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Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

What is like a summer evening?

The luxurious length of daylight, the satisfying, sun-kissed fatigue after a day of bumbling about out-of-doors, barefoot-and-happy kids wafting an aroma of chlorine, sunscreen, and popsicles. All of it breathes magic into bedtime story hour. These gems will do just fine.

Me, All Alone, at the End of the World, written by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
originally published in 2005; reissued in 2017 by Candlewick Press

One of my small peeves is the preponderance of plots in kids’ books that go something like this: child is quiet and likes solitude; child meets loud, friendly sort; child realizes that life is ever so much sweeter when constantly surrounded by friends. Heaven knows friends are treasures and no man is an island, yada yada yada. But there seems to be such an undervaluing of a healthy contentment in keeping one’s own company.

Enter this gem, a combination of fantasy and social commentary that applauds serenity, untrammeled quietude, and the simple life, and does it with the magic and spectacle of Willy Wonka. Have you met any book like this before? I think not.

In the beginning, this entirely-stable, self-reliant young boy lives by himself at the end of the world. He spends his days inventively, messing about with fossils and treasure maps, drinking in the sound of the wind and the great “chuckling beasts” who growl outside his snug shack with “voices like plumbing.” Life is grand. Until one odd, bespectacled fellow comes along — Mr. Shimmer by name — promising to improve the place, drag in cartloads of friends, produce a land of “fun all the time.”

What does life look like when solemn silences are banned in favor of “nothing but laughter”?

This is a vibrant, meaningful story, illustrated with fantastical colors and perceptiveness by Kevin Hawkes. I’m confident that any true introvert will love it, as well as all who appreciate natural spaces and a dash of loneliness. Great read for ages 4 and up.

Blue Sky White Stars, written by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
published in 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers

I wish I could have reviewed this in time for your Fourth of July celebrations, but this is a spectacular book for any time. It’s a phenomenal meditation on the meaning of our flag and the meaning of America.

Phrases of Americana — Stand Proud, Old Glory, All American — are represented by two different images on mirroring pages reflecting two ways of thinking about these stirring words.

Nelson’s paintings are stunning, as always, and his treatment of these thought-provoking ideas immerses us in the beauty of the land, the strength of our diversity, and the honorable elements of our history. What rockets the significance of the book even higher is the fact that author Sarvinder Naberhaus is an immigrant from Punjab to Iowa and artist Kadir Nelson is an African-American. I am astonished by the work they have created together. Notes from both with their thoughts on this book are included.

Whether you are a fervent patriot, or perhaps an American Vet, or you feel a bit jaded and weary just now, I am telling you — this book will make your heart glow with a bit more hope and a bit more brotherhood. Ages 3 through adult.

The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry, written by Danna Smith, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
published in 2017 by Candlewick Press

Enter the world of castles and keeps, where one young girl accompanies her father as he trains his goshawk.

Learn about preferred perches, feathered hawks’ hoods, and the exhilarating dive of a hawk when it spots its prey. Discover the use of bells, gauntlets, lures, and the mews. And be swept into the middle ages via Bagram Ibatoulline’s evocative paintings. It’s a beautiful, fascinating trip into history.

The bulk of this story is told in brief, rhyming verses, easily accessible to children as young as 2 or 3. Short, more in-depth explanations are added to each page pitched for children ages 4 or 5 and up. And a lengthy Author’s Note goes into even more detail for middle-grade through adult readers. So you see, this book is smartly adapted to a wide age range.

Little Blue Chair, written by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
published in 2017 by Tundra Books

I love this clever, unassuming story demonstrating the interconnectedness of our world and the serendipitous events that sometimes come about because of that.

It all starts with Boo and his favorite little blue chair. It’s his prize possession. Just right for sitting on while munching a peanut butter sandwich, parking in the garden for a flowery reading nook, hanging a blanket over for a secret cave. Just an all around great little chair.

When Boo outgrows it, the chair finds a new home with a sweet, grey-haired lady who uses it for a plant stand. When the plant outgrows that little blue chair, its off to yet another home. And another.

You can’t imagine the journeys of this small chair, the far-flung locations and different owners it encounters. Until it comes full circle, straight back to Boo. How does that happen? What’s the chair’s story? Read this soft-spoken account and prepare to be dazzled. Surprisingly comforting and heart-warming for ages 2 and up. Madeline Kloepper’s illustration work is the bees knees. Bit of a Carson Ellis vibe. I can’t wait to see more from her!

Midnight at the Zoo, written and illustrated by Faye Hanson
first US edition 2017 by Templar Publishing

Max and Mia are two irrepressibly curious children — and that is one great quality!

Today they’re on a class trip to the zoo. The busload of their squirrelly classmates descends in raucous abandon, careening down pathways, goggling for glimpses of lemurs and flamingos, meerkats and lions. But! Not a whisker do they see. I don’t wonder!

Max and Mia, meanwhile, take things at their own pace. Which is: slower, quieter, more observant, curiouser, if you will. Which means: they are inadvertently left behind for Quite the Night at the zoo!

Fantastical events galore are in store for these two marching-to-the-beat-of-their-own-drum kiddos. Readers will love spotting the shy animals hiding from the brouhaha, and adore the treats in store for Max and Mia. Pizzazz on tap, for ages 3 and up.

How Long is a Whale? written and illustrated by Alison Limentani
first published in North America in 2017 by Boxer Books

Following up on her smart book, How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh, here is veterinarian-turned-illustrator Alison Limentani’s next winner, all set for curious young minds!

This time we’re exploring the lengths of animals, using other animals as our measuring devices. Starting with 10 sea otters who all together are as long as 9 yellowfin tuna, we swim our way through captivating undersea worlds until it’s time to size up the biggest granddaddy of ’em all, the Blue Whale.

He needs a super-duper gate-fold page to convey his entire incredible size! It’s awfully exciting!

Bold, beautiful prints with just the facts, ma’am. That’s the recipe for a book that’ll rivet the attentions of kids as young as 2, pique their curiosities, and spark their imaginations. How many squirrels long is your dog? How many bananas long is your bed? Endless possibilities ūüôā

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Today’s books fairly dance with the mysterious allure of languages. Each would make a great gift for a wide age-range.

Travel around the world to hear a fascinating array of languages, plus put on your thinking caps to delve into a fantastical world with its own new mother tongue. J.R.R. Tolkien would be so very happy!

du-iz-tak-cover-imageDu Iz Tak? written and illustrated by Carson Ellis
published in 2016 by Candlewick

It’s hard to forge new territory in children’s literature. What is it that’s never been done before? Well…this.

Carson Ellis voyages into the literal-unknown with this fascinating picture book. First, her enchanting, stylized illustration work creates a small woodland world. It could be contained in just about a cubic meter. Yet it’s a busy, happening place!

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Seasons pass. Occupants arrive. Growth and change occurs. Plans are carried out. Problems are solved. Perilous adventures transpire. It’s your job to carefully observe all this commotion. That’s always the case in picture books, but it’s especially critical here because…

…the folk in this world speak an unknown language.

“Du iz tak?” one damselfly asks another. “Ma nazoot,” her companion replies. What can they be saying?

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Press in to the text and the visual storytelling, and you will eventually decipher this newly-concoted vocabulary! Such a triumphant feeling!

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Any of you linguistic-types out there will love this, whatever your age. Young children will be drawn to the illustrations, the storyline, and the unique sounds of the language. It takes patience and deductive reasoning to puzzle out the meaning of the words. Possibly some early-elementary children will help you out with that. But it’s a treat of a challenge for even college-educated persons. Highly recommended.

Here’s the Amazon link: Du Iz Tak?

the-hello-atlas-cover-imageThe Hello Atlas, written by Ben Handicott, illustrated by Kenard Pak
published in 2016 by Wide Eyed Editions

Now that you’ve got your feet wet with an utterly-foreign language, you really ought to dive headfirst into this extraordinary atlas of more than 100 world languages. Oh, Wide Eyed! How I love you!

Travel the world, visiting all seven continents, meeting folks from a multitude of climates, traditions, cultures, and above all — languages. Kenard Pak’s warm, textured, striking illustration work whisks us into the environments where these kids live.

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Architecture, clothing, weather, activities, wildlife — there’s so much to absorb in these deceptively-simple panels which carpet the pages in engaging scenes.

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Everywhere we go, children introduce themselves in their mother tongue. Find out the names of these languages, read the translation of the phrase in English, and see it written out in the Roman alphabet. But, but, but…

…the most amazing thing yet is that they’ve made a free app in which over 130 native speakers are recorded, speaking these lines!!! What a magnificent effort! It’s a beautiful, smooth, elegant app that allows you to flit around to any of the countries and languages represented.

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With one little tap, someone rattles off these words. I loved imagining just who that speaker was as I listened to all the different voices. At the end of the book, pages and pages of further phrases are listed, not illustrated, and these, too, are included on the app.

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Kids are information-magnets. They are little linguists. What a fabulous way to engage them in the wide world, to rev up enthusiasm for others and the loveliness of a worldful of languages. Ages 2 through Adult.

Here’s the Amazon link: Hello Atlas

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I can¬†only think of a handful of novels I’ve read with a sports theme. Not something that usually draws me in.

If you are like me in that regard, please do not overlook the titles I have for you today! Although these two novels surround us in athletic worlds, they go far beyond that as well, entering the lives of kids coping with tremendous struggles that are worthy of our attention. I found them both exceptional.

a-long-pitch-home-cover-imageA Long Pitch Home, by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
published in 2016 by Charlesbridge
245 pages

Okay, I rarely do this on my blog but I’m going to take issue with this book’s cover. The reason is that if you are anything like me, you have already been led astray as to who would like this book.

This book is a great read for boys (and girls) ages 9-12. So although the cover is beautiful, drawn by a crazy-talented illustrator — I think it will be a hard sell for that demographic. Which is really too bad because it’s a fantastic, important read. I hope I am dead wrong. ¬†And¬†I sincerely apologize if I just wounded anyone. But I think it might take some extra strategizing to convince middle grade boys¬†to pick this up.

Clearly this is a book about baseball and if you’re savvy you’ll also note the Islamic crescent moon there. That’s a great clue as to one of the reasons this book is such a timely, far-beyond-baseball read.

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Bilal is a 10-year-old, Pakistani boy. He’s a member of a loving, tight-knit family living in Karachi, and he’s one ¬†of the best young cricket players around.

Life is jolted completely out of it’s socket, however, when his father, Baba, is summarily arrested. Just one day — boom — he disappears. When he returns three days later, Baba declares that “it is high time we leave Pakistan to live with your Hassan Uncle and Noor Auntie in America.” That’s a closely-guarded¬†secret, though. No goodbyes allowed.

Baba is barred from leaving the country for an indefinite time, so Bilal, his mother, and his younger sister make the journey alone and begin the utterly-disorienting transition to a new language and culture. Lorenzi, who moved extensively in her childhood and has lived internationally, portrays the painful acculturation process masterfully.

Bilal’s changeover from cricket to the weird new game of baseball, his struggles with English idioms and new friendships, intensify his homesickness. That, compounded by profound worries over his father and the travel ban keeping him from them, is a great deal for a young boy to manage — but this is what so many newcomers to our schools and neighborhoods face every day. I love this window into their world.

Combining breezy middle-grade life, competitive sport, warm families, a serious treatment of Bilal’s Muslim faith, real anxieties affecting immigrants and refugees, light humor, a dash of girl-power, and a huge helping of culture clash — this is a complex, perfectly-paced, well-told story. With gobs of baseball, to boot. I hope your middle-graders will give this a whirl.

ghost-cover-imageGhost, by Jason Reynolds
published in 2016 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
180 pages

Jason Reynolds grabbed my attention with his gripping, co-authored novel, All-American Boys, which I reviewed here. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this, his newest novel, written for a younger, middle-grade audience. It’s the first in a series about Track and a group of extraordinarily-talented kids aiming for the Junior Olympics.

Ghost is not one of those kids. Although he can run remarkably fast, Ghost just doesn’t see any point in sprinting around a circle, or toeing the line of some short, bald coach. Just stupidity, that is. Ghost runs fast because his life has depended on it. Literally.

Three years ago, when Ghost was a fourth-grader, his alcoholic sunflower-seedsfather hit his worst mean streak ever. Pulled a gun on Ghost and his mom. Ghost has no problem recalling the fear of getting yanked out of bed, terrified, dumbfounded, as his dad, in his drunken rage, shot at them. And yes, he ran. Faster than he ever thought it was possible for legs to move. Think that’ll do something to your heart? Your soul?

When this angry kid encounters the track team, Coach sees his potential and signs him up. That’s a recipe for immense conflict for Ghost, both externally and internally, and this book does not sprint past the pain, stupid choices, mouthiness, and bad attitudes. Simultaneously, Ghost is a kid that gets under your skin. His wounds, shame, yearnings, love¬†for his mom, conscience, good heart; the fragile person sheltering beneath a tough shell, all make us root for him. It’s an honest, no-nonsense, deeply empathetic look at the cost of betrayal and the tenacity required to heal.

silver-track-shoesReynolds superbly establishes the contemporary urban setting. References to athletes like Usain Bolt and LeBron James also help create a strong, current feel. Expect a page-turner with a cliff-hanger ending. Pitch it to an older reluctant reader for sure, as well as boys and girls ages 10 and up. Perfect boys book club read.

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dear-dragon-cover-imageDear Dragon, written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
published in 2016 by Viking

It’s time for a poetry-writing unit in young George Slair’s classroom.¬†Thanks to George’s oh-so-clever teacher, though, there’s nothing wearisome about that. She’s found pen pals for each of her charges. Their letters to one another will be written in rhyme.¬†Awesome sauce.

George has been assigned a pen pal named Blaise. And presto-pronto, these two begin an enthusiastic correspondence telling about¬†their adventures and outings, likes and dislikes, hobbies and pets and families. Before long they’re hitting it off like old friends! No wonder they can hardly wait to meet one another at the pen pal picnic.

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But what on earth?! When these two kids meet up, they discover something crazy: Blaise is a dragon! George is a human boy! They never imagined it this way. Can dragons and humans be pals?!?!  But of course.

This is a smart book on so many levels, sneaking in all sorts of good things under the radar. There’s the whole incentive to write letters, maybe even to a pen pal! The delights of poetry. A cunning how-to lesson on conversing with¬†a new friend.

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Then, courtesy of Rodolfo Montalvo’s brilliant illustrations, there’s a marvelous display of alternate perspectives, the way our life experience leads us to interpret another’s words. Absolutely fantastic.

And, wrapped in and under and around the whole story is the lovely idea that such very different people can be so very much alike. That these folks who seem so other-ish, can be our friends.

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It’s all packed in without losing a morsel of friendly warmth or being encumbered by an atom of moralizing. Enjoy this with kids ages 4 and up, taking your time over¬†the illustrations. ¬†And while you’re at it — just give the names of the two main characters a ponder. Some excellent punning and allusion going on there!

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While many Americans mark today as Columbus Day, here in Minneapolis, I’m glad to say, we also honor it as Indigenous People’s Day.

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As Columbus didn’t discover the Americas — numerous peoples and vast civilizations were already here when he arrived — and as he wasn’t the first European to find the Americas — did you know that yesterday was officially Leif Erikson Day? — and as he stumbled across the continents quite in error…you must admit, it’s a bit of a strange holiday. Not to mention the aftermath.

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I much prefer to honor the First Nations in their fascinating array of cultures, from the whale-hunting, blanket-tossing peoples of the Arctic to the pueblo-building, basket-weaving peoples of the Southwest. Native Americans continue to be largely overlooked and misunderstood in our nation’s conversations about history, racism, and civil rights. Becoming acquainted through the small but growing shelf of children’s literature is a valuable step in the right direction.

A gorgeous array of cradleboards from various nations.

A gorgeous array of cradleboards from various nations.

All of the titles I chose for today happen to cover peoples from more northerly regions, from the Arctic stretching down through the Great Plains of Canada and the United States and across to the Eastern Woodlands. I hope you can find them in your libraries or bookshops.

dragonfly-kites-cover-imageDragonfly Kites (Pimithaagansa), written by Tomson Highway, illustrations by Julie Flett
published in 2016 by Fifth House

Canadian publishing houses are doing an amazing job of putting out gorgeous, well-crafted stories featuring First Nations characters, both historical and contemporary. Three of the 5 books I have for you today come out of Canada. Thank you, neighbors!

The vast, quiet, wild spaces of northern Manitoba are the summer home for Joe and Cody, two lucky boys whose days are filled with imaginative outdoor exploration.

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Along with their faithful dog, Ootsie, the boys forge worlds from sticks and stone and string, adopt a wild tern, commune with chipmunks and eagles, and create delicate, iridescent kites with dragonflies and a large dose of gentleness.

Written in both English and Cree, I am telling you — this story tugs on my non-electronic heartstrings! What a lush life. Julie Flett is an award-winning artist, quite a favorite of so many of us, and her work here is spacious, elegant, pristine. I love this book! Ages 3 and up.

buffalo-bird-girl-cover-imageBuffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story, written and illustrated by S.D. Nelson
published in 2012 by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Buffalo Bird Girl was a child of the prairies, born in the 1830s to the Hidatsa people who lived in what is now North Dakota.

S.D. Nelson tells the story of her rich life and culture in this fascinating, beautiful book. The enormously-strong earth-mound lodges and grandmother’s hot, hearty breakfasts; the seasonal farm chores, buffalo hunting and favorite children’s games; the frightening attacks from the Lakota and the changes that came with the traders and missionaries.

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All of this is told vividly, accompanied by Nelson’s captivating acrylic paintings, graphite drawings, and historic photographs. Each page is full of appeal while the story of this amazing woman’s life grabs hold of us, mesmerizes us straight through to her old age.

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A lengthy Author’s Note provides extensive information about Buffalo Bird Woman, the Hidatsa people, and the clash of cultures that came with European arrivals. A timeline correlates her life with events from 5000 BCE to 2009. A fantastic read for ages 5 and up.

grandpas-girls-cover-imageGrandpa’s Girls, written by Nicola I. Campbell, illustrated by Kim LaFave
published in 2011 by Groundwood Books

Four cousins are charged with excitement! Because today they’re going to visit Grandpa!

Grandpa lives on an old farm, right alongside Hwy. 5 in British Columbia. There are chickens to squawk at, a root cellar to explore, and one lofty rope swing for sailing through the sweet, hay-scented air of the barn.

Best of all, there is Grandpa. A World War II vet. A cowboy, rancher, businessman. A storytelling, candy jar-keeping, memory-laden, wonderful man. No wonder these girls love to visit him!

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This warm, family story is fully contemporary, with lighthearted illustrations conveying a sunny, casual vibe. A few words in the Interior Salish language — which my computer does not even have the characters to write! — are the only real clue that Grandpa and his girls are members of an indigenous people. I love finding books which portray the ordinary lives of contemporary Native Americans, and this one is an absolutely delightful example. Ages 2 and up.

fatty-legs-cover-imageFatty Legs: A True Story, written by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes
published in 2010 by Annick Press; 103 pages

Our most northerly story today is the brave, lamentable account of a little girl who lived with her dear family and Inuit community on “the scattered islands of the Arctic Ocean.”

Margaret Pokiak-Fenton spent her childhood on Banks Island, a five-day journey across open ocean from the mainland where small outposts perched along the coasts of Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories. By the time she was 8 years old, she had only traveled a few times to this outside world.

But her sister had been “plucked” like a fledgling from its nest by the outsiders, taken to be schooled in Aklavik, and had returned home with the magical knowledge of Reading. How Margaret longed to read! To read for herself the beautiful book called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with its tantalizing rabbits and strange tunnels.

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Margaret begs for years to be allowed to go to that school, but her parents vehemently forbid it. When she finally wears them down and begins school, it’s not the fairy-tale setting¬†she expects, but a nightmare of abuse all too familiar to the thousands of Native children educated in boarding schools across the Americas.

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Margaret’s daughter-in-law, Christy, has written this powerful memoir. It is a sorrowful page-turner about a resolute young girl, illustrated with strong, emotive illustrations and Pokiak-Fenton’s family photographs. We need to know these stories, hard as they are to bear. This one’s for ages 8 and up. The author has parsed out several episodes of this story in picture book format for younger children, if you’re interested.

when-the-shadbush-blooms-cover-imageWhen the Shadbush Blooms, written by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz, illustrated by David Kanietakeron Fadden
published in 2007 by Tricycle Press

The Lenni Lenape people lived in the forested lands in what is now the northeastern United States. If you live in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, these were one of the First Peoples in your region.

Carla Messinger, a member of the Turtle Clan Lenape, has written a marvelously inventive account of her culture. Walking through the 12 months of the year, Traditional Sister and Contemporary Sister narrate the activities associated with the changing seasons.

The happenings remain constant, although these two live centuries apart. The dress, the look of the land, the means of farming, fishing, playing, preparing — these all vastly change as witnessed by the colorful, ingenuous illustrations. Each two-page spread features the traditional way of life on the left, morphing smoothly into the contemporary scene on the right. Brilliant!

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Even the names of the months — each richly tied to the moon — are differentiated, with the Lenape language on the left and its translation into English on the right. An Afterword tells us more about traditional Lenape culture.

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Again, I love seeing the contemporary lives of indigenous peoples. This book allows us to view both worlds. Read it and let your children discover the fascinating differences between the pages. Ages 3 and up.

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There’s a new Musings post up on my blog.

G.K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton

It stems from some reading I was doing this morning and a serendipitous connection I found between G.K. Chesterton’s thoughts on human longings and the stories I seek out for sharing with you all.

What longings, what ingredients for happiness, do we share with the rest of the human race? Chesterton’s response might

from Oscars Half Birthday, by Bob Graham

from Oscars Half Birthday, by Bob Graham

surprise you, as it did me, but with reflection I found it to be¬†a sort of summary¬†of the key ingredients in children’s books.¬†

See what you think, by clicking on the link here, or navigating through the Musings tab on the top of the page.

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Summer is often a time for moving, and moving is often the subject of children’s literature. Today I’ve got some new and old titles coming at moving from a variety of angles.

harry and walter cover imageHarry and Walter, by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Qin Leng
published in 2016 by Annick Press

Harry, age four and three-quarters, and Walter, age ninety-two and a half, are best buddies and next-door-neighbors. The two of them spend loads of happy, imaginative time together. Lovely.

harry and walter illustration qin leng

So, when the For Sale sign goes up in Harry’s yard, he’s a wailing mess, and try as he will to settle into his new place, everything feels drab. Many “moving stories” here will insert a new friend who comes along and takes the place of the old friend. That’s not this story, though. Fall in love with Walter, and discover the surprising way things sometimes change in this warm, intergenerational, interracial, tale coming to us from Canada. Ages 2 and up.

before i leave cover imageBefore I Leave, written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley
published in 2016, a Neal Porter Book from Roaring Brook Press

Jessixa Bagley’s tender, appealing watercolors woo us immediately into the story of Zelda the hedgehog and Aaron, her best anteater friend. Oh, the times these two have spent together,tobogganing, fishing, chasing butterflies. And now Zelda has found out her family is moving. How can these two possibly say good-bye?

before i leave illustration jessixa bagley

Well, it ain’t easy. They choose to spend one last day together, pretending that nothing will change, soaking up all the happiness of their friendship, believing it will somehow be okay. When Zelda unpacks, she finds another way her good friend Aaron has managed to stick with her in her faraway home. A brave approach, delivered with √ľber charm. Ages 2 and up.

hannah's way cover imageHannah’s Way, by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Adam Gustavson
published in 2012 by Kar-Ben Publishing

I like this story for a couple of reasons. One, because it takes place on the Iron Range of Minnesota, an unusual setting for a children’s book, and the place where my mother grew up.

Two, because it’s based on a true story of how some schoolchildren embraced a stranger and accepted the differences that emerged due to her religion. This is a timely story, folks!

hannah's way illustration adam gustavson

Read about Hannah, a young Jewish girl, new in a community where there are no others like her, and of the predicament she finds herself in due to her Orthodox faith, and of the way her classmates happily bridge the gap. Handsomely illustrated and told without any heavy-handedness. A great story for ages 4 and up.

spirit of hope cover imageSpirit of Hope, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
published in 1993 in Australia, and in 1996 in the U.S. by MONDO Publishing

Not everyone moves by choice, of course. Not all of us move because of a new, exciting job, or into a bigger and better house. The Fairweathers — a marvelously content, warmhearted, jumble of family — are forced to move because a factory is coming. A matchstick factory, of all things, is dislodging them.

spirit of hope illustration bob graham

I love this meaningful, touching story of a gladsome, working-class family, their rich life together, the woeful search for a new home, and the surprising solution courtesy of the littlest Fairweather, young Mary. The Spirit of Hope looms large, figuratively and literally, in this book from one of my favorite author/illustrators.

the bunny burrow buyer's book cover imageThe Bunny Burrow Buyer’s Book: A Tale of Rabbit Real Estate, written and illustrated by Steve Light
published in 2016 by POW!

Steve Light turns his magical, squiggelous ink pen to a lighthearted tale of bunnies looking for a new burrow. Gregory and Petunia Bunny are expecting! Expecting to expand their household, as bunnies will do.

Help them find just the right place by following the twisting and turning pathways, opening the flaps, and checking out quite a number of unusual bunny abodes along with their ever-growing brood. Which one would you choose?

the bunny burrow buyer's book illustration steve light

Great fun for ages Two and up. And adults — heads up! The classified ads in the Daily Carrot, which comprise the end-papers, are chock full of allusions to all things Bunny. How many can you recognize?

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