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little_e
07-30-2013, 03:58 PM
This thread was inspired by the recent infographic (http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/illustrated-guide-to-the-diversity-problem-in-kids-books_b74771) making the rounds that 93% of surveyed childrens' books contained white characters, with blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Asians, etc., staring in 3% or less.

So I thought it might be fun to make a list of our favorite kids' books featuring POCs (and if someone wants to write one, all the better.)

Because why should Fancy Nancy get all the love?

My contributions:
Mansa Musa, the Lion of Mali (http://www.amazon.com/Mansa-Musa-The-Lion-Mali/dp/0152003754/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375184722&sr=8-1&keywords=mansa+musa), by Khephra Burns -- gorgeous illustrations, and part of a history which is so often neglected.
Fa Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior (http://www.amazon.com/FA-Mulan-Story-Woman-Warrior/dp/0786803460/ref=sr_1_9?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375184822&sr=1-9&keywords=mulan), by Robert D. San Souci -- as much as I enjoyed the Disney version, this one is a little less embroidered. There are probably many tellings of Mulan's story out there.
Dora's Storytime Collection (http://www.amazon.com/Doras-Storytime-Collection-Dora-Explorer/dp/0689866232/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375184950&sr=1-1&keywords=dora+the+explorer), (I confess, I am a Dora fan)

kuwisdelu
07-30-2013, 05:06 PM
The Boy Who Made Dragonfly (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48117.The_Boy_Who_Made_Dragonfly), retelling of a traditional Zuni myth by Tony Hillerman.

Most of the PoC kids' stories I can recall reading or being read as a child were re-tellings of Zuni folktales.

LJD
07-30-2013, 06:05 PM
The Snowy Day (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/310258.The_Snowy_Day) - Ezra Jack Keats

Edit: In looking up The Snowy Day, I discovered that the little girl in Corduroy (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/231850.Corduroy) (Don Freeman) is black, which I had forgotten. But I do remember enjoying that book.

Rachel Udin
07-31-2013, 01:02 AM
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton

While a large book, it has a lot of African American folktales and some West African. One of my personal favorite books growing up.

Kim Fierce
07-31-2013, 01:05 AM
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred D. Taylor

little_e
07-31-2013, 01:34 AM
Most of the PoC kids' stories I can recall reading or being read as a child were re-tellings of Zuni folktales.
Folklore came immediately to mind as pretty much the only books I've seen recently featuring Indian protagonists.

As much as I love folklore (I have a whole shelf of it,) it kind of bugs me that this and the occasional historical depiction seem to be the only popularly recognized role for Indian characters in kids' lit. Folklore and history are important, but I guess I'd also like it if they also got to be characters just because someone felt like it, some reflection of the fact that Indian are still alive.

None of which is to say that I don't love folklore.

little_e
07-31-2013, 01:44 AM
The Snowy Day (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/310258.The_Snowy_Day) - Ezra Jack Keats

Edit: In looking up The Snowy Day, I discovered that the little girl in Corduroy (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/231850.Corduroy) (Don Freeman) is black, which I had forgotten. But I do remember enjoying that book.
Yes! The illustrations in The Snowy Day have such a nice quality, with the bold, bright shapes. And who does not love Coruroy :)

kuwisdelu
07-31-2013, 01:48 AM
Folklore came immediately to mind as pretty much the only books I've seen recently featuring Indian protagonists.

As much as I love folklore (I have a whole shelf of it,) it kind of bugs me that this and the occasional historical depiction seem to be the only popularly recognized role for Indian characters in kids' lit. Folklore and history are important, but I guess I'd also like it if they also got to be characters just because someone felt like it, some reflection of the fact that Indian are still alive.

None of which is to say that I don't love folklore.

Well, most of our storytelling has always been oral.

Writing them down isn't the most natural thing for most Indians.

Yorkist
07-31-2013, 03:09 AM
Folklore came immediately to mind as pretty much the only books I've seen recently featuring Indian protagonists.

Island of the Blue Dolphins (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/233818.Island_of_the_Blue_Dolphins), anyone? This was one of my favorite books as a kid. (OK, it's not recent, but it merits a mention.)

Medievalist
07-31-2013, 03:47 AM
Greg Van Eeekhout Kid vs Squid

ellio
07-31-2013, 03:52 AM
Hacker, by Malorie Blackman. The kids in that book are so freaking cool. These siblings hack into a bank's computer files to try and prove that their dad isn't guilty of stealing money from it.

They're like 12/13 years old and they're trying to hack into a freaking bank.

Coolest book ever.

Kim Fierce
07-31-2013, 04:03 AM
I wonder if The Indian in the Cupboard counts as far as native American. I can't remember much about that book so I don't know how well that character was presented.

In Holes by Louis Sachar, the MC is white but his best friend that he meets is black.

Shark Beneath the Reef by Jean Craighead George is about a Mexican boy I used to have that one. He is trying to figure out whether to go to school for marine biology or help his father in the family business of fishing.

I keep picturing the cover of another book with a teen black male MC but I can't remember the title anymore.

I am not too good at little kids' books because I never read much of those.

There is another, Taste of Salt by Frances Temple about a boy named Djo from Haiti who survives a political bombing.

Alessandra Kelley
07-31-2013, 05:18 AM
When I was a kid we had a whole series of little kids' books about various Native American children. The one I remember best was "Watlala, an Indian of the Northwest." There were also "Gray Bird," "Winona," "Micco," and several others whose titles I can't remember.

I like "Kamishibai Man" by Allen Say. It's sort of a sad book for youngish children about a traditional Japanese storyteller and how television basically ends his profession.

RussPostHoc
07-31-2013, 05:51 AM
Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books focus mainly on Ged, whose skin is "copper-colored." In the second book the viewpoint character is a white-skinned girl, but Ged's there, and in the third another brown-skinned boy is the protagonist.

(And yes, The Snowy Day was the first one I thought of, along with Keats' Whistle for Willie.)

patskywriter
07-31-2013, 06:04 AM
Please don't laugh. I'm 57 and didn't have any books with PoC characters for years and years—except one. I absolutely adored The Five Chinese Brothers. The story was pretty gruesome and had absolutely nothing to do with China (the author is actually North American and not of Chinese descent). The book could easily have been called The Five Lithuanian Brothers. But I did love the jaunty writing and ridiculous cartoons.

little_e
07-31-2013, 06:10 AM
Island of the Blue Dolphins (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/233818.Island_of_the_Blue_Dolphins), anyone? This was one of my favorite books as a kid. (OK, it's not recent, but it merits a mention.)
And the one that taught me what a tsunami looks like when it's about to strike your beach. Valuable information!

little_e
07-31-2013, 06:25 AM
Oh, that reminded me of one of my favorite school-books, Dogsong (http://www.amazon.com/Dogsong-Gary-Paulsen/dp/1416939628/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375236851&sr=1-1&keywords=Dogsong), by Gary Paulsen. (Though now I'm looking at the title/cover and finding the focus on the dog instead of the MC, a modern Inuit boy on a journey of self-discovery, a bit odd.)

It's sad that the 1-star reviews all seem to be from kids who were forced to read it in school. I loved it; I loved all of the things the other kids apparently hated, like the eyeballs. I loved learning that other people were not like me and ate and did things completely different from the things in my life! My friends and I played storylines based on this book for months.

Rachel Udin
07-31-2013, 07:25 AM
I wonder if The Indian in the Cupboard counts as far as native American. I can't remember much about that book so I don't know how well that character was presented.
It counts, but it has issues with representation, IIRC. There was an essay I read on it that did the break down. While it was specific on the tribe, it portrayed the single Native American character as part of a dying race, despite my later looking up and finding that the tribe was alive and well.

I have others, just don't have my shelf of books in front of me and some of them are super rare or hard to acquire, so I'm not sure if it would be a good idea to list them, since it wouldn't help much of anyone...

I did give someone's son Dear Juno, which was rated highly and had a touching story about a Korean American child writing to his grandmother who couldn't speak English and he couldn't speak Korean.

Children's picture books with a multicultural message+ a decent story were really hard to find. I was scouring for hours and couldn't find anything that was anything like a cohesive story + a multicultural message. (And there were parents looking for the same too... again, it's the publishers.)

Lavern08
07-31-2013, 06:09 PM
Don't know if it was considered a kid's book per se, but I read it as a kid back in the 60's...

The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks.

kuwisdelu
07-31-2013, 06:22 PM
I wonder if The Indian in the Cupboard counts as far as native American. I can't remember much about that book so I don't know how well that character was presented.


It counts, but it has issues with representation, IIRC. There was an essay I read on it that did the break down. While it was specific on the tribe, it portrayed the single Native American character as part of a dying race, despite my later looking up and finding that the tribe was alive and well.

I remember avoiding that one when I was younger (still haven't read it).

I had no idea why an Indian would live in a cupboard.

LJD
07-31-2013, 06:25 PM
Oh, that reminded me of one of my favorite school-books, Dogsong (http://www.amazon.com/Dogsong-Gary-Paulsen/dp/1416939628/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375236851&sr=1-1&keywords=Dogsong), by Gary Paulsen. (Though now I'm looking at the title/cover and finding the focus on the dog instead of the MC, a modern Inuit boy on a journey of self-discovery, a bit odd.)

It's sad that the 1-star reviews all seem to be from kids who were forced to read it in school. I loved it; I loved all of the things the other kids apparently hated, like the eyeballs. I loved learning that other people were not like me and ate and did things completely different from the things in my life! My friends and I played storylines based on this book for months.

I admit I did not like this book, though I don't remember why. I preferred Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.

little_e
08-01-2013, 01:31 AM
I remember avoiding that one when I was younger (still haven't read it).

I had no idea why an Indian would live in a cupboard.
He didn't (we read it in school). The cupboard was more like the wardrobe in the Narnia books. The boy in the story puts his toys in the cupboard, and they "come to life", having been magically zapped from whatever time and place they were 'actually' living in. (Their bodies back in their real worlds, meanwhile, have gone all rigid, like toys.) In one of the books, the boy shoves himself in the cupboard and ends up a tiny person in the world of one of his toys (who are perfectly normal people in that world.)
At one point, I remember the boy getting into a dispute with a school administrator (principle, I think) for using an ethnic slur.
It's been too long since I read it to really comment on much else. I agree with the general complaint of books giving the overall impression that Indians have died out, which is the reason I'd be interested to find good books set in the present day. But for someone living in the time of colonial expansion and settler-born-diseases, it might well have felt like the end of the world.
I guess that makes the book a maybe?
ETA: since the Indian isn't the main character, the book's still off the main list for me.

little_e
08-01-2013, 01:32 AM
For a younger audience, I think The Tale of Little Babaj (http://www.amazon.com/Story-Little-Babaji-Helen-Bannerman/dp/0060080930/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1375305415&sr=8-3&keywords=babaji)i is very cute, and I like how he outwits the tigers.

And for very little ones, Animal Sounds for Baby (http://www.amazon.com/Animal-Sounds-What---Baby-Series/dp/0590949195/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375306367&sr=8-1&keywords=animal+sounds+for+baby).

patskywriter
08-01-2013, 06:13 PM
I don't have kids, but if I did, I'd be a regular customer of this publisher:

http://www.leeandlow.com/

Ken
08-02-2013, 01:18 AM
93% of surveyed childrens' books contained white characters, with blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Asians, etc., staring in 3% or less.

... that's surprising to me.
Maybe my local library is just really good at
stocking a diverse mix of books, because
going by its collection there seem to be a
lot of books with non-white MC's.

Two I've greatly enjoyed among many were:

Li Lun, Lad of Courage by Treffinger
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Coerr

GingerGunlock
08-02-2013, 01:34 AM
Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken Mildred D. Taylor (there are others either in the series or loosely related).
Sounder, William Howard Armstrong
Maniac Magee, Jerry Spinelli
The Egypt Game, Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech

thebloodfiend
08-02-2013, 02:54 AM
How has Cynthia Kadohata not been mentioned? I own all of her books.

Kira-Kira -- Won the Newberry, Japanese MC
Outside Beauty, Japanese MC and all of her siblings are half-japanese and other.
Weedflower -- WW2 Japanese Interment camp. Also features a native american boy, and I can't remember his tribe. I think it was Apache or Mohawk.

Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- Won the newberry
Bud, Not Buddy -- also won the newberry

Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman -- multiple PoC and white narrators

Small Steps -- the sequel to Holes features armpit.

Tangerine by Edward Bloor -- the MC is white, but most of the cast is black or Mexican

Becoming Naomi Leon, by Pam Munoz Ryan -- the MC is half Mexican. Visits Mexico. Very good. My favorite book in 4th grade for a while.

I only listed MG books, and only ones I like. If I remember anymore, I'll come back. My sister read a pretty good book about a Korean boy posing as a Japanese boy in WW2 a while ago. I'll ask her the title.

little_e
08-02-2013, 02:16 PM
... that's surprising to me.
Maybe my local library is just really good at
stocking a diverse mix of books, because
going by its collection there seem to be a
lot of books with non-white MC's.
I've noticed that my local library seems to have a, mm, teacherly bent to the book selection. Like they've been chosen to be good for kids, to teach them certain lessons, etc. Like the biographies section--I'm sure I've never seen so many picture-book biographies in a bookstore.

Nor was it obvious, to me, how the folks in the article selected the books for their survey, if they were books published this year or most popular books or what. So there are various factors I could imagine... But I can still be glad for the libraries :)

Rachel Udin
08-02-2013, 06:50 PM
I remember avoiding that one when I was younger (still haven't read it).

I had no idea why an Indian would live in a cupboard.
It was a time travel thing... where a white kid was a savior to the tribe... from what I do remember. So yeah... not the best.

There is a children's book I can't remember the name of... where it happens in a Muslim country. I think Afganistan? I wish the shelf was in front of me. Was years ago. Had two books in the series too... and followed a girl through her marriage and having her own daughter.

Not that it particularly helps, since it's folktales, but Tales of a Korean Grandmother was really good. There are tales in there which are uniquely Korean rather than adapted from other places.

When I was a kid there was barely anything about Korea in English besides the Korean War, so I haven't found something like daily life in Korea...

There is also I Hate English! by Ellen Levine and Steve Bjorkman (I still hate English.) Features a Chinese protagonist.

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale <--I remember reading this one too. A folktale again. But it's better than the European version of the tale of Cinderella.

Corinne Duyvis
08-04-2013, 09:13 PM
I *devoured* the Animorphs and Everworld books as a kid/teen. Same author, ensemble casts. Animorphs featured an animal-loving black girl and a snarky Latino boy, Everworld featured a perceptive, smart black boy (who had OCD and dates an Asian girl at some point). They were some of my favorite characters, too.

I'm wondering about Dutch kidlit now. The only books to come to mind are Thea Beckman's Thule books, which were about a post-apocalyptic utopian society set on Greenland. The society was a mix of Inuit and white (though set so far in the future the differences were almost purely cosmetic rather than cultural). I believe the protagonist for the first two books was largely white-descended, but his love interest was largely Inuit-descended. She was badass.

I should re-read these books because I'm not sure how well it was actually handled... it's been ages!

Kim Fierce
08-06-2013, 06:26 AM
I know I read a book as a kid about a Chinese boy who moved to the US, I can't remember if he was with his parents or what, and this took place probably in the 1800s and the only part I remember is someone gave him milk to drink and he said it tasted like urine. I just can't remember title/author.

Then later throughout the years I heard about a lot of people being lactose intolerant from China and didn't know if that was just stereotype, but also Eddie Huang mentions it in a book I recently read called Fresh Off the Boat, when he went to a friend's house and they had macaroni and cheese and it made him sick.

little_e
08-06-2013, 09:27 AM
There is a children's book I can't remember the name of... where it happens in a Muslim country. I think Afganistan? I wish the shelf was in front of me. Was years ago. Had two books in the series too... and followed a girl through her marriage and having her own daughter.
Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind (http://www.amazon.com/Shabanu-Daughter-Suzanne-Fisher-Staples/dp/0307977889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375767436&sr=8-1&keywords=shabanu), and The Haveli (http://www.amazon.com/Haveli-Suzanne-Fisher-Staples/dp/0307977897/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1375767436&sr=8-3&keywords=shabanu). There's a third, House of Djinn (http://www.amazon.com/House-Djinn-Suzanne-Fisher-Staples/dp/0374399360/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1375767436&sr=8-4&keywords=shabanu), but it's not as well-rated (I haven't read the third). Takes place in Pakistan.

I loved Shabanu and still own the Haveli--it is one of the few novels I actually still own, after many cross-country moves. I read them back when I was in highschool, so my memory on them is a bit fuzzy, but I remember them as beautiful and fascinating and sad.

As an adult looking back, and as someone who knows now a bit more about Pakistan, I do wonder if the book is a bit unfair to Pakistan. Yes, these sorts of things do happen, but so do many other things.


And hey, nothing wrong with folklore, really :)

little_e
08-06-2013, 09:37 AM
Then later throughout the years I heard about a lot of people being lactose intolerant from China and didn't know if that was just stereotype, but also Eddie Huang mentions it in a book I recently read called Fresh Off the Boat, when he went to a friend's house and they had macaroni and cheese and it made him sick.
It's not a stereotype. Adults in China haven't traditionally drunk milk, so they haven't the adaptations to fully digest it. Those adaptations are only common in areas with thousands of years of milk-drinking--most of the world's population, I suspect, doesn't have them.

Nonny
08-06-2013, 09:53 AM
Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind, and The Haveli. I think there's a third, but it's not as good. Takes place in Pakistan.

And hey, nothing wrong with folklore, really :)

!!!

I read these as a kid and have been trying to remember the name for years. Thank you. :) (and eee, they're in e-book format.)

If it hasn't been mentioned, Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor is amazing. I wish it had been around when I was a kid.

Rachel Udin
08-06-2013, 06:07 PM
I know I read a book as a kid about a Chinese boy who moved to the US, I can't remember if he was with his parents or what, and this took place probably in the 1800s and the only part I remember is someone gave him milk to drink and he said it tasted like urine. I just can't remember title/author.

Then later throughout the years I heard about a lot of people being lactose intolerant from China and didn't know if that was just stereotype, but also Eddie Huang mentions it in a book I recently read called Fresh Off the Boat, when he went to a friend's house and they had macaroni and cheese and it made him sick.
Old Stereotype... and one that persists in horrible ways... may have once been true, but no longer true.

If you go to a Chinese super market you will find milk. Someone bothered to take a picture of it. They do eat it with cereal, if they choose to have cereal.

Same with Korea and Japan. Korea has flavored milks, particularly strawberry and chocolate. They also like banana milk. All three countries are fond of sugar-filled yogurt drinks too.

The thing you don't find often is cheese. While there is cheese, the selection is usually limited to mozzarella, cheddar and such. My brother has an obsession with trying to find decent cheese in the country he's staying and he's had a hard time. Even so, all of those countries also eat pizza.

Now how it persists in horrible ways... people in the US believe this so deeply that they give the children they adopt soy milk. Soy milk is *not* meant to be given in large amounts to babies. It causes them to get seriously ill. In another words, by perpetuating the stereotype that NO East Asians drink milk, it puts children who come from those countries to the US adopted at risk. I've actually seen posts about this too, and some parents, who haven't been trained think that the fussing is a sign of RAD... but it turns out to be because their children aren't getting fed properly because they are feeding them only soy milk. =P

So please don't continue it. I've seen commercials for it in all three countries... it might not be as big of a cornerstone, but it is drunk by adults and children. It is offered in super markets. And especially since it hurts children of the ignorant.

@Little_e
Thanks! I've been trying to remember those book titles for ages. >.<;; I'm sorry for mixing up the countries too. I is stupid with names...

ETA: May be along the same line as kissing. Westerners didn't see kissing at all, so assumed that they brought it with them. (Typical.) But the thing is that East Asian society isn't public with kissing as Western developed to be... so same idea here. Didn't see it and thereafter thought it didn't exist. And a little is clearly none <--facetious. And thereafter lalalalala.... I can't hear you. Also, eating your cows was late to East Asia, mostly at the behest of Portuguese traders... most of them were bred for pulling power, which might have perpetuated the myth (Which would make a few hundred years old....) (However, Japan produces a lot of milk through Holstiens in Hokkaido.)

LJD
08-06-2013, 07:48 PM
Old Stereotype... and one that persists in horrible ways... may have once been true, but no longer true.

If you go to a Chinese super market you will find milk. Someone bothered to take a picture of it. They do eat it with cereal, if they choose to have cereal.

Same with Korea and Japan. Korea has flavored milks, particularly strawberry and chocolate. They also like banana milk. All three countries are fond of sugar-filled yogurt drinks too.

The thing you don't find often is cheese. While there is cheese, the selection is usually limited to mozzarella, cheddar and such. My brother has an obsession with trying to find decent cheese in the country he's staying and he's had a hard time. Even so, all of those countries also eat pizza.

Now how it persists in horrible ways... people in the US believe this so deeply that they give the children they adopt soy milk. Soy milk is *not* meant to be given in large amounts to babies. It causes them to get seriously ill. In another words, by perpetuating the stereotype that NO East Asians drink milk, it puts children who come from those countries to the US adopted at risk. I've actually seen posts about this too, and some parents, who haven't been trained think that the fussing is a sign of RAD... but it turns out to be because their children aren't getting fed properly because they are feeding them only soy milk. =P

So please don't continue it. I've seen commercials for it in all three countries... it might not be as big of a cornerstone, but it is drunk by adults and children. It is offered in super markets. And especially since it hurts children of the ignorant.


Saying Asian people never drink milk would be a stereotype, yes.

But I think it is worth pointing out that there actually are high levels of lactose intolerance among adults of Asian descent. Babies are a completely different issue--ability to digest lactose is often lost several years after being weaned.

Lactase persistence is the continued activity of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, into adulthood. In many populations, this is NOT common; overall, only about 30% of the world's population has lactase persistence. (Note that lactase nonpersistence does not necessarily mean lactose intolerance, however. I do not understand exactly how this works.)

from this article (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/568556_4):
In adults, white north Europeans, North Americans and Australasians have the lowest rates ranging from 5% in a British population to 17% in Finland and northern France. In South America, Africa and Asia, over 50% of the population has lactase nonpersistence and in some Asian countries this rate is almost 100%.

little_e
08-07-2013, 01:46 AM
Even humans who are not fully adapted to it can often drink some milk without problems, especially if it is pre-fermented, like yogurt, kefir, most cheeses, etc., but they won't receive as many calories from it as people who possess more adaptations to digest it. (This caloric boost may explain why the mutations for lactose-digestion in adults have spread relatively quickly in milk-drinking populations.)

But the majority of the world's population does not retain full lactase production into adulthood, because they haven't faced any historical pressures which would favor the spread of this mutation. (Calling normal human lactase levels "lactose intolerance" is just another example of Euro-biased thinking. It is lactose tolerance in adults that is unusual among humans.) And even if you do produce lactase, if you happen not to have consumed any milk products since infancy, your gut bacteria probably won't be able to handle it, anyway, leading a sudden glass of milk to produce rather unwanted symptoms.

And then there are protein allergies... Sadly, there appears to be a high overlap between milk allergies and type-1 diabetes (which seems to have an auto-immune disorder component). My brother is allergic to milk and diabetic. He was sick for years before his parents realized that his frequent ear infections were actually allergic reactions. Now his ears are permanently damaged and his blood sugar crashes/spikes randomly, sometimes while driving. He had an accident last week that he can't even remember because his blood sugar levels were sky-high after work (they don't like him testing his blood sugar at work.)

The constant pushing of milk in America is very biased toward the Euro-descended people who come from traditionally dairying cultures and can digest the stuff, often to the detriment of those who can't--often members of minority groups in American society, who can't advocate as effectively for their traditional foodways and the diets optimal to their health. The fact that some folks in eastern Asia, especially children, drink cow's milk without trouble doesn't mean that it's a good idea for the general adult population, or that the frequency of genes for lactase production has increased much in the past hundred years. It's more likely just folks adopting more 'Westernized' diets. (Sadly, the adoption of "Western" diets seems to have been a health-disaster for people pretty much all over the globe. Just ask the folks in Nauru (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_Nauru).)

When the American gov't or dairy associations push milk products, by teaching public school students to consume 2-3 glasses of milk a day via public school lessons about the food pyramid or TV ads claiming that, "Milk: It Does a Body Good!" there really ought to be a note that most adults in the world can't digest the stuff, and are perfectly healthy without it. Would have done my brother some good.

/personal rant over.

ETA: anyone who tries to raise a baby exclusively on soy milk will end up with a dead baby. I recall a case of two vegans who were jailed in the US for killing their baby by feeding it soy milk and applejuice. Do you mean soy formula? I don't know which formula would be best for Asian babies/if there's any difference in infants' digestion abilities, because I've never researched formula.

Rachel Udin
08-07-2013, 05:16 AM
Saying Asian people never drink milk would be a stereotype, yes.

But I think it is worth pointing out that there actually are high levels of lactose intolerance among adults of Asian descent. Babies are a completely different issue--ability to digest lactose is often lost several years after being weaned.

Lactase persistence is the continued activity of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, into adulthood. In many populations, this is NOT common; overall, only about 30% of the world's population has lactase persistence. (Note that lactase nonpersistence does not necessarily mean lactose intolerance, however. I do not understand exactly how this works.)

from this article (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/568556_4):
In adults, white north Europeans, North Americans and Australasians have the lowest rates ranging from 5% in a British population to 17% in Finland and northern France. In South America, Africa and Asia, over 50% of the population has lactase nonpersistence and in some Asian countries this rate is almost 100%.
Sorry, derail...

Normally you have a lack of the bacteria that break down the milk in your gut. Over time when you don't foster these bacteria, you lose the ability to break down the lactose, etc.

This *does not* mean you are allergic to milk, which is a whole other category. There *are* people actually allergic to milk from when they are born and cannot drink it.

When you lose the ability to drink milk, you may get diarrhea if you drink a huge amount of it. But if you drink it incrementally larger over about 2-3 months, you will increase the ability to drink milk again, but you have to take it relatively slow. Drinking and eating a small amount won't do anything to people in this category, which includes drinking banana milk, etc. Most people with lactose intolerance simply don't feel up to taking those steps.

Some people are also just allergic to cow milk itself, which is not that close to human milk. Goat milk is actually closer to human milk than cows, but cows have a larger production. (Fat content, etc.)

Lactose intolerance doesn't really show if a culture is drinking milk currently and more is showing past history, which I did originally illuminate. (i.e. cows were bred mostly for their pulling ability.)

Got milk (and drinking slowly and incrementally?)

I do have an unproven hypothesis though that actual allergies show how long a food stuff is in a population. For example, one of the first food stuffs in the human diet was nuts, and that has a high percentage of allergy rate worldwide, which kind of matches the anthro/archaeology that it was one of the first foods to be eaten. Coconuts (which aren't real nuts) relatively new to human eating and low allergy rate. =P I'm hoping some study will correlate this...

Kim Fierce
08-07-2013, 05:36 AM
I think soy formula is a different situation than soy milk for babies, both my son and my best friend's daughter (both white) had to be on soy formula. But my son is now fine with milk, and my friend's daughter still can't drink it without being sick, and also has a horrible and unsafe nut allergy.

If I try to google it there are some articles that show up about lactose intolerance in different cultures but I can't access any here at work so I won't link to them.

I have heard recently some arguments that drinking cow's milk should be considered unnatural. And one other reason is because of something in the milk, I forget what, that actually causes osteoporosis, so we should get calcium elsewhere!

Anyway this is a definite derail now! Sorry!

I like to look up sites like this too and see what I can find:

http://www.native-languages.org/children-books.htm

little_e
08-08-2013, 06:43 AM
Sorry, derail...

Normally you have a lack of the bacteria that break down the milk in your gut. Over time when you don't foster these bacteria, you lose the ability to break down the lactose, etc.
...
When you lose the ability to drink milk, you may get diarrhea if you drink a huge amount of it. But if you drink it incrementally larger over about 2-3 months, you will increase the ability to drink milk again, but you have to take it relatively slow. Drinking and eating a small amount won't do anything to people in this category, which includes drinking banana milk, etc. Most people with lactose intolerance simply don't feel up to taking those steps. ...
Continuing derail... "Lactose intolerance" and lack of gut bacteria for digesting milk are not, strictly speaking, the same thing. Lactose intolerance is a genetic condition in which a person (not their gut bacteria) does not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to digest all of the lactose in their milk. This does not determine whether or not their gut flora can handle milk, which as you note, is environmental. As far as I know, people who do not produce high amounts of lactase can still receive some nutrition from cow's milk, just not as much as people who produce more lactase. (After all, the cultural habit of drinking cow's milk emerged before the mutation to produce more lactase, so it couldn't have produced too much indigestion for the early-adapters, or they wouldn't have kept doing it.)

The genetic mutations required for full lactase persistence into adulthood are rare outside of historically dairying societies, hence the stats of near 100% "lactose intolerance" in some countries--they just don't have that genetic mutation, whether they have the requisite gut bacteria or not. (Even many infants who've been breastfed may have upset stomachs the first few times they try cow's milk, just because their gut bacteria aren't used to it, and it has nothing to do with their ability to produce lactase, as almost all infants do this just fine.)

wampuscat
08-09-2013, 03:15 AM
For picture books:

The Snowy Day

Corduroy

thebloodfiend
08-09-2013, 04:00 AM
Oh, I forgot—

Little Bill was awesome when I was five. I had all of the books and I watched it on Nick Jr whenever I could.

Kim Fierce
08-09-2013, 05:18 AM
I didn't know there were books for Little Bill. My son likes the show!

thebloodfiend
08-09-2013, 05:36 AM
God, I feel incredibly young.

Little Bill is a bit older in the books. I think he's a preteen. There's the old series for beginning readers and there are the new books based off of the animation style of the cartoon. I read the old ones.

While I'm remembering my childhood, Junie B. Jones' best friend is black. And her "boyfriend" is Hispanic, and her other best friend is Hispanic. I'd check those out even when I was in 3rd grade because the kid was so funny.

Of course, we have Judy Blume's Iggy's House. Can't believe I forgot that one, since my dad, of all people, owned a copy.

We were going to get a sequel to Here's To You, Rachel Robinson and Just As Long As We're Together, both from Judy Blume as well, told from the POV of Allison, who is the adopted Chinese daughter of two rich white actors, but that never happened.

I'm sure I'll remember more later. Most of my time in elementary school was spent in the library reading everything I could.

Kim Fierce
08-09-2013, 06:30 AM
I am 32 and have a 2 year old. Oh, I read those Judy Blume books.

I really just have to try and first remember books I liked in childhood and then think about the characters because for me I don't just think "Oh I read this one book with a black character once." lol I have always been interested in diverse characters, but yeah sometimes it's hard to find.

thebloodfiend
08-09-2013, 07:15 AM
I was always surprised to find a character who wasn't white in a book, as I'm not, so that's why I remember. It was a big deal to me when I was that age, I guess. But I'm one of those people who instantly got that Rue was black and kind of thought Gale and Katniss were biracial.

It was also why I liked the Animorphs, though Rachel and Marco were my preferred couple (also, my favorite characters). Also thought it was cool to have a kid's book where the black girl was part of the main power couple, that it was interracial, and that she wasn't just shoved aside with a token black guy in the background.

Dragonwriter
08-09-2013, 07:52 AM
One of my favorite kids' books is The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Two of the main characters are black--the heroine's best friend and her little brother Marshall. There's also an Asian boy who's portrayed as very cool and popular.

Rachel Udin
08-09-2013, 04:53 PM
Marie G. Lee writes both YA and children's.

Finding My Voice is kinda YA, since it deals with heavier topics... but is really good. (As is the sequel.)

If It Hadn't Been for Yoon Jun is definitely Middle School...

She doesn't pull punches and deals with adoption too.

Also Linda Sue Park... she does mostly children's to YA. Archer's Quest, A single shard, etc.

That exhausts my list for habitual Korean American writers writing for children about Korean culture and Korean American life. (I know)

(All unfortunately published after I needed them... which is why I remember).

I want photos of my bookshelf. >.<;; Seeing the other titles listed is making me realize that maybe my book shelf was a lot more diverse than I remember it to be.

Kitty Pryde
08-09-2013, 06:45 PM
OK, I have a lot!
Lisa Yee writes lots of MG novels, 2 with Chinese-American MCs and 2 with a biracial white/chinese-american MC. I think the latter is very loosely based on her own kids experience/identity.
Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon (?) is a great one about an african-american girl with severe vitiligo causing her skin to look like a camouflage pattern (thus the title).
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is about an african-american girl with severe cerebral palsy who can't communicate until she gets an electronic AAC device and then everyone finds out she's super smart and she joins the quiz bowl team. The author writes many books with AA protagonists. She has some serious YA and some really fluffy lower MG series as well.
Esperanza Rising is a good one-Latino/a protagonists are super underrrepresented in kidlit.
Calvin Coconut is a fluffy chapter book series about a hapa kid growing up in Hawaii having minor adventures
Alvin Ho and Ruby Lu series are lower MG books about chinese-american kids. And Ellray Jakes is a chapter book series with AA protagonist.
I have more but I have to go to work.

Dragonwriter
08-09-2013, 06:46 PM
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell has a Korean character, though he's thoroughly Americanized.

wampuscat
08-09-2013, 07:04 PM
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with The Babysitters Club books, which had a Japanese character. I think later books also had a Black character.

Katrina S. Forest
08-09-2013, 07:13 PM
Kira-Kira -- Won the Newberry, Japanese MC

Arg, I could not finish that book. I tried, but as soon as I realized what was happening, I had to just jump to the ending. >.<

Just wanted to say as a parent of two young kids who would really love to add more diverse books to our collection, this thread is awesome! (Yes, I am taking notes.)

Rachel Udin
08-15-2013, 05:53 PM
Also by Ezra Jack Keats: Whistle for Willie Board Book and Peter's chair. (Picture books)

Ah, I thought of more, now I'm blanking again.

Colbert Report did announce the civil rights movement has comic books... I'm not sure if they are kid appropriate, but you might want to consider looking at them at least.

Maryn
08-16-2013, 05:11 PM
We got "Half a Moon and One Whole Star" by Crescent Dragonwagon (is that a great name, or what?) out of the library so many times I decided I should buy it, only to find it was out of print, available only at collectible prices.

The illustrations by Jerry Pinkney, showing a young girl's thoughts as she falls asleep, then her dreams, were just gorgeous, and the text lush.

Maryn, who sees it's back in print and wonders...

leela_e
08-17-2013, 07:22 PM
One of my favorite children’s books is "The Lost Pony" by Evelyn Noelle. It’s a must have for children’s age 6 and below. Hmm, good for the young-at-heart as well. Take it from me...I’m a fan.

Rachel Udin
08-18-2013, 01:52 AM
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates.

It took forever to remember that one.

It shows the fact you did have free blacks during slavery times, which may be helpful in painting a more even view overall. At the same time, it shows the hardships he faced as a Free black. Been a long time since I read it, so I'm a bit vague on the contents.

I'm trying to remember two other books, but it's really hard.

Emmet Cameron
08-29-2013, 10:24 AM
(I'm white, was raised in a super white environment, and it's been a while since I read any of these, so please point out if I'm overlooking any heinously glaring isssuuuuues with my nostalgiabrain.)

One of my favourite picture books growing up was Half A Moon and One Whole Star by Crescent Dragonwagon (did a double take on that name when I looked it up just now). It's a bedtimey poem kinda book, and the girl in the (gorgeous!) illustrations is black.

In Nobody's Family Is Going To Change by Louise Fitzhugh, the central family in question is black. I think it's a great comeback to toss at anyone who says stories about people of colour can't be universally resonant.

Shizuko's Daughter by Kyoko Mori goes on that list too. Wicked sad, but super beautifully written.

Sadako & the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr was a favourite from my childhood. I think it shows the blending of ancient traditions and modern life really well -- working against that "other cultures are the past" thing.

It's really too bad the Indian In The Cupboard books suffer from the ugly lapses in authorial judgement others have pointed out, because the premise is so much fun, and Lynne Reid Banks can turn a sentence. Which is probably why the best book in the series, imo, is the final one, The Mystery of the Cupboard, where she lays off the sloppy depictions of native american cultures and focuses on the origins of the cupboard itself. But everyone involved in that turns out to be white, so def off this particular recommendation list.

Rachel Udin
08-29-2013, 07:38 PM
Shizuko's Daughter by Kyoko Mori goes on that list too. Wicked sad, but super beautifully written.

I remember this one... I'd slap on it though, that not all Japanese have this burning desire for suicide. (No pun intended). Very sad, very well meaning. Well-written... but a bit difficult to read. It has a Literary edge and you'd need more background on Japanese story telling in *some* places to understand it.

The upside is that it shows a modern/contemporary setting.



Sadako & the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr was a favourite from my childhood. I think it shows the blending of ancient traditions and modern life really well -- working against that "other cultures are the past" thing.

Based on a true story and also ends sad. It's based on a true story and there is a statue dedicated to her...

For that, there is always Princess Kaguya--of which I have a gorgeous rendition with gold in it. And then Momotaro--- Momotaro is a happier tale and very suitable for children. (though the shortened version to start). Shows things such as, not everyone dies at the end.

I only say that 'cause there is an impression off of Americans about Japanese, in general, that Japanese are really suicidal. (OK, the Sengoku Era didn't really help, but that's really slanted.).

Still trying to remember the book my Aunt gave me of a young girl shipped off to the Japanese camps. (I know where it is on my shelf... just can't remember the name).

Pearl
08-30-2013, 12:00 AM
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with The Babysitters Club books, which had a Japanese character. I think later books also had a Black character.

That was Jessi Ramsey, who came along in #14. I liked reading about her ballet classes, her crazy aunt and her baby brother.

Claudia Kishi was the Japanese character, and she seemed so much fun with her art, fashion and hiding candy cleverly in her bedroom.

The series discussed racism time to time, and had a whole book dedicated to race where Claudia was rudely treated by a white family, and Jessi was rejected by that same family.

Sunflowerrei
09-01-2013, 06:47 AM
My favorite series as a kid were the historical American Girls books. I started with Addy, who was a black girl who ran away from slavery and her family was slowly reunited through her books. Then there was Josefina, who was Mexican and grew up in 1824 New Mexico.

Then there was this book called How My Parents Learned To Eat--can't remember the author--but I remember devouring it because it was about a half white, half Asian girl and how her parents learned each other's cultures (via eating habits). Basically, the story of my life, being white and Japanese myself.