Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho

Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho; illustrated by Dung Ho. 2021. Digitally illustrated(Adobe Photoshop). Published by HarperCollins.

Brief summary: A young girl notices the different type of eyes she and her group of friends have and is aware that hers “kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea”. Her Asian eyes are like her mother’s as they laugh together. The girl then notices that her Amah’s eyes are like hers and just like her mother’s. The girl knows her Amah’s eyes when she tells stories of long ago. Mei-Mei, her younger sister, has eyes just like they do. She notices her little sister’s eyes when they play.

The young girl realizes that her eyes are like her ancestors’ and now.

Comments: The young girl experiences self awareness of her eyes and her family’s.

Beautiful yellow flowers on the end pages. Large bright illustrations. Beautiful.

The metaphor of her eyes kissing in the corners is ssssoooo precious!


Eyes That Kiss in the Corners Book Trailer by HarperCollins Studio

And the People Stayed Home by Kitty O’Meara

And the People Stayed Home by Kitty O’Meara; illustrated by Stefano Di Cristofaro and Paul Pereda. 2020. Published by Tra Publishing.

Brief summary: Kitty O’ Meara’s poem shares what might happen during the COVID-19 pandemic and after it. The poem begins with, “And the people stayed home.” and continues showing what various people would do during the quarantine such as enjoying music, art, and reading. They stop and listen to others more and get to know their families. The poet predicts what will happen once the pandemic is over.

Comments: This is a sweet and innocent poem that could be shared with young readers. The illustrations are large and bright. Although they were created by two illustrators, there is not a division of style.

This poem came out during the beginning of the pandemic with a wishful hope of how humans will behave and learn from this disease. So, there is none of the negativity of some of the things that did happen.

I am looking forward to more picture books being published about the pandemic in the months to come including some about those individuals/groups who did not get to stay home.

There is a brief Q & A of the poet in the back of the book. There is a website also with more information about Kitty O’ Meara including a teacher’s guide for the poem– https://andthepeoplestayedhomebook.com/

Book Trailer: And the People Stayed Home – by Kitty O’Meara – read by Kate Winslet

Moose, Goose, and Mouse by Mordicai Gerstein

Moose, Goose, and Mouse by Mordicai Gerstein; illustrated by Jeff Mack. 2021 Ink, pencil and watercolor on paper and digital collage. Published by Holiday House.

Brief summary: Moose, Goose, and Mouse live in a wet, old, and cold house with mold. They take a train to look for a nicer home. They are in the caboose when it becomes loose going backwards up and down hills. It derails and crashes into a large palm tree by the sea. Will they find a new house?

Summary: Beautiful and heartfelt story in the back page of how this book was created. Jeff Mack and Mordicai met with four other author friends every month for about ten years to talk about their books. Jeff and Mordicai develop a work relationship. And, I’ll stop there, so I do not spoil how and why the book was created.

Rhyming book. Fun and hilarious read aloud for little ones.

My Creepy Valentine by Arthur Howard

My Creepy Valentine by Arthur Howard; illustrated by Arthur Howard. Oct. 2020. Mixed media. Published by Beach Lane Books.

Brief summary: Mitzi loves all of the holidays except Valentine’s Day. Witches like creepy stuff while Valentine’s Day is lovey. She has never made a valentine until she meets Spencer who can spurt milk out of his nose during lunch and wiggle his ears while hanging upside down at recess. Mitzi tries coming up with a perfect poem to give to him. She and her cat, Hoodwink, jump on her broom and secretly deliver it. Spencer does not respond the next day which causes her to be depressed. Will she cheer up? Will she ever receive a Valentine?

Comments: Cute story of finding someone who likes you just as much as you like them.

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar; illustrated by Khoa Le. Oct. 2020. Published by Running Press Kids.

Brief summary: A young girl misses her family, friends, and cats as she tries to accumulate to being a new immigrant in America. Her aunt and uncle provide their niece with her own bedroom filled with toys and books, but she is still depressed. Her aunt takes her on a walk where she shares an old Persian myth that encourages her niece to go outside and get to know the new country with a different viewpoint.

An Indian king is not sure about opening his land to a group of refugees from Persia, as his land is already crowded. The Persians are unable to understand the rejection of the king, so he pours a glass of milk all the way to the very rim. He tells them that his land is too crowded and cannot take any more people just like this glass cannot take another drop of milk. The people begin to leave until their leader says for everyone to wait. Their leader takes out some sugar from his pocket and slowly stirs it into the milk carefully not spilling any milk and gives it to the king. “And just like sugar in milk, we will sweeten your lives with our presence.”

The king understands even though they do not speak the same language. He hugs the leader and laughs while welcoming the people to India.

Comments: Touching story. I tried rephrasing it, but reading it yourself will be better.

The illustrations are beautifully done. I appreciate that the end pages are not stark white but with an ornate style of a fancy cup of milk in a pattern.

Thrity Umrigar Shares Persian Folk Tale Of Immigration In ‘Sugar In Milk’

Ducks on the Road: A Counting Adventure by Anita Lobel

Ducks on the Road: A Counting Adventure by Anita Lobel; illustrated by Anita Lobel. Gouache, colored pencil with felt-tip pen. Published by  Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books.

Brief summary: Mama and Papa Duck go on a walk with their ten ducklings in tow. As the parents continue walking down the road, the last duckling in line stops and quacks with a farm animal. Soon, Mama and Papa duck realize that all of their babies are gone. They go to find them and somehow end up with an extra.

Comments: An adorable counting backwards book of ducks. Fun read aloud with young readers.

Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb

Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb; illustrate by Elaheh Taherian. 2021. Collage with oil and colored pencil. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: Khalil lives in the upper level of an apartment with his family while Mr. Hagerty lives alone in the level underneath. Mr. Hagerty loves to work in his garden, and Khalil enjoys looking for bugs, rocks, and reading his library books in the back yard. The elderly man helps the young boy read some of the more difficult words in the books. The young boy helps the elderly man remember some of the words now forgotten.

They both start digging in the yard one hot day hoping to find treasures. Disappointed, they go inside where Mr. Hagerty offers him chocolate cake and milk while deciding to go out again tomorrow. The two both secretly plan to give the other a treasure to find in the morning.

A friendship begins.

Comments: What a lovely story of an inter-generational friendship.

Crying is Like the Rain: A Story of Mindfulness and Feelings by Heather Hawk Feinberg

Crying is Like the Rain: A Story of Mindfulness and Feelings by Heather Hawk Feinberg; illustrated by Chamisa Kellogg. 2020. Published by Tilbury House Publishers.

Brief summary: A young boy overhears a grownup comparing feelings to weather and how both change. The boy concludes that crying is like the rain. He shares the different perspectives people have about crying and then relates how the weather can become imbalanced. He learns how feelings can be expressed and mindfully shared with others.

Comments: This book could be shared with students and young ones to help them be aware of the difference types of crying and how people may feel differently about the emotions that go with it.

Sections in the back are: Crying Really is Like the Rain, Weather Reports: A Mindfulness Game, Go to Deeper, and Words Have Power.

It should be noted that the author is a counselor and founder of Mindful Kids.