Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Books for giving thanks

Thanksgiving is next week, but this is the time of year when, no matter what you celebrate – or don’t – it’s a time to reflect and be thankful. This year has given us a lot to think about, and while we’ve definitely had our share of challenges, we can always find things to be thankful and appreciative for. Here are a couple of books that do just that.

Peppa Pig and the Day of Giving Thanks, (Sept. 2020, Candlewick Entertainment), $12.99, ISBN: 9781536216608

Ages 2-6

Peppa is aces in my library. The kids adore her, and my books fly off the shelves, so I doubly miss reading them this book this year. In this latest Peppa story, Peppa, her younger brother George, and mother and father are taking a nature walk on a fall day, and are so happy with the beautiful day that they find themselves thankful for everything they see: the clouds, the sky, the apples in the trees, even the rain that pours down on them, because it leaves them a happy surprise. Never mentioning a holiday, this is lovely reading all year ’round, but especially kind and gentle for this time of year; it reminds us all to be thankful for the little moments around us that often get taken for granted. The digital illustrations are identical to the TV show, so kids will recognize this one right away. The inside cover is a coloring sheet, so librarians, do yourselves a favor and have coloring sheets available at checkout. This pack from Nickelodeon was always popular for me.


What I Like Most, by Mary Murphy/Illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang, (April 2020, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536209402

Ages 3-6

A young girl talks about all the things she likes most: her window, where she can see the world; new people moving in and moving out; her grandmother’s apricot jam, her favorite shoes. Kids will see themselves and adults will see their kids in the constant idea of “this is my very favorite thing… except for this!”, but read further and see the girl’s wisdom in honoring change: she loves her window, acknowledging that “my window won’t change, but the things outside will”; “when our jar is nearly empty, I only put a tiny bit on my toast to make the jam last”; “one day the shoes will wear out, or my feet will grow too big for them”. She loves in the moment and understands that the moments change; she’s grateful for them all, regardless. And what she loves most in the world will never change: her love for her mother. Mary Murphy creates wonderful worlds when she writes, and this one just shines. Zhu Cheng-Liang’s watercolor and ink artwork is gentle, soft, with shifting permanence from spread to spread. Endpapers show three birds sitting in a tree with pink flowers in the front, and an empty tree, now red and gold, with falling leaves in the back. A beautiful tribute to autumn and celebrating change.

Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Fiesta Babies, by Amy Cordova (Tricycle Press, 2010)

fiesta babiesRecommended for ages 2-5

A multicultural group of babies and their families take part in a cultural celebration, complete with colorful hats, dresses, foods, and dancing. The story, told in rhyme, uses English and Spanish words to bring babies of all ethnicities together in a celebration of Mexican heritage. Amy Cordova received 2011 Pura Belpre Illustration Honors for her bold acrylic colors and brushstroke paintings that bring Ms. Tafolla’s text to life. There are sombreros, serapes, salsa, and happy babies and grownups from diverse backgrounds together to celebrate a grand fiesta. The faces of the participants are joyfully expressive, spreading good feelings. A short glossary at the end of the book defines the Spanish words in simple-to-understand language for young audiences.

The book is a great read-aloud choice. The rhyming text will draw in young listeners, as will the bright colors and exciting new words, for those non-Spanish speakers. There can be a glossary handout for parents and guardians to practice the new words with children after the story time. Fiesta Babies, like Dora the Explorer, can teach children simple Spanish words; some preschoolers may recognize some of the words from Dora episodes. This would be a great multicultural language read-aloud with books like Linda Sue Park and Julia Durango’s Yum! Yuck! A Foldout Book of People Sounds, where children learn common words and phrases in a multitude of languages. There are several websites that offer Spanish language fingerplays and songs and can easily be slotted in to a bilingual story time.