CECH Library Spotlight: Harriet Versus the Galaxy by Samantha Baines

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

This book was purchased with funding provided by a 2024 CECH Diversity Grant and selected using the Framework for Selecting Children’s Literature With d/Deaf Representation created by Emma Kist’s ASL 2003 students.

Harriet Versus the Galaxy / written by Samantha Baines (2019)

If you were ever a fan of The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl, Samantha Baines’ debut juvenile book Harriet Versus the Galaxy would be right up your alley.

The novel follows Harriet Green, a ten-year old from England who happens to be hard of hearing. After moving in with her Gran, she learns that her hearing aid can do more than just help her hear. She can understand alien languages. One day she’s moving in with her Gran, the next she’s being tasked to save Earth from aliens! 

Baine explores more than just Deafness* throughout her novel, however. Gender identity, while small in detail, makes a mighty difference in the way it is presented in this novel. Baines shows readers that gender identity is a topic for all ages and can be mentioned without trauma being present. This novel represents the Deaf* and gender identity with compassion without calling attention to them. 

Throughout the novel, Baines takes the opportunity to explore how bullying can have an effect on children, and how to handle it with grace. Harriet Versus the Galaxy stands tall and teaches readers how to be brave in the face of a problem, and how to be compassionate to one another without putting another person down. In the end, this book helps to encourage all of us to authentically be ourselves. 

Throughout the novel, you can find artwork reminiscent of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Dork Diaries. With illustrations from Deaf artist Jessica Flores, you truly feel like you are with Harriet as she learns about the world of aliens — or should I say galaxy?

This book is available for checkout in the CECH Library.

NOTE: In alignment with the UC ASL/Deaf studies department, I use Deaf* above to include and acknowledge the different cultures and ways of being Deaf.

Review by Alice Somers, CECH Library Student Assistant | Early Childhood Education and Deaf Studies, CECH 2026

CECH Library Spotlight: Ellen Outside the Lines by AJ Sass

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

Ellen Outside the Lines / written by AJ Sass / 2022

CW: Queer character being outed 

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass is a contemporary juvenile novel that follows Ellen Katz, a queer, autistic, Jewish girl as she navigates life and friendship. Ellen’s Spanish class is going to Barcelona for two weeks, and she expects it to be a time for her to reconnect with her best friend Laurel. But during this trip, her carefully planned routines and expectations are thrown for a loop when she gets paired with a different group, allowing her to learn not just about herself but those around her.

This novel explores gender identity, queerness, religion, neurodivergence, and what it means to be a friend. It is a heartwarming story of growth and acceptance that makes it a read that you won’t want to put down until you’re done.

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

Review by Alice Somers, CECH Library Student Assistant | Early Childhood Education and Deaf Studies, CECH 2026

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

Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride at CECH Library

The CECH Library is a proud ally of the LGBTQIA+ communities and a safe space for all.

Check out our pride window display this month outside the CECH Library in 300 Teachers-Dyer Complex. In addition to hundreds of hanging colored paper hearts, the display features quotes from LGBTQIA+ activists including Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, and Marsha P. Johnson.  

We have also put together a reading list of LGBTQIA+ children’s, teen, and YA booksAll of these books are available at the CECH Library and can be requested by visiting your library record. 

Haley Shaw, Temporary Librarian
CECH Library

And The Winner Is… Celebrate Award-Winning Children’s Books!

display of award winning children's booksJust like films, television, and music, the best books of the year garner accolades and awards. Each January, at the American Library Association’s  Mid-Winter Conference, several of the most prestigious children’s book award winners are announced. Prepare for the 2020 award season by exploring some previous award winners from the CECH Library’s collections.

Visit the display at the CECH Library through January and check out some of the titles on our list of selected award winners.

Haley Shaw, Temporary Librarian
CECH Library