Monday, March 27, 2017

Mina’s White Canvas

Mina’s White Canvas by Heyeon-Ju Lee (2015) #ownvoices  

Mina feels gray and gloomy—just like the weather. Like her many literary predecessors, she begins to draw snowflakes, which quickly transform her world into a vast landscape to explore. She meets various animals, and solves their problems with her magic crayon, adding more and more color to her world. Mina sits comfortably next to Harold and his purple crayon, with a shorter story more suited to storytime that also has a focus on helping others.

Themes/topics: Helping, kindness, drawing, crayons, imagination, adventure

Sample text from two spreads:

The new friends walked through the forest. “Look!” Said Mina. “I see someone in that cave!”

It was Mr. Bear. He had grown so fat during the long winter that he was stuck in the cave opening. Mina and Grandfather Woodpecker pulled and tugged, but they could not get him out.

Mina took her crayon and drew a big blue door on the side of the cave. Hooray! It was just the right size for Mr. Bear!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards and G. Brian Karas (2016)

Sophia’s neighbor, Mrs. Goldman, knits hats for everyone in her life, and Sophia makes pom poms to adorn them. One winter, Sophia notices that Mrs. Goldman’s generosity has left her with no hat of her own, so Sophia decides to make one for her. Unfortunately, Sophia’s skill doesn’t quite match up with her intention, and she’s frustrated by her lumpy hat. It is, of course, perfect in Mrs. Goldman’s eyes. This book made me teary in the same way as Sophie’s Squash—perfectly sweet and funny without being saccharine. Mrs. Goldman is Jewish, and Sophia references grandparents in Argentina—refreshingly reflective of the many ways that lives and people intersect. A bit longer than most storytime books, this is one I’d make an effort to include. Heart—and head—warming.

Themes/topics: kindness, neighbors, creativity, crafts, knitting, good deeds

Sample text from first two spreads:

When Sophia was a tiny baby, Mrs. Goldman next door knit her a tiny baby hat to keep her warm.

Now Sophia is big, and she makes the pom-poms for Mrs. Goldman’s hats. Hats for the tiniest babies. Hats for small, medium, and large friends and neighbors. Mrs. Goldman taught her how. “Keeping keppies warm is our mitzvah,” says Mrs. Goldman, kissing the top of Sophia’s head. “This is your keppie, and a mitzvah is a good deed.”

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I am Josephine (and I am a living thing) by Jan Thornhill and Jacqui Lee

I am Josephine (and I am a living thing) by Jan Thornhill and Jacqui Lee (2016)

This book made me so happy when it came across my desk—I don’t order nonfiction, so it was a surprise.  Josephine tells us that she is a human being, talks about other human beings, and invites readers to point out other human beings on a full spread. She then defines herself as a mammal, an animal, and a living thing following the same pattern. This book is a great introduction to the concept of how humans fit into broader categories, while still being unique individually. The delightful pictures, by the illustrator of the fabulous reader series, Murilla Gorilla, are large, clear, and perfect for sharing during storytime.

Themes/topics: people, self-esteem, individuality, STEM, categories

Sample text from two spreads:
I am Josephine, and I am a living thing.
I am a living thing, and so is my brother, Felix, and so is a butterfly, and so is a tree, and so is a penguin. How many different living things can you find on this page?