All of Me! A Book of Thanks

All of Me! A Book of Thanks by Molly Bang

A small child thanks each body part for how well they work.  Fine feet hold you up, hands can grab and hold, arms to hug, mouth, eyes, nose, ears, and heart.  Each bit of us is constantly supporting our life, allowing us to do what we need to do.  Every day we feel so many different things, do so many different things.  And in the end?  We are part of the universe and alive!

Bang’s art is so beautiful and simple here.  The end pages of the book feature some of her work space and then some ideas for children to start creating their own illustrations and books.  The book features felt, crayon, paint, and most importantly for its inherent feel: brown paper bags.  The brown paper creates a very organic feel to the book that works brilliantly with the subject.

Her words are simple too, allowing children to really think about what each of their body parts does. They will also realize how important each of these small functions are to their days and lives.  Bang approaches all of this with a sense of joy and playfulness that is echoed in the art.

For parents who are practicing mindfulness or daily gratitude, this book is the perfect way to get your children thinking in a positive way about small, basic parts of their lives.  Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Luv Ya Bunches

Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Myracle

Yes, this is the book that was not included in Scholastic Book Fairs because one of the characters has lesbian parents.  Sheesh!  That has since changed and they will be carrying the title

This book though is so much more than the subject of that controversy!  It’s funny, smart, and simply wonderful.

It all starts with a big gesture in the hallway made by Katie-Rose, who slams into Milla, sending her backpack and everything in it skittering across the floor.  Katie-Rose skulks away, so Yasaman is blamed for the event though she had nothing to do with it.  Violet, the new girl, saw it all and is the one who discovers a tiny toy turtle left behind on the floor.  The mean Modessa and her lackey Quin are a large part of the bad things that happen next, but you will have to read the book to find out what that is!  Let’s just say that friendship will triumph in the end.

The book is told from the point of view of all four girls and as in Myracle’s previous books incorporates online chatting.  It also has her trademark ease with dialogue as well as her deep understanding of tweens.  The four main characters are distinct, unique and interesting.  They all have their own insecurities, moments of bravery, and challenges.  Each girl approaches school and creating friendships differently.  All four girls are racially different and this book nicely avoids any stereotyping of them. 

And just for the record, the same-sex parents are seen in passing just like the rest of the parents in the story.  They drop off, pick up, make costumes, etc.  They are not the focus of the story at all.  Another thing that makes this book so refreshing and real.

This is a fun, candid book that will have late elementary school girls hooked before the first page ends.  The issues faced by the girls are real, tangible, and very intriguing.  It only gets better when readers learn at the end that there will be more in the series!  Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC received from publisher.

Also reviewed by Welcome to My Tweendom and TheHappyNappyBookseller.