A modern-day fable about the sun and moon switching places, Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey is a beautiful picture book about the idea that someone else has it better. Moon imagines that sun has many more beautiful sights, and so he asked Sun to trade places. Wise Sun says yes, on two conditions. Read and discover the beauty of the night.
Jason Chin‘s nonfiction picture book, Redwoods, takes us on one boy’s visit to the home of redwoods. Did you know that plants grow in the crevasses of redwoods? Did you know that a whole ecosystem exists in the redwood canopy, never touching or seeing the ground? The tallest redwood, Hyperion, is 379.1 feet tall, and still growing. Redwoods can live through fire. The facts are amazing.
Before reading Susan Campbell Bartoletti‘s middle grade book about her, I did not know much about Typhoid Mary. In fact, I thought she was a fictional character. I was wrong. She was a real person, who cooked for many families in New York City and surrounding areas until the New York City Board of Health tracked her down and held her in near isolation on North Brother Island. A strong and healthy woman, Mary Mallon refused to believe she was spreading typhoid fever via the food she made.
Terrible Typhoid Mary presents all sides of the story, from George Soper who claimed to be the first who discovered Mary and her unique “healthy carrier” status, to Dr. Josephine Baker, who confronted Mary in order to collect samples that would detect if and where the typhoid germs originated in Mary. Many pictures and a timeline round out this well-written account of Mary Mallon.
Wait by Antoinette Portis is about a boy who sees many interesting sights while his mother holds his hand and wants to hurry. For a young child, stopping to watch construction or pet a dog is a valuable use of time and this book reminds the reader of those little moments we need to take to enjoy everyday life. The illustrations show the story: the mother is hurrying to catch a train, and every time they stop, it makes them a bit later. In the end, however, the child and mother agree to wait and watch the beauty of a double rainbow.
Vincent doesn’t want to sleep, and so he unravels the night. Shown via photographs of Vincent with black drawings on a white background, Vincent and the Night by Adele Emerson is an interesting and entertaining exploration of what a baby thinks up when he is not sleeping at night.
Reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon because of its imaginative drawings that change from page to page, Vincent and the Night is sure to charm all ages.
When fourteen-year-old LaVaughn finds a babysitting job in order to earn money for college (and no one in her whole building has ever been to college), she ends up taking care of Jilly and Jeremy, the children of a seventeen-year-old mother trying to make ends meet without welfare help. Through LaVaughn, we see the dirty apartment and the undisciplined kids, but we also see the love of a mother and the desire to make things work better. For anyone who has experienced poverty or worked with those in need, this book will ring true. It explores how we take advantage of others, how we think we help and how sometimes we just don’t know what we need to know.
In the center of Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, we hear the story about making lemonade so different from the trite statement people throw around– that sometimes its not life that hands you lemons, sometimes its people who harm you and steal from you and through sheer strength, you can feed your children lemonade.
At any given second, different events are taking place around the world. The World in a Second shows a snapshot of twenty-three different places, one on each page: Coro, Venezuela; Khalkis, Greece; Cartaxo, Portugal; Baltic Sea; East London, South Africa and more. This is a large book, better for admiring the action-packed illustrations by Isabel Minhós Martins and Bernardo P. Carvalho (translated from Portuguese by Lyn Miller-Lachmann).
Trent is navigating his life of middle school, friendship and perceptions, and in the middle of it all, makes friends with a girl who has a different story every time about the origins of the scar on her face. Mostly, Trent is dealing with the accidental death of a boy in his small town which Trent thinks he caused. The characters are layered, the plot is interesting, and Lisa Graff lets us into Trent’s heart of hearts even when he himself doesn’t know exactly what’s there.
The book jacket says this is “a story of true friendship“, which it is, but it’s also a story of family and not always liking your dad and learning to deal with people without blowing up. The best part is the ending, where the story is wrapped up, yet some things are the same, just like real life.