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Book Recommendations

Reading recommendations copyrighted in the last 15 years

Alphabet Books - LMNO PEAS by Keith Baker, Published by Little Simon

LMNO PEAS by Keith Baker is an exciting and catchy rhyming book that will marvel three-to-eight-year old’s with its bright depictions of pea characters on adventures, enjoying hobbies and excelling in a range of careers. The letters are written in large font and eye-catching artistry. The story covers capital letters A through Z with fun associated words like Acrobats and Zoologist. Although the book doesn’t feature any human faces, it does explore a wide range of human pursuits without stereotypes or biases. Some of these pursuits include parachutists, quilters, readers, and sailors on the seas. The storyline explores the different life paths and community roles a person or pea can play. The characters remind readers ‘we’re peas and.. we’re unique!’. At the end of the story, it asks readers “who are you?” challenging children to dream big and look at all the unique possibilities for their future.

- My Awesome Alphabet Book by Thomas Nelson, Published by Make Believe Ideas My Awesome Alphabet Book features die-cut pages in the shape of each letter so children can explore the alphabet in a more physical way. Each page in the shape of a single letter with the illustrations of associated words on the back. There is no story line in this 56-page book, but the colorful, unique shaped pages and adorable illustrations are sure to keep a child’s attention. The book is suitable for children birth and up. It can help with letter recognition, letter sound association and early reading skills. My Awesome Alphabet Book features images of kids in a range of skin tones. Thomas Nelson depicted diversity on its F page for both Friends and Family as well as other pages throughout the book.

- Animals in the Park, An ABC Book by Bib Barner, published by the McGraw Hill Company Animals in the Park features three-word sentences for each alphabet letter. The sentences are made up in an animal-can-action format with the animal and action both starting with the pages feature letter (Alligator can act). The illustrations are bright with the appearance of textures and layers. They make you want to touch the page to see if you can feel the difference. The last page of the children’s book has an alphabet chart that can be used to review the letters. I have this book in the oversized lap format, so the back page is large enough to play a game of I-Spy the letter with bingo pins. The book is great selection for children birth to 6. It helps enhance letter recognition and early literacy skills with simple sentences.

Number Books - Animals by the Numbers by Steve Jenkins, published HMH Books

Despite the title, Animals by the Numbers is a numbers book geared toward 6- to 9-year-olds in infographic style. Jenkins classifies animals from around the world by total population weight, quantity and distance traveled, among other classifications. The images are combination of cut pictures and computer-generated illustrations. The zoological facts are portrayed in such an easy-to-read way, young readers will devour the information.

- Goodnight, Numbers by Danica McKellar, published by Random House Children’s Books

Goodnight, Numbers a bedtime story in which two- to five-year-old can say “goodnight” to objects around surrounding diverse families. An example of the text Goodnight three wheels/ Goodnight, three cans/Goodnight, all trucks/and pots and pans. The story is simple and easy to enjoy during the wind down moments before bedtime.

Informational Books - Ana Goes to Washington DC, by Rene Colato Lainez, published by McGraw Hill Companies Ana Goes to Washington DC tells the tale of a young girl on a travel with her Mama, tia Luisa and Sister, Ana to see the historical sites in the city. The illustrations by Angela Dominguez are a combination of drawn characters and real-life photographs. The photographs depict important locals like the National Mall, Washington Monument, Independence Avenue, Statue of Abraham Lincoln, the White House, Capitol Building, Supreme Court and Library of Congress. The dialog between characters gives readers age-appropriate information about the locations and their meaning to history. Although the book only features one family it does not show any bias or stereotypes, The family dynamic would be considered ‘a group of people who are often invisible in literature’ – single parent. This story opens up doors for discussion and would be appropriate for children 5-8

- Zoo Borns by Andrew Bleiman, published by McGraw Hill

Zoo Borns highlights the lives of 15 different infant animals from zoos around the country. The index gives a detailed list of the animal’s name, species, zoo with which it resides, conservation status and credits the photographer. The correlated page to the animal’s image introduces the readers new heart throb and shares a small message ‘from’ them. The simplicity of the book and adorable photos would best suit children birth to 4 years old. The story focuses completely on animals and does not include any stereotypes or bias

- Roadwork by Sally Sutton, published by McGraw Hill

Roadwork, a social studies story, makes learning about roadwork fun with bright illustrations and catchy wording. The storyline includes many sounds like Ping! Bang! Tap! Boom! Whoosh! Making it fun to read and to listen. The action-packed text would be great paired with hand motions and movements. It is sure to entertain any childbirth to 5 years old. Not only is it exciting but it teaches readers the steps in rolling out new roads, even the lunch break!


- Just Like Me Vanessa Brantley-Newton published by Random House Children’s Books

Just Like Me is a collection of 28 poems made to represent girls of all kinds in real world situations with real world feelings. From bruise knees to broken hearts, four- to eight-year-olds will relate to the mini stories between the colorful covers. The poems explore topics like community, identity, puberty, missing parent figures and wholesome romance. The poems themselves range in length so that they can be friendly for all reading levels. The topics range from joyous celebrations of friendships to hard hitting moments of embarrassment and navigating the tricky waters of learning to self-love. The illustrations are not only colorful and tasteful but inclusive and dynamic.

- No More Poems by Rhett Miller, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Rhett Miller, a singer-song writer, shows his comic side with potty humor and clever word play in No More Poems. The book opens with a tale of child’s talent to flush the toilet with is big toe “I don’t have a name for my potty karate / I might call it Tae Kwon Doo / Or maybe I’ll say I’m a third-degree black belt / In the top-secret art of Kung Poo.” The 23-poem collection covers topics like modern families, bedtime resistance, and getting out of school with a ploy of playing sick. The light hearted poems will be sure to make all four-to-nine-year old’s giggle and laugh.

- National Geographic Book of Nature Poems by J. Patrick Lewis published by National Geographic

An interactive book created for four- to eight-year-olds and their expanding thirst to explore their world. The book contains over 200 poems paired with National Geographic quality photos. Young readers can get enthralled with pictures of thunderstorms, streams and mountain ranges. The images are paired with curated poems from well-known writers like Robert Frost Billy Collins along with other never before published works. This collection will inspire a wonder for nature in children. Wordless Storybooks - Journey by Aaron Becker published by Candlewick Journey depicts the experiences of a girl who drew a magic door on her bedroom wall and escaped into anew world. With her marker in hand, she goes on adventures in bright design. Magic carpet rides, kidnapping and extraordinary choices. With no words, the story unfolds before the four- to eight-year-old readers eyes.

- Flashlight By Lizi Boyd published by Chronicle Books When you are alone in your tent the world can seem like a scary place. In this illustration only story, a little boy finds his bravery. With the help of his flashlight, he illuminates the scary noises in the dark. This book will entertain children four to six especially those who are still battling ‘things that go bump in the night - A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka published by Schwartz and Ward A Ball for Daisy is a New York Times Best Seller. Geared to four- to six-year-olds, the story of Daisy and the destruction of her favorite red ball. The water color illustrations take readers through the feelings of excitement and loss of having and losing something special. Although there is no text, the story is clear and opens possibilities to young learners to decipher feelings and build empathy.

Traditional Literature

- A Feathered Serpent and Five Suns retold by Duncan Tonatiuh published by Harry N. Abrams A Feathered Serpent tells the Mesoamerican tale of the creation of human with hair raising adventures and epic journeys. The Aztec Myth, retold by Tonatiuh will capture the audience of four to nine year old's wit hits Mexican styled artwork and grand storytelling.

- The Sky is Falling retold by Mark Teague published by Scholastic

The well-known classic The Sky is Falling tale retold with new and old friends. In this twist, Chicken Little starts a dance party after being bonked on the head with an acorn. His friends, a squirrel, cat, rabbit and fox, join in the dancing craze. The story is cute and entertaining for children three to six.

- The Elephants Garden retold by Jane Ray, published by Boxer Books

The Elephants Garden will capture readers from the cover. The traditional Indian styled artwork sets the scene for the Indian folk tale about to unfold. When a young girl named Jasmine finds fruit missing from her garden, she is determined to find the culprit. Discovering the thieving elephant, it offers to take her on an adventure to see its own garden made of valuable, but inedible fruit. When she returns, she shares the story with her family. It quickly spread across the village and naturally, all the villagers want to see the sight for themselves. Their inpatients folly’s their plan and leaves readers with a moral guidance on selfishness and greed. Great read for children three to nine years old.

Biography - Think Big Little One by Vashti Harrison, published by Little, Brown and Company

Think Big Little One talks about women who have made their dreams come true. The list includes idol worthy names like Bessie Blount Griffen, who invented medical tools, to astrologist Wang Zhenyi. The story is culturally diverse, including women of all different ethnicities, races, economics and religions. Even though the books is in a board book form, it is appropriate for a wide range of ages. The story, text and illustrations are great for children from birth to 3 years old. Children over 3 years old may use the book to discover new idols to further investigate. - Follow Your Dreams Little One by Vashti Harrison, published by Little, Brown and Company Follow Your Dreams Little One is similar to Think Big Little One. The short biographies are set up the same but this time revolve our men in history. They are still just as diverse in ethnicities, races, economics and religions. The story covers great men like Fredrick Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, James Baldwin and Arthur Ashe. The final line reminds children to just “be the best they can be” where ever they go. The audience for this Follow Your Dreams Little One is the same as Think Big Little One. It would be great for children birth to 3 years old and could be a spark starting for children over the age of 3. - Oprah Winfrey by Anna Membrino, published by Random House Children’s Books The inspirational story of Oprah Winfrey by Anna Membrino gives readers a look at their role model in away that is understandable for young minds from birth to three years old. The cartoon depiction of Oprah is eye catching and kid friendly just like the text. The board book style is perfect for small hands and early readers.

Magazines - National Geographic KIDS National Geographic KIDS addition is perfect readers six years and up. Opening the door to far away destinations, exotic animals, and countless cultures readers will be delighted by the photographs found inside these pages. National Geographic covers everything from the center of the earth to outer space. Filled with “weird but true facts”, answers to kids submitted questions, and special extras like posters, cards, activities, or stickers. - Ranger Rick JR. Similar to National Geographic, the photos inside Ranger Rick JR. will delight children with real photographs of things never before seen by their eyes. These magazines will help children learn about, and how to respect, animals, nature and habituates around them. - Highlights The well-known children’s magazine Highlights is known for featuring diverse characters, family dynamics and inclusive storylines. Its pages are full of comic strips, short stories, activities and child friendly recipes. Kids five to nine can get hands on with reading, writing and drawing challenges. Predictable Books

- Who is That, Cat the Cat? By Mo Willems, published by Blazer + Bray Who is That, Cat the Cat? Is a cute story about a little cat meeting new friends. Children can easily follow along with the story and predict the next lines. First, Cat the Cat meets Mouse the Mouse, and onward with Duck the Duck and Fish the Fish. Finally, she meets a new friend she has never met before. Children up to the 3 years old would enjoy this easy read. The illustrations are welcoming and the characters are easy to identify, increasing the predictability of the story line. - The Artists Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle, published by World of Eric Carle The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is reminiscent of Eric Carle earlier works like Brown, Brown, What Do You See? The partnership between story and illustration makes it easy for children to predict the next line on the page. The book is a pleasure for children birth to 4 years old. For children older than four years old, it is a fun way to practice reading sight words like color names. - Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin published by HarperCollins Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons has a catchy sing song story line sure to please all age listeners. The text is predictive for children able to count down from four, making four to eight-year old’s a good audience for this book. As all Pete the Cat books are, the colors are vibrant and the artwork is eye catching. There are never any expressions of prejudice or stereotypes expressed and the general feel of these books are ’good vibes” only.


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