Injustice in the world touches all of us. George Floyd didn’t live here. Yet our children likely know his name.
It’s hard to see videos like the widely-aired footage of George Floyd pleading for mercy, calling for his Mama. You see it, you hear it, and you wish to do something to make a difference. But how?
A peaceful demonstration popped up last weekend in Carbondale. Valleywide voices joined the national chorus advocating with the Black Lives Matter movement. Some families traveled to Denver to join larger protests. Meanwhile, other local parents looked for ways to help their children understand the bigger picture. We live in a culturally rich place where friendships span the Latin x and Anglo communities but do we really get the experience of other cultures? Can we live in our Roaring Fork paradise and raise good citizens of the world?
With these questions in mind, MOUNTAIN PARENT created a Diversity Booklist for all ages. Literature helps us see the world through another’s point of view. It helps us open our minds and hearts. It teaches respect for other cultures, other people, other beliefs. Through stories, we grow to understand and value differences. It helps us become better at being our own unique selves. This is how we can change the world, one story at a time. As they say, the pen is, indeed, mightier than the sword.
Our local libraries and bookstores are now offering quarantine pick-up services (LEARN MORE BELOW), so you can find the following titles here in our community.
Illustrated Children’s Books:
Across the Bay
Carlitos lives in a happy home with his mother, his Abuela, and Coco the cat. Life in his hometown is cozy as can be, but the call of the capital city pulls Carlitos across the bay in search of his father. Jolly piragüeros, mischievous cats, and costumed musicians color this tale of love, family, and the true meaning of home.*
* blurb and artwork by Penguin Random House
Thank You, Omu!
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.
2020 Coretta Scott King Award
* blurb and artwork by Little, Brown and Company
“A bright red heart, a little star. I love you just the way you are.” Through gentle rhymes and colorful photographs of adorable children, Pride Colors is a celebration of the deep unconditional love of a parent or caregiver. It ends by explaining the meaning behind each color in the Pride flag: red = life, orange = healing, yellow = sunlight, green = nature, blue = peace and harmony, and violet = spirit.
* blurb and artwork by Thrift Books
I am Perfectly Designed
One of the Fab Five from the Netflix Queer Eye series, Karamo Brown has created an ode to modern families. A boy and his father take a joyful walk through the city, discovering all the ways in which they are perfectly designed for each other. This book captures the magic of building strong childhood memories and celebrates the bond between parent and child, a tale of acceptance, kindness, and inclusion.
* blurb and artwork by Henry Holt
Novels for Elementary Grades:
Lety Out Loud
Lety Munoz sometimes has trouble speaking her mind. Her first language is Spanish and she likes to take her time putting her words together. Lety loves volunteering at the Furry Friends Animal Shelter because the dogs and cats there don’t care if she can’t find the right word. When the shelter needs a volunteer to write animal profiles, Lety jumps at the chance. But grumpy classmate Hunter also wants to write profiles – so now they have to work as a team. Hunter’s not much of a team player, though. He devises a secret competition to decide who will be the official shelter scribe. They’ll each write three profiles. Whoever helps get their animals adopted the fastest wins. The loser scoops dog food. Lety reluctantly agrees, but she’s worried. If the shelter finds out about the contest, they might kick her out of the program. Then she’ll never be able to adopt Spike, her favorite dog at the shelter. Can Lety find her voice before it’s too late?
A 2020 Pura Belpré Honor Book
* blurb and artwork by Scholastic Books
The Other Half of Happy
Quijana is a girl in pieces. One-half Guatemalan, one-half American. When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage. One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing Grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.
A 2020 Pura Belpré Honor Book
* blurb and artwork by Chronical Books
Middle School Readers:
Genesis Begins Again
Alicia D. Williams
There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence. What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight — Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter-skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple of friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show. This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself.
2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award, Newbery Honor Book, An NPR Favorite Book of 2019
* blurb and artwork by Simon & Schuster
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of José Martí. Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL?
A 2018 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book
* blurb and artwork by Penguin Random House
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
David Barclay Moore
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward. His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safest choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.
2018 Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe award for new talent
* blurb and artwork by Penguin Random House
High School / Adult Fiction
The Nickel Boys
When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with fellow “delinquent” Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. As life at the Academy becomes ever more perilous, the tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Based on the real story of a reform school that operated for 111 years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.
2020 Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction
* blurb and artwork by Penguin Random House
To Kill A Mockingbird
If you or your teen have not taken up this classic, or if you have not revisited it since high school, you might consider forming your own Six-Foot Staycation book club with your child. Though it was written in the 1960s and takes place in the 1930s, To Kill A Mockingbird continues to reveal truths about the American justice system, issues that are startlingly prescient at this time.
Jean Louise “Scout” Finch is a tomboy growing up in the fictitious town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression. When her widowed father Atticus Finch agrees to defend an African-American man falsely accused of raping a young, white woman, their family receives threats from their small, Southern community. Scout and her brother Jem explore their own prejudices as they try to learn more about the legendary local recluse, Boo Radley.
Find these titles here at home:
“Open” Daily 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
221 East Main Street, Aspen
In compliance with Pitkin County’s social distancing orders, Explore Booksellers is open only for personalized service.
Call the store to request titles (970) 920-5336.
Or peruse books at Explore’s website HERE.
The bookstore staff will ship to you, or you can arrange same-day pick up on their front porch.
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
760 E Valley Rd, Basalt (Willits)
Bookbinders Basalt is following Eagle County’s retail guidelines which will be in effect through June. They are happily taking three customers at a time in the store. Customers must wear face coverings and use provided hand sanitizer. LEARN MORE.
Pitkin County Library
120 N Mill St, Aspen
Pitkin County Library is processing hold requests from their collection. The library will telephone you when your materials are ready to be picked up and may be picked up from carts in the foyer at the library’s main entrance on Mill Street. LEARN MORE HERE
Garfield County Libraries
All Garfield County Libraries are now open on weekdays with limited hours. Patrons must wear a face mask to enter. Strict social distancing will be enforced. FIND HOURS AND BRANCH INFORMATION HERE.
The Basalt Regional Library remains closed to the public until further notice. The following services are available:
Book Return – Monday-Thursday, 12:00 – 6:00 PM.
Curbside pick-up – Monday-Thursday, 12:00 – 6:00 PM.
Call a BRL librarian – Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
970-927-4311 MORE HERE
A guide to camping at Lake Powell, AZ [Part 1]
By Brian Edmiston, Glenwood Springs, CO Camping at Lake Powell with kids is a special experience but requires preparation. The elements are intense! Here are some tips and tricks for making it a great experience. My daughter and I love swimming, boating, fishing and exploring around Lake Powell. It’s our” special place ” and we always look forward to adventuring there. Camping at Lake Powell with kids is not the same as it used be pre-family, but seriously … what is the same? I made my first trip to Lake Powell when I was in high school, and I was quickly hooked by its beauty – its starkness, colors and clear blue water. Even when I was in college at CSU, we’d make the long trip from Fort Collins to fish and boat and do all the (really dumb) things that college kids do. It’s such a special place. When my daughter turned two I was ready to head back out and approach camping at Lake Powell from the family perspective. We’ve never rented a houseboat – car camping is great for a low-budget getaway, and a chance to experience the quieter side of Lake Powell. It takes a bit […]
Ticks in Colorado
Facts and local knowledge about our least favorite “trail buddies” – TICKS!
Dream Pool Design Contest
Time for a new pool in Carbondale.
C-19 & Local Swimming Pools
Parenting During Turmoil
An interview with art therapist Helena Hurrell
MP’s Diversity Booklist
Summer Reading 2020
A summer-long series about loving this place while flattening the curve.
Summer Camp Planner
Find the latest COVID program updates for summer camps and classes. Camps are happening!
Up-cycle an empty pet food bag for this easy project.
Roaring Fork Nature Parks
A “Wild at Heart” map of nearby places to discover (or rediscover) with your child.
Guide to camping at Lake Powell [Part 2]: No Boats Needed
YOU DON’T NEED A BOAT TO ENJOY A GETAWAY TO THESE WARM WATERS. HERE ARE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CAR CAMPING SITES AT LAKE POWELL. By Brian Edmiston Best Beach Camping These areas have graduated shorelines and shallow waters, perfect for wading with small children. 1. HALL’S CROSSING A 25-minute ferry ride connecting southern and northern sides of Utah Hwy 276 at Hall’s Crossing Marina and Bullfrog Marina. The ferry accommodates cars, trucks, RVs and trailers. UPDATE: The ferry is currently closed for upgrades. To check the current status fo the ferry, visit the UDOT website. At the marina, you’ll find a convenience store with a laundry and showers, boat slips and RV camping nearby. 2. BULLFROG MARINA A houseboat, power boat and water toy rental destination with a restaurant, gift shop and grocery store. The two campground areas are a mile from the water, but offer expansive views, tent camping and RV hook ups, charcoal grills and restrooms with showers. COVID update: The Marina is open. Bullfrog Marina at Lake Powell from above. 3. STANTON CREEK CAMPGROUND A large and sprawling campground area managed by the National Park Service and is a good introduction to finding car camping sites […]
Mothers Day Tribute
Three local women who exemplify Julia Ward Howe’s Proclamation of Peace.
A tragic fact of nature? Or way to find your wings?
Good Sports: Lacrosse
With the ROARING FORK LACROSSE CLUB, everyone is included and “it’s just fun.”
Helping Hands: Lucky Day Animal Rescue
This foster-based rescue group helps connect pets with their forever families.
MP Trail Map: Winter Hut Trips
A family-friendly guide to planning an adventure to one of Colorado’s backcountry huts.
Writing By Hand
What can parents do to help their children learn this life skill?
A mother redefines HEALTHY after her daughter’s Leukodystrophy diagnosis
DIY: Upcycled Owl
Spread your wings to make this cuddly stuffed owl designed by Handmakery’s Ami Maes.
Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System
MP Trail Map: A guide to Roaring Fork Valley cross-country ski trails.
Meet local eco-chocolate maker Mark Burrows.
Helping Hands: Roaring Fork Valley Kids Who Care
Act Locally: A student-led effort to save Sea Turtles and Rainforests.
Good Sports: Challenge Aspen
Q&A with Special Olympics and NASTAR ski racer Tanner Jadwin
Nighttime Family Staycation
Wintertime fun after dark with the kids.
DIY: Spa Day
Make your own bath time bliss at home.
The McBride Internship: Kenya
Roaring Fork Valley students visit Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Good Sports: Ski Racing
For this mother and her daughters, skiing is among their earliest memories.
Giving the best present of all: Ourselves
Helping Hands: LIFT-UP
Can you feed your family breakfast, lunch, and dinner for $4 per person per day?
Helping Hands: The Farm Collaborative
Farm-to-Table meets Food Insecurity
Q&A: Honeybee Play
Q&A with the teenage creators of a new original musical
Helping Hands: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico
An award-winning after school dance program that’s about more than dancing. It’s a cultural bridge.
Getting Into College
Making sense of college admission statistics
Good Sports: BMX Biking
Crown Mountain Park’s bike racing facility has expanded into a world-class race course.
Harvest Road Trip
Drive Highway 133 from Carbondale to Hotchkiss and make new friends at our nearby farms.
Helping Hands: Way of Compassion Bike Project
One man’s trash is, indeed, another man’s treasure.
MP Trail Map: Mount Elbert
Your child’s first fourteener can also be Colorado’s highest peak.
Good Sports: Sailing
Aspen Rec Department’s Don Sheeley Sailing School
Find Yourself in the Lost Forest
Discover Aspen Skiing Company’s Lost Forest adventure park.
DIY: Skateboard Swing
Turn a discarded skateboard into a big backyard hit.
MORE to FIND in the LOST FOREST
Lots to do in the Aspen Snowmass Lost Forest
DIY: Portraits of Your Children
How to capture magical frame-worthy photos
Helping Hands: Colorado Animal Rescue
C.A.R.E. can help you figure out what kind of adoptable pet is right for you and your household.
Good Sports: Baseball
A Glenwood Springs High School graduate and college baseball recruit shares what he learned at the ballpark.
Homelife Recipes: Backyard Burgers
Q&A with Jerilyn Nieslanik about how to avoided the dreaded hockey puck burger
MP Trail Map: Hartman Rocks
High desert mountain biking between Crested Butte and Gunnison
Citizens of the World
Roaring Fork High School students become world travelers through an all-inclusive club
Where to find Wildlife
Learn about the untamed creatures you might encounter in our mountain forests and meadows.
The Art of Being ENOUGH
A Motherhood Manifesto
Yampah Mountain High School’s Teen Parent Program
A campus in Glenwood Springs where each student is met exactly how they are.
LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Roaring Fork Valley Schools
A community-wide PRIDE parade + other other Valley-wide efforts to welcome everyone.
Good Sports: Soccer
Reflections from an Aspen HIgh School midfielder and member of an elite all-valley women’s team.
MP Trail Map: Navajo Rocks
A family-friendly mountain biking destination near Moab, Utah
Helping Hands: Mountain Valley Developmental Services Greenhouse
A nonprofit gardening center where developmentally disabled adults work (and bloom).
Homelife Recipes: Passover Seder
Rabbi Emily Segal of Aspen Jewish Congregation reflects on this sacred meal (and shares her recipe for Matzah crack)
Good Sports: Black Belt
A RFHS student and Rising Crane Training Center Cuong Nhu black belt shares her accomplishment.
MP’s Cover Artists: Lily and Elana Royer
Meet the mother-daughter creative team behind Lilybart
DIY: Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet
Step-By-Step instructions for making a fun puppet at home.