With a rhythm and rhyme of just a few syllables per page, Bloom Boom by April Pulley Sayre (Beach Lane Books, 2019) provides not just a simple read-aloud for young children but also a great book of inspiration for finding flowers and other blooming plants that one enjoys. This book of flower photography is a

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The Dream Coach by Anne Parrish (illustrated by Dillwyn Parrish; Macmillan, 1924) is a collection of a poem and four stories that are named the dreams of four children around the world. The children include a princess, a boy from Norway, a young Chinese boy “emperor,” and a French boy in the countryside. Each story

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As the title suggests, Fungi Grow by Maria Gianferrari (illustrated by Diana Sudyka; Beach Lane Books, 2023) is a nonfiction picture book focusing on the growth, spread, and purpose of fungi through the world. With realistic illustrations, a variety of fonts, and both a storyline and sidebar facts, this picture book provides a welcome and

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Because of an Acorn by Lola and Adam Schaefer (Chronicle Books, 2016; illustrated by Fran Preston-Gannon) has pretty pictures and simple text to show the connection between an acorn growing and the other types of life surrounding it. Birds, fruit, deer, chipmunks, and other animals all are able to live. They also contribute to adding

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The picture book Scroll by Hui Lu (Christy Ottaviano Books, September 2023) teaches about Chinese characters and calligraphy with an imaginative dialog and dream featuring a grandfather and his granddaughter. This illustrated and imaginative approach to learning about the character-based language is a perfect match for a young child to become engaged and interested in

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Middle grade readers will find themselves in for a fantastic and magical “backyard” adventure when they read Elf Dog and Owl Head by M.T. Anderson (illustrated by Junyi Wu; Candlewick 2023). This novel’s summary threw me off, because it sounded like it would be about a boy dealing with the annoyance of remaining home during

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Middle grade novel Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (HarperCollins, 2019) captures one teen girl’s perspective as a Syrian refugee to America. Even without using dates within the text, Other Words for Home feels sadly applicable today since the Syrian conflict still rages and refugees flee to America from many different countries. Jude’s life

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Hot Dog by Doug Salati (Random House, May 2022) contrasts the oppressive heat of a busy city in summer with the bright freedom and delight of an open beach. The nameless dog obviously swelters in the sun and then delights it in as he leaps across the sand and splashes in cool blue waves. It’s

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Everyone except Maddie, and I mean everyone, has been inexplicably evacuated from her town in the middle of the night in the beginning chapters of the free verse novel Alone by Morgan E. Freeman (Aladdin, 2021). Now Maddie has no access to anyone (phones have been abandoned). She is without electricity and running water and

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