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Mississippi Public Broadcasting has partnered with the National Education Association and the Mississippi Association of Educators to feature three books—for young, middle grade and young adult readers—each month that explore a topic related to diversity and inclusion.

July 2021 Book Picks - Build Community 


A New Kind of Wild                        

by Zara González Hoang

Ren discovers the magic and wonder of his new home in the city, thanks to his new friend Ava.

Middle Grade

The Bridge Home

by Padma Venkatraman

When Viji runs away with her sister Rukku, who has a developmental disability, they find shelter on an abandoned bridge in Chennai; work scavenging the city's trash heaps; and a form a family of sorts with Muthi and Arul, two boys who are homeless.

Young Adult

The Everything I Have Lost

by Sylvia Zéleny

In her diary about her life growing up in Juarez, Mexico, Julia keeps lists of those things that she loses, which eventually include her father and her home when Julia and her brother are sent to live with her aunt in El Paso.

June 2021 Book Picks - Promote Respect


Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

by Heather Gale

Ho'onani, who doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) or kāne (boy), is happy to be in the middle and eager to lead a school performance of a traditional kāne hula chant even though she knows that some may get upset that a wahine is leading.

Middle Grade

A High Five for Glenn Burke

by Phil Bildner

For Silas, his presentation on the the first professional baseball player to come out as gay is more than another school report—it’s his first step toward telling his family, friends, and teammates about who he is.

Young Adult

The Music of What Happens

by Bill Konigsberg

When 17-year-old Max signs on to help fellow high school student Jordan run the food truck that may save Jordan and his mom from homelessnes, the boys find themselves strongly attracted to each other — but their romance is threatened by the secrets they are hiding.

May 2021 Book Picks - Develop Passion & Perseverance


Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando

by Andrea Wang                         

Following World War II, Momofuku Ando struggles to perfect his recipe for a noodle soup that is delicious, inexpensive, and a quick way to feed the hungry.

Middle Grade

When You Trap a Tiger

by Tae Keller

Lily takes on a quest from the tiger from her grandmother’s Korean folktales in the hopes it will heal her sick grandmother.

Young Adult

Frankly in Love

by David Yoon

Frank’s parents insist that he only date Koreans, so when he falls for Brit, who is white, he teams up with Joy so they can pretend to date each other in order to have the freedom to spend time to date who they like.

April 2021 Book Picks - Inspire Stewardship


We Are Water Protectors         

by Carole Lindstrom

A young girl learns from her Nokomis (grandmother) about protecting our shared planet and invites all to become stewards of Earth.

Middle Grade

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez 

by Adrianna Cuevas

When Nestor and his mother move in with his grandmother, Nestor is forced to use his secret ability to communicate with animals to save the inhabitants of his new home town when they are threatened by a tule vieja, a witch that transforms into animals.

Young Adult

Butterfly Yellow 

by Thanhha Lai

Hang, a refugee from Viet Nam who has traveled to Texas to find her little brother who was taken from her years ago, is helped by LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams.

March 2021 Book Picks - Cultivate Compassion


Tiara’s Hat Parade

by Kelly Starling Lyons

When a new store opens that sells cheaper hats, Tiara—and the community she rallies—help revive her mother’s hat-making business.

Middle Grade

Each Tiny Spark

by Pablo Cartaya

Emilia, who has ADHD, is trying to focus on rebuilding her relationship with her father, who is back from his deployment, and avoiding her overbearing grandmother. At the same time, she’s deciding how to handle the injustice and prejudice she discovers in her Atlanta suburb while working on her school project about the town’s history.

Young Adult

They Called Us Enemy

by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott

This autobiographical graphic novel follows a young George Takei and his family during the U.S. government's incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Book Activities



Peter wakes up to find it has snowed and goes out to play in it. Before he comes inside, he makes a snowball and puts it in his pocket, but when he looks for it, he can’t seem to find it. Peter doesn’t understand what happened to it. He goes to sleep that night and awakens to a surprise the next morning.

Activity #1 Snowman drawing

Instructions: Draw your very own snowman. Use your favorite drawing tools (crayons, markers, color pencils) get a sheet of white paper to draw a snowman. Find buttons, and glue sticks. Be creative and decorate your snowman with the buttons you’ve found. Give your snowman a name. Once you have finished drawing, cut it out and show others your work.




Parent/Guardian - Display your child's artwork.




Materials needed - drawing paper, scissors, writing and coloring tools, glue stick, buttons


Activity #2 Snowy Day story

Instructions: Write a story about the things you would do on a snow day. Make your story fun and exciting. Draw pictures of you and all the fun things you would do on your snow day.



Parent/Guardian – Allow your child to read his/her story to you.



Materials needed - drawing paper, writing and coloring tools



Frog does not want to sit on a log! But Cat tells him that's where he belongs. Doing his best to find an alternative place to sit, Frog asks Cat a whole lot of questions. For every answer Cat has, Frog has another question, until he finds out what dogs sit on! A silly read-aloud story with funny rhymes and hilarious illustrations.

Activity #1 - I See a Frog on a Log

Instructions: Draw your very own frog on a log. Use your favorite drawing tools (crayons, markers, color pencils) and paper to draw a frog on a log. Once you have finished drawing, cut it out and show others your work. Give your frog a special name.


Parent/Guardian - Display your child's artwork.


Materials needed - drawing paper, scissors, writing and coloring tools


Activity #2 – Rhyme book

Instructions: Gather some paper, drawing tools, scissors and glue. Think of words that rhyme like frog and log and create your own rhyme book. Children can draw picture of objects that rhyme or cut our rhyming pictures found in magazines and glue add them to their book.


Parent/Guardian - Take a walk with your child and discover other words you can rhyme.


Materials needed - drawing paper, magazines, glue, scissors, writing and coloring tools

2020 Book Picks


Llama Llama Red Pajama

Llama, Llama red pajama waiting, waiting for his mama. Mama isn’t coming yet. Baby Llama starts to fret. In this infectious rhyming read-aloud, Baby Llama turns bedtime into an all-out llama drama! Tucked into bed by his mama, Baby Llama immediately starts worrying when she goes downstairs, and his soft whimpers turn to hollers when she doesn’t come right back. But just in time, Mama returns to set things right. Children will relate to Baby Llama’s need for comfort, as much as parents will appreciate Mama Llama’s reassuring message.

Activity #1- A Pajama Party!

Instructions: It’s pajama party time. Make plans for a pajama party that includes the entire family. Choose your favorite pj’s, food, books, games and songs to ensure everyone will have a great time. Share special stories of your family and friends and memories that would make everyone laugh out loud.




Parent/Guardian - Give everyone a responsibility to do something for the pajama party to ensure everyone plays a role in planning the party.




Materials needed - pajamas, blankets, pillows, books, games, songs, and a story to share



Activity #2 - Things That Are Red

Instructions: Make a list of all the things you can think of that’s red. Draw a picture of all those things and write a sentence under each picture. If you have a red crayon or color pencil, circle that word in your sentence.




Parent/Guardian - Take a walk around the house with your child(ren) and find all the things that are red in each room.




Materials needed - drawing paper, writing and coloring tools



How will Mr. Farmer pull up the enormous turnip?

Activity #1 - It’s Something Enormous!

Instructions: Think of some things that are Enormous! Draw them on large pieces of paper, cut them out and write the name of what you drew on your pictures.

Parent/Guardian- Assist your child with this fun art and writing activity. Ask them what other words mean the same as enormous.

Materials needed- drawing paper, coloring and writing tools- markers, crayons, color pencils, pencils, age- appropriate scissors

Activity #2 - Read Together

Instructions: Choose one of your favorite stories and share it with family and friends by reading it aloud to them. Use a highlighter to mark words that you would like to ask your family and friends some fun trivia questions.

Parent/Guardian- Read along with your child and extend the story with an at-home learning activity.

Materials needed- favorite books, highlighter



Where can you find a Deinosuchus that practically pirouettes on its tail and a T-Rex that bounds gracefully through the air? Between the pages of Tony Mitton's Dinosaurumpus, where dinosaurs run, boom, shake, and shudder their way to the "sludgy old swamp" and rock the night away.

Activity #1 -D is for Dinosaur

Instructions: A dinosaur fun adventure. Use a small or medium size box to create a collage of your favorite dinosaurs. You will need too have one side of the box open to work on your activity. Choose to draw your favorite dinosaurs, find images from a credible source and cut them out to create your dinosaur scene inside the box. Be creative by adding such things like trees, other animals, and grass to your art work. Be sure to add the name of each dinosaurs to your art. Share your dinosaur art activity with family and friends.

Parent/Guardian - Give your child a hand with this activity and discuss other things that begins with the letter Dd.

Materials needed- small or medium size box, coloring and writing tools- drawing paper, construction paper, markers, crayons, color pencils, pencils, age- appropriate scissors.


Activity #2 - What’s That About a Dinosaur?

Instructions: Write a story about your favorite dinosaur. Be sure to draw a picture of the dinosaur that you choose. Share your story with family and friends.

Parent/Guardian - Add your child’s new story to the list of read aloud family stories. Talk to them about the role of an author and illustrator.

Materials needed- writing tools- pencil or pen, paper, crayons/color pencils.


Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon

Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart.

But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.

Activity #1 - My Self Portrait!

Instructions: Draw a picture of yourself. Use your favorite colors to draw your favorite clothes to wear. Be sure to add your name proudly on your portrait. Share your drawing with family and friends and encourage them to do the same activity.

Parent/Guardian- place your child’s self portrait in a frame and display it somewhere special in the home.

Materials needed- coloring and writing tools- drawing paper, markers, crayons, color pencils and pencils.


Activity #2 - A Letter from ME!

Instructions: Write a letter to someone in your family to share with them something special about them that you admire or to say “thank you” for what they have done to help you.

Parent/Guardian- Assist your child with how to send a letter to someone in the mail.

Materials needed- writing tools- pencil or pen, paper, crayons and color pencils.


The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School

Fish is nervously awaiting his first day of school, and he frets about not knowing how to write his name, how to draw shapes, and how to do math―until he's reassured that school is the perfect place to learn how to master all of these new skills.

Activity #1 - Fish in a Bowl

Instructions: Draw a picture of a fish in a bowl. Make your fish colorful and as big as you would like to fit inside the bowl you draw. Be sure to add water. Give your fish a very special name and write a short story as a family about your fish going to school. Share your story with family and friends.

Parent/Guardian- Display your child’s artwork.

Materials needed- coloring and writing tools- drawing paper, markers, crayons, color pencils and pencils.


Activity #2 - Back to School Backpack

Instructions: Draw and design a school backpack. Use your favorite colors. After you finish drawing, write a list of school items you will need for this new school year. Use this art work as a shopping list. Be sure to get help if you need it.

Parent/Guardian- Allow your child(ren) to choose the items they have listed in the store or online and use this opportunity as a math activity too.

Materials needed- coloring and writing tools- drawing paper, markers, crayons, color pencils and pencils.

JULY 2020

Ten Wriggly, Wiggly Caterpillars

Follow the adventures of these bright, bold caterpillars in this peek-through counting book! Young readers will delight in the colorful, tactile pages as they watch the die-cut caterpillars decrease from 10 to 1 with each turn of the page.

Activity #1 - I See a Caterpillar

Instructions: Draw your very own caterpillar. Use your favorite drawing tools (crayons, markers, color pencils) and paper to draw a caterpillar. Be creative by adding tiny legs and a big smiley face to your art. Once you have finished drawing, cut it out and show others your work. Give your caterpillar a special name.


Activity #2 - Ten Moving Things

Instructions: Gather some paper, drawing tools, scissors, glue and string.

  1. Cut out ten squares.
  2. Write numbers 1-10 on the cards (each card is a number)
  3. Draw your choice of things that move inside or outside your home (family pet, car, a chair, toy) on each card. After you have completed these steps, place a hole in each card at the top and place the pictures in order by sliding them through the string. Be sure to add a knot in the sting at the top of the first picture to keep them in place and a hole at the bottom of the following pictures 2-10. Leave some string to hang after card number 10 to ensure it won’t fall off.


As you share this activity with family and friends, start at the bottom with number 10. Remove each picture from the string as you share with them things drawn that moves.

Hint: You are counting backwards.

JUNE 2020

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books!

With rhyming text and funny illustrations, this lively version of the classic song will appeal to young readers with every turn of the page.

Activity #1 - My Favorite Books to Read!

Instructions: Make a collage of each of your favorite book’s covers. Write the name of the books on small pieces of plain white paper. Add a picture to give more detail of what the book is about. Place the cards on a large poster board. Share and retell the stories with family and friends.

Materials needed- poster board of a large pieces of paper, markers, crayons, plain white paper, scissors, and glue.

Activity #2 - The Whole Story!

Instructions: Make a storytelling board. Use an empty box to create tri-fold poster. Draw a picture of the main character and other story figures in the story. Place the number of each figure in the corner of the drawing as each one happens in the story. For example, the little old lady #1.

Materials needed- large empty box, markers, crayons or color pencils, drawing paper, scissors and glue

Activity #3 - Book Trivia

Instructions: Read your favorite story aloud to family and friend. Choose one of your favorite books. Reread the story and make a list of questions to ask them about the story. Have your family/friend team up among each other to make the trivia game fun and exciting. Be sure to tell them to pay close attention to the story as you read. You may want to dress up as one of the characters in the story.

Materials needed-your favorite book, writing tools (pencil, pen, paper)

MAY 2020

Flower Garden

Follow the progress of a little girl and her father as they purchase "a garden" and board the bus to carry it home. By Eve Bunting, Kathryn Hewitt (Illustrator).

Activity #1 - Planting a Seed

Instructions: Prepare to have fun planting seeds. This activity can be done inside or outside.

Materials needed- flower seeds, flower pot (your choice), planting soil, water. Be sure to read the best instructions on the flower seeds pack to take care of your flower as it grows.

Activity #2 - A Flower Portrait

Instructions: Choose a picture of your favorite flower, drawing paper, coloring tools (crayons, markers, color pencils, paint pens), your favorite music and a perfect place to do your art.

Have fun. Share the portrait with your family and find the perfect place to put it on display for all to see.

APRIL 2020

Earth Day, Birthday

It’s Earth Day—but silly Monkey wants to celebrate his birthday instead. By Maureen Wright, Violet Kim (Illustrator).

Activity #1 - Happy Birthday Earth!

Instructions: Make a birthday cake celebrating our earth. Be creative by making an earth image/design on the cake. Don’t for get to add a candle.

Activity #2 - Recycle Please!

Instructions: Make a recycle box. Decorate your box or bin by adding pictures and words of things that can be recycled. By doing this you will be sure to place recycled materials in the inside and take them to a community recycling container.

Activity #3 - Planet Earth


  1. Plant a tree
  2. Make a solar system mobile- use recycled materials around your home to make your activity.

Materials needed- drawing paper, crayons, markers, or color pencil, scissors, circle shape pattern, string, and large item to attach each planet on a string (large clothes hanger or yard stick)