Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color by Elizabeth Alexander and Marilyn Nelson

 

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Originally published in: 2007

What it’s about: Poems and biographical notes tell the story of the first school for African American girls in Connecticut and the challenges it faced.

What made me pick it up: It was reviewed by a friend on Goodreads and I had never heard of either the book or the story of Prudence Crandall and her school. Thankfully the library had a copy so I ordered it in.

My favorite things: This book is written in poems and they give powerful snippets of both Crandall’s and the students’ experiences and the backlash they faced trying to get an education. They are difficult experiences which can be hard to read about but the authors work to not only tell the story but also impress upon readers why the students thought getting an education was important enough to risk it. The poems are accompanied by lovely illustrations.

Who it’s great for: Those looking for stories of African American history outside the usual characters.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

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Originally published in: 2010

What it’s about: A little pea who must finish dinner before he can have dessert.

What made me pick it up: Amy Krouse Rosenthal was a prolific author with a distinctive style but I don’t feel like I’ve sampled enough of her work. So I checked this out.

My favorite things: The illustrations are great. It’s like a more mature and subdued Veggie Tales. It was the story that I enjoyed most though. This pea doesn’t like what’s for dinner, and has to force himself to choke it down, even though dinner is CANDY! I enjoyed so much that it tips common child-hates-dinner experience on its head. In the end (spoiler!) Little Pea finishes his candy so he can have his favorite dessert – spinach!

Who it’s great for: Littles who don’t like what’s for dinner or have trouble eating their veggies. Parents who want a brief, humorous story to read.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

Manfish by Jennifer Berne

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Originally published in: 2008

What it’s about: Legendary marine biologist and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau.

What made me pick it up: As a child I was enamored with Cousteau and hellbent on becoming a marine biologist just like him.

My favorite things: The illustrations in this book are fantastic. It’s a great introduction to Cousteau for younger readers. I especially enjoyed how clearly his curiosity came across on the page. Also, I had forgotten he invented scuba! I’m smitten all over again.

Who it’s great for: Fans of Cousteau. Kids who like animals of all varieties, but especially sea creatures. Anyone brimming with natural curiosity.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy of this book at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield

darkOriginally published in: 2017

What it’s about: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield as a young boy who wants to travel to space, but is afraid of the dark.

What made me pick it up: I’m a huge fan of Hadfield. He was so informative and entertaining while in space, and he is such a supporter of science and humanity now that he’s back on the ground. I highly recommend his great TED talk.

My favorite things: I got this as an ebook with narration read by the author, so I got to have it read to me which made it even more fun. I really enjoyed the all-too-familiar kid who is afraid of the dark storyline and how he realizes he’ll have to face that fear to go into space like he dreamed when he grows up. It’s a simple, sweet story.

Who it’s great for: Fans of Hadfield. Kids who dream of being astronauts. Littles afraid of the dark.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find this book on Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

Where Do I Sleep? by Jennifer Blomgren

Originally published in: 2002

What it’s about: A picture book about animals of the Pacific Northwest and where they spend their nights.

What made me pick it up: It had otters on the cover.

My favorite things: This has lovely illustrations and sweet rhymes that provide a catchy method for teaching kids a little bit about nature – mostly the names of baby animals.

Who it’s great for: Fans of otters puffins, moose, wolves or other creatures. Parents looking for a lyrical bedtime story.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy at Amazon (affiliate link) or in your local library.


 

Teacup by Rebecca Young

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A boy is set adrift on an ocean with only his backpack and his teacup of dirt from home.

What made me pick it up: It was on a list of books for children about refugees and the illustrations looked amazing.

My favorite things: I was not mistaken. These illustrations are, exactly as they are described in the cover blurb, stunning. The story of a boy adrift looking for a new land with only the things he can carry is very moving and simply told so that even young children will understand. It reminded me strongly of a children’s version of The Life of Pi, but this focused much more on hope.

Who it’s great for: Fans of beautiful illustration. Parents who want to talk about refugees with their children.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Pick up a copy at Amazon (affiliate link) or are your local library.


 

The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora

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Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: A little boy and his brother visit the library for a quiet Saturday of reading, until a monster turns up.

What made me pick it up: I had placed Chris Hadfield’s children’s book The Darkest Dark on hold and OverDrive recommended this to me instead. It sounded good enough, and it was available, so I checked it out.

My favorite things: As a librarian I am always intrigued by books about libraries, and this picture book was no different. I really enjoyed the little boy helping the monster learn how fun reading and storytime are. Also there are donuts. Who can resist?

Who it’s great for: Library lovers of all ages. Littles who want to see a character who enjoys library visits, reading, and storytime as much as they do.

Erica’s rating: four-shells


Find The Not So Quiet Library and The Darkest Dark at Amazon (affiliate links) or your local library.