As Black History Month comes to an end, I am going to tell you a quick story about an experience I had that, to most, would have been an upsetting experience. On a beautiful sunny day, I took my children out for a walk at an outdoor mall. As a twin mom, I’ve grown used to the variety of questions and comments in regards to my children. I’ve heard it all and always answer truthfully and with kindness. One woman, however, genuinely surprised me. When it comes to the question “Are your children mixed?” my answer is always “Yes, I am Nicaraguan and their father is African American.” That day, the woman followed up with, “Oh, well you’re lucky they don’t look black!” My eyebrows shot up. I was left confused and unable to respond. What confused me most was this: the woman herself was black. What could have happened to her for her to find the need to make such a comment? Was she not raised to understand that we should all embrace our own identities and appreciate the different cultural backgrounds of those around us? Whatever the reason for her comment, I was determined to make sure my own children would never have such thinking.
I went home and calmly explained the brief interaction to my husband. We made a conscious decision to do better in teaching our own children about their own backgrounds and to celebrate every aspect of who they are. I believe it starts at home, but we as parents need the help of others who assist in influencing and shaping our children’s character. I’m a firm believer in the “It takes a village” concept and parents and caregivers need all the help we can get. Enter WAM! Book Bundle…
My family is a family of readers. As I browsed books on my children’s bookshelves I began to notice something. While many of their books featured monsters (the nice kind), animals and a different variety of main characters, when it came to human characters there seemed to be a lack of diversity. I was thrilled when I came across the Instagram page for WAM! Book Bundle and had the opportunity to review their book subscription service. According to the company:
WAM! Book Bundle is a children’s book subscription service created to empower young readers and foster a love for reading by providing them with age appropriate, culturally relevant and inclusive books. Each month, two to three books featuring protagonists from a diversity of backgrounds will be delivered along with an educational resource guide designed to extend learning with fun and engaging activities.”
According to a recent study by the Children’s Cooperative Book Center, only 14% of children’s books published in 2015 feature main characters of color. Additionally, parents and educators often experience difficulty obtaining these books because many are not sold by major retailers or made available at libraries. WAM! Book Bundle offers parents and educators easy access to the children’s books they want to find but too often cannot.
WAM , which is an acronym for “windows and mirrors”, is a metaphor used in the literature and education communities to describe how children learn about themselves and others from books. In order to promote equity and teach children to appreciate differences, the stories read should provide opportunities for kids to learn about a multitude of groups, family structures, and classes (“windows”) as well as reflect their own identities and experiences (“mirrors”). With this perspective in mind, WAM! Book Bundle has curated an extensive collection of quality children’s books. Not only do they validate a spectrum of experiences and backgrounds, but they also normalize differences to empower readers to build connections across dissimilarities.
We received the Early Reader Bundle for our review which included “I Am Martin Luther King” by Brad Meltzer and “Zoo Day – A My First Experience Book” by Anne Rockwell. Both hardcover books were well like by my six year old, Eva (we had actually just purchased “I Am Rosa Parks” by Brad Meltzer a week before receiving our bundle and she had asked for the book on Martin Luther King – awesome surprise!) The book on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told his story using great illustrations and specific wording that were perfect for helping Eva understand his role in the Civil Rights Movement. “Zoo Day” was a simpler read (which was a great balance to the more complex questions invoked by Dr. Kings story) and told the story of a family’s experience at the zoo.
As a parent, I found the Parent Activity Guide to be helpful and made the entire reading experience feel like a fun interactive school lesson. What would have been a ten minute bedtime story, turned into a 35 minute reading experience that prompted Eva to ask more questions. The parent-child engagement also helped us use this time as a way to bond. I could see how the guide was also tapping into her critical thinking skills.
Overall, I strongly believe the company’s mission statement is solid and the subscription service is a great way to make reading fun, promote in depth discussions, and provides parents, caregivers and educators with great tools that help children appreciate diversity of all cultures and backgrounds, be it their own or their peers.
We signed Eva up for the month to month subscription service and received a 20% discount with code TWINMOM20 on our first month. It was an amazing deal at $22.39 (Consider how most children’s books easily run as high as $15 each and don’t include parent guides.) Be sure to take advantage of the discount!
Now, for a giveaway! We have one book bundle to send to one lucky reader! You can enter by leaving your name in the comments section here or on social media by doing the following:
Winners will be announced and contacted next Monday. Good luck! (PS. Contest open to all! No need to be a parent of multiples! ?)
WAM! Book Bundle was created by the dynamic sister duo, Georgette Fogarty Clemons and Deidra Fogarty. Georgette is a finance professional, entrepreneur and mother. Deidra is a literacy consultant and educator with over 10 years of experience. Together, they were both inspired to help other families and educators find a better solution to accessing diverse children’s books and they collaborated to create WAM!
For more information, check out their website www.wambookbundle.comand make sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook @WAMBookBundleAlso, feel free to contact then at email@example.com