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

Subscribe to New Children’s Books at CECH Library

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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

 

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

 

CECH Spotlight: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe / written by by Benjamin Alire Sáenz / 2012

Celebrate Pride all summer long and read about the important stories of LGBTQ+ youth and their lives. Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe can be described as a very simple yet impactful read. Sáenz needs no intense plot twist or a plethora of characters to tell a touching and memorable story.

Follow along Ari’s coming-of-age journey as he faces struggles with loneliness, sexuality, and familial relationships, and along the way forms a special relationship with Dante, an artsy and talented swimmer he meets at the neighborhood pool. Ari and Dante live nearly opposite lives, yet are still struggling with the same issues. A perfect summer read with relatable teenage struggles, Ari & Dante is an authentic story that focuses on the small details in relationships and life, such as those ponderings about life, love, personal moments, and self-discovery.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe 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 Alyssa Gruich, CECH Library Student Assistant | Political Science, A&S 2022

CECH Library Supports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In accordance with the Bearcat Bond and Association of College and Research Libraries Diversity Standards, the CECH Library recognizes the “need and obligation to serve and advocate for racial and ethnically diverse constituencies.” To that end, CECH librarians have led and supported a variety of projects and programs related to anti-racism and diversity, equity, and inclusion this year. Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been working on.

Anti-Racism LibGuides Audit

  • This fall CECH librarians performed an audit of 16 subject LibGuides in support of the CECH Schools of Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services, and Information Technology. After scoring guides with a rubric they created, CECH librarians curated additional resources to add to their subject guides including journals, databases, websites, and multimedia resources with anti-racism themes. Resources were also carefully chosen based on their intended audience – both academics and professionals working in field – as well as their respective purposes, with emphasis on subject-specific and general resources for self-reflection and professional development. Full informatiaon about the project, including our process, rubric, and listing of audited guides is available via our CECH Library Anti-Racism LibGuide Audit guide.

Anti-Racism Community Space

  • In partnership with the CECH Rapid Response Team, CECH Librarian Madeleine Gaiser is serving as the co-organizer of the CECH Anti-Racism Community Space alongside Josie Evans-Phillips, Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence and Community Partnerships. The Anti-Racism Community Space (ARCS) hosts monthly discussions in which a CECH faculty or staff give a short presentation followed by lively conversations about the issues raised by the presenter. This space also provides the CECH community a space to process news events, such as the Capitol insurrection in January. The space was started in November as a pilot program and this spring is becoming an official CECH DEI initiative. As co-organizer, Madeleine manages the publicity efforts for each meeting, serves as the event emcee, and coordinates with the presenter and discussion facilitators. She and Josie hope to share this model with other colleges and libraries at UC.

Diversity Research Day Planning

  • Due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the annual CECH Diversity Research Day took place virtually on February 24, 2021. CECH Library Head Katie Foran-Mulcahy served on this year’s planning team, creating a special Canvas community to house presentation materials and interactivity with presenters such as asynchronous poster discussion. Videos of live presentations will also be available via this Canvas community. Auto-enrollment into the Canvas community will be available through March 24 for UC students, faculty, and staff.

Interested in partnering with a CECH librarian on projects in support of anti-racism? Reach out to your CECH Librarian to discuss opportunities for collaboration and support.