Friday, April 30, 2021

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides review - 4.30.21

Have you ever watched children, particularly siblings, disagree?  They can disagree on every single thing, one thing after another!  Sometimes it doesn't even matter what the disagreement started as, or what it has progressed to be, or even what the topic is.  They just disagree.  Until... they don't.  Until there is that one moment that bonds them.  And then it's like nothing ever happened and they are now the best of friends.  This scenario is captured in Anna Kang's and Christopher Weyant's newest collaboration, Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides.

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides
written by Anna Kang
illustrated by Christopher Weyant
published by Two Lions

You probably know wife and husband team Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant from their fabulous series that includes the Geisel winning title, You Are (Not) Small.  This time they introduce us to Hudson (the dog) and Tallulah (the cat).  Neighbors who at first glance, seem to have nothing in common. While Tallulah wants to chase all things (especially those that fly), Hudson wants to chase his freedom and play with friends.  Time in the mud?  Sounds good to Hudson!  Staying clean?  That's more of Tallulah's thing.  And while Hudson sees postperson Dave as the person who "attacks" his house everyday at noon, Tallulah gets some great scratches and rubs from Dave.  Will they ever agree?  And do they have to agree on the same things?  Maybe it's ok to not only disagree, but understand they don't have to like the same things.

What a perfect book to use to talk about perspective and what that means.  For young readers, it's hard to think about other opinions but also being ok with another's opinion.  Talking about how characters Hudson and Tallulah handle things can be a great entry into thinking about their own perspectives.

More about the creators:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, and We Are (Not) Friends. They also wrote and illustrated Eraser, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their rescue dog, Hudson, the inspiration behind the character in this book. Visit them at and

Twitter: @annakang27 @ChristophWeyant

Instagram: annakangbooks; christopherweyant   

Facebook: Anna Kang - Author; Christopher Weyant

Praise for Hudson and Tallulah:

New Yorker cartoonist Weyant’s illustrations, which use gouache, graphite, and lots of white space, carry the day, filling the dog’s and cat’s reactions to what they encounter with plenty of comic details (like the bold lettering conveying the dog-park dogs’ frantic barking at the cat). Madcap fun.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Charming cartoons convey the nearly wordless story augmented with dialogue between the two rivals…An amusing exploration of how opposite personalities can learn to appreciate their unique relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Aptly captured by married team Kang and Weyant (You Are (Not) Small), the unlikely friends’ comic path to camaraderie unfolds nearly wordlessly, with expressive gouache and graphite scenes that burst with physical humor, showing that even those who fight like cats and dogs can be friends.” —Publishers Weekly

* Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for the review copy! *

Want to add this fun duo to your library?  One lucky winner will receive a copy of Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).  Winner will be selected on May 7th.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Be a Tree! - 4.28.21

One more gorgeous book that celebrates nature and you for the month of April!   Did you ever know how much in common you have with trees?  Come along and learn in this comparison book of trees and you!

Be a Tree!
Be a Tree!
written by Maria Gianferrari
illustrated by Felicita Sala
published by Abrams Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary:
An illustrated look at the majesty of trees—and what humans can learn from them

Stand tall.
Stretch your branches to the sun.
Be a tree!

We are all like trees: our spines, trunks; our skin, bark; our hearts giving us strength and support, like heartwood. We are fueled by air and sun.
And, like humans, trees are social. They “talk” to spread information; they share food and resources. They shelter and take care of one another. They are stronger together.

My thoughts:
I cannot express enough how gorgeous this book is!  Felicita Sala's illustrations beautifully illustrate the magnificence of trees.  Maria lyrically explains the importance of trees, its many jobs, and how we may be more similar than we think!  From the main text to the important backmatter, it's a book readers will love and educators and librarians will want for their collection!

Teaching ideas:
  • be sure to note the compare and contrast structure of the book.  Can you find ways that people are similar or different to trees?
  • there are some fantastic metaphors in the story.  Make a list of favorites and talk about the way metaphors give readers additional visions of the writing.
  • community building - what are some ways that trees are valuable members of their communities?  How is it like humans?  Can we learn something from trees?

Maria has generously agreed to stop by and tell us more about this beautiful book.  Take it away, Maria!

We Can Be a Forest of Trees

Be a Tree!, a collaboration with illustrator Felicita Sala, invites readers to imagine themselves first as individual trees, and then as trees in a forest. I like to think of it as an extended metaphor of the ways that we are, and can be like trees. 

Felicita’s gorgeous and vibrant opening spread does just that—imploring readers to stand tall and stretch their branches to the sun! I love this spread’s warm, golden sun-kissed colors.

The book is a direct address to you, the reader, to imagine the ways you’re like a tree: you have arms, a tree has branches. You have a spine that supports you, a tree has a trunk. You have skin that protects you, a tree has bark for protection. 

This spread shows Felicita’s favorite tree, a ghost gum, tattooed like the old man, whose wrinkled skin resembles the tree’s bark. 

Next, the reader is asked to see beyond her/his/their individual self, and to see themselves as part of a forest, a “we” of trees—and to learn from them. 

Together, tree crowns in a forest, swing and straighten—they make space for each other to stand in the sun.

Together, forest trees are homes; “we” form microhabitats and sustain ecosystems.

But even more importantly, we can learn from the ways that they support each other. Single-species forests are more vulnerable to destruction from disease and insect damage, so are “immigrant” trees, away from their native habitats.

The strongest, healthiest, most resilient forests are those that are biodiverse, made up of many species of trees that work together—they talk, share resources, alert each other to dangers, all through a network of fungi, a “wood wide web.”

Together, we are stronger because of our differences. Let’s celebrate and appreciate that diversity, and remember that we must continue to work toward equity and justice for all in our forest families, schools, communities, countries.

Let’s plant seeds of kindness and compassion.

We are stronger.


That’s the way we can be forest trees.

Thanks, Michele, for featuring Be a Tree! 

And thanks to the generosity of Abrams Kids, we are giving away a copy of Be a Tree! (US addresses only—sorry!)

More about Maria:

Maria Gianferrari has climbed fig trees in Italy, stood under stately coastal redwoods and twisted Torrey pines, marveled at mitten-shaped sassafras leaves, colorful coral trees and sawtooth oak acorn nests. She lives with her family, including dog, Maple, in a house encircled by trees.

After seeing a peek of this beautiful book, I know you will want a copy!  Thank you to Maria and Abrams Kids!  A winner will be selected on May 5th.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Rescue at Lake Wild review - 4.27.21

Happy Book Birthday to Rescue at Lake Wild!  This environmental-conscious story is perfect to celebrate in April and one that will appeal to many readers.

Rescue at Lake Wild
by Terry Lynn Johnson
published by HMH

Madi considers herself an animal-whisperer novice.  She's learned so much from her grandmother and wants to follow her legacy.  She practices a lot, so much that her parents have ruled out her taking in any more lost animals.  But when a local beaver has been shot and killed, Madi feels like she has to take care of the orphaned beaver kits.  Unbeknownst to her parents, Madi - along with friends Jack and Aaron - brings the kits home and hides them in her backyard clubhouse.  Madi knows the kits need care for the first 2 years of their life and they need opportunities to follow their instincts and build things.  
However the big mystery is who shot the adult beavers and why?  When the kids discover that flooding has been an issue for their town and it seems like the cause of the flooding is coming from the beavers' dams, it becomes open season on beavers!  How can Madi and her friends solve the mystery and protect the lives - and future lives - of the beavers?
Coming in at 181 pages, this book is the perfect length for readers who are looking for a fun and engaging story but not one that will overwhelmingly long.  I loved the adventure and mystery in this story and I know readers will devour this read.  This book also makes a great read aloud, especially for this time of the year!  Johnson includes a lot of facts about the animals as well as different conservation tips about living alongside native animals.
Don't you love the cover?  I love the bright, outdoorsy colors and all of the little details.  Do you see Jack and Aaron in the background?  And look at the faces of the beaver kits!
This book is a great addition for 3rd-6th grade libraries.

Want to know more about this book?  Video extra! Terry Lynn Johnson talks about the inspiration behind Rescue at Lake Wild  here

Terry Lynn Johnson writes about the wild with the wisdom and passion of someone who has spent her life working to preserve and protect it - both as a backcountry canoe ranger in Quetico Provincial Park and in her current job as a conservation officer with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. She lives at the edge of a lake in northern Ontario, Canada, where she loves watching all wildlife, including beavers. Visit her online at

Twitter: @TerryLynnJ

Instagram: terry_lynn_johnson

Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for the review copy!

I know you want a copy of this book for your library!  Thanks to publisher HMH, I have a copy to giveaway (US residents only).  Be sure to enter by Tuesday, May 4th for your opportunity!

Monday, April 26, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.26.21

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

This book is perfect to get young readers thinking about what they can do to help the environment.

Picture Books

Our Skin: A First Conversation about Race
Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race
written by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli
illustrated by Isabel Roxas
A very necessary book.  This is a book that will span the ages.  I wish it to be mandatory and repeated reading from birth to age three, so when littles start school, this would be a known concept.  This book provides a fantastic starting point for the discussion of race and some of the many facets that surround the topic.  I liked that there are even more conversation points in the backmatter for further discussions.
Currently available as a board book, it will publish in picture book format at the end of May.

Keeping the City Going
Keeping the City Going
by Brian Floca
This book publishes tomorrow and it's a gorgeous dedication to all of the essential workers that kept our cities and towns going during the early days of the pandemic.  It's interesting to read this book and think about how far we've come from the early days.  While COVID is still here, we have learned to live with it more.  Grateful for all of the essential workers who helped us survive those early months!

Please Don't Read This Book
Please Don't Read This Book!
written by Deanna Kizis
illustrated by Sam Boughton
I love interactive books and this one is going to have kids giggling and wanting an immediate reread.  Perfect for young readers.

Even the Smallest Will Grow
Even the Smallest Will Grow
by Lita Judge
Our young friends are always in such a rush to grow, even as we tell them to slow down!
Judge reminds the youngest readers that all living things grow with time. 
I admire Judge's writing because she goes from writing amazing nonfiction information to lyrical poetry to beautiful stories.  Between her words and her art, she is an amazing creator!
This book would make a beautiful gift.

Middle Grade

It Doesn't Take a Genius
It Doesn't Take a Genius
written by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Black Boy Joy goes to camp!  I really enjoyed reading this book that celebrates the young African American generation and showcases their many talents while teaching them about important historical events and people that have paved the way for African Americans today.
Emmett really wants to go to Camp DuBois, even though his friends say it's a "bougie" camp.  Not because of its stellar reputation.  Not because of the amazing offerings it has.  It's because the older brother E idolizes, Luke, is going to be there.  What better opportunity to hang out with his big bro?  E quietly makes it into camp and it ends up being a surprise that Luke is not exactly happy about.  That will change when they get there, right?  Before E knows is, he's making friends, learning a lot about his heritage and his identity.  But, his big bro is too busy working and has zero time left for E.  Maybe camp isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I really enjoyed this story about identity.  Rhuday-Perkovich does a fantastic job weaving in hard conversations but at the same time giving readers an understanding of Black identity.  A must have story for middle grade libraries!

Young Adult

Love Is a Revolution
Love is a Revolution
by Renée Watson
I enjoyed this story!  I liked that Nala had a strong identity as far as loving your body and looks, but was very insecure about who she was on the inside!  
The problem I had with the character is her story arc had one of my pet peeves - a character who keeps telling lies that you know is going to create a big blow up at the end.  This is not a unique problem, but it also didn't have a unique ending to it.  Characters that continuously lie just annoy me because you know where their story is headed.
While this was a romantic story, it was very watered down so it could be handed off to upper middle schoolers who are looking for older characters.

Adult Novel

A Promised Land
A Promised Land
by Barack Obama
This book finally moved over to my completed side!  I started it in January and divided it up by parts to read each month.  Sometimes it was a mad dash to get it done by the end of the month, but it certainly helped dividing and conquering!
This book was fascinating, but mostly boring.  I am definitely not someone who will ever get into politics!  But it certainly gave me a new perspective and understanding to events in our history.  The last chapter was the most interesting as it gave details about the capture and end of Osama Bin Laden.
I will probably get book 2, but I'm glad for the break between reading the two!

Currently Reading

Firekeeper's Daughter
The Firekeeper's Daughter
by Angeline Boulley
Still reading this one.  Didn't get a whole lot read this week in this book because I was busy finishing the other three I was also reading!  I'm about 150 pages into it and it's very good so far.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday (or Thursday) - Celebrating Earth Day with "The Last Straw" - 4.22.21

 Happy Earth Day!  Every year I try to be more and more mindful about the carbon footprint I am leaving on the Earth.  I've also noticed kids being even more conscious about this.  I often hear parents comment how their children actually remind them to do some of the little things we can do to better take care of Mother Earth.  
Here's a new book by Susan Hood that you'll want to have in your library!

The Last Straw by Susan Hood
The Last Straw:  Kids vs. Plastics
written by Susan Hood
illustrated by Christiane Engel
published by HarperCollins

Isn't the cover so inviting?  The illustrations by Christiane Engel bring to life the information Hood is imparting upon her younger readers.  Although Hood's lyrical words certainly create images in your head as you read the information.  I love seeing the kids on the cover cleaning up a beach.  Don't have a beach by you?  I bet there is a local park that has a few things that need to be cleaned!  

Did you notice the subtitle - "Kids vs. Plastics".  The entire book stays very focused on  things young readers can do to help the environment.  I love that this book encourages kids to get busy with this kind of activism!

The book starts with a forward from kid (now young adult) activist, Milo Cress.  He started the Be Straw Free project, which was a project that started out by giving a voice to kids about what they can do to help the Earth.  Cress encourages young readers to use their voice and talk to adults because that is a way change can happen.

This is a book that doesn't have to be read from cover to cover (although it's easy to do).  Hood includes a table of contents for readers who are looking for specific information.  What follows are 17 poems that educate readers on the importance of taking care of the environment, while sharing ideas of what you can do to help.  Hood turns the spotlight on certain projects that are already making a difference in communities - such as in Baltimore where there is a trash eating boat that goes down the river to pick up trash before it floats out to sea.  Want to know about natural recyclers?  How about the wax moth caterpillars that have a chemical inside their digestive system that breaks down plastic!  Want to encourage kids to be plastic activists?  There are several pages that encourage kids to speak up and shows some fellow kid activists that are already doing the work.

Each poem is accompanied by a gorgeous illustration and also some additional facts.  Hood includes a quote that goes along with the information from different researchers, activists, and scientists.  Also included are facts that give even more information about what is presented in the main text.  I like that this gives different options of how you want to read the book.

Looking for more information?  The backmatter is full of it and different web sites and books to find even more info!  Want to know more about the poems?  Each one is a different format and I found myself going back and rereading poems to look for different techniques Hood used.

I promise you, you'll finish this book and think about what you can do to help the environment.  A few years ago, I switched to using reusable straws.  I try and remember to carry them in my purse so I have something to use when at a restaurant (although that has not been a problem in over a year now....).  While I use reusable metal water bottles everyday, I still use plastic ones while exercising.  It's been on my mind to do something about that.  I think this is the year to start!

I'm grateful that author Susan Hood stopped by to talk even more about the book.  Here are some questions I had for her:

This book is full of information!  How long does it take you to pull everything together and create a complete book?

A couple of years. I started the book in February 2019 and it came out this spring. Two years is speedy for a picture book, but my editors and I felt a great urgency to call more attention to the perils of plastic pollution. The research took a lot of time and I’m indebted to Dr. George Leonard, Chief Scientist, at Ocean Conservancy for vetting the science in the text and in the art. I was especially thrilled when a hero of mine, Dr. Jane Goodall, endorsed the book.

Is it easy to pick the different poetic formats you use?  Do you know what format you want to use right away or does the poem go through a few before you find the right one?

Some poetic forms seemed obvious, such as “A Sea Change,” which is an elegy to the whales who are dying from eating too much plastic.  A concrete or shape poem seemed the perfect format for “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” The poem rotates in a circle as the ocean gyres do. Other poems took more thought and experimenting. “The Road Back” is found poem using words from traffic signs.

What sparked you to write this book?

I’ve lived by the ocean all of my life. So much of the fun I’ve had since I was a child—sailing, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving—was thanks to the sea. I was heartbroken by news of whales dying from ingesting pounds of plastic. They eat the plastic, feel full, and stop eating. They have no way to digest and expel the plastic so they die of starvation and dehydration. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for a favorite food—jellyfish—and suffer the same fate as the whales.

We all think we’re recycling plastic, but it turns out that we’re not. In 2015, a groundbreaking study by scientists at UC Santa Barbara found that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. The situation has only gotten worse since then and there’s no end in sight. Plastic production is predicted to triple by 2050. By the time our kids are adults there could be more plastic in the ocean (by weight) than fish. It’s a tragedy. That was it—the last straw! I knew I had to do something. And I was thrilled to discover that kids around the world already are. For them, this fight is personal.

I find this book so inspiring!  I imagine it will spark an idea for all readers.  What is something that you started doing after learning all of this information?

Thank you so much, Michele. I hope others are inspired by the can-do kids in the book. One thing I’ve done: I’ve opened my eyes. I started seeing plastic everywhere, as indeed it is. (Try to go one day without touching plastic. Bet you can’t!) 

I visited my local recycling center to learn about the problems they face. It’s worth doing in your area, because recycling regulations are determined by states and local municipalities. I never knew that we can’t recycle wet cardboard because it gums up the works. A recycling bin with a top on it is an easy solution. 

I also saw firsthand how plastic grocery bags, straws, and plastic utensils slip through the cracks in the sorting machines and break the equipment. Along with plastic bottles, I’m working hard to ban these “use-it-once-and-throw-it-away” plastics in my life. These are the things we use for an average of 12 minutes and then they pile up in the ocean and on landfills for the next 450-1000 years! Some scientists believe they never really disintegrate, but break into smaller and smaller microplastics that end up in our food and in the air, with dire consequences for our health. These “disposable” plastics are 40% of the problem and they’re easy to replace with washable cloth bags, metal water bottles, bamboo utensils, and metal straws. 

Going forward, I’d add a few more RE-words to the old REUSE, REDUCE, RECYCLE slogan. REFUSE is a big one. Just say NO to this stuff we don’t really need. And REWARD RESEARCH. Support companies that are fighting back. Our lives depend on it.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing this gorgeous book with me.  Although I'm sharing this on Earth Day, it's definitely a book to be shared everyday! 

Monday, April 19, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 4.19.21

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

Earth Day is this week and here are some books that celebrate the environment!

Some spectacular picture books have recently published.  Don't miss them!

PIcture Books

Early Sunday Morning
Early Sunday Morning
written by Denene Miller
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Beautiful book about a young girl overcoming her nerves to perform a solo at church.  What I love about this is it bring Black culture to the story and it celebrates a joyous time.  We continue to need books that show marginalized voices celebrating instead of only having books about repression or overcoming obstacles.  And illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton.... those are icing on the cake!

The Secret Rhino Society
Secret Rhino Society 
written by Jonathan E. Jacobs
illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
Sometimes we uphold people (or in this case, animals) to a high standard without ever meeting them, that it's surprising when reality doesn't uphold to what our mind decided.  A hippo, an earthworm, and a lightbulb all idolize rhinos.  They create a secret society and clubhouse to celebrate them in.  But once they actually meet a rhino and learn that they aren't all the same, then end up working together to do something everyone really does enjoy - eating!  Kind of a different outcome from where I thought the story was going to go.
Readers will love Cotterill's 3D cut and assembled sets.  I found myself pouring over those even more than the storyline!

Rescuing Mrs. Birdley
Rescuing Mrs. Birdley
written by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Emma Reynolds
Very cute and would be fun to read to young readers.  Miranda Montgomery loved watching animal shows and seeing how the host would help animals and return them to their natural habitat.  So when Miranda sees her teacher at the grocery store, she knows it's up to her to bring her back to her natural habitat... school!

The House of Grass and Sky
The House of Grass and Sky
written by Mary Lyn Ray
illustrated by E.B. Goodale
This quiet, beautifully illustrated book makes you think about anything you might have held close to you through the years.  This book is narrated by the house and what the house wants most of all is a family to live in it and children to run through it.  To make memories year after year.  Good mentor text for narrator!

Ambitious Girl
Ambitious Girl
written by Meena Harris
illustrated by Marissa Valdez
Meena Harris knows a thing or two about being ambitious since she comes from a long line of strong females, including her aunt, Kamala Harris!  This empowering book reminds us that we're in control of the words that define us.

Young Adult

by Tiffany D. Jackson
Woah, this book.  It's hard to read, but it's a necessary read.
Enchanted is an aspiring singer.  And when she meets a talented artist who offers to take her under his wing, it's an easy yes.  Never mind she is 17 and he is 28.  It's easy for Enchanted to fall for Korey, and when he returns her affections, she's into him too much to pull back.  Even when the abuse starts, Enchanted talks herself out of leaving because Korey has too much pull over her life - over her singing career and the money he is supposedly giving to fund her family at home.
Told in a back and forth narrative from the present and past, readers get an understanding of what is happening to young girls when a grown male, who should always know better, abuses the situation and their lives.

Adult Novel

The Rose Code
The Rose Code
by Kate Quinn
Another amazing historical fiction story from Kate Quinn.  This time she focuses on Bletchley Park, a country estate in England, where no one knew that some of the most talented people working on the WWII war front were quietly breaking codes.  Codes that successfully lead to many Ally power victories.  However, being a codebreaker and analyst was a stressful occupation because it was kept under the most secrecy.
Quinn introduces us to three females - Beth, Osla, and Mab - opposites in every way but come together under similar circumstances.
The work these cryptanalysis did, is only recently coming to light, as most of them kept their work secret, up to their passing.  It's fascinating learning about what they did and Kate Quinn also wrote an extensive note in the backmatter.
I read The Alice Network a few months ago and really enjoyed it, but this one blew it away, in my opinion.  It started a bit slow as we learn about each character.  Like Quinn's other book that I've read, this book bounces back and forth between time periods which makes the story intriguing to follow.  Once I understood the characters and flow of the story, it really took off and I had a hard time putting it down.

Currently Reading

Firekeeper's Daughter
The Firekeeper's Daughter
by Angeline Boulley
I've heard nothing but rave reviews, looking forward to starting it!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

new books to celebrate the environment! - 4.07.21

It's April, which makes me think about Earth Day and the environment.  Here are some books that you can use this month or any month to inspire young readers to think about the world around them.

Rock by Rock by Jennifer Bradbury
Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand
written by Jennifer Bradbury
illustrated by Sam Boughton
Until Barb Rosenstock's book about Mr. Chand was the first time I had heard of him or his amazing rock garden.  Sculptures, waterfalls, structures, and more all built out of rocks and other materials found in junk piles, Nek Chand created a place of refuge in his new land of India.  Having moved from his native Pakistan to India during the Partition of 1947, Mr. Chand wanted to find a place that reminded him of his home.  For eighteen years he worked on it by himself before workers discovered his refuge.
A wonderful book to celebrate reusing and creating something new!

Zee Grows a Tree by Elizabeth Rusch
Zee Grows a Tree
written by Elizabeth Rusch
illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
This was such a clever book!  Inside is both a fiction story and nonfiction facts about a youngster growing up alongside her Douglas fir tree.  The day young Zee is born, her parents (owners of a tree farm) gift her with a newly sprouted Douglas fir tree.  Readers watch as young Zee and the tree grow up side by side.  Each layout has a smaller print nonfiction fact that explains to readers what is happening to the tree as it grows.  Additional information is included in the backmatter.

The Wisdom of Trees by Lita Judge
The Wisdom of Trees: How Trees Work Together to Form a Natural Kingdom
by Lita Judge
This book has been receiving a lot of praise lately and I am jumping on the bandwagon!  You'll never think of a tree the same way after reading this book.  It's amazing how trees form their own community and know how to help one another out - whether it's from a common predator or from needing additional nutrients in the soil.
In each layout, Judge has a gorgeous illustration, a poem that lyrically tells you information, and a longer piece of text that gives a scientific explanation.  Whether you read this book from cover to cover, or just specific layouts, readers will walk away amazed at what these quiet giants can do!  In the backmatter, Judge includes even more information about the poem that covers historical information, facts, and environment protection information.
I would expect to hear this title being mentioned during award season next winter.

The Big Beach Cleanup by Charlotte Offsay
The Big Beach Cleanup
written by Charlotte Offsay
illustrated by Katie Rewse
Young Cora is excited about the end of summer sandcastle contest, but it's cancelled early on because of the waste that clutters the beach.  Cora knows her two hands can help with the cleanup, can she get more hands to help?
Full of reminders of how people can help keep beaches and the environment clean, this book is a great one to read this Earth Day!

Look What I Found in the Woods by Moira Butterfield
Look What I Found in the Woods
written by Moira Butterfield
illustrated by Jesús Verona
An interactive book that shows three children walking through the woods and finding some woodsy treasure.  Full of information about trees, leaves, seeds, and shells, readers will learn new facts and also get an idea of the treasure that can be found on a walk.  I also like the interactive checklists of things to find in certain illustrations!
publishes April 20th

This is not a new book, but it is new-to-me, so I'm including it in the roundup!

What a Waste by Jess French
What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting Our Planet
written by Jess French
This book came to my attention because it is listed on our 2022 IL Bluestem Award list.  It's a DK book, so you know it's a book that you don't have to read cover to cover, but will have lots of facts and infographics.  The environment is a topic that more and more young readers are growing concerned about and this one breaks down a lot of information and gives tips that will make young readers think and act upon the new information!

Hope you found a new book or two to share this month!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Don't miss these! A spotlight on some amazing picture books - 4.06.21

Some amazing picture books have popped out of my pile in the last couple of weeks.  I've had stacks to go through (it's amazing how books just pile up when you're not looking).  Here are some that you simply cannot miss.  I'm sure I have more in the remaining stacks!

Watercress by Andrea Wang
written by Andrea Wang
illustrated by Jason Chin
I've heard about this book for some time and it did not disappoint.  It is fabulous.
Wang captures the essence of being a kid, of being told to do something that may embarrass you, and of this constant need to fit in.  In this story, it's fitting in with American culture, because your own heritage is different.  This would be a great picture book to read before starting Kelly Yang's Front Desk series.  
Share this book widely this year!

The Water Lady by Alice B. McGinty
The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation
by Alice B. McGinty
illustrations by Shonto Begay
How many of us take running and flushing water for granted?  There are still places in the United States where running water is not found in every household.  Darlene Arviso, a citizen of the Navajo Nation is helping families on the Navajo reservation with obtaining water.  Pair this one with Carole Lindstrom's We Are Water Protectors for more water awareness.

Something's Wrong! by Jory John
Something's Wrong! A Bear, a Hare, and Some Underwear
written by Jory John
illustrated by Erin Kraan
I don't know about you, but this has been a tough year.  So when I get the chance to laugh, it does help lighten things, even if it's just for a moment.
This book will certainly make you laugh, and make you want to share this book with many many other readers.
Jeff the Bear has received a gift from his grandma and he's getting ready to go out in the woods.  As he comes across some other woodland creatures, he feels like something might just be a little off, but he can't figure out what it is.  It's when he talks to a trusted friend that he figures out it's the underwear he's wearing.  Animals don't need underwear.... or do they??

The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken
the tree in me
by Corinna Luyken
I ADORE Corinna Luyken's illustrations, and this one is just beautiful.  A perfect book to share this spring as it celebrates the pairing of nature and humans and the interconnectedness of the two.  Pair this one with Maria Gianferrari's Be a Tree!

The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen
The Rock From the Sky
by Jon Klassen
Klassen and his perfectly placed and drawn eyes!!!  They have a whole new meaning in this hilarious, laugh-out-loud chapter book.  Thank goodness there are multiple stories in this picture book because one would just not be enough.  Three animal friends, a rock, and a giant eye.  Five chapters.  Lots of laughs.  Enjoy!!
Publishes April 13th.

Happy picture book reading!