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MY BIG BOOK OF NATURE SOUNDS
By Lucie Brunelliere
Age 0-3 years | Twirl Books
The sounds of nature are all around us wherever we go. Buzz, crunch, purr — what is that sound? Press a button and find out! Your young readers will develop essential listening skills as they explore sounds and words, having fun as they go along. This engaging board book takes them on a journey into the garden, by the pond, around the neighborhood, and more. They’ll learn to identify the sounds animals, people, mammals, and the environment make. Push one of the 20 buttons on the side panel to hear the illustration comes alive. You and your kids will love the adorable pictures and listening to the sounds of nature we too often miss in our busy lives.
CARING FOR EARTH
By Sandra Laboucarie and Sarah Reynard | Illustrated by Julie Mercier
Age 5 and up | Twirl Books
This innovative book shows children how creating an environment that cares for the earth benefits everyone. It is full of flaps, pull tabs, pop-ups, and moveable parts, and includes lots of educational content about practicing permaculture, an environment good for Earth anywhere: At home, in your neighborhood, and at school. You and your kids will be amazed at all the different ways to care for Mother Earth. And that’s a good thing!
So Many Kisses: A Board Book
Written By Alexandra Garibel | Illustrated by Claudia Bielinsky
Ages 0 – 3
So Many Kisses is a cute, brightly colored book about all kinds of kisses. Each page features animals giving friendly kisses to each other in their special way. Reading this book aloud to your wee ones can be a fun adventure. Ask them which kiss they like the best: A nose-to-nose kiss, an itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny kiss, or a sloppy kiss. Be ready to enjoy tons of giggles! The illustrations are adorable and imaginative, the font is large and easy to read, and the animals’ pairings are unique. The story doesn’t really have a plot, and it ends abruptly, but sharing a kiss or two, or a hundred, is always a loving way to start or end the day.
The POP-UP Guide: ANIMALS
By Maud Poulain
Ages 3 – 5
Lions, owls, dolphins, and so many more animals jump off the pages of this incredible pop-up guide. You and your kids will learn about the creatures living in the savanna, forest, arctic, mountains, backyard, and many other habitats. The pop-up 3-D scenes provide a unique glance at the different animals of the world. The bright pages and the story on each page are educational, easy to read and simple to understand. Did you know ants carry leaves to their anthill that turns into food? That coral in the ocean are colonies of thousands of tiny creatures called polyps? That chamois, which live far-off mountain regions, are good jumpers that can grip rocks with their hooves? I didn’t know these things, but now I do!
Awe-Some Days: Poems about the Jewish Holidays
By Marilyn Singer | Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
This cheerful poetry book is filled with warmth from cover to cover. “This year, we will follow the Jewish holidays, the ones we know well and those we do not,” Mom says to her family. They start by eating apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah and continue onto flowers and chocolates on Tu B’Av (the Jewish Valentine’s Day) through to Hanukkah, spinning the dreidel and giving gifts. Readers of all faiths will explore the joy and meaning of the various holidays alongside this lovely family of five. The illustrations are charming and present the family and celebrations beautifully. This engaging book is an excellent introduction to Jewish celebrations, observances, and days of remembrance.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Adapted by Courtney Acampora | Illustrated by Marco Bucci and Brent Ford
This charming story focuses on Clara’s quest to understand how the Four Realms were created and ruled by her mother, Queen Marie. Follow the elegant Ballerina of the Realms as she dances center stage in this creative pop-up book celebrating the unique and picturesque Four Realms: The Land of Flowers, The Realm of Snowflakes, The Land of Sweet, and The Land of Amusement. The ending is sweet as she returns from her journey to the party she left and dances with her father. The book is magical and perfect for story time with your kids.
Note: This is an older book from 2018, but I love the story and want to re-introduce it to everyone. Search online to find it.
Sloth’s Treehouse Inn
Written by Carrie Hasler | Illustrated by Christina Wald | San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press
I love sloths! Their big eyes, limp bodies, and their slow-moving ways. When you first open this amazing book, you see all sorts of fun facts about the animals of the Amazon Rain Forest. Turn the pages, and you get into this adorable story.
The Treehouse Inn is where the Amazon rainforest’s animals go to seek shelter, relax, take naps, and go slow.
The gracious innkeeper, Santiago the Sloth, always cares for each of his guests, from a boa constrictor to a jaguar and her cubs, tree frogs, and even a butterfly chrysalis. Santiago finds everyone a perfect spot to live.
But soon the Inn grows crowded and noisy as animals continue to arrive but don’t leave. One day, Santiago awakens to a surprise. The blue morpho butterfly has grown out of her cocoon. Santiago watches as she flies away. He slowly climbs a tree, hoping to see his friend one last time, but sees how many of the forest trees have been cut down.
In the distance, however, Santiago sees people planting saplings and seeds to help the forest grow again. Santiago tells his animal guests the forest is returning. As the forest grows taller, the animals leave the Inn happy to find new homes.
Hasler’s text will captivate you and your grandkids. Wald’s illustrations are beautifully detailed. After the story, you will find more information about the Amazon and how to help forests and animals thrive. At the end of the book, enjoy the line drawing and glossary of the animals featured. This remarkable story is one I’m excited to read over and over again. I am confident you will feel the same.
One Turtle’s Last Straw
The Real-Life Rescue that Sparked a Sea Change
Written by Elisa Boxer | Illustrated by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
Random House Kids Books
My brother has volunteered with a turtle rescue, so when Sarah from Blue Slip Media presented this book for Mila to review, I knew I had to read it too.
This enlightening book teaches children and adults how humans affect the world without knowing it. A young boy discards a plastic straw. The straw is windswept to the ocean, where it lands on the ocean floor. A very hungry turtle swallows the straw as he gulps in water and a crab. The plastic straw gets stuck in his nose. He tries and tries to dislodge it, but it will not move. The turtle has a difficult time breathing and eating. Luckily, a research team floats by in their boat, sees him as he surfaces, and scoops him out of the water. They are distressed by the trouble the turtle has breathing when they notice he has something caught in his left nostril. They work feverishly to get whatever it is out. It is a plastic straw! They fix him up and put him back in the ocean.
This story is written and illustrated in a way that is relatable and easy to understand for young readers, demonstrating how one small action can affect the world around us. If we all take little steps to reduce our plastic footprint, it will make a difference for everyone.
Learn more about Christine Figgener, Ph. D, and her important work with sea turtles at the back of the book and on her website HERE.
The turtle in the story is an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. The name originates from the color of its shell, an olive-green hue. They are currently the most abundant of all sea turtles.
Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they only nest in a few places; therefore, any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population. Source: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/olive-ridley-turtle
Ruby and the Itsy-Bitsy Icky Bug
Written by Allison Wortche
Illustrated by Sally Walker
Bugs — yuck! Little Ruby does not like bugs. When she finds one in her room, she tries increasingly desperately to get rid of it. But it won’t leave! As she spends the day with it, Ruby learns more about the creature. She watches it, draws it, and realizes the bug has a few redeeming qualities. He’s strong, has cute antennae, and listens to her stories of everything she wants to be when she grows up. Soon, she realizes this bug is not icky, but rather full of surprises. And that is what makes this book so wonderful. It is a story about prejudging and the surprises that come with taking the time to learn about things we do not know. Adults will relate to the charming text, and everyone will love the illustrations that reflect Ruby’s changing mood. And that’s a good thing.
Written by Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrated by Chuck Groenink
This inspiring and informative book walks readers through the universe and our world with a child as the guide. It feels like being part of a fun conversation with a space and environment enthusiast talking us through the formation of stars and asteroids, the importance of Earth’s atmosphere and different environments, and the incredible variety of Earth’s inhabitants — including more than seven billion human beings. WOW!! It is a beautiful book, teaching our children we are all unique but, together, are a part of one human family as well as the great diversity of life. We must care for our one and only Earth every day. The text is easy to read and makes you want to learn more. The charming illustrations draw you into the story. I learned so much from this fascinating book, and I know you and your children will, too.
The Most Important Thing
Written and Illustrated by Antonella Ababatiella
A group of animal friends meet to talk about “the most important thing.” Enchanting rhythmic text and surprise fold-out pages show what life would be like if the animals all had long necks like a giraffe, trunks like an elephant, or wings like a bird. At the end of the story, the wise owl suggests the answer to the “most important thing” is perhaps more evident than they realize… This book is perfect for exploring the concept of people’s differences with young children and how everyone has something special to share about themselves. The fun illustrations jump off the page and will surely charm both you and your little ones.
Be Thankful for Trees
By Harriet Ziefert | Illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald
We forget how much trees affect our lives. This informative picture book shows the benefits of trees in ways most of us do not think about, all through a compelling narrative for young children. The first seven chapters follow a theme, pose a question, and describe how we use and enjoy trees in our lives through lovely and engaging earth-toned illustrations of nature and diverse people. The last section of the book asks and answers the question: Would life be possible without trees? You will agree, it is a beautiful celebration for young children.
Once Upon a Forest
Written and illustrated by Pam Fong
This gorgeous, wordless picture book follows a tenacious marmot and her trusty bird friend, both doing their part to help the forest recover from a devastating fire.
They clear away fallen branches and tree stumps, rake the soil, and bring saplings to plant in the forest from their front yard. The little marmot pitches a tent in which to live; as each season passes, the two care for the little trees, ensuring they have enough water, protection from the wind and snow, and hungry animals until they thrive on their own.
The grey-tone illustrations, with dashes of pink and green, complement both the story and the characters perfectly. They’ll have you falling in love with these sweet creatures. Once upon a Forest is an excellent book to teach children how we each must do our part to keep our earth safe and growing.
Dino Pajama Party: A Bedtime Book
By Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by Michael Robertson
Adorable, colorful, and so much fun to read! I could not put it down. To be honest, I want to frame a page or two. The opening stanza says it all:
Dinos rock, and dinos roll. Dinos stomp, and dinos stroll.
What a great way to to engross your kids in story time. This playful book follows dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes as they rock and roll the day away. Your kids will enjoy the lively rhyming text and colorful illustrations as the dinosaurs’ boogie to the beat of their bedtime pajama party. Each page brings a new expression and colorful outfit. This is a fun, rhyming, read-aloud book sure to be a favorite with kids and their adults.
Words to Make a Friend
Written by Donna Jo Napoli
Illustrated by Naoko Stoop
On a snowy day, two children who do not know each other come out to play. One is Japanese; the other, American. They have fun building snow creatures and enjoying each other’s company, all the while speaking in their own languages. But at the same time, they learn some words and phrases they have in common, like “let’s play” in English and “asobou” in Japanese. When it gets too cold outside, they continue playtime indoors and learn even more words.
Words to Make a Friend is a lovely book with minimal text. It’s a beautiful story showing how friendship can transcend language. The colorful, charming illustrations enhance the story’s tone and feel. A bonus is the teaching of easy Japanese words on every page.
This book is perfect to enjoy cuddling with your child or grandchild with a mug of hot chocolate warming your hands. After reading the story, take the time to read the author’s and illustrator’s notes on the last page – they give insight into the book’s writing and illustrations.
The World’s Greatest Word Game, Mad Libs, has been entertaining (and secretly educating) kids and adults about grammar for more than 60 years. Mad Libs was created by comedy writers Leonard Stern and Roger Price as an inventive and unpredictable game to play with friends at parties. In 1958, talk show host Steve Allen used Mad Libs to introduce guests hilariously. Mad Libs has since become the world’s most popular word game, with more than 125 million books in print and more than 14 million mobile app downloads. This holiday, whether your family is together in person or over Zoom, grab a Mad Lib and let the fun begin.
Dear Mr. Dickens
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Bethany Stancliff
Ages 6 – 12
Eliza Davis admired and respected Charles Dickens, one of the most famous authors in England. But she found herself in a difficult situation: Charles Dickens created characters in books that she felt were harmful and unfair to the Jewish community. Dickens’s weekly stories (which later became the published works we know and still read, today) seemed to Davis to reinforce dangerous anti-Semitic tropes. She wrote her feelings to Dickens, hoping to alter his portrayal of Jewish people in his stories and books. Their pen-to-paper relationship of thought and respect would eventually change literature and, possibly, even culture.
Dear Mr. Dickens shows how important a single word can be — and how standing up for what you know is right can change minds. The book will appeal to adults and children, inspiring everyone to be kinder, more understanding, and more what?. The illustrations enrich the era and compliment the story. I enjoyed learning about this story, and I’m confident you and your children will, too.
Cat & Dog
Written and illustrated by Tullio Corda
Cat & Dog is a clever, playful, and colorful tale of opposites perfect for young children. Tullio Corda presents more than just an exploration of opposites; this is a fun story easy for young children to follow and enjoy.
Kids will love the sweet interactions between Cat and Dog. The illustrations are vibrant and contemporary, focusing squarely on the narrative in a good-natured and engaging manner. I loved reading it and giggled at the adventures through which both Cat and Dog persevere. I know you and your kids will too.
There is also a fun Cat & Dog Activity Kit your kids will adore. Visit: https://www.redcometpress.com/redcometpress/catdog to download a printable copy.
The Circles All Around Us
Written by Brad Montague
Illustrated by Kristi Montague
The Circles All Around Us is a thoughtful and tender book with a positive message about how we can grow up building relationships and bringing joy and kindness wherever we go. The compassionate rhyming text and simple illustrations are delightful visuals for both children and adults. As the dialogue says, “In the circles all around us, everywhere that we all go, there’s a difference we can make and a love we can all show.”
To access resources for classrooms and families to go along with the book The Circles All Around Us, visit: http://montagueworkshop.com/circlesguide.
There’s a Witch in Your Book
Written by Tom Fletcher
Illustrated by Greg Abbott
A wickedly fun interactive book for the wee ones come Halloween. A feisty little witch has landed in your book, and she needs your help to get her out of the terrible mess she’s making! Are you up to the task?
Children can participate in the magic of the red-haired troublemaker with instructions on how to use their “finger wands” and say a few magic words to help straighten the Witch out and tidy up the book. The illustrations are charming, and the spells keep changing to keep the interaction going. It’s such a fun and spooky way to engage and excite young readers’ imaginations. You and your kids will love the adventure.
Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards
By Meghan P. Brown
Illustrated by Carlynn Whitt
This detailed picture book biography on the life of Texas governor Ann Richards is beautifully written and filled with Texas charm. Born in rural Texas, Ann’s life taught her about determination, stamina, grit, and the ability to juggle many responsibilities at a time — all to ready her for her long career in politics, where she exercised her commitment to doing the right thing for all people and working together.
The refrain “Just wait, you’ll see,” repeated throughout the book, brings each phase of Ann’s life together. She was known for her big voice, zingers, Southern drawl, and overflowing heart for the people of Texas.
I appreciated how the author includes the “defeats” of Ann’s life to show how she persevered. This is an inspiring story of how one woman changed both Texas and America — and a fabulous historical introduction for kids.
Thesaurus Has a Secret
Written and illustrated by Anya Glazer
Even though he eats plants, takes baths, and arm wrestles like the other dinosaurs, Thesaurus is worried that his friends will think he’s weird if they know he likes to… read! In this charming and funny book, author and illustrator Anya Glazer shows us what a friendly dinosaur has to do to hide his reading habit from his friends because he is afraid they will make fun of him. When his secret is discovered, the other dinosaurs have a surprising response: They want him to read to them. This is a great story time book for readers and listeners ages 1-6.
In My Life
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Illustrated by Genevieve Santos
The classic Beatles song is introduced to a new audience as a poem about friendship, love, and change in this lovingly illustrated picture book. A young girl gets a bike for a gift, which she first rides alongside her mother. As she grows older, the words to the poem reflect changes in her life as she travels through other experiences. The final page, showing the girl grown up and with a little girl of her own, brings renewed life and meaning to a song that most of us have known our whole lives. This is a beautiful addition to any library, and especially well-suited for reading to children aged 1-6.
By Joellyn Cicciarelli
Illustrated by Carrie Schuler
Meredith is a star on her school’s basketball team, thanks to her talent on the court. Everyone loves and admires her. But during one game, she begins to feel unwell. Her hands are clammy, and she’s out of breath. During a visit to the doctor, Meredith learns she has a heart condition that will keep her from playing basketball. But Meredith learns to face her new challenges with help from her family, her team, her coach, and determination. I love the optimistic ending, and the charming illustrations enhance the emotion of the story. This heartfelt book shows kids how to overcome the challenges in their life — health-related or otherwise — and move forward.
Written by Shelly Amand
Illustrations by Nabi H. Ali
This adorable book radiates with body positivity for all little girls. It sends an important message that hair on your body, wherever it grows, is natural. While playing during recess, Laxmi’s friends start teasing her about the hairs above her lip. When Laxmi discovers her “mooch” (“mustache” in Hindi), she goes to her parents for guidance. Laxmi learns hair grows not just on the head but everywhere on the body, and that she comes from a line of strong women all of whom have mooches! Their talk helps Laxmi embrace her mooch, eyebrows, and body hair. Soon all her friends want a mooch just like Laxmi. So she draws one on her classmates, and they all play together. Shelly Amand’s gentle and affirming text is refreshing; the illustrations by Nabi H. Ali are endearing. You will love reading this story to your special little ones.
Code Breaker, Spy Hunter:
How Elizabeth Friedman Changed the Course of Two World Wars
By Laurie Wallmark
Illustrated by Brooke Smart
What an incredible and informative picture book biography! Elizebeth Friedman’s first love was literature. After college, a wealthy, eccentric gentleman hired her to find hidden messages in Shakespeare’s plays to determine Shakespeare’s “true” identity. There were none, but this led Friedman to codebreaking work for criminal prosecutors, the Coast Guard, and government officials.
Friedman’s extraordinary talent in languages and analysis led to her selection, along with her husband, to develop the U.S.’s first codebreaking system and to form the OSS (now the FBI). Throughout her career, she deciphered thousands of secret messages, broke the complicated Nazi codes, and trained others to do the same. Friedman also enjoyed her peaceful life at home: She would host dinner parties where guests had to decipher codes just so they could eat!
Brooke Smart’s illustrations are flawlessly arranged to enhance Laurie Wallmark’s intricate text. Embedded quotes on each page show Friedman’s extraordinary life and accomplishments.
Take some time with your older grandkids and get to know Elizabeth Friedman, a true American heroine!
On Sleepy Hill
Written by Patricia Hagarty
Illustrated by Xuan Le
To 3 years
I love go-to-sleep books. What a better way to bond with a child than reading a story about how animals cuddle up for a night of sweet slumber? Patricia Hegarty’s rhyming text reassures and soothes as the day draws to a close. Children will have fun whispering “good night” to their new forest friends, and, along the way, they will learn about animal habitats and behavior. The illustrations by Xuan Le are charming, and the intricate, peek-through cut-outs on each page will enchant any wee one. i is one of those books you will enjoy reading with your grandkids now and have fond memories of as the years go by.
What’s Inside A Flower?
And Other Questions About Science & Nature
By Rachel Ignotofsky
Written & Illustrated by: Rachel Ignotofsky
We all enjoy seeing flowers in gardens and along the roadway. But how did they get there? Were they planted, or did a seed drop from a flying bird?
Rachel Ignotofsky’s new picture book series will satisfy young children’s minds and nurture their curiosity about the natural world — all starting with what’s inside a flower. Burgeoning gardeners and beginning backyard scientists alike will love each page of this fabulous introduction to flowers, from seeds to roots to blooms. Learning how flowers grow gives kids beneficial building blocks of science and inquiry. Ignotofsky’s unique art style makes learning fun. Her love of science makes the text engaging, answering questions a child (or adult) might have about flowers’ growth in easy-to-understand language. Before you know it, your grandchildren will be fascinated with how flowers grow. They may even ask for a small patch of backyard space for their very own garden science project.
I adore this book’s charming illustrations and vivid explanations about nature, science, and flowers. What’s Inside a Flower? also includes a resource guide for additional books and websites should your new gardener wish to learn more about plants and flowers.
Every Voice Counts! Make Yourself Heard!
By Dr. Suess
It’s never too early for children to know their voice counts!
In true Dr. Suess style, this simple book helps children realize we are all unique, each of us with a powerful voice to help make the world a better place.
Children, parents, and grandparents, alike, will enjoy this wonderful primer on speaking up — and listening in.
The illustrations will take you back to your childhood when you were reading The Cat in the Hat!
I Am! Affirmations for Resilience
By Bela Barbosa
Illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
Age 2 – 4
This brightly illustrated board book is full of authentic affirmations and positivity for preschool-age children. Barbosa focuses on 10 relatable emotions, such as jealously and loneliness. She offers centering exercises and encourages affirmation to counter negative self-thoughts. For example: “When you feel scared of something new, Stand Tall, Put your hands on your hips, and say: I Am Brave!” Straightforward and accessible, these affirmations foster inner strength for these critical times, as parents and children, both, must adjust to the new normal of quarantine. Edel Rodriguez’s illustrations are colorful and will engage the children as you read the story.
I Don’t Want To Wash My Hands
Written and Illustrated by Tony Ross
Ages 2 – 5 years
This little princess does not want to wash her hands. After all, in one day, she has washed them so many times — before eating, after playing in the dirt, after she sneezed, and even after she used her potty.
And every time she’s reminded to wash her hands, she asks, “Why?”
Because of germs and nasties, her maid says, that are too small to see. This sweet and timely book helps teach wee ones the importance of handwashing in a fun way with colorful, expressive illustrations.
By Dan Brown
Illustrated by Susan Batori
Ages 3 – 7 years
Dan Brown, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Da Vinci Code, has new credentials on his impressive resume: children’s book author and composer of the music from Wild Symphony. Wild Symphony is a unique and entertaining picture book with delightful rhyming text. Playful Maestro Mouse, trusty baton in hand, brings readers along as he plans to put on a concert with his animal friends. Each of these musically inclined critters offers a bit of advice for life’s journey. Their wisdom inspires conversations about our unique selves, the importance of never giving up, and the benefits of slowing down and enjoying our day. Susan Batori’s beautiful illustrations add some kid-friendly humor. A simple anagram is hidden on every page, adding to the fun; when placed in the correct order, the letters spell out the name of a musical instrument in the orchestra. Children and adults will enjoy reading along, or they can listen to the 21 original pieces of music as they read. Each animal’s personality has a unique piece, and listeners can use a free interactive app for cell phones to play the right song at the right time. You and your family will enjoy beautiful illustrations and the creative story, and the original music over and over again. It is a true multimedia experience.
Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Felicia Marshall
Too often, great artists of color are left out of our history books. Beautiful Shades of Brown takes a beautiful step towards redressing that wrong with the first picture book about Laura Wheeler Waring, an artist who grew up in a segregated America and used her paintbrush to fight for equality. Today, Waring’s paintings of such luminaries as Marian Anderson, W.E.B. DuBois, and Alice Dunbar Nelson are part of the National Portrait Gallery collection in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Seven of her magnificent paintings are reproduced in the book. The School Library Journal praises illustrator Felicia Marshall for her “artistic tribute rendered in the style of Waring’s paintings” and calls the book “A meticulously crafted account of a trailblazing artist.” A Mighty Girl pick, as featured on Good Morning Texas with Jane McGarry onWFAA-TV, Beautiful Shades of Brown comes with free teacher guides, resources, and projects available on Churnin’s website.
The Wizard of Oz | A Little Princess
Illustrated by Carly Gledhill
Ages 0 – 2
⇒Purchase The Wizard of Oz HERE.
The Bedtime Classics is a charming series of board books that take classic works of fiction and simplify and shorten them for the youngest reader. Each story in the series breathes new life and fresh faces into famous tales such as The Wizard of Oz and A Little Princess.
Carly Gledhill’s illustrations are beautiful and vivid, with diverse characters. They are perfect two-minute stories that will delight children, parents, and grandparents, alike. Readers will feel good about introducing children to some of the most iconic stories of literature, building libraries with these unique editions.
The other titles in the series are Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Three Little Pigs.
For Spacious Skies:
Katharine Lee Bates and the Inspiration for “America the Beautiful”
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Olga Baumert
Ages 4 – 8
Nancy Churnin and Olga Baumert bring the life of Katharine Lee Bates, author of the poem behind “America the Beautiful,” to audiences of all ages with this gorgeous picture book biography. Follow the unforgettable journey of a girl who grew up to be a poet and professor, accompanied by brilliant illustrations from Olga Baumert. As a child during the Civil War, Bates dreamed of using her love of words to heal her broken country. With “America the Beautiful,” that’s what she did, urging everyone to “crown thy good with brotherhood,” and reminding us we’re all one family “from sea to shining sea.” Bates stood up for a woman’s right to vote and lived to cast her ballot in 1920, making this book a perfect choice to honor the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. For Spacious Skies was written with the support of Bates’ great grandniece. You’ll find free teacher guides, resources, and a project on the author’s website at nancychurnin.com.
Little Kids First Big Book of Science
Written by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Ages 4 – 8
This book is a colorful introduction to the captivating world of science. It explores the many different scientific fields, what scientists do, and the fantastic things they study: animals and plants; oceans and space; earthquakes and volcanoes; sound and light; and more! Children and adults alike will enjoy fun activities, games, and simple experiments that encourage interactive learning. The images are bright, and the text is perfect for four- to eight-year-olds.
Nope. Never. Not For Me!
Written and Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Age 3 – 7
Some children can be picky eaters! To encourage healthy eating for kids, it sometimes takes creativity and fun.
It wasn’t until my Mom told my son broccoli were little trees that he would gobble them up. In this adorable book, a little girl refuses to try a piece of broccoli until her mom guides her through a fun exploration of the new food. The little girl first looks, then sniffs, then touches, and then, finally, takes one teensy bite. Her varied reactions are precious. To find out if she eats this food and tries others, read this humorous and well-illustrated book.
The Little Engine That Could
Written by Watty Piper
Re-Illustrated by Dan Santat
Everyone remembers the little train that, despite her small size, victoriously brings her cargo of toys and goodies to the little children waiting on the other side of the mountain. In this anniversary edition, the text is the same as it was when first published in 1930. But the illustrations have been beautifully reimagined by Caldecott-winner Dan Santat, bringing the bright blue little engine into the 21st century. The positive message of I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, has encouraged and inspired children to pursue their dreams no matter the obstacle. Letters from country music legend Dolly Parton and Santat bookend the story. This update is one you will want to read over and over again.
Song Written By Joe Roposo with Bruce Hart and Jon Stone
Illustrated by 18 Talented Artists
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street, 18 picture-book artists each bring their talents to illustrate their interpretation of a different line from the show’s iconic song, “Sunny Day.”
The award-winning and bestselling list of illustrators includes Christian Robinson, Tom Lichtenheld, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Leo Espinosa, Dan Santat, and more.
Sunny Day is a beautifully illustrated tribute to Sesame Street — and to the generations of children who have grown up watching the show and singing along.
Say Hello, Lilly
Written by Deborah Lakritz
Illustrated by Martha Avilés
Age 3 – 8
Lily is a shy little girl. But, one day, she wants to volunteer with her Mom at Shalom House, a senior living community. At first, Lily stays close to her Mom, overwhelmed by all of the new people she meets. Soon, however, she begins to feel more comfortable and finds the courage to talk with others. As her birthday approaches, she looks forward to each visit. Lily makes friends with the older residents and joins in on activities, even bringing a few of her own to share. Published in 2010, this is an oldie but a goodie. The colorful illustrations represent the joy of intergenerational relationships. Even though the story takes place in a Jewish environment, it is a story many can relate to: that of a little girl, working to overcome her shyness.
Lawrence: The Bunny Who Wanted to Be Naked
Written/Illustrated by Vern Kousky
Ages 3 – 7
In this charming book, Vern Kousky takes a look at the sensitive mother-child relationship that has gone to the extreme.
Ever since he was a tiny bunny, Lawrence’s mother has loved to dress him up in all the most fashionable clothes: the brightest colors and the most unusual styles. But Lawrence hates wearing clothes. None of the other animals wear clothes, including his mother! When Lawrence comes up with an ingenious and mischievous — but also, caring — plan to turn the tables on Mom, readers of all ages will smile at the outcome.
Children can relate to Lawrence’s quest for independence, just as parents will identify with how hard it is to let go of your special bunny. This book is perfect to read aloud, celebrating individuality and problem-solving. The watercolor illustrations are adorable and draw you into the story.
The Crayons Christmas
Written by Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Ages 3 and up
This unique book is the perfect gift for fans of the duo’s previous books, The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.
It is so cute in its presentation, all from the Crayons’ point of view! Your little readers will learn how young Duncan and his family celebrate the holidays, and the fun way the Crayons appreciate being an important part of Duncan’s life. Included are the actual letters the Crayons write — each of which can be pulled out and read. You and your kiddos will find stickers, games, punch-out ornaments, and more fun activities. Fans will delight when grey Crayon writes to Duncan that he is visiting his family for Chanukah. The Crayons’ personalities come alive through Daywalt’s original text and Jeffers’s illustrations. If this is your first Crayon book, you will be excited to read them all.
Written by Sheryl Haft
Illustrated by Jill Weber
Ages 2–5 years
This adorable, festive story reimagines a classic bedtime book with an energetic Jewish family gathering for Chanukah to see Bunny “Bubbala” (the Yiddish term for “sweet child”). Bubbies, zeydes, a dreidel, and even a shmear on a bagel fill the pages of this parody of Goodnight Moon, but with a very different type of bedtime! The whole family is full of enthusiasm, love, and Yiddish sayings! Instead of speaking in whispers, this Bunny’s bedtime includes dancing, kvelling, and, of course, lots of noshing. This delightful story celebrates the Jewish values of cherishing your loved ones, expressing gratitude, and being generous. The book includes a phonetic glossary to teach wee ones a bit of Yiddish. The last page serves up a potato latke recipe from cookbook author Ina Garten, TV’s Barefoot Contessa! With its rhyming text and fun illustrations, this little book presents the tradition of Chanukah and family time in a beautiful, enjoyable, and essential way.
In Honor of Grandparents Month
DEAR GRANDCHILD, THIS IS ME
A Gift of Stories, Wisdom and Off-the-Record Tales
Produced by Waterbrook
The best gift a grandparent can give is a piece of themselves that will stay with their grandchildren forever. Using this beautiful journal, grandparents can capture the details of their unique experiences, sharing both valuable life lessons and words of wisdom. There are built-in envelopes to stash special letters of encouragement for specific occasions in your grandchild’s future. Write out recipes, add photos, and create your family tree. There are even off-the-record questions to prompt fun stories. It is a perfect way to capture memories and milestones for the loved one close to your heart. Verses and illustrations from a variety of artists will inspire your journey.
The Peculiar Pig
Written by Joy Steverwald
Illustrated by Joy Steverwald
Ages 3- 6
Being different is always a good thing, and this adorable picture book proves it. The Peculiar Pig is a sweet and funny story of a brown dachshund puppy who wanders into the pigpen one day and is welcomed by the mother pig. Penny doesn’t understand why she’s different — she only knows that Mama Pig loves her just the same as the rest of the litter. Penny’s siblings, however, are puzzled by her peculiar behavior, like digging with her paws instead of her snout, along with her loud, sharp “oink.” But when danger strikes, Penny’s peculiarities prove to be strengths, and the piglets see that sometimes it’s good to be a little different! The text is easy to read and touches your heart. The illustrations bring the family to life.
Snowmen at Halloween
Written by Caralyn Buehner
Pictures by Mark Buehner
Ages 3- 7
After a surprise Halloween snowfall, some children build a row of snowmen, dress them up in scary costumes, and then trot off to trick-or-treat before bed. But what do snowmen do after everyone is fast asleep?
Your grandkids will delight in all of the snowmen’s antics as they do tricks on skates, bump into one another like happy clowns, carve pumpkins, and get their faces painted. The lyrical text and lively illustrations make the snowmen pop off the page — and the book is good for re-reading, too: The author has included hidden creatures to find on each page.
I love Caralyn and Mark Buehner’s wonderfully interactive story, and I think you and your grandkids will, too!
Secrets of the Vegetable Garden—A Shine-a-Light Book
Author Carron Brown
Illustrated by Giordano Poloni
Garden-lovers and their grandkids will revel in this unique book. A vegetable garden grows under the sun. If you look closely between the stalks, beneath the leaves, and under the soil, you will spot the animals and plants living there. Children can hold each page up to the light or shine a flashlight behind the page to reveal what is unseen in and around the vegetable garden. The story follows the growth of a tomato plant, from seed to fruit. See the seeds in the soil, the ladybugs hiding under a leaf, and the bees getting their daily dose of pollen. Each reader will discover a small world of great surprises on this delightful book.
Toad Makes a Road
Author/Editor Phil Roxbee Cox
Illustrator Stephen Cartwright
Ages 3 -5
Usbourne Phonics Readers are bright and adorable, with flip-out pages to give young readers a chance to guess what will happen next in this fun story.
Toad Makes a Road is all about the oa sound, in words like toad, load, road. Toad has a problem: because she lives on a hill, there is no way for a delivery truck to come to her house. So, Toad must build a road! I love that the story touches on overcoming an obstacle through determination and hard work. The illustrations are colorful, the text is easy to read, and the rhyming makes for an entertaining and interactive reading experience. The book includes an index that shows and explains the phonic breakdown of the words used in the story.
By Matthew A. Cherry
Illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Zuri loves her beautiful hair, but — just like her — it has a mind of its own: It kinks and curls every which way. So, when a special day comes for Zuri, her hair has to be just right!
With Mommy out of town, Daddy steps in to help. He thinks it will be a piece of cake… and you and your grandchildren will giggle at all the different hair styles he comes up with.
Matthew A. Cherry’s Hair Love is an empowering tale about loving who you are, including your natural hair. It’s also a joyous celebration of daddies and daughters. Vashti Harrison’s bright and colorful illustrations capture the joy and confidence that is childhood from the view of a spirited little girl and her devoted father. The story is based on Cherry’s short animated film of the same name.
Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush
Written by Melissa Stoller
Illustrated by Sandie Sonke
After her magic paintbrush mysteriously disappears, Scarlet doesn’t think she can paint anymore. She tries to with non-magical tools, but she’s never satisfied with the results. It’s only when Scarlet finds her magic paintbrush, again, does she realize she has her own way of painting — and, even if her art is not perfect, her art is still a creation that comes from deep inside of her. Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush is a delightful and encouraging story about a little girl who realizes that, with her own magic, she can paint whatever she wants. Melissa Stoller’s inspiring text and Sandie Sonke’s charming illustrations bring this valuable lesson to life. Be sure to check out the cute dog on each page.
Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life
Hollywood Legend and Brilliant Inventor
By Laurie Wallmark
Ilustrated by Katy Wu
5 years and up
Who was the real Hedy Lamarr? Was she a beautiful movie star, a brilliant inventor — or both? This engaging picture book introduces young readers to both sides of Hedy Lamarr, often remembered for her acting career and beauty. But behind that pretty face was a superb mind, a little-known fact until just recently.
Laurie Wallmark helps young readers understand Lamarr’s quest to break the mold society forced upon her. Wallmark traces Lamarr’s immutable curiosity and perseverance from World War II to Lamarr’s revolutionary scientific discoveries later in life. Lamarr comes to life through quotes and Katy Wu’s creative illustrations, wonderfully complimenting the easy-to-read text. Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life is a vivid testament to an extraordinary woman and could serve as an inspiration to readers of all ages. Highly recommended. lauriewallmark.com
Read the Hollywood Reporter’s article on Hedy: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/two-new-children-s-books-celebrate-actress-inventor-hedy-lamarr-1183496?fbclid=IwAR1QcSL2G-0nrV5OetnXX6y_KBnBP-Lq5FeSXck4sZQSTID0KhqcCGDXeL8
Martin & Anne
The Kindred Spirits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank
By Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
8 – 14 years
The lives and legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Anne Frank are described in parallel in this beautiful picture book. Born in the same year but a world apart, Martin and Anne faced prejudices from the time they began school. Whereas one saw “Whites only” signs, the other saw “No Jews allowed” signs — but that didn’t stop either of them from dreaming of a better world and becoming beacons of inspiration long after their lives were cut short.
Author Nancy Churnin purposefully states that Martin grows up to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and that his assassination at age 39 cannot diminish his message of peace and equality; Anne’s life ended at 15, but her legacy lives on through her diary. The book embraces their unifying message that “Love is stronger than hate. / Kindness can heal the world.” Yevgenia Nayberg’s illustrations present King and Frank in a modern tapestry of colors, helping make the tough subject of discrimination more palatable for young children. Martin & Anne is a must-read to learn more about the parallel life experiences of these remarkable visionaries. All Churnin’s books have free Teacher Guides and projects on her website: nancychurnin.com/teacher-guides/
Project for the book: http://www.nancychurnin.com/kindredspirits/
Little Kids First Big Book Of Why 2
Author Jill Esbaum
Hardcover | National Geographic Kids
This wonderful and fun reference book answers many of kids’ most burning “Why?” questions.
You and your grandkids will love the colorful photos that are paired with easy-to grasp answers to questions like, “Why are swimming pools blue?“ “Why do bats sleep upside down?” “Why do dogs sniff everything?” and “Why don’t penguins get cold ?”
With hundreds of subjects from silly to serious, this book encourages kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore our amazing world. To be honest, I loved reading this book. I learned so much that I did not know. I am sure you and your grandkids will feel the same.
Food Fight! A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages
Author: Tanya Steele
Ages 10 and up
Hardcover | National Geographic Kids
Get ready to dig in to some human history through the lens of food to answer questions not usually known. Did you know that Christopher Columbus set out on his famous voyage in search not of the new world, but cinnamon? Did you ever wonder why M&Ms were invented? (Hint: That candy coating isn’t just for decoration!) Each chapter focuses on a major period of world history from Prehistoric cavekids to Ancient Greece to present day and beyond. Every page has a colorful collection of photos and illustrations informative sidebars and historical pictures. Discover Yucky Habits of Yore,” quizzes, and period-accurate recipes that will transport you and your grandkids taste buds back in time. So, take a curious journey through time and learn how food shaped our global history and culture.
Weird but True Christmas
300 festive facts to light up the holidays
Ages 8 – 12
National Geographic Kids
Even Christmas can be weird — it’s true! If you are looking for something different to fill stockings this year, look no further then this little gem of a book. It is chock-full of fun and wacky facts from around the world about the most wonderful time of year. I must admit I learned a lot while reading it. Did you know the amount of ribbon used to wrap gifts each Christmas is enough to tie a bow around the entire planet? Each page has between 1 to 3 facts and is filled with colorful pictures and illustrations. You and your grandkids will chuckle as you read the pages together.
Holidays Around the World
Celebrate Hanukkah with Light, Latkes, and Dreidels
Author: Deborah Heiligman
Ages 6 – 9
Consultant: Rabbi Shira Stern
This lovely book is filled with vivid photography and engaging text. Readers will learn about the historical and cultural significance of Hanukkah and why it is celebrated around the world.
From the lighting of the menorah to the special foods that are shared to the spinning of the dreidels, you will get insights about the holiday’s traditions and the Jewish faith.
Holidays Around the World
Celebrate Kwanzaa with Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest
Author: Carolyn Otto
Consultant: Keith Mayers
Celebrate Kwanzaa will engage the whole family as they to learn about this special holiday . The book introduces children to the seven symbols of Kwanzaa, and several of its traditions, like dancing, feasting, and making gifts. It’s an educational book that won’t overwhelm your kids, but will get them excited about the seven days of Kwanzaa. The photographs bring the holiday and its celebration to life.
EPPIE THE ELEPHANT (WHO WAS ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS)
Written by Livingston Crouse
Illustrated by Steve Brown
Silver Dolphin Books | 6 – 8 years
It’s the first day of school and Eppie the Elephant is nervous that her classmates will not understand her allergy to…peanuts. Like many kids, Eppie has to be careful about what she eats. Eppie meets Pearl the squirrel and Allie the alligator and they become fast friends, spending the morning together. But when someone offers her a peanut butter sandwich at lunch and her allergy is explained, the kids make fun of her. Eppie feels all alone. Will her friends miss her company? Two words in the story are a little mature for this age group but, grandma or grandpa can explain. Your grandkids will relate to this story of understanding and acceptance. The adorable illustrations add to the sweetness of the story.
HOW TO TRICK THE TOOTH FAIRY
Written by Erin Danielle Russell
Illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli
Simon and Shuster | 4 – 9 years
Kaylee is a prankster. She always finds ways to prank her sister and friends with anything from water balloons to Oreos filled with dog toothpaste. Ick! Enter the “number one prank princess,” a pink-haired sparkly dressed Tooth Fairy with a mischievous grin. When the Tooth Fairy reaches under Kaylee’s pillow for a tooth, she gets a fake frog. So, she responds with real frogs! What follows is a one-up of very messy pranks, with desserts flying all over the kitchen, water spraying, and heaps of trouble. When it rains real cats and dogs in the house, they decide a truce is in order. They clean up together, share fairy-dust cookies, and become prankster-princess friends. This is a wonderfully creative story. It reminds me of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by the way the pranks keep mounting. The illustrations are charming with just enough pink and glitter to attract any princess with a playful grin and a twinkle in her eye.