Here are a few more books from March 2022 and a lot of wonderful picture books from the last year that I missed. Enjoy!
Carrimebac: The Town that Walked by David Barclay Moore, illustrated by John Holyfield
Brilliant storytelling with a classic folktale feel…Rootilla Redgums and her peculiar grandson, Julius strolled into Walkerton, Georgia on a hot, sweaty afternoon. Surrounded by White towns that wouldn’t do business with the Black townsfolk of Carrimbac, Rootilla changes that by teaching the Black townspeople to weave rugs that never wear out, to bake ceramic jugs that never empty of sarsaparilla, and to carve wooden walking sticks that somehow never get you lost in the woods. Outsiders grow fearful and angry– and soon a mob of Fearful Folk arrive in white sheets with blazing torches. What happens next is nothing short of magic and righteousness but you’ll have to read the story to find it out how Julius and his duck save the town.
Miguel’s Community Garden by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Samara Hardy
Explore the garden with Miguel in this interactive story while he searches for a sunflower. As you search, compare what you know about sunflowers with the other plants in the garden. You’ll learn about plants like artichokes, cherries, mulberries, spinach, and more. Finally, you find a tall flower with yellow petals, a round center, smooth green, and pointy leaves — you’ve found the sunflower! This is a delightful, educational introduction to plants in a garden with compare and contrast thinking.
Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers: A Story Inspired by Loujain Alhathloul by Lina Alhathloul & Uma Mishara-Newbery, illustrated by Rebecca Green
Loujain wants wings so she can fly like the boys and her dad. And her baba agrees, teaching her to spread her wings and fly. Her example inspires more girls to fly, also. It’s a symbolic story about females being allowed to do what boys do, too. The authors’ note and back matter explain the unfair treatment of women in Saudia Arabia including getting arrested for driving a car. Readers will consider gender equity and the differences in culture then consider what they’ll do with their own wings — and how to give wings to others.
Lunch Every Day by Kathryn Otoshi
POVERTY / BULLYING / INFERENCE
This is a story about a boy who, day after day, steals another boy’s lunch. In a surprising turn of events, he gets invited to the boy’s birthday party and that boy’s mom gently approaches him. In another surprise, the mom tells the boy that she will make him a second lunch. Read between the lines (infer) –what do you notice about the boy’s family life that might make him behave the way he does? Do the mom’s actions surprise you?
Snow Angel, Sand Angel by Lois-Ann Yamanaka, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky
Claire lives in Hawaii so when she gets an assignment to write about the season of winter, she’s sad that she has never seen snow. Her dad helps her find snow at the top of the tallest mountain in the world (measured from the seafloor to summit) but she doesn’t even have mittens for throwing snowballs. She imagines that someday she’ll see snow, build a snowman, and have winter clothes. Later on, her family visits a Hawaiian beach where they make a sandman and sand angels. Claire suddenly realizes the beauty all around her.
Magic Like That by Samara Cole Doyon, illustrated by Geneva Bowers
HAIR / FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
This girl has magic hair with personality which imbues her with strength, no matter what the style! Sometimes it’s mischievous and turns and coils, moving like a million ocean currents. “Braided, it dangles gently around my face like long vines tumbling from a garden trellis–woven tightly, swaying loosely, flexible, but unbreakable. My hair is strong like that.” I love the writing that exemplifies figurative language with similes, personification, and sensory images.
Whale Fall Cafe by Jacqueline Sewell, illustrated by Dan Tavis
WHALES / LIFE CYCLE
What happens when a whale dies? It’s food for other sea creatures. The writing contains strong verbs, larger text to emphasize certain words, and an abundance of facts. I’ll admit that I found it gross. Maybe that’s a good thing for some readers? “Within hours, hagfish cover the whale’s corpse, burrowing inside, devouring flesh as they go.”
How to Help a Cupid by Sue Fliess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with this cute, rhyming story about a group of kids helping a cupid stuck in a tree — and show him how to craft Valentine’s Day crafts.
Five Sisters by Stephanie Campisi, illustrated by Madalina Andronic
An old man and an old woman desperately want children but never have their own. One day, a magical tree gives the old man its branches from which he carves five colorful wooden nesting dolls. The dolls bring the couple joy and companionship. Then when the worst happens and a wolf attacks, the tree helps them again. Magically, one of the dolls becomes a real girl. Gorgeous Russian-style artwork.
Brave As a Mouse by Nicolo Carozzi
FRIENDSHIP / KINDNESS
Fish and Mouse are friends so when the cats try to eat Fish, brave Mouse leads the cats on a chase away from the fishbowl. Mouse returns to Fish with more mice. They put Fish in a teacup and carry the cup to a lake where they give Fish freedom. Simple text and gorgeous illustrations plus a kindhearted message.
The Water Princess by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
WATER / AFRICA
Princess Gie Gie’s kingdom is the African sky the dusty earth– she can play hide and seek with the wind and dance in the wild grass but can’t make the water run clearer or come closer. So, every day, she wakes to walk with her Maman to collect water. They sing and laugh and stop at a giant Karite tree for snacks– then continue to the river. Soon it’s time to fill their pots and return home shoulders aching. Finally, Gie Gie gets a small drink of water. Helpful back matter explains the plight of communities with no access to clean water.
Thank You, Neighbor! by Ruth Chan
Use this picture book to teach your preschoolers and kindergartners about community…A little girl and her dog walk through the neighborhood. As they see neighbors and workers young and old, the girl says hello or thank you. She reminds readers that it’s important to slow down and to say thank you to others.
The Sour Cherry Tree by Naseem Hrab and Nahid Kazemi
DEATH OF A GRANDPARENT
Baba, an Iranian poet, dies and the girl goes to his home with her mother to remember him in each room, ending up in the backyard where she crunches the cherries on the ground fallen from the sour cherry tree. Beautiful, sensory writing that reads like a memoir. “There’s a crumpled up tissue on his nightstand. Smudgy eyeglasses. A picture of my mom and BAba Bozorg standing under the sour cherry tree. The tree looks small, and so does my mom.”
Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter, illustrated by Oge Mora
In this building, noisy kids and cats and parrots wake each other up–then slowly everyone falls back asleep. The noises give us a lovely atmospheric feel and we get a strong sense of relationships and community. “Back in their sleeping bags, Cairo, Benny, and Miles closed their eyes and listened to the shhh shhh, the plonk plonk, and the ting ting of the wind chime.” This is an onomatopoeia bedtime story that begs to be read aloud!
Lia and Luis Who Has More by Ana Crespo, illustrated by Giovana Medeiros
MATH — MEASUREMENT, COUNTING, ESTIMATION
Set in Brazil, these siblings wonder who has more snacks. Lia has two and Luis has 100 but it’s not that simple. First, they weigh their snacks and then determine who has more — and how they can make it equal so they can both have an equal share. A lovely introduction to Brazilian words and foods and measurement.
Bracelets for Bina’s Brothers by Rajani LaRocca, illustrate by Chaaya Prabhat
To celebrate the Raksha Bandham holiday, Bina makes bracelets for her brothers meant to keep them safe. First, she surveys her brothers’ preferences for colors. Then, she makes bracelets with their favorite colors in patterns by problem-solving. Gorgeous artwork and likable main characters make this math-infused story a fun way to learn.
A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
An Indian girl shares about her beloved hard-working parents — her Abba dying threads and her Ammi weaving the threads at the loom into saris. The girl wishes her Ammi could own one of the beautiful saris that she makes instead of selling them. So, she and her sister work hard to make enough money to buy a sari for her Ammi. Use this as a mentor text for personal narrative, voice, and kindness.
The Sunshine Squad by Jamie Michalak, illustrated by Lorian Tu
The lesson in this book is that we can all be heroes, even the youngest and smallest because kindness is a superpower, too.
Sophie and the Tiny Dognapping by Jamie Michalak, illustrated by Lorian Tu
JEALOUSY / STEALING
Sophie is jealous of her friend Mia’s dollhouse and its dog. Sophie wants that dog so she steals it — and then feels guilty. Sophie’s worried she’ll get in trouble, but she decides to admit the truth and return it. Her friend Mia forgives her and reminds her that everyone makes mistakes.