In a book that manages to be both cosmic and grounded at the same time, author-illustrator Claire A. Nivola explores no less than the notion of one’s very soul. This isn’t a picture book that addresses merely birth and death. It’s a story that suggests that we are beings who originate from stars; we enter a “river of time” on Earth; and we return to the “elders” at the star homes from which we came.
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:
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about the importance of friendship. Offering lessons to live by, three delightful new picture books demonstrate the rewards of team effort and the power of partnership. As these clever tales prove, pitching in to help a pal—whether it’s with a stroke-of-genius idea or a simple word of cheer—can make a world of difference. That’s what friends are for!
Two-time Caldecott winner Chris Raschka certainly knows how to make very little readers giggle, and the giggles continue with Abrams Appleseed's revitalization of Raschka's Thingy Things picture book series, originally published in 2000 by Hyperion.
Best friends Hannah and Zoe understand each other, “like we’re some kind of Siamese twins connected at the soul.” Zoe is there when Hannah’s abusive father sends her out in a bikini to sell hot dogs, ostensibly to raise money for college. Hannah is there when Zoe bounces between moods of elation and despair, and makes sure Zoe stays properly clothed and relatively safe.
BookPage Teen Top Pick, April 2014
When 16-year-old Travis Coates, dying from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, donated his head (the only part of his body not ravaged by cancer) to be cryogenically stored at the Saranson Center for Life Preservation, he imagined being reinstated in 100 years, alongside jet packs and other futuristic gadgets.
No one can ever have too many picture books about smart girls who love science—or too many stories about big, loyal dogs. Still, a book with these elements needs other features to stand out, and Maggi and Milo delivers.
Before she became a Newbery Honor-winning author, Margi Preus spent 25 years as the artistic director of Duluth’s Colder by the Lake Comedy Theatre, where she wrote, produced and directed sketches, operas, plays and adaptations. So why the switch to children’s books? “I had kids!” she says with a laugh.
Near Albuquerque, New Mexico, a teenager struggles to define herself in the aftermath of her parents’ divorce, the harsh newness of high school life and the recent death of her sister.
Prenna James was born in the 2080s, during a time of disease and environmental catastrophe. She and her mother escape a blood plague by traveling to the present day with a group of time travelers. Forced to assimilate, Prenna attends high school with kids who must never know she’s from the future—except for Ethan Jarves, who makes her feel special and safe.