O is for Ohio by Kelley Clark; illustrated by James Balkovek. 2019. Published by Outskirts Press.
Brief summary: Readers go through the alphabet learning about some of Ohio’s unique local history, animals, and people.
Comments: This book could be read for primary and secondary students, as it is set up with larger fonts for young readers and smaller fonts for older ones with more detailed features.
I learned some things about Ohio I did not know earlier such as “P” is for Paczki donuts.
This is not a narrative nonfiction picture book, but I included it in my reviews. I think it would be a good addition to have in a school, classroom, or personal library.
Be a Maker by Katey Howes; illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic. 2019. Watercolor, gouache, colored pencils, and Adobe Photoshop. Published by Carolrhoda Books.
Brief summary: A young girl wakes up wondering what she will make today using objects in her room until she goes outside in her spaceship and befriends a boy who also starts to make things with her throughout the day.
Comments: The span of the book is one day with the two children making messes, noise, art, a spaceship, a friend, lunch and so on as the day moves. What a great book to get young readers using their imaginations with materials around them.
Give Me Back My Bones! by Kim Norman; illustrated by Bob Kolar. 2019. Digitally created. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: A skeleton at the bottom of the ocean slowly finds and puts himself back together again with the help of the the sea creatures
Comments: The internal rhyming and rhythm of this book are funny with silly wordplay young readers will find delightful to repeat. I would share this read-aloud book when starting the skeleton system in primary school.
The front end pages have the skeleton disassembled with the bones labeled, while the back end pages are of a pirate skeleton assembled with the bones labeled. Two paged layouts throughout.
Hum and Swish by Matt Myers; illustrated by Matt Myers. 2019. Acrylic and oil paint. Published by Neal Porter Books.
Brief summary: Jamie explores the beach randomly picking up things to make something in the sand but is unsure what that will be yet. The young girl is asked by several people what she is making but repeatedly answers, ” I don’t know”. Jamie hums as she creates. A painter with an easel sets up near her. They both create and coincide with one another throughout the day. They share their finished art projects with one another.
Comments: I like this quiet book of creating art. This would be a great book for an art teacher to share with the class before a lesson.
Moon!: Earth’s Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Stevie Lewis. 2019. Colored pencils and digital tools. Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Brief summary: Moon tells the story of the friendship she has with Earth. She is Earth’s best friend and only satellite. Moon tells all about how she orbits the earth, smiling the whole time and never showing her back to her BFF. Moon explains how some earthlings have walked on her and left their footprints. Earth’s friends are her’s too.
Comments: Superb beginning book about the moon, how it rotates, tides, gravity, myths and so on. Definite must for any library collection.
Back pages have interesting facts about the moon. Illustrations are large and often two-fold.
This story is told through the moon’s perspective.
Personification of the moon and earth.
Others in the Our Universe series by Stacy McAnulty:
The Kindness Book by Todd Parr; illustrated by Todd Parr. 2019. Drawing tablet using iMac and Adobe Photoshop. Published by Little, Brown and Company.
Brief summary: Readers are given examples of acts of kindness to others and encouraging young readers to be kind to themselves.
Comments: THIS is the book I would first read to young readers about kindness. It gives examples of ways to be kind that children will understand and can actually do.
Full of bright large illustrations that are characteristic to Todd Parr’s style
The Book Hog by Greg Pizzoli; illustrated by Greg Pizzoli. Published by Disney Hyperion.
Brief summary: The book hog loved the smell of books, buying them, and being surrounded by them. However, he could not read. One day as he was taking a walk, he came across a building that SMELLED like books. He went inside to find thousands of books. Miss Olive, a children’s librarian, offered to read a book with him. Over time, he learned to read and love books for their stories as well as how they felt(and smelled!).
Comments: Adorable story to read to primary young readers. The illustrations are mainly orange, pink, and green. The end pages are tiny pink and green dots.
If I was still a school librarian(and not retired), I would read this book the first day kindergartners came to visit the school library and then open up a conversation to see if any of my students ever visited a public library explaining that they now have another type of library they can visit each week.
The Cold Little Voice by Alison Hughes; illustrated by Jan Dolby. 2019. Published by Clockwise Press.
Brief summary: A child shares with the young reader about a voice that is constantly negative and defeating. The cold voice constantly lists everything wrong about the child and never any positive traits. Another voice speaks up from somewhere deep inside pointing out all of the wonderful things about the child.
Comments: I think this book could really help a child find that positive self-lifting voice by addressing and discussing what to do when the negative voice tries to dominate. I noticed how the cold little voice became larger on the page as the story progressed and toke over the whole page. Those pages are illustrated with darker colors.
When the positive voice surfaces, it is yellow and warm. The pages are brighter. The voice of doubt is controlled.
This book could be shared one-on-one with a child (or even during a school’s mental health assembly) who needs a little help with self-esteem, sadness, or depression.
A good conversation starter.
Bodega Cat by Louie Chin; illustrated by Louie Chin. 2019. Published by POW!
Brief summary: Chip, the bodega’s ginger cat, explains what it is like to be the boss of a bodega that stays open 24/7. All of the Matos family members help run the little corner grocery store by stocking and displaying the merchandise that the neighborhood would like to buy. Chip explains the day-to-day routine of the shop.
Chip also tells about Ja-Young, who is the cat boss of the bodega across the street which has different merchandise. The two cats and families eat together.
Comments: I learned that bodega is Spanish for grocery store. This story reminded me of a bodega in our country neighborhood that we called the Little Store. It also had a mixture of goods unique to the neighborhood such as live bait, freshly butchered livestock, and local bake goods. It had the only gas for miles too.
I recommend this book for teachers to use during their commerce unit. Other units: Wants and Needs. People in the community. Careers.
Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illustrated by Laurie Keller. 2019. Traditional, digital, and galactic media. Published by Beach Lane Books.
Brief summary: Pluto receives a phone call from Earth scientists telling him he is no longer considered a planet. Pluto goes across the solar system introducing the young reader to the various REAL planets and sharing interesting facts about them as they all talk back and forth. Pluto decides to go to the sun and tells him what happened. The sun consoles Pluto while summarizing what each planet is known for the most and how special he is even if no longer a planet.
Comments: Hilarious. The title captured my attention. Speech bubbles. Solar system puns. Large and bright illustrations. I love Laurie Keller’s illustrations! There is a “solar system fun facts” and “a note from the author” in the back. Fun book to share when doing planet units. One of my favorites for the 2019 year.