Riley Can Be Anything, Davina Hamilton, The Ella Riley Group, 2017.
Do you remember in grade school being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a fun question designed to get us to think about vocation. There were lofty dreams of going to space or being a vet or a firefighter.
The question would come again during high school and college as we inched closer to the “real world.” It was a question that could be a stressor in its own right.
To be honest, I never felt like, “I don’t know,” was an acceptable answer.
Rev. Jesse Lyman Hurlbut (1843-1930) was a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Born in New York City, Hurlbut pastored churches in New Jersey including in Newark, Montclair, Paterson, Plainfield, Hoboken, Morristown, Orange, and Bloomfield.
Hurlbut was a contributor to the Sunday school and tract work of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He served as secretary of the Epworth League from 1889-1892. He also served as a District Superintendent of the Newark District.
Hurlbut was a prolific writer. His Story of the Bible was written to help children become familiar with the stories of the Bible. These retelling of Old and New Testament stories were written for children ages six and older.
No Room for Baby!, Émile Jadoul, Kids Can Press, 2017.
Leon is a toddler penguin who is not too sure about having a new baby brother. As long as the infant Marcel is in his crib, Leon is okay with him. But once the baby cries, and mom and dad’s attention are taken away, Leon begins describing all the ways in which there is no room for a baby.
The Penguin family lives in a spacious igloo with all the trappings of a human home that would be familiar to a toddler. This familiarity along with the cartoon style illustrations, make it appealing to the listening toddler.
Despite Leon’s hesitantly about Marcel living in his home, Leon does find one place that is big enough for the baby. Leon’s arms are just the right side.
From Far Away, Robert Munsch and Saoussan Askar, Annick Press, 2017.
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.
But what about the children?
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.
The Prayer Box, Jennifer Berry, Dog Ear Publishing, 2017.
Rosetta is a little girl who enjoys spending time with her mother. One day, her mother tells her about the little box that sits on her dresser. It is her prayer box.
Rosetta learns that prayer is a way of talking with God.
But, she is curious about what prayers her mother has put in her prayer box. Eventually, curiosity gets the best of her, and she peeks inside. She is surprised to find that none of the prayers in the box are for her.
Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast: Reflections on Fatherhood, Matteo Bussola, Penguin Group TarcherPerigee, 2017.
Fatherhood, I have learned in the past two years, is a true gift. Sure, there are moments when the whining and the fussing gets a little weary, but hey, we all whine and fuss, right? All of those moments are pushed to the shadows when your little girl climbs in your lap to give you a kiss. Or when she makes a joke and then laughs at herself.
Being a dad has been the best calling on my life.
And it’s one of those callings that you only realize how powerful it is until it happens. I remember church members telling me after it was announced that we were expecting, that my life would never be the same.
After a successful run of VeggieTales in the House, Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and all the other Veggies are setting roots in the city. In the re-imagined VeggieTales in the City on Netflix, the Veggies are ready for a new set of adventures. All the while imparting valuable and inspirational lessons along the way.
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.
Sock Monster, Stacey R. Campbell, Green Darner Press, 2016.
Little Billy is a typical small child. He does not want to pick up after himself. When told he needs to pick up his laundry, he decides to hide the clothing under or in various parts of his room. In an effort to help Billy learn to clean up, his mother tells him a bedtime story about the Sock Monster.
Sock Monster is comical, at best. While there are elements of this story that could be scary for some children, Elizabeth Thieme’s illustrations remind the child and the parent that this is a fun story.
Just Like Jesus Storybook, Stephen Elkins, Wonder Kids, 2015.
This is a neat little storybook perfect for toddlers. It has a lightly padded cover, with bright colors on thick, slick pages. It is a book with a very clear purpose: build good character, as shown by Jesus. Never mind Aseop and his fables, we have Jesus to show us what perfect character looks like.
Each section of the book begins with a theme and a related Bible verse. Then, it guides children to consider different aspects of Jesus’ character with the intention of considering how we might be like Jesus. Some of the ways we can be just like Jesus is to be thankful, responsible, kind, and caring.