The fourteen picture books featured in this posting came my way this summer. A great celebration of art and text with titles that vary in theme (gender identity, dream worlds, war time, bears and pizza!)
by Michael Morpurgo; illus. Michael Foreman
This book, by two British children’s literature masters ,Michael Morpurgro (author ) and Michael Foreman (llustrator) to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee. This treasured book is a celebration of Britain’s longest reigning monarch and beloved world figure. With her passing September 8, 2022, This is A Queen further serves as a tribute to the history and monumental life of a monarch devoted to crown, country and family. This is an exquisite keepsake for past, present and future generations, young and old.
“There once is a Queen ever constant to her people…”
ALL THE COLORS OF LIFE by Lisa Aisato
A richly illustrated collection of wondrous images by one of Norway’s celebrated illustrators. Simple text accompanies lively, atmospheric and cartoon-like characters in rather dramatic full-page pictures that inspire puzzlements and story-making.
Remember being curious?
And how we discovered new worlds…
AND TANGO MAKES THREE by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell; illus. Henry Cole
An important true story about two penguins in Central Park who made history because they were boy penguins who did everything together, fell in love, and made a home where they slept together. This version is accompanied by a compact disc with the story narrated by Neil Patrick Harris. Written in 2005, And Tango Makes Three is a warm story of same sex relationships, which has been challenged and has been on the top ten list of banned literature in some schools and libraries, since it was deemed inappropriate for children. In the book, You Can’t Say That, Justin Richardson tells interviewer Leonard Marcus’ “Abstinence-only education, for example, is the only form of education I can think of that is based on the premise that withholding knowledge is what’s helpful for a child. It obviously makes no sense. But that’s the fear.” (page 158) And Tango Makes Three is a story about family and a story about trying to get something you want – and then getting it.
Tango was the very first penguin in the zoo to have two daddies.
BEAR HAS A BELLY by Jane Whittingham
A great picture book for toddlers with crisp, colourful photographs featuring children and animals in a recognition and celebration of body parts. The simple four line rhymes and repetitive syntax adds to the appeal of this book. Also by the author: Animals on the Move.
Fox has a nose
A black , shiny nose.
Fox has a nose.
I do too!
DINOS DRIVING by Lynn Leitch; illus. Scot Ritchie
Kids who love cars + Kids who love dinosaurs will enjoy this book where each dinosaur (Tricertops, Diplodocus, Carnotaurus) in this book drives a different vehicle (e.g., limousine, motorcycle, bus).
Velocirapator drives a mini car.
Iguanodon drives electric.
GOODNIGHT RACISM by Ibram X. Kendi; Cbabi Bayoc
Ibram X. Kendi, author of bestselling book, Antiracist Baby has written a bedtime book for children heading off to sleep, and dreams and the watching moon. There is a message of justice and antiracism in an imagined world where we can say Good night to injustice, inequality, hate and hurt.
Dream, my child; create my child.
A new world – a new future – awaits.
HEATHER HAS TWO MOMMIES by Leslea Newman; illus. Laura Cornell
This iconic picture book was first published in 1989 (originally illustrated b Diana Souza) and was one of the first (the first?) to introduce Heather, who is the only girl in her class who doesn’t have a daddy, but has two mommies. This picture book was one of the most frequently challenged books of the 1990’s. In the book You Can’t Say That! Newman was interviewed by Leonard Marcus shares her view about censorship: “I am sorry that any child has to grow up knowing that for no reason on earth their family is looked down upon as worthy of scorn or as immoral. It makes me sad and furious and determined to write more books about LGBTQ families, despite some people wishing I would not do so? (page 102)
Each family is special. The most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other.
A MODERN PARENTS GUIDE TO NURSERY RHYMES by Jennifer Griffin
This is not ‘officially’ a picture book but I purchased this little collection of nursery rhymes because it helps to remind parents and teachers about the importance of introducing young people to poetry. I one read a piece of research that suggested that if children had 8 rhymes learned in their head at a young age, it can help lead to literary success. I believe it. The subtitle of this book is “Because its two o’clock in the morning and you can’t remember ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’. This collection of over 70 classic rhymes (some translated into French and Spanish) is a wonderful collection, accompanied with tidbits of information and reading tips and spot illustrations) reminding us of verses, finger rhymes, songs that you might have learned from Mother Goose and will you to others you might not be familiar These poems are worth sharing OUT LOUD one on one or with groups of kiddies. A gem!
If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops
Oh what a rain that would be!
IF YOU DREAM IT YOU CAN DO IT! Colleen Nelson & Kathie MacIsaac;iIllus. Scott Ritchie (nonfiction)
How 25 inspiring individuals found their dream jobs (e.g., Wedad Amiri; clothing designer / David A. Robertson, author / Ismail Ferdous documentary photographer / Dr. Raphael Malbrue, veterinarian/ Stephanie Harvey, gaming expert).
Some people discover their job by accident. For others, the job is a goal they are determined to achieve.
PIZZA: A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli
A terrific non-fiction picture book that celebrates the delight of eating pizza of any kind. The possibilities abound for integrative activities (art, math, research) as readers learn about the history of Pizza (was it the Greeks? the Persians? the Italians?) and Raffaele Esposito who made ‘legendary pies’ for all. This is a yummy yummy book? Grazie a mille, Mr. Pizzoli.
All over the world people love pizza.
But where did it start?
When did it happen?
Who made the first pizza?
ROOM IN YOUR HEART by Hunzang Choden; illus.Pema Tshering
A dear friend gave me two books that she purchased in Buhtan. A little old woman lives in a little house in the mountains. She is alone except for a cat, a dog and a hen. One by one, strangers come to visit (A monk, a courtier, a woman, two men and a donkey and each time, the woman welcomes her guest, squeezing them into the small space and providing them with nourishment. A lovely tale of generosity of spirit. Also by the author: Aunty Mouse.
There will always be room in your home,
as long as there is room in your heart.
THE SUITCASE by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
A beautiful allegory of the immigrant experience that tells the story of a weary stranger who is met with questions from animal citizens who want to learn about the newcomer’s story – especially what is hidden in that suitcase. In the end, a story about acceptance and kindness. This is a book that is worth digging deeper to what may seem like simple storytelling. Wonderful!
A strange animal arrived one day,
looking dusty, tired, sad and frightened.
He was pulling a big suitcase.
WHILE YOU SLEEP by Jennifer Murano; illus. Miki Sato
In lyrical, soothing couplets, author Jennifer Murano offers young children a comforting bedtime book to send them off to dreamland while the natural world prepares for a new day. Miki Satos colourful textured collage art is both simple and rich – and that’s a good thing.
Clouds are stuffed, sewn and mended,
Paints for flowers and feathers blended.
PLEASE WRITE SOON by Michael Rosen and Michael Foreman
A young boy named Bernie, living in London, exchanges letters with his cousin Bernie, a teenager living in Poland. Solly is evacuated and adjusts to life in English countryside. Bernie, is fleeing from the danger Jews faced in Warsaw and is sent to labour camp in Russia. The book is presented as an exchange of letters exchanges information, observations and worries about World War II. Readers learn of historical events such as “Anders’ Army”, the battle of Monte Cassino and the of concentration camps. In this moving picture, inspired by Michael Rosen’s family history, questions about the meaning of war and concerns for survival, freedom and hope are given a heartfelt portrait through epistolary narratives. Michael Rosens’ evocative black and white illustrations (often accented with red) are, as always, remarkable. A beautiful picture book creation.
I remember your mum say, People have to have hope. If we don’t have hope, we have nothing.