My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcom Mitchell

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcom Mitchell, illustrated by Michael Robertson. 2021. Hand-done texture with ink and pencil, Photoshop. Published by Orchard Books.

Brief summary: Henley is not a reader. The book was too hard; another was too boring. He could not find a book that had his interests. He preferred playing outside. One day in school, his teacher assigns her students to bring in their favorite book to class tomorrow. Henley goes to the library after school and asks the librarian to help him find his favorite book in the whole wide world. Nothing.

He goes to the bookshop and asks the owner, Mrs. Rackley, if she could help find him a book that he could call his favorite. Again, after looking at several books, Henley does not find one. He goes home and tells his mother his problem. She says something to her son that helps him find his favorite to share the next day. What book is it?

Comments: So good to see how he went to the public librarian and bookstore owner to help him. Henley, I did not have an elementary library either. I had to find my books at the public library.

I love that he was able to find his favorite book and have something so meaningful to share with his classmates. This could be a great introduction for primary students to reflect and share their favorite stories or perhaps an end-of-the-year summary of the favorite books they enjoyed that school year.

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World by Malcolm Mitchell | Book Trailer
My Very Favorite Book – Author Read a Loud

Windows by Patrick Guest

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.

Windows by Patrick Guest and Jonathan Bentley

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scoot; illustrated by Sydney Smith. 2020. Watercolor, ink and gouache. Published by Neal Porter Books.

Brief summary: A young boy wakes up and notices all of the words around him as he gets ready to go to school where he does not have a good day. His father picks him up after school noticing that his son is having a bad speech day. He takes the boy to the river where they walk in silence along the bank. His father hugs him and says, “See how that water moves? That’s how you speak.”

The boy looks at the river and sees how the water in the river goes slowly, quickly, bubbling, and in many other ways. He realizes how the river can go smoothly at times and also choppy just like how he sometimes speaks. He is able to understand the stuttering simile and goes to school the next day sharing with the class about his favorite place in the world…the river.

Comments: Speech teachers! Here is a superb book for you to share with a student who stutters. Lovely simile that could help students understand how they speak as well as their classmates’.

Touching explanation in the back from the author sharing his stuttering speech as a child and how he wrote this book based on his own life.

Join author Jordan Scott and illustrator Sydney Smith as they discuss their new picture book, ‘I Talk Like a River”.

What’s Inside a Flower?: And Other Questions About Science and Nature by Rachel Ignotofsky

What’s Inside a Flower?: And Other Questions About Science & Nature by Rachel Ignotofsky; illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky. 2021. Illustrations are created traditionally and with a computer. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Questions about flowers are answered with beautiful illustrations and clear informative text. The many labeled diagrams, dialog bubbles, and mixture of fonts and sizes make the picture book easy to read and understand. Young readers will learn about the flower’s seed, root, and blossom.

Comments: This is a nonfiction picture book fully illustrated from the top to the bottom of the page. The end pages are decorated with a variety of flowers. There is a “Sources” page in the back.

This is the launch of a new nonfiction picture book series. You may recognize Ignotofsky’s unique style in her Women in Series Collection.

A Special Story Time: Rachel Ignotofsky presents “What’s Inside a Flower” with VromansBookst

How to Catch a Clover Thief by Elise Parsley

How to Catch a Clover Thief by Elise Parsley; illustrated by Elise Parsley. 2021. Digitally drawn, painted in Adobe Photoshop. Published by  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: A wild boar named Roy is waiting for his clover patch to bloom. He warns his gopher neighbor, Jarvis, to not steal his clover. Jarvis assures him that he would never steal the yummy white blossoms and gives Roy a clover recipe book to read while the boar waits. Roy decides to go out and get some of the ingredients for a recipe and discovers upon his return that his clover patch is smaller.

Jarvis visits Roy the next day and asks what is the matter. Roy points out that there is a clover thief! Roy explains that he needs to stand guard of his clover and tells the gopher to go away. The gopher offers him a campsite book to help Roy stay there and guard. The wild boar reads the book and starts to put up a tent and build a campfire only to discover that his clover patch is smaller again.

Jarvis continues to give Roy various books while the clover patch gets smaller and smaller. Roy decides he is going to the library to get a book to figure out how to catch the clover thief. Will his invention work?

Comments: Young readers will enjoy the secret and mystery of who is the clover thief. Laugh out loud fun!

I like how the character reads to find answers and eventually, goes to the library to find the perfect book to catch the thief.

“Best-selling author-illustrator Elise Parsley presents her new hilarious new picture book, HOW TO CATCH A CLOVER THIEF.”

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.

A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin by Michael J. Rosen

A Ben of All TradesA Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin by Michael J. Rosen; illustrated by Matt Tavares. 2020.

Brief summary: This narrative nonfiction biography is a glimpse in the boyhood of Benjamin Franklin. Young readers can see another side of the famous man through his character as a boy. His grit to persevere when trying to solve a problem or improve an invention is a good model for young readers. It will also have children laughing with Benjamin’s antics especially when trying to figure out how to swim faster.

Ben’s father notices that his son excels at each of the tasks given to him by several different tradesmen. It’s just that Ben was not enjoying doing the same thing over and over. Hoping for his son to find a career, Benjamin is sent to his older brother, James, who works in a print shop. Benjamin enjoys printing and excels with this new skill.

Comments: This book gave us a glimpse of his personality as a child…full of imagination and curiosity and wonderment.

Notes are in the back.

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh; illustrated by Marianne Ferrer. 2020. Watercolor, gouache, and graphite. Published by Kids Can Press.

Brief summary: With the collaboration of Sundar Paliwal, young readers learn of this true story that takes place in a village called Piplantri, India. They celebrated the birth of a son with music and food, while the birth of a daughter was met with silence. Sundar, one of eleven children, walks with his mother each day for hours in the heat to collect water from a well. His mother is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies. Many years later, he grows up, marries, and becomes a father of three with two daughters and a son.

While working in a marble factory, Sundar sees how the mining takes away from the soil causing it to be dry. He asks the owners to plant trees to restore what was taken, but they refuse. He quits his job. After running for the village head, sarpanch, he wins. He lectures about changing traditions to honoring both boys and girls and shares how there are other countries that treat both sexes equally. He talks about water and electricity. He tells how the factory is killing the land and urges the village members to plant trees.

Soon, villagers begin to plant trees every time a girl is born. He brings engineers to his village where his people are taught to dig trenches to store water for drinking and to water the trees. When the termites come, they grow aloe vera plants to deter the insects. The trees begin to prosper bringing in fruit and animals. They decide to plant 111 trees every time a girl is born. Mothers and daughters take care of their trees and decorate them with ribbons and threads.

Comments: WOW. This story is amazing! One person CAN make a difference.

End pages include: More About Sundar and Piplantri, Why 111 Trees?, What is Gender Inequality?, Sundar’s Plan, Aloe Vera, Extraordinary Change, How Did Sundar Become an Eco-Feminist?, and Are You an Eco-Feminist?

Photos of Sundar and the trees are also included in the back.

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here by Simona Ciraolo

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here by Simona Ciraolo; illustrated by Simona Ciraolo. 2020. Pencil and watercolor. Published by Candlewick Press.

Brief summary: A young boy shares how much he loves swimming and only ice-cream can get him out of the water. His older sister warns him to make the most of it, as summer is going to end. He asks what happens after summer, and his sister tells him a dark tale about how fall will come and then winter. He decides there is nothing he can do about it and just has to wait for it to happen. When fall and winter do arrive, they are like his sister said but all in a positive way in which he enjoys the changing of the seasons.

Comments: What a great story to share about the coming of the fall and winter seasons and what happens. Students can see some of the negative and positive traits.

Bunheads by Misty Copeland

Bunheads by Misty Copeland; illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey. 2020. Sketch and painted digitally. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Brief summary: During Misty’s first ballet class, her teacher, Miss Bradley, told the story of Coppelia explaining it would be what they would dance for their first recital. Misty loves the story of the toy maker that created a life-size doll called Coppelia that a boy named Franz fell in love with to the dismay of his sweetheart, Swanilda. The toy maker decides to use the love of Franz to turn the doll into a real girl, but Swanilda becomes aware of the plan and changes her clothes and self to look like the doll. Franz realizes what is happening and marries Swanilda.

Cat is a new friend of Misty’s, and they grow closer competing with the various dance movements. They audition and Cat gets the role of Coppelia, and Misty will be Swanilda. The girls are excited and encourage each other for the recital.

Comments: Misty Copeland is the principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. She also wrote Firebird. I look forward to more ballet books from her.

Nice story of how competition did not make the girls jealous or catty with one another, but instead, supportive.