Khalil's Swagtown Adventure

“Combining reality with fantasy (loved the purple broccoli trees!), this book takes on a tough real-life situation that many children find themselves in --- upset by parents arguing. It acknowledges a child's feelings while encouraging a child to talk to parents about those feelings. The story also acknowledges that many adults find themselves under stress, such as unemployment, which can contribute to parental figures having arguments over simple things. Most importantly though, the book offers hope that a child may have the power to enact change in the family dynamic. Written by 3 high-school age teens, I got the sense that at least one of the authors has witnessed the positive impact he/she has had in their own family relationships when he/she encouraged the family to do more things together as a family group.”

-Bookfan


The Blue Spark

“This is a thoughtful, illustrated book about children who can see the good in others and help them change. Max starts the story by saying "Being bad never felt so good. Evil runs in my family." His counterpart Ronnie believes "Goodness is in all of us. My family stands for justice." After wonderfully illustrated interactions between the two, Max is able to see the goodness in himself. The book is clearly written and offers a positive message about looking below the surface to see the potential in others. I collect graphic novels and went a little out of my zone for this, but I loved it. I think it would be a great book for pre-teens and teenagers.”

-Sparkle


A to Z: The Real DC

“I've read many A to Z picture books in my days, but what makes this one special is not only its photographs of D.C. landmarks, but also the creativity of the photographs. My favorite is "F" is for Frederick Douglas. Not only do the pages show pictures of the Frederick Douglas Historic Site, but a photo of what I presume is one of the book's authors "shaking hands" with the statue of Frederick Douglas. It's these sorts of shots that delight children and adults alike. The book's illustrations and verses also call out for the reader to discover D.C. destinations that have yet to be explored and to start planning on re-visiting more familiar ones. On some of the pages I can almost taste the food, hear the sounds of traffic, and smell the scents of animals and plants. The fact that this book was created by D.C. teens is just icing on the cake.” - Bookfan


The Day Tajon Got Shot

“This book is important, and not just because of the topic. Books like The Hate U Give, All American Boys, How It Went Down, etc. are all valuable, and if you have the time and inclination I recommend reading all of them. Before you do, though, I suggest you get your hands on a copy of this book--legit, ask me, I will lend you mine.

Why should this be number one on your to read list? First things first, because it was written by a group of teenage girls. If that knowledge doesn't hit you like a punch in the gut with every word you read, then you just might be missing a heart. Think about what they must be going through to be able to produce something like this. These girls worked together to examine all sides of the epidemic of police violence toward black people in a thoughtful, emotional, and powerful way, and I was blown away with every page. As if that's not enough, they brought each character to life, and I caught myself holding my breath multiple times as I read. Finally, the artwork incorporated into the story added even more depth. This book is a work of art. And page 151, man...I don't think I've ever reacted so strongly to a book before.

Final reason to read this? Jason freaking Reynolds tweeted that people needed to read it. Jason Reynolds, guys. If you don't want to take my word for it, take his. I promise you, he's right.” - Amazon Customer


DC Book Set

“I wanted to thank your wonderful organization for inspiring young people. I purchased  Finding Mumbo, A to Z the real dc, Adventures in Ana Park for my fifth graders in our Afterschool program it was a part of a book writing introduction to the students. They enjoyed reading the books something that they could relate too. Places and things that they see everyday it was a pleasure and an educational fun experience. May the authors continue to write great books and know that what they are doing is an awesome way to reach their peers.” - T Jackson ASP Coordinator, Wheatley Educational Campus



Voces Sin Fronteras

'Voces sin Fronteras' is a graphic novel-style book of 32 short stories documenting hardships Latinx Immigrants faced in their home countries, as well as in the United States.

Ranging from the loss of family members who leave home for a better life, whether for employment or educational opportunities or to be closer to family members, they are the true stories of people who participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Council, part of the Columbia Heights-base nonprofit organization, the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC).

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Voces Sin Fronteras

"Issues about immigration and its impact on families have been prominent in the current US political scene, with a gross amount of injustice and racism cast toward many people seeking asylum. This book is an excellent entry into this political conversation, with sixteen true accounts from the lives of young people who have come over from Latin American countries to live and find a better life in the United States. These adolescents are the Latino Youth Leadership Council of the Washington DC-based Latin American Youth Center, founded in 1968.”

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Our Lives Matter

See! This book right here demonstrates how a movement should be constructed. Instead of focusing on the negative people within a community who often times get the publicity for their actions, it's best to demonstrate to others, especially minorities and those of low economic status, that there are individuals out there who are trying their best to change their outcome. Our lives matter showed me, a fellow African, that there are kids in inner cities who are going against the status quo of doing or selling drugs, getting pregnant or just not caring about life. It was refreshing and sad to see that some of these teens had to grow up quickly because of their parents and their situations.

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Out of Breath

I felt so sad for the kangaroo – it is hard to keep a secret, especially one that has potential to embarrass you or negatively impact others and yourself. I was so glad she had found a trusting adult, her coach, to tell, and that she had one close friend to keep her going. I think this is a great book for pointing out ways to cope with stressful, maybe dangerous, situations.

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

This is a powerful and unusual compilation of viewpoints about the intersection of race and criminal justice from the pens of these ten female teen authors. If it is not already, their conversation should be our conversation, as we support this new generation’s fight for civil rights in 21st century USA.

It is an ambitious, book told by multiple authors in different literary forms (Prose, tweets, poetry…) and POV from people all sides of the discussion. It is heart-stoppingly powerful in places and so very timely. Because of the multiple teen voices it also feels very present, in the now, as though I am on the street listening in on conversations. With such a charged topic they achieve that fine balance of the complexity of perspectives while honoring the loss of the innocent, and the righteous anger of the bereaved.

In all the pain of racial injustice and the call to social change, this book celebrates courageous writing, and the voice of teens everywhere. We need to listen to them. I look forward to more stories from this publisher.

-Joanna Marple, book blogger

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

When I opened the envelope and saw the book that I was to review, my immediate response was “yes.”  The Young Adult novel, “The Day Tajon Got Shot,” is why I have been involved with Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) for the past three years.  

The story, written during the onset of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, has the readers journey with Tajon on the day he was shot and killed by a police officer. Over eight days, we see the impact that the shooting has on Tajon’s family, his best friend, the police officer and his family, and the actual eyewitness.  It highlights issues of race relations, domestic violence, drug abuse, and poverty to make us realize that everyone is impacted when a life is taken.

The collaboration between the coaches and mentors at Beacon House, Shootback and Shout Mouse Press, is an impressive model on how to provide children and teens a safe space and avenues to express themselves.  As you turn the pages of the book, you can feel in their words, art work, poetry and photography that they have been empowered to share their voices in the midst of societal chaos.  I love the way the book reads and feels like a graphic novel.

I would recommend this book as required reading for teachers, students, parents, community leaders, or anyone who wants to foster a conversation about strengthening their communities.   After a destructive night protesting, Kayla, one of the characters in the book and who is Tajon’s best friend, realizes that anger may have gotten the best of her. She “decided to take the next sunrise as a rebirth, to show myself as someone who helps the community, not hurts it.” (page 61)

After reading the book, these young people have challenged me as writer to strive to always have my authentic voice on, so others can #ReadYourWorld and defy silence.

-Phyllis Cremer, reviewer for Multicultural Children's Book Day

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The Day Tajon Got Shot

I think this has been one of my favorite books in the past seven months, because when I picked it up to read, back in September, it was right before grad class and so good, I couldn't stop the sneaky reading throughout class. When class was over, I literally set in the parking garage and finished the story because I probably would have pulled off the highway to finish the book, I was so stoked. The hooks to this story hypnotized me!

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