Last weekend was the celebration of the Lunar New Year and it is now the Year of the Dragon. How cool is that? For those of you who celebrated and those who want to learn a bit more, here are a couple new favorites of mine.
Posts by Rebecca M
This book gave me goosebumps. Setting off on a quest through two different forests, to discover two different, but equally enchanting truths about dragons, a little boy’s adventures come lavishly to life with edge to edge full color ink illustrations. This book is an exploration of Eastern and Western Dragon mythologies, both true and meaningful celebrations of the child’s mixed cultural identities. It is hard to pick a favorite line, a favorite description or depiction in these pages.
I have been an avid audio book reader for a long time, but I have recently been exploring kid friendly titles to listen to with my own children as they grow up. How to Train Your Dragon is not a new title - it originally came out in 2004 - and I usually associate it with the animated movies and now apparently a series on Netflix? But holy cow, have I been missing out on the hilarity of these books for a long time! And maybe you have too! Rather than being 8 or the parent of an 8 year old in the early 2000's I was a moody high schooler.
This is a sneaky, beautiful little book. Just when you think it’s all about girl power (and power tools!) to build and construct bookshelves, parks, community gardens, and a community center - take a closer look at the illustrations. You’ll see an amazing progression of time, of six girls growing together into strong women - sisters in their shared love of building and making. There are so many things to love about this book: great friends, great building vocabulary (drills, drivers, levers, sheetrock!), and an empowering message to build, fail, and try again.
“On the African veld, there is a village. As the sun sets, parents tell their children, ‘It is time for bed.’” I Just Want to Say Good Night is a universal story of childhood. While Rachel Isadora’s beautiful oil paint illustrations transport children to a far away African landscape, all the cheeky little ways Lala employs to stay up just a little bit longer will feel wholly familiar. I can imagine my own three-year-old in central Wisconsin saying… “I just want to say goodnight to the little ants” or "Yes. Yes. I am coming.
This librarian is obsessed with this new book by Lily Murrary and illustrated by Jenny Lovlie. When I was a little girl, my favorite book was about a little ballerina. Not because I particularly loved to dance, or because the story was so wonderful, but because of the illustrations of the tutus. I wish that younger me could have had a story like A Dress with Pockets, a book that not only has whimsical illustrations of “Sundresses, fun dresses, blue dresses, green. Swishy dresses, witchy dresses, very very itchy dresses!
This book is dedicated by Sara Greenwood “for the child I was and the child you are - hope, healing, love, light.” When Sara’s brother was away in prison when she was growing up, this book did not exist. Yet, like the little girl in this story realizes when they go to visit her big brother, “I see I’m not the only one whose brother is away.” In the children’s book world, we talk of books both as windows and mirrors - windows to better understand the experiences of those different from us, and mirrors to see our own experiences and feelings reflected and supported.
Rodney was Bernadette’s old pal. Older than Bernadette, older than her dad, even older than Great-Aunt Clara! Day after day, year after year, Rodney was there. With such a loyal and constant companion and friend, it is so hard for Bernadette to adapt to a world without him when he dies. “She crawled deeper and deeper into her shell until all of Bernadette seemed to disappear.” Talking with a kiddo about the loss of a pet or a loved one can be so hard for a caregiver.
I’m not crying, you’re crying. It definitely was not me sitting at the reference desk crying happy, joyful tears while reading this book. You must be thinking of a different children’s librarian. This is a book about walking to school, easy peasy, how can that be a tear jerker?? But the simple love the little boy in this book has for his mama, his Gogo (grandma), his Tata (grandpa),and the small but meaningful differences in each walk will warm your heart. But the days he loves best are when his Papa takes him to school.
Lee knows big sisters. His big sister Zora is the boss. “I go wherever she goes, and we are home before dark. Those are the rules.” And today, Lee and Zora are going to the library… but not to get on the computer or to check out books, they are going to learn to sew from Ms. C, the librarian. There is a LOT to love in this book.