There Is a Tribe of Kids

A child travels through sundry of animals: a smack of jellyfish, a turn of turtles, an PB_Smith_There-is-a-Tribe-of-Kids-300x231.jpgunkindness of ravens and miscellaneous inanimate items: a formation of rocks, a pile of rubble, an ocean of blue until he finds a tribe of kids to call home. The subtle play on words (the line of turtles actually turns and the opening pages show a tribe of kids as in baby goats) heighten the interest in the child’s travels, but it isn’t until the end that we realize his journey is one to find home, where “there WAS a tribe of kids” turns into “there IS a tribe of kids”.

Lane Smith‘s gorgeous illustrations fill in all the blanks of the spare text. There Is a Tribe of Kids is a must-read for all ages.

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1 Big Salad: A Delicious Counting Book

Juana Medina‘s creative counting book starts with “one avocado deer”, which is a photographed avocado with antlers and a deer body inked in. The adorable illustrations 9781101999745.jpeggrow into a colourful and playful salad recipe, complete with a recipe for dressing in the backmatter. The book is super fun, sure to please salad-lovers and entice those who are unsure of the pleasures of veggies.

1 Big Salad will appeal to those who enjoyed Vincent and the Night for its illustrations and Smick for its judicious use of words.

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Worm Weather


Worm Weather is an ode to playing outside, even in rainy, wormy weather. Jean Taft‘s prose is short and poetic, fun to read aloud. There are rhymes, but it never stretches too hard and stays rhythmic and lively throughout. Matt Hunt’s playful illustrations show the joy of splashing and running in the rain.

To celebrate rainy days, find some extension activities about the weather here.


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Rude Cakes


Rude cakes do all sorts of naughty things. They never listen, they take things that don’t belong to them, and they are never sorry. Good thing there are giant cyclopses around because giant cyclopses…you have to read the book to find out.

Hilarious and a great story that’s never didactic about manners yet still manages to drive the etiquette point home. I laugh out loud everytime I read this. I can’t wait for more books from Rowboat Watkins.

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Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

This collection of poems is as fun as it looks, full of clever word play and concrete poetry.WetCement+jacket.jpg Even typography works to make the poems fun, with just the half-circle of the e showing in “Sunset” and one of the o’s floating up in “Balloon”. Beware, there are no cement poems, only concrete.

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poem by Bob Raszka is sure to inspire and enthrall.


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Every Day Birds


Twenty common North American birds each get their own page with a line about their habits and a gorgeous paper cut illustration by Dylan Metrano. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater‘s poem is repeated in a double page spread at the end, and there’s an author’s note and mini field guide included. Every Day Birds is a great nonfiction read aloud, sure to garner the interest of young ones.

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The Nest

The Nest is a haunting and surreal book about a boy named Steve whose newborn brother is born with a host of medical problems that require surgeries and hospitalizations. Throughthe-nest-9781481432320_lg Steve’s dreams and his conversations with the knife man, we see Steve work through his feelings about disability. As the story unfolds, a strange queen wasp slowly burrows into their house and Steve’s thoughts, promising to replace Steve’s baby brother with a perfect baby. This book really gets inside the emotions of the struggling family and shows us how life is about so much more than perfection.

Written by Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by Jon KlassenThe Nest is a strange and lovely book.

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I Am a Bear

ResizeImageHandler.ashxTold from the perspective of a disoriented bear, lost in the city, I Am a Bear by Jean-François Dumont, is a sensitive and understanding picture book about a bear who lives on the street with cardboard and paper for a bed. After several startling experiences with people, the bear sleeps away the day, barely noticed by people, until one little girl regards him. She labels him a teddy bear and comes back to visit him, which brightens the bear’s days.

I Am a Bear explores themes of homelessness and kindness.

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The Memory of Light


There are a lot of dark themes in this book: suicide, depression, mental illness, difficult family relationships, and yet The Memory of Light doesn’t feel overly dark. Its mood is overall, one of hope and unconventional friendship. Francisco X. Stork has a writer’s voice that is honest, nuanced with both the unbearable sadness of Vicky, the main character, and the understanding of hope she grows to have.

You can read more about the plot and the author here.

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Full Cicada Moon

Set in 1969, Marilyn Hilton‘s Full Cicada Moon is Mimi’s story of moving to Vermont, where finding acceptance is difficult because her mother is Japanese and her father is black. What’s more, Mimi wants to be an astronaut and is interested in woodworking, rather than the home economics class required for girls. It’s not the usual story of bucking the 9780525428756.jpgsystem, yet Mimi does effect change in her surrounding community, and it’s beautiful to read.

I admit I picked this book because of the cover, and the review I saw on another blog, and the cover does match the mood of the book. For one thing, the snow, which is new for a girl moving to Vermont from Berkley, hints at the setting. The book begins and ends with the season of winter–and while spring usually signifies new beginnings, snow has a way of making everything look new. I also love the spare verse that gets right to the heart of every scene. Mimi also touches on the past of her family when she thinks about her aunts and their experience in the Japanese relocation camps, a fact the history textbooks omit and the school community suppresses.

Full Cicada Moon is a lovely and real story.

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