For You Are a Kenyan Child

51JMQCGYC2L._SX300_by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Ana Juan. Atheneum Books for Young Children (2006).

Summary: This book is about a day in the life of a Kenyan boy. He is asked by his mother to take Grandfather’s cows to pasture. He walks them to pasture, but then he visits Bashir at the tea shop, visits the village chief, sees Grandmother (and snacks on maziwa lala), plays with friends (and has a bug for a snack)…oh no! Grandfather’s cows! But all is soon well, and the Kenyan boy goes to sleep peacefully in his hut.

Uses: Wonderful introduction to different ways of life for  young children. Also a great way to learn a few choice Swahili words: hodi (hello) karibu (welcome) kabisa (an expression for emphasis, like exactly), sasa (now), mzee (a term of respect for older people; particularly men), etc.

Awards: Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly starred reviews

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.


The Lonely Book

12321949by Kate Bernheimer, illustrated by Chris Sheban Random House (2012)

Summary: A beautiful green book with a yellow ribbon inside arrives at the library and when it is new, it is loved by all and checked out constantly. But as time goes on and the book becomes worn, the book is all but forgotten on the library’s shelves. The book ends up in the library’s basement. It eventually finds a place in a little girl’s heart (and on her home bookshelf). This book is Paddington Bear and The Velveteen Rabbit for book lovers!

Uses: This would be a great book to read at Storytime for a Public Library, especially before a used book sale takes place!

Awards: 2014 Treasure State Award Nominee, Washington State Picturebook Children’s Choice Award

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.

The Quiet Place

the-quiet-place-7235365f4ea06bb5by Sarah Stewart. David Small (illustrator). Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers (2012).

Summary:  Isabel and her family move to the United States in the 1950s.  Told in epistolary style, Isabel writes to her aunt Lupita about how shy she is to speak English. She collects big boxes and creates for herself a quiet place. Isabel eventually finds her place and begins to feel at home.

Uses:  Tales of immigration, units about Mexican Americans.

AwardsKirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of 2012, Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus starred reviews.

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.


The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night: An Old Song

fox-went-out-spierIllustrated by Peter Spier, Dell Dragonfly Books, (1961).

Summary: An illiustrated version of the song in which a fox goes out on the “town-o” and catches some geese for his family to eat. Beautifully illustrated color and black and white spreads.

Uses: Music class. There’s even sheet music in the back with all verses! Such a fun song to sing for all ages.

Awards: 1962 Caldecott Honor

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.

Bear Despair

518DdLZqx6L._SX300_by Gaëtan Dorémus, Enchanted Lion Books (2012).

Summary: In this wordless picture book, Bear is sleeping when his Teddy Bear is stolen by Fox. Bear is so mad at Fox he eats him up! Then Teddy is  stolen by Lion, who throws Teddy off a cliff. Bear eats him up, too.  Bear is then stolen by a hawk and an elephant—read the book to find out what happens and how Bear finally gets his Teddy back.  Artwork is very interesting, almost like the book was drawn with a scratchy ink pen.

Uses: A great book to introduce a discussion about why we should not take things that aren’t ours.

Awards: Starred review by Publisher’s Weekly, New York Times book recommendation.

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.


Blue Chicken

bc-coverby Deborah Freedman. Viking, 2011.

Summary: In this clever picture book, Chicken seems to literally jump off of the page! Chicken just wants to help, but she gets into a pot of blue paint and creates a big ol’ mess. Beautifully done, with realistic looking splashes of watercolored ink. A book that will keep kids laughing till the end.

Uses: A great book to introduce kids to the medium of watercolor. Also, since the book was inspired by the poem, The Red Wheelbarrow,  read this poem to children and then have them draw a picture of it.

Awards:  Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall 2011, Kirkus Reviews and BookPage “Best Children’s Books of 2011”, Eric Carle Museum “Top of the Shelf: Best Picture Books of 2011”, Exhibited in The Original Art 2011 at the Society of Illustrators, Children’s Book-of-the-Month selection,Children’s Choices 2012 Reading List, Georgia Children’s Book Award Nominee, 2012-2013, Booklist “Top 10 Arts Books for Youth: 2012.”


All the Water in the World

allthewaterby George E. Lyon and Katherine Tillotson (illustrator), Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books (2011).

Summary: This book introduces the water cycle to a preschool/early elementary audience. Beautiful illustrations, full page spreads, lots of color and even a vertical spread!

Uses: Water/science unit. For example:  talk about the water you and your students use every day. What are sources of water in your home and at your school? How does water help you accomplish what you need to do every day?

Awards:  School Library Journal & Booklist starred reviews, CBCC Choices, ALA Notable

Borrowed from the Knoxville Public Library.