The World in a Second

TheWorldinaSecond

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Isabel Minhós Martins, Bernardo P. Carvalho

The World in a Second is very high concept and I love it! This is how I describe this book: Bam…BAM…bam…bam…Bammity BAM BAM…oooooh…Bam. The end?

What did you get from that? I’m odd? Why yes, I am but what I attempted to express is how fast-paced this book is. The pace of the book suits the title well because it’s about the passage of time, specifically one second, consecutively, in 23 places around the world with each page showing one second, across every time zone, in no particular order. The world is a flurry of activity and inactivity.

This book is mysterious and it may leave you with several…questions. There are many things to think about and discuss within each page second. I’ve reviewed a similar book called At The Same Moment, Around the World and although it’s also about world time, it’s much slower, makes more an effort to create a narrative and actively teaches children about the concept of “the time zone.” This book does not. It does teach, just in a different way. The scenes are more open to interpretation and reflection and this book is generally more abstract. Also, it’s so beautifully diverse! Lots of people to look at from all over the world!

TheWorldinaMinute2

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Isabel Minhós Martins/Bernardo P. Carvalho

Carvalho’s illustrations are very confident, blocky, detailed and vague. He invites us inside of a busy car in traffic, takes us inside the branches of an orange tree just as an orange falls and we get to observe a man resting quietly. I think children will enjoy the illustrations because they’re so bold and there’s a lot to discover which is great for inquisitive minds.

The World in a Second was originally published in Portugal in 2008. Thank you Enchanted Lion Books for translating and bringing this book to the US for us to enjoy!

P.S. Pay close attention to the last page! 😉

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Discussion, Storyboarding, Imagination, Time Zones, Family, Community, Read-Aloud, Portugal, Animals, Mystery, Colors
Book InfoThe World in a Second by Isabel Minhós Martins/Illustrated by Bernardo P. Carvalho, 2015 Enchanted Lion Books, ISBN: 9781592701575

This Day in June

ThisDayinJune

Image Credit: Magination Press (American Psychological Association), Gayle E. Pitman/Kristyna Litten

What a cool book. The story is very simple but there’s quite a lot to experience if you soak in the illustrations and take time to read the guides at the end. This Day in June celebrates LGBT Pride celebrations and is a vibrant depiction of unity, love and acceptance. From “This day in June, Parade starts soon!” to “All Invited, All Excited” each page shows an aspect of a LGBT pride parade and all the fun, excitement and inclusion that it involves.

Rainbow colors, all types of families, confetti, “Born this Way” signs, people embracing, smiles galore and vibrantly dressed parade goers fill the pages and Litten’s illustrations are so happy and diverse. At the end of the book, there’s a Reading Guide that breaks down every page to give readers more context and information about the history of the parade. I recommend reading these notes because they’re interesting and some references in the story will make more sense after reading them if you weren’t previously knowledgeable. Parents might even consider reading the notes to themselves before reading the story to children to fluff up the presentation while reading aloud.

ThisDayInJune2

Image Credit: Magination Press (American Psychological Association), Gayle E. Pitman/Kristyna Litten

Because this book is published by the American Psychological Association, there’s also a Note to Parents and Caregivers in the back of the book. It discusses how This Day in June can be helpful in promoting discussion about the LGBT community AND there are notes about how to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity to children of various ages. Picture books are always great catalysts for discussion and learning but with these extra tools included, teachers and parents have an extra guide. Get ready for great discussions about important issues of identity, love, expression and celebration!

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Celebration, Parades, LGBT Community, Discussion, Pride Parade, Family, Friendship, Colors, Read-Aloud, Non-Fiction
Book Info: This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman/Illustrated by Kristyna Litten, 2014 Magination Press (American Psychological Association), ISBN: 9781433816581

Bernice Gets Carried Away

BerniceGetsCarriedAway

Image Credit: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group), Hannah E. Harrison

 

In Bernice Gets Carried Away, Bernice gets carried away and gets carried away!

Bernice is in a bad mood and she’s not ashamed about it one bit! Even though she’s at a party, everything is going wrong for her; she doesn’t get a frosting rose on her cake slice, she gets a nasty warm soda and she doesn’t even get to hit the piñata before some big kid bursts it open. It’s just a bad day overall. Suddenly she spots the balloons and decides to make her day better by snatching them before anyone else can but they carry her up up and away! While dangling in the storm clouds, she realizes that it’s better to be nice and her generosity makes her a little lighter.

The illustrations in Bernice Gets Carried Away are gorgeous. Very detailed acrylic paintings accompany the story. From the whiskers on Fox’s face to the tiny details in Bernice’s annoyed expressions, the art is beautiful. Harrison’s use of color is also great; it ranges from gloomy gray hues to a bright, spring pastel palette. The lesson to take away from this book is, it’s okay to be grumpy sometimes (we all have our days) but it’s important to remember to care for others and not get carried away!

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Emotions, Discussion, Animals, Humor, Lessons, Party
Book Info: Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison, 2015 Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin Group), ISBN: 9780803739161

I Need a Lunch Box

INeedaLunchbox

HarperTrophy (HarperCollins), Pat Cummings/Jeannette Caines

Do you remember the feeling of getting a shiny new lunch box for school? Maybe you were pumped to take it to school and show it off; ready to whip it out when the lunch bell rang.  I mean, I’m still pretty excited about my Sailor Moon lunchbox… 😉

I Need A Lunchbox was one of my favorite books growing up because I thought the story was funny and I loved the funky, bright lunch boxes. The story starts out with a young boy who has a case of “lunchbox envy.” See, his older sister is about to start school and she gets a new lunch box but he can’t get one until he starts school. He’s tempted by all the awesome lunch boxes in the store and his sister definitely rubs in the fact that she has a ton of shiny, new school supplies. He’s quite envious and the poor boy starts to dream about a lunch box for every day of the week! I Need A Lunchbox is also great because it introduces some primary colors and days of the week to younger children.

Pat Cumming’s illustrations are delightful, bright and neon-colored fun. She has some GREAT lunchbox designs that I’d buy in a heartbeat; black and white cats on a bright green background? Yes, please! A Whale lunchbox? I’ll take that one as well. I Need a Lunchbox is a cute story about a determined little boy who has great taste in lunch boxes.

P.S. This book *may* be out of print so check online, at used bookstores and your local library!

Recommended for: Toddlers to 1st/2nd Grade
Great for: We Need Diverse Books, Family, Colors, Days of the Week, Siblings, African-American
Book Info: I Need a Lunchbox by Jeannette Caines/Illustrated by Pat Cummings, 1988 HarperTrophy (HarperCollins), ISBN: 9780064433419

Wild Berries

WildBerries

Image Credit: Simply Read Books, Julie Flett

 

Guess what? It’s still Native American Heritage Month! Yippee!  If you didn’t see my first post celebrating this month, please check out my review for Hiawatha and the Peacemaker!

Wild Berries is a sweet little book. Julie Flett is Cree-Metis and lives in Vancouver, BC. Wild Berries is written in English with words translated into the n-dialect (Swampy Cree) of Cree. This particular dialect of Cree is from the Cumberland House area of Saskatchewan. As you enjoy the story, you can also pick up a few Cree words. Flett includes more information about the various dialects of Cree and a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.

In this book, Little Clarence and his grandmother set out for the day, exploring nature and picking all types of berries. Clarence starts out on her back but grows into a boy who is curious about his surroundings. He especially loves big, sour ininimina (blueberries). There are many animals in the woodlands and when his bucket is full of sweet berries, he is sure to leave a few as a gift for the animals…and they are thankful. The readers get a gift as well, Flett includes a recipe for Wild Blueberry Jam at the end of the story.

Flett’s style reminds me of cut paper though it looks to be watercolor and digital illustration. She uses basic shapes to make eyes, arms, animals and trees. The bright red orange sun follows the grandma and her grandson as they enjoy the day together. Maybe you’ll want to go berry picking after reading this book, I know I sure want to!  Come on spring.  🙂

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Diversity, Native American Heritage Month, Cree, Language, Colors, Food Culture, Family, Animals, We Need Diverse Books
Book Info: Wild Berries by Julie Flett, 2013 Simply Read Books, ISBN: 9781897476895

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

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Image Credit: Chronicle Books LLC, Hena Khan/Mehrdokht Amini

 

Islam. Let’s celebrate it through a picture book, shall we?  🙂

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a gorgeously vibrant rhyming picture book. Henna Khan shares her culture and religion with readers in a beautiful way; through teaching colors and showing daily life. The book begins with an intricate red rug that the young girl’s father uses to kneel on and pray to Mecca five times each day. Her mother’s hijab or head scarf is blue. The dates her family eats during Ramadan look so plump and delicious. Each page is a new color and a new aspect of Muslim culture.

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Image Credit: Chronicle Books LLC, Hena Khan/Mehrdokht Amini

 

Sometimes we judge others and their beliefs before taking the time to learn; Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns introduces children to a culture and religion that might be different from their own and aims (and succeeds) to teach. Cultural relativism, understanding and education are important and essential to being a respectful global citizen and this book is a great one for your family’s diverse collection.

Amini’s illustrations are bold. She is inspired by islamic art and her style incorporates collage; real life photographs seamlessly blend into her scenes. I love the large almond shaped brown eyes, the strong noses and lips of the family members. The colorful images in the book will stay with you and after reading, perhaps your family or class will be more interested in learning more about the very old religion that is Islam.

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Colors, Family, Rhyme, Cultural Diversity, Cultural Relativism, Religion, Islam, Community, Vocabulary
Book Info: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan/Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, 2012 Chronicle Book LLC, ISBN: 9780811879057

Awake Beautiful Child

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Image Credit: McSweeney’s, Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Gracia Lam

 

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s new book is sweet and clever. All of her books are very clever so I’m not surprised at how awesome this one is. Awake Beautiful Child follows the day in the life of several children and is an “ABC” book in that she writes the story only using words that begin with the letters A, B and C; “All Begins Cheerily” and leads to “Amusing Breakfast Chatter” with “Apples, Bananas and Cantaloupe.” And so the story continues with several more children as we learn how they spend their day. Rosenthal even begins the book (check the copyright page) with “Alert: Boring Copyright” Haha. Children are also encouraged to look closely at the illustrations to find more words that start with A, B, and C; this book is excellent for multiple readings and exploration.

Lam’s illustrations are very quaint and retro-inspired. For every child’s story, she sticks with a color palate and her illustrations seem to be a combination of screen print, digital and hand drawings. For the human figures, she focuses mostly on profiles, with their large beautiful eyes as the focus. One thing I would’ve LOVED to see in this book is more children and families of color. The story follows multiple children, so it would’ve been very easy to show not only diversity in daily activities but diversity in children’s ethnicities as well. I hope that Lam’s next children’s book is more diverse.

I just might add this book to my favorite “ABC” book list along with Take Away the A. You will enjoy the calm illustrations, the excellent vocabulary (so many great words!) and the thrill of looking for “ABC” words in the illustrations. Be sure to check out Awake Beautiful Child with your child.

Recommended for: Toddlers to 1st/2nd Grade
Great for: ABC Learning, Colors, Family, Vocabulary
Book Info: Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal/Illustrated by Gracia Lam, 2015 McSweeney’s, ISBN: 9781938073922

Always

Image Credit: Templar Books (Candlewick Press)

Image Credit: Templar Books (Candlewick Press), Emma Dodd

Okay, I might get some flack for this but here goes; I think Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is overrated and slightly creepy. Even though I personally feel this way, it’s one of the top selling books for baby showers and because it has been around for a long time, many people have an emotional connection to it. That’s fair, but I always try to introduce Emma Dodd’s books in place of Love You Forever because I believe they are better books.

Always is my favorite. Just look at that precious cover! The story is told by a momma elephant to her mischievous little elephant. She tells her child about all the things she observes about his or her personality and all the silly things he or she does! She lets her child know that no matter what, she will always love them. Well, I absolutely love Emma Dodd’s art style. She really knows how to do cute, and bold and sweet. The digital illustrations in this book also include silver foil which adds an extra level of shiny beauty.

This is a nice gift book not only because of the story and art, but also because the gender of the baby elephant is not specified and cute baby animals are great fill-ins if you’re looking for and can’t find characters that match the ethnicity of the child (it can be hard finding quality baby books that feature children of color but a really good one is Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang).

Be sure to check out the rest of  Emma Dodd’s “Love You” book series: Forever, Everything, When You Were Born, More and More, When I Grow Up, Happy and Wish.

Recommended for: Babies, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers
Great for: Animals, Opposites, Bedtime, Baby Shower, Gift, Colors, Family
Book Info: Always by Emma Dodd2014 Templar Books (Candlewick Press), ISBN: 9780763675448

The Fox and the Star

Image Credit: Penguin Books, Coralie Bickford-Smith

Image Credit: Penguin Books, Coralie Bickford-Smith

This beautifully illustrated and written fable has the potential to be a new classic. It is gorgeous and the story flows with steady confidence and a quiet voice.

Little fox lives alone and gains strength from the star he sees every night. The star is his friend, guides him through life and is his world. But one night his star disappears and everything changes; the poor fox is lost without his dear star. He burrows deep in his den and is almost overtaken by the creeping darkness but…overcomes it. He ventures out to explore the world again. At one point he rests and wakes to find his world changed again, but will he ever find his star?

Image Credit: Penguin Books, Coralie Bickford-Smith

Image Credit: Penguin Books, Coralie Bickford-Smith

The Fox and the Star’s illustrations are exquisite. As soon as you pick up the book, feel the cloth-bound cover and look at the intricate design, you know that you’re in for a treat. The story and the art are well suited. Coralie Bickford-Smith tells Fox’s story through careful words and detailed screen-printed illustrations. There are only a handful of colors used in the book but they make the images very striking. If you appreciate great storytelling and beautiful illustrations, add this book to your collection.

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Discussion, Emotions, Inner Strength, Fable, Colors
Book Info: The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith, 2015 Penguin Books, ISBN: 9780143108672

Dim Sum for Everyone!

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), Grace Lin

Image Credit: Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), Grace Lin

Dim Sum for Everyone is delightful. I previously reviewed the book Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park…can you guess that I love Asian food? 🙂 Grace Lin writes a beautifully simple story about a family enjoying dim sum. It is based on her family’s experiences going to dim sum restaurants while growing up. If you don’t know what dim sum is, don’t worry, this book explains how it works; “Little dishes on carts” and “Little dishes on tables.” Lin also weaves in Chinese words. We learn that Ma-ma (mother) likes sweet pork buns and Ba-ba (father) likes the shrimp dishes. In this way, children are introduced to new words and are learning without realizing it. At the end of the book, she includes more information about dim sum and yum cha (tea drinking) culture.

I recommend the hardcover version of this book because it showcases the illustrations best but the board book is also good for little hands. Bold, contrasting colors make the illustrations stand out. My favorite page shows the dim sum cart ladies lined up in a row against the bright red carpet of the restaurant. Most pages are illustrated as if the reader is sitting at the table with the family and therefore, the book has a very inviting feeling. Are you ready for dim sum? I know I am. Let’s go eat!

P.S. Be sure to check out the endpapers. They celebrate the various ingredients that make up Chinese cuisine and popular dim sum dishes.

Recommended for: Toddlers and up
Great for: Cultural Diversity, Food Culture, Discussion, Colors, Chinese Language
Book Info: Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin, 2001 Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), ISBN: 9780375810824