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Book of the Month

Jeremy's Dreidel

Ellie Gellman (Author), Maria Molas (Illustrator)

At the dreidel-making workshop, Jeremy’s friends think he is molding a secret code on his clay dreidel. But he’s really making a special gift for his father, who is blind. How will he get his friends to appreciate his special dreidel? In addition to providing a positive perception of life with a disability, this story also explains the story and concepts behind Hanukkah. A postscript includes several dreidel-making projects, instructions for the game and information about the English Braille alphabet.

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7507
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Year: 2012
Age Range: 4-8

Download Discussion Questions and Extension Activities (PDF)

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Recent Book of the Month

November 2014

Shin-chi's Canoe (PDF)
Nicola I. Campbell (Author), Kim LaFave (Illustrator)

When Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi arrive at the Indian Residential School, Shi-shi-etko reminds her younger brother that they can only use their English names and that they are not allowed to speak to each other. For Shin-chi, life becomes an endless cycle of church mass, school and work, punctuated by skimpy meals. He finds solace at the river, clutching a tiny cedar canoe, a gift from his father, and dreaming of the day when the salmon return to the river—a sign that it’s almost time to return home. This poignant story about a devastating chapter in Native American history is told at a child’s level of understanding. (Groundwood Books, 2008, Ages 6-10)

Click on Archive on the right menu for all past books of the month.

Using the Book of the Month

This collection of featured books is from our Recommended Multicultural and Anti-Bias Books for Children. Intended for educators, parents and other caregivers of early childhood and elementary aged children, these books promote respect for diversity, teach about bias and prejudice, encourage social action and reinforce themes addressed in education programs of A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, ADL's international anti-bias education and diversity training provider. Reading the children's books listed on this site with your children and incorporating them into instruction is an excellent way to talk about these important concepts in your classroom.

Book of the Month

Each month ADL features a book related to a particular diversity or anti-bias theme. These books are reviewed by ADL staff and reflect some of the most excellent literature available on various topics. Featured books are displayed on the Book of the Month homepage.

Book Entries

Each book entry includes the book title and author, a brief annotation, ISBN, publication date, publisher, a suggested reading level, and book category(ies). The reading levels are only suggestions for adults to use when choosing books for children. Many of the books lend themselves to being read aloud to children of any age. We strongly suggest reviewing books carefully before selecting them to determine age or grade level and content.

Key Words

Provided are key words to discuss and define with children prior to reading the book.

Discussion Questions and Activities

Each book of the month will include discussion questions and suggestions for three extension activities for educators to incorporate into classroom instruction.

Book of the Month Archive

Click on the Book of the Month Archive on the right hand side to view a list of past featured books and accompanying discussion questions and extention activities for download.

Bibliography Rationale

Books are mirrors in which children see themselves reflected. When children are represented in literature and other media, they begin to see themselves as valuable and worthy of notice. Conversely when children do not see accurate representations of themselves, they may internalize the message that they are not worthy of notice.

Just as books are mirrors for children, they are also windows to the world. This is true for all children, but it is especially true for children whose life experience is limited by homogeneous school and home environments. Reading about people in all parts of the world fosters children's understanding and respect for their own and others' cultural groups, helps them to see themselves as members of the global community and supports the lifelong process of learning about multiple perspectives and experiences.

Books can also help children develop empathy by increasing their understanding about how people around the world are both similar to and different from themselves. Research shows that there is a positive correlation between empathy development and lowered prejudicial attitudes and behaviors. Talking about and acknowledging differences does not, as some fear, lead to increased divisiveness. Research on differences shows the opposite: that acknowledging human differences creates unity. Books that illustrate the ways in which people are different from each other can play an important role in promoting understanding and respect.

In addition, books can and should promote social action to combat injustice. Children need to hear stories about people who have been successful in challenging inequity. Books can inspire children by showing them the power of pro-social actions against injustice. Children need to understand that they are not powerless in the face of prejudice and discrimination. Books can provide models to help children see themselves as social activists. This is an important way that books help prepare children for the future.

Archive (August-December)

December

Jeremy's Dreidel (PDF)
Ellie Gellman (Author), Maria Molas (Illustrator)

At the dreidel-making workshop, Jeremy’s friends think he is molding a secret code on his clay dreidel. But he’s really making a special gift for his father, who is blind. How will he get his friends to appreciate his special dreidel? In addition to providing a positive perception of life with a disability, this story also explains the story and concepts behind Hanukkah. A postscript includes several dreidel-making projects, instructions for the game and information about the English Braille alphabet. (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2012, Ages 4-8)

November

Shin-chi's Canoe (PDF)
Nicola I. Campbell (Author), Kim LaFave (Illustrator)

When Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi arrive at the Indian Residential School, Shi-shi-etko reminds her younger brother that they can only use their English names and that they are not allowed to speak to each other. For Shin-chi, life becomes an endless cycle of church mass, school and work, punctuated by skimpy meals. He finds solace at the river, clutching a tiny cedar canoe, a gift from his father, and dreaming of the day when the salmon return to the river—a sign that it’s almost time to return home. This poignant story about a devastating chapter in Native American history is told at a child’s level of understanding. (Groundwood Books, 2008, Ages 6-10)

October

Confessions of a Former Bully (PDF)
Trudy Ludwig (Author), Beth Adams (Illustrator)

After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she's told to meet with Mrs. Petrowski, the school counselor, so she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. Bothered at first, it doesn't take long before Katie realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her as well. Told from the unusual point of view of the child engaging in the bullying rather than the target, the book provides children with real life tools they can use to understand, identify and do something about bullying. (Dragonfly Books, 2012, Ages 8-12)

September

How Tía Lola Came To Visit Stay (PDF)
Julia Alvarez (Author)

When ten-year-old Miguel moves to Vermont with his mami after his parents’ divorce, guess who flies up from the Island to help take care of him and his little sister, Juanita? Tía Lola! How Tía Lola Came To Visit Stay is the first in a series of books called The Tía Lola Stories. This book is also available in Spanish. (Yearling, 2002, Grades 3-7)

August

Each Kindness (PDF)
Jacqueline Woodson (Author), E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

Chloe doesn’t really know why she turns away from the new girl, Maya, when Maya tries to befriend her. And every time Maya asks if she can play with Chloe and the other girls, the answer is always no. (Grades K-3)

Archive (March-July)

July

Jacob's New Dress (PDF)
Sarah and Ian Hoffman (Authors), Chris Case (Illustrator)

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be—a pirate, a bird, a firefighter. But he also wants to just be himself and wear his favorite thing… a dress! (Grades Preschool-2)

June

Same Sun Here (PDF)
Silas House (Author), Neela Vaswani (Author), Hilary Schenker (Illustrator)

Meena and River have a lot in common. But Meena is an Indian immigrant girl living in New York City’s Chinatown, while River is a Kentucky coal miner’s son. As Meena’s family studies for citizenship exams and River’s town faces devastating mountaintop removal, this unlikely pair become pen pals. (Grades 4-7)

May

Separate is Never Equal (PDF)
Duncan Tonatium (Author and Illustrator)

When her family moves to the town of Westminster, California, young Sylvia Mendez is excited about enrolling in her neighborhood school. But she and her brothers are turned away and told they have to attend the Mexican school instead. (Grades 1-5)

April

Wonder (PDF)
R.J. Palacio (Author)

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that has prevented him from attending a mainstream school—until now. Can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearance? (Grades 5-7)

March 2014

Grace for President (PDF)
Kelly DiPucchio (Author), LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)

When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate in the school’s mock election. (Grades K-2)

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