Our Chapter & Verse Book Clubs read three books about death, written for children, in April of 2017. We’ve updated this list with newer books in October, 2022. Several of our librarian members stated that they receive many requests from patrons for books that help children understand death. Our members around the country put their heads together to make recommendations of books they felt are excellent stories and discussion starters for families.
Leave it to Avi to find a way to help me look at the Revolutionary War from a new perspective. Make that two. Young Noah is the son of a Loyalist and minister, pledged to the King. When local revolutionaries tar and feather his father, the family flees to Boston. Needing work, Noah finds a job as a British spy and a server in a tavern, where he can easily overhear plans and report on them.
One of my favorite nonfiction picture books so far this year is Odd Bods: the World’s Unusual Animals by Julie Murphy. Here’s a brief description: Long snouts, bright-red lips, pointy heads … the animal kingdom is full of critters with unique features. Learn about the incredible adaptations that help these animals – and their odd bods – survive and thrive all around the globe!
Daylight savings time makes me grumble at having to get up earlier. But, it also means that spring is coming. I start thinking about what seeds I will plant for my garden, and which books I will read to my students, to give them hope when they still see snow on the ground. To encourage planting seeds to save the environment, to brighten spirits, and to instill a sense of connection and possibility, I like to read the following books that focus on gardening and community.
When I was doing lots and lots of author visits, many schools were focusing professional development — and writing instruction — on Six Traits: Voice, Ideas, Presentation, Conventions, Organization, Word Choice, and Sentence Fluency. I liked to show ways that I, a professional writer, also dance and wrestle with those traits. In particular, I liked to focus on ideas and details.
Patience and perseverance are among the hardest things for children to learn. How can we make pressing on in the face of discouragement interesting to kids? By reading them amazing stories of creativity and resilience! Picture book biographies show the satisfying results of persevering over a lifetime. All ages will be inspired by the true tales shared in these ten picture books.
As a child, I was shy and scared — of other kids, dogs, almost anything outside my fence. My parents enrolled me in preschool, hoping I’d blossom. I refused to get out of the car. I had everything I needed at home, including a mom who loved reading to me. My first book memory is Three Bedtime Stories: The Three Little Kittens, The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, illustrated by Garth Williams.
Imagine the joy of a child who never had the privilege of owning a book being able to choose new hardcover or paperback editions for free out of hundreds displayed in front of him. The Children’s Literacy Foundation doesn’t have to imagine. Staff have seen the excited smiles on these young faces for the past 23 years, and they hear the same question wherever they go.
One of my favorite STEM-themed picture book biographies is Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life: Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor by Laurie Wallmark and Katy Wu. Here’s a brief description: To her adoring public, Hedy Lamarr was a glamorous movie star, widely considered the most beautiful woman in the world. But in private, she was a brilliant inventor. During World War II, Hedy collaborated with another inventor to develop an innovative technology called frequency hopping.
Carole Boston Weatherford has been writing since she was in first grade. Her father taught printing and was able to publish those early stories. Weatherford has written dozens of picture books for young readers — and all readers. We cannot be exhaustive here, but we can introduce you to this wonderful writer.
When you grow up in Minnesota, snow is a part of your world. From playing in it until your feet are so cold and wet that your grandmother will scold while you drink hot cocoa to lifting your feet high as you trudge through knee-deep snow to a bus stop that’s farther away than it has ever been, snow is a fixture in your thoughts.
World War II spy Virginia Hall was born and raised on a farm in Maryland. Her parents took her abroad when she was three, awakening a life-long fascination with travel and adventure. She was in France when Hitler was recognized as the threat he was. When Germany overtook France, she became a part of the French Resistance. She used the skills she learned on her family farm to disguise herself as a humble milkmaid who couldn’t possibly be a spy.… more
I’ve known Mike Wohnoutka for many years, from his first SCBWI meeting when he introduced himself and showed samples from his portfolio. His adorable character in Cowboy Sam and Those Confounded Secrets (Kitty Griffin, Kathy Combs), an early book, captured my attention. Here was an illustrator who infused humor into the visual story. Hannukah Bear (Eric A.… more
This month we welcome Tracy Sue Walker, author, public librarian, and professional storyteller. She’s recently been revealing “the truth about” a series of mystical creatures, so far including dragons, Bigfoot, and unicorns, for Scholastic Book Clubs. Tracy describes herself this way, “A booklover, daydreamer, and goofball, I’m pretty quiet unless I’m telling a story, then I’m pretty loud.”
This book will lift you up in its arms and make you believe that “Love is Powerful”! It’s the right choice to help us understand what a group of people can accomplish if they are united in their purpose and moving toward treating all people with love and kindness. Written by Heather Dean Brewer from Michigan and illustrated by LeUyen Pham from California, both of whom marched in the 2017 Women’s Marches, this book is inspired by Mari, a real little girl who traveled with her mother from Harlem to Midtown New York to march with large crowds of people who were protesting inhumane actions and policies of a president who reviled many people.
My fascination with outer space is well-documented. I had star charts on my childhood bedroom walls. But this book would have enthralled me … in fact, it still does. The illustrations by engraver and printmaker Chris Wormell are detailed in a way that aids understanding. Scale is a tough concept for our comprehension but this book tackles that with infographics that give a sense of how enormous our universe is.
When Marsha Qualey began this column six years ago, she had us all on the lookout for books about children’s literature. What would add to our understanding of this very particular community of educators, students, collector, and creators? This book about Helen Oxenbury by Leonard Marcus is a gem, filled with the wisdom of a revered author-illustrator as well as her illustrations and delicious photos that help our understanding.… more
I am delighted by the re-issue of The Range Eternal, a picture book that reaches back into history and connects with our senses, our families, our fears, and our reassurances. I have read all of Louise Erdrich’s books for adults and children. She never fails to bring me new ways of looking at the world. So it is with this book.
The Nature’s Yucky! three-book childrens non-fiction series features animals doing what we humans perceive as gross behaviors. My co-author Karen Shragg and I then describe how these yucky actions help the animals survive. Karen likes to cook and does a lot of experimenting, whipping meals together. Since she likes cooking so much, we include a kid-friendly recipe in every book.… more