Rad American Women A – Z

This nonfiction picture book has twenty-five page long biographies (X is a unique tribute radto all those “women whose names we don’t know”) about historic women, including many less often lauded historical figures such as Dolores Huerta, The Grimke Sisters, Patti Smith and Ursula LeGuin. The biographies span two centuries, and some of those profiled are still living.

Read Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, in one sitting, or read it out loud in a classroom or at home, one page a day.

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Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

364_0A lovely Cuban folktale about spilling coffee on a suitor’s toes to reveal their true nature is retold by Carmen Agra Deedy in lively and interesting prose. Although the story is about finding a husband, it dispells other myths of finding a mate among the rich, handsome or gregarious. Instead, our beautiful green cockroach chooses a quiet, shy mouse in a slight twist. The jacket flap gives a little information about the real Cuban Cockroach, Panclora nivea, and Michael Austin‘s illustrations enable me to root for a cockroach heroine.

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Kate and Pippin: An Unlikely Friendship

Kate and Pippin: An Unlikely Friendship1250055695.1.detail by Martin Springett and photographed by Isobel Springett is the true story of a rescued fawn the mutual caring that developed with a Great Dane. Sweet and unlikely, yes, but even more interesting is what happens after Pippin grows to be about the same height as Kate (the dog): Pippin goes back into the forest and lives as her wild genes dictate, returning every so often to play with Kate, until one day, she returns with her own fawns. Kate and the humans living in the house never entice Pippin’s fawns, allowing them to stay wild and untouched, merely bystanders to their mother’s friendship with another species.

A picture book about the same story is out there also, but this early reader gives the whole story.

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123 Versus ABC

If a book about numbers and a book about letters meshed, and then the numbers and the 1405623036576letters fought about whose book it was, well, you’d have 123 Versus ABC by Mike Boldt. The letter A and the number 1 host a growing parade of animals and items that fit their perspectives on the book:  sixteen pigs and twenty-two violins–every letter has a number that can keep up. By the end, our hosts and our readers know that both can share the limelight.

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The Black Book of Colors

24477e9bddd73a0209f98b60d802ea9e-w204@1xEvery page of The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, illustrated by Rosana Faria and translated by Elisa Amado, is black with a short line of white print. Each line is also in Braille, and the pictures are raised like Braille in order for the reader to touch and imagine, using all of the senses but sight to envision a colour.

Use this book to start a conversation on the senses and visual impairment.

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Books that have a limited vocabulary for early readers are usually rather drab. Smick, by UnknownDoreen Cronin and expertly illustrated by Juana Medina, entertains us with expressive illustrations, unexpected textures (it looks like Smick’s stick is a photo of a real stick, and Smick’s unlikely friend is an enhanced feather) and lots of energy (all in under 40 words–most of which end in -ick).

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Tiptop Cat

An apartment in Paris, a cat and a balcony equals a happy life for the cat who likes to watch the world from his rooftop perch. One day, he pounces on a bird outside and falls. 9780544147997Four beautiful full page spreads show the apartments the cat tumbles past as well as the cat’s surprise and fear. The cat is not hurt, except for his spirit, and you’ll have to read the book to find out how that is recovered.

C. Roger Mader’s Tiptop Cat is a lovely book about overcoming fear.

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A historical graphic novel, Hiddenexplores how one French Jewish girl was hidden Unknownduring World War II. Dounia’s story encompasses the discrimination at school once she started wearing the Star of David, and the capture of her parents by the Nazis. Luckily, Dounia’s neighbours take her in, and then bring her to the countryside, where she is safe. The end is bittersweet because Dounia is reunited with her mother, yet her mother is gaunt and scarred from the concentration camp. Dounia’s father does not make it back.

Dounia tells her story to her granddaughter, the story she never told her son. Realistic and expressive, Loïc Davillier, Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo‘s book presents an important history in a beautiful format.

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9781771470094An almost wordless book about revenge, Splat! by Roslyn Schwartz brings on a good laugh. After all, what do you wish you could do when a pigeon leaves its mark on you? Warning: scatalogical humour inside.

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What Do You Do With An Idea?

A child has an idea, then struggles with acceptance. The idea follows him around, and Unknownwhen he trusts his conscience, he realizes he feels happier. So he plays with the idea, and it grows. He builds it a new house, and finally, when the idea is ready, it changes the world. Besom’s playful illustrations gradually grow from black and white to colourful, inspiring us all to nurture those ideas.

What Do You Do With An Idea? written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom makes an abstract concept tangible.

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