When you open a children’s book, it’s not fair to expect the characters to be ready every time. This is especially true if it’s by Hervé Tullet, the New York Times best-selling author of Press Here. When you open the equally inventive Help! We Need a Title!, you find a princess and a pig tossing a ball together until they notice that you, the reader, have arrived. “Hey! Someone’s watching us! . . . And they’ve opened our book!” The full cast of characters appear and realize that—of course—you would like a story.
Three picture books about racing use the excitement of competition to introduce themes of cooperation, collaboration and sharing.
For the first time ever, it will just be Adam, his mom and his aging grandmother at their cabin on Three Bird Lake. His parents have recently divorced, and although it will be a different kind of summer, 12-year-old Adam looks forward to escaping the routine of school, sitting on the dock by himself and watching the loons. But his grandmother has other ideas and decides he should learn to canoe around the lake by himself.
The Farmer’s Away! Baa! Neigh!, written and illustrated by Anne Vittur Kennedy, uses rhythmic animal sounds and clever drawings to show that “when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”
Firefly July is something quite special. Thirty-six very short poems, selected by poet and anthologist Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet, take us through the four seasons. There's no better way to introduce little ones to the short poems of Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Richard Wright and more.
We asked Janeczko and Sweet about their favorite poems from Firefly July:
“Tap TAP, dark clouds. Tap TAP, damp air.” Better run for cover. There’s a storm coming, and author Elizabeth Bluemle brings it to us with style. Using short, rhyming sentences, we readers are right there in the burgeoning storm with a cast of characters about to get drenched.
Ava Lavender was born with a pair of wings. Her twin brother, Henry, rarely speaks and hates to be touched. In the rainy Seattle spring of 1944, these two siblings become the newest members of a family already known for its mysterious powers: Their grandmother can smell feelings and bake them into bread; their great-aunt once turned herself into a canary to attract the attention of her ornithologist beau; and their murdered great-uncle haunts his family in the hopes of delivering an important message.
At the risk of jinxing it, Kate DiCamillo is on a lucky streak. After being named as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature (2014-2015), Camillo snagged her second Newbery Medal, for her hilarious and heartwarming middle grade novel, Flora & Ulysses. It's the story of a cynical 10-year-old girl who learns a thing or two when she befriends a strange poetry-writing squirrel. Our reviewer loved it: "Like all of DiCamillo’s books, Flora & Ulysses is filled with adventure, but also plenty of humor and soul." We asked DiCamillo a few questions after she heard the news.
Remembering the sacrifices and successes of African Americans—from unexpected champions of civil rights to talented performers who dreamed big—is one of the most inspiring ways to celebrate Black History Month. If we keep teaching our children well, racism just may someday be a thing of the past.
The Nowhere Box, from debut author/illustrator Sam Zuppardi, is an invigorating tribute to the power of a child’s imagination. In it, we meet George. He has two little brothers, and collectively they ruin his playtime. They deface his painting; the ball in their tossing game lands on his head; they wreck his train tracks; and they follow him everywhere. But have no fear! The delivery man...