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MADreads for Kids

Book reviews for children by library staff and guest contributors

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

Always something to say

Cover of Nimoshom and His Bus
A review of Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny Thomas

This is the story of a kind, friendly school bus driver named Nimoshom who has something to say to the children every day on the way to and from school. Nimoshom means grandfather in Cree. Sometimes Nimoshom teaches the kids a new word in Cree. He greets the students with tansi (hello), wishes them mino kisikaw (have a good day), asks them to api (sit down) if they bounce around in their seats, and smiles and says ekosani (thank you) when the kids bring him gifts.

Apr 27, 2021

Siblings at their best and worst

Cover of Twins
A review of Twins by Varian Johnson, illustrated by Shannon Wright

Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and inseparable until the start of sixth grade. Maureen doesn’t understand why Francine doesn’t want things to be as they always have been. Francine’s acting different now. She wants to be called Fran, starts joining other groups, she cares about being stylish, and wants to run for class president?! Tired of not being the ‘smart twin’ and with a twinge of anger at Fran, Maureen decides to run for class president too. Can they be competitive and still be loving sisters? It’s going to be a bumpy election with lessons to be learned on both sides.

Apr 21, 2021

Adventure time / Hora de aventura

Cover of Olivia, volume 1: Y el gen
A review of Olivia, volume 1: Y el genio sinvergüenza by Thom Pico, illustrated by Karensac

In this Spanish language graphic novel for school age kids, Olivia is bored out of her mind after moving to a small town from the city. Things quickly begin to change when she starts exploring the woods that surround her new home. There, Olivia meets a strange old lady who gives her a dog. Immediately, Olivia and her dog, who she names Peluso (Fuzz), begin getting into all kinds of wacky adventures. Shortly into their relationship, Olivia and Peluso meet a genie who offers to grant Olivia's wishes, but Olivia quickly realizes that wishes can go very, very wrong.

Apr 16, 2021

Never all sparkles and sunshine

Cover of Kevin the Unicorn: It's No
A review of Kevin the Unicorn: It's Not All Rainbows by Jessika von Innerebner

Unicorns are supposed to be all smiles, glitter and rainbows. And Kevin’s days are “filled with …Magical Awesomeness” Until the morning Kevin wakes up on the floor. Something feels not quite right, but he picks himself up and smiles through it all, since his living room posters remind him that, “Unicorn Starts with You!” and to “Keep it Happy” and “Sparkle Sparkle Sparkle.” So he sets out for yet another fantastic day.

Apr 9, 2021

Feeling distant / Sentirse lejano

Cover of Lejos = Far
A review of Lejos = Far by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Blanca Gomez

Right now, we all feel far away from one another. This bilingual board book helps little ones understand what it means for something to be "far." Using simple text and tranquil illustrations, Lejos = Far describes places and things by their distance from one another. If you're looking to teach spatial concepts and get a little language practice in too, I recommend this book.

There is also a companion book that covers the concept of "close": Cerca = Close
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Apr 2, 2021

Grateful all year long

Cover of We are Grateful: Otsalihel
A review of We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

Otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is a Cherokee word that is used to express gratitude. Otsaliheliga is a reminder to celebrate blessings and reflect on struggles. This picture book follows a year of Cherokee celebrations, starting in fall and ending in summer. Seasonal events pictured include playing in the leaves, dancing at the Great New Moon Ceremony, making corn husk dolls, gathering wild onions, and planting strawberries. 

Mar 22, 2021

The doodles are alive

Cover of Doodleville
A review of Doodleville by Chad Sell

Drew's art club takes a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and something unexpected happens. The doodles in her notebook come alive and run away. Her doodles are imaginative and playful and have the best personalities. But they aren't super well-behaved and get into trouble. 

Mar 15, 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

Making the most of your gifts

Cover of When Stars are Scattered
A review of When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

This is the true story of how Omar Mohamed and his younger brother Hassan spent their childhood as refugees at the Dadaab camp in Kenya* separated from their mother and longing to return to their home in Somalia. Life is difficult in Dadaab. The many long years of waiting without enough resources along with thousands of other refugees wears the residents down and dashes their hopes and dreams for the future.

Mar 1, 2021

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