Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Archive | Quirky Book Lists

Libraries and Librarians

We’re post­ing this when it’s Nation­al Library Week, but we believe every week should be Library Week. If you love pub­lic, school, and spe­cial libraries as much as we do, add these books to your read­ing list and share them with your favorite read­ers.

As always, if you have a book you believe should be on this list, let us know in the com­ments or send us an e-mail. We’ll most like­ly add it, with a thanks to you.

Bats in the Library  

Bats in the Library
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Lies
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2008

Join the free-for-all fun at the pub­lic library with these book-lov­ing bats! Shape shad­ows on walls, frol­ic in the water foun­tain, and roam the book-filled halls until it’s time for every­one, young and old, to set­tle down into the enchant­ment of sto­ry time. Bri­an Lies’ joy­ful crit­ters and their noc­tur­nal cel­e­bra­tion cast library vis­its in a new light.

 

Book Scavenger  

Book Scav­enger
writ­ten by Jen­nifer Cham­b­liss Bert­man
Hen­ry Holt, 2015

The first of a three-book series joins Emi­ly and James as they try to crack Gar­ri­son Griswold’s online game to find books hid­den in cities all over the coun­try. They work hard to solve puz­zles and sort our clues. Gris­wold has been attacked and lies in a coma in the hos­pi­tal. Will they com­plete the game before and find the secret before Griswold’s assailant comes after them?

 

Dewey the Library Cat  

Dewey the Library Cat: a True Sto­ry
writ­ten by Vic­ki Myron and Bret Wit­ter
Lit­tle, Brown, 2011

When a cat is aban­doned in a library book drop in the mid­dle of win­ter, he is adopt­ed by Spencer, Iowa’s pub­lic library, quick­ly becom­ing a favorite with library patrons. Dewey Read­more Books, a real cat and a true sto­ry, is the cat­a­lyst for a love­ly sto­ry about hope and friend­ship.

 

Down Cut Shin Creek  

Down Cut Shin Creek:
The Pack Horse Librar­i­ans of Ken­tucky

writ­ten by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Can­nel­la Schmitzer
Harper­Collins, 2001

From 1935 to 1943, the WPA paid women to ride into the Appalachi­an hills of Ken­tucky to deliv­er books, mag­a­zines, pam­phlets, and oth­er read­ing mate­ri­als to peo­ple who lived in hard-to-reach loca­tions. The Pack Horse Library Project was inno­v­a­tive in help­ing to raise peo­ple up dur­ing the Great Depres­sion. The pho­tos in this book are evoca­tive of the era. Very inspir­ing.

 

Dreamers  

Dream­ers
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Yuyi Morales
Neal Porter Books, 2018
(con­tributed by Dr. Hei­di Ham­mond)

Shar­ing her own sto­ry about immi­grat­ing to this coun­try from Mex­i­co with her young son, we learn that they did not have an easy time of it. By vis­it­ing the pub­lic library, they learned the lan­guage of their new home. It is a book about becom­ing a cre­ative artist despite heart-break­ing chal­lenges. It is a beau­ti­ful book, illus­trat­ed with Ms. Morales’ charis­mat­ic vision. “We are two languages./ We are lucha./ We are resilience./ We are hope.”

 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library  

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
writ­ten by Chris Graben­stein
Ran­dom House, 2013

Kyle Kee­ley, who would rather play board games and video games than do any­thing else, is invit­ed to a sleep­over at his hometown’s brand new library, cre­at­ed by Lui­gi Lemon­cel­lo, the game inven­tor Kyle admires most. There are games galore and lots of fun but when morn­ing rolls around, the doors mys­te­ri­ous­ly stay locked. Kyle and the oth­er game-play­ers have to solve the games and puz­zles or they won’t get out. Lots of fun.

The Haunted Library

 

The Haunt­ed Library
writ­ten by Dori Hillestad But­ler, illus­trat­ed by Aurore Damant
Gros­set & Dun­lap, 2014 (a series)

There’s a ghost haunt­ing the library. Kaz is a boy ghost who is forced to move when the build­ing he and his fam­i­ly haunt is torn down. He meets a real girl, Claire, who can see ghosts. She lives above the library. Will the two of them be able to solve the mys­tery to fig­ure out who the library’s ghost is and what they’re doing there?

The Imaginary  

The Imag­i­nary
by A.F. Har­rold
illus­trat­ed by Emi­ly Gravett
Blooms­bury, 2015

Aman­da Shuf­fle­up has an imag­i­nary friend, Rudger. Nobody else can see Rudger … until the evil Mr. Bunting knocks on the door. He wants to eat Rudger because that’s how he con­tin­ues to live. Aman­da dis­ap­pears and Rudger is alone. He must find her and he has to escape from Bunting. Soon, he finds him­self in a library filled with imag­in­ery friends who are try­ing not to fade out of exis­tence … or be eat­en. It’s a delight­ful­ly spooky and off­beat mid­dle grade nov­el.

 

Librarian of Basra  

Librar­i­an of Bas­ra: A True Sto­ry from Iraq
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jean­nette Win­ter
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2005
(con­tributed by Ani­ta Dualeh)

Alia Muham­mad Bak­er is a librar­i­an in Bas­ra, Iraq. For many years, her library has been a meet­ing place for those who love books. Until war comes to Bas­ra. Alia fears that the library, along with thir­ty thou­sand books in its col­lec­tion, will be destroyed for­ev­er.

In a war-strick­en coun­try where civil­ians, espe­cial­ly women, have lit­tle pow­er, this true sto­ry about a librarian’s strug­gle to save her community’s price­less col­lec­tion of books reminds us all how, through­out the world, the love of lit­er­a­ture and the respect for knowl­edge know no bound­aries

 

Libraries of Minnesota  

Libraries of Min­neso­ta
text by Will Weaver, Pete Haut­man, John Coy, Nan­cy Carl­son, Mar­sha Wil­son Chall, David LaRochelle, and Kao Kalia Yang
pho­tog­ra­phy by Doug Ohman
Min­neso­ta His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety Press, 2011

Does your state have a book hon­or­ing its many libraries? If it doesn’t, you’re miss­ing a treat. This book shares the sto­ries of a num­ber of children’s and YA book authors who fond­ly remem­ber their expe­ri­ences at the library, accom­pa­nied by a mas­ter­ful photographer’s images from those and many oth­er libraries.

 

The Library  

The Library
by Sarah Stew­art
illus­trat­ed by David Small
Far­rar, Staus, Giroux, 1995
(con­tributed by Beth Raff)

Eliz­a­beth Brown loves to read more than she likes to do any­thing else. She col­lects books and soon they are mak­ing it hard to open the door to her house. So many books! What to do? Why, start a lend­ing library of course! A charm­ing book with beau­ti­ful illus­tra­tions.

 

Library Lil  

Library Lil
by Susanne Williams
illus­trat­ed by Steven Kel­logg
Pen­guin, 2001

From the day she was born, Lil had a book in her hand…so it’s no sur­prise when she grows up to become a librar­i­an her­self. She even man­ages to turn the peo­ple of Chesterville—who are couch potatoes—into read­ers. But then Bust-’em-up Bill roars into town with his motor­cy­cle gang. Just men­tion read­ing to him and you’re toast. Has Lil final­ly met her match? This orig­i­nal tall tale by a real-life librar­i­an, com­bined with Steven Kellogg’s trade­mark humor, is great fun.

 

Library Lion  

Library Lion 
by Michelle Knud­sen
illus­trat­ed by Kevin Hawkes
Can­dlewick Press, 2006

Miss Mer­ri­weath­er, the head librar­i­an, is very par­tic­u­lar about rules in the library. No run­ning allowed. And you must be qui­et. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. This is an endear­ing book and a good read-aloud.

 

Lola at the Library

 

Lola at the Library
writ­ten by Anna McQuinn
illus­trat­ed by Ros­alind Beard­shaw
Charles­bridge, 2006

A good sto­ry for intro­duc­ing young read­ers to the library. She and her mom­my go to the library every Tues­day, where Lola has dis­cov­ered friends. They share books, lis­ten to the librar­i­an tell them sto­ries, and engage in play. They don’t even have to be qui­et! No won­der Lola loves the library.

Lost in the Library: a Story of Patience and Fortitude

 

Lost in the Library: A Sto­ry of Patience and For­ti­tude
writ­ten by Josh Funk
illus­trat­ed by Ste­vie Lewis
Hen­ry Holt, 2018

Did you know that the lions in front of the New York Pub­lic Library are named Patience and For­ti­tude? Well, now you know. When Patience goes miss­ing, For­ti­tude does his best to find her. Where should he look? He begins at the Library …

The Man Who Loved Libraries

 

The Man Who Loved Libraries:
The Sto­ry of Andrew Carnegie

writ­ten by Andrew Larsen
illus­trat­ed by Kat­ty Mau­rey
OwlKids, 2017
(con­tributed by Beth Raff)

Andrew Carnegie arrived in Amer­i­ca in the 1840s, hav­ing emi­grat­ed from Scot­land. His work­ing class fam­i­ly raised him to believe in hard work and deter­mi­na­tion. He worked hard and invest­ed in telegraphs and rail­roads, even­tu­al­ly becom­ing the rich­est man in the world. He believed in phil­an­thropy, donat­ing more than 2,000 libraries around the world. He changed the land­scape of pub­lic libraries and how peo­ple think about books and read­ing.

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

 

Miss Moore Thought Oth­er­wise: How Anne Car­roll Moore Cre­at­ed Libraries for Chil­dren
writ­ten by Jan Pin­bor­ough
illus­trat­ed by Deb­by Atwell
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2013

There was a time when Amer­i­can chil­dren couldn’t bor­row library books. Many thought it wasn’t impor­tant for chil­dren to read. Luck­i­ly Miss Anne Car­roll Moore thought oth­er­wise! This is the true sto­ry of how Miss Moore cre­at­ed the first children’s room at the New York Pub­lic Library, a bright, warm room filled with art­work, win­dow seats, and most impor­tant of all, bor­row­ing priv­i­leges for the world’s best children’s books in many dif­fer­ent lan­guages.

No. T.Rex in the Library

 

No T.Rex in the Library
writ­ten by Toni Buzzeo
illus­trat­ed by Sachiko Yoshikawa
Mar­garet K. McElder­ry Books, 2010

It’s a qui­et morn­ing in the library until a lit­tle girl roars out of con­trol! Tess resigns her­self to a time-out, but finds that she must be the one who has to main­tain order when T.Rex leaps from the pages of a book into real life. Will the library ever be the same?

Pete the Cat Checks Out the Library

 

Pete the Cat Checks Out the Library
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by James Dean
Harper­Collins, 2018

When Pete the Cat vis­its the library for the first time, he takes a tour and reads some of the cool sto­ries. With­out even leav­ing the library, Pete goes on groovy adven­tures. All Pete needs is a lit­tle imagination—and of course, his library card!

Planting Stories

 

Plant­i­ng Sto­ries:
The Life of Librar­i­an and Sto­ry­teller Pura Bel­pré

writ­ten by Ani­ka Aldamuy Denise
illus­trat­ed by Pao­la Esco­bar
Harper­Collins, 2019

When she came to Amer­i­ca in 1921, Pura Bel­pré car­ried the cuen­tos folk­lóri­cos of her Puer­to Rican home­land. Find­ing a new home at the New York Pub­lic Library as a bilin­gual assis­tant, she turned her pop­u­lar retellings into libros and spread sto­ry seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush land­scape as gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren and sto­ry­tellers con­tin­ue to share her tales and cel­e­brate Pura’s lega­cy.

Properly Unhaunted Place

 

Prop­er­ly Unhaunt­ed Place
writ­ten by William Alexan­der
Mar­garet K. McElder­ry Books, 2017

Ingot is the only ghost-free town in the world. When Rosa moves to Ingot with her moth­er, she can’t fig­ure out why they’re there. Rosa’s moth­er is a ghost-appease­ment librar­i­an. Her job is to keep ghosts out of the library, but there are none. Or is that true? Rosa joins forces with Jasper, long-time Ingot res­i­dent, to solve the mys­tery and keep the angry spir­its from attack­ing the town and the library. It’s a fast-paced and humor­ous tale. A page-turn­er for mid­dle grade read­ers.

A sec­ond book, A Fes­ti­val of Ghosts, con­tin­ues the sto­ry.

Ron's Big Mission

 

Ron’s Big Mis­sion
writ­ten by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden
illus­trat­ed by Don Tate
Dut­ton, 2009
(con­tributed by Dr. Hei­di Ham­mond)

Nine-year-old Ron loves going to the Lake City Pub­lic Library to look through all the books on air­planes and flight. Today, Ron is ready to take out books by him­self. But in the seg­re­gat­ed world of South Car­oli­na in the 1950s, Ron’s obtain­ing his own library card is not just a small rite of passage—it is a young man’s first coura­geous mis­sion. Here is an inspir­ing sto­ry, based on Ron McNair’s life, of how a lit­tle boy, future sci­en­tist, and Chal­lenger astro­naut deseg­re­gat­ed his library through peace­ful resis­tance.

Schomburg

 

Schom­burg: The Man Who Built a Library
writ­ten by Car­ole Boston Weath­er­ford
illus­trat­ed by Eric Velasquez
Can­dlewick Press, 2017

Amid the schol­ars, poets, authors, and artists of the Harlem Renais­sance stood an Afro–Puerto Rican named Arturo Schom­burg. This law clerk’s life’s pas­sion was to col­lect books, let­ters, music, and art from Africa and the African dias­po­ra and bring to light the achieve­ments of peo­ple of African descent through the ages. When Schomburg’s col­lec­tion became so big it began to over­flow his house, he turned to the New York Pub­lic Library, where he cre­at­ed and curat­ed a col­lec­tion that was the cor­ner­stone of a new Negro Divi­sion. A cen­tu­ry lat­er, his ground­break­ing col­lec­tion, known as the Schom­burg Cen­ter for Research in Black Cul­ture, has become a bea­con to schol­ars all over the world.

That Book Woman

 

That Book Woman
writ­ten by Heather Hen­son
illus­trat­ed by David Small
Atheneum, 2008
(con­tributed by Ani­ta Dualeh)

Cal doesn’t like to read so he has a hard time under­stand­ing why that book woman rides up to his house over some of the tough­est ter­rain in Appalachia just to bring his sis­ter more to read. He admires the per­sis­tence of this Pack Horse Librar­i­an, though, and read­ers of this book will be awed by how this WPA lit­er­a­cy projects turned so many peo­ple into life­long read­ers.

Tomas and the Library Lady

 

Tomás and the Library Lady
writ­ten by Pat Mora
illus­trat­ed by Raul Colón
Knopf, 19972

Based on the true sto­ry of the Mex­i­can-Amer­i­can author and edu­ca­tor Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant work­ers who went on to become the first minor­i­ty Chan­cel­lor in the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia sys­tem, this inspi­ra­tional sto­ry sug­gests what libraries—and education—can make pos­si­ble.

When the Library Lights Go Out

 

When the Library Lights Go Out
writ­ten by Megan McDon­ald
illus­trat­ed by Kater­ine Tillot­son
Atheneum, 20015

When the library clos­es at night, have you imag­ined what goes on inside? Three sto­ry-hour pup­pets believe the “closed” sign means “open for adven­ture.” At first there are only Rab­bit and Lion. Her­mit Crab is miss­ing. Where can she be in the library dark­ness? Find out for your­self when—magically—only pup­pets are mov­ing about in the library.

Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?

 

Who Stole the Wiz­ard of Oz?
writ­ten by Avi
Knopf, 1981

When a rare edi­tion of The Wiz­ard of Oz is miss­ing from the local library, Becky is accused of steal­ing it. She and her twin broth­er Toby set out to catch the real thief and prove her inno­cence. Clues clev­er­ly hid­den in four oth­er books lead to a hid­den treasure—and a grip­ping adven­ture. A good read-aloud for ear­ly grades.

Read more...

The Animals in The Stuff of Stars

The Stuff of StarsWhen I first read The Stuff of Stars by Mar­i­on Dane Bauer and Ekua Holmes, I was cap­ti­vat­ed by the beau­ty of the book and its lyri­cal thoughts about the earth and our envi­ron­ment. Ms. Holmes’ illus­tra­tions invite us to look clos­er, to dis­cern the crea­tures she’s so art­ful­ly includ­ed. Ms. Bauer’s text includes a list of ani­mals that roam the earth, bring­ing to mind all of the sto­ries and facts about these spe­cif­ic ani­mals, birds, insects, and rep­tiles.

We thought it would be help­ful to pull togeth­er a Quirky Book List that you could use for dis­cus­sions in your class­room, research units, book dis­plays on The Stuff of Stars theme, or inde­pen­dent read­ing. Be sure to refer to Bookol­o­gy’s Book­storm for The Stuff of Stars for more resources that com­ple­ment this book.

BEETLES
Bonkers about Beetles  

Bonkers about Bee­tles
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Owen Davies
Fly­ing Eye Books, 2018

Fun and fas­ci­nat­ing infor­ma­tion about the tough­est bugs in the world. The illus­tra­tions are incred­i­ble but the facts will astound young read­ers.

 

Masterpiece  

Mas­ter­piece
writ­ten by Elise Broach
illus­trat­ed by Kel­ly Mur­phy
Hen­ry Holt, 2008

Mar­vin, the bee­tle, lives under the kitchen sink in the Pom­pa­days’ apart­ment. James Pom­pa­day is an eleven-year-old boy who lives in the same apart­ment. When James receives a pen-and-ink set for his birth­day, Mar­vin sur­pris­es him with an intri­cate draw­ing. Soon, these two friends are drawn into a staged heist of an Albrecht Dür­er draw­ing at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art.

 

One Beetle Too Many  

One Bee­tle Too Many:
The Extra­or­di­nary Adven­tures of Charles Dar­win
writ­ten by Kathryn Lasky
illus­trat­ed by Matthew True­man
Can­dlewick Press, 2009

A child­hood of col­lect­ing spec­i­mens, espe­cial­ly bee­tles, Charles Dar­win was a nat­u­ral­ist to his very toes, hap­pi­est when he was sail­ing The Bea­gle to South Amer­i­ca to observe the flo­ra and fau­na. Lasky writes the sto­ry of Darwin’s life in a way that reveals the com­plex man who chal­lenged the world’s think­ing.

BLUEBIRDS

Bluebird

 

Blue­bird
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lind­sey Yankey
Sim­ply Read Books, 2014

Lit­tle Blue­bird awak­ens one morn­ing to find the wind miss­ing. She and wind always fly togeth­er. Deter­mined to find the way, Blue­bird sets off on a clever, well-illus­trat­ed, heart­warm­ing jour­ney.

 

Bluebird  

Blue­bird
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bob Staake
Schwartz & Wade, 2013

In this emo­tion­al pic­ture book, read­ers will be cap­ti­vat­ed as they fol­low the jour­ney of a blue­bird as he devel­ops a friend­ship with a young boy and ulti­mate­ly risks his life to save the boy from harm.

 

Captivating Bluebirds  

Cap­ti­vat­ing Blue­birds:
Excep­tion­al Images and Obser­va­tions
writ­ten and pho­tographed by Stan Tekiela
Adven­ture Pub­li­ca­tions, 2008

Although not strict­ly a children’s book, Tekiela’s out­stand­ing pho­tographs will keep children’s atten­tion as you share some of the intrigu­ing facts on each page.

 

What Bluebirds Do

 

What Blue­birds Do
writ­ten by Pamela Kir­by
Boyds Mills Press, 2009

After a male and female blue­bird select a place to nest, they raise a young fam­i­ly of hatch­lings, feed­ing them and encour­ag­ing them to fly off on their own. Excel­lent pho­tographs illus­trate this book.

BUTTERFLIES

Caterpillar to Butterfly

 

Cater­pil­lar to But­ter­fly
writ­ten by Lau­ra Marsh
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Kids, 2012

This ear­ly read­er gives kids an close-up look, through stel­lar pho­tographs, at how a cater­pil­lar becomes a but­ter­fly. The book includes infor­ma­tion about the dif­fer­ent types of but­ter­flies and poi­so­nous cater­pil­lars.

How to Hide a Butterfly

 

How to Hide a But­ter­fly & Oth­er Insects
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ruth Heller
Gros­set & Dun­lap, 1992

Each page invites the read­er to hunt for the but­ter­fly or bee or inch­worm, all the while nar­rat­ed by Heller’s dis­tinc­tive poet­ic text.

A Place for Butterflies

 

A Place for But­ter­flies
writ­ten by Melis­sa Stew­art
illus­trat­ed by Hig­gins Bond
Peachtree Press, 2006

By fram­ing but­ter­flies as a vital­ly inter­con­nect­ed part of our world, this book teach­es about behav­ior and habi­tat, while encour­ag­ing efforts to pre­serve forests and mead­ows, cut­ting down on pes­ti­cides.

CRICKETS

Cricket in Times Square

 

CLASSIC
A Crick­et in Times Square
writ­ten by George Selden
illus­trat­ed by Garth Williams
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 1960

When Chester Crick­et hops into a pic­nic bas­ket, lured by the smell of liv­er­wurst, this coun­try crick­et is trans­port­ed to Times Square. There, he’s giv­en a com­fy home by Mario Belli­ni, and becomes friends with Tuck­er Mouse and Har­ry Cat. And yet, Chester’s coun­try home calls to him. A favorite of young read­ers for more than 50 years!

Oscar and the Cricket

 

Oscar and the Crick­et
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Geoff War­ing
Can­dlewick Press, 2009

A begin­ning sci­ence book that teach­es about mov­ing and rolling. One day Oscar sees a ball in the grass. “Try push­ing it!” says Crick­et. Oscar learns that the ball rolls slow­ly in grass and faster on a path, until it bounces off a tree and changes direc­tion. Some things need a push to move, and oth­ers use their mus­cles to move themselves—and to move plen­ty of oth­er things, too.

Quick as a Cricket

 

Quick as a Crick­et
writ­ten by Audrey Wood
illus­trat­ed by Don Wood
Child’s Play Library, 1982.

I’m as quick as a crick­et, I’m as slow as a snail. I’m as small as an ant, I’m as large as a whale.” The young child plays with imag­i­na­tion and words, illus­trat­ed with fun and ram­bunc­tious inter­pre­ta­tion.

FROGS

Frog and Toad Are Friends

 

CLASSIC
Frog and Toad Are Friends
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Arnold Lobel
Harper­Collins, 1970.

The beloved tale of two friends who are always there for each oth­er, whether it’s find­ing a lost but­ton or going swim­ming or writ­ing let­ters.

The Frog Book

 

The Frog Book
writ­ten by Robin Page
illus­trat­ed by Steve Jenk­ins
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2019

With more than 5,000 dif­fer­ent frog species on the plan­et, in every col­or of the rain­bow and a vast num­ber of vivid pat­terns, no crea­tures are more fas­ci­nat­ing to learn about or look at. Jenk­ins and Page present a stun­ning array of these intrigu­ing amphib­ians and the many amaz­ing adap­ta­tions they have made to sur­vive. An excel­lent non­fic­tion pic­ture book.

It's Mine!

 

It’s Mine!
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Leo Leon­ni
Scholas­tic, 1986

Three frogs con­stant­ly fight and bick­er over who gets to eat the lat­est hap­less insect. But a toad and a storm help them real­ize that there are mer­its to shar­ing.

GIRAFFES

Giraffes

 

Giraffes
writ­ten by Lin­da Marsh
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Read­ers, 2016

A true book, with inter­est­ing facts and teach­ing points for begin­ning read­ers. Giraffes are fas­ci­nat­ing crea­tures. The text and pho­tos in this book are engag­ing and mem­o­rable.

Giraffes Can't Dance

 

Giraffes Can’t Dance
writ­ten by Giles Andreae
illus­trat­ed by Guy Park­er-Rees
Orchard Books, 2001

Ger­ald the giraffe is excit­ed to go to the dance but the oth­er ani­mals tell him he can’t dance because he has knob­by knees and skin­ny legs and he’ll look sil­ly. Ger­ald slinks away, unhap­py, until a kind voice tells him to dance to a dif­fer­ent song. Soon Ger­ald is danc­ing so beau­ti­ful­ly that the oth­er ani­mals gath­er to watch and admire.

Stay Close to Mama

 

Stay Close to Mama
writ­ten by Toni Buzzeo
illus­trat­ed by Mike Wohnout­ka
Dis­ney / Hype­r­i­on, 2012

Twiga is curi­ous and wants to explore, but Mama knows about the dan­gers of the savan­nah and wants to pro­tect lit­tle Twiga. An excel­lent read-aloud with engag­ing illus­tra­tions.

HAWKS

Hawk Rising

 

Hawk Ris­ing
writ­ten by Maria Gian­fer­rari
illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Flo­ca
Roar­ing Brook Press, 2018

A father red-tailed hawk hunts prey for his fam­i­ly in a sub­ur­ban neigh­bor­hood in this thrilling, fierce non­fic­tion pic­ture book. Infor­ma­tive book writ­ten in sen­so­ry, poet­ic, per­cep­tive text with Bri­an Floca’s stun­ning illus­tra­tions.

Tale of Pale Male

 

Tale of Pale Male: a True Sto­ry
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jeanette Win­ter
Har­court, 2007

When a red-tailed hawk makes its nest on top of a New York City apart­ment build­ing, the res­i­dents remove the nest, pro­test­ers raise their voic­es, and even­tu­al­ly bird­ers rejoice.

Birds of Prey

 

Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Fal­cons,
and Vul­tures of North Amer­i­ca
writ­ten by Pete Dunne, with Kevin T. Karl­son
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2017

A book of nature writ­ing that dou­bles as a field guide, this is a well-researched and -writ­ten book with accom­pa­ny­ing pho­tos.

HIPPOPOTAMUSES

Mama for Owen

 

A Mama for Owen
writ­ten by Mar­i­on Dane Bauer
illus­trat­ed by John But­ler
Simon & Schus­ter, 2007

When an African baby hip­po is sep­a­rat­ed from its moth­er dur­ing the Indi­an Ocean Tsuna­mi of 2004, it bonds with a giant tor­toise. This is a gen­tle per­spec­tive on the true sto­ry.

I've Lost My Hiippopotamus

 

I’ve Lost My Hip­popota­mus
poems by Jack Pre­lut­sky
illus­trat­ed by Jack­ie Urbanovic
Green­wil­low, 2012

Short, rhyth­mic poems about ani­mals that are ide­al for ear­ly read­ers.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus

 

How to Clean a Hip­popota­mus:
A Look at Unusu­al Ani­mal Part­ner­ships
writ­ten by Robin Page
illus­trat­ed by Steve Jenk­ins
HMH Books for Younger Read­ers, 2010

A non­fic­tion book about ani­mal sym­bio­sis, fea­tur­ing the hip­popota­mus as well as oth­er ani­mals.

Saving Fiona

 

Sav­ing Fiona:
The Sto­ry of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hip­po
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Thane May­nard
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2018

The sto­ry of the first pre­ma­ture baby hip­po born in cap­tiv­i­ty, raised at the Cincin­nati Zoo & Botan­i­cal Gar­den.

George and Martha

 

CLASSIC
George and Martha
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by James Mar­shall
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 1972

Legions of fans love these sto­ries about two hip­pos who rev­el in being friends.

HORSES

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses

 

The Girl Who Loved Wild Hors­es
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Paul Gob­le
Atheneum, 2001

Though she is fond of her peo­ple, a girl prefers to live among the wild hors­es where she is tru­ly hap­py and free.

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

 

Leroy Ninker Sad­dles Up
writ­ten by Kate DiCamil­lo
illus­trat­ed by Chris Van Dusen
Can­dlewick Press, 2014

Leroy Ninker has all the trap­pings of a cow­boy, but he doesn’t have a horse. Then he meets May­belline, a horse who loves spaghet­ti and hav­ing sweet noth­ings whis­pered in her ear. Will their rela­tion­ship mean an end to Leroy’s lone­li­ness?

Misty of Chincoteague

 

CLASSIC
Misty of Chin­coteague
writ­ten by Mar­garet Hen­ry
illus­trat­ed by Wes­ley Den­nis
Rand McNal­ly, 1947

On the island of Chin­coteague off the coasts of Vir­ginia and Mary­land lives a cen­turies-old band of wild ponies. Among them is the most mys­te­ri­ous of all, Phan­tom, a rarely seen mare that eludes all efforts to cap­ture her—that is, until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and deter­mine that they can’t live with­out her.

Rosie's Magic Horse

 

Rosie’s Mag­ic Horse
writ­ten by Rus­sell Hoban
illus­trat­ed by Quentin Blake
Can­dlewick Press, 2013

Rosie puts a dis­card ice-pop stick into a box, but the stick wants to be some­thing! When Rosie dreams of a horse named Stick­eri­no, the ice-pop stick trans­forms, gal­lop­ing out of the box. “Where to?” he asks. “Any­where with trea­sure!”

JELLYFISH

I Am Jellyfish

 

I Am Jel­ly­fish
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ruth Paul
Pen­guin, 2018

Jel­ly­fish is chased into the ocean depths by Shark. Shark is attached by Squid. Who will save Shark? Jel­ly­fish!

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish

 

Peanut But­ter and Jel­ly­fish
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jar­rett J. Krosocz­ka
Knopf, 2014

Peanut But­ter, a sea­horse, and Jel­ly­fish are best friends. Crab­by is NOT their best friend. But when Crab­by gets into trou­ble, will Peanut But­ter and Jel­ly­fish help? Of course they will.

The Thing about Jellyfish

 

The Thing About Jel­ly­fish
writ­ten by Ali Ben­jamin
Lit­tle, Brown, 2015

For a mid­dle grade read­er: Suzi con­vinces her­self that her friend Fran­ny drowned because she was stung by a rare jel­ly­fish. Suzi explores her the­o­ry and comes to real­ize many truths that make it pos­si­ble for her to grow past her grief and remorse.

LARKS

Ostrich and Lark

 

Ostrich and Lark
writ­ten by Mar­i­lyn Nel­son
illus­trat­ed by the San artists of Botswana
Boyds Mills Press, 2012

This pic­ture book about an unlike­ly friend­ship is the result of col­lab­o­ra­tion between the award-win­ning poet Mar­i­lyn Nel­son and the San artists of Botswana. The sto­ry, which cap­tures the feel of a tra­di­tion­al African folk­tale, is brought to life with vibrant illus­tra­tions inspired by the ancient rock paint­ings of the San people’s ances­tors.

LIONS

Deadliest Animals

 

Dead­liest Ani­mals
writ­ten by Melis­sa Stew­art
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Children’s Books, 2011

Fas­ci­nat­ing facts about the most threat­en­ing ani­mals in the world, includ­ing lions, writ­ten on an ear­ly read­er lev­el.

Eli

 

Eli
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bill Peet
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 1978

A decrepit lion despis­es a vul­ture, but he soon learns about friend­ship from his pesky vis­i­tor.

Library Lion

 

Library Lion
writ­ten by Michelle Knud­sen
illus­trat­ed by Kevin Hawkes
Can­dlewick Press, 2006

Miss Mer­ri­weath­er is a librar­i­an with a lot of rules for her library. When a lion appears one day, there isn’t a rule to cov­er it. What will they do? The lion res­cues the library, which finds a place for him.

Lion and the Mouse

 

The Lion and the Mouse
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jer­ry Pinkney
Lit­tle, Brown Books, 2009

A book about a devel­op­ing friend­ship between an unlike­ly pair, with ele­ments of fam­i­ly bonds woven into the famil­iar fable. African ani­mals are beau­ti­ful­ly depict­ed in the Calde­cott-win­ning illus­tra­tions for this book.

SHARKS

Great White Shark Adventure

 

Great White Shark Adven­ture
writ­ten by James O. Fraioli and Fabi­en Cousteau
illus­trat­ed by Joe St. Pierre
Mar­garet K. McElder­ry Books, 2019

Graph­ic nov­el. Junior explor­ers Bel­la and Mar­cus join famed explor­er Fabi­en Cousteau and his research team as they embark on an ocean jour­ney off the coast of South Africa, where the world’s largest con­cen­tra­tions of great white sharks are found. Their mis­sion is to inves­ti­gate a sight­ing of a mas­sive white shark and tag it so they can track and pro­tect it. 

If Sharks DIsappeared

 

If Sharks Dis­ap­peared
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lily Williams
Roar­ing Brook Press, 2017

Even though sharks can be scary, we need them to keep the oceans healthy. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, due to over­fish­ing, many shark species are in dan­ger of extinc­tion, and that can cause big prob­lems in the oceans and even on land.

Shark vs Train

 

Shark vs Train
writ­ten by Chris Bar­ton
illus­trat­ed by Tom Licht­en­held
Lit­tle, Brown, 2010

Smack talk­ing, Shark and Train are pit­ted against each oth­er in this wild and crazy book about what would help them gain suprema­cy in a vari­ety of sit­u­a­tions. Fun!

SNAILS

The Biggest House in the World

 

CLASSIC
The Biggest House in the World
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Leo Lion­ni
Knopf, 1968

A young snail is deter­mined to have the biggest shell in the world until his father tells him a gen­tle fable about the respon­si­bil­i­ty and weight of car­ry­ing around that type of shell.

The End of the Beginning

 

The End of the Begin­ning:
Being the Adven­tures of a Small Snail
(and an Even Small­er Ant)
writ­ten by Avi
illus­trat­ed by Tri­cia Tusa
Har­court, 2004

Avon the snail sets out on an adven­ture because that’s what every­one does. They encounter a drag­on in dis­guise, the begin­ning of the sky, and a mag­ic cas­tle. Along the way, they dis­cov­er friend­ship. It’s a great read-aloud for kinder­garten and up.

The Snail and the Whale

 

The Snail and the Whale
writ­ten by Julia Don­ald­son
illus­trat­ed by Axel Schef­fler
Dial Books, 2004

A tiny snail and a hump­back whale set out to trav­el the world, explor­ing the oceans, under­wa­ter caves, and the skies. When the whale is strand­ed on the beach, will the snail be able to save him?

SPIDERS

Charlotte's Web

 

CLASSIC
Charlotte’s Web
writ­ten by E.B. White
illus­trat­ed by Garth Williams
Harp­er & Bros, 1952

Some Pig. Hum­ble. Radi­ant.These are the words in Charlotte’s web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spi­der­web tells of her feel­ings for a lit­tle pig named Wilbur, who sim­ply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his lit­ter.

Spiders

 

Spi­ders
writ­ten by Lau­ra Marsh
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Children’s Books, 2011

Spi­ders are every­where. And there are so many kinds of spi­ders! Some red, some blue, yel­low, and more … all fas­ci­nat­ing. Amaz­ing pho­tog­ra­phy and easy-to-under­stand text makes Spi­ders a hit.

Very Busy Spider

 

CLASSIC
Very Busy Spi­der
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Eric Car­le
Philomel, 1985

Ear­ly one morn­ing a lit­tle spi­der spins her web on a fence post. One by one, the ani­mals of the near­by farm try to dis­tract her, yet the busy lit­tle spi­der keeps dili­gent­ly at her work. When she is done, she is able to show every­one that not only is her cre­ation quite beau­ti­ful, it is also quite use­ful!

WHALES

Amos & Boris

 

CLASSIC
Amos & Boris
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by William Steig
Far­rar, Straus and Giroux, 1971

Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devot­ed pair of friends with noth­ing at all in com­mon, except good hearts and a will­ing­ness to help their fel­low mam­mal. They meet after Amos sets out to sail the sea and finds him­self in extreme need of res­cue. And there will come a day, long after Boris has gone back to a life at sea and Amos has gone back to life on dry land, when the tiny mouse must find a way to res­cue the great whale.

Breathe

 

Breathe
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Scott Magoon
Simon & Schus­ter, 2004

A good book for young chil­dren, this looks at the life of a baby whale who ven­tures out on his own for the first time, engag­ing in adven­tures, and return­ing home to his mom.

Whales

 

Whales
writ­ten by Sey­mour Simon
Collins, 2006

This non­fic­tion book is full of infor­ma­tion about cows, calves, feed­ing, habi­tat, and the 90 species of whales around the world. From a mas­ter researcher and writer of non­fic­tion for young read­ers.

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The BEARdecotts

The ALA/ALSC recent­ly announced their Youth Media Awards, result­ing in much excite­ment.

The teacher librar­i­ans at a Min­neso­ta pri­vate school with three cam­pus­es help their stu­dents look for excel­lence in children’s books by hold­ing their own award process each year. Called The BEARde­cotts, after their school mas­cot, the edu­ca­tors select books for a short list that they then share with their stu­dents over sev­er­al months, read­ing aloud, read­ing indi­vid­u­al­ly, mak­ing crit­i­cal analy­ses, and final­ly vot­ing on the most wor­thy books.

Many of the choic­es this year reflect a theme of anx­i­ety, an emo­tion that is preva­lent among young stu­dents every­where.

The books in this year’s short list are list­ed below, in no par­tic­u­lar order.

The win­ners at the two ele­men­tary schools are:

Pota­to Pants! by Lau­rie Keller and Drawn Togeth­er by Minh Le and Dan San­tat

Is this a lit­er­a­cy expe­ri­ence you’d like to repli­cate in your school?

Patchwork Bike  

Patch­work Bike
writ­ten by Max­ine Bene­ba Clark
illus­trat­ed by Van Thanh Rudd
Can­dlewick Press, 2018

 

Sea Creatures from the Sky  

Sea Crea­tures from the Sky
Writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ricar­do Cortés
Black Sheep, 2018

 

Shaking Things Up  

Shak­ing Things Up:
14 Young Women Who Changed the World

writ­ten by Susan Hood
illus­trat­ed by 13 Extra­or­di­nary Women: Seli­na Alko, Sophie Black­all, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hoop­er, Emi­ly Win­field Mar­tin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Pala­cios, LeUyen Pham, Erin Robin­son, Isabel Rox­as, Shadra Strick­land, and Melis­sa Sweet
HarperCollins,2018

Imagine

 

Imag­ine
writ­ten by Juan Felippe Her­rera
illus­trat­ed by Lau­ren Castil­lo
Can­dlewick Press, 2018

Read Bookol­o­gy’s rec­om­men­da­tion for this book.

Wall in the Middle of This Book  

Wall in the Mid­dle of the Book
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jon Agee
Dial Books, 2018

 

Julian is a Mermaid  

Julián is a Mer­maid 
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Jes­si­ca Love
Can­dlewick Press, 2018

 

A Big Moon Cake for Little Star

 

A Big Moon­cake for Lit­tle Star
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Grace Lin
Lit­tle Brown, 2018

Potato Pants!

 

Pota­to Pants!
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lau­rie Keller
Hen­ry Holt, 2018

The top choice by stu­dents at one of the two ele­men­tary schools, win­ner of the 2019 Bearde­cott.

Me and My Fear

 

Me and My Fear
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Francesca San­na
Fly­ing Eye Books, 2018

Drawn Together

 

Drawn Togeth­er
writ­ten by Minh Le
illus­trat­ed by Dan San­tat
Disney/Hyperion, 2018

The top choice by stu­dents at one of the two ele­men­tary schools, win­ner of the 2019 Bearde­cott.

 

 

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Poetry Books That Celebrate
African American History and Culture

Poet­ry and the spo­ken word have promi­nent places in African Amer­i­can cul­ture, due at least in part to a strong oral tra­di­tion that has been passed down through gen­er­a­tions. Con­sid­er includ­ing poems from the books below in your read-alouds this month, and the year ahead, as a way to high­light the con­tri­bu­tions of African Amer­i­cans to our nation’s his­to­ry and cul­ture. These pic­ture books offer options for intro­duc­ing your audi­ences (of any age) to the works of some out­stand­ing African Amer­i­can writ­ers and illus­tra­tors.

Brothers & Sisters Family Poems  

Broth­ers and Sis­ters: Fam­i­ly Poems
Writ­ten by Eloise Green­field
Illus­trat­ed by Jan Spivey Gilchrist
Harper­Collins Children’s Books, 2009

This book cel­e­brates the uni­ver­sal joys and chal­lenges of being a part of a fam­i­ly, includ­ing thoughts on rec­on­cil­ing griev­ances, get­ting along with old­er, younger, or step sib­lings, and being a twin. Just about every­one who has a broth­er or sis­ter can prob­a­bly find some­thing that res­onates with them among the poems in this book.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy  

Thir­teen Ways of Look­ing at a Black Boy
Writ­ten by Tony Med­i­na
Illus­trat­ed by 13 dif­fer­ent artists
Pen­ny Can­dy Books, 2018

Tony Med­i­na wrote the poems in this book in tan­ka form, a kind of Japan­ese poem that starts out like haiku (three lines with five, sev­en, and five syl­la­bles respec­tive­ly) but then adds two more lines with sev­en syl­la­bles each. Kids will find many of the poems relat­able, with top­ics such as miss­ing the bus (“Athlete’s Broke Bus Blues”) and want­i­ng to be a rap star (“Givin’ Back to the Com­mu­ni­ty”).

Pass It On  

Pass It On: African Amer­i­can Poet­ry for Chil­dren
Select­ed by Wade Hud­son
Illus­trat­ed by Floyd Coop­er
Scholas­tic Inc., 1993

This col­lec­tion includes beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed works by pro­lif­ic poets such as Langston Hugh­es, Gwen­dolyn Brooks, Nik­ki Gio­van­ni, Eloise Green­field, and Nik­ki Grimes. A theme of deter­mi­na­tion emerges from a num­ber of the selec­tions includ­ing: “I Can,” “Mid­way,” “The Dream Keep­er,” and “Lis­ten Chil­dren.”

Poems in the Attic

 

Poems in the Attic
Writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
Illus­trat­ed by Eliz­a­beth Zunon

For this book, Grimes drew on her own expe­ri­ence mov­ing fre­quent­ly as a child and rely­ing on writ­ing to help her cope. The book is a fic­tion­al account of a child who grew up with par­ents serv­ing in the U.S. mil­i­tary. Her poems in this pic­ture book remind us that although we can’t often choose our cir­cum­stances we can choose how we respond to them.

Seeing into Tomorrow  

See­ing into Tomor­row: Haiku by Richard Wright
Biog­ra­phy and illus­tra­tions by Nina Crews
Mill­brook Press, 2018

Select­ed from the thou­sands of haiku that Richard Wright wrote in his last years, these poems have uni­ver­sal appeal. Each is paired with a pho­to col­lage that helps read­ers visu­al­ize Wright’s mem­o­ries of grow­ing up in the rur­al South.

Words with Wings  

Words with Wings:
A Trea­sury of African-Amer­i­can Poet­ry and Art
Select­ed by Belin­da Rochelle
Harper­Collins Pub­lish­ers, 2001

This stel­lar col­lec­tion con­tains twen­ty poems by well-known poets, each paired with a bold, endur­ing work by a visu­al artist. The poet­ry and art inspire the imag­i­na­tion as they cap­ture a vari­ety of expe­ri­ences shared by all peo­ple and allow the read­er to look at the world through the eyes of a num­ber of dif­fer­ent artists. Poems by a num­ber of children’s authors are fea­tured in this book as well as ones by authors such as Maya Angelou and Alice Walk­er.

 

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Books about Somali Immigrants/Refugees

In an effort to help my chil­dren under­stand more about their own her­itage, I have searched far and wide for books by or about Soma­li immi­grants or refugees. Here are some of the best ones we have found. Though a num­ber of these titles have not been writ­ten by Soma­lis, they have at least been informed by input from mem­bers of this com­mu­ni­ty.

The Colour of Home  

The Colour of Home
Writ­ten by Mary Hoff­man
Illus­trat­ed by Karin Lit­tle­wood
Frances Lin­coln Pub­lish­ers Ltd., 2002

For ages 5 to 8, The Colour of Home shares the sto­ry of Has­san, a young Soma­li who had recent­ly arrived in a cold, gray, unfa­mil­iar coun­try. At school Has­san paint­ed a pic­ture of the home he missed, com­plete with a bright blue sky, all the mem­bers of his fam­i­ly, their sheep and goats, and this cat. His teacher com­pli­ment­ed his work, but then Has­san made the sky dark, and added a man with a gun and blotch­es of red on the walls of their home. He smudged out one of the fam­i­ly mem­bers. Hassan’s teacher arranged for a trans­la­tor to help him share more about his paint­ing with his teacher. With a hope­ful end­ing, the sto­ry offers a sen­si­tive treat­ment of a dif­fi­cult sub­ject and hints at the pow­er­ful role art can play in help­ing chil­dren heal from trau­ma. It per­son­al­izes the tragedy of fam­i­lies hav­ing to leave their homes in order to sur­vive, a nar­ra­tive too-often replayed in var­i­ous coun­tries around the world.

Come Sit Down  

Come Sit Down (Soo Fari­ista)
Writ­ten by Soma­li Youth in Muse­ums par­tic­i­pants
Min­neso­ta His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety, 2018

Nine high school stu­dents who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Soma­li Youth in Muse­ums pro­gram devel­oped this Soma­li Amer­i­can cook­book as “an invi­ta­tion to get to know us through our sto­ries about our lives, our fam­i­lies, and our kitchens.” Stu­dents inter­viewed fam­i­ly mem­bers and test­ed recipes as they set out to pre­serve their culi­nary lega­cy. The hap­py result is a book of sev­en­ty recipes, acces­si­ble to those in the mid­dle grades and above. The book opens with a brief intro­duc­tion to Soma­li cul­ture and his­to­ry as well as infor­ma­tion about the Soma­li dias­po­ra. Many of the recipes are quite authen­tic, though oth­ers have been adapt­ed based on “Amer­i­can real­i­ties.” Most of the recipes are easy to make, though a few of them lack the lev­el of speci­fici­ty need­ed to suc­cess­ful­ly com­plete the recipe, unless you have pri­or knowl­edge of the cui­sine. If you and your kids want to try one dish from this book, choose the aro­mat­ic rice (page 134). It’s the real deal — but you’ll prob­a­bly want to cut the recipe in half at least, unless you’re hav­ing a par­ty.

Dhegdeer  

Dhegdeer, a Scary Soma­li Folk­tale
Retold by Mar­i­an A. Has­san
Illus­trat­ed by Bet­sy Bowen
Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Com­mis­sion, 2007

The most well-known sto­ry from Soma­li folk­lore, the tale of Dhegdheer, has tra­di­tion­al­ly been used to scare chil­dren into good behav­ior. Dhegdheer is a can­ni­bal with a long pointy ear and excep­tion­al­ly good hear­ing. In fact, she can “hear even the gait of camels a half-day’s jour­ney away.” Hassan’s ver­sion of this sto­ry has been toned down some­what to make it a lit­tle less scary, but the illus­tra­tions may be a bit much for young chil­dren with strong imag­i­na­tions. Still, good wins over evil, and the book touch­es on the theme of uni­ver­sal jus­tice at work in the world. This is one of four bilin­gual books in the Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Commission’s Soma­li Bilin­gual Book Project, most suit­able for ages 5 to 8 years. A down­load­able PDF of the book is avail­able from The Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Cen­ter.

From Somalia, With Love

 

From Soma­lia, with Love
Writ­ten by Na’ima B. Robert
Frances Lin­coln Children’s Books, 2008

This young adult nov­el begins with 14-year-old Safia learn­ing that her father, from whom she had been sep­a­rat­ed for over a decade due to the Soma­li civ­il war, is com­ing to join his fam­i­ly in East Lon­don. Rather than feel­ing joy­ful, like her moth­er and old­est broth­er, Safia is anx­ious. How would things change when she’s reunit­ed with the father she doesn’t know? Many of the ques­tions and doubts that emerge in this fic­tion­al account will res­onate with near­ly any­one who has ever had con­cerns about fit­ting in among peers (most of us). Though clas­sic ele­ments of the immi­grant expe­ri­ence are con­tained in the nar­ra­tive, there are added lay­ers of chal­lenge because out­ward appear­ance pre­vents Safia from eas­i­ly blend­ing in with the host cul­ture.

The moth­er in the sto­ry astute­ly describes how many Soma­li immi­grants feel when she states, “Now, we live in Britain, Cana­da, Amer­i­ca, Hol­land, and we look at our chil­dren and we see strangers. We don’t under­stand the ways of these coun­tries; they are not our ways…”

Her daugh­ter sum­ma­rizes the feel­ing of the next gen­er­a­tion when she replies, “But we’re the ones who have to live here…We’re the ones who have to find who we are…and it’s hard to be dif­fer­ent all the time, it’s hard to feel like you don’t belong any­where.”

The Lion's Share  

The Lion’s Share
Retold by Said Salah Ahmed
Illus­trat­ed by Kel­ly Dupre
Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Com­mis­sion, 2007

In this fable about the mis­use of pow­er, the lion demands a share of food he didn’t even help cap­ture. The oth­er ani­mals learn that the lion is not one with whom they can argue, so they give in to his demands, all the while chant­i­ng, “The lion’s share is not fair.” This is one of four bilin­gual books in the Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Commission’s Soma­li Bilin­gual Book Project, most suit­able for ages 5 to 8 years. A down­load­able PDF of the book is avail­able.

The Ogress and the Snake  

The Ogress and the Snake
and oth­er sto­ries from Soma­lia
Retold by Eliz­a­beth Laird
Illus­trat­ed by Shel­ley Fowles
Frances Lin­coln Children’s Books, 2009

Author Eliz­a­beth Laird apt­ly calls the cre­ation of this book a “sto­ry-col­lect­ing project.” Accom­pa­nied by a trans­la­tor, Laird trav­elled to the Soma­li region of Ethiopia to hear the sto­ries first hand, in their orig­i­nal con­text, and then pro­duced this 97-page book. It is prob­a­bly one of the best col­lec­tion of Soma­li folk­tales in print. After read­ing the book togeth­er as a fam­i­ly, we have come to incor­po­rate ref­er­ences to sev­er­al of the char­ac­ters into our fam­i­ly dis­course, most notably Daya Ali, the tricky fox, and two under­hand­ed shop­keep­ers, Slip­pery Hir­si and Crooked Kabaalaf, who were both out­smart­ed as they attempt­ed to out­smart each oth­er. Any of the sto­ries in this mid­dle-grades col­lec­tion would be a fun read-aloud, reveal­ing aspects of Soma­li cul­ture and val­ues while enter­tain­ing lis­ten­ers.

Travels of Igal Shidad  

The Trav­els of Igal Shi­dad
Retold by Kel­ly Dupre; Soma­li trans­la­tion by Said Salah Ahmed
Illus­trat­ed by Amin Amir
Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Com­mis­sion, 2008

A nomadic herder, Igal Shi­dad roamed the land in order to find water and grass for his camels and sheep. Among the Soma­li peo­ple, Igal Shi­dad is known as a wise cow­ard. In this sto­ry, his fear turns out to be unfound­ed — he’s afraid of a lion that turns out to be only a tree stump. In the end, he’s able to shrug off his mis­take, thank­ful that his prayers had been answered. This is one of four bilin­gual books in the Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Commission’s Soma­li Bilin­gual Book Project, most suit­able for ages 5 to 8 years. A down­load­able PDF of the book is avail­able.

When I Get Older  

When I Get Old­er: the Sto­ry Behind “Wavin’ Flag”
Writ­ten by K’naan with Sol Guy
Illus­trat­ed by Rudy Gutier­rez
Tun­dra Books, 2012

Song­writer and hip-hop artist K’naan wrote an auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal sto­ry about hav­ing to leave Soma­lia at 13 years of age because civ­il war had bro­ken out. His grand­fa­ther, who stayed behind in their home coun­try, had giv­en the boy a poem of hope before they were sep­a­rat­ed: “When I get old­er, I will be stronger. They’ll call me free­dom, just like a wav­ing flag.” This is the poem the boy hung on to while he stayed with his uncle in Harlem and then when he and his fam­i­ly set­tled in Toron­to, Cana­da. K’naan described some of the dif­fi­cul­ties he encoun­tered liv­ing in a new land, but he also showed how his poem set to music helped bridge the dif­fer­ences between him and his class­mates. This song, “Wavin’ Flag,” was select­ed as the anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (Con­sid­er lis­ten­ing to the song after read­ing this pic­ture book.)

Wiil Waal  

Wiil Waal: A Soma­li Folk­tale
Retold by Kath­leen Mori­ar­ty;
Soma­li trans­la­tion by Jamal Adam
Illus­trat­ed by Amin Amir
Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Com­mis­sion, 2007

Wiil Waal is a folk­tale tru­ly root­ed in nomadic Soma­li cul­ture. Some of the details, such as the sym­bol­ism of a sheep’s gul­let as some­thing that can divide or unite peo­ple, may be lost on the aver­age West­ern read­er. What is clear in the sto­ry, how­ev­er, is that the daugh­ter of a poor shep­herd advances to a lead­er­ship posi­tion because of her wis­dom and her father’s choice to trust in that wis­dom. This is one of four bilin­gual books in the Min­neso­ta Human­i­ties Commission’s Soma­li Bilin­gual Book Project, most suit­able for ages 5 to 8 years. A down­load­able PDF of the book is avail­able.

 

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Earth Day

Whether you are cel­e­brat­ing Earth Day this week or next week or every week, there are books here that will enchant your stu­dents or your fam­i­ly, open­ing up pos­si­bil­i­ties for good dis­cus­sions.

 

Earth: My First 4.54 Bil­lion Years
Sta­cy McAn­ul­ty, author
James Litch­field, illus­tra­tor
Hen­ry Holt, 2017
pri­ma­ry and ele­men­tary grades

Told from the view­point of the anthro­po­mor­phic Earth itself, this book tells the life sto­ry of our home plan­et, intro­duc­ing it to “alien vis­i­tors.” As Earth says, “You can call me Plan­et Awe­some.” A gen­tle sense of humor and rich illus­tra­tions will engage Earth’s res­i­dents with lots of cool facts and engag­ing text.

Earth Day Every Day  

Earth Day Every Day
Lisa Bullard
Xin Zheng, illus­tra­tor
Mill­brook Press, 2011
pri­ma­ry grades

Tyler and Tri­na are on a mis­sion to save Earth. They apply what they’ve learned in school to earth-pre­serv­ing projects such as recy­cling, sav­ing ener­gy, con­serv­ing water, and cel­e­brat­ing Earth Day.

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up  

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up
Sal­ly M. Walk­er, author
William Grill, illus­tra­tor
Can­dlewick Press, 2018
pri­ma­ry grades and up

In haiku verse, Sal­ly M. Walk­er pro­vokes young read­ers to think about our earth from a sci­ence view­point. “Frag­ile out­er crust / shell around man­tle and core– / Earth a hard-boiled egg. It’s always fun to chal­lenge stu­dents to write in 17 syl­la­bles … Walk­er shines a bright flash­light on the path. William Grill’s col­ored pen­cil illus­tra­tions will be inspi­ra­tional, too.

 

Earthshake: Poems from the Ground Up

 

Earth­shake: Poems from the Ground Up
Lisa West­berg Peters, author
Cathie Fel­stead, illus­tra­tor
Green­wil­low Books, 2003
grades 4 and up

A delight­ful col­lec­tion of poems that intro­duce and inte­grate into lessons on earth sci­ence, geol­o­gy, geog­ra­phy, and ecol­o­gy. Often humor­ous, the poems are wor­thy of re-read­ing. The col­lage illus­tra­tions deep­en the reader’s under­stand­ing of the poet­ry; they invite care­ful study.

Here We Are  

Here We Are: Notes for Liv­ing on Plan­et Earth
Oliv­er Jef­fers, author and illus­tra­tor
Philomel, 2017
preschool through ele­men­tary

The author wel­comes his young child to the world with paint­ings of the cos­mos, the land and sea and incred­u­lous fea­tures of this Earth. It’s a beau­ti­ful book to share with young chil­dren and to dis­cuss with old­er chil­dren what the Earth means to them and why they appre­ci­ate it.

Hundred Billion Trillion Stars  

Hun­dred Bil­lion Tril­lion Stars
Seth Fish­man, author
Isabel Green­berg, illus­tra­tor
Green­wil­low Books, 2017
pri­ma­ry grades and up

This is a play­ful book, both in text and illus­tra­tions, that will sat­is­fy young minds hun­ger­ing for facts, math, and absorbable infor­ma­tion about our plan­et, Earth. Fas­ci­nat­ed by real­ly big num­bers? How many stars in the uni­verse? How many trees on Earth? In his author’s note, Mr. Fish­man says that these num­bers are “sort-of-def­i­nite­ly-ALMOST true,” but pin­point accu­ra­cy is not the point. The scope, the mag­nif­i­cence, the under­stand­ing of the grandeur of our Earth … that’s the sto­ry here.

On the Day You Were Born  

On the Day You Were Born
Debra Frasi­er, author and illus­tra­tor
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1991
all ages

Although this book is often giv­en as a baby’s birth present, it is a good choice for Earth Day read-alouds and dis­cus­sions, rev­el­ing in all of the Earth’s won­ders along­side the humans who are its care­tak­ers. There is a detailed glos­sary explain­ing such nat­ur­al phe­nom­e­na as grav­i­ty, tides, and migra­tion, so it works well for the class­room.

Our Big Home  

Our Big Home
Lin­da Glaser, author
Elisa Kleven, illus­tra­tor
Mill­brook Press, 2002
all ages

This pic­ture book cel­e­brates that all liv­ing things on Earth are inter­con­nect­ed and how the Earth sup­ports our lives. The illus­tra­tions are gor­geous. There’s a strong sense of respect for life and joy in being alive.

Thank You, Earth  

Thank You, Earth: a Love Let­ter to Our Plan­et
April Pul­ley Sayre, author and pho­tog­ra­ph­er
Green­wil­low Books, 2018
pri­ma­ry grades and up

Per­haps inspir­ing your stu­dents’ own thank you notes, the author shares her pho­tographs and a poet­ic text that thank the Earth for its stun­ning beau­ty and life-giv­ing resources. Won­der­ful­ly clear pho­tographs are inspir­ing and large enough for shar­ing. A rec­om­mend­ed pri­ma­ry and ele­men­tary school book that intro­duce con­cepts of sci­ence, nature, geog­ra­phy, biol­o­gy, poet­ry, and com­mu­ni­ty.

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In Memoriam: Wendy Watson

Wendy Wat­son was a third gen­er­a­tion author and artist. Her grand­par­ents, Ernest W. Wat­son and Eva Auld Wat­son, were painters and pio­neer col­or block print­ers.  Ernest was also founder and edi­tor of the mag­a­zine Amer­i­can Artist, co-founder of Wat­son-Gup­till Pub­li­ca­tions, and co-founder of one of the first sum­mer art schools, the Berk­shire Sum­mer School of Art. Wendy’s father, Aldren A. Wat­son, is an author, and also the illus­tra­tor of more than 175 books, includ­ing many children’s books writ­ten by Wendy’s moth­er, Nan­cy Ding­man Wat­son.

Wendy received her pri­ma­ry edu­ca­tion and ear­ly art train­ing from her par­ents. She lat­er stud­ied paint­ing and draw­ing with Jer­ry Farnsworth, Helen Sawyer, and Daniel Greene, and received a BA in Latin Lit­er­a­ture from Bryn Mawr Col­lege.

Wendy was the author-illus­tra­tor of twen­ty-one books for chil­dren, and the illus­tra­tor of over six­ty books for oth­er authors. Her books have received many awards and hon­ors, includ­ing: The Nation­al Book Award, nom­i­nee; The Koret Jew­ish Book Award; The Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Book Award; Best Books of the Year, The New York Times; Best Books of the Year, Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion; Best Books of the Year, School Library Jour­nal; Best Books of the Year, Pub­lish­ers Week­lyKirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice; Notable Children’s Books, Amer­i­can Library Asso­ci­a­tion; Out­stand­ing Sci­ence Trade Books for Chil­dren, Nation­al Sci­ence Teach­ers Association/Children’s Book Coun­cil; Pick of the Lists, Amer­i­can Bookseller’s Asso­ci­a­tion; and Notable Children’s Books in the Field of Social Stud­ies, Children’s Book Coun­cil.

Wendy’s art­work was exhib­it­ed wide­ly, and includ­ed in numer­ous nation­al and inter­na­tion­al shows, includ­ing: “The Bien­ni­al of Illus­tra­tion,” Bratisla­va, Yugoslavia; “The Orig­i­nal Art,” The Soci­ety of Illus­tra­tors, New York; and “The Annu­al Exhi­bi­tion of Amer­i­can Illus­tra­tion,” The Soci­ety of Illus­tra­tors, New York. She was one of 106 artists rep­re­sent­ed in the exhi­bi­tion and book “Myth, Mag­ic, and Mys­tery: One Hun­dred Years of Amer­i­can Children’s Book Illus­tra­tion.” Wendy’s work is part of numer­ous pri­vate and insti­tu­tion­al col­lec­tions.

Wendy was also a mem­ber of the Author’s Guild, the Soci­ety of Children’s Book Writ­ers and Illus­tra­tors, and The Soci­ety of Illus­tra­tors. She lived in Phoenix, Ari­zona, and Cape Cod, Mass­a­chu­setts. She passed away in Feb­ru­ary 2018 and will be held dear in the hearts of many friends and rel­a­tives.

Here are Wendy Watson’s pub­lished works:

 

Bed­time Bun­nies
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 2010
ISBN 9780547223124

It’s always somebody’s bed­time, some­where in the world. In this book it’s bed­time for five lit­tle rab­bits. They come in from out­doors, have a snack, brush their teeth, take a bath, put on night­clothes, and lis­ten to a sto­ry before being tucked in for the night. Out­side, we see snowflakes falling. In the bun­nies’ home, all is warmth and cozi­ness and play­ful­ness and love. Four words per spread nar­rate the evening rou­tine, and delight­ful­ly soft and spir­it­ed illus­tra­tions take read­ers into the bun­nies’ world. Young chil­dren who have this book as a bed­time com­pan­ion are lucky indeed, espe­cial­ly if their own get­ting-ready-for-bed rit­u­als are as famil­iar and ten­der as those of the five bun­nies.

 

Spuds
writ­ten by Karen Hesse

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Scholas­tic Press, 2008
ISBN 9780439879934

Ma’s been work­ing so hard, she doesn’t have much left over. So her three kids decide to do some work on their own. In the dark of night, they steal into their rich neighbor’s pota­to fields in hopes of col­lect­ing the strays that have been left to rot. They dig flat-bel­lied in the dirt, hid­ing from pass­ing cars, and drag a sack of spuds through the frost back home. But in the light, the sad truth is revealed: their bag is full of stones! Ma is upset when she sees what they’ve done, and makes them set things right. But in a sur­prise twist, they learned they have helped the farmer….

 

The Cats in Krasin­s­ki Square
writ­ten by Karen Hesse
illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Scholas­tic Press, 2004
ISBN 9780439435406 

In lumi­nous free verse, Hesse’s lat­est pic­ture book tells a pow­er­ful sto­ry of a young Jew­ish girl who, togeth­er with her old­er sis­ter, inge­nious­ly fights the Nazi occu­pa­tion of War­saw. After escap­ing from the Jew­ish ghet­to, the girl avoids detec­tion.… She finds joy in play­ing with the city’s aban­doned cats, who show her holes in the ghet­to wall, which the girl’s old­er sis­ter and their resis­tance friends will use to pass sup­plies shipped by train to War­saw. The Gestapo learns of the scheme, and sol­diers wait at the train sta­tion with dogs. Luck­i­ly, the cats inspire a solu­tion; they dis­tract the dogs and pro­tect the sup­plies. It’s an empow­er­ing sto­ry about the brav­ery and impact of young peo­ple, and Hesse’s clear, spare poet­ry, from the girl’s view­point, refers to the hard­ships suf­fered with­out didac­ti­cism. In bold, black lines and wash­es of smoky gray and ochre, Watson’s arrest­ing images echo the pared-down lan­guage as well as the hope that shines like the glints of sun­light on Krasin­s­ki Square. An author’s note ref­er­ences the true events and heart­break­ing his­to­ry that inspired this stir­ring, expert­ly craft­ed sto­ry.

 

Father Fox’s Christ­mas Rhymes
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 2003
ISBN 9780374375768

A cozy col­lec­tion of hol­i­day verse.

Who is that knock­ing at the door?
It’s old Father Fox with sur­pris­es galore!
Licorice & lol­lipops, lemons & limes
A bun­dle of toys & a bag full of rhymes …

Over thir­ty years ago, Father Fox’s Pen­nyrhymes became an instant clas­sic and was a Nation­al Book Award Final­ist. Now Father Fox returns with new rhymes espe­cial­ly for yule­tide that con­jure up the excite­ment and mys­tery of the sea­son: play­ing in the snow, mak­ing hot apple cider, hid­ing presents—all at the warm and lov­ing home of the Fox fam­i­ly.

The vers­es feel like clas­sic children’s rhymes, and rich paint­ings cap­ture all the cheer and beau­ty of Christ­mas­time.

 

Rab­bit Moon
writ­ten by Patri­cia Hubbell

illus­tra­tions by Wendy Wat­son
Mar­shall Cavendish, 2002
ISBN 9780761451037

Con­sid­er Rab­bit snow­men in Feb­ru­ary! Can you imag­ine Rab­bit pipers in March?! An engag­ing col­lec­tion of poems for preschool­ers and ear­ly read­ers, this unique almanac cel­e­brates the hol­i­days and good times enjoyed by young Rab­bits and chil­dren alike. From Rab­bit Lead­ers Day to Rab­bit Thanks­giv­ing, from Rab­bit fire­works in July to Rab­bit trick-or-treat in Octo­ber, all the spe­cial days of the year are here. And, as Big-Rab­bit-in-the-Moon looks on, all are enjoyed. Adding to the fun are play­ful illus­tra­tions (ren­dered in acrylics and India ink) of Rab­bits here, Rab­bits there, Rab­bits every­where!

 

Holly’s Christ­mas Eve
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Harper­Collins, 2002
ISBN 9780688176525

On Christ­mas Eve, Hol­ly is ready to join the oth­er orna­ments in cel­e­bra­tion. But dis­as­ter strikes when naughty Bad Cat bats the tree’s branch­es: Hol­ly los­es her wood­en arm! Cloth Bear and Tin Horse rush to help her find it, meet­ing dan­ger and becom­ing good friends along the way.

Wendy Watson’s paint­ings glow with excite­ment as the trio hur­ries to get home safe­ly before San­ta arrives.

This heart­warm­ing sto­ry, filled with adven­ture, is per­fect for read­ing aloud by the light of your own tree at Christ­mas­time.

 

Is My Friend at Home?: Pueblo Fire­side Tales
writ­ten by John Bier­horst

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 2001
ISBN 9780374335502

Here are sev­en inter­con­nect­ed sto­ries about mak­ing and keep­ing friends, jew­el-like tales orig­i­nal­ly told to the youngest lis­ten­ers at Native Amer­i­can fire­sides in the Hopi coun­try of north­ern Ari­zona. In John Bierhorst’s authen­tic re-cre­ation of a Pueblo sto­ry­telling ses­sion, read­ers and lis­ten­ers will find out how Coy­ote got his short ears, why Mouse walks soft­ly, and how Bee learned to fly.

Snake, Mole, Bad­ger, Bee­tle, and Dove also have roles clever and fool­ish, friend­ly and not so friend­ly, and all are depict­ed with humor and finesse by illus­tra­tor Wendy Wat­son.

 

Love’s a Sweet
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Viking Pen­guin, 1998
ISBN 9780670834532

Ani­mals of every sort quar­rel and kiss, laugh and lul­la­by their way through the plea­sures and pit­falls of every­day love in this new col­lec­tion of short rhymes writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by sis­ters Clyde and Wendy Wat­son. Each of Clyde’s “pen­nyrhymes” is illus­trat­ed with fun­ny, often ten­der scenes fea­tur­ing Wendy’s fuzzy farm ani­mals. Love’s A Sweet is the per­fect book for chil­dren to share with moms, dads, broth­ers, sis­ters, and espe­cial­ly with grand­ma and grand­pa!

no cov­er
image avail­able
 

Du Store Ver­den (orig. Nor­we­gian ed.)
writ­ten by Kather­ine Pater­son et al.
illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
J.W. Cap­pe­lens For­lag a-s, 1995

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
edit­ed and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Lothrop, Lee & Shep­ard, 1994
no ISBN yet

An illus­trat­ed ver­sion of the folk song in which a fox trav­els many miles to get din­ner for his wife and ten cubs.

 

The Big Book for Our Plan­et
edit­ed by Ann Dur­rell, Jean Craig­head George, and Kather­ine Pater­son
illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Dut­ton Children’s Books, 1993
ISBN 9780525451198

More than forty acclaimed children’s book authors and illus­tra­tors join togeth­er to cre­ate an anthology—whose pro­ceeds will ben­e­fit envi­ron­men­tal organizations—of sto­ries, poems, essays, and pic­tures that cel­e­brate Earth and call atten­tion to envi­ron­men­tal destruc­tion.

 

Hap­py East­er Day!
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 1993
ISBN 9780395536292

A fam­i­ly pre­pares for a tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can East­er by mak­ing hot cross buns, get­ting new clothes, and dec­o­rat­ing eggs. On the hol­i­day, they hunt for bas­kets, go to church, have din­ner, and play games. Songs and poems are inter­spersed through­out the text.

 

Boo! It’s Hal­loween
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 1992
ISBN 9780395536285

A fam­i­ly gets ready for Hal­loween by prepar­ing cos­tumes, mak­ing good­ies for the school par­ty, and carv­ing jack-o’-lanterns. Hal­loween jokes and rhymes are inter­spersed through­out the text.

 

Hur­ray for the Fourth of July
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 1992
ISBN 9780618040360 (Sand­piper ed., 2000)

In a small Ver­mont town a fam­i­ly cel­e­brates the Fourth of July by attend­ing a parade, hav­ing a pic­nic, and watch­ing fire­works.

 

Thanks­giv­ing at Our House
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 1991
ISBN 9780395699447 (Sand­piper ed., 1994)

A spir­it­ed col­lec­tion of tra­di­tion­al rhymes woven into an orig­i­nal sto­ry.

 

A Valen­tine for You
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 1991
ISBN 9780395536254

A live­ly col­lec­tion of tra­di­tion­al Valen­tine rhymes cel­e­brates the fun a fam­i­ly can have prepar­ing for the hol­i­day.

 

The Night Before Christ­mas
writ­ten by Clement Clarke Moore

edit­ed and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Clar­i­on Books, 1990
ISBN 9780395665084 (Sand­piper ed., 1993)

The famil­iar verse about a vis­it from Saint Nick is depict­ed in a late-twen­ti­eth-cen­tu­ry small town set­ting, which brings to life the tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can cel­e­bra­tion of a beloved hol­i­day.

 

Wendy Watson’s Frog Went A-Court­ing
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
piano arr. by Paul Alan Levi
Lothrop, Lee & Shep­ard, 1990
ISBN 9780688065409

Presents the well-known folk song about the courtship and mar­riage of the frog and the mouse. Includes music.

 

A, B, C, D, Tum­my, Toes, Hands, Knees
writ­ten by Bar­bara Hen­nessey

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Viking Pen­guin, 1989
ISBN 9780670817030

A rhyth­mic, rhyming text lists objects, ideas, and actions; sim­ple vignettes and full-page draw­ings pro­vide the def­i­n­i­tions by show­ing famil­iar activ­i­ties and games enjoyed by a moth­er and child in the course of their day togeth­er.

 

Valen­tine Fox­es
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­tra­tions by Wendy Wat­son
Orchard Books, 1989
ISBN 9780531070338 (Orchard, 1992)

The Fox family’s genial dis­ar­ray is enlivened as the cubs pre­pare a spe­cial sur­prise. The book includes a recipe for Valen­tine Pound Cake.

 

 

Wendy Watson’s Moth­er Goose
edit­ed and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Lothrop, Lee & Shep­ard, 1989
ISBN 9780688057084

In this com­pre­hen­sive, lav­ish­ly illus­trat­ed vol­ume, Wat­son shares her beguil­ing vision of the time­less world of Moth­er Goose. A won­der­ful intro­duc­tion to the rich folk­lore of child­hood. Full-col­or illus­tra­tions.

no cov­er
image avail­able
 

How I Feel: Hap­py
writ­ten by Mar­cia Leonard

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Ban­tam, 1988
no ISBN yet

No syn­po­sis yet.

no cov­er
image avail­able
 

How I Feel: Sil­ly
writ­ten by Mar­cia Leonard

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Ban­tam, 1988
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

no cov­er
image avail­able
 

How I Feel: Sad
writ­ten by Mar­cia Leonard

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Ban­tam, 1988
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

How I Feel: Angry
writ­ten by Mar­cia Leonard

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Ban­tam, 1988
ISBN 9780553054828

Describes, in sim­ple terms, sit­u­a­tions which make us angry and how to cope with feel­ings of anger.

 

Tales For a Winter’s Eve
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 1988
ISBN 9780374474195 (Sun­burst ed., 1991)

When Fred­die Fox injures his paw in a ski­ing acci­dent, his fam­i­ly and friends dis­tract him with sto­ries about the ani­mal inhab­i­tants of their vil­lage.

 

Doc­tor Coy­ote, A Native Amer­i­can Aesop’s Fable
writ­ten by John Bier­horst

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Macmil­lan, 1987
ISBN 9780027097801 

Coy­ote is fea­tured in each of these Aztec inter­pre­ta­tions of Aesop’s fables. The illus­tra­tions are set in the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry.

 

Lit­tle Brown Bear
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
West­ern Pub­lish­ing, 1985
ISBN 9780307030429

Lit­tle Brown Bear would like to go fish­ing with his father, but his par­ents think he’s too small.

 

Belinda’s Hur­ri­cane
writ­ten by Eliz­a­beth Winthrop

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
E.P. Dut­ton, 1984
ISBN 9780525441069

While wait­ing out a fierce hur­ri­cane in her grandmother’s house on Fox Island, Belin­da has a chance to get to know her grandmother’s reclu­sive neigh­bor Mr. Fletch­er.

 

I Love My Baby Sis­ter: Most of the Time
writ­ten by Elaine Edel­man

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Lothrop, Lee & Shep­ard, 1984
ISBN 9780140505474 (Puf­fin ed., 1985)

A small girl looks for­ward to the time when her baby sis­ter will be big enough to play with and be friends with.

 

Hap­py Birth­day From Car­olyn Hay­wood
writ­ten by Car­olyn Hay­wood

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Mor­row Junior Books, 1984
ISBN 9780688027094

A col­lec­tion of nine sto­ries revolv­ing around the birth­day cel­e­bra­tions of a vari­ety of the author’s char­ac­ters, old and new.

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Christ­mas at Bunny’s Inn
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1984
ISBN 9780399210907

Pop-up book: A three-dimen­sion­al Advent cal­en­dar.

 

Father Fox’s Feast of Songs
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1983
ISBN 9780399208867

Here is a joy­ous col­lec­tion of songs for every fam­i­ly to enjoy togeth­er. Clyde Wat­son has cho­sen her favorites from the best-sell­ing nurs­ery rhyme books, Father Fox’s Pen­nyrhymes and Catch Me & Kiss Me & Say it Again, and set them to music in easy-to-play arrange­ments for voice, piano and gui­tar. Wendy Wat­son has illus­trat­ed her sister’s songs with humor and affec­tion. Gath­er around the piano and sing— here are songs to cel­e­brate every aspect of hap­py child­hood and lov­ing fam­i­ly life.

 

Betsy’s Up-and-Down Year
writ­ten by Anne Pel­lows­ki

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1983
ISBN 9780399209703

The fur­ther adven­tures of Bet­sy on her family’s Wis­con­sin farm includ­ing her strug­gles with sib­ling rival­ry, an encounter with a rat­tlesnake, a birth­day par­ty, and cop­ing with the death of her grand­fa­ther.

 

The Bun­nies’ Christ­mas Eve (pop-up book)
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1983
ISBN 9780399209680

Bun­ny learns the true mean­ing of Christ­mas as she takes part in a spe­cial cer­e­mo­ny and fam­i­ly hol­i­day tra­di­tions, as depict­ed by stand-up illus­tra­tions with mov­ing parts.

 

Apple­bet, An ABC
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son
illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 1982
ISBN 9780374404277

A is for apple as every­one knows
Can you fol­low this one wher­ev­er it goes? 
B is for Bet in the top of the tree
Who picked it & shined it & gave it to me.

A Library of Con­gress Children’s Book of the Year.

 

The Biggest, Mean­est, Ugli­est Dog in the Whole Wide World
writ­ten by Rebec­ca C. Jones

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Macmil­lan, 1982
ISBN 9780027478006

Jonathan is ter­ri­fied of the dog next door, until one day he throws his ball at it in defense and their rela­tion­ship changes.

 

First Farm in the Val­ley: Anna’s Sto­ry
writ­ten by Anne Pel­lows­ki

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Macmil­lan, 1982
ISBN 9780884895374 (St. Mary’s Press ed., 1998)

Anna, the Amer­i­can-born daugh­ter of Pol­ish immi­grants, longs to escape the rig­ors of Wis­con­sin farm life to vis­it the roman­ti­cized Poland of her dreams.

 

Wind­ing Val­ley Farm: Annie’s Sto­ry
writ­ten by Anne Pel­lows­ki

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1982
ISBN 9780399208638

Life for six-year-old Annie Dorawa on Wind­ing Val­ley Farm just down the road from the Pel­lowskis’ first farm in the val­ley is busy and hap­py. Then one day, Annie hears her father speak about not plant­i­ng that year, but instead mov­ing into town. Is it real­ly pos­si­ble that they might leave their beau­ti­ful farm? What could her father be think­ing about? This new anx­i­ety, along with that inner imp of mis­chief always threat­en­ing to get her into trou­ble (and which final­ly does when broth­er John is killing chick­ens at the chop­ping block), hov­er over Annie as she works and plays with her sis­ter and five broth­ers immersed in the vig­or­ous life of their Amer­i­can-Pol­ish com­mu­ni­ty. Despite the dis­cov­ery that life is not always easy or as she d like it to be, Annie begins to real­ize what warm secu­ri­ty is to be found in a hard­work­ing fam­i­ly root­ed in faith and love.

 

Stairstep Farm: Anna Rose’s Sto­ry
writ­ten by Anne Pel­lows­ki

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1981
ISBN 9780884895367 (St. Mary’s Press ed., 1998)

In the late 1930s, Annie’s daugh­ter Anna Rose, as well as her oth­er chil­dren, can make almost any chore an occa­sion for fun. But Anna Rose, who is busy enough with the farm work and a new baby sis­ter, dreams of start­ing school.

 

Wil­low Wind Farm: Betsy’s Sto­ry
writ­ten by Anne Pel­lows­ki

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1981
ISBN 9780399207815

Anna Rose’s sev­en-year-old niece Bet­sy has a spe­cial year, one in which all the rel­a­tives from near and far gath­er for a fam­i­ly reunion at her grandparent’s farm. Bet­sy then dis­cov­ers how nice it is to live at the heart of a large and lov­ing fam­i­ly.

 

Jamie’s Sto­ry
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Philomel, 1981
ISBN 9780399207891

Por­trays a day in the life of a tod­dler as he helps his moth­er and father, plays, and dis­cov­ers the world around him.

 

But­ton Eye’s Orange
writ­ten by Jan Wahl

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Fred­er­ick Warne, 1980
ISBN 9780723261889

Tak­en to the mar­ket to be sold, a toy dog tries to return with an orange to his boy who wears a leg brace.

 

How Brown Mouse Kept Christ­mas
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, 1989
ISBN 9780374334949

On Christ­mas Eve the mice feast and make mer­ry around the family’s Christ­mas tree, in full view of the sleep­ing cat, and Brown Mouse inad­ver­tent­ly does a kind­ness for the fam­i­ly.

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Jenny’s Cat
writ­ten by Miska Miles

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Dut­ton, 1979
ISBN 9780553151251

Lone­ly in their new town, Jen­ny is delight­ed when a stray cat comes to their house, but her moth­er doesn’t want the cat to stay.

 

Catch Me & Kiss Me & Say It Again
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1978
ISBN 9780399219948

Thir­ty-two rhymes for the very young includ­ing count­ing rhymes, lul­la­bies, and games.

 

Has Win­ter Come?
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son

Philomel, 1978
ISBN 9780529054395

Although the chil­dren don’t rec­og­nize the faint smell of win­ter in the air, a wood­chuck fam­i­ly begins prepar­ing for long snowy nights.

 

Mov­ing
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1978
ISBN 9780690013269

When Mom and Dad make plans to move to a new house, Muf­fin decides to remain in the old one.

 

Bina­ry Num­bers
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­soni
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1977
ISBN 9780690009927

Intro­duces the prin­ci­ple and uses of bina­ry num­bers.

 

Maps, Tracks, and the Bridges of Konigs­berg
writ­ten by Michael Holt

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1976
ISBN 9780690007466

Offers a basic expla­na­tion of graph the­o­ry.

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Christ­mas All Around the House:
Christ­mas Dec­o­ra­tions You Can Make
writ­ten by Flo­rence Pet­tit

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1976
ISBN 9780690010138

Instruc­tions for mak­ing a vari­ety of Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions, crafts, and foods that orig­i­nat­ed in dif­fer­ent parts of the world.

 

Hick­o­ry Stick Rag
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1976
ISBN 9780690009590

Recounts, in rhyme, the good and bad events of a school year for the young ani­mal chil­dren.

 

Lol­lipop
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1976
ISBN 9780690007688

Bun­ny goes through a lot before he final­ly gets his lol­lipop.

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Heart’s Ease, A Lit­tle Book of Ten­der Thoughts
writ­ten by ???????

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1975
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Quips & Quirks
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Crow­ell, 1975
ISBN 9780690007336

Briefly defines a num­ber of names used to tease or insult for a hun­dred years or more. Includes rub­ber­neck, flib­ber­ti­gib­bet, trolly­bags, and many more.

 

Muncus Agrun­cus: a Bad Lit­tle Mouse
writ­ten by Nan­cy D. Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1975
ISBN 9780307125408

Always fond of adven­ture, Muncus Agrun­cus spends much of his time pur­su­ing and escap­ing from mis­chief.

 

Sleep Is For Every­one
writ­ten by Paul Show­ers

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1974
ISBN 9780064451413

Bed­time often seems to come too ear­ly, but what would hap­pen if you nev­er went to sleep? When sci­en­tists decid­ed to find out, they dis­cov­ered that your brain needs a rest after a long day of think­ing, just as your mus­cles would need a rest after a long day of work.
A dif­fer­ent kind of bed­time sto­ry, this book is the per­fect response to the question—Can’t I stay up a lit­tle longer?’

 

The Birth­day Goat
writ­ten by Nan­cy D. Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son 
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1974
ISBN 9780333174838

The Goat fam­i­ly enjoys its out­ing to the Car­ni­val until Baby Souci goat is kid­napped.

 

Upside Down and Inside Out
writ­ten by Bob­bie Katz

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Franklin Watts, 1973
ISBN 9781563971228

Spec­u­lates in verse on the many ways the world could be turned upside down, inside out, and oth­er­wise mixed up.

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Ani­mal Gar­den
writ­ten by Ogden Nash

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Andre Deutsch, Lon­don, 1972
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Open the Door and See All the Peo­ple
writ­ten by Clyde Robert Bul­la

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1972
ISBN 9780690600452

After los­ing every­thing they own, includ­ing their dolls, when their house burns down, two sis­ters learn about a place where they can adopt dolls.

 

Tom Fox and the Apple Pie
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1972
ISBN 9780690827835

Tom Fox goes to the Fair to bring back an apple pie for his fam­i­ly.

 

Prob­a­bil­i­ty
writ­ten by Charles Linn

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1972
ISBN 9780690656015

Sim­ple exper­i­ments with eas­i­ly avail­able mate­ri­als explain the the­o­ry of prob­a­bil­i­ty and how it is used by sci­en­tists, poll-tak­ers, and indus­tri­al­ists.

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A Gift of Mistle­toe
writ­ten by ?????

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1971
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

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Amer­i­ca! Amer­i­ca!
writ­ten by ???????

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1971
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Life’s Won­drous Ways
writ­ten by ???????

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1971
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Father Fox’s Pen­nyrhymes
writ­ten by Clyde Wat­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Thomas Y. Crow­ell, 1971
ISBN 9780060295011 (Harper­Collins ed., 2001)

(Syn­op­sis for the 2001 edi­tion.)

Life pro­claimed this long-unavail­able clas­sic the “first authen­ti­cal­ly col­lo­qui­al and breezi­ly Amer­i­can nurs­ery rhyme” when it was pub­lished in 1971. Now it is back for new gen­er­a­tions to enjoy!

All of Clyde Waterson’s vers­es have what School Library Jour­nal calls the “foot-stomp­ing rhythm of an Amer­i­can square dance call.” Some feel cozy and nos­tal­gic; oth­ers are sil­ly. Many evoke the plea­sures of chang­ing sea­sons. But they all keep read­ers and young lis­ten­ers enter­tained, page after page. Wendy Watson’s ful­ly imag­ined and fine­ly detailed pic­tures of the splen­did fox fam­i­ly, at home and on joy­ous out­ings, will make chil­dren gig­gle. As The New York Times Book Review explains, “Put it all together—rhymes and pictures—and the book is like a breath of fresh air.”

 

Hap­py Thoughts
writ­ten by Louise Bachelder

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1970
no ISBN yet 

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

How Dear to My Heart
writ­ten by Louise Bachelder

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1970
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Lizzie, the Lost Toys Witch
writ­ten by Mabel Harmer

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Macrae Smith, 1970
ISBN 9780825541254

The Lost Toys Witch goes around and gath­ers up all the toys that are left on carousels, in Kil­li­wid­dy chuck­holes, or in old man Twiddledink’s toma­to red push­cart.

 

Mag­ic in the Alley
writ­ten by Mary Cal­houn

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Atheneum, 1970
no ISBN yet

Cleery finds a box with sev­en mag­ic items in it and even though the mag­ic is soon spent it brings three friends some­thing of val­ue.

 

Helen Keller
writ­ten by Mar­garet David­son

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Scholas­tic Book Ser­vices, 1970
ISBN 9780590424042

The best­selling biog­ra­phy of Helen Keller and how, with the com­mit­ment and life­long friend­ship of Anne Sul­li­van, she learned to talk, read, and even­tu­al­ly grad­u­ate from col­lege with hon­ors.

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The Jack Book
writ­ten by Irma Simon­ton

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Macmil­lan, Bank Street School of Edu­ca­tion, 1969
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

God Bless Us, Every One!
writ­ten by Louise Bachelder

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1969
no ISBN yet

Christ­mas-themed anthol­o­gy of say­ings, poet­ry, proverbs and Bible quotes.

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The Hedge­hog and the Hare (the Broth­ers Grimm)
re-told and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
World, 1969
no ISBN yet

This is the Grimm Brother’s ver­sion of one of the best-loved of all folk tales now retold and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son. The hare taunts the hedge­hog for the short­ness of his legs. The hedge­hog sug­gests a race– and the hare is sur­prised when the hedge­hog wins. The clever hedge­hog had made a plan…

 

When Noodle­head Went to the Fair
Writ­ten by Kathryn Hitte

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Par­ents’ Mag­a­zine Press, 1968
no ISBN yet

A cute sto­ry about Noodle­head going to the fair to win a prize for his car­rot.

 

Uncle Fonzo’s Ford
writ­ten by Miska Miles

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Atlantic-Lit­tle Brown, 1968
no ISBN yet

A ten-year-old girl is very much embar­rassed by her uncle who intends well but always does things wrong, so that every­one laughs, espe­cial­ly the boy next door.

 

The Best in Off­beat Humor
writ­ten by Paul B. Lowney

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1968
no ISBN yet

A col­lec­tion of humor­ous quips pre­sent­ed by not­ed humorist, author, and com­ic book writer Paul B. Lowney.

 

Fish­er­man Lul­la­bies
music by Clyde Wat­son

edit­ed and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
World, 1968
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

The Cruise of the Aard­vark
writ­ten by Ogden Nash

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
M. Evans, 1967
ISBN 9780871315700 (1989 ed.)

The aard­vark is on a cruise and paints pic­tures of everyone–and they all look like him. After all, don’t they want to be improved? NO!

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Daugh­ter of Lib­er­ty
writ­ten by Edna Boutwell

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­soni
World, 1967
ISBN 9780529036506 (1975 ed.)

The expe­ri­ences of Pol­ly Sum­n­er, a French fash­ion doll in Boston dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion who once brought a note to Paul Revere and is now resid­ing in the Old State House.

 

The Poems of Longfel­low
writ­ten by H.W. Longfel­low

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1967
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

The Straw­man Who Smiled by Mis­take
writ­ten by Paul Tripp

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Dou­ble­day, 1967
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Love Is a Laugh
writ­ten by Mar­garet Green­man

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1967
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

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Rosabel’s Secret
writ­ten by Alice E. Christ­gau

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
William R. Scott, 1967
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

A Com­ic Primer
writ­ten by Eugene Field

illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Peter Pau­per Press, 1966
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

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The Spi­der Plant
writ­ten by Yet­ta Speev­ak

illus­trat­ed by Kurt Werth
Atheneum, 1965
no ISBN yet

No syn­op­sis yet.

 

Very Impor­tant Cat
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wendy Wat­son
Dodd, Mead, 1958
ISBN 9781258369187

No syn­op­sis yet.

Read more...

Capers and Cons

When you (or your stu­dents) want a book that keeps you turn­ing the pages for your week­night and week­end read­ing, here are some sug­ges­tions for books with that nim­ble pac­ing and what-are-they-up-to plots. Many of them are just right for mid­dle grade or avid younger-than-that read­ers, with a cou­ple of teen titles added. (And, of course, all are suit­able for read­ing by adults.)

Adam Canfield of the Slash  

Adam Can­field of the Slash
writ­ten by Michael Winer­ip
Can­dlewick Press, 2005

This book is by turns fun­ny and seri­ous, but Adam Can­field is always inter­est­ed in dis­cov­er­ing the truth. Writ­ten by a New York Times colum­nist (on edu­ca­tion) who won a Pulitzer Prize, Winer­ip knows what his read­ers will find inter­est­ing. Adam reluc­tant­ly accepts the posi­tion of co-edi­tor of their school paper. He’s skep­ti­cal when a third-grad­er uncov­ers a pos­si­ble scan­dal. Adam and his co-edi­tor, Jen­nifer, take the sto­ry to the prin­ci­pal, who for­bids them to inves­ti­gate. Adam and Jen­nifer can’t help them­selves and they’re soon uncov­er­ing secrets.  Even though school papers are most­ly dig­i­tal now, this book will moti­vate read­ers to be truth seek­ers.

Con Academy  

Con Acad­e­my
writ­ten by Joe Schreiber
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2015

For teen read­ers: Senior Michael Shea has conned his way into one of the country’s élite prep schools. He’s an old hand at cons, but he’s unpre­pared to meet Andrea, his com­pe­ti­tion. When the two of them set up a com­pe­ti­tion to con the school’s Big Man on Cam­pus out of $50,000, the stakes are high. One twist after anoth­er, a full crew of grifters brought in to effect the con … this book reads cin­e­mat­i­cal­ly and moves along quick­ly.

Eddie Red Undercover: Doom at Grant's Tomb  

Eddie Red Under­cov­er: Doom at Grant’s Tomb
writ­ten by Mar­cia Wells, illus­trat­ed by Mar­cos Calo
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2016

Hav­ing just fin­ished the third book in the series, I’m a fan of the youngest inves­ti­ga­tor work­ing for the NYPD. There’s a back sto­ry for that, of course, but Eddie has an eidet­ic mem­o­ry and a quick­sil­ver mind … he’s good at solv­ing crimes. The police are always reluc­tant to involve Eddie because he’s only 12 years old, but the kid’s good at what he does. In this install­ment, it appears that Eddie is being tar­get­ed for seri­ous con­se­quences by inter­na­tion­al art thieves whom he’s foiled before. The thieves are steal­ing valu­able items from well-known land­marks. Can Eddie psych them out before they catch up with him?

 

Framed!

 

Framed!
writ­ten by James Pon­ti
Aladdin, 2016

Jess Aarons has been prac­tic­ing all sum­mer so he can be the fastest run­ner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, out­paces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchant­ed land called Ter­abithia. One morn­ing, Leslie goes to Ter­abithia with­out Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his fam­i­ly and the strength that Leslie has giv­en him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

Illyrian Adventure  

Illyr­i­an Adven­tures
writ­ten by Lloyd Alexan­der
Dut­ton Books, 1987

This is the first of six books about 16-year-old Ves­per Hol­ly who, in 1872, in the com­pa­ny of her guardian, Bin­nie, trav­els to Illyr­ia on the Adri­at­ic Sea to prove one of her late father’s the­o­ries. She’s a girl with mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties set against Binnie’s con­ser­v­a­tive con­cerns. Ves­per gets caught up in fast-paced intrigue with a rebel­lion against the king, all the while man­ag­ing to search for the leg­endary trea­sure. With Mr. Alexander’s char­ac­ter­is­tic humor, and a touch of romance, this series is fun to read and def­i­nite­ly qual­i­fies as a turn-the-page adven­ture.

Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush  

Jack Lon­don and the Klondike Gold Rush
writ­ten by Peter Lourie, illus­trat­ed by Wen­dell Minor
Hen­ry Holt, 2017

Teens will enjoy this one. When Jack Lon­don turns 21, the Gold Rush of 1897 com­pels trea­sure seek­ers from around the world to trek through life-threat­en­ing con­di­tions to get to the gold fields in the Yukon Ter­ri­to­ry of Cana­da. Jack is swept up in the excite­ment, assem­bling a team of adven­tur­ers and sup­plies to with­stand the cru­el jour­ney. That some­one this young could com­mand respect and cama­raderie speaks loud­ly about his char­ac­ter. This true sto­ry serves as an excel­lent com­pan­ion books for Call of the Wild and White Fang, Jack London’s Klondike sto­ries. A real page-turn­er.

Magic Misfits  

Mag­ic Mis­fits
writ­ten by Neill Patrick Har­ris, illus by Lis­sy Mar­lin
Lit­tle, Brown Books, 2017

This thor­ough­ly enjoy­able book fol­lows Carter when he runs away from his crooked, thiev­ing uncle to the New Eng­land town of Min­er­al Wells, a sur­pris­ing­ly wel­com­ing place. Con­vinced that mag­ic isn’t real, and yet a tal­ent­ed street magi­cian, Carter is soon befriend­ed by a group of Mag­ic Mis­fits who set out to expose a cir­cus that’s a front for a well-orches­trat­ed, and dan­ger­ous, team of grifters. Adven­tur­ous, fun­ny, heart­warm­ing, this will cap­ture read­ers’ imag­i­na­tions. 

Mighty Jack  

Mighty Jack
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ben Hatke
First Sec­ond, 2016

Mighty Jack and the Gob­lin King
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ben Hatke
First Sec­ond, 2017

In the first book, Jack’s sis­ter Mad­dy per­suades him to trade their Mom’s car for a box of mys­te­ri­ous seeds … and the adven­ture begins. These are not, of course, ordi­nary seeds. They grow strange, oth­er­world­ly crea­tures and the kids, includ­ing next-door-neigh­bor Lil­ly, are chal­lenged to deal with crea­tures run amok.

In the sec­ond book, an ogre snatch­es Mad­dy into anoth­er world with Jack and Lil­ly deter­mined to res­cue her. Along the way, we meet gob­lins (good) and ogres (bad) and Lil­ly ful­fills a prophe­cy. It’s all very excit­ing and well-told with vibrant, engross­ing illus­tra­tions.

Parker Inheritance  

Park­er Inher­i­tance
writ­ten by Var­i­an John­son
Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholas­tic, 2018

In mod­ern-day Lam­bert, Can­dice dis­cov­ers a mys­tery in her grandmother’s let­ters. In the 1950s, her grand­moth­er left Lam­bert in shame, but it’s soon appar­ent to Can­dice and her friend Bran­don that racism was behind those events … and they reflect that things haven’t changed that much. Read­ing this book will bring your cre­ative prob­lem-solv­ing skills into play. There’s intrigue, humor, and a lot to think about in this sto­ry. 

Player King  

Play­er King
writ­ten by Avi
Atheneum, 2017

In 1846, young Lam­bert Sim­nel slaves away in a Lon­don tav­ern, com­plete­ly unaware of the pol­i­tics of the land.  When he’s pur­chased in the mid­dle of the night by a fri­ar, he’s astound­ed when the man reveals, “You, Lam­bert, are actu­al­ly Prince Edward, the true King of Eng­land!” King Hen­ry VII has just claimed the throne of Eng­land, but only after Prince Edward, who has a truer claim, dis­ap­pears. Could Lam­bert be the real prince? How could he not remem­ber this? Based on a blip in his­to­ry, this is a fas­ci­nat­ing look at a con­fi­dence job planned by politi­cians whose lives are at stake.

Riddle in Ruby  

Rid­dle in Ruby
writ­ten by Kent Davis
Green­wil­low Books, 2015

In an alter­nate his­to­ry colo­nial Philadel­phia, Ruby Teach is train­ing to be a thief and a guardian of secrets. It isn’t until she meets young Lord Athen that she begins to under­stand that her entire life has been kept secret from the pow­ers that be. In this world, those pow­ers use alche­my to fuel the Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion. It’s a fast-paced, fun­ny, and com­pelling book, the first of a tril­o­gy, with The Changer’s Key and The Great Unrav­el pro­vid­ing the rest of the sto­ry.

Supernatural Sleuthing Service  

Super­nor­mal Sleuthing Ser­vice
writ­ten by Gwen­da Bond and Christo­pher Rowe,
illus­trat­ed by Glenn Thomas
Green­wil­low Books, 2017

Stephen and his dad are mov­ing cross-coun­try so Dad can be the new exec­u­tive chef at the New Har­mo­nia, a New York City hotel for super­nor­mals (read: mon­sters!) It isn’t long before Stephen dis­cov­ers he’s part super­nor­mal him­self! When Stephen is framed for steal­ing a valu­able heir­loom, he teams up with two new friends to prove his inno­cence. It’s a spooky sto­ry, filled with humor and hijinks, and there’s a sec­ond book, The Sphinx’s Secret. You know the right read­er for these books!

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Cloth and the Picture Book:
Storytelling with Textile Techniques

Author and illus­tra­tor Debra Frasi­er was invit­ed to lec­ture on this top­ic to the West­ern North Car­oli­na Tex­tile Study Group, and the pub­lic, in mid-Novem­ber 2017. This is the bib­li­og­ra­phy that accom­pa­nies Debra’s pre­sen­ta­tion, with book selec­tions by Debra Frasi­er and Vic­ki Palmquist.

If you would like to invite Debra to give this pre­sen­ta­tion to your group, please con­tact her.

Down­load a print ver­sion of this bib­li­og­ra­phy.

Books are list­ed in order of appear­ance in the pre­sen­ta­tion.

INTRODUCTION TO THE PICTURE BOOK FORM

Spike: Ugliest Dog in the Universe  

Spike, Ugli­est Dog in the Uni­verse
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed 
by Debra Frasi­er
Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schus­ter,
2014.

Col­laged worn blue jeans with oth­er tex­tiles and papers.

THREE HISTORICAL INSPIRATIONS

Stitching Stars  

The Lady and the Uni­corn, as seen in the Musée de Cluny, Paris, France.

The Bayeux Tapes­try, writ­ten by David M. Wil­son, “The Com­plete
Tapes­try in Colour with Intro­duc­tions, Descrip­tion and com­men­tary by David M. Wil­son,” Thames & Hud­son, 2004.

Stitch­ing Stars, The Sto­ry Quilts of Har­ri­et Pow­ers, Lyons, Mary E, African-Amer­i­can Artists and Arti­sans series, 1993, Charles Scribner’s & Sons, his­tor­i­cal overview of late 1860’s, slave life, and Ms. Pow­ers’ works and his­to­ry.

A QUIRKY SURVEY OF TEXTILE TECHNIQUES 
USED IN ILLUSTRATIONS
FOR CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOKS

QUILTED INSPIRATIONS

Alphabet Atlas

 

The Alpha­bet Atlas
writ­ten by Arthur Yorinks
illus­trat­ed by Adri­enne Yorinks
Winslow Press, 1999

Machine quilt­ed, col­laged con­ti­nents

Hummingbirds  

Hum­ming­birds
writ­ten by Adri­enne Yorinks and Jean­nette Lar­son

illus­trat­ed by Adri­enne Yorinks
Charles­bridge Pub­lish­ing, 2011

Non­fic­tion com­bined with myth­ic, all quilt­ed

Patchwork Folk Art  

Patch­work Folk Art, Using Appliqué & Quilt­ing Tech­niques
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Janet Bolton
Sterling/Museum Quilts Book
Ster­ling Pub­lish­ing Co, 1995

Not a children’s pic­ture book but an excel­lent intro­duc­tion to nar­ra­tive in patch­work col­lage.

Mrs. Noah's Patchwork Quilt  

Mrs. Noah’s Patch­work Quilt
A Jour­nal of the Voy­age with a Pock­et­ful of Patch­work Pieces
writ­ten by Sheri Safran
illus­trat­ed by Janet Bolton
Tan­go Books (Eng­land), 1995

Presents a how-to along with the sto­ry of Mrs. Noah’s quilt, and a back pock­et includes pat­terns of quilt pieces appear­ing in the illus­tra­tions.

Tar Beach  

Tar Beach
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Faith Ring­gold
Crown Pub­lish­er, 1991

Based on one of Ringgold’s quilts held by the Guggen­heim Muse­um. The sto­ry arc and quilt bor­ders all car­ried over to the pic­ture book so, in this case, the book is inspired by the quilt.

Quiltmaker's Gift  

Quiltmaker’s Gift
writ­ten by Jeff Brum­beau
illus­trat­ed by Gail de Mar­ck­en
Scholas­tic Press, 2001

In which the cre­ation of a quilt changes the heart of a greedy king. Each page fea­tures a dif­fer­ent quilt block that fits into the con­text of the sto­ry.

The Keeping Quilt  

Keep­ing Quilt
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Patri­cia Polac­co
Simon & Schus­ter, 1988

A quilt made from a family’s cloth­ing is passed down in var­i­ous guis­es for more than a cen­tu­ry, a sym­bol of their endur­ing love and faith.

CLOTH AND THINGS IN THE SEWING BASKET

Pat the Bunny  

Pat the Bun­ny
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Dorothy Kun­hardt
Gold­en Book, 1940

Spi­ral bound with a small trim-size, this clas­sic book uses actu­al bits of fab­ric to “feel” and “lift.”

Wag a Tail  

Wag A Tail
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lois Ehlert
Har­court, Inc, 2007

Col­laged papers and cloth, with but­tons and “pink­ing shear” edg­ing through­out.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf  

Red Leaf, Yel­low Leaf
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lois Ehlert
Har­court Brace & Com­pa­ny, 1991

Burlap, kite tails, string and bits of cloth are used in the col­lages.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat  

Joseph Had a Lit­tle Over­coat
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Simms Taback
Viking/Penguin Put­nam Books for Young Read­ers, 1999

The main character—a dimin­ish­ing coat—is actu­al cloth and is col­laged with oth­er bits of cloth cur­tains, rugs and cloth­ing, and then all adhered to a paint­ed sur­face.

Mama Miti  

Mama Miti
writ­ten by Don­na Jo Napoli
illus­trat­ed by Kadir Nel­son
Simon & Schus­ter Books for Young Read­ers, 2010

Nel­son has com­bined cloth with paint­ing for both land­scapes and cloth­ing.

Hands  

Hands
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lois Ehlert
Har­court Brace & Co, 1997

Ehlert has used actu­al objects: work gloves, apron swatch, sewing tools, scis­sors, pat­tern tissue—in this ode to mak­ing things as a child.

PAPER TREATED AS CLOTH

Paper Illusions  

Paper Illu­sions, The Art of Isabelle de Borch­grave
by Bar­bara and Rene Stoeltie
Abrams, 2008 (Eng­lish edi­tion)

Lav­ish pho­tographs of life-sized paper cos­tumes made to match Renais­sance peri­od cloth using paint­ing, fold­ing, glu­ing, stitch­ing to cre­ate the illu­sion of cloth.

Mole's Hill  

Mole’s Hill: a Wood­land Tale
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lois Ehlert
Har­court, 1994

Inspired by Wood­land Indi­ans rib­bon appliqué and sewn bead­work, the paper is often dot­ted and pieced as if stitched and bead­ed. An author note describes this hand­work and how it inspired her approach.

Seeds of Change  

Seeds of Change
writ­ten by Jen Culler­ton John­son
illus­trat­ed by Sonia Lynn Sadler
Lee & Low Books, 2010

Dis­tinc­tive Kenyan-styled flower print dress pat­terns are used as the inspi­ra­tion for paint­ings of dress­es and mir­rored in land­scapes.

STITCHING

Fabric Pictures  

Fab­ric Pic­tures
A Work­shop with Janet Bolton, Cre­at­ing a Tex­tile Sto­ry
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Janet Bolton
Jacqui Small LLP, Aurum Press, 2015

Not a children’s pic­ture book but an excel­lent work­shop-in-a-book on cre­at­ing nar­ra­tives with appliqué.

Baby's First Book  

Baby’s First Book
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Clare Beat­on
Bare­foot Books, 2008

Hand sewn felt, vin­tage fab­rics, but­tons, and stitched let­ter­ing col­laged for a baby’s com­pendi­um of sub­jects. ALL items and back­grounds made of cloth.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves  

Snow White and the Sev­en Dwarves
adapt­ed by Joan Aiken
illus­trat­ed by Belin­da Downes
A Dor­ling Kinder­s­ley Book
Pen­guin Com­pa­ny, 2002

Downes uses fine fab­rics appliquéd with rich embroi­dery, incor­po­rat­ing a con­sis­tent run­ning stitch to out­line and embell­ish.

CLOTH AS SUBJECT

Cloth Lullaby  

Cloth Lul­la­by, The Woven Life of Louise Bour­geois
writ­ten by Amy Novesky
illus­trat­ed by Isabelle Arse­nault
Abrams Books for Young Read­ers, 2016

The illus­tra­tor uses woven lines, [sim­i­lar to some of Bour­geois’ lat­er draw­ings] to cre­ate a tex­tile sen­si­bil­i­ty in the illus­tra­tions amid the ear­ly years, and then the same vocab­u­lary is used to visu­al­ly describe the sculp­ture of her adult artist years.

Pattern for Pepper  

A Pat­tern for Pep­per
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Julie Kraulis
Tun­dra Books, Ran­dom House/Canada, 2017

From Her­ring­bone to Dot­ted Swiss, from Argyle to Toile—a vis­it to a tailor’s shop becomes a com­pendi­um of fab­ric pat­terns with each fab­ric sam­pled in the hunt for the per­fect pat­tern for Pep­per. Oil paint and graphite on board.

THREE-D CLOTH AND FELT

Pocketful of Posies  

Pock­et­ful of Posies, A Trea­sury of Nurs­ery Rhymes
col­lect­ed and illus­trat­ed by Sal­ley Mavor
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2010

64 tra­di­tion­al nurs­ery rhymes are illus­trat­ed with hand-sewn fab­ric relief col­lages, includ­ing dozens of fig­ures.

Felt Wee Folk  

Felt-Wee-Folk, 120 Enchant­i­ng Dolls
“New Adven­tures”
by Sal­ley Mavor
C&T Pub­lish­ing, 2015

This is a how-to book for cre­at­ing char­ac­ters and scenes as pic­tured in Pock­et­ful of Posies.

Pride & Prejudice  

Cozy Clas­sics
Jane Austen’s Pride & Prej­u­dice
by Jack and Hol­man Wang
Chron­i­cle Books, 2016

Entire­ly illus­trat­ed by felt­ed 3-D char­ac­ters that are set in an envi­ron­ment, superbly lit, and pho­tographed to tell clas­sic tales in one word page turns. Sev­er­al clas­sic titles are includ­ed in this series.

Roarr Calder's Circus  

Roarr, Calder’s Cir­cus
a sto­ry by Maira Kalman
pho­tos by Donatel­la Brun
designed by M&Co for
the Whit­ney Muse­um of Amer­i­can Art, 1991

Using bits of Calder’s spo­ken text from the film of his hand manip­u­lat­ed cir­cus, Kalman expands the lan­guage and char­ac­ter­i­za­tions. Calder’s cir­cus char­ac­ters of wire and cloth are pho­tographed and then col­laged across the dou­ble-page spread.

THE DYED BOOK

We Got Here Together  

We Got Here Togeth­er
writ­ten by Kim Stafford
illus­trat­ed by Debra Frasi­er
Har­court Brace, 1994

Shi­bori, a resist dye­ing method, is used to pat­tern Japan­ese gampi tis­sue paper (long fibered tis­sue) as ocean and rain, in both pipe resist and braid­ed resist tech­niques, respec­tive­ly. Shi­bori tis­sue paper is com­bined with Japan­ese dyed sheets in col­lages on illus­tra­tion board.

SPECIAL GUEST

Catharine Ellis  

Catharine Ellis, self pub­lished, three titles:

Cape Cod: The Present, Blue, and Map­ping Col­or (writ­ten by Nan­cy Pen­rose, illus­trat­ed by Catharine Ellis). Find Catharine’s resources and pub­li­ca­tions here.

(Each of these chap­books is illus­trat­ed using pho­tographs of nat­ur­al dyed fab­rics, some­times addi­tion­al­ly stitched on the sur­faces, while abstract­ly defin­ing the text.)

What are your favorite books illus­trat­ed with tex­tiles? Send us your rec­om­men­da­tions.

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Pigs Galore

This past Sep­tem­ber, after years of writ­ing and teach­ing the writ­ing of real­is­tic YA fic­tion, I was pleased to launch into the world a set of four ear­ly chap­ter books. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the chal­lenge of telling a sto­ry in 1000 words instead of 60,000 was huge. It was not the only chal­lenge.

Instead of focus­ing on a teen girl in tur­moil, I was now writ­ing about a talk­ing pig. An ath­let­ic one, to boot: Gra­cie LaRoo, the youngest mem­ber of a cham­pi­onship syn­chro­nized swim­ming team. I can just hear the younger writer me: Anthro­po­mor­phism? You’re real­ly gonna go there?

While devel­op­ing Gra­cie and while writ­ing her sto­ries I was keen­ly aware she was join­ing a crowd­ed field. There are a lot of pigs in children’s lit­er­a­ture, and many of them have reached one-name celebri­ty sta­tus. Okay, Piglet, Fred­dy, Wilbur, Babe, and Olivia only ever had one name, but since their arrival on the scene have they ever need­ed more than that?

Char­ac­ter is every­thing in lit­er­a­ture, and I was delight­ed to dis­cov­er some fine new and new-to-me pigs. Like almost all the books I read and reread, my list can be divid­ed into two types of books: farm pigs and pigs-as-peo­ple (i.e., full-blown anthro­po­mor­phism).

Pigs Might Fly  

Pigs Might Fly
writ­ten by Dick King-Smith

(Mary Rayn­er, illus; Puf­fin, 1990)

I loved this nov­el by the author of Babe: The Gal­lant Pig, and not just because the pro­tag­o­nist Dag­gie is a swim­ming pig like my Gra­cie. There’s a love­ly bal­ance of real­is­tic farm life and talk­ing-ani­mal whim­sy. Like most of the farm-sto­ry pigs, Dag­gie appears des­tined for the break­fast table. How can he avoid that fate? Dag­gie is a won­der­ful char­ac­ter; his delight in cool­ing off in a stream on a hot day is vis­cer­al. And does he ever fly? You think I’d tell you?

Adventures of a South Pole Pig  

The Adven­tures of a South Pole Pig
writ­ten by Chris Kurtz

(Jen­nifer Black Rein­hardt, illus; HMH, 2015)

An out­door sur­vival sto­ry with a female protagonist–what’s not to love? Okay, Flora’s a pig, but still. Per­haps because the nov­el begins on a farm, I had no hes­i­ta­tion in accept­ing that what hap­pens lat­er in the sto­ry is pre­cise­ly what would hap­pen were a pig ship­wrecked at the edge of Antarc­ti­ca. One warn­ing: the ship­board rats are very fright­en­ing.

 

The Pirate Pig

 

The Pirate Pig
writ­ten by Cor­nelia Funke

(Ker­stin Mey­er, illus; Year­ling, 2015)

Funke is of course the imag­i­na­tive author of many mid­dle grade and YA nov­els. This sto­ry about a trea­sure-sniff­ing pig who is shang­haied into labor by two evil pirates is great fun; also, how can you resist a pig pirate named Julie?

Poppleton Has Fun  

Pop­ple­ton Has Fun
by Cyn­thia Rylant

(Mark Teague, illus; Har­court School Pub­lish­ers, 2006)

Ani­mals of all types abound in stepped-read­ing sets and series, and pigs are espe­cial­ly well-rep­re­sent­ed. I pored over many and quick­ly tossed some aside. Thanks to New­bery win­ner Rylant’s deft char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and pitch-per­fect lan­guage, Pop­ple­ton emerges as the best, and in this book he quilts and takes a nice bath. Fun, indeed.

 

Did I miss your favorite pig? Please com­ment!

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Death and Grief

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, 2018. 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. They are pre­sent­ed in alpha­bet­i­cal order by title. There are books sug­gest­ed for many age ranges from pic­ture books to books for teens. And, as with most good children’s books, these are good read­ing for adults as well.

After Life  

After Life: Ways We Think about Death
writ­ten by Mer­rie-Ellen Wilcox
Orca Pub­lish­ing, 2018

For ages 8 to 12 (and old­er), a look at the sci­ence and cul­ture of death, dying, and grief. Each chap­ter includes a brief telling of a death leg­end, myth or his­to­ry from a dif­fer­ent cul­ture or tra­di­tion, from Adam and Eve to Wolf and Coy­ote, and ends with a sec­tion on a com­mon theme in our think­ing about death, such as rivers and birds in the after­life, the col­ors that dif­fer­ent cul­tures use to sym­bol­ize death, and, of course, ghosts. The final chap­ter is about grief, which is both a uni­ver­sal human expe­ri­ence and unique to each per­son. The text offers sug­ges­tions for ways to think about our grief, when to ask for help and how to talk to friends who are griev­ing.

All Around Us  

All Around Us
writ­ten by Xele­na Gon­za­lez, illus by Adri­ana M. Gar­cia
Cin­co Pun­tas Press, 2017

For ages 3 to 7, a young girl and her grand­fa­ther look at the cir­cles in nature and the cycles in life. They dis­cuss the earth, plant­i­ng and har­vest­ing, and life, from birth to death. It’s a book filled with images that will stay with you for a long time.

All Three Stooges  

All Three Stooges
writ­ten by Eri­ca S. Perl
Knopf, 2018

The close friend­ship of two best friends, Noah and Dash, is heav­i­ly test­ed when Dash’s father com­mits sui­cide. Dash with­draws from Noah and Noah isn’t sure how to breach the wall. The two have always shared a love of com­e­dy and Noah tries his best because he needs his friend book. Noa, a girl in Dash and Noah’s Hebrew class, adds to the tex­ture of the sto­ry, as does an inter­wo­ven his­to­ry of famous Jew­ish come­di­ans. This book is full of humor, heart, and under­stand­ing … share this as a fam­i­ly read-aloud.

Badger's Parting Gifts  

Badger’s Part­ing Gifts
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Susan Var­ley
Harper­Collins, 1992

When Bad­ger dies, his friends are very sad. Each of them finds a gift that Bad­ger gave them and shares the sto­ry of the gift with the oth­ers, which helps them all to under­stand what made Bad­ger so spe­cial to them.

Beat the Turtle Drum  

Beat the Tur­tle Drum
writ­ten by Con­stance Greene
Viking Pen­guin, 1976

Two sis­ters, one gre­gar­i­ous and one more intro­spec­tive, are best friends, explor­ing life togeth­er. One of them is horse-crazy and the oth­er tries to under­stand what it is about a horse that makes her sis­ter so entranced. Then one day, there’s an acci­dent, and life changes dra­mat­i­cal­ly for this fam­i­ly. 

 

Bridge to Terabithia

 

Bridge to Ter­abithia
writ­ten by Kather­ine Pater­son
Harper­Collins, 1977

Jess Aarons has been prac­tic­ing all sum­mer so he can be the fastest run­ner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, out­paces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchant­ed land called Ter­abithia. One morn­ing, Leslie goes to Ter­abithia with­out Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his fam­i­ly and the strength that Leslie has giv­en him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole  

Care and Feed­ing of a Pet Black Hole
writ­ten by Michelle Cuevas
Dial Books, 2017

When Stel­la Rodriguez vis­its NASA to con­tribute to the Gold­en Record, a black hole fol­lows her home. Mean­ing to become a pet, it swal­lows up every­thing it touch­es (as a black hole would). That’s con­ve­nient for get­ting rid of gifts she doesn’t love … and for things that remind her painful­ly of her father who has recent­ly died. When the black hole eats her, her broth­er, and her dog, she comes to a real­iza­tion about grief. At turns fun­ny and touch­ing, this is a good empa­thy-build­ing book for ages 8 to 12.

Clayton Bird Goes Underground  

Clay­ton Bird Goes Under­ground
writ­ten by Rita Williams-Gar­cia, illus by  Frank Mor­ri­son
Amis­tad, 2017

Clay­ton res­onates with his grandfather’s music, the blues. Although Clay­ton is young, Cool Papa Byrd lets him play his blues harp (har­mon­i­ca) when he and the Blues­men per­form. Clay­ton emu­lates his grand­fa­ther, loves him com­plete­ly, wants des­per­ate­ly to under­stand the blues. But Clayton’s moth­er har­bors resent­ments about her dad and his always being on the road when she was grow­ing up. When Cool Papa Bird dies unex­pect­ed­ly, Clay­ton knows he must play the blues … and his moth­er for­bids him. Clay­ton runs away from home, try­ing to find the Blues­men so he can join them on tour. Things don’t go quite as planned and sud­den­ly life, and the blues, take on new mean­ings.

Cry Heart, But Never Break  

Cry, Heart, But Nev­er Break
writ­ten by Glenn Ringvedt, illus by Char­lotte Par­di
Enchant­ed Lion Books, 2016

This is one of the books we read for Chap­ter & Verse. Peo­ple felt it tells the sto­ry of death quite sen­si­tive­ly. Aware their grand­moth­er is grave­ly ill, four sib­lings make a pact to keep death from tak­ing her away. But Death does arrive all the same, as it must. He comes gen­tly, nat­u­ral­ly. And he comes with enough time to share a sto­ry with the chil­dren that helps them to real­ize the val­ue of loss to life and the impor­tance of being able to say good­bye.

Death is Stupid  

Death is Stu­pid
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Anas­ta­sia Hig­gin­both­am
Fem­i­nist Press at CUNY, 2016

In a starred review, Pub­lish­ers Week­ly wrote, “It’s [an] exact mix of true-to-life humor and unflinch­ing hon­esty that makes Higginbotham’s book work so well, and many of the plain­spo­ken sen­ti­ments she includes, as well as sev­er­al includ­ed ideas for how to remem­ber and hon­or those who have depart­ed, may be eye-open­ing for read­ers fac­ing grief them­selves.” If your child, ages 4 and up, will ben­e­fit from direct respons­es, share this book with them. 

 

Dog Heav­en
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Cyn­thia Rylant
Blue Sky Press, 1995

Specif­i­cal­ly writ­ten for very young chil­dren who are griev­ing the loss of a dog, Rylant por­trays heav­en as a place where dogs are free to roam and play and God is a kind­ly man dis­pens­ing dog bis­cuits. The details are plen­ti­ful, cre­at­ing a lov­ing pic­ture of a rest­ful place. There is a com­pan­ion vol­ume, Cat Heav­en.

Duck, Death and the Tulip  

Duck, Death and the Tulip
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Wold Erl­bruch
Gecko Press, 2016

When Death appears behind Duck one sum­mer day, Duck is alarmed. Has Death come to claim Duck? But they spend the sum­mer togeth­er, grow­ing com­fort­able with each oth­er, offer­ing advice and ges­tures of friend­ship. When it is time for Duck to die, Death shows great respect, send­ing Duck afloat down a riv­er with a red tulip on its breast. The art and the sto­ry work beau­ti­ful­ly togeth­er in this book for ages 10 and up. 

Fall of Freddy the Leaf  

Fall of Fred­dy the Leaf: a Sto­ry of Life for All Ages
writ­ten by Leo Buscaglia
Stack, Inc., 1982

This sto­ry tells about death through the metaphor of leaves on trees. Fred­die and his com­pan­ion leaves change with the pass­ing sea­sons, final­ly falling to the ground with winter’s snow, an alle­go­ry that illus­trates the del­i­cate bal­ance between life and death.

The Funeral  

The Funer­al
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Matt James
Ground­wood Books, 2018

Going to her great-uncle’s funer­al, Nor­ma is look­ing for­ward to a day off of school and a chance to play with her favorite cousin. She is “prac­tic­ing her sad face in the mir­ror of her par­ents’ room. Though she was, in fact, pret­ty hap­py.” The seri­ous nature of the day takes hold as Nor­ma observes and con­tem­plates oth­er people’s feel­ings and ques­tions: “Is Uncle Frank still a per­son?” This is a good book for chil­dren attend­ing their first funer­al or memo­r­i­al ser­vice. The art­work is nuanced and evoca­tive.

The Goodbye Book  

The Good­bye Book
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Todd Parr
Lit­tle, Brown, 2016

Told from the per­spec­tive of a lone­ly fish, this book deals with the big ques­tions and emo­tions of los­ing some­one close to you, whether it’s a human or a pet. The Good­bye Book is reas­sur­ing that pain will ease with time and mem­o­ries and the sup­port of oth­ers around you.

Hey, Al  

Hey, Al
writ­ten by Arthur Yorkins, illus by Richard Egiel­s­ki
Gold­en Books, 1986

Al, a jan­i­tor, and his faith­ful dog, Eddie, live in a sin­gle room on the West Side. They eat togeth­er, they work togeth­er, they do every­thing togeth­er. So what’s the prob­lem? Life is hard. When a mys­te­ri­ous bird offers to lead them to par­adise, they agree. They’re soon liv­ing a life of lux­u­ry. But things aren’t as green as they seem.

My Father's Arms Are a Boat  

My Father’s Arms Are a Boat
writ­ten by Stein Erik Lunde, illus by Oyvind Torseter 
trans­lat­ed by Kari Dick­son
Enchant­ed Lion Books, 2013

It’s qui­eter than it’s ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father’s arms. Feel­ing the warmth and close­ness of his father, he begins to ask ques­tions about the birds, the fox­es, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go out­side under the star­ry sky. Loss and love are as present as the white spruces, while the father’s clear answers and assur­ances calm his wor­ried son. 

The Heart and the Bottle  

The Heart and the Bot­tle
writ­ten and illus by Oliv­er Jef­fers
Philomel Books, 2010

There is a won­der and mag­ic to child­hood. We don’t real­ize it at the time, of course … yet the adults in our lives do. They encour­age us to see things in the stars, to find joy in col­ors and laugh­ter as we play.

But what hap­pens when that spe­cial some­one who encour­ages such won­der and mag­ic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bot­tle and grow up … or we can find anoth­er spe­cial some­one who under­stands the mag­ic. And we can encour­age them to see things in the stars, find joy among col­ors and laugh­ter as they play. This is a book that address­es loss, painful emo­tions, and find­ing one’s way back.

Ida, Always  

Ida, Always
writ­ten Car­ol Levis, illus by Charles San­toso
Atheneum, 2016

In this pic­ture book, two polar bears are best friends and they know they will always be. But then Ida gets sick and it’s clear that she is dying, and Gus real­izes he will be alone. They talk and cud­dle and share their love for each oth­er. Gus real­izes that Ida will be with him always, even after she has died. It’s a gor­geous book with an equal­ly beau­ti­ful sto­ry to tell.

Lifetimes  

Life­times: The Beau­ti­ful Way to Explain Death to Chil­dren 
writ­ten by Bryan Mel­lonie, illus by Robert Ing­pen
Ban­tam, 1983

For ages 5 to 8, this book was rec­om­mend­ed by sev­er­al child psy­chol­o­gists because it looks at the life cycles of plants, ani­mals, and humans in an under­stat­ed but com­fort­ing way, accom­pa­nied by sooth­ing illus­tra­tions.

The Memory Box  

The Mem­o­ry Box: a Book about Grief
writ­ten by Joan­na Row­land, illus by Thea Bak­er
Beam­ing Books, 2017

I’m scared I’ll for­get you…” From the per­spec­tive of a young child, Joan­na Row­land art­ful­ly describes what it is like to remem­ber and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the sto­ry cre­ates a mem­o­ry box to keep memen­tos and writ­ten mem­o­ries of the loved one, to help in the griev­ing process. Heart­felt and com­fort­ing, The Mem­o­ry Box will help chil­dren and adults talk about this very dif­fi­cult top­ic togeth­er.

Memory Tree  

Mem­o­ry Tree
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Brit­ta Teck­en­trup
Orchard Books, 2014

Fox lies down in his beloved for­est and takes his last breath. As ani­mal friends gath­er around him, they share their favorite sto­ries about the ways Fox was impor­tant in their lives. As they speak, a tree grows behind them, a mem­o­ry tree, that will pro­vide for and pro­tect them, just as their friend Fox did. A pic­ture book for ages 5 and up.

Michael Rosen's Sad Book  

Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
writ­ten by Michael Rosen, illus­trat­ed by Quentin Blake
Can­dlewick Press, 2005

Some­times sad is very big. It’s every­where. All over me.” Sad things hap­pen to every­one, and some­times peo­ple feel sad for no rea­son at all. What makes Michael Rosen sad is think­ing about his son, Eddie, who died sud­den­ly at the age of eigh­teen. In this book the author writes about his sad­ness, how it affects him, and some of the things he does to cope with it—like telling him­self that every­one has sad stuff (not just him) and try­ing every day to do some­thing he can be proud to have done.

Mick Harte Was Here  

Mick Harte Was Here
writ­ten by Bar­bara Park
Ran­dom House, 1995

I don’t want to make you cry. I just want to tell you about Mick. But I thought you should know right up front that he’s not here any­more. I just thought that would be fair.” Phoebe’s broth­er, Mick, was one of the fun­ni­est, coolest kids you’d ever meet—the kid who made you laugh until your stom­ach hurt, even if you were mad at him. He was the kid you’d want to be friends with. So how can he be gone? And how will Phoebe’s fam­i­ly sur­vive with­out him?

Missing May  

Miss­ing May
writ­ten by Cyn­thia Rylant
Orchard Books, Scholas­tic, 1992

When May dies sud­den­ly while gar­den­ing, Sum­mer assumes she’ll nev­er see her beloved aunt again. But then Summer’s Uncle Ob claims that May is on her way back–she has sent a sign from the spir­it world.

Sum­mer isn’t sure she believes in the spir­it world, but her quirky class­mate Cle­tus Underwood–who befriends Ob dur­ing his time of mourning—does. So at Cle­tus’ sug­ges­tion, Ob and Sum­mer (with Cle­tus in tow) set off in search of Miri­am B. Young, Small Medi­um at Large, whom they hope will explain May’s depar­ture and con­firm her pos­si­ble return.

Missing Mommy  

Miss­ing Mom­my: a Book about Bereave­ment
writ­ten by Rebec­ca Cobb
Hen­ry Holt, 2013

Writ­ten from a young boy’s point of view, with words and draw­ings appro­pri­ate for some­one his age, this is a straight­for­ward sto­ry that explores the many emo­tions a bereaved child may expe­ri­ence, from anger and guilt to sad­ness and bewil­der­ment. Ulti­mate­ly, Miss­ing Mom­my focus­es on the positive―the recog­ni­tion that the child is not alone but still part of a fam­i­ly that loves and sup­ports him.

A Monster Calls  

A Mon­ster Calls
writ­ten by Patrick Ness
Inspired by an idea from Siob­han Dowd
Can­dlewick Press, 2011

At sev­en min­utes past mid­night, thir­teen-year-old Conor wakes to find a mon­ster out­side his bed­room win­dow. But it isn’t the mon­ster Conor’s been expect­ing, the one from the night­mare he’s had near­ly every night since his moth­er start­ed her treat­ments. The mon­ster in his back­yard is dif­fer­ent. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants some­thing from Conor. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-win­ning author Siob­han Dowd—whose pre­ma­ture death from can­cer pre­vent­ed her from writ­ing it herself—Patrick Ness has spun a haunt­ing and dark­ly fun­ny nov­el of mis­chief, loss, and mon­sters both real and imag­ined.

My Father's Words  

My Father’s Words
writ­ten by Patri­cia MacLach­lan
Kather­ine Tegen Books / Harper­Collins, 2018

In the midst of a lov­ing fam­i­ly, Finn and Fiona are secure in their par­ents’ love and car­ing. When their father meets with an acci­dent, they must learn how to cope with­out him. A friend sug­gests they work at an ani­mal res­cue shel­ter, which may be their way out of the sor­row. A car­ing, gen­tle book. 

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs  

Nana Upstairs & Nana Down­stairs
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Tomie de Pao­la
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997

Tom­my is four years old, and he loves vis­it­ing the home of his grand­moth­er, Nana Down­stairs, and his great-grand­moth­er, Nana Upstairs. But one day Tommy’s moth­er tells him Nana Upstairs won’t be there any­more, and Tom­my must strug­gle with say­ing good­bye to some­one he loves. This is a qui­et sto­ry about a lov­ing fam­i­ly.

The Next Place  

The Next Place
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by War­ren Han­son
Wald­man House Press, 2002

Sev­er­al librar­i­ans rec­om­mend­ed this book as one that brings com­fort after loss. With words and paint­ings, it depicts a jour­ney of light and hope to a place where earth­ly hurts are left behind.

Ocean Meets Sky  

Ocean Meets Sky
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Ter­ry Fan and Eric Fan
Simon & Schus­ter, 2018

In a tour-de-force of illus­tra­tion and sto­ry­telling, the Fan Broth­ers share the sto­ry of Finn, who planned an ocean voy­age with his beloved grand­fa­ther. After grandfather’s death, Finn builds a boat to take that voy­age on what would have been his grandfather’s 90th birth­day. With this ges­ture of hon­or and respect, sail­ing to the place where the ocean meets the sky, Finn finds com­fort, sail­ing through pages of won­der until his moth­er calls him home.

The Rough Patch  

Rough Patch
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Lies
Green­wil­low Books, 2018

Evan, a fox, and his dog share many adven­tures, includ­ing gar­den­ing and the coun­ty fair. When his dog dies, Evan is incon­solable. He neglects his gar­den and it becomes over­grown and weedy. In a cor­ner of the gar­den, a giant pump­kin begins grow­ing and soon it becomes clear it must be entered in the coun­ty fair. Evan returns to one of his favorite places, meet­ing up with friends, old and new.

The Scar  

The Scar
writ­ten by Char­lotte Moundlic, illus by Olivi­er Tal­lec
Can­dlewick Press, 2011

When the boy in this sto­ry wakes to find that his moth­er has died, he is over­whelmed with sad­ness, anger, and fear that he will for­get her. He shuts all the win­dows to keep in his mother’s famil­iar smell and scratch­es open the cut on his knee to remem­ber her com­fort­ing voice. He doesn’t know how to speak to his dad any­more, and when Grand­ma vis­its and throws open the win­dows, it’s more than the boy can take–until his grand­moth­er shows him anoth­er way to feel that his mom’s love is near. 

Something Very Sorry  

Some­thing Very Sor­ry
writ­ten by Arno Bohlmei­jer
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1996

For ages 12 and up, this is the true sto­ry of a young girl’s strug­gle to come to terms with a tragedy. This sober nar­ra­tion reveals the pri­vate voice of a girl as she copes with the after­math of a car acci­dent: her mother’s death, the injuries of her father and sis­ter, and her own grief, anger, and fear of the future. It’s a poignant sto­ry of a dif­fi­cult fam­i­ly sit­u­a­tion.

A Summer to Die  

A Sum­mer to Die
writ­ten by Lois Lowry
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1977

Meg isn’t thrilled when she gets stuck shar­ing a bed­room with her old­er sis­ter Mol­ly. The two of them couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent, and it’s hard for Meg to hide her resent­ment of Molly’s beau­ty and easy pop­u­lar­i­ty. But Molly’s con­stant grouch­i­ness, chang­ing appear­ance, and oth­er com­plaints are not just part of being moody. The day Mol­ly is rushed to the hos­pi­tal, Meg has to accept that there is some­thing ter­ri­bly wrong with her sis­ter. That’s the day Meg’s world changes for­ev­er. Is it too late for Meg to show how she real­ly feels?

Tear Soup  

Tear Soup: a Recipe for Heal­ing After Loss
writ­ten by Pat Schweib­ert and Chuck DeK­lyen
illus by Tay­lor Bills
Grief Watch, 2005

An inspi­ra­tional book of wis­dom about liv­ing and grow­ing with grief. After expe­ri­enc­ing loss, tears are a part of life, some­times for months and some­times for years. This book is meant to bring com­fort for ages 12 through adult. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed by edu­ca­tors, librar­i­ans, and par­ents for griev­ing chil­dren.

The Thing About Jellyfish  

The Thing About Jel­ly­fish
writ­ten by Ali Ben­jamin
Lit­tle, Brown, 2015

Every­one says that it was an acci­dent, that some­times things “just hap­pen.” But Suzy won’t believe it. Ever. After her best friend dies in a drown­ing acci­dent, Suzy is con­vinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jel­ly­fish sting. Retreat­ing into a silent world of imag­i­na­tion, she crafts a plan to prove her theory—even if it means trav­el­ing the globe, alone. Suzy’s aching­ly heart­felt jour­ney explores life, death, the aston­ish­ing won­der of the universe—and the poten­tial for love and hope right next door.

Tuck Everlasting  

Tuck Ever­last­ing
writ­ten by Natal­ie Bab­bitt
Rine­hart and Win­ston, 1999

The Tuck fam­i­ly is con­front­ed with an ago­niz­ing sit­u­a­tion when they dis­cov­er that a ten-year-old girl and a mali­cious stranger now share their secret about a spring whose water pre­vents one from ever grow­ing old­er. A clas­sic sto­ry, this book is much dis­cussed in homes and class­rooms, from ages 10 and up through adult. It’s a sto­ry so well told that you can’t help con­sid­er­ing the big ques­tions.

What is Goodbye?  

What is Good­bye?
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes, illus by Raúl Colón
Dis­ney-Hype­r­i­on, 2004

This is the book I rec­om­mend most often for chil­dren ages 9 through adult. Jer­i­lyn and Jesse have lost their beloved old­er broth­er. Each of them deals with Jaron’s death dif­fer­ent­ly. Jer­i­lyn tries to keep it in and hold it togeth­er; Jesse acts out. But after a year of anger, pain, and guilt, they come to under­stand that it’s time to move on. It’s time for a new fam­i­ly picture—with one piece miss­ing, yet whole again. Through the alter­nat­ing voic­es of a broth­er and sis­ter, Nik­ki Grimes elo­quent­ly por­trays the griev­ing process in this gem of a book that is hon­est, pow­er­ful, and ulti­mate­ly hope­ful.

When Dinosaurs Die  

When Dinosaurs Die: a Guide to Under­stand­ing Death
writ­ten by Lau­rie Kras­ny Brown, illus by Marc Brown
Lit­tle Brown, 1998

No one can real­ly under­stand death, but to chil­dren, the pass­ing away of a loved one can be espe­cial­ly per­plex­ing and trou­ble­some. This is true whether the loss is a class­mate, friend, fam­i­ly mem­ber, or pet. In this book, wis­dom is shared by dinosaurs, pro­vid­ing answers to kids’ most-often-asked ques­tions, explor­ing the feel­ings we may have regard­ing the death of a loved one, and the ways to remem­ber some­one after he or she has died.

Whirligig  

Whirligig
writ­ten by Paul Fleis­chman
Hen­ry Holt, 1998

When Brent Bish­op is out­raged at a high school par­ty, he dri­ves away hurt, furi­ous, and out of con­trol. He dri­ves reck­less­ly, deter­mined to kill him­self, but kills a girl instead, a high school senior with a bright future. Filled with guilt, Brent wants to make resti­tu­tion. The girl’s moth­er asks him to cre­ate whirligigs and set them up in the four cor­ners of the Unit­ed States. We fol­low Brent on his jour­ney, meet­ing the peo­ple whose lives he affects and who change his life.

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Theater Geeks!

If your chil­dren (or you) are cap­ti­vat­ed by tal­ent shows on TVor dreams of act­ing on the stage, or the next the­ater pro­duc­tion at school, there are a cho­rus line of books just wait­ing to audi­tion for your next favorite. Here’s a mix­ture of clas­sic and new sto­ries, rang­ing in inter­est from grades 3 through 7.

All the World's a Stage  

All the World’s a Stage
writ­ten by Gretchen Woelfle, illus by Thomas Cox
Hol­i­day House, 2011

Twelve-year-old Kit Buck­les has come to Lon­don to make his for­tune. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, he’s caught up in crime to stay alive. Imme­di­ate­ly caught in his first pick­pock­et­ing assign­ment, Kit is enthralled by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men to do odd jobs for their The­ater Play­house. When the act­ing troupe is evict­ed, Kit is caught up in the plot to steal the the­ater! William Shake­speare is a char­ac­ter is this sto­ry and the well-researched his­to­ry that defines this nov­el is excit­ing. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

 

The Best Christ­mas Pageant Ever
writ­ten by Bar­bara Robin­son
Harper­Collins, 1971

It can be argued that this is one of the fun­ni­est books ever pub­lished for chil­dren. When the Herd­man chil­dren learn that there are free snacks at the church in their neigh­bor­hood, they attend Sun­day School even though they haven’t heard of Jesus and the Christ­mas sto­ry before. When they’re cast in the Christ­mas pageant, the sto­ry of Jesus’ birth takes unusual—and eye-opening—turns. It’s a laugh-out-loud book with a heart-tug­ging end­ing. Many fam­i­lies read this out loud each year as part of their hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions but it’s a well-writ­ten book that works well any time of year.

Better Nate Than Never  

Bet­ter Nate Than Ever
writ­ten by Tim Fed­er­le
Simon & Schus­ter, 2013

Thir­teen-year-old Nate Fos­ter has been grow­ing up in small-town Penn­syl­va­nia in a school and town that doesn’t appre­ci­ate his show­man­ship. His dream is to be on Broad­way, a life plan he and his best friend Lib­by have been rehears­ing for for­ev­er. When an open cast­ing call is adver­tised for E.T. The Musi­cal, Nate is deter­mined to be there. By turns fun­ny and heart-rend­ing, Nate’s sto­ry will strike a chord with every kid who wants to be a per­former on the spotlit stage.

Sequel: Five, Six, Sev­en, Nate!, Tim Fed­er­le, S&S, 2014

Drama  

Dra­ma
writ­ten by Raina Tel­ge­meier
Gold­en Books, 1947

In this book for ear­ly teens, Cal­lie gives up her ambi­tion to be in her school’s musi­cal when an audi­tion fails to impress the cast­ing com­mit­tee. She isn’t a singer. Instead, Cal­lie becomes a part of the back­stage crew, a cir­cum­stance many dis­ap­point­ed kids can relate with. But Cal­lie dis­cov­ers that she likes work­ing on the set. She doesn’t know what she’s doing but she’s enthu­si­as­tic. And there’s as much dra­ma back­stage as there is onstage. Cal­lie goes from one crush to anoth­er, main­tain­ing sus­pense with humor. This graph­ic nov­el is a big hit with read­ers.

Forget-Me-Not Summer  

For­get-Me-Not Sum­mer
writ­ten by Leila How­land
Harper­Collins, 2015

Marigold, Zin­nie, and Lily Sil­ver have their LA sum­mer all planned out—until their dad and mom, both work­ing for the film indus­try, get jobs out of town. The girls are sent to a small, coastal, Mass­a­chu­setts town to live with their aunt. They’re not hap­py because Marigold, twelve, had plans to audi­tion for a movie being made of her favorite book. And life in Pruet, MA, is unplugged. No cell phone recep­tion. Then Marigold dis­cov­ers the movie’s pro­duc­er has a sum­mer home near­by. Zin­nie writes a play to fea­ture Marigold’s tal­ents and the girls cre­ate a tal­ent show in a com­mu­ni­ty that is accept­ing and friend­ly. A heart-warm­ing book.

Goblin Secrets  

Gob­lin Secrets
writ­ten by William Alexan­der
Atheneum, Simon & Schus­ter, 2012

Rownie’s old­er broth­er, Rowan, his only liv­ing rel­a­tive, has dis­ap­peared. Rowan is an actor in a city that has out­lawed act­ing. To find Rowan, Rown­ie joins a Gob­lin the­ater troupe that per­forms in Zom­bay, man­ag­ing to get around the law. They’re up to more than is appar­ent and soon Rown­ie is caught up in the dra­ma of life. There are touch­es of steam­punk in this fan­ta­sy world. Rown­ie is tak­en in by Gra­ba, a woman with mech­a­nized chick­en legs. Yes, the books is that inven­tive! Nation­al Book Award for this debut nov­el.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!  

Good Mas­ters! Sweet Ladies!
Voic­es from a Medieval Vil­lage
writ­ten by Lau­ra Amy Schlitz, illus­trat­ed by Robert Byrd
Can­dlewick Press, 2007

Set in 1255, this engag­ing set of mono­logues cre­ate medieval vignettes that trans­port the read­er, or per­former, to a well-researched, involv­ing era. From the singing shep­herdess to the town’s “half-wit,” to the peasant’s daugh­ter, we learn the sto­ries of 22 peo­ple in this com­mu­ni­ty. This book isn’t about the­ater, it is the­ater, offer­ing a dra­mat­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty for under­stand­ing of a time long past. Win­ner of the New­bery Medal.

King of Shadows  

King of Shad­ows
writ­ten by Susan Coop­er
Mar­garet McElder­ry Books, Simon & Schus­ter, 1999

One of the best time-trav­el nov­els ever writ­ten, this is the sto­ry of Nat Field, a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Com­pa­ny of Boys, an act­ing troupe. An orphan, this oppor­tu­ni­ty pro­vides a home for Nat, who trav­els with them to Lon­don to star at the new Globe The­ater as Puck in A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream. When he goes to sleep, he dis­cov­ers he has been whisked back to 1599 where he becomes the pro­tégé of William Shake­speare with a time-traveler’s abil­i­ty to save the Bard’s life. Replete with his­tor­i­cal detail, an excit­ing plot, and mem­o­rable char­ac­ters, this is a book to beck­on read­ers toward mod­ern-day excite­ment about Shakespeare’s plays. 

The Life Fantastic  

The Life Fan­tas­tic
writ­ten by Liza Ketchum
Simon Pulse, 2017

Fif­teen-year-old Tere­sa is drawn to the vaude­ville stage. She feels the need to sing, to per­form. Her par­ents were vaude­vil­lians, but they chose a con­ven­tion­al life of 9-to-5 jobs and stay­ing in one town to take care of their two chil­dren. Tere­sa wants to try her own career on the stage but her father is vehe­ment­ly against it. She sneaks away from home to New York City where she even­tu­al­ly ends up with a nation­al vaude­ville troupe. There are fas­ci­nat­ing, well-researched details of vaude­ville, racism in the the­ater and 1910 Amer­i­ca, and life as a dar­ing girl before women had any rights. A very good sto­ry for mid­dle grade and old­er, includ­ing adults.

Okay for Now  

Okay for Now
writ­ten by Gary D. Schmidt
Clar­i­on Books, 2011

For­mer­ly cast as the bul­ly in The Wednes­day Wars, Doug Swi­eteck is start­ing over in a new town. His father is abu­sive, his moth­er doesn’t stand up against his father, and his old­er, unkind broth­er is off fight­ing in Viet­nam. Doug real­izes he has an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make him­self over into some­one with a dif­fer­ent rep­u­ta­tion. He makes friends with Lil Spicer, becomes spell­bound by a library book with plates of Audubon’s birds, and sets off on a grand adven­ture with Lil to appear on a Broad­way stage. Fun­ny, heart-wrench­ing, and absorb­ing, this book is not be missed.

Replay  

Replay
writ­ten by Sharon Creech
Harper­Collins, 2005

Leonar­do is the mid­dle child in a loud, chaot­ic Ital­ian fam­i­ly. He’s a dream­er, a thinker, and per­haps an actor. He is cast in the dis­ap­point­ing role of the Old Crone in Rompopo’s Porch, a play his teacher wrote. At home, he dis­cov­ers the jour­nal his father wrote when he was thir­teen years old, the same age Leo is now. These two dis­parate occur­rences will give him more con­fi­dence, solve a fam­i­ly mys­tery, and change his life. The full text of the play is includ­ed in the book so cre­ative thes­pi­ans can put on their own show.

Romeo and Juliet Together (and Alive) At Last  

Romeo and Juli­et Togeth­er (and Alive) At Last
writ­ten by Avi
Scholas­tic, 1987

A light­heart­ed ren­di­tion of Romeo and Juli­et is writ­ten and pro­duced by a class of eighth-graders whose true goal is to get shy Peter Saltz and shy Anabell Stack­pole to real­ize they’re just right for each oth­er. The match­mak­ing attempts, the earnest but laugh-out-loud fun­ny pro­duc­tion of Shakespeare’s clas­sic play (often taught in eighth grade), and the ring­ing-true think­ing, plan­ning, and mis­steps of this group of kids make this one of my favorite of Avi’s books.

The Shakespeare Stealer  

The Shake­speare Steal­er
writ­ten by Gary Black­wood
Harper­Collins, 2005

Ordered by his nefar­i­ous “own­er,” and Shakespeare’s com­peti­tor, to steal the unpub­lished “Ham­let” from the Bard him­self, the orphaned Widge is bound to obey. The only prob­lem is that once he’s clev­er­ly insert­ed him­self into the troupe at the Globe The­ater, he finds real friends for the first time in his life. How will he avoid the reper­cus­sions of dis­obey­ing his own­er? How can Widge find a way not to dis­ap­point his new friends? The plot twists, turns, and ulti­mate­ly pro­vides a riv­et­ing read­ing expe­ri­ence.

Snow White  

Snow White
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Matt Phe­lan
Can­dlewick Press, 2016

You may be think­ing Snow White and the the­ater? What’s the con­nec­tion? In Matt Phelan’s com­pelling re-imag­in­ing of the fairy tale, Saman­tha White (called Snow by her dying moth­er) is the daugh­ter of the King of Wall Street. It’s the late 1920s and life is gid­dy. Her father mar­ries the Queen of the Fol­lies (as in Zieg­field, our minds sup­ply), who turns out to have very evil inten­tions. She sends Saman­tha off to board­ing school and some­how Samantha’s hale and hearty father dies. Sev­en street urchins and Detec­tive Prince round out the cast in this high­ly read­able and dis­cus­sion-wor­thy graph­ic nov­el. 

The Cruisers A Star is Born  

A Star is Born, The Cruis­ers series
writ­ten by Wal­ter Dean Myers
Scholas­tic Press, 2012

Eighth graders Zan­der, LaShon­da, Kam­bui, and Bob­bi run an alter­na­tive news­pa­per, The Cruis­er, at their high school for gift­ed and tal­ent­ed stu­dents in Harlem, New York. In this third book in the series, LaShon­da earns a schol­ar­ship to the Vir­ginia Woolf Soci­ety Pro­gram for Young Ladies, hon­or­ing the cos­tumes she designed for a play the Cruis­ers pro­duced. Once she’s com­plet­ed the pro­gram, she’ll be eli­gi­ble for finan­cial assis­tance for col­lege. But there’s a wrin­kle. LaShon­da will have to move to be a part of the pro­gram and she’s hes­i­tant to leave her autis­tic broth­er behind. The friends work to solve this conun­drum in a real­is­tic way. A great friend­ship sto­ry told with Wal­ter Dean Myers’ deft and sure touch, using inter­ject­ed poems, essays, and arti­cles that are pub­lished in The Cruis­er.

Starstruck  

Starstruck
writ­ten by Rachel Shuk­ert
Dela­corte Press, 2013

For read­ers most­ly aged 16 and old­er, this 1930s Hol­ly­wood nov­el tells the tale of Mar­garet Fro­bish­er, who is lit­er­al­ly dis­cov­ered in a drug­store. Because she looks like a movie star who’s gone miss­ing, she is swept into the stu­dio sys­tem, renamed Mar­go Ster­ling, and is sud­den­ly star­ring in a movie. It’s a lot for a young woman to han­dle and it turns out that Hol­ly­wood isn’t all glam­our and bright lights. Evil and dark­ness are a part of this new world and so are heartache and stark real­i­ty. The details are good, the char­ac­ters are well-drawn … it’s a good book to read if you’re hun­gry for Hol­ly­wood as it was in its Gold­en Age.  

Summerlost  

Sum­mer­lost
writ­ten by Ally Condie
Dut­ton Books, 2016

Cedar could be for­giv­en for mop­ing around in her new sum­mer home. Her father and younger broth­er Ben were just killed in an acci­dent. And yet she’s intrigued when she sees a boy in a cos­tume rid­ing past her house on a bicy­cle. She fol­lows him and dis­cov­ers the Sum­mer­lost the­ater fes­ti­val. Soon Cedar is work­ing con­ces­sions at the fes­ti­val and she’s caught up in the mys­tery of a ghost and mys­te­ri­ous gifts that show up in sur­pris­ing ways. Edgar Award nom­i­nee. It’s a good mid­dle grade nov­el that reads with great warmth and under­stand­ing of loss.

Surviving the Applewhites  

Sur­viv­ing the Apple­whites
writ­ten by Stephanie S. Tolan
Harper­Collins, 2002

Thir­teen-year-old Jake Sem­ple is a tough nut. He’s been kicked out of schools until there are no options left. That is until a home­school­ing fam­i­ly, the Apple­whites, offer to let him attend their Cre­ative Acad­e­my. Every­one in the fam­i­ly has an artis­tic tal­ent. Dad’s pro­duc­ing The Sound of Music at their local the­ater. Mom is a mys­tery writer who’s tak­ing a break to write the Great Amer­i­can Nov­el. Uncle is a wood­carv­er and Aunt is a poet. Even Cordelia and Des­tiny have their unique tal­ents. All except for E.D., who is quite pos­si­bly the only Apple­white who is orga­nized enough to keep the fam­i­ly run­ning. The book is told from Jake’s and E.D.‘s alter­nate view­points. And it turns out that Jake might not be as impen­e­tra­bly tough as he believes.

Swish of the Curtain  

Swish of the Cur­tain
writ­ten by Pamela Brown
Long­wa­ter Books (reprint­ed edi­tion), orig. 1941

Most Sev­en chil­dren from three fam­i­lies orga­nize The Blue Door The­ater Com­pa­ny, ren­o­vat­ing an old chapel and pro­duc­ing their own plays. They write, direct, stage, sew cos­tumes, design scenery, and rehearse on their own. Their goal is to com­pete in the dra­ma con­test at the end of the sum­mer, the prize for which is a schol­ar­ship to attend dra­ma school. The group has the goal to be in the pro­fes­sion­al the­ater. Pamela Brown began writ­ing this book when she was 14, but it wasn’t pub­lished until she was 17! She was a UK author, and her series of books about this dra­ma troupe was immense­ly pop­u­lar, being trans­lat­ed to radio, tele­vi­sion, and movies. A true clas­sic. 

Theater Shoes  

The­ater Shoes
writ­ten by Noël Streat­field
Year­ling, orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 1946

The three Forbes sib­lings are orphaned. Their grand­moth­er, a famous actress, forces them to go to a the­ater school. They can’t afford the tuition but the Fos­sil Sis­ters (yes, the sis­ters from Bal­let Shoes) spon­sor them with a schol­ar­ship. They don’t believe they have any tal­ents but they’re deter­mined to live up to their spon­sors’ expec­ta­tions so they make their best effort. And they dis­cov­er that they are tal­ent­ed indeed. The “Shoes” books were favorites for read­ers who grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s. They still read well today. Many chil­dren of those years pur­sued careers in the arts because of Noël Streatfield’s sto­ries!

The Wednesday Wars  

Wednes­day Wars
writ­ten by Gary D. Schmidt
Clar­i­on Books, 2007

Holling Hood­hood, sev­enth-grad­er, has a lot of chal­lenges. He’s the only Pres­by­ter­ian in his Catholic and Jew­ish school. He’s being forced to read Shake­speare by his teacher, Mrs. Bak­er. His father is demand­ing that Holling and his sis­ter are always on their best behav­ior so his busi­ness can suc­ceed. There’s a bul­ly that won’t leave Holling alone. And Holling’s base­ball heroes are com­ing to town to sign auto­graphs on the same day he has to put on yel­low tights and appear in a play. If that weren’t enough, the anx­i­ety of the Viet­nam War sur­rounds Holling’s life. A book that’s thor­ough­ly enjoy­able to read and unfor­get­table. It received a New­bery Hon­or.

Will Sparrow's Road  

Will Sparrow’s Road
writ­ten by Karen Cush­man
Clar­i­on Books, 2012

Will Sparrow’s father sells him to an innkeep­er in exchange for a dai­ly sup­ply of ale. The innkeep­er is cru­el so 13-year-old Will runs away … to a world that is not kind. Steal­ing food to eat, lying, Will thinks of him­self as a bad per­son. When he meets Grace and her trav­el­ing the­ater troupe of “odd­i­ties,” he dis­cov­ers an assem­bled fam­i­ly that cares for one anoth­er. Wills learns the per­form­ing skills nec­es­sary and he real­izes that he is some­body with worth in his Eliz­a­bethan Eng­land world. Filled with Karen’s Cushman’s ele­gant and fun­ny lan­guage, the era comes alive because of her care­ful research.

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Read Out Loud for Easter

As you pre­pare to cel­e­brate East­er, we encour­age you to include books in your cel­e­bra­tion. A tra­di­tion of read­ing out loud before East­er din­ner, after East­er din­ner, as you awak­en on East­er morn­ing … per­haps each day dur­ing Holy Week? Here are a few gems we believe you and your fam­i­ly will trea­sure. Hap­py East­er!

At Jerusalem's Gate  

At Jerusalem’s Gate: Poems of East­er
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes, illus­trat­ed by David Framp­ton
Eerd­mans Books for Young Read­ers, 2005

There are twen­ty-two free-form poems in this book, each from the point of view of a wit­ness to the events of the cru­ci­fix­ion and res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ. Each poem could be read by a dif­fer­ent fam­i­ly mem­ber or the poems could be read sep­a­rate­ly through­out the East­er week­end. The wood­cut illus­tra­tions will engen­der con­ver­sa­tions about the style, tech­nique, and details.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

 

The Coun­try Bun­ny and the Lit­tle Gold Shoes
writ­ten by Du Bose Hey­ward, illus­trat­ed by Mar­jorie Flack
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1939

Lit­tle Cot­ton­tail Moth­er is rais­ing 21 chil­dren, but it’s her dream to become the East­er Bun­ny. As she assigns her chil­dren chores and teach­es them life’s lessons, she gains con­fi­dence to audi­tion for the job of one of the five East­er Bun­nies who deliv­er eggs and bas­kets on East­er Sun­day. It’s a sweet sto­ry still, near­ly 80 years after it was first pub­lished. The bright­ly col­ored illus­tra­tions are mem­o­ry-mak­ing for new gen­er­a­tions of read­ers.

The Easter Story  

The East­er Sto­ry
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Bri­an Wild­smith
Alfred A. Knopf, 1994

The events of Holy Week, the Last Sup­per, the cru­ci­fix­ion, and the Res­ur­rec­tion, are recount­ed through the eyes of the lit­tle don­key that car­ried Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sun­day. With Wildsmith’s dis­tinc­tive illus­tra­tions, this book has been pub­lished in many edi­tions and many lan­guages. A good read-aloud book to add to your East­er book­shelf.

Egg  

Egg
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Kevin Henkes
Green­wil­low Books, 2017

Four eggs, each a dif­fer­ent col­or, hatch (one doesn’t) and the chicks set off—and return for the unhatched egg. When the egg hatch­es, there’s a sur­prise! When the book ends, there’s anoth­er sur­prise! This is a book about friend­ship and grow­ing up, just right for read­ing out loud and for emerg­ing read­ers to read on their own. With sim­ple lines and appeal­ing col­ors, the illus­tra­tions are irre­sistible.

The Golden Egg Book  

The Gold­en Egg Book
writ­ten by Mar­garet Wise Brown, illus­trat­ed by Leonard Weis­gard
Gold­en Books, 1947

A true clas­sic among East­er books, a small bun­ny finds a blue egg. He can hear some­thing mov­ing around inside so he con­jec­tures what it might be. As the bun­ny tries to open the egg, he wears out and falls asleep. Only then does the young duck­ling emerge from the egg. With rich­ly col­ored illus­tra­tions from the mas­ter­ful Leonard Weis­gard, this is a trea­sured book for many chil­dren and fam­i­lies.

Simon of Cyrene and the Legend of the Easter Egg  

Simon of Cyrene and the Leg­end of the East­er Egg
writ­ten by Ter­ri DeGezelle, illus­trat­ed by Gab­hor Uto­mo
Pauline Books & Media, 2017

Based on a few lines about the leg­end of Simon of Cyrene that the author found while research­ing, this book brings to life the expe­ri­ence of the cru­ci­fix­ion and res­ur­rec­tion of Jesus Christ, as told through the per­spec­tive of Simon. He takes eggs to Jerusalem to sell for Passover when he becomes caught up in the pro­ces­sion fol­low­ing Jesus as he car­ries his cross to Cal­vary. As Jesus stum­bles and falls, a Roman sol­dier forces Simon to bear the cross instead. Told with a live­ly nar­ra­tive and bright­ly col­ored, sat­is­fy­ing illus­tra­tions, this is a good sto­ry to choose for read-alouds, open­ing up an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss the many aspects of the East­er sto­ry.

Story of Easter  

Sto­ry of East­er
writ­ten by Aileen Fish­er, illus­trat­ed by Ste­fano Vitale
Harper­Collins, 1997

With an infor­ma­tive text and glo­ri­ous illus­tra­tions, this book explains both how and why peo­ple all over the world cel­e­brate East­er. It tells the bib­li­cal sto­ry of Jesus’ Res­ur­rec­tion and then describes how peo­ple hon­or this day and the ori­gins of these tra­di­tions. Hands-on activ­i­ties help draw chil­dren into the spir­it of this joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion of rebirth.

Story of the Easter Bunny  

Sto­ry of the East­er Bun­ny
writ­ten by Kather­ine Tegen, illus­trat­ed by Sal­ly Anne Lam­bert Harper­Collins, 2005

Most peo­ple know about the East­er Bun­ny, but how did the East­er Bun­ny get his job and how does he accom­plish the dis­tri­b­u­tion of so many col­or­ful eggs each East­er? It all began in a small cot­tage with an old cou­ple who dye the eggs and weave the bas­kets. One East­er, they sleep in and it’s their pet white rabbit’s deci­sion to deliv­er the eggs and choco­late, there­by start­ing a tra­di­tion. Told in a mat­ter-of-fact style with appeal­ing, detailed illus­tra­tions, this is a good addi­tion to your East­er tra­di­tion.

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Thanksgiving is a Good Time for a Book

Thanks­giv­ing is fast approach­ing, As food is being pre­pared and fam­i­ly gath­ers, as food is being digest­ed and some peo­ple are nap­ping, as sports and shop­ping beck­on, per­haps it’s a good time to take out a stack of Thanks­giv­ing books to read aloud as a fam­i­ly. Here are 11 books that reflect the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day with many dif­fer­ent sto­ries, rang­ing in age from very young to teens … with books adults will enjoy as well. Hap­py Thanks­giv­ing!

1621: a New Look at Thanksgiving  

1621: a New Look at Thanks­giv­ing 
writ­ten by Cather­ine O’Neill Grace
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Children’s Books, 2004

Coun­ter­ing the pre­vail­ing, tra­di­tion­al sto­ry of the first Thanks­giv­ing, with its black-hat­ted, sil­ver-buck­led Pil­grims; blan­ket-clad, be-feath­ered Indi­ans; cran­ber­ry sauce; pump­kin pie; and turkey, this lush­ly illus­trat­ed pho­to-essay presents a more mea­sured, bal­anced, and his­tor­i­cal­ly accu­rate ver­sion of the three-day har­vest cel­e­bra­tion in 1621.”

 

Bal­loons Over Broad­way:
the True Sto­ry of the Pup­peteer of Macy’s Parade

writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Melis­sa Sweet
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2011

Everyone’s a New York­er on Thanks­giv­ing Day, when young and old rise ear­ly to see what giant new bal­loons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day Parade. Who first invent­ed these “upside-down pup­pets”? Meet Tony Sarg, pup­peteer extra­or­di­naire! In bril­liant col­lage illus­tra­tions, Melis­sa Sweet tells the sto­ry of the pup­peteer Tony Sarg, cap­tur­ing his genius, his ded­i­ca­tion, his zest for play, and his long-last­ing gift to America—the inspired heli­um bal­loons that would become the trade­mark of Macy’s Parade.”

Boy in the Black Suit  

Boy in the Black Suit
writ­ten by Jason Reynolds
Atheneum, 2016

A book for old­er chil­dren and adults, Matt’s moth­er has just died and his father isn’t doing well. Matt’s on his own so he gets a job at a funer­al home, where he’s sur­prised by how mov­ing he finds the sto­ries behind these funer­als. When he meets one young woman whose beloved grand­moth­er just died, he goes on his first “date” with her … at the home­less shel­ter where she and her grand­moth­er have always served Thanks­giv­ing din­ner. This is an uplift­ing sto­ry of friend­ship, car­ing, and heal­ing.

Cranberry Thanksgiving  

Cran­ber­ry Thanks­giv­ing
writ­ten by Wende Devlin
illus­trat­ed by Har­ry Devlin
Pur­ple House Press, 2012

First pub­lished in 1971, this beloved favorite shares the sto­ry of Grand­moth­er invit­ing a guest for Thanks­giv­ing din­ner and allow­ing Mag­gie to do the same. “Ask some­one poor or lone­ly,” she always said. Thanks­giv­ing was Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cook­ing was done and her famous cran­ber­ry bread was cool­ing on a wood­en board. But she wasn’t hap­py to find out Mag­gie had invit­ed the unsa­vory Mr. Whiskers to din­ner. Would her secret cran­ber­ry bread recipe be safe with him in the house?”

Give Thanks to the Lord  

Give Thanks to the Lord
writ­ten by Kar­ma Wil­son
illus­trat­ed by Amy June Bates
Zon­derkidz, 2013

Cel­e­brate the sea­son in this heart­warm­ing sto­ry that ref­er­ences Psalm 92 in ten­der rhyme from award-win­ning author Kar­ma Wil­son. Told from the point of view of one young mem­ber of an extend­ed fam­i­ly, Give Thanks to the Lord cel­e­brates joy of all kinds, from the arrival of dis­tant rel­a­tives to a cozy house already filled with mer­ri­ment, to apple cider and the deli­cious smells of roast­ing turkey and bak­ing pie.  And just when your mouth is water­ing, sit down and join a thank­ful child in prayer, prais­ing God for ‘food and fun and fam­i­ly, all the won­der­ful things I see.’ ”

Giving Thanks  

Giv­ing Thanks:
Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanks­giv­ing 

writ­ten by Kather­ine Pater­son
illus­trat­ed by Pamela Dal­ton
Chron­i­cle Books, 2013

Kather­ine Paterson’s med­i­ta­tions on what it means to be tru­ly grate­ful and Pamela Dalton’s exquis­ite cut-paper illus­tra­tions are paired with a col­lec­tion of over 50 graces, poems, and praise songs from a wide range of cul­tures, reli­gions, and voic­es. The unique col­lab­o­ra­tion between these two extra­or­di­nary artists flow­ers in this impor­tant and stun­ning­ly beau­ti­ful reflec­tion on the act of giv­ing thanks.”

Gracias, the Thanksgiving Turkey  

Gra­cias, the Thanks­giv­ing Turkey
writ­ten by Joy Cow­ley
illus­trat­ed by Joe Cepe­da
Harper­Collins, reis­sued in 2006

Miguel’s truck­er father is on the road and Miguel is wor­ried about him mak­ing it home in time for Thanks­giv­ing. But then Papa sends a big wood­en crate with the mes­sage, “Fat­ten this turkey for Thanks­giv­ing. I’ll be home to share it with you.” Miguel names the turkey Gra­cias and takes him for walks in New York City. Adven­tures fol­lows. Miguel wants des­per­ate­ly to save Gra­cias from the Thanks­giv­ing table. Fun and high-spir­it­ed tale.

How Many Days to America?  

How Many Days to Amer­i­ca? a Thanks­giv­ing Sto­ry
writ­ten by Eve Bunting
illus­trat­ed by Beth Peck
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 1990

When sol­diers come to their home in the mid­dle of the night, father and moth­er decide they must flee their coun­try for their family’s safe­ty. This is the tale of that jour­ney and their land­ing in Amer­i­ca on the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, where the fam­i­ly is thank­ful for free­dom and safe­ty.

Squanto's Journey  

Squanto’s Jour­ney: The Sto­ry of the First Thanks­giv­ing 
writ­ten by Joseph Bruchac
illus­trat­ed by Greg Shed
Sil­ver Whis­tle, 2000

In 1620 an Eng­lish ship called the Mayflower land­ed on the shores inhab­it­ed by the Pokanoket peo­ple, and it was Squan­to who wel­comed the new­com­ers and taught them how to sur­vive in the rugged land they called Ply­mouth. He showed them how to plant corn, beans, and squash, and how to hunt and fish. And when a good har­vest was gath­ered in the fall, the two peo­ples feast­ed togeth­er in the spir­it of peace and broth­er­hood.”

Thankful  

Thank­ful
writ­ten by Eileen Spinel­li
illus­trat­ed by Archie Pre­ston
Zon­derkidz, 2016

A book that con­veys “the impor­tance of being thank­ful for every­day bless­ings. Like the gar­den­er thank­ful for every green sprout, and the fire­man, for putting the fire out, read­ers are encour­aged to be thank­ful for the many bless­ings they find in their lives.”

Thanks a Million  

Thanks a Mil­lion
writ­ten by Nik­ki Grimes
illus­trat­ed by Cozbi A. Cabr­era
Green­wil­low Books, 2006

A very appro­pri­ate book for your Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tion, there are six­teen poems that range in form from a haiku to a rebus to a rid­dle, Nik­ki Grimes reminds us how won­der­ful it is to feel thank­ful, and how pow­er­ful a sim­ple “thank you” can be. This book can be used through­out the year as well. In class­rooms, this is a good men­tor text for cre­at­ing poems of thanks and grat­i­tude.

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Third Grader Reading at a Sixth Grade Level

Respond­ing to a par­ent request for books that would inter­est her third-grad­er-read­ing-at-a-sixth-grade-lev­el, we crowd-sourced a list. Big thanks to Sara Alcott, Lin­da Baie, Les­ley Man­dros Bell, Karen Cramer, Caren Creech, Melin­da Fant, Ellen Klar­re­ich, Vick­ie LoP­ic­co­lo, Ellen McEvoy, Lau­ra Moe, Tunie Mun­son-Ben­son, Vic­ki Palmquist, Car­rie Shay, Faythe Dyrud Thureen, Cindy Walk­er, and Sharon J. Wil­son.

Unlike our usu­al anno­tat­ed book­lists, we are pre­sent­ing this one in alpha­bet­i­cal order by book title due to the length of the list. We hope you find books here that lead you to read more books by these authors. Of course, there are many more just-right books to sug­gest for this type of reader–we’ve includ­ed only books sug­gest­ed by our “crowd.”

bk_alcaponeshirtsAdam Can­field of the Slash, Michael Winer­ip

Adven­tures of Sir Lancelot the Great (Knights Tales series), Ger­ald Mor­ris

Al Capone Does My Shirts (series of 3 books), Gen­nifer Chold­enko

Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Mont­gomery

Bet­sy-Tacy Trea­sury (series, Bet­sy and friends get old­er in the books), Maud Hart Lovelace

BFG, Roald Dahl

Birch­bark House, Louis Erdrich

Black Stal­lion (series), Wal­ter Far­ley

Bog­gart, Susan Coop­er

Catherine, Called BirdyBook of Three (Pry­dain series of 5 books), Lloyd Alexan­der

Bor­row­ers, Mary Nor­ton

Bud, Not Bud­dy, Christo­pher Paul Cur­tis

Catch You Lat­er, Trai­tor, Avi

Cather­ine, Called Birdy, Karen Cush­man

Chas­ing Ver­meer, Blue Bal­li­et

Chil­dren of Green Knowe (series), Lucy M. Boston

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

Dark is Ris­ing (series of 5 books), Susan Coop­er

Drag­ons in the Waters, Madeleine L’Engle

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking RatEmmy and the Incred­i­ble Shrink­ing Rat, Lynne Jonell

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Chris Graben­stein

Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Ele­men­tary School, Can­dace Flem­ing

False Prince (series of 3 books), Jen­nifer A. Nielsen

Flo­ra & Ulysses, Kate DiCamil­lo

Frindle, Andrew Clements

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweil­er, E.L. Konigs­berg

Girls Think of Every­thing, Cather­ine Thimmesh

Green­glass House, Kate Mil­ford

Half Mag­ic, Edward Eager

HatchetHar­ri­et the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh

Har­ry Pot­ter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (series of 7 books), J.K. Rowl­ing

Hatch­et, Gary Paulsen

Holes, Louis Sachar

Home of the Brave, Kather­ine Apple­gate

How to Steal a Dog, Bar­bara O’Connor

How to Train Your Drag­on (series), Cres­si­da Crow­ell, “It’s fun­ny, sophis­ti­cat­ed, appeal­ing, and has 12 vol­umes.”

Indi­an Shoes, Cyn­thia Leitich Smith

I Sur­vived the Sink­ing of the Titan­ic, 1912 (series), Lau­ren Tarshis

Invention of Hugo CabretInven­tion of Hugo Cabret, Bri­an Selznick

Jen­nifer, Hecate, Mac­beth, William McKin­ley and Me, Eliz­a­beth, E.L. Konigs­berg

Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craig­head George

King of the Wind, Mar­guerite Hen­ry

Light­ning Thief (many books in this series and oth­er series), Rick Rior­dan

Lin­coln and His Boys, Rose­mary Wells

Long Walk to Water, Lin­da Sue Park

Mak­ing Friends with Bil­ly Wong, Augus­ta Scat­ter­good

Mani­ac Magee, Jer­ry Spinel­li

Old WolfMoth­er-Daugh­ter Book Club (series of 7 books), Heather Vogel Fred­er­ick

Mozart Sea­son, Vir­ginia Euw­er Wolff

Mrs. Fris­by and the Rats of NIMH, Robert C. O’Brien

Nation, Ter­ry Pratch­ett. “A bit mature for the aver­age third grad­er, but this doesn’t sound like an aver­age kid. Make it a point of dis­cus­sion.”

Old Wolf, Avi

On My Hon­or, Mar­i­on Dane Bauer

One and Only Ivan, Kather­ine Apple­gate

One Crazy Sum­mer, Rita Williams-Gar­cia

Owls in the Fam­i­ly, Far­ley Mowat

People Could FlyPeo­ple Could Fly, Vir­ginia Hamil­ton

Peter Nim­ble and the Fan­tas­tic Eyes, Jonathan Aux­i­er

Push­cart War, Jean Mer­rill

Ran­doms, David Liss

Savvy, Ingrid Law

Scary Sto­ries to Tell in the Dark (espe­cial­ly around Hal­loween), Alvin Schwartz (these are scary, so please know your child’s abil­i­ty to han­dle this book)

Scoot­er, Vera B. Williams’

Stella by StarlightSin­gle Shard, Lin­da Sue Park

Some Writer! The Sto­ry of E.B. White, Melis­sa Sweet

Stel­la by Starlight, Sharon M. Drap­er

Swal­lows and Ama­zons, Arthur Ran­some

Tales from the Odyssey, Mary Pope Osborne

Tales of a Fourth Grade Noth­ing (Fudge series), Judy Blume

Tom’s Mid­night Gar­den, Philip­pa Pearce

True Con­fes­sions of Char­lotte Doyle, Avi

Tuck Ever­last­ing, Natal­ie Bab­bitt

Uncer­tain Glo­ry, Lea Wait

Untamed: the Wild Life of Jane GoodallUntamed: the Wild Life of Jane Goodall, Ani­ta Sil­vey

Walk Two Moons, Sharon Creech

West­ing Game, Ellen Raskin

Whales on Stilts! M.T. Ander­son

When You Reach Me, Rebec­ca Stead

Where the Moun­tain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin

Witch of Black­bird Pond, Eliz­a­beth Speare

Won­der, R.J. Pala­cio

Wrin­kle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

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Books about Chocolate

Feb­ru­ary is Nation­al Choco­late Month, so how could we let it pass by with­out an homage to choco­late … in books? Far less cost­ly on the den­tal bill! “In 2009, more than 58 mil­lion pounds of choco­late were pur­chased and (like­ly) con­sumed in the days sur­round­ing Feb­ru­ary 14th — that’s about $345 mil­lion worth. (Kiri Tan­nen­baum, “8 Facts About Choco­late,” Del­ish) Were you a part of the nation­al sta­tis­tic? Here are a list of 12 books about choco­late to feed your crav­ing.

Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake  

Bet­ty Bun­ny Loves Choco­late Cake 
writ­ten by Michael Kaplan
illus­trat­ed by Stephane Jorisch 
Dial Books, 2011

Bet­ty Bun­ny wants choco­late cake. Her moth­er wants her to learn patience. Bet­ty Bun­ny would rather have choco­late cake. This is a fun­ny, droll book about a spunky girl for whom wait­ing is a chal­lenge. The illus­tra­tions are filled with humor, too.

Candy Bomber

 

Can­dy Bomber: The Sto­ry of the Berlin Airlift’s “Choco­late Pilot”
writ­ten by Michael O. Tun­nell
Charles­bridge, 2010

When the Rus­sians main­tained a block­ade around West Berlin after World War II, US Air Force Lieu­tenant Gail S. Halvors­en arranged to have choco­late and gum dropped over the city by hand­ker­chief para­chutes.  Rus­sia want­ed to starve the peo­ple of West Berlin into accept­ing Com­mu­nist rule, but the Air Force con­tin­ued its sanc­tioned deliv­ery of food and goods for two years. Halvors­en would drop the can­dy for the kids of West Berlin with a wig­gle of his plane’s wings so they’d know it was him. A true sto­ry with a lot of pri­ma­ry doc­u­men­ta­tion.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  

Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­to­ry
writ­ten by Roald Dahl
illus­trat­ed by Quentin Blake
Knopf, 1964

Inspired by his school­boy expe­ri­ences of choco­late mak­ers send­ing test pack­ages to the kids in exchange for their opin­ions along­side tours of the choco­late fac­to­ries with their elab­o­rate machin­ery, Roald Dahl cre­at­ed what might be the most famous book about can­dy, and choco­late in par­tic­u­lar, in the world. As chil­dren vie for a gold­en tick­et to enter the choco­late fac­to­ry, Char­lie Buck­et finds the fifth tick­et. Liv­ing in pover­ty, it’s quite a sight for him, espe­cial­ly when the oth­er four win­ners are eject­ed igno­min­ious­ly from the fac­to­ry, leav­ing Char­lie to inher­it from Willy Won­ka. This book cel­e­brat­ed its 50th Anniver­sary in 2015.

Chock Full of Chocolate  

Chock Full of Choco­late
writ­ten by Eliz­a­beth MacLeod
illus­trat­ed by Jane Brad­ford
Kids Can Press, 2005

A great way to talk about math and process and writ­ing instruc­tions, cook­books are appeal­ing to those kids who can’t get enough of the Food Net­work. This book has 45 recipes fea­tur­ing choco­late with easy-to-under­stand instruc­tions for dish­es such as S’more Gorp, Dirt Dessert, and Can­dy-Cov­ered Piz­za.

Chocolate Fever  

Choco­late Fever
writ­ten by Robert Kim­mel Smith
illus­trat­ed by Gioia Fiammenghi
Cow­ard McCann, 1972

Hen­ry Green loves choco­late. He eats choco­late all the time in every form and shape. He’s so enam­ored of choco­late that he con­tracts Choco­late Fever. Hen­ry runs away from the doc­tor and straight into a zany adven­ture filled with humor and action. A good read-aloud.

Chocolate  

Choco­late: Sweet Sci­ence & Dark Secrets
of the World’s Favorite Treat
 

writ­ten by Kay Fry­den­borg
HMH Books for Young Read­ers, 2015

This book on choco­late for mid­dle grade read­ers cov­ers choco­late from its light to dark aspects, from the way it was dis­cov­ered to the slaves that were used to grow and har­vest it. This book address­es the his­to­ry, sci­ence, botany, envi­ron­ment, and human rights swirling around the world’s obses­sion with choco­late.

Chocolate Touch  

Choco­late Touch
writ­ten by Patrick Skene Catling
illus­trat­ed by Mar­got Apple
Harper­Collins, reis­sued in 2006

John Midas loves choco­late. He loves it so much that he′ll eat it any hour of any day. He doesn′t care if he ruins his appetite. After wan­der­ing into a can­dy store and buy­ing a piece of their best choco­late, John finds out that there might just be such a thing as too much choco­late. This take on the leg­end of King Midas is writ­ten with humor and action. First pub­lished in 1952, this is a charm­ing sto­ry.

Chocolate War  

Choco­late War
writ­ten by Robert Cormi­er
Pan­theon Books, 1974

In this clas­sic young adult nov­el, Jer­ry Renault is a fresh­man at Trin­i­ty who refus­es to engage in the school’s annu­al fundrais­er: sell­ing choco­late. Broth­er Leon, Archie Costel­lo, the Vig­ils (the school gang) all play a part in this psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller. Cormier’s writ­ing is game-chang­ing.

Milton Hershey  

Mil­ton Her­shey: Young Choco­lati­er
(Child­hood of Famous Amer­i­cans series)
writ­ten by M.M. Eboch
illus­trat­ed by Meryl Hen­der­son
Aladdin, 2008

As a young boy, Her­shey had to drop out of school to help sup­port his fam­i­ly. He was a go-get­ter. Work­ing in an ice cream par­lor gave him ideas about sweets and sell­ing choco­late to the pub­lic. He start­ed his own busi­ness, work long and hard to per­fect the choco­late his com­pa­ny sells to this day, and learned a good deal about eco­nom­ics, mar­ket­ing, and run­ning a com­pa­ny. An inter­est­ing biog­ra­phy for young read­ers.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate  

No Mon­keys, No Choco­late
writ­ten by Melis­sa Stew­art and Allen Young
illus­trat­ed by Nicole Wong
Charles­bridge, 2013

A good look at the ecosys­tem and inter­de­pen­dence of a choco­late tree and the live­ly mon­keys that chew on its pods as they swing through the jun­gle, dis­trib­ut­ing seeds. Read­ers look at the one tree’s life cycle, exam­in­ing the flo­ra, fau­na, ani­mals, and insects that con­tribute to the mak­ing of cacao. Two book­worms on each page com­ment on the infor­ma­tion, mak­ing this infor­ma­tion even more acces­si­ble.

Smart About Chocolate  

Smart About Choco­late: a Sweet His­to­ry
writ­ten by San­dra Markle
illus­trat­ed by Charise Mer­i­cle Harp­er
Gros­set & Dun­lap, 2004

A book shar­ing many facts about the his­to­ry and mak­ing of choco­late, it’s short and engag­ing. Illus­trat­ed with car­toons and dia­logue bub­bles, pho­tos and charts, this is a good sur­vey of choco­late. Includes a recipe and sug­ges­tions for fur­ther read­ing.

This Books is Not Good For You  

This Book Is Not Good for You
writ­ten by pseu­do­ny­mous bosch
Lit­tle, Brown, 2010

In this third book in the series, Cass, Max-Ernest, and Yo-Yoji work to dis­cov­er the where­abouts of the leg­endary tun­ing fork so they can get Cass’s Mom back after she’s kid­napped by the evil dessert chef and choco­lati­er Señor Hugo. High adven­ture with a fun atti­tude.

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Books about Chickens

Whether a chick­en makes you cluck, BAWK! or cheep-cheep-cheep, books about chick­ens make us laugh. We may not have been intro­duced to a chick­en in real life but, trust me, some peo­ple keep them as egg-lay­ing won­ders and oth­er peo­ple keep them as pets. These fowl have been around in many col­ors, types, and breeds in most coun­tries in the world … and quite recent­ly they have become the sub­ject of many books. Go, chick­ens! We’ve sug­gest­ed 19 books. What would you add as the 20th book on this list?

The Perfect Nest  

The Per­fect Nest
writ­ten by Cather­ine Friend
illus­trat­ed by John Man­ders
Hen­ry Holt, 2011

Farmer Jack, the cat, is build­ing a nest to attract a chick­en who will lay eggs for his mouth-water­ing omelet. Things don’t go quite as planned. Oth­er birds find the nest to be per­fect, too. The eggs hatch and Jack is sud­den­ly tend­ing to lit­tle chicks who think he’s their father. The book is laugh-out-loud fun­ny and makes a great read-aloud. Each of the per­fect nest’s occu­pants speaks with a dif­fer­ent accent.

Hoboken Chicken Emergency

 

The Hobo­ken Chick­en Emer­gency
Daniel Pinkwa­ter
illus by Jill Pinkwa­ter
Simon & Schus­ter, 1977

A clas­sic book that will keep your kids laugh­ing with every page turn. Arthur Bobow­icz is sent to get the Thanks­giv­ing turkey but there are none to be had. On the way home, he sees a sign in Pro­fes­sor Mazzocchi’s win­dow (you know him, the inven­tor of the Chick­en Sys­tem). Arthur ends up tak­ing a chick­en home but it’s a 266-pound live chick­en named Hen­ri­et­ta. She gets loose … and caus­es dis­as­ter all over Hobo­ken, New Jer­sey. A good read-aloud but also the per­fect book for 9- and 10-year-olds to read.

Beautiful Yetta  

Beau­ti­ful Yet­ta: the Yid­dish Chick­en
Daniel Pinkwa­ter
illus by Jill Pinkwa­ter
Fei­wel & Friends, 2010

Yet­ta, the chick­en, escapes from a poul­try truck in Brook­lyn and is soon lost, lone­ly, and hun­gry, shunned by the rats and pigeons she encoun­ters. Hero­ical­ly, she saves a lit­tle green bird, Eduar­do, from a cat, win­ning the grat­i­tude of his friends, the par­rots. They teach Yet­ta how to find food and how to get along in an unfa­mil­iar place. The book is filled with Yid­dish, Span­ish, and Eng­lish phras­es and Yetta’s speech appears in both Hebrew and Eng­lish alpha­bets. Your kids will soon be exclaim­ing about the “farsh­tunken katz”!

The Little Red Hen  

The Lit­tle Red Hen
Paul Gal­done
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2011 (reis­sued)

When the Hen asks for help plant­i­ng wheat, the cat, the dog, and the mouse all say “No!” They won’t help her water it, or har­vest it, or grind it. They are quite lazy. When the Lit­tle Red Hen bakes a deli­cious cake, who will be invit­ed to eat it? Ages 4 to 11.

Chicken Man  

Chick­en Man
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Michelle Edwards
1991, repub­lished in 2009 by North­South Books

Rody lives on a kib­butz in Israel, where he is assigned to tend to the chick­ens. He comes to love them and they him. He sings loud­ly with joy. And thus oth­er kib­butz work­ers think the chick­en house must be the best place to work and Rody is re-assigned to anoth­er job.  The chick­ens stop lay­ing eggs. And Rody miss­es his chick­ens.  How will Rody find his way back to his favorite job? A good look at life on a kib­butz.

Chickens to the Rescue  

Chick­ens to the Res­cue
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by John Him­mel­man
Hen­ry Holt, 2006

On the Green­stalk farm, things are con­tin­u­al­ly going wrong. Mon­day through Sat­ur­day, when things need to be done, it’s the chick­ens to the res­cue! In hilar­i­ous attire, with laugh-out-loud results, the good-inten­tioned chick­ens help ani­mals and humans alike. Except on Sun­day. Then they rest. The illus­tra­tions in this book are delight­ful.

Interrupting Chickens  

Inter­rupt­ing Chick­en
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by David Ezra Stein
Can­dlewick Press, 2010

Papa is good about read­ing bed­time sto­ries to Lit­tle Red Chick­en, but she can’t help but inter­rupt his read­ing to warn the char­ac­ters in the books about what’s to come. Which, of course, brings an abrupt end to the sto­ries. Papa asks Lit­tle Red to write her own sto­ry but Papa inter­rupts … by snor­ing. It’s a charm­ing book, sure to cause gig­gles … and it brings some clas­sic tales to life. Calde­cott Hon­or book.

First the Egg  

First the Egg
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lau­ra Vac­caro Seeger
Roar­ing Brook Press, 2007

It’s a book of trans­for­ma­tions, from cater­pil­lar to but­ter­fly, from tad­pole to frog, from egg to chick­en, and more. Illus­trat­ed with lus­cious col­or and sim­ple die-cuts, this is an engag­ing con­cept book for the preschool crowd. Calde­cott Hon­or book.

Chicken Cheeks  

Chick­en Cheeks
Michael Ian Black
illus­trat­ed by Kevin Hawkes
Simon & Schus­ter, 2009

Bear enlists all the oth­er ani­mals to make a tow­er so he can get at some elu­sive hon­ey. The hilar­i­ty comes from the view of many ani­mal bot­toms, 16 ways to refer to those bot­toms, and the unsta­ble, improb­a­ble, tee­ter­ing tow­er of gig­gle-wor­thy ani­mals.

Chicks and Salsa  

Chicks and Sal­sa
Aaron Reynolds
illus­trat­ed by Paulette Bogan
Blooms­bury, 2007

The ani­mals on Nuthatch­er Farm are bored with their food. The roost­er looks around and hatch­es a plan. They will eat chips and sal­sa made from the ingre­di­ents on the farm! The sal­sa recipe changes to accom­mo­date each animal’s pref­er­ences. It’s so excit­ing they decide to have a fies­ta! But when the day comes, the humans have abscond­ed with their ingre­di­ents to enter into the state fair. What will the ani­mals do? Thanks to the quick-think­ing roost­er and a resource­ful rat, the par­ty goes on!

Chicken in the Kitchen  

Chick­en in the Kitchen
Nne­di Oko­rafor
illus­trat­ed by Mehrdokht Ami­ni
Lan­tana Pub­lish­ing, 2015

Set in Nige­ria, a young girl awakes to a noise in the mid­dle of the night. When she inves­ti­gates, she dis­cov­ers a giant chick­en in the kitchen. Hilar­i­ty ensues. Noth­ing is quite what it seems. Will Anyau­go be able to pro­tect the tra­di­tion­al foods her aun­ties have pre­pared for the New Yam Fes­ti­val? Gor­geous illus­tra­tions and a good look at the mas­quer­ade cul­ture of West Africa. 

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?  

Why Did the Chick­en Cross the Road?
illus­trat­ed by Jon Agee, Tedd Arnold, Har­ry Bliss, David Catrow, Mar­la Frazee, Mary Grand­Pre, Lynn Mun­singer, Jer­ry Pinkney, Vladimir Kan­dun­sky, Chris Rasch­ka, Judy Schachn­er, David Shan­non, Gus She­ban, and Mo Willems
Dial Books, 2006

When 14 illus­tra­tors are asked “why did the chick­en cross the road?” their answers are fresh and fun and var­ied. They’ll delight you with their orig­i­nal takes on this old chest­nut.

Hattie and the Fox  

Hat­tie and the Fox
Mem Fox
illus­trat­ed by Patri­cia Mullins
Simon & Schus­ter, 1987

In a cumu­la­tive tale with plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty for dif­fer­ent voic­es and great ener­gy while read­ing out loud, we learn that Hat­tie, the black hen, spies a fox in the bush­es. She tries to warn the oth­er ani­mals but they don’t believe her. A won­der­ful pas­tiche of antic­i­pa­tion, rep­e­ti­tion, and the illustrator’s vivid use of tis­sue paper col­lage and con­te cray­on make this an excel­lent choice for sto­ry­time and any­time.

Hen Hears Gossip  

Hen Hears Gos­sip
Megan McDon­ald
illus­trat­ed by Joung Un Kim
Green­wil­low, 2008

Psst. Psst. Psst.” Hen is addict­ed to gos­sip, espe­cial­ly about her­self. When she over­hears Pig whis­per­ing a secret to Cow, Hen spreads it around until it returns to her with a not-so-nice ren­di­tion. Read­ing this book pro­vides a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk about the ways gos­sip hurts. 

Big Chickens  

Big Chick­ens
Leslie Helakos­ki
illus­trat­ed by Hen­ry Cole
Dut­ton, 2006

When a wolf threat­ens the chick­en coop, the chick­ens RUN! They’re ter­ri­fied and they want to get away. The fun ensues as they get into one hilar­i­ous predica­ment after anoth­er. It’s the exact kind of sil­ly kids love and Hen­ry Cole’s illus­tra­tions rein­force the goofy chick­ens’ reac­tions to the chaos they cre­ate.

Chicken Followed Me Home!  

A Chick­en Fol­lowed Me Home:
Ques­tions and Answers about a Famil­iar Fowl
Robin Page
Beach Lane Books, 2015

What would you do if a chick­en fol­lowed you home? You’d learn to tell what kind of chick­en it is, what it would like to eat, and how t