I know. Life probably feels like a bit of a blur for you just now.
That’s why the books I have today beckon us to slow down, sit a moment, and drink in beauty
through poetic observations of nature over the course of a year.
These are ideal titles to have in the hopper come January
when life feels full of new starts and a new cycle of seasons.
Come Next Season, written by Kim Norman, pictures by Daniel Miyares
published in 2019 by Farrar Straus Giroux
I’m a big fan of Daniel Miyares’ artwork. His sublime watercolor illustrations here capture the beauty of the natural world and the carefree ease of children heartily enjoying themselves outdoors.
The text cleverly morphs its way from one season to the next with two siblings anticipating what they’ll do as nature’s changes steal upon them. Miyares echoes that gradual, continual change with his use of color and page turns.
It’s one of the loveliest of books. A joy for ages 3 and up.
Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons, by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Mercè López
published in 2019 by Millbrook Press
Minnesota-author Laura Purdie Salas creates what she calls “riddle-ku” — haiku narrated by everything from earthworms to mittens to baseballs that invite us to guess who said it. So clever.
The concept makes this collection of 24 small poems, six haiku for each season, joyfully interactive. Children ages 4 and up will have a fine time puzzling these out.
A Year with Mama Earth, written by Rebecca Grabill, illustrated by Rebecca Green
published in 2019 by Eerdmans Books for Young Children
This small delight features two-page spreads, one for each month of the year, that carry us from September to September with lyrical, descriptive prose and Rebecca Green’s inviting, contemporary scenes.
All the action here is in the great outdoors where Mama Earth cares for the plants and creatures around us. This personification of nature creates a sense of tremendous affection as Mama “rustles her autumn wings to cool her hot, tired face” in autumn, or “loads the trees’ arms with white” in January. A marvelous parade of nature’s splendors for ages 4 and up.
Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by David Diaz
published in 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Lee Bennett Hopkins, one of the great children’s poets and anthologists, just passed away this year. It feels fitting to include one of his smart collections of seasonal poetry, gleaned from both classic and contemporary poets.
A dozen brief, child-friendly poems for each season, are illustrated in a riot of color and simplified, modern images. Plenty of poetry here to dip in throughout the year for ages 4 and up.
You’ll find many more truly beautiful books and poetry collections celebrating the full round of seasons in my The Year of Seasons list. There are some gems in there, folks!
A small selection of New Year’s Day and Chinese New Year stories can be found in my list here.