Martin Luther King: The Peaceful Warrior, Ed Clayton, Candlewick Press, 2017.
During a road trip one summer, Megan and I made a stop in Birmingham, Alabama. There, we went to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. As we walked through the museum, retracing the steps of the Civil Rights Movement, we walked pass Martin Luther King Jr.’s jail cell where he wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Crowded with large families, summer school programs, and other vacationers like us, the Institute was challenging to navigate. I noticed a museum employee pulling a cart through the crowd, politely asking people to make a path for him. On the cart was a bench. I watched as the employee took the concrete bench to the Birmingham jail cell.
The Elephant Keeper: Caring for Orphaned Elephants in Zambia, Margriet Ruurs, Pedro Covo (illustrator), Kids Can Press, 2017.
Margriet Ruurs and Pedro Covo give a fresh look at some of the planet’s largest land mammals – the elephant.
A True Story
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.
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 Secret of the Hidden Scrolls, Book One: The Beginning, M. J. Thomas, Worthy Kids, 2017.
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.
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.
Daddy’s Girl is a new picture book from author Helen Foster James and illustrator Estelle Corke great for children ages 2-5. Jame’s rhymes make the story of a little girl preparing her tea party approachable for young ears. Corke’s illustrations make use of pink and yellow as the primary colors, ensuring that each page is bright and colorful.
As the little girl, whose accessorizing includes a crown, pearls, and a boa, has tea with her teddy bear and Daddy, she realizes she has more than enough to share with others. She invites other stuffed animals to the tea party. The story concludes with a father and daughter hug, as the daughter expresses, “I love that you are here.”
Wade’s Wiggly Antlers, Louise Bradford, Kids Can Press, 2017
Wade is a young moose who enjoys playing with his friends. One day, while playing, his antlers begin to feel a little wiggly. When the wiggle doesn’t stop, Wade hurries home to his mother, who reminds him that he will loose his antlers, but new ones will grow.
Even though Wade and his mother had talked about the change that Wade would experience, he is still worried about it. He chooses not to play with his friends in an effort to keep his antlers. Then, once he looses them, he feels freer. He is able to do things he was not able to do before, like win at hide and seek.
Stop Feeding’ da Boids!, James Sage, Kids Can Press, 2017
Swanda is new to Brooklyn. If you have ever been to Brooklyn, you will know that it is full of diversity, thick accents, and pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. Swanda, a compassionate little girl, sets up some feeding stations on her fire escape to feed the birds.
And it works. The birds come!
Things get a little chaotic on the city block with all the birds. The cooing assembly leaves their mark on the sidewalks and neighbors. The reality of what is happening reveals itself in a double-page spread featuring the amazing talent of illustrator Pierre Pratt. In vibrant pastels the reader is faced with an array of birds, feathers, and round, yellow eyes against the accents of the fast-moving city life.
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.