Saturday, December 12, 2015

Half a dozen books worth giving...

In the midst of holiday shopping I came upon this thoughtful image that snapped my attention away from shiny baubles and to what really matters.  I've always leaned this way yet this year it made a bigger impact on me. Do you shop with this in mind?

We all have so much we should be grateful for; roof over our heads, plentiful food at our table, games in the cupboard, and books spilling off the bookcase.  Keeping that fun mental image in my head I am almost finished with my holiday shopping.  I have four books to pick out and then I will be done. If you are still looking for a few yourself I have a few pictures books I'd love to recommend.

1. Last Stop on Market Street (2015) by Matt de la Pena: I love this beautifully illustrated (by Christian Robinson) and well-thought out book about the world around us.  We go on a journey with C.J. and his nana as they leave church. He questions her with the whys and what ifs that occur naturally to small children.  Why don't we have a car? Why is it raining? Peppering his grandmother with curiosities she answers back kindly each time, sharing empathy along the way until C.J. feels the warmth of Nana's words.  I love the diverse and unique people Robinson depicts on each and every page.  This book is 10 stars and deserves to be wrapped up for any holiday.

2. Is Mommy? (2015) by Victoria Chang and Marla Frazee: Mothers get the short end of the stick often and their book illustrates this perfectly. In the course of a day we often appear mean, messy, boring, and little ones see us as short, ugly, and funny.  No matter what, mothers are loved as the young ones in the book shout at us gleefully.  I love books like this because it can be a call and response reading with children.  Might there be a new title in the wings "Daddy Is"?  I would love that as well.

3. Mixed Me (2015) by Taye Diggs and Shane W. Evans: I was lucky to receive a free copy of this lovely book but if I hadn't I would happily buy it. The message is a cheerful look at acceptance by Mike who loves his blended color and who he is.  We don't need to match to get along and I wish Mike could teach that to quite a few adults in today's world.  Mike's crazy hair bounces through the pictures just as Joe Cepeda's illustrations for Nappy Hair.  Love it.

4. Once upon a memory (2013) by Nina Laden and Renata Liwska: This is simple a beautiful book for all ages.  A little boy playing in his room spots a feather as it floats in through the window and it makes him wonder if the feather remembers the bird, does a book remember it was once a word...playing the sequence out several more times until we are reminded to remember that we were once children.  Such a lovely way to be reminded.  Every time I flip through this book I am filled with a sense of peace.

5. Plant a Pocket of Prairie (2014) by Phyllis Root and Betsy Bowen: For nonfiction lovers this one illustrates beautifully the reason for prairies and why it is important to refurbish prairies around us.  Betsy Bowen's Antler, Bear, Canoe; a Northwoods alphabet is a family favorite and this book is just as unique. Both Root and Bowen hail from Minnesota which is a land I love.

6. 28 Days; Moments in black history that changed the world (2015) by Charles R. Smith and Shane W. Evans:  I discovered this gem inside one of the Scholastic boxes for my recent book fair.  Combing through the glossy pages I discovered a great deal of cool history; surpassing what we already know about Rosa Parks and Dr. King.  I learned that Daniel Hale Williams successfully performed open heart surgery on a stab wound patient on July 9, 1893 in Chicago and that he opened his own hospital to welcome patients and doctors of all colors. Each page focuses on a person or event with a poem and facts.  On the inside flap the books says it is perfect for Black History Month (February) and every month. I hope the book is picked up often. Buy this one and share it with someone you love.

All titles are linked to The Red Balloon, one of my favorite bookstores in the Midwest.  Have a holly jolly whatever you celebrate and buy a book for everyone on your list.

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