Children's Books, Self Care

A Kid’s Book About School Shootings

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

This month’s violence has overwhelmed me and, I’m sure, millions of others. I’ve stepped back from writing and chose to read others’ poems and essays and say prayers.

This has been my protective defense as every time there is a mass shooting, I think of my mother’s experience twenty-some years ago, which took place in the state office where she worked.

Thankfully, Mom is still with us, and we celebrated her birthday last night.

Mom re-experiences the trauma when another mass shooting occurs. My body reruns the emotions I felt when we waited outside the building, newspeople all around, held back by officers. It was a torturous time of slow-motion pain and confusion.

This is only one degree of what the parents feel about their children who they lost.

I thought about the unasked questions kids must have, and like a manifestation, I received this video from my friend, Amada, this morning. I want to share it with you.

This is a children’s book written by a school shooting survivor, Crystal Woodman Miller. It is narrated and contains five ways children can process feelings when they’re overwhelmed by thinking about these situations.

The link below will open to the Canva site where the book was created:

The book helped me process emotions and I hope it is helpful for you, too.

I invite you to take action. Here’s how you can help:

Help the victims and their families and donate to their verified GoFundMe’s

Donate to Everytown For Gun Safety and text ACT to 644-33 to help us #EndGunViolence

Donate blood or platelets to South Texas Blood & Tissue for Uvalde victims

Please leave any other vetted donation site in the comments.

Thank you for being here.

Books, Children's Books, fiction, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Illustrators, Pura Belpre Awards, Rafael Lopez

And the Winner Is…

Two time winner Rafael Lopez, artist and illustrator.
It’s quiet an achievement to win an award and I imagine a great accomplishment to win an award twice, but Rafael Lopez, artist and illustrator, is one of the few multi-award winners in children’s illustrations. Artists, such as Mr. Lopez, bring to life the words written by authors, adding another dimension to a story.  
The 16th Annual Pura Belpre award honors a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. The award is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate. 
One of the recipients for 2012 was Guadalupe Garcia McCall, award winning author, of “Under the Mesquite Tree.” I’ve read this book and it is exquisitely written in free verse. The emotionally riveting verse has us feel the experience of 14 year old Lupita, the eldest of a large family, who is dealing with her mother’s terminal illness. 
Artist Rafael Lopez was awarded his second 2012 Pura Belpré honor award for his illustration of “The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred.” Just look at this richly colored book cover. Makes you want to turn the page to see what else is in store for the eyes.
His artistry graces buildings in San Diego with bright colored murals and he has been asked to contribute three paintings to Oprah Winfrey’s school in South Africa. He also drew the Latin Music Legends stamp series in 2011 for the US Postal Service. 
For an interesting view on how stamps are created and the artists’ experience see Lopez’ Studio blog.
Mr. Lopez said he was thrilled beyond words to receive the honor and illustrated his reaction in this short video:
As a book lover, and owner of a tiny bookstore, I appreciate the craft that goes into the writing and illustrating of a story. These artists, both of the written word and drawings, work extremely hard to get their thoughts, concepts, and visions just right. This is what separates the average from the good and great. This is what has us cherish favorite books and reread them more than once. 
When you think back on your favorite children’s books which one’s speak to you or make your children wide eyed with amazed interest?