Category: Blog

BOOK GIVEAWAY – Summer 2023

BOOK GIVEAWAY – Summer 2023

Any one wanting to build their kid’s at home library?! This is for you!

Kalifa Rodriguez Books has teamed up with 4 amazing children’s book authors to host an incredible Book Giveaway.

ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN- 5 books for your home library! Simply submit the quick form to enter the drawing through midnight Thursday, May 18.

CLICK THE LINK TO ENTER: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd1Jvw1nflzuXzrdnJjkFzIj72XSghL3_dpZBnCxqXHQOI3yg/viewform

The winner will receive:

📙 Pip’s First Flight / Jolly Fox Books

📕 What Do You Do? / Everly Cade

📘 Meeting Exceptional Friends / Lindsey Larsen Author

📗 Tommy Wants to Win / Brooks Washatko

and my book Eating These Foods Makes Me… / Kalifa Rodriguez Books

Winner is drawn May 19 and all books will be shipped directly to your address! Good luck.

#bookgiveaway #childrensbooks #kidlit #freebooksforkids #freebooks #freebooksarethebestbooks #indieauthorsupport #indieauthorsrock #picturebooks #picturebooksforkids

Raising Inclusive Kids: 7 Tips for Fostering Acceptance of Medical Conditions and Disabilities

Raising Inclusive Kids: 7 Tips for Fostering Acceptance of Medical Conditions and Disabilities

As a clinical nutritionist working with people with various medical conditions and disabilities, I have seen first-hand the impact that acceptance and understanding can have on individuals and their families. It is important to teach our children about acceptance of medical conditions and disabilities from a young age. Not only does it promote kindness and empathy, but it also helps to create a more inclusive society.

Here are some tips for parents and caregivers to help foster acceptance of medical conditions and disabilities among children:

Teach Empathy: Teaching children to put themselves in someone else’s shoes can go a long way in helping them understand the challenges that individuals with medical conditions or disabilities face. Encourage your child to ask questions and learn more about a condition or disability. Explain how the condition may impact the person’s life and how they may need to adapt to certain situations.

Be Positive: Focus on the person’s abilities rather than their limitations. It is important to highlight the positive aspects of a person’s character, rather than just their condition or disability. For example, if a child has a friend with Down Syndrome, talk about their unique talents and strengths rather than just their condition.

Model Acceptance: Children learn by example, so it is important for parents and caregivers to model acceptance of people with medical conditions and disabilities. Talk to your child about how everyone is different, and that these differences should be celebrated, not judged. Make sure to use appropriate language and avoid using derogatory terms.

Normalize Medical Conditions and Disabilities: Make sure your child understands that medical conditions and disabilities are a normal part of life. Use age-appropriate language to explain different conditions, and encourage your child to ask questions. Make sure to emphasize that everyone deserves respect and kindness, regardless of their condition or disability.

Teach Inclusion: Encourage your child to include everyone in their activities and social interactions. Teach them that everyone has something valuable to contribute and that everyone deserves to be included and valued.

Encourage Questions: Children are naturally curious, and it is important to encourage them to ask questions about medical conditions and disabilities. It is okay if they do not understand something, as long as they are willing to learn. Encourage them to ask questions respectfully and politely, without making assumptions or judgments.

Avoid Hurtful Language: Hurtful words such as “strange”, “weird”, or “gross” should never be used when talking about people with medical conditions or disabilities. Not only are these words insensitive, but they can also be hurtful and damaging. Instead, use appropriate language that emphasizes respect and kindness.

For any parent or teacher looking to start a conversation around this important message of inclusivity and understanding when it comes to medical conditions and disabilities, I would highly recommend reading “Meeting Exceptional Friends” written by Lindsey Larson, an OT and homeschooling mom of 2. In her children’s book, Lindsey does a lovely job of illustrating the importance of empathy, kindness, and understanding in building relationships with children having various visible and non-visible disabilities.

In conclusion, teaching acceptance of medical conditions and disabilities to children is critical in creating a more inclusive and empathetic society. As a clinical nutritionist, I have seen the impact that acceptance and understanding can have on individuals with medical conditions and disabilities. By teaching empathy, being positive, modelling acceptance, normalizing medical conditions and disabilities, and teaching inclusion, we can help our children become more accepting and inclusive of everyone, regardless of their differences. Let us all work together to create a world where everyone is valued and respected, regardless of their medical condition or disability.

Until next time,

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc., RD, CBS

Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

 

5 Children’s Books I LOVE: written by Black Female Authors

5 Children’s Books I LOVE: written by Black Female Authors

To follow up on my last blog post, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to diversify the children’s book industry, and one group of authors who have made a significant contribution to this effort are black female writers. In the video below, I will share with you five such authors and their wonderful books:

“Dream Big, Little One” by Vashti Harrison is at the top of my list of children’s books written by black female authors because it is a wonderful tribute to the accomplishments of black women throughout history and encourages young readers to dream big and become whomever they aspire to be.

The prenatal nutritionist and certified breastfeeding specialist in me is OBSESSED with this book that highlights the benefits of breastmilk. I read this to my daughter when I was expecting my second child and I felt like it truly illustrated all the ways I would be sharing this “Magical Milk” with her new baby brother. This book is an absolute gem for all breastfeeding and pumping mamas. Also given the stats that show how black women have the lowest breastfeeding rates in North America, this book does an amazing job at aiming to tear down those barriers to breastfeeding in the black community and illustrate wonderful examples of how breastmilk is used.

This heartwarming book tells the story of a young boy who wants to be just like his dad when he grows up. As they spend time together, the boy learns about his father’s daily routine and the values that guide his life. Through stunning illustrations and relatable characters, this book celebrates the special bond between father and son and the importance of positive role models in a child’s life.

Shenika Paris, Kyra Milan Brown, and Kali Brown have created a book that empowers young girls to love themselves, their hair, and all their unique qualities. Through interactive step-by-step hair tutorials, the book promotes self-love and confidence. I wish I had this book growing up, I’m sure it would have encouraged me to appreciate and embrace my kinky kurls at a young age!

This heart warming book is a celebration of working moms everywhere! All moms can relate to how hard it can be to leave their kids to go to work, run errands or even at bedtime. We’ve all needed to provide our child with some reassurance when it’s time to separate. In this story, a Mom collects some simple words that she and her child can repeat whenever they are missing each other or feeling overwhelmed.

Always with you,
always with me,
mommy and child,
together we’ll be.

 

 

These five children’s books written by black female authors offer a diverse range of stories and perspectives that are sure to capture the hearts and minds of young readers. These authors have brought their unique experiences and voices to the world of children’s literature, creating works that not only entertain but also educate and inspire.

Are there any children’s books written by black women you would recommend? Please share it in the comments!

 

Have a lovely day,

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc., RD, CBS

Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

Expanding Horizons: Why Celebrating Black Authors During Black History Month Matters

Expanding Horizons: Why Celebrating Black Authors During Black History Month Matters

We’ve all heard the saying, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Well, this is why I decided to become a children’s book author:

As a child who loved reading, I often craved stories with characters I could relate to, who looked like me or who had similar experiences or backgrounds as me…but most books read at school or that I found in libraries had characters that looked nothing like me. Thank goodness times are changing and I can readily offer my kids books written by black authors who showcase narratives and characters they can identify with, still we have a long way to go.

Black authors in Canada – worldwide really – have historically been underrepresented in the literary field, and there is ongoing work to increase visibility and representation for Black voices and perspectives. This includes initiatives to support Black writers, publish their works, and provide opportunities for them to connect with audiences; that being said, Black History Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black individuals, including Black authors.

Celebrating Black authors during this month helps to shine a spotlight on their works, increase visibility, and bring recognition to their voices and perspectives in literature. It also serves as a platform for the promotion of diversity and inclusivity in the literary world. Hopefully, by raising awareness and advocating for greater representation and diversity, we can create a more inclusive and equitable literary landscape for Black Canadian authors.

 So here are five ways you can support black authors during Black History Month (or any other time of the year):

  1. Buy books written by black authors: This is the most direct way to support black authors and help them earn a living from their work. You can purchase books from online retailers or local bookstores that carry works by black authors.
  2. Share and promote books on social media: If you have read a book by a black author that you enjoyed, consider sharing it on social media and recommending it to your friends. This helps to increase the visibility of these authors and their work.
  3. Review books on platforms such as Goodreads or Amazon: Writing a positive review can help to bring attention to the book and the author, especially if you have a large following on these platforms.
  4. Support black-owned bookstores: Buying books from black-owned bookstores is a great way to support both the authors and the stores themselves. These independent bookstores often carry a wider selection of works by black authors and can help to promote diversity in literature. For example, check out HoneyBooks a local NDG bookstore that is Black and Female Owned!
  5. Attend events featuring black authors: If you have the opportunity to attend a book signing, reading, or other event featuring a black author, consider going. This is a great way to show your support and hear from the author in person.

Remember, by showcasing the talents and experiences of Black authors, we are able to broaden our perspectives, deepen our understanding and celebrate the richness and diversity of black history and culture.

I’d love to hear about who are some of your favourite black authors? Have you read any new books written by black authors this Black History Month? Please share in the comments below!

Until next time,

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc., RD, CBS

Author of the award-winning book Eating These Foods Makes Me…

 

The Mom’s Choice Awards Names Eating These Foods Makes Me… Among the Best in Family-Friendly Products

The Mom’s Choice Awards Names Eating These Foods Makes Me… Among the Best in Family-Friendly Products

I am honoured to announce that Eating These Foods Makes Me… has earned the prestigious Mom’s Choice Award®. Having been rigorously evaluated by a panel of MCA evaluators, this children’s book is deemed to be among the best products for families.

The MCA evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal, and cost.

I am thrilled to earn the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence Seal of Approval. I know all the great things the MCA does to connect consumers, educators, and caregivers with the best products and services available for families.

To be considered for an award, each entrant submits five (5) identical samples for testing. Entries are matched to evaluators in the MCA database. Evaluators are bound by a strict code of ethics not only to ensure objectivity, but also to ensure that the evaluation is free from manufacturer influence. The five evaluations are submitted to the MCA Executive Committee for final review and approval.

“Our aim to introduce families and educators to best-in-class products and services,” explains Dawn Matheson, Executive Director of the Mom’s Choice Awards. “We have a passion to help families grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. Parents and educators know that products and services bearing our seal of approval are high-quality and also a great value. The MCA evaluation program is designed to incorporate the expertise of scientists, physicians and other specialists; but we also engage parents, children, educators, and caregivers because they are experts in knowing what is best for their families.”

About the Mom’s Choice Awards® The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children, families and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of entries from more than 55 countries.

Around the world, parents, educators, retailers and members of the media look for the MCA mother-and-child Honoring Excellence seal of approval when selecting quality products and services for children and families.

Find the award-winning children’s book Eating These Foods Makes Me… listed in the Mom’s Choice Awards® Shop  .

Learn more about the Mom’s Choice Awards by visiting their website: www.MomsChoiceAwards.com.

Have a great day!

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc., RD, CBS

Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

A Deep Dive Into Me & My Writing

A Deep Dive Into Me & My Writing

As part of my virtual book tour, I’ve been invited to do a few author interviews that provide potential readers with a deeper perspective on my writing and some background on who I am as a person.

Being open and vulnerable has never been an easy thing for me to do but I’m happy to embrace this new opportunity for personal growth and development as I live out my dream of sharing my book Eating These Foods Makes Me… with the world!

Here are my top 10 Author Q&A :

  1. What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I was inspired to write this book by my 2-year-old daughter, a picky eater who has faced many feeding/nutrition challenges since being born very prematurely. Back then, I would spend my days and nights in the NICU singing, praying, and reading to her, and this sparked my dream to write my own children’s book. Also, after searching for a nutrition-related children’s book that encompassed the values and concepts I wanted to share with my daughter, I noticed there weren’t many available, and since I’m a practicing registered dietitian I figured what better way to share my passion for nutrition than to fulfill that need and write a credible nutrition book for kids.

Dynasty a few days old in the NICU incubator
  1. How did you come up with your idea for your book?

As a clinical nutritionist who works with an adult population, I see firsthand how many of the health issues people face – from self-esteem and mental health challenges to chronic diseases- could be prevented or at least reduced if they had some prior nutrition-related knowledge and developed healthy eating habits earlier in life. I also know that food is so much more than just the basic nutrition it provides. The foods we eat are tied to our family traditions, our values, and our identity, they significantly impact not only our physical but mental wellbeing.

So I knew this book would have many layers. I wanted to take a complicated intimidating subject that even adults struggle with and simplify it so that a young child could learn the basic foundation of nutrition without overloading them with too much detail. I knew from the beginning I would include practical examples with real photo images so, young kids, could practice their vocabulary and develop their ability to identify different foods and how they’re connected via the role key nutrients play in the body. At the same time, it was an opportunity to make a real impact by introducing crucial nutrition concepts that I feel could be life-changing if grasped at a young age, such as nutritional mindfulness.

  1. What elements are necessary components for this genre?

I believe a great children’s non-fiction book should have 3 key elements; it should be informative, entertaining and inspirational. Eating These Foods Makes Me… provides a great basis for food/nutrition intelligence at a young age, and plants the seed for leading a healthy lifestyle. It’s perfect for picky eaters because the real photo images expose them to different kinds of foods and allow them to explore in a safe and fun way via the characters and illustrations in the book, while the bonus activity pages offer even more interactive ideas to consolidate their learning. Last but not least the repeated positive affirmations are empowering and aim to inspire a healthy relationship with food. The gender and culturally diverse representation of characters, even those with special needs such as those having physical or “hidden” disabilities such as ADHD, aim to broaden the reader’s view of the world- something all non-fiction books should strive to accomplish, such that readers of different backgrounds and experiences can also recognize themselves within the pages of the book.

  1. What expertise did you bring to your writing?

As a currently practicing registered dietitian I’ve obtained a bachelor’s degree in nutritional biochemistry as well as a master’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics, and I’m currently a practicing registered dietitian so my passion for nutrition is a huge component. But, I also rely on my personal life experiences as a parent to truly connect with my readers.

  1. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?

The characters in my book represent children of various racial, ethnic and social demographics. It also celebrates those who identify with equity deserving groups. For example, Eating These Foods Makes Me… includes illustrations of characters with a physical disability as well as one with a “hidden” challenge such as ADHD. There is a persistent problem in children’s literature, and that is a lack of diversity. Furthermore, misrepresentation of underrepresented communities.  I believe that reading books can be a powerful means of self-affirmation and seeing someone who looks like you doing things, in turn, plants the idea of that possibly being you someday. I owe it to the people whom I based my characters on to be validated, empowered and feel a sense of belonging as they read the pages of my book.

  1. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Reading has always been one of my favourite pastimes, however, I would say after my daughter was born, my passion for children’s books in particular skyrocketed. In the NICU we were encouraged to read storybooks to her and the bond this created has resulted in a deep-rooted love for children’s books/reading and now writing. Back then, I would spend my days and nights in the NICU singing, praying, and reading to her, and this sparked my dream to write my own children’s book someday. Also, after searching for a nutrition-related children’s book that encompassed the values and concepts I wanted to share with my daughter, I noticed there weren’t many available, and since I’m a practicing registered dietitian I figured what better way to share my passion for nutrition than to fulfill that need and write a credible nutrition book for kids.

  1. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

I am a self-declared personal development enthusiast! I love listening to anything or anyone motivational. As a toddler mom, I barely have time to sit and read for fun anymore so my favourite thing at the moment is listening to audiobooks, it’s become part of my daily morning routine on my way to work

 

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

One book I connect with on so many levels is the children’s book “When I Pray for You” by Matthew Paul Turner. It is beautifully written and illustrated. It makes me emotional almost every time I read it with my family because it is as though Turner has taken what’s in my heart and expressed it on paper. It brings me back to the times I would pray many of the same prayers expressed in this book as I sat and watched my daughter lay -so small and fragile- in the incubator of the NICU.  I long with everything in me to be able to watch her grow and experience the world. “When I Pray for you” truly captures my dreams, hopes and love as a parent.

  1. How do you maintain your creativity?

I think my creativity is maintained by a synergy of prayer, meditation, journaling and reading.  I also like to push myself to do things that are outside of my comfort zone, and this develops my abilities to be adaptable and rely on my creativity.

  1. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

I have a deep desire to write another children’s book in the future, I have so many great ideas it’s just a matter of putting them down on paper.

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…​

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health-related videos check out my YouTube Channel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!

Congrats! You’ve WON!

Congrats! You’ve WON!

I want to wish Heather and Julie from Ontario, Ca. as well as Genevieve from Alberta, Ca. a heartfelt congratulations on being randomly selected as the 3 winners of the Goodreads Giveaway who will be receiving a brand new copy of my book Eating These Foods Makes Me…

There were over 300 entries, wow! Thank you so much to all who entered the giveaway and have shown genuine interest in my book. I look forward to any feedback you may have and I’d love to connect with you at any point in the future. Feel free to message me on my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books, IG @The.Nutrition.Connection, or my website www.KalifaRodriguezBooks.com

Blessings,

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…​

Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (Feb 1-7th)

Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week (Feb 1-7th)

In light of it being Children’s Authors and Illustrators week , to help you get into the spirit of encouraging a lifelong love of reading, I decided to share some our (my daughter Dynasty and I’s) favorites in the video below.  Don’t forget to head to Goodreads.com for your chance to win a FREE copy of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

I’d love to know, who are some of your favorites? Please share in the comments.

 

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…​

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health related videos check out my YouTubeChannel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!

Why Diversity and Inclusivity Is Important in Children’s Literature

Why Diversity and Inclusivity Is Important in Children’s Literature

It was Multicultural Children’s Book Day last Friday January 28th and it got me thinking about how truly important diversity and inclusivity is in the books available to our children. In fact research shows that by the tender age of 2 years old children already start noticing social differences such as race. Diversity in children’s literature is so important, especially for kids who identify with different communities. These books allow children to “find themselves” within the pages and it validates their place in this world. It is about ensuring all our kids feel seen and included in activities, especially one as important as reading!

Let’s clarify: what is a multicultural book?

According to https://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/ diverse & multicultural books include those that:

  • Books that contain characters of color as well as main characters that represent a minority point of view.
  • Books that are written by an author of diversity or color (such as myself) from their perspective.
  • Books that share ideas, stories, and information about cultures, race, religion, language, and traditions. These books can be non-fiction yet still entertaining and informative.
  • Books that embrace special needs or even “hidden disabilities” like ADHD, ADD, and anxiety. For example, Eating These Foods Makes Me… features a character with special needs and embraces children with “hidden disabilities” like ADHD.
  • Books that show IBPOC readers what is POSSIBLE–like in my book there’s a black female teacher with dreads, there’s also a Muslim child modestly dressed in a hijab practicing gymnastics.

 

Why choose children’s books that celebrate diversity ?

I remember growing up and feeling frustrated by the lack of books, toys and dolls that looked like me. As a child you don’t really understand these thoughts and begin to harbor subtle feelings of inferiority and estrangement that can last a lifetime. Our kids inadvertently start to compare themselves to those they more frequently see books written about. However, books with diverse characters aren’t only meant for IBPOC readers, they help to develop kindness and empathy in all readers! These books help our children learn respect for all identities, something we desperately need in today’s world.

If you share my mission to raise awareness for kid’s books that celebrate diversity, you can do your part today by sharing the word about your favorite children’s books and #elevatemelanatedvoices by supporting authors of color, as well as requesting them at your child’s school, local libraries and day camps.  Together we can raise our #ownvoices and #readyourworld by demonstrating how much #representationmatters.

Kalifa Rodriguez M.Sc, RD, CBS
Author of Eating These Foods Makes Me…

p.s. Let’s connect on social media! You can follow my FB page Kalifa Rodriguez Books or IG @the.nutrition.connection and for more health related videos check out my YouTubeChannel. Want to share this blog post with a friend? Simply copy this URL and send it to them!