The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014) is my new favorite “expecting a baby” book for kids. Although it is full of nonsense as a a soon-to-be-big brother is told all sorts of whoppers about where a baby comes from, it is in fact a no-nonsense book for parents interested in opening a practical dialogue with children.
I am a big fan of keeping things factual when it comes to the baby front. In this clever story about a young boy seeking the truth about his expected sibling, his grandpa, teacher, and other associates are not so frank with him, leaving him scratching his head. I love how when he finally has a conversation with his parents and gets the truth, he is satisfied that everyone is a little bit right. And I love the kicker at the very end. (I won’t spoil it for you.) (more…)
How Rude! by Alex J. Packer (Free Spirit Publishing, updated edition May 2014) is a hilarious and down-to-earth guide for teenagers about, as the subtitle says “good manner, proper behavior, and not grossing people out.”
Each chapter covers a category of social etiquette, including what to say, how to act, what to wear, how to groom oneself, and so forth. Encompassing matters that teenagers would find most interesting as well as those they may not have considered, How Rude! is truly a refreshing reminder and learning manual for teenagers to actually enjoy reading. (more…)
I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington Madsen (Deseret Book, 1994) is a delightful collection of first person accounts of Mormon pioneers who traveled across the American Great Plains to Utah from the late 1840s to 1860s. Although the volume is probably intended for adults to read, the engaging and interesting stories of the pioneers have such detail and provide interest so that even very young children would appreciate hearing the stories. (more…)
The Other Bears by Michael Thompson (Star Bright Books, October 2013) is a simple tale of prejudice being overcome by friendship, except this is a somewhat silly picture book about bears!
The koala bear family (who technically are not bears at all but marsupials) are busy enjoying their day at the beach when other families arrive.
First comes the panda bear family, with Chinese dress and food. Then there is the polar bear family (with snow shoes and coats) and the black bear family (with American parade regalia). Finally, the brown bear family (with German/European outfits) and the sun bear family (with Southeast Asian clothes) join the crowd on the beach. (more…)
The Great Gilly Hopkins is not an easy book to read. Gilly is a child in a difficult situation. She is a child without a family, moved through the foster care system. She does not make it easy for her foster parents, because she believes that her mother loves her and needs her. She dreams of the happy reunion with her mother, who she has not seen for at least 8 years.
Paterson has a way of writing tear-jerker novels that deal with difficult issues that children face. This book is no exception. It takes a talented writer to capture a difficult, cranky kid in a frustration situation and somehow still manage to make her someone we want to root for. Paterson does that in this book. (more…)