Books and Multimedia Resources

We asked the contributors to Rethinking  Early Childhood Education to recommend some of the resources that they find useful in their work. Below are their recommendations.

Julie Bisson recommends:

Anti-Bias Curriculum: 
Tools for Empowering Young Children 

Louise Derman-Sparks and the A.B.C. Task Force
Upper Saddle River, N.J., NAEYC, 1998
This essential book is full of suggestions for helping teachers and children respect each other as individuals and for confronting, transcending, and eliminating barriers based on race, culture, gender, and ability. The book is in the final stages of being updated and will have a new title when it is re-released by NAEYC in 2009.

Teaching and Learning in a Diverse World: 
Multicultural Education for Young Children, Third Edition
Patricia Ramsey
New York, Teachers College Press, 2004
This essential resource examines children’s understanding of race, socioeconomic class, culture, and gender. It provides practical suggestions on how to incorporate a multicultural perspective in our day-to-day interactions with children.

We Can’t Teach What We Don’t Know: 
White Teachers, Multiracial Schools, Second Edition
Gary R. Howard
New York, Teachers College Press, 2006
In this book, the author outlines what good teachers know, what they do, and how they embrace culturally responsive teaching. It addresses current issues such as closing the achievement gap and recent legislation such as No Child Left Behind.

What If All the Kids Are White? 
Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families 
Louise Derman-Sparks, Patricia G. Ramsey, and Julie Olsen Edwards
New York, Teachers College Press, 2006 
In this book the authors tackle a frequently asked question: How do I teach about racial and cultural diversity if all my students are white? The text includes strategies, resources, and classroom examples for implementing learning themes in early childhood settings where most of the children are white.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? 
And Other Conversations About Race 
Beverly Daniel Tatum
New York, Basic Books, 2003
This book provides a new framework for thinking and talking about race and encourages us to get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues.

Peter Campbell recommends:

A Child’s Work: 
The Importance of Fantasy Play
Vivian Paley
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2004
Vivian Paley taught preschool children for 37 years, much of that time at the University of Chicago’s Laboratory Schools. She is the only kindergarten teacher to ever receive one of the MacArthur “genius” grants.

The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally
David Elkind
New York, Da Capo Press, 2007
Elkind is one of the key authorities on developmentally inappropriate practices in early childhood education.

Mary Cowhey recommends:

All Families Are Different 
Sol Gordon and Vivien Cohen
New York, Prometheus Books, 2004
Written by a clinical psychologist, this illustrated book for readers 7 and older defines families in multiple ways, considering economic and racial factors as well as including same-sex, divorced, and foster parents.
All Families Are Special 
Norma Simon and Teresa Flavin
Boston, Albert Whitman and Company, 2003
A teacher tells her students she is going to be a grandmother, initiating a conversation about family diversity in which students share how their home lives are similar or different. Colorful illustrations complement an appropriately sensitive book for young readers.
I Will Be Your Friend: Songs and Activities for Young Peacemakers 
Produced by Larry Long, J.D. Steele, and Ellen Weiss
Montgomery, Ala., Teaching Tolerance, 2003
This is a CD and songbook of great songs (lyrics and music) on themes like peace, inclusion, friendship, social justice, and more. It is available free (one copy per school) at

Oliver Button Is a Star 
GPN, 2002
This documentary weaves a reading and a musical production of Oliver Button Is a Sissy together with interviews with adults like arctic explorer Ann Bancroft, author/illustrator Tomie dePaola, and dancer Bill T. Jones, who recall their childhood experiences. It includes scenes where 1st and 2nd graders do activities about name-calling and challenging gender stereotypes.

That’s a Family: 
A Film for Kids About Family Diversity
GroundSpark, 2000
Children’s voices are central to this gentle approach to talking about and developing respect for family diversity.

Louise Derman-Sparks recommends:

Can We Talk About Race?: 
And Other Conversations In an Era of School Re-segregation
Beverly Daniel Tatum
Boston, Beacon Books, 2007
This is a must for understanding the dynamics of current systemic racism and its impact on schools.

Celebrate! An Anti-Bias Guide to Enjoying Holidays in Early Childhood Programs
Julie Bisson
St. Paul, Minn., Redleaf Press, 1997
This book offers strategies for creating a holiday framework and making choices about how to teach about holidays within an anti-bias education approach.

The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism
D. Van Ausdale and J.R. Feagin
Lanham, Md., Rowman & Littlefield, 2001
This is a must-read for teachers who want to understand how young children construct their ideas about racism. It’s based on a yearlong, observational study of preschool-aged children in a diverse childcare center.

Magic Capes, Amazing Powers:  
Transforming Superhero Play in the Classroom
Eric Hoffman
St. Paul, Minn., Redleaf Press, 2004
Hoffman examines superhero play in an anti-bias framework by exploring issues of power, social development, gender roles and fairness. He provides excellent teacher suggestions for early childhood classrooms.

The Skin That We Speak:  
Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom
Lisa Delpit and J. Kilgour
New York, New Press, 2002
This is one of the best analyses of language oppression related to class and culture. It’s helpful for understanding current political struggles about bilingualism.

That’s Not Fair: 
A Teacher’s Guide to Activism with Young Children
Ann Pelo and Fran Davidson 
St. Paul, Minn., Redleaf Press, 2000
Pelo and Davidson suggest ways to engage young children in critical thinking and in taking action for fairness. Their book is grounded in a clear, developmental framework that respects children’s co-construction of knowledge.

Jean H. Hannon recommends:

Constructive Guidance and Discipline: 
Preschool and Primary Education, Fourth Edition 
Marjory V. Fields and Debby Fields
Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall, 2005
This book challenged me to think hard about my interactions with young children and to teach with much more care.

Let’s Begin Reading Right:  
Developmentally Appropriate Beginning Literacy
Marjory V. Fields and Katherine L Spangler 
Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall, 1995
Marjory Fields seeks to expand the reader’s knowledge about appropriate literacy practices in early childhood education.

Laura Linda Negri-Pool recommends:

Soy Bilingüe 
Sharon Cronin and Carmen Sosa-Masso
Calabasas, Calif., Center for Cultural and Linguistic Democracy, 2003 
This book is full of information, stories, resources and research for teachers interested in creating bilingual and bicultural classrooms.

Theatre of the Oppressed 
Augusto Boal
New York, Theater Communications Group, 1985
This book outlines Augusto Boal’s “arsenal” for change. It is a resource for utilizing theatre as a means to engage people in social change.

Patty Hnatiuk recommends:

Building a Stronger Child Care Workforce: 
A Review of Studies of the Effectiveness of Compensation Initiatives
Jennifer Parke-Jadotte, Stacie Golin, and Barbara Gault 
Washington, D.C., Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2002
The research and policy studies in this book address issues that face women in the workforce (including childcare workers) such as pay equity, benefits and working conditions. This book includes a comprehensive policy study about the effectiveness of a variety of childcare compensation initiatives in the United States.

A Center Piece of the Pre-K Puzzle: 
Providing State Prekindergarten in Child Care Centers
K. Shulman and H. Blank
Washington, D.C., National Women’s Law Center, 2007
This is a key resource about the links being forged between childcare centers and pre-kindergarten programs in public schools.

Estimating the Size and Components of the U. S. Child Care Workforce and Caregiving Population: Key Findings from the Childcare Workforce Estimate. 
A. Burton
Washington, D.C., Center for the Child Care Workforce, 2002
This is the first concrete assessment of the characteristics and numbers of people employed in the childcare industry.

Working for Worthy Wages: 
The Child Care Compensation Movement, 1970–2001 
Marcy Whitebook 
Washington, D.C., Center for the Child Care Workforce, 2002
This is a foundational resource about the childcare compensation movement.

Margot Pepper recommends:

September 11 and the U.S. War: 
Beyond the Curtain of Smoke 
Edited by Roger Burbach and Ben Clarke
San Francisco, City Lights and Freedom Voices, 2002
This is an informative collection of essays by journalists, historians, activists, and political theorists providing the historical, political, and intellectual context for understanding the events and the consequences of September 11 and America’s “War on Terrorism.” The collection outlines the U.S. policies that contributed to the tragedy of 9/11, the consequences of the new war, and suggestions for options and alternatives, such as grassroots organizing linked to the antiglobalization movement and the strengthening of institutions like the International Criminal Court and the United Nations.
Taking Back Childhood: 
Helping Your Kids Thrive in a Fast-Paced, Media-Saturated, Violence-Filled World 
Nancy Carlsson-Paige
New York, Penguin, 2008
This groundbreaking guide is based on early childhood development scholar Nancy Carlsson-Paige’s 30 years of teaching, researching, and writing about young children. It helps parents to navigate the social currents such as media violence and rampant consumerism that shape—and harm—the lives of children today, and is a call to all of us to restore childhood to the best of what it should be.

Who’s Calling the Shots?: 
How to Respond Effectively to Children’s Fascination with War Play, War Toys and Violent TV 
Nancy Carlsson-Paige and Diane E. Levin
Gabriola Island, B.C., Canada, New Society Publishers, 1989
After a historical analysis of the narrowly scripted play encouraged by today’s merchandise-oriented children’s TV, Who’s Calling the Shots offers a wealth of suggestions and resources for helping children reclaim control over their play, avoid rigid gender and racial stereotypes, combat consumerism, and learn the skills for building a less violent future.

Melanie Quinn recommends:

In Defense of Children: 
When Politics, Profit, and Education Collide
Elaine Garan
Chicago, Heinemann, 2004
Elaine Garan lays out how millions of precious education dollars were inhaled by greedy textbook and test publishers instead of reaching the classroom in the form of quality literature and informed instruction. It is a must-read for teachers tired of being hoodwinked by No Child Left Behind and Reading First’s false claims and who are ready to push back in defense of our children and our profession.

Raising Writers:  
Understanding and Nurturing Young Children’s Writing Development 
Ruth Shagoury 
Danbury, Conn., Allyn & Bacon, 2008
This book uses early childhood literacy research to demonstrate that the current early literacy curriculum being pushed by federal education policies is a stark departure from established early childhood research in the field.

Silent No More: 
Voices of Courage in American Schools
Edited by ReLeah Cossett Lent and Gloria Pipkin
Chicago, Heinemann, 2003
This book tells the stories of brave educators who put their reputations and jobs on the line to do what was best for children and our profession. These activists have paved the way for a new breed of teacher who refuses to be intimidated and silenced. It is time for a revolution!

Cirila Ramírez recommends:

It’s All in the Frijoles: 
One Hundred Famous Latinos Share Real Life Stories, Time Tested Dichos, Favorite Folktales and Inspiring Words of Wisdom
Yolanda Nava 
New York, Fireside, 2000
This book is a rich collection of folktales, lullabies, poems, and dichos of Latino wisdom.

Parrot in the Oven: 
Mi Vida
Victor Martinez
New York, Harper Trophy, 1998
A vivid portrait of one Mexican American boy’s life.

Rita Tenorio recommends:

All the Colors of the Earth
Sheila Hamanaka
New York, William Morrow and Co., 1994
A beautiful book that describes and celebrates the richness and variety of the many colors of skin. Hamanaka uses images of food, plants, and animals to connect the reader with the text. The message is clear: There is beauty and richness in every color. The children depicted in the book are very diverse and include children with special needs, mixed-race children, and children with albino characteristics.

All the Colors We Are: 
The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color
Katie Kissinger
St. Paul, Minn., Redleaf Press, 1997
This is a bilingual picture book—the text is presented in English and Spanish—about how people “get” their skin color. The text explores the basic facts about the roles that melanin, the sun, and ancestors play in making us different. The author uses photographs to explain the concepts in clear, child-friendly language that offers opportunities to explore this scientific concept with children.

Bein’ with You This Way
W. Nikola-Lisa
New York, Lee & Low, 1995
One of the favorite read-alouds in my classroom, this picture book is a joyful, rhythmic chant that celebrates diversity. Familiar, straightforward observations about size, hair texture, eye and skin color help the reader to dispel the notion of “normal” and recognize that we are all unique. Also available in a well-translated Spanish version.

The Colors of Us
Karen Katz
New York, Henry Holt, 1999
When Lena decides to paint pictures of all of her friends, she is surprised to learn that brown is not just one color. In this picture book, Lena’s mother takes her on a tour of the neighborhood to observe all the shades of “brown” skin. With new labels like “cinnamon,” “chocolate,” and “pizza crust,” she begins to understand how four basic colors combine to make lots of variations. It serves as a great conversation starter on skin color.

Creative Resources for the Anti-Bias Classroom
Nadia Saderman Hall
Albany, N.Y., Delmar Thomson Learning, 1998
This excellent book connects developmental social studies skills for children ages 6–11 with the elements of an anti-bias curriculum. It’s a must-have for every elementary classroom.

We Can Work It Out: 
Conflict Resolution for Children
Barbara Kay Polland
Berkeley, Calif., Tricycle Press, 2000
A good resource for the teaching of social skills. Through the use of photos and questions, Polland asks students and teachers to explore such issues as praise and criticism, jealousy, anger, and teasing. Lessons that start with the book can be extended in many ways with role plays, writing, and literature.

Whoever You Are
Mem Fox
San Diego, Calif., Voyager, 2001
A wonderful story that we use throughout the school year. With poetic language and mysterious, almost magical illustrations by Leslie Staub, this picture book tells the reader that “there are children all over the world just like you.” Our students begin to see how all families experience the universality of love, joy, pain, and sadness.