Jambo means “hello” in Swahili and invites us to connect with the world of diversity around us. This subscription service of outstanding stories, starring children of color as the main characters, introduces kids to different cultures through relatable stories with rich vocabulary and beautiful illustrations. Families receive 2-3 books each month in the age range requested. My box came with Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons and WeirDo by Anh Do. One can’t help but be inspired by the spunky spirit of Layla as she names what makes her happy–from climbing a tree, wearing purple or eating spaghetti without a fork to feeding chickens or planting a tomato seed and watching it grow. The last line, “What is Happiness to You?” invites kids to share their stories too. Going Down Home with Daddy starts with packing the car for the drive to Granny’s house in the south for a family reunion. Lil Alan will be enjoying the oldest to the youngest members of his family and soak in the stories, songs, and land that are woven into his family history. I loved their heading back after church to “change into their reunion t-shirts.” It reminded me of my family reunion a few years ago where the oldest aunt was 100 and we all stood for our picture in our red t-shirts! WeirDo is the new kid at school who again has to explain his unusual name and takes us along on a ride with his wacky family with seriously weird habits, totally aimed at kids’ humor. I love good children’s books and have used them for many lessons with kids during years of speech therapy. A good story generates conversation, answering questions, predicting, drawing conclusions, critical thinking and learning about the world around us. These books celebrate how we have so much in common and so much to learn from each other that might be different yet it enriches us and brings us together in celebration.
Available at Jambo Books