Five Children’s Books For Teaching Diversity to Young Readers!

I recently ran across this list of children’s books that have been published by Rosetta Press. Everyone knows that media representation is important, and often , too often, we don’t see enough diversity in literature for young children. As a future educator , although I will be teaching high school students, it’s important for me to share when I come across books that can enrich the lives of our children and students  future writers and readers of all ages!  I hope to be posting soon about more books that display diverse people and situations like this. This is also something for many of you to think about if you are established and aspiring writers of children’s books!

These illustrated books are perfect for young readers age 6-10. All Rosetta Press titles are available from CreateSpace, Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and bookstores everywhere, including nonprofit Teaching for Change. E-books are available in theKindle Store.

Coming soon! New titles from Rosetta Press: The Last Bunny in Brooklyn and An Angel for Mariqua.

The Girl Who Swallowed the Sun

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000420_00048]On the outside, Zoe looks like an ordinary little girl, but her father knows just how special she is inside. On cloudy days, they pretend that she has swallowed the sun, and then together Zoe and her father put it back up in the sky. After the terrible events of September 11th, Zoe decides she must secretly swallow the sun both to keep it safe, and to fill the void left by her missing father. As the days pass, however, the sun inside Zoe becomes too heavy a burden to bear. With her mother’s help, Zoe learns to accept her father’s death, and she puts the sun back in the sky where it belongs.

$10.00           ISBN-13: 978-1499606089

The Magic Mirror

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000419_00052]

When a boy at school hurts Kamara’s feelings, she goes home and asks her grandmother if the mean words are really true. Gramma tells Kamara to go upstairs and clean the old mirror in the guest room. But when Kamara starts to rub the glass, she discovers that the mirror is magical! Kamara sees brave women from the past who faced many challenges yet never gave up hope. When the historical journey ends in the twenty-first century, the mirror once again shows Kamara her own reflection. She sheds her self-doubt and instead draws strength from the courage of the women she met in the magic mirror.

$10.00            ISBN-13: 978-1497364714

Max Loves Muñecas!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00049]Max wants to visit a beautiful boutique that sells handmade dolls, but he worries that other children will tease him. When he finally finds the courage to enter the store, Max meets Señor Pepe who has been making dolls since he was a boy in Honduras. Señor Pepe shares his story with Max and reminds him that, “There is no shame in making something beautiful with your hands. Sewing is a skill—just like hitting a baseball or fixing a car.”

$7.00                        ISBN-13: 978-1497332027

The Boy in the Bubble

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000046_00046]A mysterious boy from another planet chooses an unusual girl as his guide on Earth. Both children lead solitary lives: the girl lives under a rock and lives on a diet of dreams; the boy, encased in a bubble, is unable to touch—or be touched by—anything around him. As their friendship develops, the mysterious boy and the unusual girl begin to recognize the limits of their sheltered lives. The two children quarrel but find a way to shatter the bubble that separates them from one another and the world.

$10.00            ISBN-13: 978-1497444782

The Phoenix on Barkley Street

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00051]Best friends Carlos and Tariq love their block, but Barkley Street has started to change. The playground has been taken over by older boys, which leaves Carlos and Tariq with no place to call their own. They decide to turn the yard of an abandoned brownstone into their secret hang-out spot. Carlos and Tariq soon discover, however, that the overgrown yard is already occupied by an ancient phoenix! When the Pythons try to claim the yard for their gang, the magical bird gives the friends the courage to make a stand against the bullies who threaten to ruin their beloved neighborhood.

$7.00                        ISBN-13: 978-1500589400

Room in My Heart

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00049]It took some time for Nikki to adjust to her parents’ divorce, but now she and her little sister Natalie enjoy their new routine. Daddy comes over for dinner on Tuesday nights and the girls spend each weekend with him. But everything changes when Daddy picks them up for their weekend visit and introduces the girls to his new friend Sylvia. Nikki feels invisible when Sylvia’s around and so she decides not to spend the weekend with Daddy anymore. Only after talking about her feelings with her aunt does Nikki learn that her father’s love is unchanging, and that there is room in his heart to love many different people.

$7.00          ISBN: 978-1500908232

You can learn more about this post and Rosetta HERE

Spotlight Sunday




Hometown/Location: Chillicothe Ohio
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I became interested in writing after taking a wonderful writing class with Mrs. Deb Nickles at Ohio University. She is the reason I began writing for myself. At the time I was in college for something completely unrelated but I eventually changed my major to English Lit. It was all because of her.
Why do you write?
I write because I have things in my head I want to share with other people. Sometimes they are thoughtful things, sometimes weird things, sometimes beautiful things. But I love to form the images in my mind into images on the page. Words can do amazing things.
What is your favorite genre or style to write in?
I enjoy short fiction and poetry. It takes me weeks to complete a short story but only a few hours for a poem. That is why you see so much more poetry on my blog. I have to say though, I enjoy writing short stories more than anything else.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love sci-fi and fantasy. My favorites are Tolkien and Robert Jordan. Both create worlds you can become lost in and when I read, that is what I am looking for.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I love to read and do it A LOT. However, I usually read as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of life so my books don’t influence my life much.
Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?
“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do what is in your heart. I know it sounds cheesy but it is true. There is a lot of great information about form and style out there about writing, but it comes down to what sounds right to you. If you like it, chances are others will too.
Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed?
 I write quite a bit about my children. I find inspiration in a million little situation with my boys. It seems motherhood is full of hope and love and heart ache. The poem Hang the Moon is about realizing that you can not give your children the world and realizing someday they will know it too.

Hang the Moon

“Help me up to touch the moon”
My little one -arms outstretched- implores
And I envy the sweet faith and longing I see
Shinning like the setting sun
For a moment I clutch him fast to me
As our eyes are drawn by the new twilight
All the joys before this moment would I forfeit
Just to reach the stars for him
Because his innocence will reach the horizon
In knowledge and age it will be known
Fragile hands will never command the heavens
And mother does not hang the moon
To read more from Lisa visit:


Originally posted on BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog:

Dancing Elephants by Heinrich Kley

Dancing Elephants by Heinrich Kley

What nobody tells you as an artist is that every project starts at the beginning. Not just the blank page, the empty stage, but that you have to re-establish your credentials and your quality every time. You can coast on reputation a little, but it doesn’t last long if you don’t deliver.

What nobody tells you is that praise—a standing ovation, a good review, your teacher’s approval—makes you feel good for a day, but one line of internet criticism from a stranger reverberates in your skull forever.

Frankly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

(I tried to feel bad when that critic killed himself the next year, but I didn’t.)

What nobody tells your boyfriend is that writing 3000 words in a calm, soothing, supportive environment still leaves you too tired to call home at the end of the day. So…

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“Afro Blues” ( This is a poem by my talented friend)

Featured Image -- 469

Originally posted on Irrelevancy :

Self hatred
Bred fed beginning from slavery
Steal my language from me
Separate me from my kin
And KKK my property
Bred hatred into me
When all I needed was a piece of bread to help me get through the day
Cotton fields
Red sun
The south was always too hot on me
This is how you raise me
My country tis of thee
Sweet land of inequality
Hypocrisy your history
With no jobs you present me
Teen pregnancy
Incarcerations of the 3/5ths
I see means nothing to you
You won’t understand
Until you know Afro blues
Twenty first century
As I celebrate my 21st
I realize there ain’t nothing to celebrate
As I see ignorance halo the minds of the black folk
That once made you blues
That once created jazz for you
And made gospel have soul
Jesus Christ wouldn’t have been Christ without African Americans’ past
America wouldn’t be…

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Tuesdays with Tia


I am from Empires
from endless rows of palm trees
I am from black , red, white and green.
I’m from earthquakes and
horchata flavored milkshakes
Their grainy
                    cinnamon kiss.
I’m from bridges over wet banks
and brown skin that comes in every shade,
From te quieros and ven aquis  that
whisper through ripe fruit trees.
The buildings are more than bricks
a technicolor town.
I’m from crews and trends
Sugar crusted churros shared with a friend
We slip through fences into skate-parks
hidden in the mountains
                  beyond the sirens.
I’m from the sea salt oasis,
laughter coming in waves
and waves
and w a  v e s.
I’m from ball game fireworks cracking like slave whips
while I cling to the curve in Grandmas hip
I am the fire ants climbing in long lines over the porch steps
(just before Shane digs into the Cheerio box)
and  sometimes I watch
my childhood pour into bowls,
scattering over counter tops.

This poem was written in response to a writing prompt as a class assignment, modeled after George Ella Lyon’s poem  Where I’m From.

You can view her original poem HERE !

Spotlight Sunday

huntington library

(photo taken in front of Huntington library)

 Richard Damon S. Blacksher

Hometown/Location: San Bernardino, CA/Currently in Los Angeles

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I began my love for writing, like many young black kids, with poetry and spoken word.

Why do you write?

I write to exercise and process things that I couldn’t quite express in reality.

What is your favorite genre or style to write in?:

Outside of songwriting, I love writing short stories and screenplays.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

It’s a tie between Kurt Vonnegut and Flannery O’Connor. They both have a way of breaking down humanity to the simple elements of depravity without romanticizing it. Without getting too deep, they show the rawness of evil in a way that’s fun lol.

What books have most influenced your life most?

A Man Without A Country and Cat’s Cradle both by Vonnegut. Flannery O’Connor’s Complete Works as well as Mystery & Manners. And every novel by Octavia E. Butler.

Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that you would like to share with us?

Yeah, from my girl Flannery and the wisdom for writers that is Mystery and Manners, she says “The writer can choose what he writes about but he cannot choose what he is able to make live,” (pg 33) Do you have any advice for other writers? Flannery, (I swear I was her in a past life) warns us not to write for the sake of being a writer, or seeing our name on something printed. She says that there is no such thing as a writer. I’ll take it further and say that they are creators and should create for the sake building a world not making a profit.

Can you tell us a little background or anything special on the piece you composed?

 As I struggle with my own multicultural make-up this piece was inspired by the time I had lived in Tokyo. Albeit, three weeks, the time I spent there had changed me. 2 years later I wonder who I am and where my home really is. But don’t let that influence how you read the story ;)

The Land of the Rising Sun

Victor Pruitt abruptly stopped cutting onions and ran his fingers along the edge of the linoleum counter. His eyes fixed upon the porcelain chopsticks in the sink. Heirlooms from his grandfather’s service in World War II. The stove clock blinked 4:30. He decided he had time to take a break from preparing dinner. He walked through the kitchen, scanning other objects from the old country. The ceremonial tea set. The pounds of rice packed within his pantry. The square bowls. The lotus decorated plates. He made his way into the living room. A solitary table with floor pillows for him and his wife. The only chair they owned sat in front of a desktop computer.  He turned on the television to what appeared to be game show. A Japanese woman giggling hysterically in front of a glass of milk. The camera pans out and reveals her protruding Adams apple. A reality show perhaps? A talk show? “You can never tell these days,” Victor says aloud and unplugs the entire entertainment system. It had been a year since he and Hikari moved to Tokyo. A fantasy the two had always talked about but quickly became brooding reality when she moved to Kyoto to finish her Masters in Foreign Marketing. The couple married after her first semester abroad, dating for a total of seven months before the engagement. A new life with a beautiful city, with a beautiful girl. What could be better? Victor had some family here and his Japanese had grown exponentially since he began dating Hikari. Yet he often felt a sense of displacement. As if the land of the rising sun would shine a light on his suspicions that he would never truly fit in. Victor made his way to the balcony, staring out of the large sliding glass doors. The view is spectacular. Sunset over the Shibuya prefecture is the perfect marriage of light and color. Where the clouds do not beg for permission to beam as brightly as the neon signs. The orange colored sky with steaks of blue reaches for the tips of the skyscrapers with the blazing boldness. The kind of visual passion that long distance couples have after months of communication through Skype. Victor watches the colors blink and swirl and flirt. And he thinks, “Amalgamation” until the night shyly approaches the city. There is only darkness. If he were on the street, Victor would see the neon signs and the bright fashion of the locals. Every glance bursting with color atop pale skin, color upon gray stones. Corner and asphalt. Shop and street lamp. Everything sporadically screaming, yelling—all in a jig-jagged shout loud enough for your eyes to see, “I SWEAR TO GOD! I AM UNIQUE!” But from the top floor of the Golden Time apartments, all Victor can see is the blackness. Tokyo’s light ignores the stars. All but a handful have become invisible, erased by the massive city’s glow. “That damned glow. What are we so afraid of?” The glow pushes the night away. How can people be so afraid of the darkness? Vibrancy is as vivid in the night sky as it is a blinking yellow sign. Isn’t it? Or is it a cold marriage? The love of those long distance couples who realize that the idea of life together is harder than the issues that come with physical communication. The idea that city and night could share a life together works so well during the sunset but when he arrives, the night feels more lost than ever. A cold routine allows Tokyo to barricade herself from the night through an extra layer of linen. Her back towards his dark face. Maybe she has always hated the dark. Victor steps away from the balcony and heads back towards the kitchen until he catches his reflection in the black TV screen. His grandfather’s nose from Savannah, Georgia. Obaa-chan’s cheeks from Kyoshu. Kaza’s lips from Irvine and Daddy’s hair from Watts. He never noticed how separate his features were until now. How his face has warred with itself and divided what would be Black and what would be Japanese. Yet this skin, Victor sliding a finger down his face.” This skin is so dark. 99 Problems by Jay-Z interrupts his thoughts, Victor’s ringtone, notifying him of a text from his wife. Working late again. Please leave dinner in fridge. ^_^ Dinner? Victor goes back to the kitchen and realizes he’s left the onions untouched for two hours. Deciding, it might be best to go for take-out.

He wonders around Shibuya for blocks on end, passing restaurant after restaurant, all with bold bright signs. NOODLES AND RICE. STARBUCKS. SUSHI AND RICE. BECK’S COFFEE. CHICKEN AND RICE. COFFEE BEAN. PIZZA AND RICE. STARBUCKS. He finds himself at an intersection with a KFC and two McDonalds’ to either direction. With reluctance he walks into the KFC. The Big Mac’s here never seem to taste right. The restaurant is packed, yet Victor can’t get over how quiet it is. He had yet to understand how the Japanese could manage to be so quiet in public places yet Hikari was louder than any woman he’d met in LA. A man in spiked leather jacket bumps into him, jabbing Victor’s hand. The man bows immediately, whispering apologies as Victor turns around. “Shitsure onegaishi-masu. Sumimasen. Sumisamen.” “It’s alright.” Victor replies in American accented Japanese. Yet the man continues his apology. He seems to be in his late forties. Victor notices the brown rimmed glasses in his jacket pocket and streak of blue in the man’s hair. “Really, it’s alright.” Victor continues to the counter, leaving the man to wallow in his apology. He didn’t understand that either. What’s the point of dressing tough like that? Who does that fool? Victor orders and makes his way out of the restaurant carrying the food order for two in what looks like shopping bags. Convenience, he assesses. The lights are warm. Along with the hot food that swings past his legs with each step, Victor begins to sweat. Locals begin to stare at him but he assures himself that it is just his height. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, he’s practically a giant in this country. He’d stare too if he saw an NBA player walking down the street. Maybe that’s what it is? Or maybe. . . Victor’s thought is interrupted by what appears to be his wife. He begins to shout her name but stops the breath suddenly, remembering that to make noise like that is considered rude. He couldn’t embarrass her. He follows behind, trying to make up for distance but is weighed down by the warm of the neon lights and the heat of the chicken across his legs. Crowds begin to swarm the sidewalks as he manages to get closer, but accessories of people poke and prod him accompanied by whispers of sumimasen. He maintains his eye on Hikari, over the heads of the crowd, still trying to make his way through the system of locals. They move like a school of fish all in one direction over the obstruction that is Victor. He finds himself at the busiest intersection, an eye still on Hikari. Each step with warmth and heat and sweat. Lights reflect his dark face, pokes and prods from locals. He loses sight of her. The billboards and neon begin to blur in his vision and all he can see is orange. Where is she? Where is Hikari? He turns ever more violently as he searches through the crowds, on the giant TV monitors overlooking the city that seems louder than ever. The woman laughing hysterically in front of the glass of milk. The neon signs buzz like a dozen hives on a farm. The people moving in systems through and around him, poking and prodding. A lull of sumimasen. Sumimasen. It’s too hot. Victor drops the chicken to the ground and runs to where he saw her last. Still panicked and sweating he tears off his shirt. He wants to scream but does not want to embarrass her. “Hikari,” he whispers. He manages to catch a glimpse of her smiling face. “Hikari.” He drops to his knees at the sight of the woman he loves. Yet a man, with a black studded jacket makes his way towards her, with a blue streak in his hair he kisses her in a way only long distances lovers could understand. In a way that light flirts with the sky, celebrating an escape from the darkness in the land of the rising sun.

To read or hear more from Richard visit: 


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