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Fan Favorite Episodes of 2020: 10-6

This was our best year yet at the Children's Book Podcast and it's all because of you!

Thank you for listening to the show. Thank you for sharing it with your friends. Thank you for supporting the authors and illustrators who make these exceptional books. And thank you for bringing these books into your homes, your story times, your libraries, and your lives.

I collected 10 listener favorite episodes of 2020 and to share with you all as a representation of the great conversations shared throughout this past year and also a celebration of the amazing books being written for children. Today I'm counting down numbers 10 thru 6. Check back tomorrow for the top 5.

Looking forward to a solid 2021 with all of you!

And now...

Let the countdown begin!

#10: Anastasia Higginbotham shares Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness

Anastasia Higginbotham shares NOT MY IDEA: A BOOK ABOUT WHITENESS. Anastasia’s Ordinary Terrible Things book series has taken on the topics of divorce, death, and sex using straightforward language and respecting the reader with each page. Her most recent entry in the series is called NOT MY IDEA: A BOOK ABOUT WHITENESS and it has been one of my most-talked about books ever since a colleague shared it with me at the beginning of this school year. Anastasia talks at length about the work that went into creating this book, laying the art from found materials, handwriting the text, and crafting the story around her own experience of processing racial injustice and White supremacy. It’s an absolutely exceptional book and one that provides the necessary space and language for confronting Whiteness and working against the historic and ongoing oppression of Black men, women, and children.

#9: Dylan Glynn shares Rain Boy

Dylan Glynn shares RAIN BOY, his picture book debut, and BE AMAZING, written by Desmond is Amazing. In RAIN BOY, the title character is ridiculed at a party for bringing everything down. But rain is going to rain, right? When being who you are is what you do, it can be awfully difficult to feel welcome in any space where who you are is rejected. Similarly, the cultural climate of homophobia is changing, but that doesn’t keep queer-centered stories from now taking up most of the spots in ALA’s Most Frequently Banned Books lists. We have a long way to go, but in this queer ugly duckling story we can all be reminded that there’s enough room under the sun to make room for everyone. Time to be brave. Time to be fierce.

#8: Jillian Tamaki shares My Best Friend

Jillian Tamaki shares MY BEST FRIEND, written by Julie Fogliano. Jillian won a Caldecott honor for her art in THIS ONE SUMMER, a graphic novel written by Mariko Tamaki, her cousin. She later turned a lot of heads in a picture book she wrote and illustrated called THEY SAY BLUE. But in choosing to make the art for MY BEST FRIEND, Jillian shares that there was one line in the manuscript that definitely sealed the deal. In this story of best friends at first sight, one child narrates an encounter she has with another on the playground. The text is playful and light, but carries a weight of sincerity undeniable in childhood friendships. What Jillian brought to the story through her expressive art brings a sense of whimsy and play, and reiterates the feeling of the whole world slipping away when it’s just you and your best friend.

#7: Marcie Colleen shares The Bear's Garden

Marcie Colleen shares THE BEAR’S GARDEN, illustrated by Alison Oliver. The story, inspired by a community garden in Brooklyn, centers on a girl caring for a seedling until she can’t any longer. It’s a story about those hidden spaces that become worlds for the person or people who find them. And it’s also a story about the worlds that can be created when we give trust over to others. THE BEAR’S GARDEN is a bit of a fantastical prequel to a garden you can imagine passing in Brooklyn today. Look in past the gates. See what’s growing. The bright pinks and blues and yellows among the leaves of green. Know that everything here started from just a seed and some care and cheering on of a community.

#6: Britt Murlas and Archaa Shrivastav share We Are Little Feminists

Little Feminist Book Club team founder Britt Murlas and educational director Archaa Shrivastav join me to share the WE ARE LITTLE FEMINISTS board book series, including HAIR, FAMILIES, and ON-THE-GO. Each board book is full of beautiful photos depicting all kinds of kids and families from all different backgrounds, traditions, ages, shapes, and skin tones. The accompanying text in each book is pragmatic and joyful, creating a board book that transcends age. Seriously. I read this set of book to my 4th graders and they were transfixed! Britt and Archaa also talk a bit about the founding of LITTLE FEMINIST and how they hope the monthly book boxes from this intersectional feminist company are reaching readers of all ages.

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