Change the World Before Bedtime, a collaboration by Mark Kimball Moulton, Josh Chalmers, and Karen Good (Schiffer Publishing, 2012). $16.99, ISBN: 978-0764342387
Recommended for ages 4-8
For all the kids out there tired of being told that they’re too young to affect change, Change the World Before Bedtime is a primer on everything anyone, big or small, can do to bring about positive change in their world. The book takes place over the course of a day, with a group of children making positive decisions and taking positive actions to brighten the world around them. By tying on their “hero capes” and eating a healthy breakfast, they prepare for a day of random good deeds, like picking up litter, visiting a sick friend or family member, donating clothing, toys, and food to the needy, and just thinking and saying happy thoughts and words.
The book features multicultural images and the artwork incorporates some great collage work. The images remind me of Joan Walsh Anglund’s illustrations that I loved, growing up. The rhyming text makes this a fun read-aloud, particularly to 5-6 year olds who may have a better grasp on activism. Positive messages, like “recycle” and “one beautiful world”, are emphasized throughout the book, as are images including composting, teamwork, manners, and environmental awareness. The last page of the book asks the children to write their “bright ideas to change the world before bedtime”, and the endpapers look like pieces of looseleaf paper, encouraging the children to keep writing.
The book’s optimistic tone and beautiful imagery will motivate children and adults alike to do something right away! There’s no need to wait for Earth Day to come around again – there’s always something to do to change the world.
Change the World Before Bedtime received the 2012 Gold Medal Award from the Mom’s Choice Awards.
A Song for Papa Crow, by Marit Menzin (Schiffer Publishing, 2012). $16.99 ISBN: 978-0764341311
Recommended for ages 4-8
A young crow sings his happy song wherever he goes, but the birds around him – Goldfinches, Flycatchers, and Cardinals, to name a few – can’t bear to hear Little Crow’s caw. Papa Crow tells his son that he always knows where to find him when he follows his song, but Little Crow wants to sing like the other birds. When he sees The Amazing Mockingbird sing, and finds out the bird’s secret, he wants to change his song – but learns that singing your own song is the best song of all.
This is a sweet story about individuality, by collage artist Marit Menzin. She uses mixed media collage to great effect to illustrate her story, making this a gorgeous book to use in a storytime. The textures make the birds and scenery come alive, and her font – a decorative font, black in color – allows for a reader to weave the story to an audience that can sit and listen to the tale. I would read this book to an older group, maybe 4-6, that can sit quietly and enjoy the story.
This book invites a fun workshop for any librarian/parent/educator who has the space – make your own birds with collage materials! The book also includes a list of the birds referenced in the book, with some information on each. For a simpler storytime activity, there are bird printables all over the Internet.
A Song for Papa Crow received a Mom’s Choice Award Gold Honor in 2012. The author’s website offers a look at some more of her beautiful collage work.