Jason Chin’s illustrations in Coral Reefs: A Journey Through an Aquatic World Full of Wonder (Square Fish, 2016) create an imaginative story of a girl reading this same book and being swept away in an actual coral reef ecosystem. I love the creative illustrations and the details shown in the text. It is a gorgeous

Ginny is used to moving. Even at age 11, this is fifth move. That’s what happens when your dad is military. But her dad’s surprise deployment throws off Ginny’s confidence. Now, in Ginny Off the Map by Caroline Hickey (Christy Ottaviano Books, June 2023), Ginny faces a new house and neighborhood and a long summer

Maroo of the Winter Caves by Ann Turnbull (originally published 1984) is a middle grade novel set during the Ice Age. It may help shed light on how people may have lived and survived in communities during a hunter/gatherer era of history. With young Maroo as the main character, children will see themselves in her

Stanley Wells is one of the world’s premier Shakespearean scholars, with, as he discusses in his epilogue, more than 80 years of experience of studying, teaching, reading, and watching Shakespeare. His newest book is an exploration of the man: What Was Shakespeare Really Like? (Cambridge University Press, September 2023). He writes about Shakespeare by considering

In More-igami by Dori Kleber and illustrated by Brian Karas (Candlewick, 2016), Joey learns about the Japanese art of origami and decides he’ll mater it! To his discouragement, he finds origami to be difficult. He’s always liked to fold things, though, so he decides to practice until he is successful. When his family is tired

Red, a red panda, mourns how all the books for pandas somehow omit red pandas! With the encouragement of his giant panda friend Gee, Red writes his own book about red pandas. The adorable picture book How This Book Got Red by Margaret Chiu Greanias and pictures by Melissa Iwai (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, October 2023) narrates

Odder is a curious and spunky sea otter in the ocean, spritely enjoying water play with her more cautious older friend, when she is bitten by a shark. Now Odder is fighting for her life. Thankfully, in the middle grade novel Odder by Katherine Applegate (Feiwel & Friends, September 2022), this memorable otter is rescued

In Something Like Home by Andrea Beatriz Arango (Random House Books for Young Readers, 2023), eleven-year-old Laura carries a heavy burden of self-blame. She suddenly finds herself separated from her parents and placed under the care of her previously unknown Aunt Silvia. Her distress stems from her decision to call 911 when she discovered her

With a wordless story frame illustrating a family going for a walk in the park with their dock, A Mammal is an Animal by Lizzy Rockwell (Holiday House, January 2018) explains the differences between mammals, birds, and other animals. In the picture book, the illustrated family explores the unique creatures around them and learn about

The children’s novel The Great Quest by Charles Boardman Hawes (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1921) has a nice beginning, with an adventurous tone similar to that in Treasure Island. But for the modern reader, that wholesome, adventurous spirit becomes much more sinister about a quarter of the way through the book, with a tone that feels