non-fiction

Review: My Autumn Book By Wong Herbert Yee

It’s the first official day of Autumn over here in the Northern hemisphere. While we are suddenly having a warm spell again, thanks but no thanks New York, I’m ready to fully embrace my favorite time of year! While perusing the library a couple weeks ago, I spied this little book on a shelf. It’s size and topic were too cute to pass up. Allow me to share this sweet book with you on this glorious Autumn Equinox. Here is My Autumn Book by Wong Herbert Yee, 2015.

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Book Review: Heart And Soul By Kadir Nelson

Happy Juneteenth! On this important day commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States, one book came to mind immediately. I am still learning, unlearning, and grappling with the ugly history of America and my role in its future. In this process, I continue to turn to powerful books, adult and adolescent, to teach me. Today, allow me to share a glimpse of this difficult, beautiful, and necessary book: Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson, 2011.

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Book Review: Planting Stories By Denise & Escobar

It is a rare and beautiful moment when a book takes my breath away. A few months ago, I stopped to look at this one in a beloved local bookstore. I was hearing good things about it from other reviewers and I was delighted by the cover that greeted me in the store. I started to flip through it, ended up sitting down to read it, and then proceeded to the register to take it home. This book is captivating from end page to end page. A beautifully narrated and breathtakingly illustrated biography about Pura Belpré – the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City. This book is a must see: Planting Stories The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrations by Paola Escobar, 2019.

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Book Review: We Are The Ship By Kadir Nelson

Baseball season is upon us! To herald in the new season, I bring this incredible non-fiction picture book about the history of the Negro Leagues. A hefty book in size and information, overflowing with breathtaking paintings by Kadir Nelson, this is a book not to be missed by baseball lovers everywhere. Take a look at We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson, 2008.

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Book Review: Memphis, Martin, And The Mountaintop By Duncan & Christie

Among the many reasons that I love picture books, a major point for me as an adult is that I continually learn about important things through them. As a child with a vivid imagination and creativity, I was never much for history, biographies or period stories growing up. Even now, non-fiction books consistently take me longer to get through, while I devour fiction and stories at an almost alarming rate. But give me bite-size chunks of history, depict it with powerful illustrations, and you’ve got my attention. That’s what today’s book did.

I’m ashamed to say I knew nothing about the Memphis Sanitation Strike of 1968. I honestly did not even know it had occurred. My childhood education in the civil rights movement is basically non-existent. I don’t remember reading about much of anything except a few paragraphs here and there about Martin Luther King, Jr. My adult education is heavily underway, greatly aided by the powerful school my children attend. And I continue to seek out resources and especially picture books to fill in so many gaps in my knowledge as I learn alongside my children.

The newest one to our stack is Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, 2018. It is a lengthier picture book, a combination of poetry and prose, based on a teacher who participated in the strike and marches in Memphis as a child. Come learn along with me.

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Book Review: Martin’s Big Words By Rappaport & Collier

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Dr. King would be 90 years old if he were alive today. With the memorial holiday reminding us to reflect and continue to press on in the civil rights movement Dr. King helped orchestrate, this book is an excellent addition to the day. Here is Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier, 2001.

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25 Days – Book 25: Paul Writes (A Letter)

It is December 30 and I’m squeaking in my last of the 25 New Favorite Picture Books. Another new one from 2018, this is an interesting book to end the year on, but I love it for many different reasons. A book about the Apostle Paul and the many letters he wrote for the New Testament which, as the book claims, changed the world. Take a look at Paul Writes (a letter) by Chris Raschka, 2018.

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25 Days – Book 14: Ocean

Today’s book is a wonder to behold. Originally published in Portugal in 2012, this is one of the most beautiful non-fiction books that published in the U.S. this year. A stunning treasury of big and small facts all related to the ocean. Be wowed by Ocean: A Visual Miscellany by Ricardo Henriques and André Letria, 2018. 

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There’s A Book For That! – How To Be An Animal Detective

A few weeks ago, we were walking through Central Park after a major snow storm. It is one of my favorite times to visit the park. The snow blankets everything and mutes sound in a beautiful way. The most noticeable sounds are the snow dropping from heavy tree branches and a few animals that dare to scurry about. If you get outside quickly enough, the snow remains mostly untouched – by humans at least. We were admiring the snow landscape from my favorite park bridge, when we were completely delighted to notice lots of different tracks going across the frozen pond. We made guesses as to what they might be from, but we really didn’t know.

That evening, I pulled a book off my shelves that I haven’t looked at very closely. I stumbled across it a few months ago in a vintage book sale and really only grabbed it because of the illustrator. (I am a bit of a snob about softcovers.) It came to mind while we were wondering about the tracks and I decided to give it a read. It is now a new (old) favorite! If you are ever wandering about and happen upon some tracks that you wish you could identify, there’s a book for that! How to be an Animal Detective by Millicent Selsam, pictures by Ezra Jack Keats, 1958. Read the full post…

Book Review: In New York By Marc Brown

InNY 1

Well I’m back, from a very unexpected hiatus of sorts. My sincerest apologies to those who read and missed this space as I disappeared for over two months with no explanation. I’m here now to start it up again and to offer my excuses. I cannot wait to share a marvelous new book from March of this year that perfectly fits my current situation and title for this post. I am in New York friends! Long story short, after over a year of waiting for the right job, we have relocated our little family to the amazing borough of Manhattan. We have longed for this change and are taking the city by storm. Can I just tell you how many incredible children’s book events, venues, and even just picture books revolve around NYC! The process however of getting us moved in a short amount of time took up all spare moments and this blog suffered the most I’m afraid. Family came first.

And speaking of our little family, that’s the second part of my big excuses for a prolonged absence. As of Palm Sunday, we are now a family of four! I had been planning on making an announcement of sorts throughout my pregnancy and the timing just never worked out. But, I do have a pile of new baby books, especially geared towards preparing the older sibling, and I plan on sharing those very soon too. But enough personal business, let’s talk books again!

I excitedly present a new Marc Brown creation full of history, facts, trivia of all kind and a lovely introduction to a fascinating city. This is In New York by Marc Brown, March 2014. Read the full post…