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Looking for Books With Black Characters For Your Son? This Book Club Has You Covered

By on Oct 27, 2015 | 3 comments

Around these parts we’re always on the look out for more books with characters of color. While Le Kid and I visit our local Barnes & Noble often to see what’s new, sometimes it’s difficult to find books with Black characters amid the overflowing shelves. We’ve created our own list of 35 books for boys, but we always want more things to read. If you don’t have a lot of time to hang out at the bookstore or the library, there’s a new book club that wants to make it super easy for your kiddo to find something culturally relevant to read. Founded by Dr. Hamidah Sharif-Harris, the Little Buzz Book Club hand-selects African, Caribbean and African American themed children’s books and sends them to members each and every month. The Little Buzz Book Club offers subscriptions for preschoolers, young readers, and independent readers, and also offers goodies like a t-shits and reading pillows. I haven’t signed up for the Little Buzz Book Club, but a friend (actually two) told me to check it out, so it might be something I look into for next year. Head over to the Little Buzz Book Club site to learn more, or check out our list of 35 books for boys, here. Happy reading! Related Post How Do You Encourage Your #BrownBoyGenius to Read? You HAVE To See This Trailer For ‘Raising Dion,... OMG: Maya Angelou & Jean-Michel Basquiat Wrot... Here Are 3 Books We’re Loving Right...

Let’s Talk About Boys & Natural Hair (And No, Not Just Haircuts)

By on Sep 22, 2015 | 7 comments

I received a question on the BrownBoyGenius Facebook page from a mom in Germany asking about resources for boys with kinky/curly hair. While books, YouTube vids, and blog advice abounds for women and girls with natural hair, resources for boys are extremely hard to find. Here’s the question: Hello there. I am the mother of a Black boy here in Germany and part of a group of parents of Afro/German/Black children, seeking to educate ourselves and empower our children. We are looking for books for boys about hair and/or hair related issues. We know of quite a lot of these books for girls, but none for boys. Can you help us out? Do you have suggestions, know of such books? Sadly, I didn’t know of any books off hand, and a pretty exhaustive search on Amazon and Google yielded few results as well. While I did find some YouTube styling vids (here and here), books encouraging boys to love their hair seem to be lacking. This may be for two reasons: Most people rely on haircuts for boys because it’s super low maintenance Some people view haircare & styling as a “girl thing.” But those of us with sons with afros, locs, or kinky/curly hair know boys need just as much help styling–and loving–their hair too. Back when I was pregnant and found out Le Kid was going to be a boy I was a little disappointed. Like many women, I wanted a daughter. The only upside, I thought at the time, was that I wouldn’t have to worry about his hair. Then….I had a big ol’ baby with a whole lot of hair. Exhibit A: As he grew, so did his hair… So, while I was initially relieved that I wouldn’t have to deal with hair because I was having a boy, I soon found out I was completely wrong. Over the years Le Kid’s gotten a few haircuts, grown out his ‘fro over and over again, and now I trim it down every couple of months, wash it weekly, try to detangle it (he hates that), and keep it moisturized. Even though he has A LOT of hair, it’s still pretty low maintenance, too. Score! In terms of taking care of a little boys with kinky/curly hair, I’d approach it just like you would a girl’s hair–keep it clean, moisturized, and fairly neat. A photo posted by Brown Boy Genius (@brownboygenius) on Apr 5, 2015 at 2:23pm PDT If you can cornrow, great (I can’t). If you want to try more adventurous styles, cool (I don’t). But as your son gets older, listen to what he wants to do with his hair and go with that. In terms of images affirming boys with natural hair, Instagram is a great place to look. There are several natural-haired (and stylish!) boys on the ‘gram.  Here are a few: What is this little man thinking?? probably, 'if I'm so instafamous, why am I taking the bus?' ??? #humblebeginnings ? #mista #chilledvibes A photo posted by faroukjames (@faroukjames) on Jun 8, 2015 at 11:59am PDT Happy Tuesday ? when it seems like the sky is gray remember guys the sun always shines thru. #mrcorys #mrcoryscookies #CEO #boss #believe #love #loveit #fashion #fashionkid #flawless #smile A photo posted by Mr. Cory's (@mrcory) on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:04am PDT Just the 2 of us…? A photo posted by M&D tWins (@2yungkings) on Jun 7, 2014 at 7:23am PDT   A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Ashley, Grace, Romeo & Me (@chichiromeoandme) on Jul 18, 2015 at 5:39am PDT While there certainly aren’t a lot of books about boys and hair (ehem, perhaps we’ll tackle that when we launch BBG Books), I found a pair of books–Chocolate Me and Bippity Bop Barbershop–about boys loving the skin (and hair) their in. Like we wrote about a while ago, boys struggle with body image and hair issues just like girls. Unfortunately, parents have to get a little more creative when it comes to affirming the way they look. Following helpful parenting sites, cool Instagram accounts, and reading books with characters who look like your son can help your BrownBoyGenius build healthy self-esteem that will serve him well in the future. What are your thoughts on boys and natural hair? Do you have any books or resources you enjoy? Please share them in the comments section below!  Related Post These Brothers Are Authors, Entrepreneurs and Cham... Leland Melvin Has the BEST NASA Photo Ever, But He... Let’s Talk About Sex: When Did You Have The Talk... How Do You Encourage Your #BrownBoyGenius to...

Stand With Ahmed By Encouraging Your BrownBoyGenius to Love Science

By on Sep 17, 2015 | 0 comments

By now you’ve probably heard about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texas teen who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school to show his engineering teacher. Unfortunately for the inquisitive teen, one of his teachers overreacted (probably because he’s brown and his name is Ahmed) and handed his invention over to the police because she said it looked like a bomb. That’s when Ahmed’s horrible ordeal began. According to the teen, he was interrogated, without his parents, for over an hour before being taken into handcuffs and arrested for bringing a “hoax bomb” to school. While Ahmed told anybody who would listen that his contraption was a clock, not a bomb, they still took him in. Thankfully for Ahmed, the Dallas Morning News got ahold of his story and it immediately blew up on social media. Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great. — President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015 Last thing – you did good, internet. You put the smile back on his face. pic.twitter.com/eFdLuyd5rA — Hend (@LibyaLiberty) September 16, 2015 Everybody from President Obama and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg chimed in to offer their support for Ahmed, and the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed began trending worldwide. Ahmed’s story is a sad reminder of the prejudice our sons may encounter when they exhibit a love of science, or anything that isn’t stereotypical. Still, we can’t let their curiosity get extinguished before it can take hold and flourish. While it’s disheartening Ahmed was arrested for trying to impress his teacher, the end result was awesome–he’s headed to the White House, he’ll get to hang out with tech leaders like Zuckerberg, and his dream school, MIT, has invited him to Boston for a tour. Ahmed will probably be just fine, but so many of our boys are getting left out of STEM opportunities…and we can’t afford to let that happen. Recently, I read a New York Times article about people who’ve ditched their low-paying jobs by enrolling in a coding bootcamp and then getting a much higher paying gig. One guy went from making $20,000 to $100,000 as a programmer in just three months. Another, a 24 year old woman, enrolled in an 24-week course and secured a $80,000 job. While most of our kids LOVE technology and can hardly function without some kind of device in their hands , encouraging them to learn how to actually build the things they love playing with will not only give them a deeper understanding of science, but it may also set them up for a lucrative career in the future. Need help getting started? Here are 3 ways you can encourage a love of science in your #BrownBoyGenius Let him play Minecraft A photo posted by Brown Boy Genius (@brownboygenius) on Mar 28, 2015 at 4:23pm PDT I admit, I didn’t understand why Le Kid LOVED Minecraft so much when he first started playing it, and I even thought about cutting down his ‘crafting time. But after doing a little research and seeing how his creativity has flourished after playing the game, I relaxed. Aside from introducing kids to the Earth’s minerals, Minecraft teaches them critical thinking, problem solving, and planning skills. It also can be used to teach math, history, and science. Encourage him to Tynker around Tynker is a fun, web-based program that teaches kids how to code. In Tynker, kids can make games, animations, stories and more using the site’s easy drag and drop visual programming. While it won’t teach your BrownBoyGenius how to build the next blockbuster app, it will introduce him to the world of programming that may serve him well down the line. (btw: sign up for a free hour of code, here) Visit science museums…often! I don’t know about you, but Le Kid and I have spent a lot of time in museums, especially when we homeschooled. Over the summer we visited two AMAZING museums–the California Academy of Sciences + the Exploratorium–and had a wonderful time exploring several different types of sciences. Sure letting your kid play with coding apps and games is fun, but nothing really compares to hands-on activities that stoke their love of science. How do you encourage your BrownBoyGenius to love science? Tell us in the comments below! Related Post This 10-year-old Invented a Device to Prevent Hot ... Is Free-Range Parenting Dangerous for Brown Boys? It’s Time to Change the Story About Brown Boys This 12-Year-Old COLLEGE SOPHOMORE Says Studying...

You HAVE To See This Trailer For ‘Raising Dion,’ a Comic Book About a Single Mom Raising a Superhero

By on Sep 2, 2015 | 1 comment

Single moms often get a bad rap, but not in Raising Dion, a new comic book by writer Dennis Liu and artist Jason Piperberg. In the book, the spotlight is firmly on Dion’s mom, Nicole, who’s doing her best to give her seven-year-old son a normal childhood despite his super powers. So, how do you raise a superhero? Rule number one: “Never take your eyes off of him; his powers can be unpredictable,” Nicole explains in the tailer for the comic book. Unlike other superhero stories, Raising Dion centers on Nicole, the person without the powers. In the book, we learn that Nicole is a widow who will stop at nothing to protect her son. Nicole homeschools Dion and tries to teach him how to use his unexplainable powers for good. Here’s how Liu describes Raising Dion: “Nicole, raises her 7 year old son, Dion, who has superpowers. Life was hard enough keeping up with the bills, let alone trying to keep track of her son’s invisibility, plasma powers, and telekinesis. In order to study his progress, Nicole films her son 24/7 with the help of her friend, Pat, who is an aspiring filmmaker. But when Nicole starts to notice mysterious men tailing her, and with Dion’s developing abilities constantly changing and becoming more powerful and possibly evil, she must find the courage deep within herself that she can raise Dion on her own.” The trailer for Raising Dion is AH-MAY-ZING, and it not only made me want to run out and buy the book (note: they’re not really for young kids because, let’s just say, romance happens), but it also makes me wish it were an actual film. Please God…let this be a film!  For now, you can download the first issue of Raising Dion for free (here), or buy a physical copy (here). All proceeds from the book will will help Liu and Piperberg produce the entire series. In the meantime, watch the trailer and let me know how much you love it. Awesome, right? Related Post Looking for Books With Black Characters For Your S... 7 Picture Books to Read With Little Brown Boys Here Are 3 Books We’re Loving Right Now How Do You Encourage Your #BrownBoyGenius to...

3 Back to School Lunch Options That Don’t Include Sandwiches

By on Aug 18, 2015 | 1 comment

Last night, Le Kid and I spent a ridiculous amount of time walking the aisles in Target while he tried to figure out what he wanted to go in his lunch. Like many kids, he picked up boxes and boxes of sugary, empty-calorie snacks that had little nutritional value. Though we were both tired (and cranky), I held firm and vetoed each one (which made him even more cranky). Figuring out what to pack in your kiddos lunch shouldn’t be this hard, I thought to myself, but there was one big ol’ problem holding us back: he did not want a sandwich. When Le Kid first said he didn’t want to take a sandwich I brushed it aside. He couldn’t be serious, right? After all, he’d eaten a sandwich THAT very afternoon, but somehow they were a no go for his lunch? Sadly for both of us he stuck to his no sandwich guns, which left us doing laps in Target trying to figure it out. Also off the list? Lunchables. While they’re super quick, they’re costly and not the healthiest thing on the planet (uhhh…so much sodium!), so I ruled them out too. After about a half hour stuck in Target’s grocery section I had an idea: we could build our own box. I grabbed a Sistema lunch cube, some crackers, a dozen eggs, blackberries, deli meat, and viola! A lunch idea Le Kid didn’t turn his nose up at. The whole ordeal got me thinking about what other options I could come up with that my son would enjoy, while also being healthy. So, in case you’re fretting over your kid’s lunch like me here are 3 healthy options that DO NOT include sandwiches.  #1 – DIY Lunchables Need 1 lunch cube (like this one) Anything you can fix in the box that your kid will enjoy Even though the school year has just begun, I already know this will be my go-to option if Le Kid’s sandwich ban persists. The possibilities are endless, and the combinations will keep your kiddo from being bored. Fill the box with veggies, fruit, crackers, nuts, chopped meats…seriously, go wild. #2 – Pasta Salad Need Cold pasta (or orzo) + added fixings. Pasta salads are another super customizable & healthy way to beat a sandwich ban. All you have to do is cook the pasta, wait until it cools, and then mix in whatever ingredients you love. Want a veggie salad? Cool, add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and onions. Eat meat? Keep all of the above and throw in some chicken. Throw on some italian seasoning, olive oil, and vinegar to taste, then keep it in the ‘fridge and dish it out until it’s gone. How easy is THAT? Still need help? Here’s a good recipe to get you started. #3 – Chicken fajita pitas Need Pita pockets Chicken Fajita veggies (onion +bell peppers + seasonings) Ok, so pita pockets are like sandwiches, but they’re not. I swear. Sure they’re both made out of bread and wrap around a host of items, but they’re still totally not sandwiches (at least that’s how you’ll sell it to your kiddos, k?). Pitas are FABULOUS, though. You can literally fill them with just about anything, pop them into your kid’s lunch cube and dash out the door. One tip: don’t put things inside that’ll make it soggy. Now…go forth and experiment. Do you have go-to lunch options for your kids? Share them in the comments section below to help us all get even more ideas!  Related Post Here’s Why We Need to Support Boys With Natu... How Do You Encourage Your #BrownBoyGenius to...