All posts in Best Books for Kids

Poets and Their Poetry Books for Kids

Poets and Their Poetry Books for Kids

Are You An Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by David Jacobson, Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi who wrote the narrative and did the translation, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri

All Japanese children read her deeply compassionate poems about creatures in the natural world. Think of her as a Japanese Pablo Neruda and/or Emily Dickerson. Her sad, short life is depicted in this biography/poetry hybrid picture book. This combo really works for me since she is unfamiliar to most of us. Her poems are deceptively simple and kids can really relate to them. I hope this wins a Caldecott but I hesitate to add it to my watch list because the rendering of the faces in the illustrations were too cartoon-y and didn’t go with the rest of the illustration style. [biography and poetry picture book hybrid, ages 4 and up]

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

This is Kwame’s personal favorite collection of poets with original poems created by himself, Chris, and Marjory in the style of each poet. “Poems come out of wonder, not by knowing.” Lucille Clifton. Kwame invites you and your kids to discover the joy of poetry, and to perhaps come up with a poem of your own. [picture book, ages 8 and up]

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier

Dave belongs to Mr Miles /
wher the oven bakes & the pot biles ///

—July 31, 1840

Dave the Potter is a puzzle to unwind. A slave living in South Caroline during the 1800s, he wrote enigmatic poems into the pottery that he crafted. Born into slavery, Dave worked as a potter in a factory while he was still in his teens making stoneware vessels. It is on these vessels that Dave would inscribe short rhyming poems. This is remarkable given that slaves were forced into illiteracy and South Carolina passed a harsh anti-literacy law shortly after Dave’s first poem was published on a pot in 1834. Poetry thrives even in inhospitable climates, and because his artistry with clay, Dave the Potter’s life story and creative talents endure for posterity. [picture book, ages 5 and up]

p.s. Learn more about Dave the Potter from Leonard Todd, whose family owned Dave.

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Starring Carmen by Anika Denise

Cover Reveal: Starring Carmen & GIVEAWAY

Starring Carmen by Anika Denise, illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gómez

Meet Carmen! She LOVES the spotlight and applause. She’s an actress, a singer, a dancer—a one-girl sensación! She exhausts her parents with her nightly performances and completely overshadows Eduardo, her adoring little brother. But when Eduardo shows his big sister how much he loves her in a way even Carmen can’t ignore, will Carmen realize that the stage is big enough for two?

Exuberant illustrations by Lorena Alvarez Gómez offer the perfect compliment to Anika Denise’s warm, Spanish-sprinkled text in this celebration of theater, family, and imagination. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

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Diverse Children's Books

#DiverseKidLit: Favorites

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites. Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

Thank you SO much to everyone who participated in Monday’s #diversekidlit  Twitter chat! We had a wonderful conversation with a great community. If you weren’t able to join us, you can catch up on all the posts you missed here.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


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#HappyDreamer GIVEAWAY by Peter H Reynolds

#HappyDreamer GIVEAWAY by Peter H Reynolds

Paul Reynolds PragmaticMom and son

You might know Peter H. Reynolds from The Dot and Ish. Now he has a new book out that encourages readers of every age to find their own unique path to happy. My son and I have fond memories learning about how a math teacher changed his life from his twin brother Paul Reynolds.

Today, I am thrilled to giveaway Peter H. Reynold’s new book, Happy Dreamer. A picture book that celebrates ADHD as an acronym for Amazing Delightful Happy Dreamer. Read more…

#SummerBrainQuest Workbooks GIVEAWAY!

Summer #BrainQuest Workbooks GIVEAWAY!

If you are looking to prevent “summer slide” with workbooks targeting kids between kindergarten and 6th grade, check out the new Summer Brain Quest series! It’s an exciting extension of the beloved and bestselling Brain Quest brand!

Summer Brain Quest Giveaway

Each workbook is structured like a game and is created in consultation with award-winning teachers. It has a summer progress map, with destinations on the map marking progress in the book in the form of quests and achievements. Mark off each quest with a sticker as it is completed. The quests cover all the different academic subjects for that grade! Read more…

The Nian Monster Chinese New Year Author Event

The Nian Monster Chinese New Year Author Event

If you get a chance to see Andrea Wang at a Chinese New Year author event for The Nian Monster, I highly recommend going, especially if you have small children! Her picture book author event was delightfully interactive!

The Nian Monster Author Event

The Nian Monster Chinese New Year Author Event

The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Alina Chau

The ancient legend of the Nian monster gives background to why Chinese New Year is celebrated with the color red, loud noises and fire. XingLing knows about the Nian Monster but is shocked to see it appear in Shanghai, ready to devour her and her city. She uses her wits to outsmart the Nian monster. The special foods used to celebrate Chinese New Year also have a role to play in defeating the Nian monster. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Andrea’s family were at the event, helping out. Her son acted out the part of the Nian Monster and also helped the kids with the craft. This was a coming home event for Andrea; she grew up in Newton and graduated from Newton North High School though now she lives in Colorado.

The Nian Monster Author Event Read more…

Diverse KidLit Twitter Party

#DiverseKitLit Favorites

Our theme for #DiverseKidLit in April is Favorites.

Please consider sharing diverse books and resources that support love and families. (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

My favorite books have an appreciating family theme:

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft

This jubilant rhyming picture book celebrates the bonds that make families strong with illustrations that depict diversity and acceptance of all kinds of families from mixed race, families of color, LGBTQ, to special needs. This pairs nicely with The Barefoot Book of Children to explore the ways kids and families are different, yet the same. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

When God Made You by Mathew Paul Turner, illustrated by David Catrow

A you who views others as sisters and brothers

and lives by three words: love one anther.

This lovely feel-g00d picture book celebrates the wonderful uniqueness of every child, when God made you all shiny and new. The message of the book suggests that everyone is part of a bigger “family,” and that each person has gifts to share with the world. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Singing her first church solo makes a young African American girl nervous but her family is there all week to help her conquer her nerves. At her performance, she gets a special surprise that boosts her confidence when her father, who was supposed to work, makes it to her performance. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Bilal and his family have to move quickly to the United States from Pakistan but his father has to stay behind to deal with political intrigue that threatens the family’s safety. Bilal must swap cricket for baseball, all the while hoping his father will be able to join them soon. As a year nearly passes without his father, Bilal finds that his newfound skill as a pitcher might be the key to helping his father. This chapter book shows how a family might end up seeking refuge in a new country, and the stresses that causes on a family. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]


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My Favorite Graphic Novels for Girls Ages 6 and Up

My Favorite Graphic Novels for Girls Ages 6 and Up

I thought I would review and update my 19 Graphic Novels for Feisty Girls post. After reading a few more years of graphic novels, I’ve gathered up my favorite graphic novels for girls, ages 6 and up. What are your favorite graphic novels for girls? Thanks for sharing! I’ll add them to this list!

Favorite Graphic Novels for Girls Ages 6 and Up

Dragons Beware series by Jorge Aguirre, illustrated by Rafael Rosado

Claudette is not afraid of anything. Giants or dragons don’t faze her, in fact, she’s ready to take them on, especially the dragon that ate her father’s legs and his legendary sword. With her best friend Marie and her little brother Gaston at her side, she sets off on another hilarious adventure. [graphic novel, ages 6 and up]

Phoebe and Her Unicorn series by Dana Simpson

Anyone who has loved the comedic humor of Calvin and Hobbes but wished it skewed younger will delight in Phoebe and Her Unicorn. Phoebe is Calvin … a kid going through the trials of everyday life that includes girl bullies at school. Marigold Heavenly Nostrils is her unicorn with magical powers and the same dry observational wit of Hobbes. Together, Phoebe and Marigold traverse the perils of school, piano lessons without having practiced and awkward birthday parties. [graphic novel, ages 8 and up]

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My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

I’ve rounded up every book review that I could think of over the last seven years of blogging to try to compile my #WomensHistoryMonth book list below. What are your favorite books celebrating women’s achievements? Thanks for sharing!

My Favorite #WomensHistoryMonth Books for Kids

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

My daughter  and I love this gorgeously illustrated and designed book celebrating 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world. So many of these female scientists were overlooked and not given credit for their achievements because they were women. The women of color even more so. For example, Rosalind Franklin actually discovers the structure of DNA. “James Watson and Francis Crick snuck a peak at Rosalind’s work, without her permission, and used her findings to publish their own work without giving her credit.” [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Katy Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

I love everything about this short biography picture book from the Andy Warhol inspired images to the selection of activists and trailblazers that are highlighted in this book. [picture book biography, ages 8 and up]

What’s the Big Deal about the First Ladies by Ruby Shamir, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Learn about the achievements of the First Ladies. Did you know that Edith Wilson helped decode secret messages during WWI? Rosalind Carter encouraged world leaders to help suffering refugees, and Laura Bush helped millions of people in Africa get medicine for AIDS. With an engaging format, this picture book is full of interesting factoids about our amazing first ladies. [picture book, ages 6 and up]

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