Fantastic New Picture Books
Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal, 2017 This book is about your heart. (the little bit inside of you that makes you, you!) The words we listen to can affect how we feel. Some words can do amazing things and make us happy. And some words can really hurt us (we all know what sort of words those are). Our words have power, and we can choose to use them to make the world a better place.
The world can be a scary place. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn’t kids be aware of kindness too? Michael Leannah wrote Most People as an antidote to the scary words and images kids hear and see every day.
Jennifer Morris’s emotive, diverting characters provide the perfect complement to Leannah’s words, leading us through the crowded streets of an urban day in the company of two pairs of siblings (one of color). We see what they see: the hulking dude with tattoos and chains assisting an elderly lady onto the bus; the goth teenager with piercings and purple Mohawk returning a lost wallet to its owner; and the myriad interactions of daily existence, most of them well intended. This reassuring picture book is a courageous, constructive response to the dystopian world of the news media.
Charlie loves the bright red purse that his grandmother let him have. One day, he decides to take it to school. First his father, then his friends, and even the crossing guard question him about his “strange” choice. After all, boys don’t carry purses. They point out that they, too, have things they like, but that doesn’t mean they go out in public wearing them. But Charlie isn’t deterred.
Before long, his unselfconscious determination to carry a purse starts to affect those around him. His father puts on his favorite, though unconventional, Hawaiian shirt to go to work; his friend Charlotte paints her face, and the crossing guard wears a pair of sparkly shoes. Thanks to Charlie, everyone around him realizes that it isn’t always necessary to conform to societal norms. It’s more important to be true to yourself. With its humorous, energetic illustrations, this book is ideal as a read-aloud or as a story for emerging readers. It can also be used as a starting point for a discussion about gender roles.
Inspired by the expression “once in a blue moon,” Danielle Daniel has created a book of short poems, each one describing a rare or special experience that turns an ordinary day into a memorable one. She describes the thrill of seeing a double rainbow, the Northern Lights or a shooting star as well as quieter pleasures such as spotting a turtle basking in the sun or a family of ducks waddling across the road.
In simple words and delightful naïve images, Once in a Blue Moon celebrates the magical moments that can be found in the beauty and wonders of nature. With the same simple yet sophisticated design as Danielle’s award-winning picture book Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, this book is a very accessible and inviting introduction to poetry for young readers.
A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts!
When Little Mae was a child, she dreamed of dancing in space. She imagined herself surrounded by billions of stars, floating, gliding, and discovering. She wanted to be an astronaut. Her mom told her, “If you believe it, and work hard for it, anything is possible.”
Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space. This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.
Like most girls and boys, Zoe enthusiastically embraces the wonders of our world and its infinite possibilities. “I can be anything I want to be!” she tells us, presenting herself in a range of careers. “But what if you fail?” asks a voice of doubt that attempts to undermine her confidence.
Bold and sassy, Zoe swats the voice away at every turn, declaring her certainty with a charisma that will encourage us all to silence the fears projected onto us by our world. Why can’t a girl grow up to be President? Zoe can! When the voice of doubt continues, Zoe knows exactly what to say: “Go away, voice… I can be anything… but first, I have to learn to read. And don’t tell me I can’t!”
Award-winner Diane Dillon has created a winning character who defies anything to hold her back from achieving her goals. And the key to Zoe’s future success begins when Zoe defiantly opens her book, making it clear that both confidence and reading are tools we all need to make our dreams come true.
Skin Again by Bell Hooks and illustrated by Chris Raschka, 2014 – new edition 2017. The skin I’m in is just a covering. It cannot tell my story. The skin I’m in is just a covering. If you want to know who I am, you have got to come inside and open your heart way wide.