Posted in Non-Fiction, picture books

Blog Tour: LOVE IS LOUD: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement

Diane Nash is a civil rights leader who was a Freedom Rider; a lunch counter protestor, and a 2022 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Sandra Neil Wallace and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier bring her story to vibrant life in Love is Loud.

Love is Loud, by Sandra Neil Wallace/Illustrated by Bryan Collier,
(Jan. 2023, Simon & Schuster), $18.99, ISBN: 9781534451032
Ages 4-8

 

Born in 1938 in Chicago’s South Side, Diane Nash was a child of the diaspora; her parents refusing to raise a family in the segregated South. Enveloped in love and surrounded by diversity, she experienced Jim Crow laws once she moved to Tennessee to attend college. Angry and humiliated, she refused friends’ attempts to tell her “it’s always been this way” and “go along to get along”, and took action, enduring abuse at Nashville’s lunch counters and joining the Freedom Riders to protest segregated bus terminals. Wallace writes a tribute to Nash’s accomplishments, with key words and phrases bolded and capitalized to invoke strength and power in readers: “ELATION, INVIGORATION”; “NO HIDING. NO FIGHTING BACK”; “LEADING, PROCEEDING”. Bryan Collier’s watercolor and collage illustrations bring texture and realism to spreads, creating both warm and dramatic moments in Nash’s life. Back matter includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of Nash’s life, and resources for further reading.

 

An inspiring picture book biography that shouldn’t be missed, Love is Loud is an essential addition to picture book biography collections. Put this one front and center in your Black History Month displays and booklists.

Love is Loud has starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and The Horn Book.

Sandra Neil Wallace writes about people who break barriers and change the world. She is the author of several award-winning books for children, including Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery, illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received the Orbis Pictus Book Award and was an ALA Notable Book. A former ESPN reporter and the first woman to host an NHL broadcast, she is the recipient of the Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award and creates change as cofounder of The Daily Good, a nonprofit bringing twenty thousand free, culturally diverse foods to college students each year through its Global Foods Pantries. Visit Sandra at SandraNeilWallace.com.
Bryan Collier is a beloved illustrator known for his unique style combining watercolor and detailed collage. He is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Trombone ShortyDave the PotterMartin’s Big Words, and Rosa. His books have won many other awards as well, including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. His recent books include By and By,ThurgoodThe Five O’Clock Band, and Between the Lines. He lives in New York with his family.
*”A poignant and powerful portrayal of the life and work of an unsung civil rights activist….Wallace’s text lends buoyancy to the narrative, making it a memorable read-aloud.”

— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

*”Wallace’s emotive second-person text condenses Nash’s extensive activism into an inspiring meditation on love as the heart of justice, while Collier’s watercolor and collage illustrations bring artful dimension to Nash’s nonviolent resistance.”
— Pubishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

*“During the 1960s, Diane Nash was one of the most influential and effective leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, yet most people don’t know who she is.” Wallace’s latest picture-book collaboration with Collier seeks to correct that ….the book opens with images of Nash’s parents cradling her as a baby and then of Nash, as a small child, being hugged by her grandmother, highlighting the love that encouraged her activism.
— The Horn Book — STARRED REVIEW

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The Construction Crew goes to the farm!

Construction Site: Farming Strong, All Year Long, by Sherri Duskey Rinker/Illustrated by AG Ford, (Nov. 2022, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781797213873

Ages 2-5

The latest addition to Rinker and Ford’s Construction Site series features every toddler and preschooler’s favorite trucks helping out farm vehicles through the seasons. They meet new friends, like Big Tractor and Little Tractor, who prepare the soil and plants seeds; Little Skid Steer, who helps clear areas and dig holes, and Combine, who harvests the rows of corn. There’s something to do in each season, and duties are laid out in the familiar rhyme pattern that readers have come to know and love: “Summertime brings heat and sun, / and lots of work needs to be done. / Sunshine and care, all season long, / help crops grow healthy, tall, and strong”. Rinker’s rhymes and story is cheerful, and gives readers insight into farming through the seasons and what various farm equipment does; Ford’s wax oil crayon illustrations are familiar and lovable, with friendly vehicles helping one another. In short, little ones love books about cars and trucks; this is a great series, and you need this one on your shelves.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

An animal board book two-fer from Katerina Gorelik

What Do Animals Eat? (Curious Creatures), by Katerina Gorelik, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764365140

Ages 1-3

Schiffer has been publishing some great board books, and this duo of larger-format board books by Katerina Gorelik, originally published in France (2018), is the latest. What Do Animals Eat? uses high-contrast colorful images to introduce readers to different animals and what they eat: bats and birds, owls and foxes, tigers and wolves, hedgehogs and gorillas, crocodiles and elephants, pelicans, and polar bears. Brief text on how each animal eats and feeds their family is informative and just right for young learners, who will be captivated by the bold illustrations, which have a playful sense of humor. Readers will chuckle at a fox and duck eyeing one another through a hole in an otherwise secure door, and delight in the bustling activity taking place in a tree as different birds feed their young. Exclamations on each page give lend some interactivity to readalouds, letting readers munch on leaves along with a baby elephant, or gulp down a beakful of birds with a pelican. The pages are sturdy and will hold up well in circulation. Great for an animal storytime.

Print some activity sheets from Schiffer’s Resources Hub and have them ready for a post-storytime activity.

 

 

Where Do Animals Live? (Curious Creatures), by Katerina Gorelik, (Nov. 2022, Schiffer Publishing), $9.99, ISBN: 9780764365157

Ages 1-3

Where Do Animals Live shows readers where animals live and how they stay safe: moles and mice; bats and cats; dogs, owls, and squirrels; bees and hedgehogs; bears and penguins; foxes, and wolves all appear in high-contrast, bright illustrations. Readers learn about animal families and how adults protect their young while they search for food. Playful illustrations are appealing: a mole lovingly holds a carrot in her underground burrow, under root vegetables and alongside various bugs in their homes; a hungry cat eyes mice through a crack in the floor, but the mice aren’t worried: they’ve got food stored up, and their little ones are asleep, safe in the knowledge that the cat can’t reach them. Bees buzz alongside friendly spiders and butterflies, landing on flowers and near their hives; a brown bear hibernates, cuddling her cub; they’re warm inside their den while the snow falls outside. Interesting and brief informative text makes this a good readaloud choice that will keep readers engaged. Like What Do Animals Eat?, Where Do Animals Live? was originally published in French in 2018. See more of Katerina Gorelik’s work at her webpage.

Pair these with Creature Features from Big Picture Press for more fun animal facts.

Posted in Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

YA suspense: Four Found Dead

Four Found Dead, by Natalie D. Richards, (May 2023, Sourcebooks Fire), $11.99, ISBN: 9781728215815

Ages 14+

Jo and her friends are finishing up their last shift at the Tempest, the last store in a shuttered mall that’s closing for good. But at closing time, the doors are locked and their phones are locked in the safe; their manager, Clayton, won’t allow anyone to have them while on shift. The lights go out, and there’s a chilling scream: one of the coworkers has been murdered, and Clayton, unhinged, is set on killing Jo and her coworkers. A high-tension chase through an abandoned mall begins as the group tries to survive the night and find a way out. Four Found Dead is full of ’90s thriller tropes, and I loved the abandoned mall setting. The story alternates between Jo’s narration and news articles published after the night of the murders; Jo’s narration includes some backstory that fleshes her character out a bit more than her colleagues. I’d have liked some more suspense surrounding the killer, and a little more backstory overall, but overall? Four Found Dead is a fast-paced read that delivers the thrills.

Posted in Graphic Novels, Intermediate

Bad Kitty is SUPERCAT!

Bad Kitty: Supercat, by Nick Bruel, (Dec. 2022, Roaring Brook Press), $13.99, ISBN: 9781250749987

Ages 7-10

It’s always a good day when there’s a new Bad Kitty book! Supercat is the latest Bad Kitty graphic novel, where Bad Kitty is forced to endure a playdate in an attempt to be sociable. Strange Kitty brings along some superhero-loving, comic book-reading friends, and the group don their costumes to become Supercat and Fantasticat, and find themselves fighting the evil Doctor Lagomorph with the universe hanging in the balance! With sidekicks and laugh-out-loud pop culture references throughout, this may be my favorite Bad Kitty yet. Kids and grownups alike will recognize the familiar call to put the devices down and go play with friends. Hilarious and relatable moments include Bad Kitty’s playdate choices and the spot-on comic book story reenactments, as envisioned by the friends; every kid will remember a playdate gone sideways when the playdate gets rough and feelings are hurt; Bad Kitty and friends teach readers that things will happen, but it’s always important to apologize. Another adorable entry in a series that makes a seamless transition from chapter book to graphic novel.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tales from the TBR: The Llove Llama books

The Love Llama Travels the 7 Continents, by Monica Talbot-Kerkes & Sharla Charpentier/Illustrated by Aljon Inertia, (Dec. 2022, Book Endeavors), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1736282908

Ages 4-7

The kickoff to a children’s series that teaches geography and the natural world, The Llove Llama Travels the 7 Continents is a cute story about finding friendship. Born in South America, a sweet llama named Llove decides that she needs to search the world for a friend. As she explores the continents, she meets all sorts of new friends: a sloth named Bob, living in the Amazon Rainforest; a penguin named Peppermint living in Antarctica; a narwhal named Ned, living in Africa, and more, all of whom direct Llove to other continents in her search for a special friend: a child! Compass roses throughout help place readers as Llove explores the world in search of her friend. Comprehensive back matter includes fast facts on the animals mentioned in the story and discussion questions. Colorful maps place Llove and her animal acquaintances in their respective continents. Colorful cartoon art and expressive, friendly animals make this a fun go-to for preschoolers and early grade schoolers.

 

Ned the Narwhal Voyages the 5 Oceans (The Llove Llama and Friends), by Monica Talbot-Kerkes & Sharla Charpentier/Illustrated by Aljon Inertia, (July 2021, Book Endeavors), $14.99, ISBN: 978-1736282960

Ages 4-7

Now that readers have met Llove the Llama, it’s time to meet the friends she made on her journey! Ned the Narwhal is born with a rainbow horn and flipper wings, setting him apart from the other narwhals. When Ned is bored with life in the Arctic, he decides to be like his friend, Llove the Llama, and travel the world. Being a narwhal, he sticks to the world’s oceans, meeting all sorts of new friends, including sharks, crabs, and seals. He learns some valuable lessons, the most important being that everyone is special. Upbeat rhyme, colorful maps, and illustrations throughout place the reader and invest them in the story. Back matter offers fast facts on all the animals and the oceans appearing in the story; discussion questions offer opportunities to reinforce and deepen learning.

The Llove series is a cute way to introduce young learners to world geography and link it to the natural world. The third book in the series stars Bob the Sloth – the first animal Llove meets on her journey – and published in September 2022. Visit the Llove Llama and Friends website for more information about the series and free resources, including coloring pages to keep handy for a post-storytime activity.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Tales from the TBR: I Am Smoke

We all have our TBRs. I’ve got an impressive or terrifying one, depending on how you look at it. I have such wonderful folx sending me their books, and even if it takes me a while, I do want to talk these books up; hence, the Tales from the TBR feature I’ve been running. There are some truly outstanding books here, and deserve some more face time. When you’re freshening up your backlist, consider adding some of these to your carts, or, if you already have them, put them up. Let’s rock.

I Am Smoke, by Henry Herz/Illustrated by Mercè López, (Sept. 2021, Tilbury House Publishers), $18.95, ISBN: 9780884487883

Ages 6-8

Henry Herz has been putting out some great stories over the years, but his 2021 book, I Am Smoke, is in a class by itself. Written in verse from the point of view of smoke, the story is part anthropological study, part scientific study. Smoke begins with a declaration: “I am Smoke. / I twirl in dark dance from every campfire”, alongside early Native Americans dancing by firelight. The thoughtful verse wanders through time, imparting wisdom and caution in equal amounts: “Even fearless firefighters dare not breathe me when battling flames”; “I cannot touch, but I can help ease pain”. Mercè López’s illustration is breathtaking; created by smoke, watercolor, and Photoshop to create haunting and ethereal images. Copious back matter provides deeper context and resources for further reading. A brilliant book on every level: if you haven’t added this one to your collections yet, you may want to look again.

I Am Smoke has a starred review from Kirkus and has been named to Evanston Public Library’s Blueberry List: Kids’ Book that Inspire Love of Nature and Action for Planet Earth; it was named to the ALA Children’s Notable Children’s Books of 2022 list, and selected for Notable Social Studies 2022 booklist. It also made Kirkus’s List of 150 Most Anticipated Fall 2021 Books.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

A walk through the evening: Dark on Light

Dark on Light, by Dianne White/Illustrated by Felicia Sala, (Dec. 2022, Beach Lane Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781534487895

Ages 3-8

Three siblings pull on their boots and grab a flashlight to go exploring in this quiet and lovely meditation on the nighttime world, written as a verse that makes for a wonderful readaloud. The siblings encounter the quiet beauty of a sleepy world awakening as they observe a mother deer and her fawn, lavender blooms, moss on trees underneath a dark sky, and nocturnal animals going about their evening. Returning home to their loving parents, they settle down for the night. The verse is delightfully spare and lyrical: “Inviting the trail. Timid the fawn. / Dark the hedge that borders the lawn”; “Silent the owl. Still the night. / Dark the meadow beneath his flight”. Watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil illustrations are sedate, moving from the deep reds and oranges of dusk and twilight to the midnight blues and deep greens of night The colorful surroundings never detract from the evening setting, keeping the reader in the story throughout. Night sky endpapers set the sleepy tone for the story. A very good addition to storytime collections. Display and booktalk with Lizi Boyd’s Flashlight.

Dark on Light has starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.

 

“This is a book capable of banishing nighttime fears, showing the night to be a time of wonder, exploration, and even comfort… Lilting, haunting, rhyming, and as unforgettable as a dream the daylight just can’t quite erase.”
— Kirkus Reviews, *STARRED REVIEW*, 9/15/2022

“Closing bedtime scenes in a shared bedroom embody warmth and security… in this quiet celebration of chiaroscuro in the natural world.”
— Publishers Weekly, *STARRED REVIEW*, 10/24/2022

 

Dianne White lives in Gilbert, Arizona, with her family. She is the author of Who Eats Orange?Blue on BlueGreen on Green, and Dark on Light.

Felicita Sala is a self-taught illustrator and painter. She has a degree in philosophy from the University of Western Australia. She now lives and works in Rome. She draws inspiration from nature, children, mid-century illustration, folk art, and architecture.

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Board and Concept Books to keep an eye out for!

I’ve been busily scaling Mount TBR, and wanted to share some up-and-coming books, too! Here are some concept and early childhood books to into your ordering carts now – let’s spend down our book budgets!

One More Try, by Naomi Jones/Illustrated by James Jones, (Aug. 2022, Kane Miller), $14.99, ISBN: 9781684644568

Ages 3-7

While playing one day, Circle sees the squares and hexagons building a tower and really wants to build one, too. Triangle and Rhombus want to play, too, but the group can’t seem to balance as easily as the other shapes do. They work out, they study, but they keep falling down, until Circle gets some inspiration from above and changes his perspective. Naomi Jones creates a sweet story about teamwork and perspective; James Jones creates colorful shapes with cheerful expressions and spindly black arms and legs. The shapes cheer each other on and support one another, delivering a positive message about playing together and helping one another. A cute addition to concept collections and a fun storytime choice.

One More Try lends itself to a fun flannel storytime – cut shapes out of flannel and let your circle time add to the story as you read. There are oodles of shape coloring pages available for free for a post-storytime activity: visit GetColoringPages and MomJunction for some fun choices.

 

My Big Book of Nature Sounds, by Lucie Brunelliere, (Feb. 2023, Twirl Books), $21.99, ISBN: 9782408042165

Ages 0-3

An adorable way to introduce interactivity into your storytimes, My Big Book of Nature Sounds includes over 100 sounds organized into areas like backyards, gardens, forests, beaches and oceans, the mountains, the desert, and the rainforest. Each button maps to an area of the book, noted by a colorful icon at the top left hand of each page. At the press of a button, little ones will delight to hear 6 types of birds; backyard activities, like digging holes or watering plants; a grownup inflating a child’s water wings, and a calming rainforest waterfall. Colorful illustrations show animals and humans enjoying and respecting nature, and illustrations are clearly labeled. Perfect for lapsit exploration or to enhance a nature storytime.

 

Who’s the Most…? A Guess Who Book, by Claudia Bielinsky, (Feb. 2023, Twirl Books), $10.99, ISBN: 9791036353093

Ages 0-3

This adorable seek-and-find book challenges readers to pick animals out of a group based on characteristics: who’s the strongest? The cleanest? The most loving? Readers will look for the featured animal based on clues provided in the text: “Which mouse is all ready, with a shirt, pants, and shoes on? It’s Mikey-he’s the most ready!” The guessing game leads up to a delightful reveal, making this a wonderful readaloud for small lapsits and one-on-one reading and cuddle time. Colorful, kid-friendly cartoon animals are attention-grabbers, and naming the animals assures readers will return to this one as they look forwarding to naming their new friends again and again. A good addition to board book collections.

 

Little Chicks, by Taro Gomi, (Feb. 2023, Chronicle Books), $7.99, ISBN: 9781797218748

Ages 0-3

Three little chicks head off for an adventure in this sweet story by Taro Gomi. After running through a field, escaping a bigger, grumpier bird, and taking a bus ride, the chicks are ready to head back home; the story speaks directly to a toddler’s growing sense of independence, cloaked in the desire to explore within the bounds of safety. Gomi’s colorful artwork is always a delight for the eyes, and some readers may notice that the bus in the story looks similar to another board book favorite character: Elmer the Elephant! Short sentences make for a great move into independent reading for preschoolers. An essential pick for board book collections.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads, Uncategorized

Survival and Triumph: Finding Fire

Finding Fire, by Logan S. Kline, (Sept. 2022, Candlewick Press), $18.99, ISBN: 9781536213027

Ages 4-8

This almost completely wordless picture book is set in a prehistoric society where rain has just put out the family fire. A young boy volunteers for the quest, thus beginning a tale of survival, friendship, and triumph as he braves a hostile landscape to find the precious fire his family needs to survive. Striking mixed-media illustrations carry the story forward: the family, in a bleak cave, standing over the extinguished fire; the red-haired boy, standing in the sunlight, his hair a beacon as he ventures forth, sleeping in trees to escape predators, fording rivers and saving a life. The artwork is stunning, each spread coming to life under the reader’s eye. A gorgeous story that begs to be shared, and an essential purchase. Keep an eye on this one during awards time.

Finding Fire has a starred review from Publishers Weekly.