Each month we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the February edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
Blue Rider written and illustrated by Valério, Geraldo; Groundwood, 2018.
This wordless book begins in a cityscape of buildings predominantly and repetitively grey, tan, and brown, but with accents of turquoise and blue and travels through an increasingly beautiful and abstracted world of color and form. Valerio’s book continues the thoughts of The Blue Rider group, and posits that through the art of a children’s picture book we can be helped in transforming our often dull world into something brighter, larger, and more joyous. (Grades Preschool-2.)
I Love Cats! written by Stainton, Sue and illustrated by Staake, Bob; Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2017.
A brown-skinned girl with straight dark hair travels the city, exclaiming, “Cats, cats, cats. I love cats! / Big cats, little cats. / Thin cats, fat cats” and so on. The colorful and attractive layout carries the reader along and shows cats in strange places (such as the Doorman’s breast pocket). (Baby/Toddler-Preschool.)
Far from the Tree written by Benway, Robin; HarperCollins, 2017.
Teenagers Grace, Maya, and Joaquin couldn’t be more different, but they have one thing in common: their biological mother. Despite growing up with three very different living situations, when the siblings finally meet as teens, they begin to grapple together with what it means to be a family. Benway masterfully develops every character, immersing readers emotionally and touching their hearts. (9-12.)
My Year in the Middle written by Weaver, Lila Quintero; Candlewick, 2018.
Drawing from her own experience, the author has created a lively, warm-hearted story about Argentinian American 6th grader Lu Olivera, set in fictitious Red Grove, Alabama, in 1970, in the first year that her school has been integrated. A great read for tweens interested in social justice. (4-7.)
Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship written by Latham, Irene, and Waters, Charles and illustrated by Qualls, Sean, and Alko, Selina; Carolrhoda, 2018.
This book of poems ambitiously tackles the issues of race and stereotypes from a white girl’s and a black boy’s points of view on a related topic, creating many opportunities for readers to relate to both characters’ feelings while learning more about what it is like to be from a different background. This book is sure to spark both individual reflection and group discussion. (2-6.)
Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright written by Wright, Richard and illustrated by Crews, Nina; Millbrook, 2018.
Richard Wright wrote more than 4,000 haiku; 12 very nice ones have been chosen by artist Nina Crews to help depict African American boys in the dailiness of their lives. Crews has created photo-collages of African American boys to work along with the haiku to show the “wonder in the world around him [Wright].” (Kindergarten-4.)
Hidden Figures: the True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race written by Shetterly, Margot Lee and illustrated by Freeman, Laura; HarperCollins, 2018.
Hidden Figures is the picture book adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s popular book of the same name (William Morrow, 2016). Shetterly does and excellent job of paring the information down for young reader, white retaining the spirit of wonder at how amazing these women were. Their accomplishments are set in the context of the civil rights movement as well as the feminist movement, and makes their stories all the more inspiring. (1-5.)