The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do, Ashley Spires, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Lou is a brave girl who is afraid of very little. She will do anything!
Well, almost anything.
When her friends choose to climb a tree, Lou isn’t so sure. She is scared and uncertain. In addition, she is concerned that her friends will think differently of her because she’s not climbing the tree.
Even though she makes up some pretty fun excuses, her friends never mock or make fun of her. Lou decides on her own to join her friends by watching them have fun. She decides to try to climb the tree.
Spork, Kyo Maclear, Kids Can Press, 2017.
It has been a long time coming, but it has finally happened: The spork is getting its recognition.
This fun, colorful book tells the story of young Spork. Spork’s mother is a spoon and his father is a fork. This makes Spork different from the other kids. He does not fit in with the spoons and he does not fit in with the forks.
This makes Spork sad.
It is not until an occasion arrives when a fork or a spoon will not do. There was a need for “something that was neither spoon nor fork but a bit of both.” The arrival of a baby in the house gives Spork a new-found purpose.
Good Morning Superman, Michael Dahl, Capstone Young Readers, 2017.
The sun rises, bringing with it a new day in the city of Metropolis. With the rising of the sun, Clark Kent transforms into Superman. At our house, a toddler wakes up ready to conquer the day. But before she can leave the house, there are a number of things to do to get ready.
From the creative mind of Michael Dahl, comes another superhero themed children’s book. Similar to his book Bedtime for Batman, Good Morning Superman parallels Clark Kent getting ready for the day with an unnamed African-American boy getting ready for the day.
Finding Your Voice: What Every Woman Needs To Live Her God-Given Passions Out Loud, Natalie Grant, Zondervan, 2016.
Grammy nominated Christian artist Natalie Grant has been a force in Christian music since 1999. As she tells it in her new book, Finding Your Voice, she had what one could call a spiritual awakening during a trip to India. This “pivotal encounter with God,” she says, changed her career.
It was on that trip she came face-to-face with women and girls who were victims of human trafficking. It was this encounter of the image of God in the Other that Grant had her epiphany: She has a voice and her voice has power.
Down to Earth: The Hopes & Fears of All the Years Are Met in Thee Tonight, Mike Slaughter & Rachel Billups, Abingdon Press, 2016.
In this book for the Advent season, pastors Mike Slaughter and Rachel Billups explore what it means for love, joy, peace, and hope to come down to Earth. The book accompanies a four-week Advent study that opens up Christmas to examine how one helpless baby changed everything.
What makes this a great read during Advent this year, is how relevant it is to current events. While it was written before we had two primary presidential candidates or even an election, reading it post-election is food for the soul. Slaughter and Billups acknowledge that we put too much attention on the wrong things. They write, “Or in arguing about things such as red cups, sexual identity issues, who we voted for, and where refugees should go, are we allowing these issues to create dividing lines between us?”
Russel Hoban has written some of the best classics in children’s literature. Bread and Jam for Frances and Bedtime for Frances are two of the most loved.
In 1966, Hoban wrote Charlie the Tramp, illustrated by his wife Lillian Hoban. Charlie is a young beaver who wants to grow up to be a tramp. His parents, much to the dismay of Charlie’s grandfather, allow him to experience the life of a homeless beaver. During this experience, Charlie hears, like young Samuel in the night, the call to his life’s work.
Miss You Like Crazy, Pamela Hall, Tanglewood Press, 2014.
Walnut is a little squirrel who is going to miss his mom when she goes to work. They agree that it would be a lot of fun if he could go to work with her. They imagine the adventures they could share. Even though they cannot have these adventures all the time, Walnut’s mother assures him that he is always on her mind. Together they find ways to have a presence for each other when at work or school.
The story is light-hearted and fun. The illustrations are cheerful and eye catching. Toddler J enjoyed hearing the story, but I think she might have enjoyed the pictures of the squirrel family more.
The Redemption of Scrooge, Matt Rawle, Abingdon Press, 2016.
There are a few things that are a must at Christmastime. The tree with treasured ornaments. The rich aromas of holiday cooking. The time spent revisiting old memories.
For me, Christmas is not complete without watching Christmas movies. At our house, it’s A Christmas Story, Elf, and Christmas Vacation. And some version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. (My favorite is still the Mickey Mouse version.) Dickens’ Carol has captured readers for centuries. His story has been retold on stage, in film and television. Quite possibly because the story of Ebenezer Scrooge is timeless.
The Littlest Star, Richard Littledale, Lion Hudson Plc, 2016.
Have you ever wondered how many stars there are in the great, big sky?
Richard Littledale’s book, The Littlest Star, is the story about the littlest of all the stars. This particular star was not as sparkly or exciting as the other stars, but on one holy night, it had the biggest, most important job of all.
Malala: Activist for Girls’ Education, Raphaele Frier, Charlesbridge, 2017.
In October of 2012, Malala Yousafzai was tossed into the mainstream media after the Taliban attempted to take her life. Malala was targeted because he was a girl receiving an education. Her father was targeted because he not only allowed her to get an education, he ran the school for girls.
After recovering from her injuries, Malala became a force to be reckoned with. She used her young voice to advocate for girls’ education. At the age of eighteen, she became the youngest person awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.