Heart String, by Brooke Boynton-Hughes, (Dec. 2022, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781452181653
A string connects us all together: parents and children; neighbors and friends, we are all connected to one another and our world through this Heart String. Written as an ode to connection, Boynton-Hughes loving, gentle voice could be a teacher reading to their classroom, a parent to a child, or a friend to another. The repetitive phrase, “My heart is tied to yours” brings home the lovely sentiment that we are all together: “Across the garden, across the street, over the city and through the trees”; sharing emotions like joy and sorrow, no matter how near or far; our hearts are tied to each other as we work, play, learn and live. It’s a comforting thought that dispels anxiety and fear; we are part of a family, a neighborhood, a community, a world. Endpapers show a variety of people from all walks of life interacting and engaging with one another. Pencil and watercolor illustrations are soft, gently colorful, conveying a message of warmth and hope, with a warm, glowing string that goes from one person to the next as they work together in neighborhoods; console one another in times of grief; enjoy tea parties, and celebrate being together. A delightful readaloud for storytime collections.
For a fun post-storytime activity, print out some person templates and get some yarn. Ask families to decorate them and use the yarn to connect them. Who are they connecting to?
Hedgehog and the Art Show, by Özge Bahar Sunar/Illustrated by Ceyhun Sen, (Oct. 2022, Schiffer Kids), $14.99, ISBN: 9780764364617
Little Hedgehog is all set to start school, but has an accident the day before. His little fingers need to be bandaged up, but the teacher has announced that there will be a class art show! Little Hedgehog cannot write… with his fingers! He refuses to miss out on his first big art show, and finds ways to create his art using his quills and some leaves! In fact, his creativity inspires his friends to create their own original artwork, making the art show even more exciting. A sweet story of ingenuity and determination that inspires readers to think outside the box, Hedgehog and the Art Show lends itself to a great readaloud, especially for Kindergarten and first graders. Sentences are brief but expand on the basics, adding more details. Sen’s illustrations are textured, with swirling backgrounds and shades of greens, browns, and oranges.
Add this one to your art storytimes, and have plenty of mixed materials to create with for an after-story activity.
Mending the Moon, by Emma Pearl/Illustrated by Sara Ugolotti, (Nov. 2022, Page Street Kids), $18.99, ISBN: 9781645675600
One night, the moon shines so big and so brightly that it becomes to heavy to hold itself up and tumbles down, shattering as it crashes into our world. A girl named Luna witnesses the fall, and, horrified, wakes her grandfather. Grandfather gravely worries about the Earth without a moon, and the two set about collecting the pieces to mend the moon, aided by a group of forest animals. A gorgeously illustrated story with the fantastic feel of a legend, Mending the Moon will delight readers and get a workout as a storytime favorite. Breathtaking illustration shows a cadre of animals working side-by-side with Luna and Poppy; a purple and blue-tinged white backgrounds bring the moon’s cool beauty to the pages, and vibrantly colored animals and people alike are cartoony and kid-friendly. There is magic in every turn of the page as readers will wait breathlessly to find out whether or not the moon will make it back to the sky. Endpapers show a cool, crisp night with moths fluttering around the moon’s light, and Poppy and Luna’s cabin atop a mountain. Mending the Moon is a lovely starting point to talk about legend, STEM (moon concepts!), and the larger idea of working with nature to keep our world safe.