number has improved more than 30 years later, only 10 percent of children’s books featured black characters in 2018, while 27 percent of them featured animals or other characters who aren’t human.
Image via pintrest
America’s school’s are heavily segregated, and to under-represent a specific group of people is to feed into an already divided educational system. Black children need to see themselves expressed in children’s lit, and white children need to see their peers in equal measures. As racial tensions increase in America, it will be imperative for young readers to empathize with people who have different backgrounds and skin color.
Image via Atlanta black star
Mary Taris, the CEO for Strive Publishing and an advocate for black YA, told the Atlanta Black Star: “All in all, I’d say it’s not enough for a book to just be aboutAfrican American characters. They also have to have an authentic portrayal of African American characters in order for them to truly be a mirror for Black children and teens.”
There is an increasing demand for black representation in children’s literature, and people like Mary Taris are leading the fight.
From posting her artwork on Tumblr and DeviantArt to illustrating a published children’s book, Aaliya Jaleel is starting her illustration career off with a bang.
Cheryl Klein, editorial director for the New York-based Lee & Low Books, was searching high and low, for an artist to illustrate for the upcoming children’s book Under my Hijab. The book highlights and focuses on the different ways that hijabs are worn, informing its audience of the cultural significance throughout each story it tells throughout the book. Before being approached to work on Under the Hijab, written by Hena Khan, the only publishing experienced that Aaliya Jaleel had was a small book that she had illustrated and published for an English teacher back when she was at Brighter Horizons Academy in Garland.
Image via Bradenton Herald
Despite the daunting nature of illustrating something this big, Jaleel pushed through, hoping she could portray the different reasons and ways that people wear hijabs through her illustrations. Finding different ways to tackle the project, she took on a child’s perspective to accurately depict the characters and their stories within the book. Meeting deadline after deadline, Jaleel and the author work together to edit drafts and sketches. Utilizing different art programs, she used both Procreate and Photoshop to illustrate the book.
After finishing Under My Hijab, satisfied and proud of her work, Jaleel is pursuing other projects and has started to work on Muslim Girls Rise, a compilation of the small biographies focusing on progressive Muslim women. The number of Muslim-inspired children’s books is steadily increasing, creating a more diversified selection for children of all backgrounds.
Check out some of Aaliya Jaleel’s work and follow her to keep up with her upcoming works!
Whether he was bringing us along through the jungle with Max and the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are or swimming through giant vats of batter and milk in In the Night Kitchen, beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak always managed to capture the attention and minds of children through his captivating literature and illustrations. During his time on this Earth, he created numerous works for children’s literature. Though Sendak has passed on, he is lives on with his newly published book entitled Presto & Zesto in Limboland.
Image via HarperCollins
Longtime friends, Arthur Yorinks and Maurice Sendak collaborated to create a book from old drawings by Sendak, based on Czech nonsense rhymes which he was commissioned to do in 1990 for a performance of Leos Janacek’s Rikalda, a musical based on Czech nursery rhymes. The book, completed before his death, focuses on the story of two friends in search of a wedding present and cake. The book takes on the two author’s nicknames for one another, Presto and Zesto, the two characters are thrown into a world of complete fantasy. The two witness a sugar beet wedding, meet goats, befriend fire-loving monsters and bagpipes. Arthur Yorinks hopes that the book will showcase how “Friendship makes the oddities of life bearable, and sometimes fun.”
NYPL is always a big treasure for any book-lovers, and of course, you Bookstrs! Besides its volcano-like collections of books, its half-palace-half-maze building has attracted our attention for a long time. Now, there’re two books about library adventures are making the dreams of sleep-over-at-NYPL come true!
The two are Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude and The Story Collector: A New York Public Library Book. No matter if you’re children or adults, you much check them out! What follows are short intro of the books from Amazon.
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude
Written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Steve Lewis
Steadfast Fortitude and curious Patience are waiting every morning to greet visitors of the Library.
That is until, one early morning, when Fortitude finds Patience is missing. The city is about to awake, and the lions absolutely must be in their places before the sun rises. Now, Fortitude must abandon his own post to find his best friend in the Library’s labyrinthine halls.
The Story Collector: A New York Public Library Book
Written by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno
Eleven-year-old Viviani Fedeler has spent her whole life in the New York Public Library. She knows every room by heart, except the ones her father keeps locked. When Viviani becomes convinced that the library is haunted, new girl Merit Mubarak makes fun of her. So Viviani decides to play a harmless little prank, roping her older brothers and best friend Eva to help out.
But what begins as a joke quickly gets out of hand, and soon Viviani and her friends have to solve two big mysteries: Is the Library truly haunted? And what happened to the expensive new stamp collection? It’s up to Viviani, Eva, and Merit (reluctantly) to find out.
No matter if it is a lion statue looking for his missing partner in the library before the sunrise, or a brave young girl with her friends exploring the haunted library, the newly published two books make me happy and curious about NYPL! I’ll definitely go check them out after work and you, Booktrs, should do that too 🙂