The Book of Gold by Bob Staake; illustrated by Bob Staake. 2017. Digitally illustrated. Published by Schwartz & Wade Books.
Brief summary: Little boy Isaac Gutenberg is taken to the New York Public Library in 1935 where he sees the two lions, Patience and Fortitude. His parents love books and try to pass that love to their son who is bored in the library. His parents leave and walk into an antique store where Isaac sits in the middle of the floor waiting for them to find a gift for a relative. The storekeeper tries to entertain the boy but without success until he shares the legend of the Book of Gold.
Upon Isaac’s life quest to find the one book that answers all questions and is solid gold, he reads many books over the years learning about many wonderful facts. Towards the end of his life, old man Isaac Gutenberg is back in the New York Public Library sharing the legend of the book of gold with a youngster.
Comments: The end pages are rows of books. The words of this book have white lettering on a black background. This does have a lot of words for young readers, so I would suggest it as a read aloud in addition to one they could read alone. The illustrations are colorful and have action in them that shows the years passing by as the boy grows through the decades to an old man.
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.
You Can Read by Helaine Becker; illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. 2017. “Artwork and hand lettering created using digital painting techniques”. Published by Orca Book Publishers.
Brief summary: With funny rhyming verses and illustrations, a boy and girl explain where all of the places and ways to read a book.
Comments: The book supports the joy of reading and the love of books. We need more books like this! The humor is delightful and share the many adventures one can go on through reading a book. This would be a good choice to read before school begins or even during the last week to encourage the delight of summer reading. Students could share where they like to read. A beginning-of-the-school bulletin board could be photos of teachers reading in their favorite spot. We did that at my elementary school and several students talked to me about my photo and what I read and what they read over the summer.
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Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Ron Husband. 2016. Illustrations are black, brown, and yellow. Mechanical pen and India ink with Photoshop of an aged paper background.
Brief summary: Reverend John Berry Meachum was an educator in St. Louis, Missouri who advocated for African-Americans’ rights. He secretly taught African-American children in the basement of his church by candlelight, as there were no windows. His teaching immediately stopped with the new 1847 law stating that “No person shall keep any school for the instruction of Negroes or mulattoes, reading or writing in this state.” He acquired a beat-up steam boat, and with the help of some of his students, was able to renovate the boat as the new school where his students could have a place to learn how to read and write. He cleverly gets around the 1847 law, because the Missouri state laws do not apply on the river.
Comments: This was inspired by a true story, and a historical fiction picture book. I think this could pair with how some countries today do not allow girls to go to school. This could be used to talk about the importance of having an education for all people.