Post by Cecilia, Information Services Staff
The Street Belongs to Us! By Karleen Pendleton Jimenez is a complex story about a child growing up and learning why grown-ups do the things they do. It’s the story of two friends who love, respect and support each other the way they are. It’s a story full of empathy, fun, adventure, discoveries, and growth. I cherished every minute of it, and I hope you will too!
Reading this book to my child gave us the opportunity to talk about many different topics. Of course, it starts with an adventure! Two friends turn their in-construction neighbourhood into a huge playground with many possibilities, even a street fair for the community!
But its many layers present great topics for discussion. The main character, Alex, doesn’t follow the norm of “dressing as a girl.” As they learn about their changing body, their friend is there for them and Alex is there for him too.
There is also Alex’s grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, and forgets some things but remembers others that help expand games and adventures.
It can be hard to talk about grandparents growing older and the diseases that can “slow” them down, or not! Alex shows us how to be empathetic with older people and how they can still help us, even in boring times. Together, Alex and their grandma do what they can to support Alex’s single mother. What happened to Alex’s father is an enigma that will be discovered eventually, leaving Alex and their friend with lots to think about and be thankful for.
Last but not least, there is the historical part. The land in California where the characters live used to be a part of Mexico. This allowed us to talk about land acknowledgments, decolonization, and the fight of immigrants to keep their language and traditions in their new homes.
Other chapter books I really enjoyed:
- Violet Mackerel series, by Anna Brandford
- Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
- Young Fredle, by Cynthia Voigt
- The Very, Very Far North, by Dan Bar-el
- Adventures with Waffles, by Maria Parr
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
Some of my favourite picture books:
- The Three Questions, by Jon J. Muth
- Tomás and the Library Lady, by Pat Mora
- Waiting for the BiblioBurro, by Monica Brown
- Marisol McDonald doesn’t Match, by Monica Brown
- Mr. Zinger’s Hat, by Cary Fagan
- My Diary from Here to There, by Amada Irma Pérez
Do you love children’s books, or love to read with your kids? Check out the KPL Kids Blog for more great recommendations.