Books in Bag’ pushes diversity knowledge

Published: February 23 2014 | 7:01 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 4:03 am in

What happens when a PB&J sandwich and a hummus pita divide best friends and instigates an all-school food fight? Or a splotch of paint on a house incites a neighborhood uproar? Find out when you join the Cedar Rapids Public Library’s Intergenerational Reading Program “Explore the YOU-niverse.” The ongoing eight-week “books in bag” program at the downtown library includes stories about your world — especially regarding diversity and commonality, with activities highlighting both themes. Children ages 12 and under read with their families, choose two activities to complete, and win prizes. Grand prizes will be awarded randomly from all completed entries.

Titles in each set include “The Sandwich Swap” by Rania Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPuccio, and Daniel Pinkwater’s “The Big Orange Splot” (described above). Other transformative tales in this collection are “Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox and Barbara Cohen’s “Molly’s Pilgrim.” Beloved children’s author Mem Fox’s books are always jewels and this one is no exception. Here, she emphasizes our similarities in a way that makes it easier to embrace differences. In Cohen’s narrative, recent Russian immigrant Molly and her classmates study Thanksgiving and learn that many types of pilgrims make America great.

Planes, trains, automobiles, and more unusual modes of transport in “This is the Way We Go to School” show how children around the globe reach education destinations. Edith Baer’s family-friendly text makes geography fun for everyone. When you’ve read these and the additional selections in the bag, choose two activities from “Boredom Busters.” A perfect interactive finish to “Explore the YOU-niverse”!

Additional titles/authors in program: “Hello World!” by Manya Stojic; “Yoko” by Rosemary Wells; “The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz; “I Am the World” by Charles Smith Jr.; and “One World, One Day” by Barbara Kerley.

For more information on this and other Cedar Rapids library programs, visit

Melia Tatman is a librarian at the Cedar Rapids Public Library

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