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Two for the Show

Almost to Freedom

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson: Voices from History 

Books have been a part of Vaun­da Micheaux Nelson’s life since the day she was born. “My moth­er found my name in a nov­el she was read­ing,” Nel­son says. Books and fam­i­ly and his­to­ry form a thread through many of Nelson’s award-win­n­ing pic­ture books.

Sam and the Tigers

Julius Lester 

Julius Lester loved lan­guage and he loved sto­ry. Lan­guage, Lester wrote, is not just words and what they mean; music and rhythm are also part of the mean­ing.  Just read­ing his books for chil­dren makes us want to read them out loud to hear that music and rhythm along with his gift for putting words

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

Carole Boston Weatherford 

Car­ole Boston Weath­er­ford has been writ­ing since she was in first grade. Her father taught print­ing and was able to pub­lish those ear­ly sto­ries. Weath­er­ford has writ­ten dozens of pic­ture books for young read­ers — and all read­ers. We can­not be exhaus­tive here, but we can intro­duce you to this won­der­ful writer.

Beautiful Blackbird

Ashley Bryan: Brave for Life 

Ash­ley Bryan’s life has been so full of mak­ing children’s books and there are so many won­der­ful children’s books that we can only call out a few — a few entice­ments, and encour­age you to take your­self on a won­der­ful jour­ney into Ash­ley Bryan’s world.

Max and the Tag-Along Moon

Revisiting the Moon 

A full moon on Decem­ber 29 end­ed the year 2020. New year, new moon, and we are think­ing once again about moon books – we’ve looked at some of these before, but good books, like the moon, keep com­ing back.

The Great Migration: Journey to the North

In the Neighborhood of Eloise Greenfield 

In this sea­son of gift-giv­ing we want to look at the gift of poet­ry, specif­i­cal­ly the poet­ry and writ­ing of Eloise Green­field. Since pub­lish­ing her first poem in 1962, she has writ­ten more than forty-five books for chil­dren and was the recip­i­ent of the 2018 Coret­ta Scott King Vir­ginia Hamil­ton Award for Life­time Achieve­ment. Her

You Hold Me Up

We Are Grateful 

We have to con­fess to book envy — that is encoun­ter­ing a pic­ture book and wish­ing that we had writ­ten it. The book’s approach is so arrest­ing, the heart of the book so big, the images so rich. Such books not only make us wish we’d done them, they change what we want to do and what we

Radiant Child

Javaka Steptoe 

Though our focus this month is on Java­ka Step­toe, we want to begin this col­umn with anoth­er book by his father, John Step­toe, Dad­dy is a Monster…Sometimes. This book is nar­rat­ed by two chil­dren, Bweela and Java­ka, who begin, “We are Bweela and Java­ka and we have a dad­dy. He’s a nice dad­dy and all, but he got

Stev

John Steptoe’s Beautiful Books 

This month we want to cel­e­brate the work of John Step­toe, bril­liant artist and writer, who was born on Sep­tem­ber 14, 1950. His work is a year-round birth­day present to all of us.

The Grouchy Ladybug

The Very Amazing Eric Carle 

Phyl­lis: Spring is final­ly here, and the pol­li­na­tors are buzzing in the blos­soms, so we thought we’d write about bugs this month. Plus, we’ve just fin­ished a book with our good friend and fel­low writer Liza Ketchum about the rusty-patched bum­ble­bee, the first bum­ble­bee to be list­ed as endan­gered. Once we start­ed look­ing for bug­gy books,

Books about Baking Up Family Time 

Jack­ie: We decid­ed to hon­or the nation’s new­found love of bak­ing with a col­umn on pic­ture books focused on bak­ing. We still don’t have libraries (a great ben­e­fit of this con­fine­ment is the reminder of how spe­cial and nec­es­sary are libraries in our lives) so we are lim­it­ed to books we can find read aloud on

Duck in the Truck

Just Spring 

Phyl­lis: e.e. cum­mings said it best when he described the world as mud-lus­­­cious and pud­­­dle-won­der­­­ful. Snow melts and runs bab­bling away, days length­en, green sprouts of skunk cab­bage and rhubarb poke out. This month we are look­ing at mud­dy, squishy, rainy, wet sto­ries in hon­or of spring. Mud by Mary Lyn Ray, illus­trat­ed by Lauren

Tree Talk 

We have been think­ing of trees — green, leafy, bloom­ing, buzzing trees. It’s not that we’re tired of win­ter. We love win­ter. Phyl­lis even has snow­shoes — and uses them! Jack­ie loves walk­ing in the snowy qui­et and the near­ly mono­chro­mat­ic land­scape. We both love can­dles, sweaters, and hot soup. But every now and then we think of green.

Snowflake Bentley

A Blizzard of Snow Books 

We’re snowed under right now, what with teach­ing and writ­ing and, well, snow, so we thought we’d offer up a bliz­zard of books about the white stuff that falls from our skies.  Curl up with a child, a cup of warmth, and enjoy win­ter in the pages of a book. The Snow Par­ty by Beat­rice Schenk De Reg­niers and

Celebrating Winter Celebrations 

Phyl­lis: Win­ter has come down like a snowy blan­ket, and ani­mals in our world have migrat­ed, hiber­nat­ed, or are shiv­er­ing their way through the months ahead. But ani­mals in pic­ture books have oth­er ideas. Why not be a part of December’s cel­e­bra­tions of Hanukkah, Christ­mas, Sol­stice or help a friend in frozen need? These books make us feel

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