I may be on a shape picture book kick. All Around Us by Xelena González and illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia is all about circles, the third shape book in a row that I’ve blogged about. Though geometric circles in this book are woven beautifully into the stunning art, circles also figure into the theme: the circle of life. The story follows a grandpa and grandchild as they plant seeds and talk about ancestors.
I’ve never quite seen art like this in a picture book. Do check it out. The author’s note in the back explains her family’s customs and what she fictionalized in the book.
Just when I thought books about shapes were at their limit, along comes Circle Rolls by Barbara Kanninen and illustrated by Serge Bloch. When Circle rolls through the neighbourhood, every shape is affected. Each shape acts according to character, too! For example, “Triangle points without any hands” and “Octagon says, ‘SHAPES! STOP!'”
My only quibble is that Line is not a shape, and as all of the four-year-olds I’ve worked with recently will tell you, it’s not a diamond, it’s a rhombus! (Yep, preschoolers are learning their stuff here in Michigan.) But this story is so innovative and fun, that I don’t mind all that much. Also, if you’re reading this for math concepts, then those points of contention can offer a good discussion.
What does it mean to get carried away? Is that an idiom? Well, Harriet does get carried away with her varied costumes, as the idiom suggests. And she gets carried away, literally, by penguins! (It’s not really a spoiler if the cover image shows it first.)
There are many little treats in the text where the idioms mean both the idiomatic and the literal, and there were so many times the book made me smile for other reasons that I had to include it on this blog of must-read books for kids. Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima is full of adventure, imagination and humour.
A gently nuanced story of an early morning fishing trip shows the beauty and struggle of a Vietnamese American family. It’s a quiet story, but the words and images are so lovely, it conjures a pure picture of one day in one family’s life.
Based loosely on the boyhood of author Bao Phi, A Different Pond is brought to life by Thi Bui’s graphic novel style illustrations. Both the author and illustrator have informative notes at the end, along with photos from their childhoods.
Watch the book trailer from Capstone below and visit Joanne Roberts’ blog for more picture books surrounding Vietnam and immigration.
When Addie and Mommers move into a lonely trailer across from a parking lot filled with potholes and a minimart gas station, Mommers is less than thrilled, but Addie makes the best of it. In fact, Addie does almost everything, from making toast dinners to cleaning up. Mommers chats on the Internet and watches her favourite TV shows, and sometimes goes on “business trips” for days.
Addie has another family, too: Dwight, her ex-stepfather, and Katie and Brynna, her little sisters. They only visit once or twice a month, depending on Dwight’s work schedule, and though Addie feels best when she’s with them, she knows Mommers depends on her, and besides, Mommers is her legal guardian.
What’s great about this novel is Addie’s loyalty and tenacity. The reader knows something has got to change for Addie, but Addie has to come to this realization herself. Also, there’s a fabulous cast of interesting characters that come alongside Addie and round out the story.
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor is inspiring and authentic.