New Favorite Books for Your TBR (To Be Read) List

On this cold, but sunny winter day (yea for the sun!!), I want to share some books I’ve read during the the past month. Happily, I’ve been able to curl up with my new Christmas throw, my dog and my coffee and have found a lot of new favorites! Two are set in Cuba, which was a new and eye opening experience for me. Others offered window and mirror experiences for me as I’m sure they will for you and your kids. Through the stories of these brave characters, who bravely provide us with a window into their lives, we can develop a better understanding of some difficult topics, or they might mirror something you are experiencing, which will bring comfort to all of you. So that I don’t overwhelm you, this is the first of multiple posts with my new favorite books for your TBR list. Look for part two next week!

new favorite booksMy Brigadista year

by Katherine Paterson

#partner @kidlitexchange

Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own. I can barely remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and I’m quite sure most of you weren’t even dreamed about at that time! My vague memory is of my parents (who rarely watched television) and my aunt and uncle being glued to the set, while my cousins and I were allowed to play with very little supervision. I remember the murmurs and the fear on their faces. It was something I had never experienced before or since. So as you can imagine, both my memories and opinion of Castro and the Cuban government were not happy ones. Therefore, when I read My Brigadista Year my eyes were opened to a part of Cuban history I wasn’t aware of and was very different than I knew.

When Castro became premier of Cuba, he called for an army of young people to go out into the jungles and mountains to bring literacy to the citizens who had never had the opportunity to learn to read and write. This historical fiction book is the memoir of a member of that army, who at the age of thirteen leaves the safety and the comforts of her life in Havana, much to her parents’ dismay, and goes off to tackle the huge job of teaching citizens to become literate. She does this with no electricity, no running water and with the constant fear that she will be discovered by the rebels. But her parents have raised her to share what she has and to help others who are lacking, so this is exactly what she does.

I liked this book so much. In fact, I read it in one sitting! I just couldn’t stop reading Lora’s story. I admired her courage, her kindness, her empathy and her determination to do the right thing. Thanks to the brigadistas, many, many people became literate while the army of volunteers learned compassion and self reliance. In Lora’s words “I taught the campesinos how to read and write, and they taught me how to be a person.” (page 177)

Middle Grade; Historical Fiction; courage; kindness; empathy; Cuba

new favorite booksinsignificant events in the life of a cactus

by Dusti Bowling

Aven is a spunky thirteen year old with a great sense of humor who just happens to have no arms. She loves to tell stories about the reason why, but the truth is she was simply born way. Thanks to her parents, though, and her personality, she has the confidence to do just about anything. She can even put up with those “looks” she gets, at least most of the time. However, Aven has just moved to Arizona with her parents, because they become the managers of an old theme park and is starting a new middle school. This means lots of “those looks” and no friends.

I loved this amazing “windows and mirrors” story! Not only did we get to know what it means to be Aven, but we were also given an opportunity to view the world through the eyes of a child with Tourette Syndrome, as well as an overweight child, who are both feeling very much alone and ostracized in middle school. We learn about the friendship that develops among these three kids and what this means to each of them. We learn how friendships and the support of those friendships can lead to growth, self confidence and self acceptance.

This would be a wonderful read aloud for grade 5 and up and will prompt many meaningful class discussions about the acceptance of differences and friendship.  It’s the perfect book for those kids who have read Wonder and ask what they can read next! This book (and lots of copies) needs to be in every upper elementary and middle school library.

Grades 5 and up realistic fiction; friendship; Tourette Syndrome; overcoming obstacles; love and family support; acceptance of differences

new favorite booksall the way to havana

Written by Mararita Engle; Illustrated by Mike Curato

This book tells the story of a young Cuban boy, his family, some neighbors and their 30 mile journey to Havana to welcome the boy’s new cousin to the world. The seven happily squeeze into the family sedan, Cara Cara, which had originally belonged to the boy’s grandpa. It’s a conglomeration of parts pieced together to keep the fifty year old car running, with a little ingenuity from the boy and his father. We see the pride and joy on their faces as they arrive in Havana with their gift and their cake for the new cousin. The little boy sees so many cars of all shapes and colors as they drive through Havana, but proudly know his Cara Cara is the best! This story allows us to see and to gain an understanding of the strong family ties and pride in a Cuban family, as well as the determination of the Cuban people to make the best of what they have.

The illustrations are by one of my favorite illustrator’s, Mike Curato. He traveled to Cuba and took the same 30 mile hot and dusty ride in a 1954 Chevy that the young boy and his family experience in the story. From this, he created the illustrations using the textures from photographs he took along the way, along with pencil drawings and paintings. You’ll be transported to this beautiful island country as you imagine the warmth and love in a day in the life of a Cuban family. I highly recommend All the Way to Havana.

Family pride: ingenuity; Cuba

 

new favorite booksA Different Pond

Written by Bao Phi ; Illustrated by Thi Bui

I had seen this book on so many end of the year “best” lists, and after reading it, I certainly understand why that is! I remember reading about, and being aware of, the many Vietnam refugees in the 70s, but I never had any first hand experience in my small Midwestern hometown. This beautiful book helps me understand exactly what so many Vietnam refugees were feeling and experiencing as they struggled to live in the United States. The story tells of a little boy who accompanies his father on a fishing trip in the predawn hours. There’s much love and patience between the boy and his father, as the dad casts his line into the river and the little boy shivers from the cold. The dad shares stories about his childhood in Vietnam and about his brother who never returned from the fighting. Once they have a few fish, they return home knowing their family will be able to eat dinner that night when Dad comes home from one of his two jobs, Mom is home from her job and his brothers and sisters are home after school. This is a story about family, love and the struggles that a refugee family face as they work to survive in their new country. It enables us to have a small understanding of what the Vietnamese refugees experienced when they had to leave everything they knew in order to have a better life for their families, which is not unlike what refugees experience today. Sharing A Different Pond provides a perfect introduction to discussing the current world refugee situation. This book will help our children develop understanding of, and empathy for, the plight of refugees in our country and around the world.

Immigration; refugees; family love and support; Vietnam refugees

I have so many more books I want you to know about, but I’ll save them for another post – or maybe even two! Be sure and let me know what your new favorites are in the comments!

 

 




My Favorite Picture Books of 2017

Here is the promised list of my favorite picture books I reviewed in 2017. These are not necessarily the best, but are the picture books that I can’t stop thinking about. These are the ones when I see the cover online or on a display, I can’t help but smile. These are the ones that are on my gift list. I hope you’ll find some titles to add to yours!

favorite picture booksWhat to do with a box

Good Reads – What to Do With a Box

By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Chris Sheban

Have you ever searched for the perfect gifts for your little one for the holidays or for their birthday, and then, when all of the presents were opened and the wrapping paper scattered everywhere, all they really wanted to do was to play with the boxes? Especially, if they were really large boxes?  After sharing this story with your kids, you will be left with a warm and cozy feeling. It’s muted illustrations and imaginative text and will make you want to rush out, find a box and sail away to Paris together!

 

favorite picture booksNewspaper hats

Good Reads – Newspaper Hats

By Phil Cummings, illustrated by Owen Swan

Do you remember making newspaper hats? I certainly do! My dad and I had so much fun creating these. It was especially fun using the comics from the Sunday paper when we actually had lots of those! In Newspaper Hats Georgie is visiting Grandpa and wonders if Grandpa will remember him today. but sadly he doesn’t know him. That is until Georgie shows him a picture, with Georgie, his dad and Grandpa, all wearing newspaper hats. Then Georgie and Grandpa can’t stop making lots of hats for all of Grandpa’s friends! This poignant story is a special one to share with any of your little ones who are trying to understand why Grandma or Grandpa doesn’t remember them, but also offers hope that somehow your kiddo might be able to find that missing connection with their loved one.

favorite picture booksThe unexpected love story of alfred fiddleduckling

Good Reads – The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling

By Timothy Basil Ering

I was completely enthralled by this story. The illustrations are exquisite from the first endpaper to the last. Timothy Basil Ering’s words and paintings draw you into the story as you find yourself rooting for Alfred Fiddleduckling, Captain Alfred, his dog and his wife.  You are hoping they can all find each other in the end, and the magical conclusion on the final pages of the book convinces you this will happen. 

favorite picture bookstidy

Good Reads – Tidy

By Emily Gravett

Pete the Badger is a compulsive tidier. He can’t even handle one fallen leaf in his forest! Emily Gravett tells the story of Pete’s destruction of his home with her rhyming, humorous text  and vibrant illustrations. Pete’s insistence that everything be perfectly neat and clean in his forest soon leads to unwelcome consequences for both Pete and his friends. Happily, he realizes his extreme actions need to be rectified, so with the help of his friends he is able to save the forest and put everything back to how it was, just maybe a little bit tidier.

favorite picture booksdad and the dinosaur

Good Reads – Dad and the Dinosaur

By Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Dan Santat

Newberry Honor winner, Gennifer Choldenko has written a heartwarming story about a father’s love. The illustrations by Caldecott Award Winner, Dan Santat @dsantat, (The Adventures of Beekle) make this charming story come alive even more. Little Nick was afraid of everything, but nothing scared Big Nick. Little Nick tried his best to be brave, and nothing helped until he got  his dinosaur. But then, something awful happened. Little Nick lost his dinosaur. That is, it WAS awful, until Dad came home and saved the day, as dads do. Because “dads get it. They just do.”

favorite picture bookseverywhere wonder

Good Reads – Everywhere Wonder

by Matthew Swanson, illustrated by Robbi Behr

This imaginative picture book with vibrant illustrations invites the reader to tour the world with a young boy as he notices the world “with his eyes wide open.”This would be a great book to read to your little guys to open up a conversation about “smelling the roses” or to provide a wonderful beginning to a writing project for your older kids. I highly recommend it!

 

favorite picture booksjabari jumps

Good Reads – Jabari Jumps

by Gaia Corwall

When I was a child, I was terrified of jumping into a pool, even though my mother had sent me to countless swim lessons. To stand on the side of a pool, let alone a diving board as everyone was expecting me to jump, was completely overwhelming. Even though Jabari feels the same way, he announces to his dad “I’m jumping off the diving board today.” Of course, though, that’s a little easier said than done! Gaia Cornwall’s illustrations capture his fear, but also his determination and courage.  If you have a little one who may be wondering if they have the courage to jump in, this is a wonderful book that might provide just the encouragement they need to succeed.

favorite picture bookswe’re all wonders

Good Reads – We’re all Wonders

By R.J. Palacio

R.J. Palacio, the author or Wonder, has worked her magic again in this picture book which will help our little ones gain a better understanding of kindness and accepting differences. The main character is “an ordinary kid”, who just wants to be accepted by everyone around him, despite his different appearance. He helps us to understand how it feels to be excluded, stared at, pointed at or laughed at and how much it hurts his feelings. Ms. Palacio gently points out that we are all different and all special in our own way. This book will be a great pathway to conversations with all of your kids from toddler through elementary school to help them to understand, “We’re all wonders!” and to “look with kindness and you will always find wonder.”

 

favorite picture booksThat Neighbor kid

Good Reads – That Neighbor Kid

By Daniel Miyares

This is a heartwarming wordless picture book about a friendship that develops between a boy and a girl when she moves in next door. They are both a little lonely until they collaborate on building a treehouse together. The drawings are black and white in the beginning, but as their friendship blossoms and each of them contributes to building their playhouse, colorful leaves begin to appear. The illustrations show us the sweet expressions on the friends’ faces as they dream and relax together in their new hideaway. I love wordless picture books, because it gives so many opportunities for discussion as you share the story with your little ones. I hope this is a good one for your family!

favorite picture booksthe book of mistakes

Good Reads – The Book of Mistakes

By Corianna Luyken

If you or your little one has ever been obsessed with making a mistake, or if you’re just looking for a beautifully illustrated book full of positivity and optimism,  this is definitely a book to add to your collection. The charming narrative encourages us to explore, create and to understand that although we may stumble as we try new a experience, it’s okay, because we’re a work in progress.

favorite picture bookslife on mars

Good Reads – Life on Mars

By Jon Agee

The delightful illustrations in this picture book made me smile from the time I first viewed the cover and I didn’t stop until long after I finished the sweet story. The little astronaut is certain there is life on Mars and he travels there to prove his theory. He brings chocolate cupcakes, because when you visit someone’s home you always take a hostess gift, don’t you?! He’s so disappointed when he arrives. All he sees is barren terrain full of rocks – no life. When you read this book aloud to your little one, they will be squealing with delight as they point out who’s following the little explorer. And they’ll especially love the last page, as I did. This is definitely one you’re going to want to add to your library!

favorite picture booksAfter the fall: how humpty dumpty got back up again

Good Reads – After the Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back up Again

By Dan Santat

Dan Santat has again created an amazing picture book that will be timeless! I shared it with three second grade classes and they unanimously loved it – especially the surprise ending. The message is such a good one for ALL of us to remember. Even though we fall, we can make it “back up again” and succeed, even it takes every bit of courage we can gather from deep within our souls.

 

favorite picture booksprofessional crocodile

Good Reads – Professional Crocodile

By Giovanna Zoboli

This delightful wordless picture book is one you’ll thoroughly enjoy with your little ones. There are several panels on each page, which will lead to lots of conversation. You’ll both love finding the many, many details every time you experience the book. It’s so much fun to share wordless picture books and to let the kids create their own dialogue. The story is different every time! And you’ll love the surprise ending, too! This is definitely one to add to your collection. And don’t forget to check underneath the dust jacket. The cover is truly a special one you won’t want to miss!

 

What were your favorite books this year? What books are on your Christmas list? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!




New Picture Books for Your Must Read List

I’ve been reading so many wonderful children’s books during the past few months. In July I joined a new group, Kid Lit Exchange, which has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to both learn about and read the latest picture books and middle grade books; many before they are published. This is a dedicated group of librarians, teachers and parents who love children’s literature and believe whole heartedly in the magic of reading and stories to help the kids in our lives grow in their love of books. We work with authors and publishers to read, review and share the newest titles on our blogs, Good Reads and Instagram. I hope you’ll check out our new website. Of course, I’ll be sharing the books I review here, on Instagram and on Good Reads!

Here are a few of my favorite recent picture books I think would be worthy to add to your TBR (To Be Read) pile! I hope you’ll agree!

picture booksLife on Mars by Jon Agee

The delightful illustrations in this picture book made me smile from the time I first viewed the cover and I didn’t stop until long after I finished the sweet story. The little astronaut is certain there is life on Mars and he travels there to prove his theory. He brings chocolate cupcakes, because when you visit someone’s home you always take a hostess gift, don’t you?! He’s so disappointed when he arrives. All he sees is barren terrain full of rocks – no life. When you read this book aloud to your little one, they will be squealing with delight as they point out who’s following the little explorer. And they’ll especially love the last page, as I did. This is definitely one you’re going to want to add to your library!

picture booksBook of Mistakes By Corianna Luyken 

I shared this book the other night at a family dinner, and EVERYONE loved it, just as I did! I definitely think I’m adding it to my holiday shopping list. The uplifting illustrations grow on every page, as Ms. Luyken tries out idea after idea. Is this a possibility? Is this a good idea? Opps, the “frog cat cow thing” was a mistake, but the “roller skates were definitely not a mistake!” “Even the ink smudges scattered across the sky, look as if the could be leaves!” I love how Ms. Luyken handles her mistakes. She has the confidence to admit that she’s made a mistake and just moves on, until she finds a solution; a plan b. She’s so joyfully positive and optimistic on every page!

If you have, or your little one has ever been obsessed with making a mistake, or if you’re just looking for a beautifully illustrated book full of positivity and optimism, this is definitely a book to add to your collection. The charming narrative encourages us to explore, to create and to understand that although we may stumble as we try a new experience, it’s okay, because we’re a work in progress. 

picture booksHappy Dreamer by Peter Reynolds

I think one of the reasons I liked this book so much, is because I am a dreamer. I am always making up stories about the people I see and the houses I pass as I walk down the street. I certainly don’t paint or draw, as Peter H. Reynolds does so brilliantly in the sparkling, joyful illustrations you’ll find on every page of the story, but that doesn’t mean I don’t dream about doing just that, as I’m sure many of you do. We follow the little guy, who is the main character, as he dances through each page over lots of obstacles, and finally concludes “…the best way to be a happy dreamer? Just be You.” This is one of those books that is wonderful for all ages. In fact, it’s perfect for anyone who needs a little encouragement to just follow their dreams. Maybe that’s you!

picture bookseverywhere, wonder by Matthew Swanson and illustrated by Robbi Behr

This imaginative picture book with vibrant illustrations invites the reader to tour the world with a young boy as he notices the world “with his eyes wide open.” I am always reminding myself to stop and smell the roses, to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us every day, even if it is something as insignificant as when this little guy notices a blue balloon caught in a tree or a parade of ants marching by. Of course he observes some majestic sights as well, such as the canyons of Arizona or the Brazilian rain forest. And when he finally ends his day, he dreams of everything he noticed that day.This would be a great book to read to your little guys to open up a conversation about “smelling the roses” or to provide a wonderful beginning to a writing project for your older kids. I highly recommend it!

 

picture booksDad and the Dinosaur by Gennifer Choldenko and illustrated by Dan Santat

Newberry Honor winner, Gennifer Choldenko has written a heartwarming story about a father’s love. The illustrations by Caldecott Award Winner, Dan Santat @dsantat, (The Adventures of Beekle) make this charming story come alive even more. Little Nick was afraid of everything, but nothing scared Big Nick. Little Nick tried his best to be brave, but nothing helped until he got his dinosaur. Of course, nothing scares dinosaurs; not bugs, the dark or manhole covers, so when Nick had his toy dino with him he was brave. He scaled climbing walls, faced scary goalies and swam deep in the ocean. But then, something awful happened. Little Nick lost his dinosaur. That is, it WAS awful, until Dad came home and saved the day, as dads do. Because “dads get it. They just do.”

picture booksTidy by Emily Gravett

Pete the Badger is a compulsive tidier. He can’t even handle one fallen leaf in his forest! Emily Gravett tells the story of Pete’s destruction of his home with her rhyming, humorous text and vibrant illustrations. Pete’s insistence that everything be perfectly neat and clean in his forest soon leads to unwelcome consequences for both Pete and his friends. Happily, he realizes his extreme actions need to be rectified, so with the help of his friends he is able to save the forest and put everything back to how it was, just maybe a little bit tidier. This story will lead to some great conversations with your little one about protecting the environment.

What are some new picture books that you’ve discovered? Please be sure and share them in the comments!




Kids’ Books to Remember and Some Links for Mom and Dad

It’s hard for me to believe that it is October! The leaves are beginning to change and thankfully we’re having some cool nights, which are perfect for curling up with your favorite book. We are finally back home after our dream trip of visiting FIVE National Parks and driving over 4500 miles!! It was an amazing adventure, but it feels good to be back home, too. I’m very hopeful that I’ll be talking with you on a much more regular schedule now that our lives have quieted down. I’m beginning that conversation, by once again sharing some kids’ books to remember in the hope that you’ll find some to add to your library list. Maybe you’ll discover some new favorites, or one you might have forgotten from your own childhood.

kids’ books to remember: read aloudskids' books to remember

Anna Hibiscus by Antinuk

Four stories about Anna and her West African family as Anna spends her time splashing in the ocean, searching for shells and dreaming of one time seeing snow.

Catwings Return by Ursela K. Le Guin

This is part of the magical series about four cats who use their wings to escape the city.

Lady Lollipop by Dick King Smith

Another book from the author of Babe.

From the publisher’s summary: “Lollipop is no ordinary pig. According to her young trainer, Johnny Skinner, she’s the smartest pig in the entire kingdom. When people stare into Lollipop’s bright, intelligent eyes, it somehow changes them for the better.”

kids’ books to remember: picture bookskids' books to remember

What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele; illustrated by Ashley Bryan

This beautifully illustrated book brings us a needed reminder about all of the small things in life that help to make our lives truly wonderful.

Time for Bed by Mem Fox

An endearing bedtime story which is perfect for all ages.

Youpala, Queen of the Jungle by Youpala and illustrated by Zau

kids’ books to remember: middle grade chapter books

kids' books to rememberEach Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles

This is a charming story of a 10 year old girl’s struggles as she deals with the changes in her life in a small Mississippi town.

Alabama Moon by Watt Key

Alabama Moon is a true adventure story.

Hank Zipper: The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

This is part of a hillarious series based upon Henry Winkler’s struggles in school as he was growing up. It will engage even the most reluctant reader.

 LINKS FOR MOM AND DAD

If you’re wondering how you might best help your kids this school year, just read this inspiring post.

The Lunchbox Note and storytelling: lifetime lessons

This is a great list of diverse books for your middle grader reader.

Middle Grade Books with Latino Characaters

If you have a Penderwick series fan in your house, here’s special book you need to immediately add to your library hold list!

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

I wish you all a wonderful week! Thank you for inviting me into your inbox and into your world.




Kids’ Books to Remember and Some Links for Mom and Dad

First of all, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to all of those effected by Hurricane Harvey. I can only imagine how awful it is for everyone. Happily, our country has rallied together and an amazing amount of money has been raised to help those in need. One fund raiser you might not have heard about is KidLitCares: Our Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort. An author I greatly admire, Kate Messner and many other kid’s lit authors and illustrators have begun a relief effort to raise funds for The Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and Global Giving Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.   I hope you’ll check it out! Now, on to Kids’ Books to Remember!

Well, can you believe it’s September? As I write this, the evenings are getting cooler and the days are shorter. I even have some leaves on my magnolia tree turning a very pretty yellow. How can that be?

I hope school is off to a good start for all of you. Here are some kids’ books to remember to look for at the library. I wish you all cozy evenings as you curl up under a blanket for a family read aloud!

kids’ books to remember: read alouds

kids' books to rememberElmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gann

This is part of the imaginative series from the 50s.

 

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

This is one of my all time favorites and is told from the point of view of the rabbits. It’s great for all ages, and especially for animal lovers!

Pee Wee Tales by Johanna Hurwitz

kids’ books to remember: picture books

kids' books to rememberA Bad Case of the Stripes by David Shannon

A fun story about learning to like yourself just as you are.

Komodo! by Peter Sis

“Mad about dragons, the boy who narrates this picture book is pleased when his doting parents decide to take him to Indonesia, home of the Komodo dragon….[The boy] takes the road less traveled through the jungle, where he encounters the dragon of his dreams….Full of intriguing detail….picture book, original in concept and beautiful in design.”–Booklist.

Good Boy, Fergus! by David Shannon

Follow Fegus through his perfect doggy day, except for when it’s time for his bath!

 

kids’ books to remember: middle grade chapter books

kids' books to rememberListening for Lions by Gloria Whelan

This historical fiction book is about a very strong girl who is tricked into a criminal scheme after her parents die in Africa in the Influenza epedemic of 1919.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

A Newberry Award winning classic. Amazon’s summary: “Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run–and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.”

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

This Newberry Honor book is another historical fiction book based upon the author’s experiences of fleeing Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, and moving to Alabama.

LINKS FOR MOM AND DAD

We all hope our kids will grow up to be readers. This New York Times article will give you lots of ideas.

How to Raise a Reader

If you’re looking for some titles to capture the attention of even your most active child, these might do the trick.

8 interactive Books to captivate your Restless Reader

I always wanted to make sure my kids’ rooms would entice them to curl up and read. If you feel the same way, you’ll find lots of great ideas here!

Kids Room Ideas from the cutest kids book store ever (really it’s amazing) 

Finally, I want to thank you for inviting me into your Inbox. I realize how busy everyone is, and I really appreciate you taking the time to read about some kids’ books! Have a great week!




Kids’ Books to Remember and Some Links for Mom and Dad

Can you believe August  is drawing to a close and school is beginning? I feel like the summer is flying by! As this happens, I’m thinking more and more about books I can share with you on Red Canoe this fall as your kids begin the school year. Of course, your calendars will be full with activities, back-to-school nights and homework, but I hope all of you can find a little time each day to read a fun book. It might be listening to an audio book while you’re doing car pool or hurrying to the next activity, or it might be reading an ebook with some of the kids while you wait for a practice or a lesson to conclude. However you find time to squeeze in a bit of reading, just enjoy! And if you’re wondering what you might read, just add these titles from Kids’ Books to Remember to your list for your next library visit!

kids’ books to remember: read alouds

kids' books to rememberRuby Lu Empress of Everything by Lenore Look

“Starred Review from School Library Journal. Grade 1-3–Ruby Lu takes her role as Smile Buddy to her deaf cousin, Flying Duck, so seriously that her work suffers, dooming the second grader to a vacation marred by summer school and a repeat of last year’s swimming lessons.”

Pigs Might Fly by Dick King-Smith

By the author of Babe, “It’s impossible to remain unmoved . . . a soaring, heartening fantasy.”—Publishers Weekly

kids’ books to remember: picture books

kids' books to rememberImogene’s Antlers by David Small

“Young Imogene wakes up one morning to find she has sprouted antlers. Unflappable, Imogene takes the whole thing in stride; the same cannot be said for her mother, who faints every time her daughter comes into view….The effervescent, softly colored illustrations incorporate all the humor inherent in the tale. A laugh-aloud read-aloud.”–Booklist

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

I wrote about The Curious Garden in this post, Author, Peter Brown.

Otis by Loren Long

“Starred Review, School Library Journal: PreSchool-Grade 2—Otis is a fun-loving tractor who roams the fields after a hard day’s work and plays in the haystacks. In the barn one night, his engine provides a gentle purr that helps a frightened young calf fall into a peaceful sleep. The two become inseparable.” This is a heart warming book and the first of many Otis stories your kids will love.

kids’ books to remember: Middle Grade Chapter Books

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holmkids' books to remember

“School Library Journal Review: Gr 4–8—Eleven-year-old Ellie Cruz’s life changes dramatically when her mother brings a teenage boy home one night and she learns it is her estranged grandfather. Melvin is a scientist who has figured out how to reverse aging and is now 13 again.”

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

You might remember Harriet from your own childhood. She’s still observing and recording everything around her and in the process alienating some friends.

Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech

Each short page in this story is written in verse about Jack’s struggle with poetry in Miss Stretchberry’s class. It has lots of humor and is perfect for a reluctant reader.

links for mom and dad

This post is about a new middle grade chapter book you will want to know about. This is a story of friendship and stars a third grade boy on the autism spectrum.

A Boy Called Bat

Do you have a hard time reading to your kiddos, because they just won’t sit still? These titles promise to change that!

Read Alouds for a Child Who Won’t Sit Still

These inspirational posts are from two of my favorite blogs.

Change the World

Education is a Political Act by Donlyn Miller

Have you found some old favorites during your library visits? Have you read a recent story or article about reading that has inspired you? Please share them with all of us in the comments.

As always, thank you for inviting me into your inbox. I write Red Canoe Reader, because my passion is to help moms, dads and kids learn about some great books, and to help kids become lifelong readers. I hope you found some inspiration in something you read today on Red Canoe Reader!

 




Red Canoe Reader is on Nerdy Book Club!

I’m so excited to share my big news! I have a post on Nerdy Book Club Blog!  It is titled TEN BOOKS TO HELP YOUR CHILD BECOME MORE COMPASSIONATE.  It describes ten books about compassion, kindness, acceptance of differences, empathy and caring. Hopefully, some of these title might lead your children to, as R.J. Palacio describes in her middle grade novel, Wonder, “choose kind”.

I would love for you to pop over and read my post! Then, while you’re there, explore The Nerdy Book Club. You’ll find lots of titles to add to your kids’ TBR lists, interesting information about children’s book authors and some books to use in your classrooms. I have gained so much from reading the articles on this website, and I’m very honored to be posting on it today! And finally, I’d really appreciate it, if you would both, “like” the post and share the post on Facebook or Twitter! Thank you for all of your support!

 

 




Kids’ Books to Remember and Some Links for Mom and Dad

It’s hard to believe that July 4th has come and gone! For some reason, I always feel like summer is slipping through my fingers after all of the fun of the fireworks and the family get-togethers. However, we have lots of summer left and your kids may be looking for some new things to read. If that’s the case, here are some kids’ books to remember that might just help their search!

kids’ books to Remember: Read Aloud

I have shared these titles before, but they are three of my favorites, and I’m sure kids of all ages will love to hear them again!

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo

kids’ books to Remember: picture books

kids' books to rememberWe begin with one that I was recently reminded about in this great post. I hope you’ll check it out. 

A SEASON-DANCING, HEART-OPENING RETRO REVIEW OF     MY MAMA HAD A DANCING HEART

My Mama Had a Dancing Heart by Libba Moore Gray

The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown (a Caldecott winner by the author of Goodnight Moon)

The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars by Jean Merrill

 

kids’ books to Remember: middle grade chapter books

The Familiars by Adam Jack Epsteinkids' books to remember

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

A Murder for Her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner

 

 

 

 

 

links for mom and dad

This is a great reminder from Alfred Einstein.

Logic vs Imagination

This is a post from one of my favorite blogs about a very special book.

There is a Light that Never Goes Out 

These books might help start some conversations with your kids about how they can help those around them.

Making an Impact: 25 Mighty Girl Books About Charity and Community Service

As always, thank you for inviting me into your inbox, especially during the lazy days of summer. Later this week, I’ll be sharing something I’m very excited about! I hope you’ll look for that post this weekend. Have a wonderful week!




Six Picture Books You’ll Want to know About

It’s June and we are officially enjoying summer in Michigan. Now that we’re both retired, we can spend a lot more time at our lake house. Our greyhound, Brandy, is spending her first summer here and is loving the freedom, the breezes and the laziness of it all (of course that pretty much describes her life at home, too, but there’s just something about this lake air that makes us all relax a little bit more!).

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I frequently post about new books on Instagram. In case you’ve missed those, I’ve gathered some reviews of my latest favorite picture books to share with you. I learn about picture books by reading fellow instagramers posts and publisher newsletters, which literally takes hours every week, and I’ve narrowed my findings to these favorites in order to help you find the perfect picture books for your kids. All of these books came from my local library, thanks to their great collection, so I hope you can easily find them, too. If there’s a picture book you would really like to read, but it isn’t in your library’s collection, talk to your librarian. Very often they can help you borrow it from another library, or they might even order it for you! I may be a little prejudiced, but librarians are a book lovers best friend!

Jabari Jumpspicture books

By Gaia Cornwall

Jabari reminds me so much of myself when I was his age. I was terrified of jumping into a pool, even though my mother had sent me to countless swim lessons. To stand on the side of a pool, let alone a diving board as everyone was expecting me to jump, was completely overwhelming. Even though Jabari feels the same way, he announces to his dad “I’m jumping off the diving board today.” Of course, though, that’s a little easier said than done! Gaia Cornwall’s illustrations capture his fear, but also his determination and courage. I loved that every page included “pool turquoise” in some way, whether it was the sky, the water or the surrounding trees. This helped me feel like I was standing right there on the board with Jabari as he curled his toes around the edge. If you have a little one who may be wondering if they have the courage to jump in, this is a wonderful book that might provide just the encouragement they need to succeed.

 

We’re All Wonderspicture books

Written and Illustrated by R.J. Palacio

A few years ago I was part of a parent child novel study of Wonder, an amazing middle grade book about kindness, empathy and accepting differences. This remarkable book opened up many meaningful conversations among the students, their parents and the staff member participants. In fact, the saying from the book, Choose Kindness, was featured all over our elementary school. Now R.J. Palacio has worked her magic again and has written a picture book to help our little ones gain a better understanding of these concepts. The main character is “an ordinary kid”, who just wants to be accepted by everyone around him, despite his different appearance. He helps us to understand how it feels to be excluded, stared at, pointed at or laughed at and how much it hurts his feelings. Ms. Palacio gently points out that we are all different and all special in our own way. This book will be a great pathway to conversations with all of your kids from toddler through elementary school to help them to understand, “We’re all wonders!” and to “look with kindness and you will always find wonder.”

That Neighbor Kidpicture books

By Daniel Miyares

This is a heartwarming wordless picture book about a friendship that develops between a boy and a girl when she moves in next door. They are both a little lonely until they collaborate on building a tree house together. The drawings are black and white in the beginning, but as their friendship blossoms and each of them contributes to building their playhouse, colorful leaves begin to appear. The illustrations show us the sweet expressions on the friends’ faces as they dream and relax together in their new hideaway. I love wordless picture books, because it gives so many opportunities for discussion as you share the story with your little ones. I hope this is a good one for your family!

picture booksNewspaper Hats

By Phil Cummings

Illustrated by Owen Swan

Do you remember making newspaper hats? I certainly do! My dad and I had so much fun creating these. It was especially fun using the comics from the Sunday paper when we actually had lots of those! In Newspaper Hats Georgie is visiting Grandpa and wonders if Grandpa will remember him today. Grandpa, who is surrounded with newspapers from bygone years, remembers lots of things from the past such as his mom’s warm bread bread and honey and his fun escapades with his little brother, but he doesn’t know Georgie. That is until Georgie shows him a picture, with Georgie, his dad and Grandpa, all wearing newspaper hats. Then Georgie and Grandpa can’t stop making lots of hats for all of Grandpa’s friends! This poignant story is a special one to share with any of your little ones who are trying to understand why Grandma or Grandpa doesn’t remember them, but also offers hope that somehow your kiddo might be able to find that missing connection with their loved one.

When God Made Youpicture books

By Matthew Paul Turner

Illustrated by David Catrow

We all want our children to know they are loved and have their own special gifts. This book is a wonderful reminder to your kids that we are all unique, we all fit into God’s divine plan and without them the world would not be the same. The story will help your little ones understand that we are all given talents, and we need to use our talents to create our special place in the world.

David Catrow’s vibrant illustrations bring you joy before you even open the book. When you do, you’ll find the playful and happy drawings just add to the charming verse on every page.

In addition to being a great book to read to all kids, it would also be a perfect baby gift for a special little one, or perhaps a gift for a Christening or Baptism.

Pass it Onpicture books

By Sophy Henn

This colorful, joyful picture book follows a little girl on a walk through her neighborhood. It begins with the command, “When you see something terrific…smile a smile and pass it on.” She can’t contain her joy when she sees a rainbow, frolics in a pool, swings through a jungle or rides a roller coaster and has to share it with everyone she meets. She discovers that when you “pass it on” a smile or a chuckle makes the world a better place.

What are some new picture books you’d like me to know about? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Meanwhile, enjoy your summer with your families in the park, at the pool or curled up with a book. These perfect days fly by so quickly!

 




Kids’ Books to Remember and Some Links for Mom and Dad

Happy summer! Now that we are a few weeks into summer vacation, your kids may be looking for some books to add to their TBR pile. I know I am! I’m flying through my books, both kids and adult, and I’m always looking for new ones to add to my library list. These titles might be new releases or old favorites, but if I read a good review, my list grows! I hope this week’s edition of Kids’ Books to Remember will help your kids find some new ones to add to their lists, and maybe you, too, will find some books for your own TBR pile!

kids’ books to remember: read aloud

kids' books to remember

More All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth

The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

 

kids’ books to remember: picture bookskids' books to remember

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

 

 

 

 

kids’ books to remember: chapter books

kids' books to remember

These books are good for those going into 4th grade and up. Your kids might want to read them on their own, or they might enjoy a read aloud with you.

So Be It by Sarah Weeks

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Cages by Peg Kehlert

 

 

 

some links for mom and dad

Raised Salt Painting

The Ultimate Summer Reading List for 6 – 8 year Olds – 2017 Edition

11 Baseball Books Kids Say are Home Runs

50 Brilliant Books for Summer

As always, thank you for inviting me into your inbox. I write Red Canoe Reader, because I want to help moms, dads and kids learn about some great books, and to help kids become lifelong readers. I would really appreciate you sharing my site with your friends who are also looking for books for their kids, especially now that summer is here. I’ll be posting more titles to add to your kids’ lists frequently. Finally, I hope you’ll let me know what you think about Red Canoe, and about anything you’d like me to add to the site. Have a great weekend and Father’s Day!