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Kyriarchy-Smashing Kids Books For 8-Year-Olds
Favorite Kids Books Hand-Picked by Actual Kids
[Image description: Good Finds: Stories for 8-year-olds, Raising Luminaries]
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View the full list of Inclusive Books Curated by 8-Year-Olds
For the full archives, you can find those here: All Good Finds Collections.
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Akissi – Even More Tales of Mischief
The first two books in the Akissi series are delicious, rambunctious fun. This third though, holy crap wow. The author takes a gentle turn of depth into her feelings about emigrating and leaving her tight-knit community to a foreign European country, and ends with a lovely message about her connection with her grandfather.
I know promising a bittersweet story about leaving and loss doesn’t sell the book as a fun read, but please trust me it’s utterly lovely, sweet, hilarious, and so, so good. Part of the reason this kind of walloped me was that I went in expecting naughty capers and poop jokes, and ended up watching Akissi mature and grow up a little – kind of like what’s happening to my kids right now. Sure, the 9-year-old loved this book while he’s young, but I think he’ll get even more out of it over the next 15 years.
In addition to the depth in this book, there’s less cissexism and ‘not like the other girls’-ness than in the first two. Since all these stories are semi-autobiographical, I don’t hold the gender binaries or cissexism against the series, as they reflect the childhood cultural norms and assumptions about gender that Abouet grew up with in the 70’s/early 80’s suburbs of the her Abidjan neighborhood. Which happen to be the exact kind of sexist nonsense kids in European-colonized areas around the world.
If you like this, check out graphic novels for elementary-aged kids and inclusive stories handpicked by a kyriarchy-smashing 9-year-old.
Layla and the Bots: Making Waves
R2 gets so excited when we get a new edition of these simple chapter books. He likes the predictable format of each story, the inevitable drama of a bug or design flaw – and I appreciate how they connect cute goofy challenges with real engineering processes.
The stories are numbered, but they sense no matter which book you read first – Making Waves is R2’s favorite in the series so far, particularly the message of listening to animals and designing tech that works for them, not for what humans think they need.
I have some qualms about tokenizing a Black character in a book created by (and profiting) East Asian makers. White people want books with cute Black girls on the cover, and clearly the makers added this for ‘representation’ (cough: marketing and sales).
So I look forward to how the publisher and makers will use the popularity of these books to financially support and signal boost #OwnVoices Black engineers writing their own stories for kids.
::: Lowers glasses and looks intently at the makers of this story :::
If you liked this story, check out: Inspiring Kids To Learn About Animal Rights & Anti-Speciesism
Dragon Bones: The Fantastic Fossil Discoveries of Mary Anning
I admit my kids are getting… exhausted with nonfiction biographies. Most of them are dry and shitty, just a string of timeline facts, dates, and name-dropping. No one in our family is particularly interested in dinosaurs or fossils at the moment, so there wasn’t a ‘hook’ I could catch the kids on.
So I wasn’t expecting R2 to enjoy this… however – it’s illustrated by Maris Wicks,* so we gave it a try.
*Author of our family-favorite, Human Body Theater (please buy more copies – Wicks is looking forward to creating a second edition that’s trans & intersex inclusive when the first edition sells out!)
Gosh, R2 just loves this book! There’s just enough drama, interest, and discovery to keep him engaged. He loved it, and asked to read it repeatedly.
If you liked this story, check out: Inclusive Kids Books About STEAM