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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Little Red Writing

9780811878692_little-red-writing_largeThere are never enough fractured fairy tales out there, and Little Red Writing by Jean Holub and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is more fractured than most. After all, it’s set in “Pencilvania School” and Little Red is a pencil, and the wolf is “Wolf 3000: the grumpiest, growliest, grindingest pencil sharpener ever made!” Little Red has to save Principal Granny, and everyone else, from being sharpened to smithereens. Great text, unique illustrations with lots of secrets to find and a story to admire.

Find story activities here.

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It’s A Tiger

bk_tigerEverywhere you turn, there’s a tiger! Ah, run!

Exciting and fun to read, David LaRochelle and Jeremy Tankard‘s It’s A Tiger! makes the expected unexpected every time. The childlike tiger is delightful and not too fierce, especially when we find out what the tiger really wants…and the story comes full circle with a little twist.

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If You Plant a Seed

With very few words and gorgeous paintings, Kadir Nelson tells a beautiful story of mediumsharing and bounty. A bunny and a mouse plant a small garden, and are all set to eat the produce when the birds show up. A fight ends only by sharing, and when the birds share back, a garden bigger and more lush than ever is made.

If You Plant a Seed shows us the value of compassion and working together.

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Little Roja Riding Hood

bc_rojaWe needed a modernized version of the classic fairy tale, and Little Roja Riding Hood is a funny, bilingual take. Even non-Spanish speakers will love the text, because all of the Spanish words are worked expertly into the rhyming text (a bonus to help with pronunciation). A glossary is provided, also.

As for the story, no woodcutter is needed to save the day: Abeula and Roja can take care of Wolf, and at the end, they install a security system to prevent the fiasco from happening again.

Written by Susan Middleton Elya and illustrated by Susan Guevara.

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