Emma Dodd's picture books are among my favorite to read with my kids. My latest favorite is, Happy, the story of a Mama Owl and her happiness with her babies. The beautiful illustrations with occasional metallic accents always grab our attention. The rhyming, joyful text comforts us when we're grumpy because it's almost time for bed. The sweet, but not achingly sweet, storyline brings us closer together as we read. I know my children will cherish these titles when they leave my house and I'm grateful we get to share them while they are young. For a complete list of Emma Dodd's titles, check out our catalog.
Author and illustrator Emily Gravett has written another book featuring that likeable pair, Bear and Hare.
In Bear & Hare: Where’s Bear?, the duo play hide and seek and unfortunately it’s Bear’s turn to hide. After counting to ten, Hare has no problem finding Bear as he attempts to conceal himself in places that are far from obscure. Bear is just too large!
Then it’s Hare’s turn to hide while Bear counts to ten. Bear has a much more difficult time finding Hare. He looks in the teapot, under the rug, and under the blanket. Bear gives up and decides that a quick nap is in order. He curls up under the blanket, while Hare, comes out the other end. Now Hare is once again looking for his friend Bear. Finally, after checking all of Bear’s previously ineffective hiding spots, Hare states loudly “I WANT BEAR!” Bear comes out from underneath his blanket and they reunite with a big hug. There! They’re back together once more, and all is well with the world!
A sweet and endearing story which is sure to please any preschool child. Wonderful whimsy!
I highly recommend No Ordinary Sound by Denise Lewis Patrick. The story introduces Melody Ellison, the latest addition to the American Girl historical dolls line BeForever. Reading it transported me back to my childhood growing up in Detroit during the 1960s. It is a wonderful read and I was so impressed with all the authentic references to the city and the time period.
Melody is a talented 9-year-old who loves to sing. Her story unfolds as she tries to balance her youthful dreams with the harsh realities of growing up during the Civil Rights Era. After Melody is chosen to sing a solo at her church recital, she experiences set-backs at home, in her community, and in her country.
The author has written a true classic here. I can't wait for the Melody Ellison doll to debut this summer. I just might find myself standing in line at a mall somewhere.
“Just like a porcupine, he had two places to sleep. Both were safe and both were good. Some days were house days and some days were
apartment days. But both were home.” This short chapter book is about Max and his
dad as they find their way when divorce requires some things to change. Weekends with Max and His Dad is a sweet, honest, funny story.
If, like me, you're thinking about Summer Reading at the Library then you might also be thinking about robots. And if you're thinking about robots, why not read stories with robots? Little Robot is a brief but pretty great graphic novel by Ben Hatke, creator of the New York Times bestselling Zita the Spacegirl graphic novel trilogy.
Little Robot gets a little lost during delivery from the robot factory until being discovered by a youngster who turns out to be a good friend indeed. There's not a lot of text in this graphic novel set in the outdoors in a junkyard, a robot factory, and places in between. The rich illustrations and sparse text tell a story of curiosity, friendship, and redemption. Next up: The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.
To say that Ashley Bryan has been around for many years is
an understatement. After all, he is only 92. His work has been recognized by
many and he has been the recipient of many awards. The book Ashley Bryan’spuppets: making something from everything is not only full of amazing, clever
and unique puppets but also full of great and thoughtful prose.
Ashley Bryan grew up in NYC during the depression. He and
his sister started salvaging for things they could reuse at a young age. He
made his first puppet at age eleven. His puppets are made from tangled fishing
nets, weathered bones, sea glass, and driftwood….whatever else he can find. He sees
possibilities in all things. His characters and poems include Anansi: the
trickster and storyteller, Kwesi: conquering strength (who looks like an
elephant) and Animata: good character (made of shells and an upside down champagne
glass as a crown).
Jojo: his storyteller
In every finger of my glove I tap
tall tales of peace and love
The fingers of my well-gloved
hands store stories told in foreign lands.
I wish I could share every amazing and unique picture. But
that would get me into trouble so I will suggest that you read this or one of
his other fantastic books and you’ll see what I mean.
When Cecil the lion was killed in July 2015, the event precipitated a huge outpouring of grief, anger and disgust among people from all over the world. Cecil was a protected lion who was lured out of his safe haven, the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Africa, by native hunting guides for the express purpose of letting Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist by vocation and a misguided, self-styled big game hunter by avocation, shoot him dead. Cecil was killed in cold blood only to satisfy an American dentist’s craving to be surrounded by dead animal trophies.
Shortly after the news of Cecil’s demise spread, numerous protests erupted led by conservation groups, animal advocates and just common folks. The anger and sadness resonated and lingered on for more than a month after the careless killing.
However, one positive outcome was a huge surge in donations for animal conservation efforts. Even celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel spoke out against the senseless slaughter and helped raise over $150,000 to aid preservation. Jane Goodall the world renowned primatologist simply stated, “I have no words to express my repugnance.”
The authors of Cecil’s Pride: The True Story of a Lion King are a father and his two daughters, the Hatkoffs. They wrote this children’s book not to dwell on his sudden and inhumane death, but rather to celebrate through narrative a life that was well lived. Photographs by Cecil’s human friend Brent Stapelkamp, underscore the beauty and fullness of his time on earth. Taken over the course of nine years, Brent, a wildlife researcher, tracked, and documented Cecil as he wandered about in the forests and plains of Hwange Park.
Since lions defend their pride and territory against other lions who challenge them, it was known that Cecil was challenged by a long-time rival named Jericho. They fought to see who would gain control. But when other male lions started moving into their domain, something unusual happened; Cecil and Jericho formed an alliance against the interlopers!
After Cecil’s sudden death, it was feared that Jericho would either abandon or kill Cecil’s cubs to start his own family, which is usually the case when the male head of the pride dies. However, in this case another astonishing turn of events came to be when Jericho took in Cecil’s cubs to raise them as his own.
This is a wonderfully touching true story with vivid photos that proclaims that Cecil’s legacy will live on.
Facts about lions as well as the global impact of Cecil’s death are included. New laws and regulations about illegal hunting of lions as well as other endangered species is a hopeful sign that conservation efforts will improve and protect these majestic animals. But as is usually the case, only time will tell if they still have a chance.
This historical pioneer fiction novel for children takes place in Western Wisconsin during the 1860s. It is a story about eleven year old Caddie (Caroline Augusta) Woodlawn who lives with her parents John and Harriet and six siblings. Caddlie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink, is based on the true story of her grandmother, Caddie Woodhouse. You can visit a park and see exactly where Caddie once lived: http://www.dunnhistory.org/sitecw.html.
The Woodlawn’s moved from Boston seven years earlier, but Mr. Woodlawn was born and raised in England. Caddie is a tomboy and she hangs out with Tom, who is two years older and Warren, who is two years younger, all three are red-headed like their father. They are three jolly comrades in search of adventure in frosty weather or sunshine. She has an elder sister Clara and younger sister Hettie who prefer to stay at home and help mother with quilting or sewing or jelly making. Minnie and Baby Joe complete the family. Another child, little Mary, had died after they came from Boston, and daddy tried an experiment whereby he wanted little Caddie to run wild with the boys. “Don’t keep her in the house learning to be a lady. I would rather see her learn to plow than make samplers, if she can get her health by doing so. I believe it is worth trying.” (p.15). Uncle Edmund from St. Louis arrived on the Little Steamer which came up the Monomonie River once a week as far as Dunnville. Its arrival was a great event, for all the letters from the East and all the news from the great world, most of the visitors and strangers and supplies, came up the river on the Little Steamer. The Little Steamer travels down the Monomonie River to the Chippewa, down the Chippewa to the Mississippi, down the Mississipi to St. Louis.
In 1935 this adventurous book was awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
There are many events and characters who bring the story alive. Some of the people in the story are: Mr. Tanner, the Circuit Rider; Uncle Edmund from St. Louis, Cousin Annabelle from Boston; Indian John and his dog; Miss Parker the teacher at the one room schoolhouse, and of course, the school children, and the Woodhouse family dog, Nero the sheepdog.
When Joseph and
his mother make the long journey from a refugee camp in Kenya to America, he
brings along his fascination with bicycles. Although there is much about his new neighborhood that Joseph doesn’t
understand, he does know a good bike when he sees one. Joseph’s
Big Ride is a story about making new friends, trying something different,
and the simple joy of riding a bike.
Gene Luen Yang, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2015-2016, issued a challenge to readers called Reading Without Walls. Yang writes on his blog:
"I want every kid - every reader, really - to explore the world through books. Books have played a vital role in getting me outside of my comfort zone. I believe they can do the same for you. As National Ambassador, I issue you a challenge! I challenge you to read without walls in one of three ways:
1. Read a book about a character who doesn't look like you or live like you.
2. Read a book about a topic you don't know much about.
3. Read a book in a format that you don't normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.
If you really want to go for the gold star, read a book that fits all three criteria! When you finish, take a photo of you and the book (or just the book if you're shy) and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls. You'll inspire others to do the same!"
This challenge inspired me to finally read a book I'd checked out, but hadn't opened yet. I initially picked up the picture book Surfer of the Century: The Life of Duke Kahanamoku because I thought the cover illustration looked nice and I didn't know much about surfing. I'd never heard Duke Kahanamoku's name before and knew nothing about his story. Kahanamoku lived a truly incredible and inspiring life. He won six Olympic medals for swimming, introduced the Hawaiian sport of surfing to people throughout the world, acted in over ten films during the 1920s and 1930s, and served as Honolulu's sheriff for 26 years.
In 1960, Kahanamoku was appointed Hawaii's official Ambassador of Aloha. He said, "In Hawaii we greet friends, loved ones or strangers with Aloha, which means with love. Aloha is the key word to the universal spirit of real hospitality, which makes Hawaii renowned as the world's center of understanding and fellowship. Try meeting or leaving people with Aloha. You'll be surprised by their reaction. I believe it and this is my creed. Aloha to you."
Kahanamoku was born in Honolulu in 1890, before the United States' illegal annexation of Hawaii. He passed away in 1968, nearly a decade after Hawaii became the fiftieth state. This book and his story showed me how little I know about the history of Hawaii, and now I can't wait to learn more.
I'm looking forward to checking out:
Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku
Captive Paradise: A History of Hawaii
Paradise of the Pacific: Approaching Hawaii