Diverse Kids Books–Reviews

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Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson

cover for Jackie's Gift by Sharon RobinsonWhen Jackie Robinson bought his first house in Brooklyn, NY, some people in the neighborhood sent around a petition trying to keep him and his family out because they were black. It failed and upon moving in, the first friend Jackie Robinson made was a young Jewish fan, Steven Satlow. Steve comes over and helps the Robinson family decorate their Christmas Tree. When Robinson learns that the Satlows don’t have a Christmas tree, he thinks it is because they can’t afford one and buys them a huge Christmas tree. The Robinsons end up learning about a new religion and culture and both the Satlows and Robinsons demonstrate communicating with grace and appreciation in the face of misunderstanding. Ultimately, out of appreciation for Jackies gift, the Satlows chose to have a Christmas tree and a Menorah for Hannukah that year and the Robinsons learned that Jews don’t celebrate Christmas. Written by Jackie Robinson’s daughter, Sharon who writes in the afterword that the Satlows and Robinsons are still friends.

Recommendation: Highly Recommended; ages 5+
Book Reviewer: Omilaju Miranda


Sofie’s Role by Amy Heath

cover Sofie's RoleSofie’s mom and dad own the Broadway Bakery, it is Christmas Eve, and Sofie is excited to be working in the front of her parents’ bakery for the first time. Usually she works in the back with dad but today she is going to work with mom and the college students in the front. The hustle and bustle of the bakery is punctuated by the author’s use of onomatopoeia. Children and the adults reading will enjoy making the sounds of adults gulping and sipping, machines whushing to make bread, the galumping of the mixer as they progress through the story. Each illustration is an action painting that brings to life the organized chaos of the work day on Christmas eve at the bakery. The reader will journey with Sofie from being overwhelmed by the rush of customers’ demands to finding the way that she can be helpful. We see that Papa is Caucasian and Mama is African American but Sofie and her families ethnicities are never mentioned.

Recommendation: Recommended; Age: 4-7
Book Review by Omilaju Miranda.