Can you imagine a Harry Potter-type boarding school set in the Rocky Mountains and using the musical instruments to provide magical power instead of boring old wands? The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury (Clarion Books, 2020; Audible Studios) does just that. Amelia’s life’s dream has been to attend the same musicraft school as

Read Post

Africana: An Encyclopedia of an Amazing Continent by Kim Chakanesta, illustrated by Alabi Mayowa (Quarto Publishing, 2022) is an invaluable new volume for young people that captures basics about the history, landscapes, people, and cultures throughout the regions in Africa. Africa is a giant continent, so obviously one volume will never be enough. Africana provides

Read Post

Adam and His Tuba by Ziga X Gombac, illustrated by Maja Kastelic (translated by Olivia Hallewell, NorthSouth Books, February 2023) is a sweet story about the youngest child of the Von Trapeze family, which, as you may surmise, is a talented circus family. But Adam cannot do the highwire, be part of a human pyramid,

Read Post

The Giant Book of Creativity for Kids by Bobbi Conner (Roost Books, March 2015) is just packed full of creative ideas for engaging our kids of all ages in fun and educational activities. In more than 400 pages, Ms Connor shares insights for incorporating crafts, music, movement, drawing, pretending, building, and more into the daily

Read Post

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Michael Hicks (University of Illinois Press, March 2015) is a biography of the choir itself. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I’ve grown up with the choir: songs during the biannual general conferences, recordings in my home. Because of my background, I was interested

Read Post

School Days Around the World by Margriet Ruur and illustrated by Alice Feagan (Kids Can Press, 2015) captures Malala’s vision in the epigram at the beginning: “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education.” In the cut-paper collage illustrations, the stories of real children around the

Read Post

The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro (St. Martin’s Press, 2015) is a celebration and explanation of how a story about a “beguiling” novice becoming the stepmother to singing children became (or inspired), as the book claims “the most beloved film of all time.” It takes a true fan of The Sound of Music

Read Post

In his note following his picture book, The Grasshopper and the Ants (Little, Brown and Company 2015), Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney says the picture book is intended to be an “homage to nature.” The rich details of the summer and autumn turning in to winter certainly provide an appropriate homage. As with his richly illustrated

Read Post

In Kali’s Song by Jeanette Winter (Schwartz and Wade Books, 2012), a young boy who lives thousands of years ago in a cave with his mother finds joy in his life. His journey is serious. He watches his mother paint images of the animals on the wall of the cave, and then he must go out

Read Post

At my classics book club last night, one of the women had not had a chance to read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (published 1940), but she came to hear the discussion about it nonetheless. She was not familiar with the book, and as we discussed it, she commented on how

Read Post