All summer I’ll be sharing books for kids of all ages on topics that will interest them or offer them a new interest to learn about. Most of the time these will be nonfiction books, but sometimes we can learn how to be better people or learn empathy from fictional stories too.
So, I hope you will stay tuned to these posts. They will always have Summer Read-to-Learn in the title and in the tags. There will be books from some of my favorite publishers like National Geographic, plus, some from smaller or more independent publishers.
Even though today’s book is a fictional story, it hits on the types of conversations many of us are having in our homes in light of what is happening in our communities.
LULU THE ONE AND ONLY
By: Lynnette Mawhinney
Illustrated by: Jennie Poh
Published: June 9, 2020
Publisher: Magination Press
In light of all that is happening in our world, this book offers a perfect opportunity to open up discussions with your kids who may have seen things on the news or overheard conversations. Sometimes, as parents, it’s hard to know what to say or how to start a conversation about racism. Even though this book doesn’t hit on all aspects of racism, nor does it need to, it teaches our youngest readers how to be kind and accepting of everyone, no matter their skin color.
Lulu and her big brother Zane come from a mixed-race family. Their mom is Black and their dad is White. Both of them are often confronted with questions and confusion about who they belong to and where they came from. Zane lets all the questions roll off his back with his power phrase. Lulu decides the next time she gets asked, “What are you?”, she is going to have her power phrase ready.
Lulu thought long and hard about her power phrase and when Billy asks her that annoying question, she is ready! You might get an idea of her answer from the title of this book. Billy, like most kids, responds in just the way you would want him to. Lulu and Billy have made a new friend.
Even the most innocent question from another child can be hurtful and that is where, we as parents, need to start having those conversations at home about being kind and loving others. Maybe your child is the one that is “different” and gets asked lots of questions. Having them come up with their own “power phrase” gives them a response that takes away the shame of the question and gives them something to be proud of.
The illustrations are so fun and bright. The emotions are clear on the faces of the characters and the color scheme makes the book fun and approachable even though the topic can be intimidating. The important thing to remember is we are special just the way we are!
Check out the book trailer that gives a brief inside peek at the book:
To order a copy of LULU THE ONE AND ONLY, click the photo below:
Lynnette Mawhinney, PhD, is an associate professor and chair of the department of curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago helping to prepare future urban teachers for the classroom. She has previously published three books (a fourth in progress) and 27 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. One area of her academic research focuses on autoethnographic explorations around biracial identity and development. To date, she has two peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter on biracial identity. This is her first children’s book. She lives in Chicago, IL.
Jennie Poh was born in England and grew up in Malaysia (in the jungle). Pen and paper by her side at all times she loved drawing princesses and writing stories. At the age of ten, she moved back to England and trained as a ballet dancer. After failing her art A-level Jennie decided the art world was definitely for her so she studied Fine Art at The Surrey Institute of Art & Design as well as Fashion Illustration at Central St.Martins. Illustrating is the reason she gets washed and dressed in the morning. She loves drawing quirky beautiful girly stuff and works with ink, watercolor, collage, origami paper, pencils, and usually ends up wanting to bash her computer. Jennie lives in Surrey, England.