Two Chapter Books about Africa by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke is a series of short chapter books (actually related short stories) about a young girl’s lifestyle in Africa and her family.  I really enjoyed Anna’s playful and delightful personality. She is a character to enjoy. Her large family living in an African city is quite different from those of children in the USA, and I think that is a fabulous way for kids to get to know another culture. Even Anna herself must earn about her own privilege in the course of this first book: she decides to make money selling the oranges from her family’s tree, only to learn that the street children have become even more impoverished because she has taken away their own livelihood. Anna Hibiscus is the first in a series of four books. Others include Hooray for Anna Hibiscus!; Good Luck, Anna Hibiscusand Have Fun, Anna HibiscusPicture book stories have also been written for the youngest of children as well, including Anna Hibiscus’ Song; Splash, Anna Hibiscus; and a new release, Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus.

The No. 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke places a young boy in a rural African setting. Once again, I love how the life he lives is so different and eye-opening to the American child. The boy, known as No. 1 Car-Spotter, spends his free time watching for cars on the main road by his town. He is so good at spotting cars that he can often name the car only by hearing the engine! In this first volume, No. 1 saves the day when the family’s wagon breaks and they need to get their goods to the market. My son is eager to read The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird, a sequel to this volume.

I am a new independent consultant for Usborne Books and More, which provides these books for those in the USA! If you are interested in these books, send me a note at books at rebeccareid.com and I will send you a free copy of one of these when you book a qualifying book party (on Facebook!).

Picture Book Sunday: Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson

Eat, Leo! Eat! by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon (Kids Can Press, 2015) is an homage to Italian pastas and traditional lore. It is the story of a picky eater who loves his grandma’s stories about the Italian pastas she cooks each week at the family dinner. Each week, Nonna continues the story of a little boy (much like Leo) who is walking to see his grandmother, and as the story continues, Leo finds himself eager to hear more as he eats the traditional Italian pastas.
Continue Reading

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes is a realistic volume detailing the ordinary events in one second grader’s year. I loved how the most ordinary difficulties were the subject of Billy’s story. In this year, Billy learned overcome worries about his own abilities in school, dealing with the conflicts he feels with his young sister, and his relationship with the world as a 7-going-on-8 child. Since my son also is seven-nearly-eight and he too has a three-year-old sister, I felt like this book came at the perfect time for him. He really enjoyed it, staying up way past bedtime in order to finish it and see just how Billy’s year ended up.

Continue Reading