A beautifully illustrated tale written by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell of a girl who loves to paint and how she inspires (and works with) a muralist to transform her grey neighborhood. Rafael Lopez’s bright and cheerful colors show a diverse neighborhood coming together to create art. Fun and uplifting read!
Octopus lives in a busy corner of the ocean. From her cave, she sees all sorts of maritime hustle and bustle. When three seahorses come to visit, Octopus starts to feel a little overwhelmed. She escapes and ventures forth until she finds a quiet, unoccupied cave to rest in for a while. When she’s ready, she returns to the hustle and bustle, happy to see her friends again. I love Divya Srinivasan’s illustrations of a colorful, underwater world. But more than that, I love this non-moralistic tale of an introvert’s need for some alone time and the joy of visiting with friends. Balance.
What better book for April Showers than The Rain Stomper?! Jazmin is so excited for the first day of Spring and the big neighborhood parade that she has organized. Sadly when she wakes up in the morning,instead of the tat-a-tat of drums, she hears the boom walla boom boom of thunder. It is quite literally raining on her parade. She gets out her frustration by heading outside and stomp, stomp, stomping that rain. Soon she is joined by other neighborhood children and leads a new parade of puddle stompers. This is, so far, muralist Addie Boswell’s only children’s book, but I hope there will be more. Eric Velazquez’s vibrant illustrations contrast the colorful life of children with the grey dreariness of a rainy day perfectly.
Kids are so often firefighter obsessed and I was thrilled to find this female-centric firefighting tale when Frances was a baby. We check it out of library on a regular basis! Dianne Ochiltree subtitles this book “The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter.” Molly Williams was a real person – the African-American servant of one of the volunteer firefighters with New York City’s Fire Company Number 11. Ochiltree did extensive research for this book, and this story is the one often told about Molly – how when, in the early 1800s, there was a fire call during a snowstorm & flu epidemic, Molly joined the male volunteers with the company to fight the fire. There is so much awesomeness in this book – a look at how fires were fought 200 years ago, a strong woman to cheer for, and a portrayal of an African-American woman during the early days of our country who was not a slave. Pick this one up!
There just aren’t a ton of great Valentine’s books out there. I tried to find a good mix that focused on the basics of the holiday: love, hearts and sending cards! Here are a few that we enjoyed. What are your favorites?
If You’ll Be My Valentine, written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Fumi Kosaka (2005).
A little boy makes Valentines for his family, friends, even his teddy bear, in this cute rhyming tale.
Mama, Do You Love Me?, written by Barbara M. Joose, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee (1992).
What better time for a tale of unconditional parental love than Valentine’s Day? This is one of my favorite reads year round – so reassuring to all kids that even if Mama is mad, she still loves you!
My Heart is Like a Zoo, written and illustrated by Michael Hall (2009).
A simple book that compares the emotions of the heart to animals – but OH SO fun to find all the hearts in the illustrations. Would be a great tie-in with a craft project.
A Secret Valentine, written and illustrated by Catherine Stock (1991).
A girl and her mother make and send Valentine’s Day cards to family and to her elderly neighbor. In return, on Valentine’s Day, she gets many cards back – including one from a secret Valentine.
Valentine’s Day, written by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell (2000).
Ms. Madoff’s class makes Valentine’s Day cards for a classmate who has moved to Japan. While they create, they remember all the fun things they did with Michiko.
Note: I tried and failed to find a Valentine’s Day book that featured a Latino/a child. If you know of one, please let me know!
Our weather this weekend calls for a snowy read. In A Penguin Story, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis, Edna, our penguin heroine, is on a quest. She wants to find something that is not white or black or blue, like all the things that surround her in the snowy Antarctic. She sets out alone and discovers something amazing! Lovely illustrations and great fun. You can find a few more recommendation for great picture books about snow here.