Turtle Walk by Matt Phelan

Turtle Walk Cover Image

Turtle Walk by Matt Phelan (9780062934130)

A turtle family sets out on a long slow walk, leaving their spot by the pond behind. They start off in the spring through fields of flowers, bouncing rabbits, and robins. They cross a river and curl up together on a rainy night. They continue on under bright yellow flowers, seeing insects, bubbles, and fireflies. They keep walking into autumn with its changing leaves, apples, and chipmunks gathering acorns. They pass jack-o-lanterns and fall asleep together in the falling leaves. Next comes winter with the world turned white with snow. They finally reach their destination after a long climb. And now it’s not time to go slow anymore!

Told in simple language, this book is a gentle and slow look at the changing seasons. With a refrain of “Are we there yet?” the answer seems it will never be yes. Throughout the book there is a joy in the present moment, a pleasure in the journey itself and the changing seasons around the turtle family. The final pages have a burst of speedy joy in them, and then a return back to their burrow for the winter, once again piled together asleep.

The art is simple as well, the turtles moving through their environment, crossing rivers and streams, watching the wildlife around them, and marveling at special moments in each season. Done in watercolor, the bright green turtles are always the focus of the images as the seasonal colors swirl around them.

A joyous yet quiet look at seasons that would make a great board book too. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Greenwillow Books.

News to Wake Your Brain Cells – Feb. 26


25 must-read 2021 picture books for your child’s bookshelves – Book Riot

37 years ago she started making braille children’s books to cut the cost by 90% and donate them worldwide – Good News Network

2021 books by Newbery winners – 100 Scope Notes

Children’s books that feature LGBTQ characters – HuffPost

Children’s books with characters of diverse body types – HuffPost

When Black kids — shut out world of children’s literature — took matters into their own hands – Salon


7 YA novels featuring strong, vulnerable unique Black girls coming in 2021 – NBC

11 books featuring South Asian characters to read in 2021 – Teen Vogue

20 must-read 2021 young adult fantasy releases – Book Riot

50 Black young adult novelists you should read, from Angie Thomas to Walter Dean Myers – AZCentral

After to All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: 8 young adult books Netflix should adapt next – Cinema Blend

Black History Month Book List 2021 – YA Pride

The Booklist Printz Interview: Daniel Nayeri – Booklist

Graphic novels and comics to enjoy for Black History Month – or anytime! – The Hub

In ‘Nubia: Real One,’ trying to be a hero when society thinks you’re a threat – CapRadio

Ojibwe author Angeline Boulley on the “Indigenous Nancy Drew” story in her debut YA thriller – Michigan Radio

2021 CBCA Notables

The Children’s Book Council of Australia have announced their notables list for 2021. The lists cover the best books for teens through preschoolers. The lists are basically the longlists for the CBCA Book of the Year awards. The shortlists will be announced in March with the winners announced in August. Here are the books that made the notables lists:


Before the Beginning

Before the Beginning by Anna Morgan

Catch Me If I Fall

Catch Me If I Fall by Barry Jonsberg

Deep Water

Deep Water by Sarah Epstein

The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love by Davina Bell

The F Team

The F Team by Rawah Arja

Future Girl

Future Girl by Asphyxia

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix


Loner by Georgina Young

The Lost Soul Atlas

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon

Metal Fish, Falling Snow

Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore

Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal

Peta Lyre’s Rating Normal by Anna Whateley

Please Don't Hug Me

Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr

When It Drops

When It Drops by Alex Dyson

When Rain Turns to Snow

When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin

Where We Begin

Where We Begin by Christie Nieman


Across the Risen Sea

Across the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble

Aster's Good, Right Things

Aster’s Good, Right Things by Kate Gordon

Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief by Dee White


Bindi by Kirli Saunders, illustrated by Dub Leffler

The Book of Chance

The Book of Chance by Sue Whiting

The Fire Star

The Fire Star by A.L. Tait

The Grandest Bookshop in the World

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor


Haywire by Claire Saxby

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn by Kate Gordon

Her Perilous Mansion

Her Perilous Mansion by Sean Williams

The January Stars

The January Stars by Kate Constable

The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle

The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle by Pamela Rushby

The Republic of Birds

The Republic of Birds by Jessica Miller

The Secret Library of Hummingbird House

The Secret Library of Hummingbird House by Julianne Negri

The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty, illustrated by Kelly Canby (released in U.S. in March 2021)

We Are Wolves

We Are Wolves by Katrina Nannestad

When This Bell Rings

When This Bell Rings by Allison Rushby

Worse Things

Worse Things by Sally Murphy, illustrated by Sarah Davis

The Year the Maps Changed

The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus by Steven Herrick


Anemone is not the Enemy

Anemone Is Not the Enemy by Anna McGregor

Australia Under the Sea 1 2 3

Australia Under the Sea 1, 2, 3 by Frané Lessac

Bear in Space

Bear in Space by Deborah Abela, illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Bin Chicken

Bin Chicken by Kate & Jol Temple, illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh

Busy Beaks

Busy Beaks by Sarah Allen

Coming Home to Country

Coming Home to Country by Bronwyn Bancroft

I'll always be older than you

I’ll Always Be Older Than You by Jane Godwin, illustrated by Sara Acton

Me and My Boots

Me and My Boots by Penny Harrison, illustrated by Evie Barrow

No! Never! A Cautionary Tale

No! Never! by Libby Hathorn and Lisa Hathorn-Jarman, illustrated by Mel Pearce


Pink! by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Judith Rossell


Respect by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

Ruby Red Shoes : My Wonderful Grandmother - Kate Knapp

Ruby Red Shoes: My Wonderful Grandmother by Kate Knapp

Shapes and Colours - John Canty

Shapes and Colours by John Canty


Soon by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Jedda Robaard

Ten Little Figs - Rhian Williams

Ten Little Figs by Rhiân Williams, illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom

There's no such thing!

There’s No Such Thing by Heidi McKinnon

This Small Blue Dot

This Small Blue Dot by Zeno Sworder

We Love You, Magoo

We Love You, Magoo by Briony Stewart

What Do You Call Your Grandpa?

What Do You Call Your Grandpa? by Ashleigh Barton, illustrated by Martina Heiduczek

Who’s Your Real Mum?

Who’s Your Real Mum? by Bernadette Green, illustrated by Anna Zobel


Anisa's Alphabet

Anisa’s Alphabet illustrated by Hanna Sommerville, written by Mike Dumbleton

The Biscuit Maker

The Biscuit Maker illustrated by Liz Anelli, written by Sue Lawson

Colin Cockroach Goes to Caloundra - Chris McKimmie

Colin Cockroach Goes to Caloundra by Chris McKimmie

51920772. sx318

Diamonds by Armin Greder

Ellie's Dragon

Ellie’s Dragon by Bob Graham

The Fire Wombat

The Fire Wombat by Jackie French & Danny Snell

Give Me Some Space!

Give Me Some Space by Philip Bunting

Girl from the Sea

Girl from the Sea illustrated by Jane Tanner, written by Margaret Wild

Good Question: A Tale Told Backwards

Good Question: A Tale Told Backwards illustrated by Annie White, written by Sue Whiting

Hello, Jimmy!

Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker

How to Make a Bird

How to Make a Bird illustrated by Matt Ottley, written by Meg McKinlay

I saw Pete and Pete saw me

I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me illustrated by Evie Barrow, written by Maggie Hutchings


Jelly-Boy illustrated by Christopher Nielsen, written by Nicole Godwin


Littlelight by Kelly Canby

My Shadow is Pink

My Shadow Is Pink by Scott Stuart

Norton and the Bear

Norton and the Bear by Gabriel Evans

Not Cute

Not Cute by Philip Bunting

Sing Me the Summer

Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin & Alison Lester

Sometimes cake

Sometimes Cake illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie, written by Edwina Wyatt

The Unwilling Twin : Twins - Freya Blackwood

The Unwilling Twin by Freya Blackwood

Who am I?

Who Am I? by Philip Bunting

Who’s Your Real Mum?

Who’s Your Real Mum? by Bernadette Green, illustrated by Anna Zobel


Wolfred by Nick Bland


Wombat by Philip Bunting

Your Birthday was the BEST!

Your Birthday Was the Best! illustrated by Felicita Sala, written by Maggie Huchings

EVE POWNALL AWARD (For factual materials ages 0-18)

Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather by Stephanie Owen Reeder, illustrated by Tania McCartney

AZARIA: A True History

Azaria: A True History by Maree Coote

The Daddy Animal Book - Jennifer Cossins

The Daddy Animal Book by Jennifer Cossins

Dry to Dry: The Seasons of Kakadu

Dry to Dry: The Seasons of Kakadu by Pamela Freeman, illustrated by Liz Anelli

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish

Hold On! Saving the Spotted Handfish by Gina M Newton, illustrated by Rachel Tribout

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly

Kookaburra : Nature Storybooks - Claire Saxby

Kookaburra by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Tannya Harricks

Little Lon - Andrew Kelly

Little Lon by Andrew Kelly, illustrated by Mark Jackson & Heather Potter

Matthew Flinders - Carole Wilkinson

Matthew Flinders – Adventures on Leaky Ships by Carole Wilkinson, illustrated by Prue Pittock

The Mummy Animal Book

The Mummy Animal Book by Jennifer Cossins

Saltie Mumma

Saltie Mumma by Sandra Kendall

Ngaginybe Jarragbe (My Story)

Shirley Purdie: My Story, Ngaginybe Jarragbe by Shirley Purdie

Strangers on Country

Strangers on Country by David Hartley & Kirsty Murray, illustrated by Dub Leffler

There's A Zoo in My Poo

There’s a Zoo in My Poo by Felice Jacka, illustrated by Rob Craw

Will the Wonderkid : Treasure Hunter of the Australian Outback - Stephanie Owen Reeder

Will the Wonderkid: Treasure Hunter of the Australian Outback by Stephanie Owen Reeder

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís

Cover image

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís (9781324015741)

As Czechoslovakia is taken over by the Nazis in 1938, one quiet man stepped forward and saved almost 700 children. At age 29, Nicky was invited to visit Prague while on a ski trip. At the same time, Vera was growing up outside of Prague, happily adopting stray cats. They were one of the only Jewish families in the town, but that didn’t matter in their lives. The in October the German army marched into Czechoslovakia and Vera’s parents learned of a British man who was saving children. That man was Nicky. Understanding that he could do something, he worked in Prague making lists of children and finding train connections. When he returned to London, he found foster families for the children and acquire visas and tickets with his own money, sometimes needing to create his own stamps. Vera left home with 76 other children on a train. In total, 669 children reached London safely. No one heard of Nicky’s quiet work until his wife found the records. Then Nicky’s work was revealed to everyone on a popular TV show, and his life is still celebrated.

Sís has created a haunting yet also celebratory nonfiction picture book that describes the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia through a child’s eyes and also offers the lens of a man who realizes the potential human disaster about to occur and does something to rescue the children. The tension between the two is beautifully done, creating a deep understanding of what was at stake and the speed at which something needed to happen. The book is one that will make you actually cry, particularly towards the end when the survivors are there to thank Nicky for what he did for them. Crushingly moving.

As always Sís’s art is entirely its own style. He offers overhead maps of Vera’s small town and her life. He also shares maps of Europe and whimsical images that are almost folkloric in their storytelling. It’s a lovely mix of story, truth and heroism.

Truly remarkable, this is a picture book to read with tissues nearby. Appropriate for ages 7-10.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Norton Young Readers.

2021 ABIA Longlists

The longlists for the 2021 Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) have been announced. The awards span a wide range of ages from adults to children and include fiction and nonfiction. Here are the longlists for the youth categories:


Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love by Davina Bell

The F Team

The F Team by Rawah Arja

Future Girl

Future Girl by Asphyxia

Jane Doe and the Key of All Souls by Jeremy Lachlan

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

Please Don't Hug Me

Please Don’t Hug Me by Kay Kerr

This One is Ours

This One Is Ours by Kate O’Donnell


Finding Our Heart: A Story About the Uluru Statement for Young Australians

Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor, illus by Blak Douglas

The Grandest Bookshop in the World

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly

Took the Children Away

Took the Children Away by Archie Roach, illus by Ruby Hunter

We Are Wolves

We Are Wolves by Katrina Nannestad

When Rain Turns to Snow

When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin

The Year the Maps Changed

The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks


Aunty's Wedding

Aunty’s Wedding by Miranda Tapsell, Joshua Tyler and Samantha Fry

Bluey: The Creek

Bluey: The Creek

The Fire Wombat

The Fire Wombat by Jackie French & Danny Snell

Our Home, Our Heartbeat

Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs, Kate Moon & Rachael Sarra


Respect by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illus by Lisa Kennedy

Sing Me the Summer

Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin & Alison Lester

When We Say Black Lives Matter

When We Say Black Lives Matter by Maxine Beneba Clarke


Windows by Jonathan Bentley & Patrick Guest


Anemone is not the Enemy

Anemone Is Not the Enemy by Anna McGregor


Bindi by Kirli Saunders, illus by Dub Leffler


Claudette by Helene Magisson


Family by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson, illus by Jasmine Seymour


Found by Bruce Pascoe & Charmaine Ledden-Lewis


Howl by Kat Patrick, illus by Evie Barrow

Metal Fish, Falling Snow

Metal Fish, Falling Snow by Cath Moore

My Shadow is Pink

My Shadow Is Pink by Scott Stuart

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cover image

Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (9780062869944)

Through a series of linked short stories and poems, readers get to join young Native people from across the United States and Canada as they converge in Michigan for an intertribal powwow. Written by new and familiar Native authors, these stories speak to the various ways that Native families and youth stay connected or find new connection with their cultural heritage. From the World’s Best Fry Bread to dancing in regalia to solving powwow mysteries to selling items from booths, this book invites readers to experience the powwow at different levels while also connecting to nature, ancestors and shared humor and tales.

The most impressive part of this collection of short stories and poems is that they are all so impressive. Each story has its own voice and point of view, featured characters and tribal connections, yet they come together in a remarkable way where they lift one another up. The stories have shared characters, including a dog who sells t-shirts, a girl selling raffle tickets and a young detective. These elements help tie the tales together, but it is the strength of the writing of each story that really makes the book work.

The final poem of the book takes the drum beat that has been happening throughout the book and shows the power of the powwow and the importance of the experience for all who attend. It’s the ideal way to wrap up a book that offers so much joy, connectivity and community.

One of the best short story collections for children ever, this belongs in every library. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Heartdrum.

It’s So Quiet by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Cover image

It’s So Quiet by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tony Fucile (9781452145440)

As the sun sets, the farm gets quiet and still. The moths “shah” against the light until the lamp turns off. A little mouse thinks it’s way too quiet to sleep, but his mother tells him that the sounds of the night will whisper him to sleep. He starts to listen and hears many things in the night. There is a frog singing, crickets chirping, a rattling screen door, wind through the trees, an owl hooting, and much more. Grandpa is snoring on the porch and the dog’s tail is thumping on the boards. When a coyote howls, the little mouse looks out his window to see what that was! He hears all of the noises once more, and then again even louder. The night might be too noisy after all!

Funny and a joy to read aloud, this picture book will quickly become a bedtime favorite. The book is filled with noises that should be great fun for both the reader and the listener to contribute to, since they repeat several times in the book. Expect enthusiastic frog croaks, wind whooshes, and more. It’s also a book that will have children listening in their own beds to the noises of the night around them.

The illustrations add to the fun with the serenity of the night clear at first and then quickly moving to a zany pitch and pace visually as the noises pick up. The natural setting is shown simply, allowing the various elements to repeat visually as well. Readers will see the frog, owl, crickets and coyote from the very first page.

Bedtime giggles galore. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.

Sato the Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya

Sato the Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya (9781592703180)

Sato became a rabbit one day and has been one ever since. Told in short chapters, Sato goes about his days. He waters the plants around his house using a very long hose, a very special hose. In the second story, there is a sea of grass where Sato hangs his laundry that soon becomes a rollicking sea of water. A meteor storm becomes a way to light a path. A watermelon becomes a boat. After the rain, puddles reflect the sky, giving Sato a portal to the clouds. Walnut shell halves lead to unique little worlds of their own. Colored ice from the forest lets Sato taste emotions.

It’s a marvelously surreal little picture book that invites readers into Sato’s imagination as he explores the world around his home. It’s particularly marvelous that each of the inspiring elements is ever so normal, from laundry hanging near grass to eating watermelon or walnuts. The text is perfectly descriptive of what is happening, not giving away when reality becomes magical, just stating things frankly.

The art is bright and colorful, using the white space on the page to create smaller illustrations and then suddenly move to full-page spreads that delight. The colors used are deep and rich, allowing Sato in his white rabbit outfit to really stand out on each page.

Wild and imaginative, this book invites children to join in the fun. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Enchanted Lion.

2021 Golden Kite Awards

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the winners of the 2021 Golden Kite Awards and the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. The awards are judged by a jury of peers with celebrated names in children’s and YA literature serving as judges. The awards are given in a variety of categories with five finalists in each category announced earlier this month. Here are the winners and the finalists:


Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson


Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley


A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner

The Magic in Changing Your Stars by Leah Henderson

Mananaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan


All Because You Matter by Tami Charles; illustrated by Bryan Collier


We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goade


The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James

Lights Out by Marsha Diane Arnold; illustrated by Susan Reagan


William Still and His Freedom Stories by Don Tate


Winged Wonders by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Yas Imamura 


Dark Was the Night by Gary Golio ; illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Nacho’s Nachos by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

Terry Fox and Me by Mary Beth Leatherdale, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic


The Bear and the Moon illustrated by Catia Chien; written by Matthew Burgess 


Outside In illustrated by Cindy Derby; written by Deborah Underwood


The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

From Archie to Zack by Vincent X. Kirsch

Welcoming Elijah illustrated by Susan Gal; written by Leslea Newman


All Thirteen by Christina Soontornvat


Alphamaniacs by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Melissa Sweet


Dung for Dinner by Christine Virnig, illustrated by Korwin Briggs

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming

True or False by Cindy L. Otis


Chance: Escape from the Holocaust: Memories of a Refugee Childhood by Uri Shulevitz


Flamer by Mike Curato


How We Got to the Moon by John Rocco

Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo

The Wanderer by Peter Van Den Ende


The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith


Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger


Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

With a Star in My Hand by Margarita Engle


Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera


Zeus, Dog of Chaos by Kristen O’Donnell Tubb


Badger and Skunk by Amy Timberlake

Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson