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Posts by Tracy

A Party of Honors

Cover of There Was a Party for Lang
A review of There Was a Party for Langston: King o’ Letters by Jason Reynolds
Jerome Pumphrey & Jarrett Pumphery

A new book about an extraordinary word-maker, There Was a Party for Langston: King o’ Letters by Jason Reynolds, brings history to life with poetic language and colorful stamped illustrations. Inspired by a photo of poets Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka dancing (boogying!) at a party in honor of Langston Hughes, this book captures the creativity of Hughes and his impact on other artists and writers. This legendary party was “A fancy-foot, get-down, all-out bash” and SO GLORIOUS! Because everyone felt the power of Langston’s words.

Feb 9, 2024

A poetic life

Cover of In Every Life
A review of In Every Life by Marla Frazee

Beaming with lightness and brightness, Marla Frazee’s In Every Life shows the great expanse of human experience. With sparse and lyrical text, the book reads like a poem or song. The illustrations show a wide array of people in soft vignettes, along with wordless double-paged spreads. Quietly spectacular scenes show hikers voyaging up a mountain, an adult and child looking out at an expanse of shoreline, and a trio of kids enjoying a windy and flowery hilltop.

Jan 25, 2024

Stepping into the story

Cover of Once Upon a Book
A review of Once Upon a Book by Grace Lin and Kate Messner

Step into this colorful book adventure! Authors Grace Lin & Kate Messner pull us into the pages in Once Upon a Book. A young girl wishes it wasn’t “so frozen and gray” and – suddenly! – finds herself stepping into the pages of a tropical wonderland. Flamingos, colorful flowers and more greet her. In exploring each new world (from riding a camel through the desert to swimming in an underwater reef to soaring with the clouds in the sky) she realizes that what she wants most of all is to be back in her cozy home with her mom and dad.

May 19, 2023

Sweet and cozy

Cover of Bright Brown Baby: A Treas
A review of Bright Brown Baby: A Treasury by Andrea David Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Find all the joy of the Bright Brown Baby board books in this beautiful picture book treasury! Bright Brown Baby: A Treasury by Andrea David Pinkney and Brian Pinkney is bursting with warmth & bounce. These mini stories about peek-a-boo, counting-to-love, and baby stars all shine so bright. They read like mini love songs to little ones.

Oct 14, 2022

Poetic plays on words

Cover of Marshmallow Clouds: Two Po
A review of Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech by Ted Kooser and Connie Wanek

Step into this wonderland of words! Marshmallow Clouds: Two Poets at Play among Figures of Speech by Ted Kooser & Connie Wanek, illustrated by Richard Jones, definitely feels playful, fun – and so delightful! Poems are grouped into four sections featuring the four elements (fire, water, air, and earth). They offer unique spins on everyday objects like trees, marshmallows, and flyswatters. Some poem titles include “Butterfly Luck,” “Why Pets Don’t Write,” and “Winter Ponies.” Softly painted illustrations add a dreamy feel to the collection.

May 27, 2022

Counting to peace

Cover of Grumpy Pants
A review of Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer

For someone with two young children, I can relate to the – sometimes! – grumpy mornings of little ones. In this book, Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer, Penguin is in “a very bad mood.” The rain is falling on Penguin’s yellow hat and jacket. Penguin stomps all the way home and takes off his grumpy coat, grumpy boots, and grumpy socks. He’s still grumpy! In the midst of all his grumpiness, he pauses to take a deep breath and counts – 1, 2, 3. Then he dives into a splashy bathtub.

Feb 18, 2022

Different, with love

Cover of Mila Has Two Beds
A review of Mila Has Two Beds by Judith Koppens

Mila Has Two Beds shares a story familiar to many children – going between two houses and two parents. Mila says goodbye to “Sweet Daddy” and her dog, Pepper, and returns to the “Mommy-house” and “smiling Mommy”. The illustrations are drenched in color and show happy and cozy scenes and each parent’s house. Mila has a different bed, a different toothbrush, and a different bedtime routine at each house. Even the goodnight wishes are different: “Good night, my darling,” says her Mommy, and “Nighty-night, little princess,” says her Daddy.

Sep 10, 2021

A girl and her mother

Cover of Me and Mama
A review of Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera

Me and Mama by Cozbi Cabrera, centers on the special relationship between a young girl and her mother. Starting with the morning “when the house smells like cinnamon” and the papa and little brother are still asleep, a little girl wants to be “everywhere mama is”. “Good morning to you” – her mama sings, as the little girl walks down the stairs.

May 7, 2021

Dreaming in powwow

Cover of Bowwow Powwow = bagosenjig
A review of Bowwow Powwow = bagosenjige-niimi'idim by Brenda Child

Bowwow Powwow  by Brenda Child (Red Lake Ojibwe), is about imaginative Windy Girl, and her dream of an amazing powwow. Her dream melds stories from Uncle with her own powwow memories. Under the beat of the drum, Windy Girl dreams about traditional dancers “dancing their style” and grass dancers “treading the northern earth”. She also dreams about swirling colorful costumes and powwow fast food stands – selling things like blueberry sno-cones, fry bread, and popped maize. Her dog friend, Itchy Boy, wakes her from the dream so she can enjoy the real powwow right in front of her.

Mar 8, 2021