The BookPeople Modern First Library Initiative: Pairing beloved picture books that will never go out of style along with other favorites that reflect the diverse, global society of the 21st century, we’ve set out to make building a thoughtful library for any child in your life easy.
When I first thought about this blog and what I was going to write, my granddaughter had not come into my life yet. But now that she has, that is all I want to do, talk about Juliana Harley McCall. Juliana, how I love her name, how I love her, how I want to hold her in my arms and teach her everything I know and help her find the answers to everything I don’t know. And where would I find such answers?
The answers are everywhere, I know, in the wind, in the sunrise, in the snow. The answers are in a smile, in a hug, in a winkle, in a toe. I know the answers are everywhere we’ve been and everywhere we go. In fact, there are so many answers out there, I want to make sure she gets them all. And so my thoughts turn to the topic of books and the home library my husband and I have already started putting together for her.
So far, Juliana has a collection of Mother Goose books and a start on the Arthur series. She has several bilingual picture books written by beloved friends like Lupe Ruiz Flores, Pat Mora, Diane Gonzales Bertrand, and Matt de la Peña. She has touchy feely books, colorful books, hard, thick board books, and so, so much more.
I don’t want to say there are books we wouldn’t buy for her, if she wanted it, we’d buy it to be sure. But while we want the old classics, we also want to get books from up and coming authors with diverse voices. We want to see her open a book, see herself, see a friend, see a person from another place, a person with a different perspective, and know that that person has a voice, a life, a place in this world.
I hope that by the time Juliana reads this, she has read so many books, been exposed to so many different points of view, that she is a well-rounded, open-hearted, caring human being with more than fairy tales and princesses on the brain. I hope that Batman, Superman, and Wonderful Woman are hanging out with her in her room along with Xavier Garza’s Luchadores and Yuyi Morales’ Niño. I hope that there are other voices hanging out with them, voices I have yet to explore and bring to her. So don’t be shy, my librarian and teacher friend; put some suggestions in the comments below for me.
What else should Juliana have in her bookcase? I have shelves to fill…
Guadalupe Garcia McCall is the author of Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low Books), a novel in verse. Under the Mesquite received the prestigious Pura Belpre Author Award, was a William C. Morris Finalist, received the Lee Bennett Hopkins/International Literacy Promising Poet Award, the Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award, and was included in Kirkus Review’s Best Teen Books of 2011, among many other accolades. Her second novel, Summer of the Mariposas (Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books), won a Westchester Young Adult Fiction award, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, was included in the 2013 Amelia Bloomer Project List, the Texas Lone Star Reading List, and the 2012 School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. Her poems for children have appeared in The Poetry Friday Anthology, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School, and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. Her most recent book, Shame the Stars, was released September 15, 2016 from Tu Books, an imprint of Lee and Low Books.