I have two new books to recommend this week….
Blue Rider is a picture book by Geraldo Valerio. This is a wordless story, told in double page spreads beginning with an opening cityscape of blue and tan buildings. On the following page, a girl is looking out from one of those buildings, but she blends so seamlessly into the picture that you may not see her at first. When she steps outside, though, she becomes “bluer.” The people on the sidewalk, many of whom are looking down at their phones or wearing headphones, remain muted, but as you move further into the story, the blues begin to pop. The girl finds a blue book on the sidewalk, and like Max’s bedroom window in Where the Wild Things Are, the book is a portal to an unfamiliar and dazzling world. The pages of her new book literally explode into color – into pictures that start as what are clearly horses and buildings. But as you turn the pages, the images are deconstructed – they seem to fly apart. The more I look at it, the more magical it becomes. It’s definitely a book that belongs in every art teacher’s classroom.
I also read Front Desk by Kelly Yang this week. The middle grade novel is collecting starred reviews so it moved to the top of my list – a good move. Yang’s book, based on her own childhood experience, is wonderful and timely. Mia Tang is a ten-year-old who immigrated from China with her parents, the managers of the Calavista Motel in California. Since Mia’s parents are busy with cleaning rooms and fixing broken machinery, Mia has sort of taken over the front desk responsibilities – greeting guests and talking to the hotel’s long-term regulars who quickly become friends. From there and from her desk at school, she witnesses racism, cruelty, and straight-out lies, that hurt her and her financially struggling parents. Mia is a hard-working, honest, and determined young girl who begins to discover the power of her voice – and her pen. I strongly recommend Yang’s novel to kids between the ages of 9 and 12.
As I was working on this summer’s school reading list, it occurred to me that I’ve never included a dedicated list for of new books for our toddler community. That needed to change – and this year’s school-wide list begins with a list of books perfect for sharing with a toddler.
TEN FOR TODDLERS
Good Day For a Hat by T. Nat Fuller
This is the “official” Inly toddler book of summer. Get your sun hat and enjoy the story of a bear who can’t figure out which hat to wear!
Grains of Sand by Sibylle Delacroix
After a day at the beach, a little girl and her brother imagine what would happen if they planted sand.
Ducks Away! by Mem Fox
A counting book featuring adorable ducks who keep falling into the river. Of course, they are all reunited with their mother.
The Tiptoeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers
Little Tiger desperately wants to scare someone, so he tiptoes through the forest….
Baby Bear’s Book of Tiny Tales by David McPhail
Four short – and very sweet – stories about a little bear who finds things, including a book, a flower, a baby bird, and a friend.
Pignic by Matt Phelan
Bring this story about a family of pigs having a picnic to your own picnic!
New Shoes by Chris Raschka
After a hole is found in a young child’s sneaker, it’s time for a shoe shopping adventure.
Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel
A colorful celebration of animals, shapes, and colors
Bus! Stop! by James Yang
After a young boy misses his bus, he watches all kind of vehicles go by, including a covered wagon and a boat.
Still Stuck by Shinsuke Yoshitake
A little boy literally gets stuck in his shirt, but he wants to figure it out by himself. A laugh out loud story!