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Archive for the ‘wordless books’ Category

Here in the Great North we’re looking forward to wearing our woolies, sipping our chai, and watching candlelight flicker in windows as December approaches.

I love winter! What about you? Today’s books will warm your heart towards cold weather, even if you prefer the tropics.

Singing Away the Dark, written by Caroline Woodward, illustrated by Julie Morstad
first published in 2010; special edition published in 2017 by Simply Read Books

Julie Morstad’s elegant artwork graces the pages of this nostalgic, glad story of one little girl’s mile-long walk through morning dark and winter frost to catch her school bus.

At age six, she’s stalwart enough to sing away the sometimes-eerie woodland shapes and sounds she encounters along her way. Tender, delightful, gorgeous. Ages 4 and up.

When the Moon Comes, written by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Matt James
published in 2017 by Tundra Books

Those of us who grew up in small northern towns where ice skates were standard issue and ponds froze for the sole purpose of hockey will revel in this fiercely glad story of a bunch of kids anticipating their first frosty game on perfect ice under a full moon.

The hardiness and happiness of those freezing cold nights, breath forming icicles on scarves, pale rings encircling the moon, pucks cracking against sticks, cocoa scalding tongues, is perfectly captured in text and masterful illustrations in this book, coming to us from where-else-but-Canada. I love this collaboration!! Outstanding for ages 4 and up.

Pablo in the Snow, written by Teri Sloat, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
published in 2017 by Henry Holt and Company

Pablo has never seen snow before and it turns out to be quite the curious stuff. Meeting one woodland friend after another, this undaunted lamb joyfully discovers what those falling pieces of cloud are for! So much fun!

When a snowstorm covers his tracks so his path home is lost, suddenly the fun is over, until Mama and Papa appear to usher him home to a cozy barn. Sweet and comforting for ages 2 and up.

Snowflake In My Pocket, written by Rachel Bright, illustrated by Yu Rong
first American edition 2017 by Kane Miller

Burly old Bear and small, enthusiastic Squirrel are dear friends. One icy night, Bear suggests snow might be on its way and sure enough, a magical fairyland awaits Squirrel in the morning!

He cannot wait to explore it all with Bear! But, oh dear. Bear has the sniffles and can’t go out. What can Squirrel do to share this perfect winter morning with his old friend? Charming and warmhearted, just right for ages 2 and up.

Lines, by Suzy Lee
published in 2017 by Chronicle Books

Suzy Lee again infuses a wordless story with sparkling artistic creativity.

Starting with a blank page, a pencil, and an eraser, what can the artist bring to life with a line? A scribble? What happens when her graphite world spins out of control in seeming failure? Or when the artist forges ahead, fashioning a world bustling with icy energy? Elegant, joyous, fantastical for ages 4 and up.

The Storm Whale in Winter, written and illustrated by Benji Davies
first published in the UK, 2016; first American edition 2017 by Henry Holt and Company

If you haven’t followed the story of this small boy and his father over the years, you can pick up the series’ opener with my review here.

Noi and his dad live a spare life by the sea, warmed by their close-knit relationship, and buoyed by Noi’s friend, the whale. In this wintery installment, Noi grows worried when his fisherman dad doesn’t return home one evening. The sea is iced over around their island and darkness has firmly set in, but Noi is sure that faint light flickering out at sea is his dad, and he’s determined to rescue him.

It turns out to be quite the harrowing adventure, and Noi’s dear whale plays a heroic role. Exciting stuff, anchored in love, for ages 3 and up.

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I don’t know about you, but lately my heart feels as though someone has been scouring it with steel wool.

Raw. Abraded. Grieving over violence and suffering, abuse of power and abuse of Earth, caustic tongues and acrimony, overwhelmingly loud day after day.  

As we move towards a series of holidays celebrating gratitude, light, and love, I want to share some powerful titles that console me with their messages of generosity, kindness, and working to alleviate suffering.

These books suit ages 2 through teens. Pick one or two, read them together, and dream of ways you can help mend the brokenness in our world.

At the end of the post, I have links to a couple of non-profits where your gifts can make a difference to people in extreme need.

You Hold Me Up, written by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel
published in 2017 by Orca Books

Page through this gem and feel your heart glow with the warmth, strength, and richness of community, family, togetherness. 

You hold me up. I hold you up. That’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Monique Gray Smith quietly illuminates humanity’s best self with her minimal, just-right words.

Daniel’s striking palette and touching scenes mean each page delivers a wallop of goodness, all with that beautiful First Nation’s flavor. A total delight from our good neighbors in Canada that’ll woo readers of all ages toward being holder-uppers.

 

Love the World, written and illustrated by Todd Parr
published in 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Todd Parr’s jubilant colors and relentless optimism radiate from every page in this simple call to love for the very young.

Love yourself! Love the world! Mix and repeat. What a great recipe! A warm-as-a-hug book for ages 18 months and up that fills minds and imaginations with smiles, welcome, and kindness. 

 

Can We Help? Kids Volunteering to Help Their Communities, by George Ancona
published in 2015 by Candlewick Press

Children engaged in knitting hats for homeless families, harvesting vegetables for soup kitchens, delivering meals to the elderly, training assistance dogs, skiing down mountains with physically-disabled kids, picking up trash along highways, and more, briefly describe their activities…

…all accompanied by copious color photographs. No glitz. Just ordinary kids pitching in to help their neighbors. Heartening and inspiring. Ages 3 and up. What can you think of to do together?

It Takes a Village, written by Hillary Rodham Clinton, illustrated by Marla Frazee
published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

In her Author’s Note, Clinton says “this book is meant to spark a conversation with our youngest about what children can do to help make the world what they hope it will be.”

Short phrases comprise the text, some more meaningful than others. The main theme is almost completely borne out by Frazee’s ever-tender, inclusive illustrations… 

… a sequence of vignettes showing folks banding together to build a prime playground. A neighborhood gathering place. You can’t miss the vibe of hope, collaboration, and warm community shining through here, a lovely antidote to weariness and cynicism. Ages 3 and up.

Letters to a Prisoner, by Jacques Goldstyn
published in Canada in 2015 as Le prisonnier sans frontiéres; English edition 2017 by Owlkids Books

A powerful, wordless story unfolds when one man and his young daughter (could be a son) set off to protest a powerful regime. Soldiers attack and the father is thrown into prison. 

As his hope dwindles, a little bird flies through the prison window and delivers a letter. So cheering! But it’s confiscated by an angry guard. More letters come, only to be burned. The plight of this prisoner becomes known around the world, however, and all manner of individuals write letters — fortress-loads of letters. What is the result?

It’s a wordless story, vibrant, poignant, triumphant, taking its inspiration from Amnesty International’s letter-writing marathon and seeking to inspire participation in this annual event. What a wonderful movement to take part in! Ages 4 and up.

The Happy Prince: A Tale by Oscar Wilde, illustrated and adapted by Maisie Paradise Shearring
original edition 2016; published in 2017 by Thames & Hudson

Shearring retells Oscar Wilde’s famous short story featuring the ornate, bejewelled statue of a happy prince and a swallow who alights on it. 

The prince, so oblivious of others’ needs throughout his life of opulent wealth, sorrows now from his heights as a statue, for he can see the ugliness and misery of the world from this new vantage point. Both the prince and the swallow are thus moved to sacrifice themselves for the good of the destitute in this fairy tale-esque story.

Shearring’s masterful artwork won the prestigious Bologna International Award for Illustration and you will easily understand why. Her emotive color palette and stunning compositions are utterly captivating. Wherein does true happiness lie — in hoarding or in laying down one’s life for others? Compelling ideas for ages 5 and up.

Manjhi Moves a Mountain, written by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Danny Popovici
published in 2017 by Creston Books

As I read this story, I found myself thinking the author might have toned down the preposterously-inhuman task she relates — that of one poor Indian man digging, spadeful by spadeful, a gap through an actual mountain — if she wanted it to be at all believable.

Then, I turned to the back of the book and discovered that the story is true! Oh! 

Dashrath Manjhi lived in a small, impoverished village in India, separated by a mountain from a village equipped with “running water, doctors, a school, and jobs.” Manjhi keenly felt that if only a roadway could be opened up between these two communities, his own neighbors would be so much better off. Thus, with chisel and hammer, he spent 22 years (!) cutting a road through the mountain.

Read this astonishing story of perseverance with children ages 4 or 5 and up, then ask as Churnin does in her Author’s Note: What kind of “mountain” can you move to make things better in your community? 

Twenty-two Cents: Muhammad Yunus and the Village Bank, written by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib
published in 2014 by Lee & Low Books

In 2006, Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for demonstrating that “even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.”

This is the story of Yunus’ life, from his childhood in India when he was awakened to the distress of poverty, to his encounter with a woman named Sufiya who needed just twenty-two cents for bamboo to build the stools she sold for a living. Forced to borrow these small sums from lenders who took unfair advantage, Sufiya and thousands of women like her could never escape grinding poverty.

Yunus dedicated his life to re-thinking money, banking, and lending, and in 1977 launched the first of his village banks which give microcredit to groups of women. His story and the fruits of his work for millions of women around the world are encouraging and inspiring to say the least. This bio is accessible to children ages 9 and up.

Philanthroparites!: A Party-Planning Guide for Kids Who Want to Give Back, by Lulu Cerone
published in 2017 by Aladdin and Beyond Words, Simon & Schuster

I believe there are tens of thousands of middle-grade and high-school kids whose heartbeat is to make a positive difference in the world. Sometimes, though, it’s really hard to figure out just how to do that.

Then, there are the born organizers of the world, God bless them. Lulu Cerone is one of them. As a ten year old, hearing the news of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, she organized lemonade stand wars with kids from her school who wound up raising thousands of dollars for charity. 

This book is a solid collection of 36 great party ideas whose purpose is to raise money for charity or directly infuse kindness into communities. Organized by month to correlate with nationally observed days, Lulu’s creative, fun party plans include tips for success, decorations, themed food ideas, and more. She also includes planning-ahead checklists for a smooth, successful philanthroparty, and lists of organizations she supports in case you need a place to start.

I can easily see how this book would have inspired and instigated my kids to host philanthroparties. Do you know anyone ages 10 and up who would love to be a changemaker? Check out this book!

Inspired to help but don’t know where to start? I have two funds I’d love to see Orange Marmalade readers support:

 

 

To help provide fresh fruits and vegetables to malnourished Syrian and Iraqi refugees sheltering in a neighboring country, click here.

Just $25 provides enough fresh produce for one family for one month. This is a faith-based program in great need of donations to continue this feeding program, and I can vouch for the integrity of those administering it.

For those who prefer to donate to a non faith-based fund, I suggest Save the Children’s fund for Rohingya refugees, which you can access here.  These children have fled horrific violence and need water, food, shelter, and protection in Bangladesh.

 

Thanks for spreading kindness! 

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Looking for a new gem for your stack of bedtime reading? Check out these titles that have risen to the tiptop of a towering stack of books I’ve read recently. (And that takes some doing!)

Want something wildly imaginative, slightly off-kilter, with adventure spilling over the rim?

The Only Fish in the Sea, written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
published in 2017, a Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

Oh, my dear Sadie, you are back!! That indefatigable gal from Special Delivery is here with a new challenge: Rescuing a birthday-present-goldfish that’s been cold-heartedly pitched into the sea by snooty Little Amy Scott!

Sadie and her pal Sherman won’t let the odds of finding such a small fella in such a large ocean daunt them. Just collect one boat, twenty-one pink balloons, and plenty of hot tea, and they’re ready for anything.

Sadie’s nonchalant narration is offset by the jazzy illustration work of Matthew Cordell. Non-stop, hyper-energized, careening fun. His intrepid band of monkeys alone would ordinarily steal the show except for Sadie’s sheer splendidness. Do I love this book? Yes, I do. Ages 4 and up.

Want something racy, happy, and generous?

Mama Lion Wins the Race, written and illustrated by Jon J Muth
published in 2017 by Scholastic Press

Drawing inspiration from Italian motorcar races and loved-to-the-nubbins stuffed animals, this brilliant tale of speed, strategy, and a massive dose of warmhearted friendship is one to read over and over again with ages 2 or 3 and up.

Goes well with a cup of cocoa.

Want something beautiful, nature-adorned, and clever?

Plume, written and illustrated by Isabelle Simler
first published in France; published in the U.S. in 2017 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Stunning illustrations of birds and their whisper-soft, dazzling feathers dominate the pages of this quiet book. The only text until the last two pages consists of the name of each bird.

from the French edition

Look closely, though. There’s someone occupying each page besides the main attraction. What is that black cat up to? A lovely beacon to observation; inspirational for those drawing from nature. Ages 4 and up. 

Want something fairy-tale dark, tingly with suspense and warm with neighborliness at the same time?

When a Wolf is Hungry, written by Christine Naumann-Villemin, illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo
originally published in France in 2011; first U.S. edition 2017 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

When a toothy wolf is hungry, and a “grain-fed, silky-haired rabbit with just a hint of sweetness” is living, obliviously, on the 5th floor — well, that’s a recipe for “hare-raising” adventure, right?!

And we’ve got that, dished up with theatrical aplomb in this highly-satisfying story. Sharp knife?  Check. Weber grill?!  Check. Chainsaw?!! Check, check, check. Only thing is, Mr. Wolf has a modicum of politeness and a load of neighbors who keep inadvertently foiling his plans. What can they be up to? Brave children ages 4 and up will love this.

Want something friendly, welcoming, and quiet?

That Neighbor Kid, a wordless book by Daniel Miyares
published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

And I don’t mean quiet just because there are no words. Miyares’ mood, artwork, and storyline all unreel with a lovely unrushed, yesteryear flavor that draws us in the way a whisper does in a cacophony of noise. Hush. Be still. Watch.

Gray-scale ink and watercolor illustrations wash the story’s opening with tranquility, hesitancy, even loneliness. The new kid on the block barely has the courage to peep out her window at her new neighbor. As the story unfolds, walls are literally torn down between them and collaboration begins, a prime tree house emerges from their joint efforts, and a sunny wash seeps its way into the spreads.

Warm-hearted as a cup of cocoa and just the note of welcome and friendship we sorely need in these divisive days. Ages 3 and up.

Want something nautical, classic, and gripping?

Mighty Moby, written by Barbara Da Costa, illustrated by Ed Young
published in 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Snippets and sea chanteys from Herman Melville’s classic whale-of-a-tale narrate this heart-pounding adventure that with one swish sails itself into a calm harbor just right for pillows and peace.

Astoundingly inventive collaboration for brave young skippers ages 3 and up. Bound to win some illustration prizes.

Want something full of happy-birthday anticipation?

When’s My Birthday? written by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson
published in 2017, a Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

Julie Fogliano captures the anticipation of waiting, waiting, waiting for a birthday to come in her ambling, poetic text.

How many days until my birthday, this child asks again and again. There’s wishing for presents, dreaming of lots of chocolate and “tiny sandwiches with soup,” inviting one and all…and waiting, waiting, waiting until finally, the glorious day is here.

Christian Robinson can do no wrong, can he? His naive cut-paper collages, smiley kids and bunting, excellently-huge chocolate cake, and warm diversity are the perfect accompaniment. Happy and utterly relatable, for ages 2 and up.

Want something elegant, historical, gorgeous, and  slightly haunting?

Town is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith
published in 2017 by Groundwood Books

What an unusual picture book, this account of a young boy living in a mining town on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

The vast, sparkling sea spreads out before him. Lupines line sunny roadsides. A baloney sandwich and tall glass of milk are what’s for lunch. Ordinary as Opie Taylor. Yet punctuating his narrative, interrupting the light, are thoughts of his dad, at work deep under the sea, digging for coal.

It’s a gripping juxtaposition, emphasized by Sydney Smith’s fabulous illustrations, sepia and sea-blues giving way to body-buckling darkness, tons of coal hulking over hunched miners. Wow.

An Author’s Note tells how from the late 1800s up to the 1950s when this story takes place, young boys grew up knowing they would follow in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers who spent twelve-hour days in “the harsh, dangerous, dark reality underground.” A stunning slice of life for ages 5 to 100.

Want something rich with grandfatherly hope?

Sing, Don’t Cry, written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
published in 2017 by Henry Holt and Company

There are only a few people in your life who can tell you to sing when you’re feeling low, and you don’t want mainly to punch them.

But a grandfather like Angela Dominguez’s abuelo is one of them. That’s because his long life has been streaked with troubles, sorrows, difficulties, and he offers what has been a balm for his soul during those hard times — the gift of music. “Sing, don’t cry, because singing gladdens the heart,” he says, his warm eyes smiling into ours.

This affectionate tribute to Dominguez’s real abuelo — a mariachi musician from Mexico City —  is clearly a work of love. It’s a brief, hope-filled offering that, again, arrives with timeliness just now. Ages 2 and up.

Want something vintage and fresh?

If Apples Had Teeth, by Milton and Shirley Glaser
first published in 1960; reprinted in 2017 by Enchanted Lion Books

Take one of the most celebrated graphic designers in America, pair him up with a series of quirky, clever, imaginative, if-then statements and here’s what you get:

Pure, brain-fizzing delight.

Shirley Glaser’s brilliant text is wonderful fodder for minds that refuse to be hemmed in by the ordinary. A book to make you smile and see possibilities! Ages 2 and up.

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I love imported picture books. I’m drawn to them like a moth to a lantern.

from The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler

Stylistically they are often marked by a je ne sais quoi air, something artistically, something conceptually, that is clearly not American…but what is it? Like that elusive spice I can taste but not name, that quality of sound I can’t articulate that distinguishes one voice from another.

from The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna

Sometimes I find picture book imports have a tone or idea that I’m unsure will resonate well with most American children. A vague resolution or melancholy quality that puts them just beyond the radar. Often, in these cases, the artwork is achingly gorgeous, the text subtle and thought-provoking. I wish I’d saved up those titles for a post full of picture books for adults because many of you would find them deeply satisfying. Alas, I plopped them back in the library return for you to find yourselves.

from Why Am I Here; illustration by Akin Duzakin

Today, though, I’ve got some lovely new imports to share with you. They may not work for kids who need superhero action and belly laughs. For more patient, curious listeners, check out these gems.

My Dog Mouse, written and illustrated by Eva Lindström
originally published in Sweden; English language edition published in 2017 by Gecko Press

This dear girl loves a dog named Mouse. Despite his old, slowpokey, waddlesome ways, she adores him. Loves taking him to the park for a picnic and a good sniff around. Loves tucking a couple of meatballs in her pocket for a mid-stroll treat.

What we readers don’t discover until the end of this gentle, ambling narrative, is that Mouse doesn’t belong to her. He’s the dog next door. “I wish Mouse were mine,” she tells us in the end. The last, wordless image makes me believe Mouse feels the same way about her.

Bittersweet and tender, a vulnerable peek inside a small person’s mind and heart. Ages 3 and up.

A Walk in the Forest, written and illustrated by Maria Dek
originally published in France; English edition published in 2017 by Princeton Architectural Press

This one hits all the right Orange Marmalade buttons with its lauding of free, inquisitive time spent out of doors, the quiet, unrushed elegance of the text, and the sumptuous color and line of the illustrations.

Maria Dek exactly captures the wonders of a forest ramble.

Magnificent and alluring for ages 2 to adult.

Professional Crocodile, a wordless book by Giovanna Zoboli and Mariachiara di Giorgio
originally published in Italy; first U.S. edition published by Chronicle Books in 2017

Gorgeous illustrations tell this imaginative story in panels and full-page spreads that’ll knock your socks off.

Enter a curious world populated by people and animals going about their daily affairs with nonchalance. Cheetahs ride the subway right along with every Tom, Dick, and Harry. No big deal.

One crocodile wakes to his alarm and begins the day. Teeth brushing. Tie choosing. Long commuting. We follow his every move. Where is he going? What is his profession? You will be most surprised, and along the way mesmerized by the brimful, colorful city he calls home. Fabulous fantasy for ages 3 and up.

The 5 Misfits, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna
published originally in Italy; first U.S. edition published in 2017 by Frances Lincoln Books

Every time a new Beatrice Alemagna title becomes available to us in the States, I get a little shiver of pleasure. Her unique artistry and unusual storylines always make me wonder what’s about to unfold.

This time, it’s a tale of five frankly-weird misfits. One fellow has four gaping holes aerating his entire midsection. One is folded in half. One, resembling an overripe bean pod, dozes off mainly. Another goes about upside down. And the last, a guy big as a Macy’s parade balloon, purple-black like a licorice jelly bean — well, he is so odd he’s “a catastrophe.”

And yet, they all manage to live together, with a splash of good humor to boot. Until Mr. Perfect in all his pompous glory and flowing magenta locks comes to tell them what’s what, take them down a notch.

a page from the French edition

The misfits’ response to his brazen criticism will surprise you and very much cheer you. A marvelous paeon to imperfection and the grace to accept one another’s flaws. Illustrated in iconic Alemagna style. Adults will love it; try it with kids ages 5 and up and see where the conversation goes.

Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets, written and illustrated by Pei-Yu Chang
originally published in Switzerland; English edition published in 2017 by NorthSouth Books

Here we have a fictionalized account of Walter Benjamin, who attempted to flee Europe for the United States during WWII with one mysterious suitcase.

Benjamin was a philosopher, threatened by the Nazis in occupied France. Mrs. Fittko, a member of the resistance, offers to take him along with a small group she’s guiding out of France into Spain. A perilous trip. Nothing extraneous can be brought. But here comes Walter with his suitcase.

What on earth can be inside of it?

This account, like Walter Benjamin’s life, ends mysteriously. No one knows for certain what happened to Walter or what was in his suitcase. But you will be treated to a lot of conjecture about its contents, and you will indubitably have your own wild guesses! Brilliant artwork and restrained text give this remarkable story just the right tone. An afterword tells us more about the impressive work of Mrs. Fittko. Ages 4 and up.

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We’re heading north from Australia to reach the eastern portion of Asia this week. What a treasure trove of ancient, rich cultures mingle in this area!

I found that a significant portion of stories connected with these countries focus on folks who have come to the United States. Korean-Americans, for example. Vietnamese refugees.  Chinese immigrants. Great books, but my search is for books set in Asia itself. We are touring the world, after all! So none of those appear in my lists. 

I’m also focused on the world of today, rather than accounts of ancient civilizations or folktales. This makes the pickings quite a bit slimmer! But if you want a mostly-current window into the lives children live in East Asia, you’ll do well with these titles. 

INDONESIA

All About Indonesia: Stories, Songs and Crafts for Kids, written by Linda Hibbs
published in 2014 by Tuttle Publishing

You’ll see the name of Tuttle Publishing a lot when it comes to stories from Asia as that is their entire focus, and how glad we are for that! The All About Asia series contains lots of child-friendly information about areas that are sometimes underrepresented on our library shelves, and that includes Indonesia.

Visit Jakarta as well as small villages. Check out mountains and coasts. Learn about music, dance, and sport. Try some Indonesian words and foods. Loaded with photographs and illustrations and parceled out in sections just right for exploring a bit at a time, this is a great way to get to know this island nation.

I is for Indonesia, by Elizabeth Rush, illustrated by Eddie Hara
published in 2013 by Things Asian Press

I haven’t actually seen this book but from what I can glimpse on-line it looks like a funky, off-beat tour of Indonesia! With wild and wooly illustrations from the inventive Indonesian artist, Eddie Hara, you definitely are not in for a placid, run-of-the-mill deal here.

If I could get one from my library, I would definitely give it a whirl, especially for slightly older children, say ages 5 and up, who like their meatballs with a little sriracha sauce. 

Rice Is Life, written by Rita Golden Gelman, illustrated by Yangsook Choi
published in 2000 by Henry Holt and Company

Life in Bali revolves around rice. It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rice fields, called sawah, are the pivot point of the calendar as preparation, planting, tending, and harvesting happen year after year.

Rita Gelman captures the rhythms, the poetry, the beauty of Bali’s rice fields as well as the fascinating particulars of fishing for dragonflies, herding ducks, and making offerings to the rice goddess. Illustrations glow with the emerald rice, and convey the grace of the Balinese people. Lovely and intriguing, for ages 4 and up.

Ayu and the Perfect Moon, written and illustrated by David Cox
published in 1984 by The Bodley Head

Follow the story of a young girl named Ayu who dreams of performing in the famous Balinese Legong dance.

As she watches the spectacular procession of giant puppets and masked dancers, Ayu is seized with a longing to join the other dancers to the accompaniment of the gamelan musicians. So she practices and practices until one propitious night when the moon is full, she’s decked out with magnificent clothing, crowned with gold and frangipani flowers, and dances the Legong. Gorgeous slice of Balinese life, rendered beautifully. An entrancing read for ages 2 and up.

The PHILIPPINES

All About the Philippines: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids, written by Gidget Roceles Jimenez, illustrated by Corazon Dandan-Albano
published in 2015 by Tuttle Publishing

Part of the series All About Asia, this book follows three Filipino cousins who come from different islands, ethnicities, and languages to showcase the diversity of this nation.

Get a taste of history, geography, language. Travel to Luzon, Cebu, and Mindanao. Learn about games and celebrations. Cook up some Filipino foods with the recipes included. There’s a lot packed in here to share with children ages 7 and up.

VIETNAM

Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam 

Life in the highlands of Vietnam, among emerald rice fields, threatening tigers, and a beloved water buffalo is recalled in this gorgeously-written memoir. Read my full review here. A fantastic read-aloud for ages 6 and up.

CAMBODIA

The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh, written by Frederick Lipp, illustrated by Ronald Himler
published in 2001 by Holiday House

Ary is a little girl living among the crowded, smoky streets of Phnom Penh where she sells strings of flowers to help her family survive. She has heard about the endless green rice paddies beyond the city, lush with rainfall and sunlight, but her life has ever been hemmed in by hardness.

One day Ary takes her savings to the bird woman whose cage is filled with singing fragments of beauty. The bird woman takes her coins in exchange for the choice of one bird to set free, to soar with a wish to the heavens. Ary is elated at first,  but the bird has been trained to simply fly back to its cage, preferring food to freedom. Is there any way for Ari’s wishes to come true? A poignant story of a relatively hidden world, illustrated with tenderness and dignity. Ages 4 and up.

THAILAND

The Umbrella Queen

Head to northern Thailand and visit the markets where beautiful hand-painted umbrellas reign in this dear, beautifully illustrated story, reviewed here.


Hush: A Thai Lullaby

A handsomely illustrated story of one Thai mama trying to coax her baby to sleep. Great choice for the littlest travelers, under-two and up. My review is here

The Life of Rice: From Seedling to Supper, written and photographed by Richard Sobol
published in 2010 by Candlewick Press

Life in Thailand also centers on rice. Richard Sobol has written a fascinating account of the many festivals dedicated to rice, and the intriguing planting and harvesting traditions carried out in northeast Thailand. 

If you think the story of rice sounds dull, that’s because you have never attended the striking Royal Plowing Ceremony or met the royal white oxen, or seen the boldly painted combines used in Thailand. This is a story about the Thai people as much as about their beloved rice. Beautiful photographs by an award-winning photographer. Read it together with kids ages 6 and up.

I Am a Little Monk, written by Mi-hwa Joo, illustrated by Hwa-kyeong Gahng, English text edited by Joy Cowley
originally published in Korea; English edition published in 2015 by big & SMALL

Urt is a little boy who can’t seem to keep out of trouble. When he meets his uncle, a man who came back from his stay in the temple with such a “relaxed heart,” Urt decides that he too will devote himself to the practices of a monk for a time.

Meditation, care of the temple, going out to collect food, helping others, learning to share — these are all lessons Urt begins to learn through his time spent as a little monk. The brief story is lightly told and warmly illustrated. Much of the information will be gleaned from end pages which explain Thai greetings, nicknames, temples, festivals, and a bit more about the daily life of a monk. It’s great to see a children’s book touching on one of the most important aspects of Thai culture — Buddhism. Ages 3 and up.

All About Thailand: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids, written by Elaine Russell, illustrated by Patcharee Meesukhon and Vinit Yeesman
published in 2016 by Tuttle Publishing

Part of the All About Asia series, this colorful book leads us into four different regions of Thailand, hands us some Thai language with a link to hear these words spoken, introduces foods, arts, sports, games, celebrations, dances, music, shadow puppets and lots, lots more. These are terrific one-stop introductions to each country.

MYANMAR

I See the Sun in Myanmar, written by Dedie King, illustrations by Judith Inglese
published in 2013 by Satya House Publications

Follow one young girl through her day in a village near Mandalay in central Myanmar. From waking up to the sound of temple bells,  to the evening gathering around the household altar, Buddhist practices permeate her life. Myanmar is also a land of bullock carts, thanaka paste, the Irawaddy River, fish curry. The gentle, matter-of-fact narration of the day includes many intriguing details, while collage illustrations bring all these unknowns to life for us.

I love that the elegant Burmese script runs simultaneously on every page.  An afterword tells more about Myanmar for older readers and adults. The book itself is suited to ages 3 and up.

M is for Myanmar, written by Elizabeth Rush, illustrated by Khin Maung Myint
published in 2011 by ThingsAsian Kids

A colorful dip into Myanmar, this book is illustrated by an artist from Yangon, Myanmar, and has text in both English and the incredibly curly Burmese script. 

Catch a glimmer of the Shwedagon Pagoda, meander the emerald patchwork of rice fields, paddle across Inle Lake, taste Mohinga Noodle Soup. Lighthearted free verse, with illustrations filling in details. Colorful and upbeat, for ages 5 and up.

CHINA

One Year in Beijing, written by Xiaohong Wang, illustrated by Grace Lin, translated by Lei Li
published in 2006 by ChinaSprout Inc.

Ling Ling is 8 years old and lives in modern day Beijing. Her mom’s a teacher. Her dad works at a computer company. Follow the three of them through a typical year in their lives and learn what Ling Ling wants most for a New Year’s present, how to celebrate Qing Ming Festival, what mountain Ling Ling climbs with her family on their summer break, where they head to see brilliant maples in fall splendor, what special food is served on her birthday…great details of life in contemporary China.

Illustrated in a child-appealing style by Grace Lin, this is a great intro for children ages 5 and up, with lots more detail in the end pages about the foods, holidays, places, and traditions mentioned briefly in the text.

All About China: Stories Songs, Crafts and More for Kids, written by Allison “Aixin” Branscombe, illustrated by Lin Wang
published in 2014 by Tuttle Publishing

Part of the All About Asia series, this book’s title made me smile. Maybe “A Little About China” would be closer? Such a vast land, extremely diverse in its topography, climates, lifestyles, and ethnic minorities, is impossible to survey in one blast. Despite that, this is a great book, simply crammed with great information about China’s diversity, history, festivals, arts, belief systems, as well as details about home styles around China, chopstick etiquette, projects, recipes…cram jam, as I say.

One of the things I especially love about this book is its emphasis on contemporary China as differentiated from the older versions of Chinese lifestyles that can predominate our children’s literature. Fantastic resource for ages 5 and up.

Good Morning, China, written and illustrated by Hu Yong Yi
published in 2007 by Roaring Brook Press

It’s seven ‘o clock in the morning. The park is full of people engaged in their morning pursuits.

Cycling, badminton, tai chi, fan dancing. Serenity, community, and culture are beautifully displayed on individual pages, then brought together in one splendid final page which unfolds to reveal the entire park. A quiet, enchanting glimpse of one small corner of China, for ages 3 and up.

Mei-Mei Loves the Morning, written by Margaret Holloway Tsubakiyama, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
published in 1999 by Albert Whitman & Company

Another morning in China, this time accompanying little Mei-Mei and her dear grandpa. Starting with rice porridge and pickled vegetables for breakfast, the two of them ride on Grandpa’s bike along busy streets, through the round moon gate, to the park. 

Their friends are waiting for them, as well as for the special companion they’ve brought along. Who and what could it be? Join these two for a sweet Chinese morning. Handsome oil paintings reveal lots more about their lives. Ages 3 and up. 

Lost and Found: Adèle and Simon in China, written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock
published in 2016 by Farrar Straus Giroux

The impeccable, delicate illustration work of Barbara McClintock captivates us on every page of this grand tour of China, dogging the footsteps of brother and sister, Adéle and Simon. These two are off on a huge adventure with Uncle Sidney, dropping in on a silk farm, canalside town, the Forbidden City, Great Wall, a Mongolian ger, desert caravan, Buddhist monastery, bamboo forest, and more.

Along the way, Simon keeps losing his belongings, giving us one more thing to spy in these detailed double-page spreads. Immensely engaging, with extra pages telling about each site visited by the trio. An absolute gem for ages 5 and up.

A New Year’s Reunion

This story raises our awareness of more than 100 million Chinese migrant workers who return home to China to celebrate New Year’s Day if at all possible. Fabulous glimpse of a difficult reality. Reviewed here.

Long Long’s New Year

Celebrate the grand festival with red lanterns, tang hulus, dragons parading through the street and one lucky little boy. My review is here

Happy New Year! written and illustrated by Demi
published in 1997 by Crown Publishers

This is a much more informative book about Chinese New Year rather than a story like the previous two titles.

Demi explains the cycle of New Year celebrations, animal zodiac, correlation with spring planting, household preparations, good luck wishes, the meanings of many foods in the New Year feast, the meanings of trees and flowers given as gifts, and lots more about the spiritual aspects of this celebration.

All of this is done quite lightly and briefly and illustrated with Demi’s charming touch. An unusual array of lore for ages 6 and up. ( This book was republished in 2003 by Knopf under the title Happy Happy Chinese New Year. Maybe that will be easier to find.)

Anno’s China, by Mitsumasa Anno
originally published in 2009; published in 2016 by Beautiful Feet Books

If you don’t know Anno’s beautiful, intriguing journeys in his numerous books taking us from Spain to Britain to the U.S., you should start with this one and move on from here.

This time he models his illustrations after a famous Chinese scroll painting. As we move along the river in Anno’s story, we drift in and out of villages, along rice fields, past markets and shipbuilders, elementary schools and funeral processions. In some of Anno’s books we have to spy all the cultural details and references without help. In this volume, each scene has commentary in the back of the book so we can first observe for ourselves all the details he’s packed in and then read about the scenes in Anno’s informative comments. Serene, gorgeous, fascinating, for ages 3 to adult.

Who Wants Candied Hawberries? written by Dongni Bao, illustrated by Di Wu, translated by Adam Lanphier
English edition published in 2016 by Candied Plums

Help yourself to this charming little fantasy featuring an elderly Chinese hawberry peddler and some mysterious customers of his.

I won’t say too much for fear of spoiling the delight of discovering just who visits the peddler and buys his wares, so much so that he has enough money to buy medicine for his wife. Set in snowy Beijing, with a very different feel to the environs than any other of the books on China, this one’s a curious treat for ages 3 and up.

TIBET

Our Journey from Tibet: Based on a True Story, written by Laurie Dolphin, photographs by Nancy Jo Johnson
published in 1997 by Dutton Children’s Books

This poignant story reveals the experience of many young Tibetan children who illegally escape the restrictive regulations of the Chinese government in favor of a life in India. 

It’s based on interviews with a 9-year-old girl named Sonam who made the incredibly arduous journey over the Himalayas, leaving behind parents and home, facing fear, battered feet, swollen rivers, scarce food, snow blindness, soldiers, and so much more with amazing bravery.

Sonam and the others in her group joined thousands of other Tibetan children being cared for in children’s villages in India where they receive education and care while they await the day that Tibet is declared free and they can return home. Beautifully written and photographed, this is an eye opener for children ages 6 and up.

MONGOLIA

My Little Round House

I love this story by a Mongolian author/artist who introduces us to her homeland via one little baby and his first year of life. Full review is here.

Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongolia, written and illustrated by Ted and Betsy Lewin
published in 2008 by Lee & Low Books

The Naadam is an annual summer festival held in Mongolia with races showcasing the Mongolians’ incredible horsemanship. One of the races sees young boys and girls — child jockeys — racing across the steppe on half-wild horses!

Ted and Betsy Lewin traveled to Mongolia to see the Naadam traditions for themselves. This is their fascinating travelogue, focusing on one child jockey, 9-year-old Tamir. Striking illustration work brings the scenes vividly to life in this breathtakingly reckless contest! More intriguing facts about gers and life in Mongolia are included. Amazing, for ages 6 and up.

KOREA

Bee Bim Bop, written by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Ho Baek Lee
published in 2005 by Clarion Books

Have you eaten bee-bim bop? It’s a very popular dish in Korea and appears on menus in restaurants here in the U.S.

Dance along with the enthusiasm of one little girl who simply cannot wait to dig into some of her mom’s bee-bim bop in this cheerful story perfect for toddlers. Then go ahead and try some of your own using the recipe included in the book. Warm illustrations portray a contemporary Korean family.

New Clothes for New Year’s Day

A lovely, quiet story about the grand holiday of New Year’s. Click the title for my full review.

 

Goodbye 382 Shin Dang Dong

A view of Korean culture through the eyes of someone who is moving far away. Click the title for my full review.

 

JAPAN

Take Me Out to the Yakyu

Fabulous, fun, side-by-side comparison of baseball in the Japan and the U.S. Click on the link for my full review.

I Live in Tokyo, written and illustrated by Mari Takabayashi
published in 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Books

Travel to modern day Japan and take in dozens of colorful vignettes by Japanese artist Mari Takabayashi as she guides us through one calendar year in Tokyo.

Celebrate the New Year and Valentine’s Day, Tokyo-style. Go to school, take in a tea ceremony, and attend a wedding. It’s a joyful catalog of Japanese life, sure to pique the interest of children ages 4 and up. A glossary of words and numbers at the end will let you practice your Japanese, too!

My Awesome Japan Adventure: A Diary About the Best 4 Months Ever, written and illustrated by Rebecca Otowa
published in 2013 by Tuttle Publishing

This is a great middle-grade read. It’s the diary of a 5th grade boy who is off to spend some months with a pen pal near Kyoto. Written in a casual, 11-year-old boy voice — as you can tell from the title! — Dan describes Japan through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Breakfast, school, helping out with a rice harvest, Athletic Day, bowing, a tea ceremony, a visit to a Ninja Village and lots more are all packed in here in brief entries.

Contemporary, youthful Japan — that’s what you get here, beautifully illustrated and served up with this age group in mind. Ages 9 and up.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers, written by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
published in 2008 by Sleeping Bear Press

I know. I’m supposed to be focusing on the present, but this dream of a tale was simply irresistible. 

Based on the 17th century practice of the provincial governors’ annual trek between Kyoto and Tokyo, this story narrates the journey from the viewpoint of the governor’s young daughter, Yuki. Travel along with her aboard a palanquin for 300 miles of extraordinary sights, sounds, tastes.

The long train of 1000 carriers moves through all sorts of terrain, weather, lodging, as Yuki wrestles with changing homes and composes a little haiku each day. Gorgeous, inspired illustration work and fascinating detail about this long ago time and beautiful land for ages 4 and up.

Many more fantastic titles, including chapter books and middle-grade novels about East Asia that just didn’t quite fit in our tour are in my archives. They’re easy to find in my Subject Index.

Have another awesome title to recommend? Please do, in the comments.

Our next destination will be the Indian Subcontinent so stock up on your curry and naan. 

If you’ve missed the earlier stops on our tour, here are links:

Tour of the World: Destination Australia, New Zealand, and Micronesia

Tour of the World: A Sampler of Cultures to Start

Buckle Up for a Tour of the World

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Just looking at this stack of books today warms my heart. Lush illustrations and tenderhearted characters bring a palpable response of peace, security, belonging, and healing.

These days are filled with turmoil and conflict, and assuredly children pick up on that. It’s the perfect time to snuggle up together and read reassuring, beautiful picture books.

The Way Home in the Night, written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi
first published in Japan in 2015; English edition published by Kids Can Press in 2017

Akiko Miyakoshi is making a name for herself with her gorgeous, flannel-soft, rosebud-tender illustration work and the rich themes of imagination and belonging thrumming through her books.  (See my review of The Tea Party in the Woods here.)

Here she explores the many varied life stories which surround us, the array of homes cocooning our neighbors, each holding an aroma of mystery, a tease of the unknown, and our common desire for repose.

As one little bunny goes for a quiet evening stroll with Mama, the glow of lamplight from within apartment windows gives glimpses of neighbors’ lives and piques curiosity. What are they talking about? What are they cooking up for supper? What happens next, after we lose sight of them? So many different narratives, yet ultimately bound together with deeply human needs — home, and a place to lay our heads to sleep.

Attuned to universal wondering, this hushed story will resonate deeply with young and old, ages 2 and up. Outstanding.

Little Fox in the Forest, a wordless book by Stephanie Graegin
published in 2017 by Schwartz & Wade Books

My word! This book is flooded with wave upon wave of adorableness, kindness, and imagination, with one well-shot arrow of childhood angst piercing through to create pitch-perfect tension for preschoolers.

It’s the ol’ lovey-gone-missing plot, portrayed with panache. A little girl’s favorite stuffed fox accompanies her to the playground one day. While she’s enjoying a hearty swing, a real fox kit spies the toy, snatches it, and hot-foots it into the forest.

With determination borne of desperation, the little girl tracks her beloved fox, a host of darling woodland residents and one schoolmate assisting her. What they discover — a splendiferous woodland village that’ll set your heart a-flutter — plus one small, pathetic fox kit, leads to a resolution sweet as a butter cookie.

Could anyone not feel their heart flood with warmth upon reading this story? I think not. A perfect picture book for ages 2 and up.

Home and Dry, written and illustrated by Sarah L. Smith
published in 2016 by Child’s Play Inc.

Coming to us from Australia, this quirky charmer features the Paddling family whose home on a rocky outcropping of an island looks mighty idyllic; plus a rainstorm to end all rainstorms; and dear Uncle Bastian, a lonely old fellow whose busy life has heretofore superceded pleasant holidays but who has decided to finally pay a long-overdue visit to his family.

The collision course of events here — picnics and paddlings and Paddlings and predicaments — makes for a rollicking series of near-misses and thorough wettings until all ends in coziness, hospitality, belonging, and everyone “home and dry.”

With a plot and illustrations crammed with affection and the humble joy of home and family, this is a delight for ages 3 and up.

The Giant Jumperee, written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
originally published in the UK; first U.S. edition 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Two UK childrens’ literature rock stars teamed up to create this sunny, funny, jolly tale, and what a joy it is!

Something is lurking in Rabbit’s burrow! It calls itself the Giant Jumperee! Good heavens! What can it be?

Rabbit is affrighted! And as each of his animal friends stoutly offers to help remove this unseen monster, they become just as alarmed! After all, it shouts out such dire warnings!

When even Elephant is left cowering, Mama Frog calmly steps up to the challenge and what do you know — that Giant Jumperee is heading home to tea in a merry minute.  Timeless and happy, for young lapsitters, ages 18 months and up.

Time Now to Dream, written by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
published in the UK in 2016; first U.S. edition 2017 by Candlewick Press

Here’s another book awash in the perfection of Helen Oxenbury’s art, with a story brilliantly balancing delicious ingredients: tingly mystery, tenderness, bravery, sibling camaraderie, and the warmth of home.

Alice and Jack are enjoying a fine day when, coming through the forest, a sound disrupts their playtime. It’s a weird sound. An uncanny howl. It goes something like this, “Ocka by hay beees unna da reees…”

Is it the Wicked Wolf?! Into the shadowy woods they go with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity, only to discover a most surprising scene! For at the height of tension, sunlight and warmth break through.  Despite Jack’s worries, everything really is all right, and the dreams they dream tonight will be full of sweetness. Absolutely top notch for ages 18 months and up.

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wolf-in-the-snow-cover-imageWolf in the Snow, by Matthew Cordell
published in 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

My top pick for Valentine’s Day might seem unusual at first glance, but believe me — this is a book about love! Love within a family — anchoring, steadfast — and sacrificial love for the stranger. It touched my heart deeply.

Cordell’s wordless story features a little girl living in a northerly home where wolves dwell and blizzards swirl. On her way home from school one day, snow begins falling so fast and furious that she becomes utterly enveloped in it. Lost.

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She’s not the only one. One frowsy wolf pup gets separated from its pack. As the little girl plods her way along, she comes across it, shivering, scared, whimpering. From far across the snow-covered hills she hears the mournful howling of the pack.

What to do?

The safe thing, of course, is to apologize to the pup and keep on her homeward journey! She’s cold and forlorn herself. Fatigued from pushing through that deep snow. Night falls early. Wolves are toothy! It’s certainly much more sensible to worry about her own self rather than that scruffy pup.

But scooping him up in her arms, she sets off across the snowy wasteland. It’s quite a journey and Cordell’s masterful pacing and artwork sweep us right into it. Not only do we experience the physical exertion, but also a powerful range of emotions.

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 I was stunned by all that is stuffed into this small tale — beauty, heroism, courage, kindness, gorgeous wolves, the warmth of home, and above all one little girl’s willingness to put another’s needs ahead of her own. Brilliant, for ages 3 and up.

thelinesonnanasface-cover-imageThe Lines on Nana’s Face, written and illustrated by Simona Ciraolo
published in 2016 by Flying Eye Books

This is truly one of the dearest books I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s Nana’s birthday and her granddaughter is excited to celebrate with her. She knows how much Nana loves to have her family all together. Yet this little girl has a niggling concern.

Sometimes it’s hard to read Nana’s face and know if she’s entirely, completely happy because of all the lines wrinkling across it.

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Nana assures her that those lines don’t bother her a bit, because “it is in these lines that I keep all my memories!” Doubtful, her granddaughter quizzes her on each wrinkle. Which memory is tucked in that one, Nana? And in this one?

Nana easily relates the happy — and one sad — memories creased into her beautiful face. That includes one of the most precious memories of all.

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Ciraolo’s palette of luscious pinks, sunshine yellow, warm biscuit browns, and glowing spring greens washes through this book like a glad smile. The rounded baby shapes of granddaughter and dignified angles of grandmother fit together, hand-in-glove, while life swirls and curls happily around them. A treasure of grandmotherly love to share with ages 2 and up.

i-love-you-too-cover-imageLove You, Too, written by Alastair Heim, illustrated by Alisa Coburn
published in 2016 by little bee books

Mama pig and her little porker move through a merry day together in this charmer. From morning wake-up and pancake breakfast, to jolly outings, baths, jammies and stories at day’s end, these two thoroughly enjoy one another’s company.

It’s the call-and-response text in this book that separates it from the rest, and it’s an absolute blast! “When I say ‘I love,’ you say ‘you.’ I love…YOU! I love…YOU!

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Passing the words back and forth with young children in this singy, swingy rhythm can’t help but bring out the smiles!

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Alisa Coburn’s pigs are hugely endearing. Her delicate line and candy-colored palette fill the pages with breeziness and jovial energy. Great fun for ages 2 and up.

delivery-cover-imageDelivery, by Aaron Meshon
published in 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Grandma looks at her calendar at the start of this almost-wordless story and spots a big red heart on it marking a very special day. It’s coming up quick! She’d better hurry!

Bustling away in the kitchen, Grandma zips together trays full of lipstick-red, heart-shaped cookies, then packs them tenderly in a box and seals it with love. The delivery man takes it from her doorstep, and we’re off!

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Off on the wildest, craziest, most exciting delivery route ever! By truck and ship, train and helicopter! Even by whale-spout and dog-sled! The package must go on! Hand it off! Hold on tight! Move it along!

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Meshon’s exuberant imagination and bold, stylish designs will utterly entrance young children. At story’s end is perhaps the most surprising picture of all! Don’t miss it — it’s on the endpapers.

Packed with smiles and love, for ages 2 and up.

i-heart-you-cover-imageI Heart You, written by Meg Fleming, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright
published in 2016 by Beach Lane Books

This sweet book is flush with tenderness, as soft and gentle as a lullaby.

Animal mamas and babies snuggle in burrows, romp in grassy patches, gather in nests, while a quietly-rhyming text describes all the ways those babies are loved.

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All this takes place near a bright red house with a large garden where another mama and her little girl are picking raspberries. In the dusky twilight, they enjoy loving one another, too.

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It’s a mellow, sweet refrain to share with little ones 18 months and up.

There are more Valentine’s-oriented titles in the Subject Index, if you like. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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