Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Always look for the rainbows.

There Is a Rainbow, by Theresa Trinder/Illustrated by Grant Snider, (Jan. 2021, Chronicle Books), $15.99, ISBN: 9781797211664

Ages 4-6

Written in the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, There is a Rainbow is about coming through the dark times to the other side. Presented in simple statements, it’s a story of opposites; of going through the hard to get to the better; of our connections to one another, and ultimately, about rainbows. There are kids learning on screens; there are Black Lives Matter signs; there are thank-yous to heroes, all reflecting moments we lived through last year. There is also a thread of hope, in the form of the ever-present rainbow, encouraging us to keep going, because, as the book notes, “On the other side of a storm, there is a rainbow. On the other side of today, there is tomorrow.” For those of us who have come through so much, it’s a supportive message that pushes us to keep moving toward that light at the end of the tunnel. For future generations, There Is a Rainbow will stand as a testament to a moment in time where we stood, resilient, together against unbelievable events. An author’s note talks about writing the book during the pandemic. Grant Snider’s colored pencil artwork adds a gentle touch to the text, but shows strength in the details: trees standing in the wind, a chalk rainbow refusing to wash away in the rain, a series of cheery rainbows hanging in the windows, celebrating our first responders. Download a free activity kit and encourage your littles to talk about their feelings from the past year. Pair with Smriti Prrasadam-Halls and David Litchfield’s Rain Before Rainbows for an inspiring storytime.

School Library Journal calls There Is a Rainbow the “perfect pandemic book”. Can’t put it any better than that. There Is a Rainbow has starred reviews from School Library Journal and Booklist.

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blue Floats Away explains the water cycle and global warming

Blue Floats Away, by Travis Jonker/Illustrated by Grant Snider, (March 2021, Abrams Books for Young Readers), $17.99, ISBN: 9781419744235

Ages 4-8

Blue is a little iceberg who floats along with his parents in the North Pole until one day, when he cracks and floats away, surprising the three of them! He’s carried along by the water, noticing new and beautiful things and meeting new friends, when he transforms again, and again! Blue’s gentle little adventure explains the water cycle to young learners in a way that will interest and delight them, as Blue transforms from an iceberg, to a cloud, to a snowflake, as he experiences new and exciting things on his journey. Back matter includes more information about the water cycle and a note about climate change and its affect on polar ice. Blue Floats Away is so  much more than a cute STEM story to read to your Kiddos, though: it’s about growing up, having new experiences, and always having an eye toward home. Blue and his parents have subtly illustrated, gentle faces that I had to read a second time to really discover; Blue’s expressions change throughout his story; at first content, then frightened, unsure, even excited, as his story moves along. Mixed media illustrations remind me of Lois Ehlert in the best of ways. Deep blues dominate the story, with bright colors popping out to keep interest. Spare text makes this a great readaloud choice that you can follow with a torn paper collage craft, inviting kids to create their own Blue story. KidZone has water cycle activity pages for coloring that you can have handy for a storytime or grab and go craft, as does Clever Learner.

Blue Floats Away has starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus.

Posted in Non-Fiction, Tween Reads, Young Adult/New Adult

Quiet Power: Power to the introverts!

quiet powerQuiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, by Susan Cain, Gregory Mone, & Erica Moroz/Illustrated by Grant Snider (May 2016, Dial Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9780803740600

Recommended for ages 10+

Susan Cain’s groundbreaking book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, sparked a movement. Introverts are among you in the workplace, and surprise! We’ve got a lot to say! Written with the workplace in mind, Quiet Power got people talking and thinking about how to tap into the power of introverts, who are just as intelligent and productive – and yes, as driven – as extroverts, but who operate very differently. Now adapted for tweens and teens, with extra resources and notes for the parents and educators who love them, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, talks to middle and high school kids about  meeting the challenges of school, extracurricular life, family life, and friendship. The book is packed with anecdotes and advice from fellow young introverts and famous figures in sports, media, and the arts, and straightforward, straight talk from Susan Cain. Each chapter lays out a plan for meeting the demands in each of these spheres, and two-color cartoon illustrations are eye-catching and provide helpful visuals to use as anchors. Quiet Power empowers tweens and teens to succeed while never compromising their own comfort zones to do it, and recognizes that yes, introverts and extroverts may work differently, but neither are they all the same: there are introverts comfortable with different levels of extroversion, and we all have different needs.

I’d recommend parents, caregivers, and educators pick up a copy and read it to see, for yourself, how educators are transforming the landscape to get the best performance out of their introverted students and how new media is helping more introverted students interact better within a group setting. (It’s not always about selfies!) Great addition to YA collections and the Parenting section.

Make sure to check out the Quiet Revolution webpage for advice, stories, and articles.

Take a look at Susan Cain’s lauded TED Talk (almost 5 million views on YouTube alone!). Her anecdote about summer camp is in the book!: