The Reign: North & South America

I’ve been waiting for a book like this for over a decade now. Back when I had the honor of teaching first grade, my students engaged in research projects all year long. Black history was also taught all year long. Understanding the influence of the African Diaspora is a beneficial component for any classroom population, but the topic was essential for, and enthusiastically embraced by, my students because our community was made up of first generation Africans, Latin-Americans, and all of us to some degree are descendants of Africa. The Reign: North & South America published by PanAfrican Publishing House and written by C.Nichole, is a non-fiction gem comprised of history, illustrations, and a timeline of the African Diaspora throughout the Americas. The text is organized by nation, 20 altogether; from the Argentine to the Wampanoag.

The Reign: North & South America by C. Nichole. Illustrated by Sailesh Acharya. Published by Pan African Publishing House. Dallas, TX. 2021

For younger students

Depending on the age of my audience, I would include this book in my classroom two different ways. 1) for younger students, I would keep it behind my desk and bring it out only for read alouds and whole group instruction. Then eventually it would make it to the browsing bins and lending library, but only after it is intentionally taught, discussed, and processed. During read alouds, students always draw and write about the stories they listen to. Unsolicited commentary is allowed as well. I rarely shush. We like to keep learning multisensory around these parts.

“During read alouds, students always draw and write about the stories they listen to.”
Samples of kindergarteners’ comprehension of the read aloud, A Weed is a Flower: The Life of George Washington Carver.
I made a read aloud comprehension sheet for The Reign: North & South America. You can download it
for free here

For older students,

I would be sure to have at least four copies available for students to access during our research. The Reign: North & South America will be an essential resource for several different research topics that students may be engaged in. Some examples of research themes are: The African Diaspora, My Culture, Country Study, My People, Native Tribes, The Americas.

I greatly appreciate that the book has page numbers. One wouldn’t expect most children’s books to not have page numbers, but rarely they do. I prefer page numbered books for research purposes. To teach research skills while also teaching history, I add color-coded sticky notes to pages in the book where specific information can be found. I then have a corresponding classroom chart that displays each stickynote color’s content area. This is a great way to structure and guide independent work time or social studies centers.

Although comprehensive, this book will also spark many questions in it’s readers of any age and inspire them to want to research more:

Where can I learn more about Nacimiento de Los Negros?

Is there still a Maroon community in Nova Scotia?

What else did Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) accomplish in Jamaica?

Am I part of the Diaspora?

I particularly appreciated learning about the Seminole and Mascogo because my great great grandmother, Sallie Hamilton, was, according to family legend, 100% Seminole and lived in Pensacola Florida with her husband, John Boyle and their two daughters. I have a picture of her at the beach with my grandfather in the early 1930s. When I find it, I’ll add it to this post.

The 18 other ethnic groups included are: Argentine, Cherokee, Cuban, Curacaoan, Ecuadorian, Garifuna, Haitian, Jamaican, , Miskito, Narragansett, Panamanian, Pequot, Quilombola, Saint Lucian, Saamaka, Shinnecock, Trinbagonian, and Wampanoag. Hopefully, this book will provide you with more information on your ancestral group too.

Thanks for reading.

– The Picture Book Pusher.

Putting the ‘sshh’ in Pusher

Welcome. You made it back.

I realized something about me, as a blogger slash educator slash critiquistI don’t want to publicize my blog. Nothing to show off here. Not trying to teach rn. My thoughts are typed for me to continue to understand the abstractions of the children’s literature world, with the hopes that they enable greater cultivation and honing of my crafts. It’s my dwelling for critical practice is all. I’m developing and stuff. So I’ve unlinked it from all other platforms, hopefully, I think; not done very systematically. Not hiding, just not advertising. I just need to create original thought over all else right now. untouched vibes.


Welcome though for real! You’re my favorite follower ya know. Yes you.

Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Saturn Surprise by Oneeka Williams M.D. – BHM 2016: Daily Picture Book Reads: Day 1

When I was a full time classroom teacher, we studied and celebrated Black History, from September to June. February, Black History Month, was dedicated to creating our own histories, inspired by they who came before us. If I was still a full time classroom teacher, as opposed to now being Educator at Large, I would surely include author Oneeka Williams’ third book in the Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo series, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Saturn Surprise. The Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo picture book series includes fictional characters to educate children on nonfictional content. Main character, Dr. Dee Dee’s mantra is: Not even the sky is the limit! This is the mantra I wish my students to embody when creating their own histories.

dee dee bk3 cover copy.jpg



November AKA Picture Book Month – The Demons’ Mistake

Today, via Twitter, I learned that November is considered Picture Book Month. Oh joy! I will aim to post a picture book that I love and recommend, every day this month. Being that today is the 4th of November, today’s entry will be….Day 4! 🙂 So if you are checking out this blog of mine, at a later date, and are scratching your head and clicking your mouse trying to find Day 1 through 3, please save your time, for they do not exist.

It’s been so long since I’ve posted, I’m enjoying this sudden burst of inspiration.

Picture Book Month Day 4 – The Demons’ Mistake by Francine Prose.

Illustrated by Mark Podwal. Published by Greenwillow Books. 2000.

The Demons' Mistake by Francine Prose. Illustrated by Mark H. Podwal

The Demons’ Mistake by Francine Prose. Illustrated by Mark H. Podwal

I just discovered this book yesterday. I was at a temple, waiting for my tutee to arrive. I tutor my tutee, every Tuesday, at her temple, before she has her Hebrew school lesson. The temple has a beautiful library, that members can use to check out books. I read The Demons’ Mistake, in a little kid size chair, in the kid section, around 1:45pm. Good times. Original and exceptional tale.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.


Hi, All. It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a ….post. Lots of half-posts in drafts. My creative process is deficit of attention, at times. I blame it on cool-experience-overload.

At least I'm organized

At least I’m organized

Let me tell you about KinderSteam though. It’s a blog I just became hip to today, after its founder, slash- friend of mine, slash colleague, called me today.

I’m not one to blast my friend’s blog in the good name of Friendship. No. I’ve observed in myself, the quality of being an objective admirer; while simultaneously having the privilege of just knowing really talented educators and artists.

KinderSteam just happens to be knee deep in enjoyable children’s books and leading edge science activities, for the K2 crowd. We all know I’m all about that; so.I especially enjoyed the post from April 12, 2015; a post highlighting the kindergarteners’ competition submission of their “biomimicry living lab.” What? Nice. Check it out.

Thanks for reading,

The Picture Book Pusher

Rodney’s Bookstore: Books are just the beginning

I visited Rodney’s Bookstore, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last week. Went with a good friend of mine, Aja Jackson, founder of MindUTeach. Whenever I venture to Rodney’s, I never leave empty-handed. They specialize in used books, and their prices are very reasonable. Here’s what I picked up:


Bed Crumbs: Sweet Dreams and Nightmares by John Kruth. Jackalope Press. 1986.

So Bed Crumbs: Sweet Dreams and Nightmares, by John Kruth, is chalk full of witty and wonderful poems. I saw this book sitting by the register. I opened it up and turned to this poem, that sold me on the purchase:

Lucifer’s Puberty

I’m not sure why

I’m beginning to sprout horns

and unknown alphabets

appear from my pen


Mama used to call me

her “little angel”

now I put tabasco

on everything”

– Kruth pg. 9

Bed Crumbs by John Kruth

Published by Jackalope Press 1986

I recommend this book for: 7th grade and up.

Retail Paperback: $6.00 Rodney’s: $2.82


Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan. Lee & Low Books, Inc. 1995

Personally, I’ve never seen a picture book about the United States’ holiday, Juneteenth. The fact that the book is published by one of my most favorite and trusted publishers, Lee & Low, made it an immediate purchase even more so. Out of all the captivating illustrations that artist, Yvonne Buchanan gives us, the illustration below stood out to me the most. Look how fun the kitchen can be! This book should be a staple in all elementary classrooms, in the United States.


“Cassandra raced into the kitchen, then stopped in her tracks. Dishes lined the countertop. From the looks of the place, her parents had big plans.” – Weatherford. ~ Illustration by Yvonne Buchanan in Juneteenth Jamboree

Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan.

Lee & Low Books, Inc. 1995.

I recommend this for: All ages.

Retail Paperback: $7.95. Rodney’s: $2.82


Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse by Walter Dean Myers. Harper Collins 1993.

Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse, by Walter Dean Myers, stole my heart. This collection, of pictures and verse, is a celebration of youth, in times past, in African-American communities. It highlights the joys and beauties, reminding us that not everything was a hardship, in the black communities of the United States. This book scaffolds a sense of thriving and fulfillment; and can contribute to young children’s sense of resiliency. If I still had a Kindergarten classroom, I would keep this book in the Dramatic Play/Housekeeping center. I keep books in all my centers. Here are some excerpts from the book:


Excerpt from Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers


Excerpt from Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse by Walter Dean Myers

HarperCollins. 1993.

I recommend this book for: All ages.

Retail Hardcover: ? Rodney’s: $6.00 


Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song – an autobiography. Photographs by Bill McGuinness. Illustrations by Ashley Bryan. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing 2009.

This book can be used in any age classroom. It is dynamic. I picture high school art classes critiquing Bryan’s many medium’s used in his art. I picture elementary school classrooms engaged in it’s storyline and vibrant images, learning to appreciate art & history. Ashley Bryan is a celebrated artist and picture book illustrator, a three-time Coretta Scott King award winner. He was raised in the Bronx, New York. His parents were from Antigua, British West Indies.


Excerpt from Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song

Excerpt from Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life's Song. Illustration of Langston Hughes by Ashley Bryan

Excerpt from Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song. Illustration of Langston Hughes by Ashley Bryan


“I set the sea-glass pieces on tinfoil and connected the pieces with pulp. When the maché dried, I peeled the tinfoil away and the maché held the pieces together. When held to the light, the pieces glowed like stained glass.” – Ashley Bryan.


“During the Depression, children often made their own toys. They made soap-box wagons with old carriage wheels, scooters with boards and skates. And so did I.”


“The Ashanti tribe have a saying they use to end their AFrican tales, which is just right for me to close mine with: This is my story. Whether it be bitter or whether it be sweet, take some of it elsewhere and let the rest come back to me.”- Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song. An autobiography.

Photographs by Bill McGuinness. Illustrations by Ashley Bryan.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. 2009.

I recommend this for: All ages.

Retail Hardcover: $18.99. Rodney’s: $6.00

If you use any of the above mentioned books in your classroom, or with your children, please comment below.

Thanks for reading,

The Picture Book Pusher.

My College Students Act Like Third Graders

I did it. I started my second blog. Here’s my first post on, The Classroom Curator. I won’t be getting in the habit of reblogging my own posts; but this is the first post, so I wanted to give it a proper introduction.

The Classroom Curator

11:57 p.m.

It’s true. They act like third graders. I’m okay with that though, as long as they grow out of it by the time they enter college. Friday evenings usually provide me with a burst of classroom ideas. Don’t know why that is. Friday seems like the mostly likely time of the week, in which I’d be plum out of classroom inspiration. However, Fridays, post dusk, is when my creative gears spin. It may be due to the reflection that occurs during my Friday commute home. ‘Didn’t finish as much writing as I wanted them to. I yelled too much, today. Mondays I’m calm. Fridays I’m not. That’s not fair to them.’ Reflections like that, probably influence my Friday evening inspiration spurts.

Tonight’s spurt is this: Strunk and White’s Elements of Style in the classroom! That’s what we need. It can’t hurt to introduce it to third graders. My…

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