We do not have to look far to see just how broken the world is. It seems that almost daily the news is reporting on another shooting, another disaster, another event that gives us pause. It could be argued that the world is broken because we who make up the world are broken too.
It is in this context that Steve Wiens writes his beautiful and relevant book Whole. Wiens is not afraid to call attention to the jagged edges of his own life, and the world.
Since reading his book, I have been following him on Twitter, and he does the same there. The Wiens we meet in the pages of Whole seems to be the real thing.
Margriet Ruurs and Pedro Covo give a fresh look at some of the planet’s largest land mammals – the elephant.
Ruurs brings to the pages the real-life story of a Zambian boy Aaron who discovers an infant elephant in the Lion’s Lodge swimming pool. Thanks to Aaron’s attentiveness and efforts, the young elephant is rescued and taken to a local elephant orphanage.
Aaron is able to make a connection with the elephant that others are not. Grieving the death of his father Aaron can relate to the orphaned elephant. The boy finds himself growing up sooner than other boys in his village. The elephant has likely lost its mother to poachers. The elephant and the boy have to figure how to do life differently.
Middle Bear is the second of three brothers. When the brothers go out into the forest to do various errands, Middle Bear is either too big or too small to be of any help. His older and younger brother both seem to be the right size. But Middle Bear seems to always be in the middle.
He seems to go unnoticed. And he longs to be different, to be as special as his brothers.
Susanna Isern’s little book is perfect for children to may seem that there is no place for them. And it is great for helping children experience some empathy for the child who reads alone or who cries because of his or her sadness.
Love You Always, written by Eileen Spinelli with illustrations by Gillian Flint, is the latest gift book for new babies or for Christmas. The verses are gentle and the repetition is soothing. The book aims to communicate to the child that he or she is loved – always – but a host of family members. Mostly by Mama and Daddy.
But other family members are included. Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, and Uncle. Counsin and family friend even get a shout out. At first, this inclusion of extended family members is great. It is often rare to see Auntie and Uncle included in a children’s book. While the book seems to include a lot of the family tree, there is no inclusion of siblings or step-parents.
At our house, we are in the midst of potty training. We have set a sticker system so that everytime Toddler J uses the potty, she receives a sticker. Once her sticker card is full, we take a trip to the Dollar Tree and she picks out one item (toy, coloring book, etc.)
During this phase of life, we are interested in books about using the potty. Something you never quite appreciate until you are a parent.
Anita Bijsterbosch’s board book My Potty is yet another book in this help-the-parent-out genre. While My Potty is no Daniel Tiger, it is a fun read. The illustrations are fun and bright. The animals in the story was a plus for Toddler J.
And the story of Little Pea begins. Little Pea is a tiny little, light-skinned human being the size of a pea. He never gets taller than half the length of a normal pencil.
Even though he is small, Little Pea does not let his smallness keep him from doing things. He climbs a lego tower. Little Pea rides a grasshopper as if it were a small horse. He reads and teaches himself how to swim.
For a number of years we have heard about the refugee crisis. Or, according to others, the immigrant crisis. We have seen the images of war torn areas that families are seeking refuge from. We have voiced outrage on social media when the most troubling images of children were brought to our attention.
From Far Away provides such a perspective. Seven-year-old Saussan Askar writes a letter about leaving her war torn country and what life is like in her new country.
Mike (M. J.) Thomas was looking for a book for his nine-year-old son to read that would teach the Bible in a fun way. Unable to find such a book, Thomas decided to write it.
The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls is that book, while books. The first in this new series is, appropriately, The Beginning, a good book for children ages eight to ten.
Peter, 9, and his 10-year-old sister, Mary (who was adopted from China), along with their smart dog, Hank, are sent to stay with Great-Uncle Solomon while their parents travel to Africa. Fearful of spending more days bored than entertained, the children wander through the old house.
Edmond Bigsnout is a hungry wolf. He leaves the forest and heads to the big city to find himself a “grain-fed, silky rabbit.” He enters an apartment complex and finds the name of Max Omatose, miniature rabbit. It seems perfect.
Each time Edmond attempts to “prepare” his meal, a neighbor in the apartment building has a need for Edmond’s tool – his chainsaw, his rope, even his big pot. Each time Edmond shares his item and rides his bicycle back to the forest to get something else.
Finally, mistaken as the new neighbor in the building, he is invited to the roof. There all the neighbors who borrowed things from him were there, having a cook-out for him, the new neighbor.