Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip Stead - Where to start?!? Stead and illustrator Matthew Cordell have outdone themselves! This story is so much fun to read and re-read. Louis and his grandmother, who knows everything, each have a bone to pick with City Hall (pun intended). They write letters with their concerns and then get to action. You'll find yourself smiling while you read this book. P.S. I want to be this grandma when I grow up!
Tomorrow is a Brand-New Day by Davina Bell & Allison Colpoys - Who has ever had a day that you wished you could do over? Well, I know I have, and this book lets me know that I'm not alone. What a wonderful message to give to children (and adults) to help them understand their feelings, reactions, and ways to make amends with their words and actions. Having resources like this book will help teachers and parents help their little ones better handle all that life hands them through a colorful and intriguing story.
Something Beautiful is a story written and illustrated by Lita Judge that will squeeze your heart! It all starts with a mouse that invites an elephant to join him in a game of ball. They invite other animals one by one to play, starting first with ones they have interests in common. The soul of the book delivers with the message that sometimes playing with friends that are different can be 'something beautiful'. Delightful illustrations!!
French Braid by Anne Tyler is a delightful tale spanning three generations. As always with Tyler's books, the readers get to immerse themselves in the richly woven lives of her characters. The intricacies of family and relationships emerge throughout this book, and are so relatable. You have to wait until the near end of this book to get the title reveal!
A Mouthful of Minnows by John Hare is a fabulous children's book that will surprise you twice! It's the story of Alphonso the snapping turtle and how he manuevers the small pond where he lives "fishing" for his breakfast. If I say anything more, it will give away the surprises! Beautiful illustrations accompany the clever tale, as well as a page of interesting facts about snapping turtles at the end of the story. This is a book I will be adding to my collection!
I'll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca is a delightful story of a young girl and her grandmother. When Jyoti, the young girl, and her family travel to India to visit the grandmother, Jyoti forms a bond with her grandmother despite the language barrier. When it's time to leave, Jyoti doesn't want to leave, but her grandmother teaches her a phrase that means, "I'll go and come back" which makes it easier to leave. Love is the language of this book!
My Big Book of Outdoors by Tim Hopgood is an extraordinary compilation of seasonal poems, activities and illustrations. What fun to read a poem about insects ("Cool Places"), then go outside and build a bug hotel, or look for butterflies then paint a beautiful one of your own while learning about symmetry! This book is a lap-size book, great for reading with your little one!
1. In Our Garden by Pat Zietlow Miller is a delightful read about a young girl who has moved to America and is feeling down, missing her old home, its rooftop garden, and its fresh carrots. She decides to suggest that her school could develop its own rooftop garden, and the idea takes off! Throughout the process of planning, planting and cultivating, the teacher encourages the kids with the phrase, "Good things take time." Beautiful illustrations complement this lovely story.
Just Right Jillian is Nicole D. Collier's first novel and it is absolutely delightful! Fifth grader Jillian is quiet and shy, yet very intelligent. The new school year brings with it a Mind-Bender competition that Jillian's teacher encourages her to join. At the same time, Jillian's class is hatching eggs which correlates beautifully with Jillian's attempt to break out of her shell. Friendship, Grandma's wise words, and self-determination allow Jillian to forge her way and find herself.
Are you a hesitant reader of nonfiction like me? This book will be right up your alley then! Women of the White House by Amy Russo is a great collection of short, 4 page mini-biographies of each first lady starting with Martha Washington. Fascinating facts and insightful information had me eagerly turning pages to read more.
Have you ever been given some good advice that works time and time again? Then you will be able to relate to The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson, a beautiful book about a brother and sister who heed the advice of their grandmother. Her wise words help the children through boredom, rainstorms, quarrels and more. The enchanting words and lively illustrations are a fabulous combination any reader will enjoy!
Zion Unmatched by Zion Clark and James Hirsch is a remarkable biography of inspiration and perseverance. The story of a young man who overcomes being born without legs and pursues his dream of being an athlete as told through a short autobiographical note along with photographs that will amaze you.
Stacey's Extraordinary Words by Stacey Abrams is a wonderful account of Stacey's early years as she learned the love of words and reading. As a young child, Stacey kept a special journal of words that intrigued her. Then, in first grade, she was selected by her teacher to be in her first spelling bee. It was then that Stacey learned the true meaning of perseverance. The illustrations by Kitt Thomas are perfect for expressing all the emotions throughout this book!
Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh is a powerful book about a young girl discovering her voice. Junie's relationships with both of her grandparents are so heartfelt that you feel immersed in their conversations as the reader. As Junie processes what is happening in the world around her, she is able to pull strength from her grandparents stories to help her speak up for herself. The author tackles many tough subjects along the way, including racism, depression, war, and death, so be prepared to discuss these subjects with your young reader.
What a fabulous finale to this wordless trilogy! Aaron Becker does an amazing job telling the story of a young girl who escapes into an imaginary world when she doesn't get the attention she wants from her busy father. When the dad realizes that she's gone, he goes after her, and together they forge their own way through a journey into castles, creatures and excitement! Truly beautiful illustrations with more details than words could do justice.
Who doesn't love a good snow? The beauty of fresh white snow falling, sledding, snowballs, and hot cocoa! We Want Snow by Jamie A. Swenson is a lyrical story of children wishing for the first snow of the season! The rhyming text and delightful illustrations make this story a fun read for children of all ages.
How would you cope if you lost your parents in a fire when you were four years old? Well, in Paradise on Fire, teenager Addy has spent her life devising plans to escape any room or situation in case of another disaster. So imagine her angst when her grandmother sends her to a Wilderness Adventure Camp for inner city teens during the summer. Addy ends up thriving in her new environment, even learning how to make topographical maps, but has the ultimate test of surival when a wildfire threatens the campers' lives. I had to stay up until 1:30 in the morning to see this one to the end. Once again, Jewell Parker Rhodes engages us in the lives of her characters!
Did you know that Curious George was first known as Fifi by H.A. and Margaret Rey?!? Or that C.S. Lewis first started writing children's books because the children that he housed during WWII lacked imagination and he wanted to spur on their "creative malnourishment"? Fascinating facts and biographies fill this collection titled, The Stories Behind the Stories. Danielle Higley tells the true tales behind 29 classic children's books, which makes for a very interesting read, young or old!
Maybe by Chris Haughton is a fun book with lively illustrations! In this story, Big monkey tells the three little monkeys to stay away from the Mango trees because there are tigers down there. But mangoes are delicious, right?! Who can resist delicious mangoes? Not these three little monkeys! Oh my, a close call is had - will the little monkeys learn their lesson? Come check out this fun tale and see for yourself. :)
Pax, Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker is a wonderful sequel that could also be read as a stand alone book. The tale of Pax continues, as a father of three kits, as he looks for a safe home for his new family. Along his journey, he smells traces of his boy, remembering the goodness and safety that he offered. Meanwhile, Peter, now a 14 year old boy, is navigating life without his father or Pax. His journey is one of searching for a life where he will take care of himself and no one else. He is avoiding any kind of relationship that may make him vulnerable to loss and the pain that accompanies loss. This is a beautiful tale that will warm the heart.
Survivor Tree by Marcie Colleen has an absolutely beautiful message accompanied with gorgeous illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker. It's the story of a pear tree that was left standing at the base of the twin towers after the 9/11 attack. This is the true journey of how the tree was transplanted to a safe space for a matter of nine years, then returned to the Memorial Plaza. I have read this book several times, and the hair on my arms stands up each time. This is truly a book of hope.
Dessert Island by Ben Zhu is a tale of Monkey and Fox, one who lives on a desert island and one who lives on a dessert island. The story unfolds showing how one is lucky (Yum! I get to eat everything!) and the other is not (Boo! I have nothing to eat on my island!). But then the tide changes (intentional pun) and their fortunes change as well. Circumstances then bring Monkey and Fox together, and it is then they discover what is truly important - sharing and caring! This book has vibrant pictures and is a good read aloud for 3-8 year olds.
Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie is an emotionally-charged novel about a family that is experiencing all the stress and changes of having a loved one with ALS. Twelve year old Golden has grown up in a family of soccer players who believe that to become a master of a sport requires ten thousand hours (tries) of practice. Golden, in turn, uses this mindset, believing he can help his dad beat ALS. Then, as if losing your father isn't hard enough, Golden also has to come to terms with his best friend moving away. Friendship, family and teamwork will keep you reading this book. Having lost an uncle to ALS, I found this story to be painful at times, sad at times, and celebratory at times. Have a tissue handy!
Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman is a wonderful mesh of poetry and nonfiction writing. In this book, a little girl moves to a new home and discovers a treefrog friend in her yard. Each page holds a beautiful poem, a fact about treefrogs, and lovely illustrations. The reader gets to travel through all four seasons learning about treefrogs, while the little girl adjusts to her new life. Who knew that treefrogs create a special chemical that keeps their insides from freezing while they hibernate underground? Not I! If you love learning while reading, you'll enjoy this book!
Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins is a heart-wrenching story of family, loss, love and empathy. In this story, 12 year old Cal has just lost his mother, who has died from cancer, and his father, who has gone to jail. Cal goes to live with his aunt and uncle and their daughter, Hannah. Written in prose, the story gingerly unfolds, weaving back and forth between the voices of Cal and Hannah. Cal's perspective is one of fact or fiction, using made up tales to cover up his feelings. Hannah's perspective is one of words and their definitions, using vocabulary to express what she is experiencing at that moment. The relationships between the characters twist and turn throughout the book, pulling you, the reader, into their world.
The Octopus Escapes, written by Maile Meloy and illustrated by Felicita Sala, is a sweet book about an octopus that loves his life in the sea. However, he is scooped up one day by a scientist. His new life is not what he desires, so he escapes and...you'll have to read it yourself to see how it ends! Bright and beautiful illustrations!
Dream Within a Dream by Patricia MacLachlan is a sweet and gentle story of a young teenage girl,Louisa, and her brother, Theo, staying with their grandparents over the summer while the children's parents are off doing bird research. Louisa meets a new friend who understands her like noone else and encourages her to pursue her writing. It's a lovely family tale of love and friendship, new awakenings, and following your heart. A great read for anyone 8 years and older!
The Magnificent Book of Birds by Tom Jackson -This is an absolutely gorgeous nonfiction book with illustrations by Walerczuk. Each two-page spread has a full color drawing of a bird, descriptions of that bird, along with an inset box of facts about the bird's habitat, lifespan, diet and size (including a silhouette comparison of the bird to a human). Who knew that a Great frigatebird's forked tail helps it to steer and do quick turns with its massive 7 ft. wingspan? So whether or not you're a bird lover, you'll love traveling around the world and reading and learning about these amazing and unique birds!
What a great combination - Kentucky author/poet Geoge Ella Lyon writing about people who have had the courage to speak out for social justice! One of Lyon's poems incorporates a quote from the subject into her poetry. Very powerful! The book includes a glossary of important vocabulary as well as background information on each of the subjects of her poems. The last poem is titled, "You!", which is a perfect segue into conversation about using your voice as a tool.
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Anne Tyler, one of my favorite authors, comes through with yet another engaging story with great character development. Redhead by the Side of the Road is a wonderful depiction of a man, Micah, who has a very routine driven life that is interrupted by two separate hurdles. The title of this book is something I was able to relate to and laugh at once it is revealed. Definitely a book I recommend!
Have you ever gone down a road and wondered where it may lead? What the Road Said, by the bestselling poet Cleo Wade, is a unique story about the conversation between a road and the author. It chronicles the questions we all have as we go through the journey of our lives, and reminds us what to do when we encounter different situations along the way. At one point, the road reminds the author/reader "Sometimes we go the wrong way on our way to the right way." A great book for children and adults!
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures is a lovely book written by Award-winning author Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. The author weaves a variety of animals and their movements into her tale of the bedtime process, creating a fun story for parents and kids. The illustrator does an amazing job with the child's facial expressions, and the collages she uses throughout the story are wonderful!
Author Sy Montgomery has written this children's book based on her memoir. She tells of her adventures throughout life, and what lessons she has learned from all the "teachers" she's had along the way. Her lessons range from learning respect from the gorillas to learning forgiveness from the white-coated weasel. Lovely illustrations are icing on this cake!
Tomorrow I'll Be Kind is a follow-up to Jessica Hische's award-winning book, Tomorrow I'll Be Brave. Hische's words and illusrations weave together beautifully, showing examples of ways that all of us can make the world a better place. Through kindness, patience, honesty, generosity, gentleness and more, we can make a difference! An excellent and uplifting read, especially during this difficult time our nation is facing.
An Ordinary Day tells the story of two families simultaneously. The parallel stories are both of extraordinary love happening on an ordinary day. It's sweet and sad and beautiful all at once, with amazing illustrations.
Love You Head to Toe is illustrator's Ashley Barron's first book. In this book, she compares babies and their actions to different animals. The comparisons flow throughout different adventures in the life of a baby. Barron's cut-paper collage illustrations are quite delightful! A sweet book just in time for new parents or as a valentine book for children.
What a clever way to introduce or discuss the topic of perspective with children! R. Henderson has created a book that is read with two people sitting across from each other, allowing the illustrations to be viewed differently. What one sees is not the same as what the other sees! This gem is likely to spark some good conversations!
This is a true story about a young boy who finds refuge from the chaos of the city by building treehouses in the trees of Central Park. Unfortunately, each of the treehouses is discovered and removed. Over the course of eight years, Bob Redman builds a total of 13 treehouses in the Central Park trees!
The author first met Bob Redman when she was looking for an arborist to help prune a tree for her! Be sure to read the book jacket flaps for more fun facts.
This book is a fun cross between monsters and classic art. The illustrations have vivid colors and a cute hamster who tends to all the art supplies. The end of the book contains a section with a brief, kid-friendly description of each artist contained within. Fun and educational!
Sharon Creech describes the heart-felt journey of a young boy's love for his dog. The story is told through a poetry journal with the boy's teacher. Be prepared to shed a tear!
A delightful children's book about compassion. Susan Verde shows how each of us is instilled with amazing qualities, yet at the same time capable of making mistakes. The book teaches how to handle our imperfections with grace. Beautiful teamwork (again) with illustrator Peter Reynolds!