I am Peace: a Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. 2017. Ink, gouache, watercolor and tea. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A child is worrying about what could happen or what happened in the past, causing the mind and body to go unbalanced. The child learns to stop, be in the present, and allows the mind to relax by being mindful of what can be done now. By using all the senses, saying out loud positive self-talk, and feeling the breath of this moment, peace is eventually accomplished.
Comments: I think this would be a nice holiday gift for those children and adults who need to just relax and be kind to themselves while in a busy life. There is an author’s note telling how to have mindfulness and being fully in the present moment. There is also a guided meditation section in the back focusing on how to be mindful of our breathing. I am Yoga ,also by Susan Verde, go hand-in-hand with this book.
The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, illustrated by Chuck Groenink. 2017. Illustrations done digitally and in pencil. Published by Antheneum Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A young girl goes to the library on a rainy Saturday morning and discovers several favorite characters and stories inside as she walks throughout the library looking for library books to check out.
Comments: Love that Tom Chapin’s song is now in book form. The illustrations are full and colorful and make the song come alive as the child walks through the library seeing children book characters around her. The library is full of fun and imagination as she decides what books to check out. This is definitely a great choice to have in any library collection.
Little i by Michael Hall; illustrated by Michael Hall. 2017. Digitally combined collages of painted and cut paper. Published by Greenwillow Books.
Brief summary: Little i’s dot fell off, rolled down a hill, over a cliff and into the sea. Little i swims across the sea to an island where he discovers !s, *s, and ,s. He finds the dot but is confused of why it does not fit anymore and goes home without it to tell his alphabet friends how the journey has changed the letter.
Comments: So stinking cute! The ending is adorable. I plan to pause a lot while reading this book to my students to make sure they see how the letters are on the page and get the little puns and play on words and punctuation. The letters spell out their words and conversations several times as well, so I suggest that the young reader is able to see the pages.
I Know Numbers! by Taro Gomi; illustrated by Taro Gomi. 2017. English translation from Japanese in 2017 with chronicle Books.
Brief summary: This books shows all of the places and ways we see numbers in our daily lives including what those numbers mean.
Comments: I liked how this could help very young children to think about numbers that they see around them that perhaps they did not notice before.
Give Me Back My Book! by Travis Foster and Ethan Long. 2017. Digitally illustrated. Published by Chronicle Books.
Brief summary: Redd and Bloo argue over who is the owner of a green colored book. Bloo believes the book Redd is reading is actually his. They discover evidence indicating it actually does belong to one of them. Bookworm comes out of her hole in the middle of their arguing and steals the book from the two. She hides in her hole out of the reach of the two friends. Redd and Bloo decide after trying to get the book back from Bookworm and failing to make a better book to entice Bookworm to trade. She does and the two run off to read their book together until another argument occurs.
Comments: I believe that this book will do well in any elementary school library where fighting over books happens daily. This book could be read to students to teach how to share a book.
Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater; illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke. 2017. Created in Adobe Photoshop. Published by Word Song: An Imprint of Highlights.
Brief summary: Twenty-three rhyming poems sharing the various ways and places we read in our lives.
Comments: Loved this book! The poetry has rhythm and rhyme. Some are short; some are longer. The author wrote a poem each of the many things we read in our every day lives: a magazine, a birthday card, a cereal box, sports page, road signs and so on. The illustrations fill the pages with several two page spreads.
The Missing Letters: A Dreidel Story by Renee Londner; illustrated by Iryna Bodnaruk. 2017. Published by Kar-Ben Publishing.
Brief summary: The dreidel maker’s shop is closed. The Nuns, Heys, and Shins gather together whispering and complaining about how the Gimels have it better. Each one tells what happens when the player gets them during the spin. They jealously explain when the player lands on the gimel, the player could take all of the pot. Everyone always cheers for the gimels. They decide to hide all the gimels so they cannot be added to the dreidels. The shop keeper comes in the next moring and is puzzled by the missing gimels. He explains the history of the dreidel to his apprentice as they search. The two look for the gimels all day and have to go home without finding them. At night, the Nuns, Heys, and Shins come out after hearing the shopkeeper’s history of the dreidel. The letters realize that they are all important and take the gimels out of their hiding spots so the dreidel maker and his apprentice can finish making the dreidels the next morning.
Comments: This is a cute and fun way to explain the dreidel game and its importance during Hanukkah. The Dreidel Game is explained on the back page.
Wet by Carey Sookocheff; illustrated by Carey Sookocheff. 2017. Published by Henry Holt & Co.
Brief summary: A young boy shares the many ways to get wet. He first explores the various degrees of wetness at the pool as he gets just his feet wet, halfway in the pool wet, and all the way wet while swimming. He shares how some objects get wet like the bench in the park with a new coat of paint. He talks about how sometimes it is fun to get wet like splashing or when it is not fun getting wet when he cries.
Comments: This is a simple but clever book of explaining the different types of wet. I never really thought of wet like this before reading the book.
Princes and the Peas by Rachel Himes; illustrated by Rachel Himes. 2017. Acrylic, pencil, watercolor, collage, ink. Published by Charlesbridge
Brief summary: Ma Sally cooks the best black-eyed peas in South Carolina. She says anyone can marry her son if the woman can cook as well as she. John wants to decide on who he will marry. She ignores that. Ma Sally decides to spread gossip that her son is ready to marry and for any interested women to come to her house that Sunday. Three women show up but do not like that Ma Sally wants them to cook. A fourth arrives later named Princess who says she heard there was a competition and would like to try. She cooks black-eyed peas well enough that the mother approves. Princess is not so sure if she wants John though and challenges him to wash the pots and pans. Will they marry?
Comments: This is a Princess and the Pea variant that takes place in the 1950s. There is an author’s note and a black-eyed peas recipe in the back of the book. There are several double-paged illustrations. I feel like I really want to try those black-eyed peas they are cooking.
Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. 2017. Digital illustrations with pastels; hand-lettered text. Published by Orchard Books
Brief summary: A young student tells how he dreams even when the world tells him to be still. He explains how he is a loud dreamer and a quiet dreamer and can dream wherever and whenever.
Comments: There is a two page fold out with all the ways to dream. This looks like another hit for Peter H. Reynolds. The illustrations are soft and smooth with pastels. The students and teachers love The Dot and Ish at my school. I can’t wait to read this one to them.