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Introducing a Love of Books


For many of us, love of books began when we were young. It’s wonderful to introduce children to a connection with books that could last a lifetime. So, for the love of books, and kids, here are sixteen books reviewed in our July/August 2017 issue.

You, Me and Empathy

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Jayneen Sanders
Sofia Cardoso, illustrator
Educate2Empower Publishing
Softcover $9.25 (40pp)

Helping young people to recognize their own emotions and to see them in others, Jayneen Sanders uses lively couplets and easily relatable scenarios at home and on the playground in You, Me and Empathy. Captivating illustrations from Sofia Cardoso display a colorfully diverse neighborhood full of energy and enthusiasm, and suggested activities and discussion questions open the door for further cultivating compassion.

ABC Spanish

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Aless Baylis
Walter Foster Jr.
Hardcover $12.99 (36pp)

Niñas and niños will be delighted with ABC Spanish, from Aless Bayliss, a fun-sized introduction to the Spanish-language alphabet, complete with LL, Ch, and RR digraphs and pronunciation guide. Adorable images by Walter Foster Jr. appear in varying shades of pastel from A to Z, or *ardilla *to zorro, with the English equivalents conveniently located underneath. Ideal for sharing with even the youngest little learners, no matter which languages are spoken at home.

Ellis Island: Gateway to America

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Joanne Mattern
Red Chair Press
Hardcover $26.95 (32pp)

Just one mile south of New York City, the small slice of land formerly known as Gull Island has become famous the world over as a way station for millions of immigrants. In Joanne Mattern’s Ellis Island, part of the exciting Let’s Celebrate America series, learn how and why the island transformed from a private estate to a military fort, immigration station, hospital, tourist destination, and symbol of hope for generations of new Americans.

My Tail’s Not Tired!

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Jana Novotny-Hunter
Child’s Play International
Softcover $7.99 (32pp)

Big Monster encourages Little Monster to bounce, wiggle, jiggle, swing, and roll, in Jana Novotny Hunter’s My Tail’s Not Tired!, a clever daily routine that allows small knees, feet, and tails to work out excess energy in time to be tucked in and tuckered out at night. Crayon-bright colors and fun squiggly lines from illustrator Paula Bowles follow a very patient Big Monster and very lively Little Monster through playtime, lunchtime, bathtime, and, finally, bedtime.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist

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Jess Keating
Marta Alvarez Miguens, illustrator
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Hardcover $17.99 (40pp)

Commemorating a lifetime of discovery and exploration, Shark Lady, from Jess Keating, follows the extraordinary path of Eugenie Clark—inspirational scientist, professor, zoologist, deep sea diver, and champion of sharks the oceans over. Boldly hued and fluidly graceful, illustrations from Marta Álvarez Miguéns, complete with fun facts and a timeline, creatively convey Eugenie’s courage and determination as she dives into books, laboratories, education, and open waters to share her love and knowledge of the often misunderstood predators.

What George Forgot

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Kathy Wolff
Richard Byrne, illustrator
Hardcover $16.99 (32pp)

Did he feed the dog? Take his vitamins? As George gets ready for school, he tries desperately to remember something just out of reach, in What George Forgot, the hilarious story of one boy’s morning routine by Kathy Wolff. Colorfully playful pictures from Richard Byrne capture the chaos of running for the bus while eliminating the stress by making time to hug mom and tickle dad as George completes his morning chores with humor and panache.

Where’s Rodney?

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Carmen Bogan
Floyd Cooper, illustrator
Yosemite Conservancy
Hardcover $16.99 (32pp)

Rodney simply cannot pay attention to his teacher while an open window beckons him to go outside, in Carmen Bogan’s Where’s Rodney? A city boy unused to the great outdoors, Rodney is awed and enchanted when a field trip takes him to a majestic park where he can finally be free to explore the wonders of nature, honored through beautifully depicted scenery and expressive portraiture from Floyd Cooper, all in soothing and dreamy textured earth tones.

A Different Pond

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Bao Phi
Thi Bui, illustrator
Hardcover $15.95 (32pp)

Simple yet profound, A Different Pond, by poet Bao Phi, shares the quiet strength of a Vietnamese family struggling to put food on the table, in a tale inspired by his own childhood experiences as a refugee in the mid-1970s. The night sky sparkles as the sun gradually rises in Thi Bui’s expressive illustrations as a father shares a quiet moment with his young son, fishing under a city bridge while the town sleeps.

Clementine Loves Red

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Krystyna Boglar
Bohdan Butenko, illustrator
Antonia Lloyd-Jones, translator
Softcover $13.95 (120pp)

A summer holiday adventure full of humor, surprises, and mistaken identities, Clementine Loves Red, by Krystna Bolgar, translated from its original Polish, tells the rollicking tale of young Macadamia, lost in the woods in search of the elusive Clementine. Interspersed with drawings in a cheerful shade of poppy, by award-winning Polish illustrator Bohdan Butenko, the story includes a ragtag group of vacationers and locals who join the hunt—with extraordinary results.

The Wolf Who Fell out of a Book

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Thierry Robberecht
Gibbs Smith
Hardcover $14.99 (24pp)

Not so big and not so bad, a lone wolf falls out of his story and is desperate to find his way home again, in The Wolf Who Fell Out of a Book, a fractured fairy tale from Thierry Robberecht. Grégoire Mabire’s illustrations follow the frantic wolf as he jumps into books at random—while dodging a frisky cat—and teams up with a familiar-looking girl in a red cape, both of them hoping for a happily ever after.


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Paul Paolilli
Dan Brewer
Alice Brereton, illustrator
Albert Whitman & Company
Hardcover $16.99 (32pp)

For anyone who has ever been afraid of the dark, Nightlights, by Paul Paolilli and Dan Brewer, explores the wonders of the night sky with soothing verses as fireflies, stars, and campfire in the country give way to the twinkling lights of a city skyline. Geometric shapes and bright colors next to dark silhouettes and shadows follow two little girls and their papa as they navigate a nighttime adventure, ending up safe and sound in bed.

Energy Lab for Kids

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Emily Hawbaker
Quarry Books
Softcover $22.99 (144pp)

Discover the amazing ways in which chocolate syrup, slinkies, and cheese curls can explain everything from solar power to sound waves and burning calories in Emily Hawbaker’s Energy Lab for Kids. Using just a few simple tools and everyday items, experiments focus on the production of all types of energy, the importance of conservation, working as a team and, of course, having fun, all in sixty minutes or less.

The African Orchestra

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Wendy Hartmann
Joan Rankin, illustrator
Crocodile Books
Hardcover $17.99 (32pp)

Traditional lutes, drums, rattles, and reed flutes join crackling fires, thundering hooves, and the sounds of the wind in the grass, singing frogs, crickets, birds, and more that make up the natural beauty of The African Orchestra. Gentle rhymes and rhythms by Wendy Hartmann build as innovative watercolors from Joan Rankin see the musicians gather as the seasons change and day turns to night, all while the wild and hallowed music of Africa plays on.

Spellchasers: The Shapeshifter’s Guide to Running Away

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Lari Don
Floris Books
Softcover $10.99 (264pp)

Cursed to transform into a hare whenever she hears a barking dog, Molly has been desperately seeking a cure. Now she’s back, with old friends and new, in The Shapeshifter’s Guide to Running Away, book two in Lari Don’s magic-infused Spellchasers trilogy, set in the fantasy-rich wilds of Scotland. With the help of a dryad, a kelpie, a sphinx, and a magician, the mystery of the worsening curse and missing spell casters continues.


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Bethan Woollvin
Peachtree Publishers
Hardcover $16.95 (32pp)

A new twist on an old favorite, Bethan Woollvin’s Rapunzel may be trapped in a dark tower, but she is certainly no damsel in distress. Shrewd and resourceful, she is destined to become the bane of witches everywhere. Pockets of eye-popping aureolin rivaling the brightest of yellow hues add to the black and grayscale to bring warmth and humor to the dark woods with a distinctive, quirky signature style as Rapunzel fearlessly rallies to her own rescue.

Once Upon a Place

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Eoin Colfer
P. J. Lynch, illustrator
Little Island Books
Hardcover $10.99 (224pp)

Celebrating the beauty and magic of Ireland, from its castles, forests, and rainy rivers to modern bus stops and seasides, Once Upon a Place is a thrilling compilation of short stories and poems from Eoin Colfer that boasts over a dozen contributing authors, as well as unforgettable landscapes, portraits, and impressions from illustrator P. J. Lynch, all intent on sharing the fantasy and creativity of the Emerald Isle while focusing on the importance of setting.

Pallas Gates McCorquodale

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