New Picture Books, June 2020
Together We Grow by Susan Vaught, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Dynamic illustrations and lyrical text model inclusion and making a difference. This barn full of animals denies entrance to a drenched fox family. But a yellow duckling leaves the barn to comfort the fox family outside. And the other animals soon follow the duckling’s example. “Learn and show together we grow.” As they ALL return to the warm, safety of the barn, even the foxes, we see that many different kinds of animals are now welcome to find shelter in the barn. “Flat or long, screech or song. Slow or quick, lumpy and slick…there is room for us all.”
The Word For Friend by Aidan Cassie
IMMIGRATION & LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE
A must-own, must-read, must-have-in-your-classroom book to show the challenges of learning the dominant language of a culture! Kemela, a pangolin, loves to talk but in her new country, the kids speak a different language which makes her sadly curl up in a ball. Then, a friendly classmate named Ana bridges the language gap by inviting Kemela to cut leaves and make stick puppets. Day after day, Kemela learns more new words and tries her best to communicate — to the cheers of her classmates and her new friend.
The Fabulous Lost and Found and the Little Mouse Who Spoke Spanish by Mark Pallis, illustrated by Peter Brynton
BILINGUAL / MYSTERY
I love this fun book written in Spanish and English SO much — it’s not a translated book but a mix of both languages. A little mouse arrives to look for something missing which he explains to the Mr. and Mrs. Frogs in his language of Spanish. But, Mr. and Mrs. Frog only speak English! The Frogs show the mouse one thing after another in a delightful exchange of language and cooperation. After a lot of searching, a quick cup of tea together, and more pantomiming, they find the mouse’s lost yellow hat. Use the context clues to learn the words of the language that you don’t speak.
Lulu the One and Only by Lynnette Mwhinney, PhD, illustrated by Jennie Poh
RACISM / IDENTITY
A wonderful book about race, identity, and kindness…Lulu is a biracial girl who hates when people ask, “What are you?“ Her big brother explains that he uses a power phrase to answer that question, saying, “I’m magic made from my parents.” Lulu decides to answer with WHO she is, not WHAT she is. She says, “I’m Lulu Lovington, the one and only!” Lulu finds her inner strength and models for readers that they can find their own power phrases, too. Her story also will help readers understand why asking questions about what a person not who a person is simply because of a person’s skin color feels hurtful.
Handa’s Noisy Night by Eileen Browne
Two friends have a sleep over and Hana hears lots of strange sounds — snorts, chattering, rattling, and more. Handa’s friend, Akeyo, explains that it’s just the grown-ups being noisy. We know from the the illustrations that the noises are African animals outside. Beautiful, colorful illustrations and a clever plot that showcases African animals.
Surgery on Sunday by Kat Harrison, illustrated by Shane Crampton
Sunday is having surgery. Straight-forward information gives readers the gist of what she experiences before, during, and after the surgery. For example, you’ll read about getting a hospital gown, starting an IV, and ice chips afterwards. Excellent.
How to Meet a Mermaid by Sue Fleiess, illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
Every hundred years, the mermaids come to shore. And you can meet one if you follow the steps in this book! First, you’ll need to make a crown for her using shells, coral, grass, driftwood, and tumbled glass. If you stand by the ocean, she’ll see you and you can give her the crown, maybe even giving you a fin so you can swim witg her. Rhyming, colorful, and playful, this is sure to inspiring lots of crown making crafts.
Dusk Explorers by Lindsay Leslie, illustrated by Ellen Rooney
FREE RANGE PLAY
An atmospheric slice of life showing free range kids playing around the neighborhood at dusk. Playful, nostalgic, and inspiring.
One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole
Based on the author’s own experience, a boy brings his lunch in a paper bag and he reuses that same bag every day for years…Follow the boy as he grows up, falls in love, gets married, has kids and grandkids, and shares the special bag with his grandchild. The paper bag’s brown with a red drawn heart pops out on each page of exquisite black and white illustrations.
When the Storm Comes by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
A simple, refreshing story that gives clarity to what humans and animals do when bad weather comes and goes. “We find a small, protected space–/A hollow log, a sheltered place.” And also “We bring things in / To keep them dry.” When the storm ends, people clean up and enjoy the change in the weather.
Every Little Letter by Deborah Underwood
KINDNESS / FRIENDSHIP / INCLUSION
In a city built with walls to keep out “different” letters, a little h is curious and peeks out through a crack the wall. She meets an i and together they say, “hi.” At first the big letters filk in the cracks but the little letters persist and they all discover something wonderful about knowing the different letters– friendship, kindness, love. Kids will love how the anthropomorphized letters make words and friendships.
Mayhem at the Museum: A book in pictures illustrated by Luciano Lozano
WORDLESS / MUSEUM / ART
A little girl in blue overalls goes to the museum field trip where the pictures come alive (Van Gogh gives her his straw hat and apples fall out of a still life.) She and her classmates play with the props and characters in whimsical, imaginative fun! Be sure to read the museum sign on the last two pages. What does it say about the art?
Max Explains Everything Puppy Expert by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Deborah Hocking
Max teaches readers the steps for how to get a puppy (ask a lot of times) and what to do when you get one (name the puppy, get a lot of puppy stuff, and teach the puppy.) Puppies are a lot of work, explains Max, but also a lot of love. Which is how Max’s puppy gets the name “Alotta.” How sweet it that?!
Libby Loves Science by Kimberly Derting & Shelli R. Johannes, illustrated by Joell Murray
Libby’s favorite way to do science experiments is by cooking. At school, she learns about chemistry and helps her friends set up a science both for the fall festival. Filled with the ups and downs of trying new things as well as directions for your own experiments (including an ice cream experiment), this is a fun STEM story.
Federico and the Wolf by Rebecca J. Gomez, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri
A boy named Federico rides his bike to the marketplace to buy ingredients for his abuelo’s pico de gallo. In the woods, a wolf asks for spare food. Rico doesn’t give him any and continues on to his abuelo’s tienda. Of course, instead of the abuelo, it’s el lobo in disguise. Quick-thinking Rico tosses chili powder into the wolf’s snout and a habanero into his mouth. El lobo runs away and Rico saves his abuelo. A spicy Latinx retelling of Red Riding Hood!
From My Window by Otavio Junior, illustrated by Vanina Starkoff
This slice of life in Brazil is filled with amazing illustrations! Read about what a boy sees, dreams, and does from his favela window like talking to friends, seeing people patching roofs, and imagining soccer (football) games.
Can I Give You a Squish? by Emily Neilson
A merboy learns to respect people’s physical boundaries (no squishes). This book will be useful in classrooms to teach respecting boundaries.
The Blue Giant by Katie Cottle
While at the beach, the ocean emerges to speak to Coral and her mom, asking for their help. They travel underwater and see the amount of pollution. Back on the beach, they pick up letter. Each day they’re joined by more people who help to pick up the trash. A simple introduction to pollution in the ocean and what we can do about it.
When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox by Jamie L. B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
The boy wanted a dollhouse but grandpa gives him a toolbox. He realizes that he can use his toolbox to build a house for a bird, help a neighbor with her mailbox, and build exactly what he wanted originally — a doll house. This is a special story that defies gender stereotypes, encourages creative engineering, and shows a loving relationship between grandparent and child.
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