CECH Spotlight: Black Fairy Tales

CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

Black Fairy Tales / written by Terry Berger / 1969
The People Could Fly / told by Virginia Hamilton / 1985
The Six Fools / collected by Zora Neale Hurston / 2006

The stories we tell our children are possibly the most important in our entire fictional memory, and foremost among these stories are fairy tales and folktales. Harkening back to the legends and myths of old, fairy and folk tales expand children’s imaginations, teach lessons, and reveal the reality in which they live. This is not more apparent than in Black Fairy Tales by Terry Berger, The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton, and The Six Fools by Zora Neale Hurston.

Coming from a wide variety of sources, origins, and peoples, these three books represent different oral traditions collected and written by a variety of authors. While storytelling traditions are much more expansive than what is contained within these books, they serve as an amazing introduction to fairy tales and folktales from African and African American cultures. Not only do they stand alone as great examples of children’s literature, but they serve as greater tools for change in the diversity they provide, as well as the history they present. “This book was done especially for the Black children who have never read Black fairy tales,” Terry Berger wrote in the dedication of his book.

These books present culture and stories which have long been ignored, and each provide unique perspectives to life, virtue, and our potential. Be it trying to catch sunshine in a wheelbarrow, marrying a great serpent king, or the fables of Bruh Rabbit, these books expand our imagination and deepen our appreciation.  .

All three titles are available from the CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Linus Sinnard, CECH Library Student Assistant | Secondary Education, CECH 2025

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The CECH Library has a collection unlike any other at UC Libraries, including thousands of children’s and young adult books. Now you can subscribe to keep up with the latest additions to our library!

From the Children’s and Young Adult Literature LibGuide, visit our new books blogs based on the category you’re interested in. The blogs are updated each time CECH Library gets new books. By subscribing to updates, you’ll get an email every time we add new books in the following categories: picturebooks, juvenile fiction, YA fiction, informational, and Native American authors and illustrators. Subscribe today so you’ll never miss a new addition to the collection.

Written by Madeleine Gaiser, Online Learning and Instruction Specialist | CECH Library

CECH Spotlight: The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching

CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching / written by Demi / 2007

According to legend, more than 2000 years ago, a man known as the Old Master, or Lao Tzu in Chinese, would compile 81 verses into one of the prolific books of all time, and in turn create a philosophy which has endured for generations. This philosophy, known as Taoism, or “Way”, places emphasis on accepting reality for what it is, as well as peaceful inaction and a life of virtue.

In her book, Demi details the legend of Lao Tzu and the creation of his book, the Tao Te Ching, in great detail. She also includes many excerpts from the Tao Te Ching, accompanied by beautiful illustrations of Chinese mountains, animals, and architecture which fits perfectly with the themes discuss within their lines. Her book serves as a way to engage both kids and adults alike about the beliefs of Taoism. It also provides a unique outlook on life which few other books can, with advice and concepts that can be endlessly debated and ruminated on. The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching is a must read for anyone intrigued by Taoist philosophy, or for anyone who simply wants a new outlook on life.

The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching is available from CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Linus Sinnard, CECH Library Student Assistant | Secondary Education, CECH 2025

CECH Spotlight: The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller

CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

The Eternal Ones: What If Love Refused To Die  / written by Kristen Miller / 2010

Haven has always had strange visions. However, she constantly has an uncanny feeling that she is reliving the memories of another’s romantic relationship from long ago. Yet, it almost feels as if it was her in those dreams. Living in a conservative town, she has no one to confide in especially when everyone seems to think that the devil is to blame for her strange dreams.

It all seemed to be just strange and coincidental visions until she saw a celebrity on television that reminded her exactly of the man in her dreams. Although her entire town is against her, a group called the Ouroboros Society in New York City that seems to know a lot about what Haven has been experiencing, not only that but the celebrity that triggered a connection to her dreams happens to be there as well.

The Eternal Ones is available from the CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Alexis Parker, CECH Library Student Assistant | Public Relations and International Affairs, A&S 2024

CECH Spotlight: It Feels Good To Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity

CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity / written by Theresa Thorn, illustrated by Noah Grigni / 2019

It Feels Good to Be Yourself is an important and amazing book to use when it comes to approaching the topic of gender identity and expression. It is open and direct and explains gender in a very succinct way, making this ideal for young children. It discusses what cis-gender, transgender, non-binary and gender fluidity mean in a positive and easily understandable way. The illustrations feature diversity and are bright and full of life. At the end, there are resources readily available and information about pronouns. This text is straightforward and puts an emphasis on self-expression, acceptance, and inclusiveness.

It Feels Good to Be Yourself is available from CECH Library,  as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks. Keep an eye out for the sequel that debuts in October!

Review by Sadie Matthews, CECH Library Student Assistant | Elementary Education, CECH 2023

 

New Book Spotlight: Under the Broken Sky

Under the Broken Sky / by Mariko Nagai / 2019

Under the Broken Sky by Mariko Nagai is a historical fiction set in the Empire of Manchuria at the end of World War II. The novel, written in verse, follows sisters Natsu and Asa as they seek refuge after their village was attacked by the Soviet Union. For Natsu, the most important thing is keeping her sister safe at all costs, even if it means selling her.

This novel offers readers a glimpse into the life of refugees and how quickly their lives can be turned upside down and completely changed forever. The novel also allows a rare look into how the Axis powers lived during World War II and how they were treated after war officially ended.

Nagai intricately created poems to represent the importance of family and hope during tumultuous times, and easily pulls at the heartstrings of her audience.

Under the Broken Sky is available from CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Alice Somers (she/her), CECH Library Student Assistant | Secondary English Education, CECH 2025

CECH Spotlight: Love Is Love

CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

Love Is Love / written by Michael Genhart; illustrated by Ken Min / 2018

A young boy with gay parents is constantly teased and bullied at school. They tell him that his “family wasn’t a real family”. Through a conversation between friends, learn how they discover what makes a family real.

Love is Love is a simple, yet beautiful, story that teaches children that it’s love that makes a family real. Told through the conversation between two young friends confiding in one another, this is the perfect picture book to teach young children about love, uniqueness, and inclusion. Inside, there are resources, discussion questions, and more to help begin a gentle conversation about bullying, discrimination, and empowerment.

Love Is Love is available from CECH Library,  as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Sadie Matthews, CECH Library Student Assistant | Elementary Education, CECH 2023

New Book Spotlight: The Blackbird Girls

The New Book Spotlight highlights new-to-us titles in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

The Blackbird Girls / by Anne Blankman / 2020

Content Advisory/Trigger Warning: physical and mental abuse, anti-Semitism

Anne Blankman’s The Blackbird Girls is a historical fiction that jumps between Oksana and Valentina in the aftermath of the Chernobyl power plant explosion in 1986, and Rifka who is on the run from the Nazis in 1941.

Rifka grew up practicing Judaism while Valentina identifies only ethnically with Judism. Separated by over forty years, the two girls experienced anti-Semitism in ways that were similar yet so different. Oksana was the perfect Ukrainian, and all her life she was told to hate Valentina and people “of her kind”.

When the Chernobyl power plant exploded, Valentina and Oksana’s lives were forced together much to their dismay. But when they have to live together in Leningrad with Valentina’s grandmother, they learn how similar they are and how important they are to each other.

Blankman explores the impact World War II and the Holocaust had on Jewish people while showing personal growth in a prejudice time in world history. Blankman has created a story full of hope and resilience in a time of fear and uncertainty.

The Blackbird Girls is available from CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks. It also won the 2020 National Jewish Book Award for Middle Grades Literature.

Review by Alice Somers (she/her), CECH Library Student Assistant | Secondary English Education, CECH 2025

CECH Spotlight: Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

CECH Spotlight highlights recommended books in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

Julian is a Mermaid / written and illustrated by Jessica Love / 2018

On Saturdays, Julian and his Abuela go swimming at the community pool. One Saturday, Julian sees several women wearing beautiful mermaid dresses and is totally entranced. He decided he wants to be a mermaid himself, but what might his Abuela think of this?

Jessica Love’s Julian is a Mermaid is an absolutely breathtaking picture book. It follows the story of a gender non-conforming child, which is a rare but very welcomed sight, who dreams of becoming a mermaid. This heartwarming story is full of vivid and magical illustrations that beautifully depict a child’s imagination and embrace diversity with a broad range of body types and skin tones. With each turn of a page, you will feel the anxiety, the love, and the acceptance Julian feels through subtle details in facial expressions and body language. Along with Julian, readers of all ages will learn that anyone can be a mermaid, and all it takes is acceptance, creative expression, and unconditional love.

Julian is a Mermaid is available from CECH Library,  as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Sadie Matthews, CECH Library Student Assistant | Elementary Education, CECH 2023

 

New Book Spotlight: The Magic Fish

The New Book Spotlight highlights new-to-us titles in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library.

The Magic Fish / written and illustrated by Trung Le Nguyen

As the son of refugee parents from Vietnam, Tiến doesn’t know how to tell his mom that he is gay and worries that she won’t accept and love him anymore. Not only that, but he struggles to find the right words in Vietnamese. On the other hand, Tiến’s mother, Hiền, experiences her own journey of wondering if immigrating to America was worth leaving her family in Vietnam behind and if she’s to blame for the disconnect between her and Tien. 

Trung Le Nguyen’s The Magic Fish takes an unconventional approach to graphic novel storytelling by sharing fascinating fairytales and intertwining them with Tiến’s and his mother’s journey with vibrant colors and pictures that immediately draws readers in. Although not all readers will directly relate to Tiến’s or his mother’s story, it will surely take you on an emotional journey that might just encourage you to reflect on your own personal journeys. 

The Magic Fish is available from the CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks. 

Review by Alexis Parker, CECH Library Student Assistant | Public Relations and International Affairs, A&S 2024