Category: Uncategorized

10 Great Picture Books on Heroism

On the eve of inauguration day, I hope that we all have the courage to be the heroes and heroines that our nation needs right now. Here are 10 picture books to inspire young ones and you too!

dare the wind emmanuels dream

Dare the Wind: The Record-Breaking Voyage of Eleanor Prentiss and the Flying Cloud by Tracey Fern, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Qualls

hidden how-to-be-a-hero-by-florence-parry-heide

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo

How to Be a Hero by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Chruck Groenink

little dog lost Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic by Monica Carnesi

Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith

Luna and Me by Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw malala iqbal

Luna & Me: The True Story of a Girl Who Lived in a Tree to Save a Forest by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Malala, Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, a Brave Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter

princess in black price of freedom

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh

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Flying Lessons and Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh (InfoSoup)

This is a simply incredible collection of stories that feature middle-school children from a variety of diverse backgrounds. The authors of the stories are the best in the children’s book business, including Kwame Alexander, Tim Federle, Matt de la Pena, Tim Tingle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, and Jacqueline Woodson. The stories feed into one another, creating a quilt where the patches are of different colors and textures but the quilt is one unified structure. The stories feature children of color, children who are LGBT, and those who are differently-abled. It is a book about our differences and our similarities, a book about what makes each of us fly.

There are several stories that will stick with me. The one by Matt de la Pena has a gorgeous tone to it, almost oration where the reader is being spoken directly to about opportunities, hard work and taking risks. It’s all about basketball, the art of the game and the willingness to put yourself out there and play. Grace Lin’s is an wonderful mix of humor and drama, showing reading as a way forward into a life of adventure and individuality. Woodson’s story is spare and lovely, looking directly at racism and staring it down with friendship. The others are marvelous too, I could write about each of them in turn, each just as special and jeweled as the last.

This is a book that should be in all libraries, it speaks to the power of diverse books in our communities, their ability to transform all of us no matter what our background or color. Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from e-galley received from Crown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley.

 

5 Best Poetry Books for Children in 2016

Here are my picks for the top poetry books of 2016. They are powerful reads that demonstrate the importance of words and their ability to stir and transcend.

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Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Brya

28957208 Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds by Jorge Argueta, illustrated by Alfonso Ruano

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka

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When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad

10 Great Snowy Picture Books

I always loved reading books about snow and snowmen around the holidays in public libraries since it still spoke to the season but included people of all faiths. Here are ten of my recent favorites:

Big Snow 20663046

Big Snow by Jonathan Bean

First Snow by Peter McCarty

Footprints in the Snow Into the Snow

Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka

Into the Snow by Yuki Kaneko, illustrated by Masamitsu Saito

The Smallest Snowflake Snow

The Smallest Snowflake by Bernadette Watts

Snow by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer

The Snow Day Snow Sounds: An Onomatopoeic Story

The Snow Day by Komako Sakai

Snow Sounds: an Onomatopoeic Story by David Johnson

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons Winter is for Snow

Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit: A Book of Changing Seasons by Il Sung Na

Winter Is for Snow by Robert Neubecker

10 Great Wintry Picture Books

Celebrate the winter solstice and the chilly season with some wonderful warm winter picture books! Here are ten of my favorites perfect for a cozy cuddle:

Before Morning Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes

Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

28814781 Peter and the Winter Sleepers

Little Penguins by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Peter and the Winter Sleepers by Rick De Haas

Waiting for Winter 18636916

Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

Winter Candle 17197795

Winter Candle by Jeron Frame, illustrated by Stacey Schuett

Winter Is Coming by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Jim LaMarche

43128 Winter Trees

Winter Is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer

Winter Trees by Carole Gerber, illustrated by Leslie Evans

The Water Princess by Susan Verde

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The Water Princess by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (InfoSoup)

Gie Gie imagines herself to be a princess with a kingdom as big as the African sky. She can tell the wind when to blow, the grass when to sway. But she cannot move the water closer to their home. Every day, Gie Gie and her mother walk to get water, a walk that takes almost the entire day. As they walk, they sing and dance together, stop under the shade of a large tree for a snack. When they reach the water, others are there and Gie Gie plays with her friends as her mother waits in line. Soon it is their turn and they start their long walk back balancing the water in pots on their heads. Back home, Gie Gie finally gets a drink of the precious water and falls asleep, knowing she must make the same walk the next day.

This picture book is based on the childhood of supermodel Georgie Badiel, who has a foundation working to bring clean water to Burkina Faso and other African countries. Verde writes with a poetic touch throughout, the prose light as a breeze carrying the story forward. There is no lecture here about clean water, rather it is a look at the hard work and endurance it takes to bring clean water to African villages.

The illustrations by Reynolds are done in his signature style with a flowing beauty that works particularly well here. He uses deep colors that show the dry landscape in yellows and oranges that are occasionally punctuated with greens and blues, the colors of water and hope.

A light feeling picture book that has a deep story to tell, this is a compelling read. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from ARC received from GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers.