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

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

 

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

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: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

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

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me / written by Mariko Tamaki, illustrations by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell / 2019

CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNING: toxic relationship, abortion, emotional abuse, adult/minor relationship, infidelity

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me is a coming-of-age story. Freddy, our seventeen-year-old protagonist, is dating Laura Dean, the attractive popular girl who is all wrong for her. Laura keeps cheating on and breaking up with Freddy, but they always end up back together. 

This graphic novel is a great read for older teens and adults alike. It has diverse representation and portrays LGBTQIA+ relationships in a way that is rarely seen in YA fiction. It focuses on the relationships between people rather than homophobia, coming out, or struggling with identity (though those themes are somewhat present). We get a glimpse of Freddy’s inner monolog as she struggles to navigate her relationships through emails to an advice columnist. It’s a realistic and raw portrayal of a toxic relationship and how it can impact every part of life. This book really captures the essence of high school relationships and what it feels like to love someone who isn’t good for you. The characters are hard to love and their flaws are at the forefront of the story. But they do feel real and raw. 

Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s art brings the story to life. It is dynamic and makes very creative use of color. Much of the book is black and white; however, pops of pink appear throughout the panels making it both visually appealing and dynamic to read. On particularly powerful moment in the book has all the characters, except Freddy, facing away from the reader really emphasizing how truly alone she is, as well as how much she has alienated her friends because of her toxic relationship with Laura Dean. 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is available from CECH Library, as well as the OhioLINK and Search Ohio lending networks.

Review by Haley Shaw, CECH Temporary Librarian

 

Books on the Big Screen at CECH

Summer is a great time to relax and catch up on all those shows you never got around to watching. Summer is also a great time for reading. So before you binge on Netflix, check out the books that came before the films. The CECH Library has many books that have been adapted for film and television. From the classics like Little Women to the ever-popular Shadow and Bone, there is something for everyone.

TV and film adaptations can be an excellent way to introduce readers to books they may not naturally be drawn to. In addition to aiding with understanding or reading comprehension, they can also assist with understanding difficult vocabulary. Film and TV adaptations can be a helpful motivator for reluctant readers. 

Whether you read before you watch or decide to pick up the book because you loved the show or movie, the CECH Library has got you covered! Check out this list of selected titles that have film or TV adaptations.  

Post by Haley Shaw, CECH Temporary Librarian
List by Sadie Matthews, CECH Library Student Worker

Read AAPI: Asian American Pacific Islander Month

collage of book covers

May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month. To celebrate, the CECH Library has created a list of books by AAPI authors.  

Update: The use of the term #OwnVoices has been discontinued by We Need Diverse Books and the booklist below has been updated to reflect that. #OwnVoices has been used by many publishers/bookstores as catch all for diverse authors and illustrators, making it a vague term that hides the diverse identities of the authors and the book characters from the narrative. Why We Need Diverse Books Is No Longer Using the Term #OwnVoices.

What makes a book Own Voices? 

An Own Voices book is one that is written by an author that is part of an under-represented group that features characters that are also part of that group. For example, if an author is part of the LGBTQ+ community and they write about a character that is also part of the LGBTQ+ community then that book is an Own Voices book. 

#OwnVoices was created by Corinne Duyvisa young adult author and co-founder of Disability in Kidlit. She created the hashtag to shardiverse children’s literature.  

Why are Own Voices books important? 

Own Voices books amplifdiverse voices and provide necessary and important representation on our shelvesWhen book authors identify with the same group as their characters, they are more likely to have accurate and nuanced portrayals of that group than an author who is an outsider. Own Voices books are also less likely to perpetuate harmful stereotypes. 

How can I find Own Voices books? 

Many libraries, bookstores, and publishers develop Own Voices book lists. You can also search for #OwnVoices on social media to find reviews and book lists.  CECH Library’s AAPI book list is also available via our Children’s and Young Adult Literature LibGuide.

Interested in learning more? 

Post and book list by Haley Shaw, CECH Temporary Librarian

National Poetry Month at CECH Library

To celebrate National Poetry Month, the CECH Library has created a display of poetry from our children’s and young adult book collections.  From classic children’s poetry to new titles, our curated list also features a selection of young poets under 25 that is excellent for young readers!

Visit the display in the CECH Library through April or check out our recommended reading list via the Children’s and Young Adult Literature guide.

Post and book list by Alyssa Gruich, CECH Library Student Assistant | Political Science, A&S 2022

New Book Spotlight: Lovely War by Julie Berry

book cover lovely war by julie berryThe New Book Spotlight highlights new-to-us titles in the the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Library

Lovely War / written by Julie Berry / 2019

A mix of historical fiction, romance, and mythology, Lovely War sees Greek Gods narrating an emotional story of two relationships, two wars, and the power of love. Accused of unfaithfulness by Hephaestus, Aphrodite has the chance to avoid trial by the Gods and tell the story of four mortals during WWI and the transcendence of love. It tells the story of James, a young British man drafted to serve in the army in France, falling for Hazel, a young and hopeful pianist. It also spans the story of Aubrey, a black soldier and ragtime pianist with Colette, a singer from Belgium who lost her family in Dinant. Showing perspectives on racism, sexism, mental health issues, and the tragic nature of war, Berry does an excellent job in incorporating the historical aspect during the time period, as well as the heart-wrenching circumstances young adults faced during the time. Topping my favorite books of 2020, Lovely War was an excellent and timeless read, showing the importance of hope, humanity, and friendship perfect for any young reader.

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

Review by Alyssa Gruich, CECH Library Student Assistant | Political Science, A&S 2022