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.
The Cool Bean by Jory John; illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2019. Scanned watercolor textures and digital paint. Published by Harper Collins.
Brief summary: A bean admires his friends who are now cool beans. Everything they do is cool, and he wishes he was as cool. No matter how much he tries to match their coolness, he fails in comparison and begins to lose his self-esteem. One day, he drops his lunch in the cafeteria and was amazed that one of the cool beans helped him clean it up. He continues to have other mishaps and is helped by the cool beans. He regains his self-confidence and realizes that coolness isn’t about how one looks but about helping others.
Comments: The illustrations are hilarious. The story’s morale would appeal to young readers. Several bean puns.
These are a few others by this author/illustrator duo with funny life lessons to share:
Coming out in February 2020:
Birdsong by Julie Flett; illustrated by Julie Flett. 2019. Pastel and pencil(composited digitally). Published by Greystone Kids.
Brief summary: Young Katherena and her mother move from their city house by the sea to the country. In the summer, Katherena is encouraged by her mother to meet their neighbor, Agnes and the elderly woman’s dog, Ôhô. Agnes encourages the young girl to draw. Over the seasons, they develop an intergenerational friendship and share each other’s passion of art. Agnes’s daughter visits her mother and welcomes the little girl to join her to sit at the old woman’s death bed until it is time to say goodbye.
Comments: This is such a nice and gentle story of a friendship between two artists. The ending when Katherena sits at Agnes’s side after covering the bedroom walls with her drawings of birds to give the elderly woman a beautiful sendoff is so touching.
I recommend this book for school counselors to have in their collections for students who may be experiencing death of a love one.
Squeak! by Laura McGee Kvasnosky; illustrated by Kate Harvey McGee. 2019. First painted the black layer in gouache resist and then painted the color digitally in Photoshop. Published by Philomel Books.
Brief summary: Early in a forest’s morning, the breeze of the wind went past a mouse’s ear causing him to *squeak*! That *squeak!* floated to a chipmunk causing him to chatter in the branches of a pine tree. A pine cone falls into the river below making a *splash!* in the water. All of the creatures in the forest’s habitat experience the result of the wind’s first touch of the mouse’s ear resulting and ending with the mouse again.
Comments: Fun way to learn about the sounds of the forest. This book could be read to introduce a hearing unit and a forest habitat. This also could be an onomatopoeia introduction book.
Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda Paul; illustrated by John Parra. 2019. Acrylic paint on illustration board. Published by Clarion Books.
Brief summary: In 2009, Todd Bol cut up an old door and made a small box resembling a tiny one room school house. He filled it with books and set it on his lawn with a sign…free books. Rick Brooks, a friend of Todd’s, suggested that they could make hundreds of these for people to place throughout the country. After awhile, the idea took off. Each Little Free Library has a number to keep track of all of them. People around the world heard about the idea and liked it. Soon Todd and Rick In 2011, the organization became an official nonprofit.
“Take a Book; Share a Book”
Back pages have these sections: Author’s Note, More About Little Free Libraries, More About the People and Events in This Book, and To Learn More.
Go here for their website and see if a registered Little Free Library is near you: https://littlefreelibrary.org/