The Power of Yet by Maryann Cocca-Leffler; illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler. 2021. Pen and ink, watercolors. Published by Abrams Appleseed.
Brief summary: A piglet tries different things and fails each time. Piglet is unable to ride a bike–yet. Piglet is not old enough to play baseball–yet. Piglet is unable to play the violin–yet. After failing, the young pig learns to get better by practicing and learning from mistakes. The piglet grows over time, sometimes by working and learning with others who do it better. The piglet is sad and angry but does not give up. With patience and grit, the young pig improves and experiences success. “Yet” is reached!
Comments: This book has such a good message of learning from mistakes by practicing and staying focus until “yet” is obtained.It would make a superb book to read to an all-school assembly at the beginning of the school year.
This book could also be shared with schools doing a “power of yet”/growth mindset philosophy.
*The author purposely wanted gender-neutral so did not assign the pig as being he or she.
Windows by Patrick Guest; illustrated by Jonathan Bentley. 2020. Published by Starry Forest Books.
Brief summary: Various children from different countries look out their window as the world goes by during the pandemic waiting for when they can once again go out and visit and hug love ones again.
Comments: All of those various grandpas standing underneath their grandchild’s window pulls at my heart. This is a bright and positive book about staying inside during the pandemic until given the okay to come out.
It is based on the author’s experience as a medical worker who was forced to isolate from his family to keep them safe.
Ten Beautiful Things by Molly Beth Griffin; illustrated by Maribel Lechuga. 2021. Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint with watercolor textures in traditional mediums. Published by Charlesbridge.
Brief summary: Lily is in the back seat driving with her Gram to Iowa where she will now live. The young girl tries to fold up the map while her Gram suggest they find ten beautiful things on the their long car ride. LIly does not see anything beautiful until the sun rises over the horizon. Number 1. They continue to play this game throughout the journey slowly filling Lily’s empty heart with beautiful things.
Comments: I was thinking of so many activities this book could go with in an elementary school setting. I would share this book with young readers to help them look for positive things around them when things are not so great. Keeping in mind that “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” may need to be explained before sharing this as a read-aloud. I would then have students/children share what is beautiful to them in the room, in their home, in their school, and so on. Great way to lead to positive thinking.
A Sled for Gabo by Emma Otheguy; illustrated by Ana Ramirez Gonzalez. 2021. Illustrations were created digitally. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: Gabo wakes to a snow covered world and children playing outside on a sled. He wants to go out and join them but he does not have wool socks to keep his feet warm or boots to keep them waterproofed. He just moved from a hot climate and has not played in the snow before now. Mami comes up with substitutes of several layers of cotton socks and plastic bags tied over his shoes.
Gabo goes next door to ask Senor Ramos if he has a sled he could borrow. He does not but his granddaughter, Isa, is visiting and encourages Gabo to play since they are the same age. Gabo is too shy and goes to play with Misifu, a cat.
Gabo’s tia arrives with a plastic cafeteria tray for him to use as a sled. Isa comes over now and they slide up and down the snowy hill until dusk when they go inside and share dulce de leche together.
Comments: Such a sweet story about a shy boy who learned to adapt and have fun while making a new friend. Gabo is bilingual and can speak to many neighbors and is one of those people who can play with animals as well as other kids. Gabo is able to adjust to a new habitat and culture, intertwining both worlds.
*Although this book was released in early January, I did not receive it from the public library until March. I still want to share this even though the season has passed, as I think it is a touching and important story that teaches how to stay positive and move forward.