My first thought when seeing the titles of these books was, “I love books about airplanes!” Well . . . now I love books about flies . . . as in insects. These three books for very young readers will open their eyes to the joys and challenges of being a reviled critter in a butterfly world.
National Poetry Month is the perfect time to introduce young readers to the joys of verse and rhyme. These three new picture books—from treatises on treats to a collection of kid-friendly masterworks—are filled with reflection, adventure and just plain silliness.
When Charlie “Bird” Parker and John “Dizzy” Gillespie played music together in the 1940s, they forged a new kind of music—bebop. Gary Golio’s new picture book, with exuberant illustrations by Ed Young, is a lively tribute to the form.
Welcome to the Neighborwood by master paper craftsman Shawn Sheehy is at once a breathtaking work of interactive art and a fact-filled exploration of the great outdoors. Young readers learn about the habits and survival skills of seven different creatures through pop-up models of the places they call home. Each burrow and nest bursts from the page in 3-D form, and Sheehy complements these visual astonishments with information about each animal. In easy-to-absorb prose, he explains the ways in which they adapt to the wild, construct homes and flourish.
Owls are stealthy predators known to swoop through the night to surprise unsuspecting prey. This isn’t quite the case with Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise. In this clever book for preschoolers, Hoot is as cute as can be, with bright, bold and simple illustrations by French artist Jean Jullien.
Eleven-year-old Ari Hazard is living in the shadow of her mother’s dying wishes: She must get into the prestigious Carter middle school and stick by older brother Gage no matter what. When Gage has a falling out with their guardian, he takes to the streets with Ari in tow. Staying with friends and occasionally at a juvenile shelter, they do the best they can, but the stress is overwhelming.
It’s hard to know what to do about Black History Month. On one hand, it might be the only time of year that schoolchildren will learn about the important moments and people in black history that shaped our country and world. On the other hand, one month seems paltry when there are so many stories. This year, when the news of Ferguson, Missouri, #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #BlackLivesMatter were trending issues that only the most out-of-touch could ignore, we need books about Black History more than ever. Lucky for us, there are some wonderful books out this month.
Young Elmore Green’s life seems perfect and orderly until one day when “somebody else came along,” and that someone happens to be The New Small Person. This new creature, whom Elmore refers to as “it,” squawks during Elmore’s favorite cartoons and once “actually licked Elmore’s jelly-bean collection, including the orange ones.”
When I was in third grade, my parents gave me a bright red book that still sits on my bookshelf today: Great Stories for Young Readers. Here are some of our favorite new gift books geared toward all sorts of young readers. With luck, your present to a special someone will become a cherished favorite for decades to come.