It's Day 14 of our 30 Days of Diverse Picture Books. I have had such a great response to this series, so thank you! It's terrific to have so many folks supporting diverse books in general, and sharing the titles with others - love to see more demand being generated for inclusive books!
Today's pick is one we bought as part of our collection before Sprout came home. I ran into a paperback copy of Kelly Bennett's Not Norman very soon after we got Sprout's referral, and knew we had to add this book to our burgeoning bookshelf in the kiddo's room. I love that the little boy in the book is African American, but that his race is completely incidental to the story. That's a really nice touch, in a world where many picture books focus on issues of equality or identity - not that those things aren't important, but sometimes it's nice to have the story be about something entirely different.
Noah Z. Jones did the pictures for Not Norman, and we love their cartoony vibe. The story surrounds a little boy who's given a goldfish as a pet. It's not at ALL what he wanted, and he begins to scheme ways to trade Norman in for something better. But the more time our hero spends with Norman, the more he realizes this goldfish might just be the perfect pet after all. Bennett's upbeat story sneaks in a couple of lessons -- about being satisfied with what you have, and about not judging others -- and it's all so subtle Sprout never realized this was a book with a message!
Not Norman would be a title to include in a storytime or lesson plan about pets. And while cats and dogs get most of the love, Norman shows that goldfish are pretty awesome themselves.
Not Norman by Kelly Bennett, published by Candlewick Press