Oh No, School!

Oh No, School!9781433813337_p0_v1_s260x420Oh No, School!

Hae-Kyung Chang, Author

Josee Bisaillon, Illustrator

Magination  Press, Fiction, 2014

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Kindergarten, Anxiety, School Problems

Opening:  One morning, Holly banged and stomped her feet, and her eyes fill up with tears. “I don’t want to go to school,” she wailed.”

Book Jacket Synopsis: Oh no! Holly does not want to go to school one morning. Her friends are taking her toys and her teacher speaks too loudly. Everything is just too new and too different for Holly!  Through gentle reassurances and coaching, her mother encourages her to think differently about the things that are bothering her at school.  Holly begins to feel better about her new routines, new classmates, and new expectations, and soon she is off to school!

Why I like this book: Hae-Kyung Chang addresses common childhood jitters about going to school in a creative, realistic and engaging manner. Children wonder if they will like their new teacher. Will other kids want to sit with them on the school bus? They worry about making friends and sharing toys. Will they make mistakes?  Reading the book with your child before they start school can be a fun way to encourage them to talk about their anxiety. I especially like the last double-page spread where children are invited to write or draw their reasons for not wanting to go to school and what they find fun and exciting about school.  I recommend Oh No, School! for parents preparing their children for the new school year. Josee Bisaillon’s colorful collages are made from rich textures that really set the mood for the story. This is a beautifully illustrated book.

Resources:  The book is a helpful resource for parents. At the end, psychologist Elizabeth McCallum, PhD, offers parents many tips and guidelines that may help children easily transition to school with more self-confidence.

 

How to Heal a Broken Wing

How to Heal a Broken Wing9780763639037_p0_v1_s260x420How to Heal a Broken Wing

Bob Graham, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction, 2008

Suitable for Ages: 3-8

Themes: Birds, Compassion, Healing

Opening: “High above the city, no one heard the soft thud of feathers against glass.  No one saw the bird fall.  No one looked down…except Will.”

Synopsis:  When Will finds a bird with a broken wing lying on the pavement, he gently picks it up and takes it home to care for it.  His  parents help bandage the wing and Will  lovingly feeds and nurtures the bird back to health.  With rest and a little hope, the bird may fly again.

Why I like this book:  Bob Graham’s lyrical tory celebrates the compassion of a small boy for an injured bird.  Graham writes with such simplicity (text is under 75 words) and with double page spreads that show the story with contrasts and beautiful detail.  Many spreads have no words just rich illustrations done in pen, watercolor and chalk.   Children are loving by nature and like caring for injured animals.  They will enjoy pouring over the detail on each page to see if Will is able to save the bird. This is such a touching and uplifting story for children.  Bob Graham is a leading Australian author and illustrator recognized internationally for his work.

Resources:  Visit the Audubon website for activities and resources about birth watching, bird counting at home and at school.  You can even adopt a bird. They have a range of activities for all ages groups that fit the core curriculum.   Visit a pond to teach kids about water birds.  Observe migratory birds in the spring and autumn. Make bird houses, set up bird baths and make winter bird treats.

Every Friday authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  Although PPBF is on a summer break until September, you can still view a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Tugboat

Tugboat9780823428663_p0_v1_s260x420Tugboat

Michael Garland, Author and Illustrator

Holiday House,  Nonfiction, 2014

Suitable for ages: 4-7

Themes: Tugboats do big jobs, Transportation

Opening: “The day begins. The tugboat rests at the dock.”

Synopsis: The red tugboat named the Hudson is docked and waiting for the crew to board. The little boat is ready to do big jobs. It tugs large cargo ships into a port, pulls heavy barges filled with coal or stinky garbage, nudges a cruise ship into port, pulls tall ships and tows a barge carrying the Willis Avenue Bridge.  The tugboat may seem small, but it works in all kinds of weather and is built to do important jobs that other larger boats can’t do alone.

Why I like this book: This is another captivating early reader for children  by Michael Garland. The text is very simple for young children to read to themselves. Kids will also learn about the adventures of the tugboat and the life and the activity of the crew on board.  If you look closely the captain of the tugboat will look very familiar. Children will pour over the double-page spreads of Garland’s colorful digital illustrations. They are stunning, realistic and give children a feel for how important a tugboat is to transportation. Tugboat is a keeper that will be read again and again. Garland has published two other early reader books, Fish Had a Wish and Car Goes Far, which are ideal for kids in preschool and kindergarten.

Resources:  Garland includes a glossary at the end of the many types of boats a tugboat assists. He includes a page about the Willis Avenue Bridge which was towed on a barge down the Hudson River from Albany to New York City.  If you live near a large river like the Mississippi River or along the coasts where tugboats are visible, plan a field trip to show children how hard the tugboats work. Check out Michael Garland’s website for information about all of his books.

Congratulations Susanna Leonard Hill for the 100th Picture Book Friday!!! Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

My Name is Blessing

My Name is Blessing9781770493018_p0_v1_s260x420My Name is Blessing

Eric Walters, Author

Eugenie Fernandes, Illustrator

Tundra Books,  Fiction, 2013

Suitable for ages: 6-9

Themes: Kenya, Poverty, Disability, Orphan Crisis, Hope

Opening: “Muthini watched his grandmother stirring the big pot. He knew there would be not much to eat. But whatever there was would be shared equally among her nine grandchildren. They lined up, oldest to youngest. Muthini was lastUsing the two fingers of his right hand he scooped up some porridge.”

Synopsis: Muthini and his grandmother, Nyanya, live in rural Kenya near the mountains. Nyanya barely makes enough money to support nine orphaned grandchildren. Muthini, whose name means “suffering” is the youngest and was born with no fingers on his left hand and only two on his right. He is teased by others. When he asks his grandmother why he as fewer fingers she tells him “we are each given more of some things and less of others.” ” It is so sad that other children only have ten fingers when you have a larger heart, a bigger brain, and greater spirit.” One day his grandmother realizes that she is too old to help Muthini. She takes him to a special residential home/school for children without families, where he meets the director. Gabriel, looks at Muthini’s hands and only sees his potential. But Gabriel will only accept Muthini if he changes his name to Baraka, which means blessing.

Why I like this book:  Eric Walters’ story is about a real boy named Baraka and his grandmother, Grace. His text is very lyrical and heartwarming. His extraordinary story begins by showing Muthini’s disability as a misfortune.  But Gabriel focuses on Baraka and his great heart and spirit. Baraka is a blessing and not one who suffers.  Eugenie Fernandes’ acrylic illustrations are done in soft browns and yellows hues and capture both the emotion and spirit of the story.  He gives great detail to facial expressions.

Resources: There are five pages of back matter about Baraka and his grandmother. Walters shares information about the Mbooni Region of Kenya — the poverty, famine and disease which leaves 500 children orphaned. He chronicles his 2007 visit with photographs of Grace and her family, their meager living conditions and the region. Walters response to what he sees by founding The Creation of Hope, a residential care center for children. You can read about Eric Walter’s work in the book and on his website. Make sure you check out the page devoted to the Creation of Hope.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

The Little Word Catcher

The Little Word Catcher9781897187449_p0_v1_s260x420The Little Word Catcher

By Danielle Simard, Author

Genevieve Cote, Illustrator

Second Story Press, Fiction, 2008

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes: Grandparents, Memory Loss, Family Relationships

Opening: “Did you know that words could get lost? My Grandmother misplaces her words all the time. She loses them even more often than her keys. Do they fly off just to play tricks on her? I wonder where they go.”

Synopsis: Elise watches her grandmother begin to lose her words. Sometimes her grandmother is sad. annoyed, and frustrated when she can’t remember her words.  Elise is puzzled because her grandmother knew millions of words. Are her words hiding? Can she catch every single lost word in a net and bring them back to her grandmother before it’s too late?  A special bond develops between grandmother and granddaughter.  And Elise decides that her grandmother’s words are wearing out like an old dress. And maybe her grandmother is giving the words they shared to her as a gift.

What I like about this book:  Danielle Simard has written a moving and sensitive story about a girl trying to make sense of her grandmother’s memory loss.  I especially like how Simard allows the girl to come up with her own heartwarming thoughts about memory loss and how she chooses to deal with her grandma. Such beautiful and inspiring text with a loving and satisfying ending.  This is one of the most unusual stories I’ve read about grandparents with memory loss or dementia. I highly recommend The Little Word Catcher if you have aging loved ones with memory issues. Genevieve Cote’s award-winning watercolors are whimsical and emotive. They add some lightness to a serious topic.

Resources: The book alone is a great resource to use to start a discussion with your children when you have aging parents with memory loss. Parents may want to check out the Kids and Teen page of the Alzheimer’s Association and a post from the Carolina Parent blog about Talking to Kids About Aging Grandparents.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

 

 

Visiting Feelings

Visiting Feelings514j9vickLL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Visiting Feelings

Lauren Rubenstein, Ph.D., Author

Shelly Hehenberger, Illustrator

Magination Press,  Fiction, Sept. 28, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Being aware of feelings, Mindfulness,Yoga

Opening: “Do you have a feeling that’s visiting today?/Can you open your door and invite it to play?/Can you ask what it wants, and then check it out?/Welcome it and listen to what it’s about?”

Synopsis from Book Jacket: Visiting Feelings harnesses a young child’s innate capacity to fully experience the present moment. Rather than label or define specific emotions and feelings, Visiting Feelings invites children to sense, explore and befriend all of their feelings with acceptance and equanimity. Children can explore their emotions with their senses and gain an understanding of how feelings can lodge in the body, as conveyed by the common expressions like “a pit in the stomach” or “a lump in the throat.”

Why I like this book: Lauren Rubenstein has written a very poetic and sensitive book that helps children explore their feelings.  I wish I had this book when my daughter was young. She encourages kids to make friends with their feelings, get to know them, and find where they settle in their body. Rubenstein cleverly uses beautiful metaphors like: “Is it bright like the sun?/Dark like the rain?/Or is it a look you can’t even explain?” and “Is it warm or cold?/Sour or sweet?/Does it shiver with fear when the two of you meet?” and “How did this feeling enter your house?/ Did it barge right in!/Was it shy like a mouse?” Shelly Hehenberger’s illustrations are whimsical and dreamy lulling the reader along and adding to the  rhythm of the story. The illustrations are created digitally using hand-painted textures and overlays.

Resources: A clinical psychologist, Rubenstein includes a double- page spread  at the end of  the book with suggestions on how to teach children to practice mindfulness and nurture their emotional intelligence.  It is all about learning to stop and be aware of the moment. This is a wonderful book for parents and educators. She also believes in teaching children yoga.  Proceeds from Visiting Feelings will be donated to the Go Give Yoga Foundation, where she teaches yoga and mindfulness to children and adolescents in Haiti.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Going Places

Going Places9781442466081_p0_v3_s260x420Going Places

Peter and Paul Reynolds

Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Fiction,  Mar. 18, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Creative ability, Go-carts, Race, Imagination, Teamwork

Opening: “Rafael had been waiting all year long for the Going Places contest, a chance to build a go-cart, race it…and win.”

Synopsis: Rafael wastes no time in opening his “Going Places”kit and reads the instructions with a magnifying glass to make sure that he follows the directions precisely to build his go-cart. He peeks over the fence to see how Maya is doing with her cart and finds her perched on top of her kit watching and sketching a picture of a bird in a tree. The next day Rafael checks back and discovers Maya is building a flying machine.  Rafael points out, “that’s not a go-cart.” She replies, “Who said it HAD to be a go-cart?”  Rafael, who really wants to win the race, realizes Maya’s vision and suggests they team up. On the day of the race all the students arrive with their look-alike go-carts. Rafael and Maya are teased about their unusual entry, but they end up soaring to the finish line to a cheering crowd.

Why I like this book: I enjoyed Peter H. Reynolds collaborative effort with his twin brother, Paul A. Reynolds, in this imaginative story about creative ability and thinking outside the box. The text reveals the discovery of new ideas and visions, the importance of teamwork and the joy and wonder of using your imagination to create something unique. Two very different minds working together are a lot more creative and productive than one — a great take-away message for children. Peter’s illustrations have his trademark whimsical appeal, but the artwork for Going Places is very bold, colorful and expressive. The students in the class are multi-ethnic, another signature of Peter and Paul’s interest in appealing to the global family. This is an entertaining and original story for children.

About the authors: Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator of I’m Here, The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, and the North Star.  He’s sold over 20 million books in 25 countries. Paul A. Reynolds is CEO and co-founder (with Peter) of the Boston-based educational media company FableVisionCheck out Peter’s website .

Activity: Encourage children to use their imaginations to  design and draw their own go-carts on paper.  Help them think outside of the box. Perhaps their go-cart resembles a favorite insect, monster, dinosaur, or truck.  Maybe it’s meant to operate on the ground, in the air or underwater.

Resource:  I also recommend teachers and parents check out a special site FableVision and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills have created for educators. It’s called Above & Beyond: The Story of the 4Cs Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books