Review: The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything

Today is National Astronomy Day, and I can’t think of a better title to celebrate with than The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything: The Story of Maria Mitchell by Laura Alary and Ellen Rooney. This lovely picture book biography chronicles the life of Maria Mitchell, the first professional female astronomer in the United States.

Title: The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything: The Story of Maria Mitchell
Author: Laura Alary
Illustrator: Ellen Rooney
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published: May 3, 2022 Format: Picture Book

Starting in her childhood in Nantucket, The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything really highlights Maria’s curiosity and determination. As a young child, she learned to use her astronomer father’s tools and begins scanning the night sky for herself. When the King of Denmark offers a prize to the first person to find a comet, Maria was determined to win it, and she did! I don’t want to spoil the fun by telling you all of her accomplishments, so I will just say this discovery opened lots of doors for Maria that were not open to women in the early 18oo’s.

The illustrations by Ellen Rooney are absolutely delightful. I love the way she captures the starry night skies, and the texture on every page is amazing.

The Astronomer Who Questioned Everything is another great picture book biography of a trailblazing woman in STEM, making it a great selection for school and classroom libraries. I love that it encourages children to wonder, and specifically to ask questions. It’s such an important part of learning and growing at any age, and I feel like we don’t encourage questions enough, especially outside of the classroom.

You can pick up your own copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Kids Can Press for sharing this inspiring picture book biography with me!

About The Author:

Laura Alary believes in writing stories that make us bigger on the inside. She is constantly reading and wondering and learning so that she can keep up with all the questions her children ask — especially about science and life on Earth. She grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and currently lives in Toronto with her three children.

About The Illustrator:

Ellen Rooney is an illustrator, designer and artist. She’s originally from Massachusetts, but now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. She loves graphic shapes, textured color, printmaking, drawing outdoors, painting — and her hidden art powers are released when cutting up paper!

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Review: The Faith Of Elijah Cummings (PLUS GIVEAWAY!)

For the last day of Black History Month, I want to share another picture book biography celebrating the life of an icon of Black History. The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice by Carole Boston Weatherford and Laura Freeman shares the inspiring life story of Elijah Cummings.

Title: The Faith of Elijah Cummings: The North Star of Equal Justice
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Laura Freeman
Publisher: Random House Kids
Published: January 11, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Beginning with his childhood in South Carolina as a child of sharecroppers, young readers follow Elijah’s journey all the way to the U.S. House of Representatives and the Congressional Black Caucus. Growing up in America in the 50’s, Elijah Cummings was no stranger to discrimination, segregation, or racism, and this picture book does not shy away from those subjects. Instead, Carole Boston Weatherford beautifully highlights Elijah Cumming’s faith and the way it allowed him to persevere and become a warrior for equality and change.

Laura Freeman’s illustrations pair perfectly with Weatherford’s text and bring Elijah’s story to life with every page turn. Fans of Standing on Her Shoulders and The Highest Tribute will be happy to see the familiar way she captures emotion in the faces of her subjects.

As Carole Boston Weatherford’s titles always do, The Faith of Elijah Cummings includes a wonderful backmatter. The timeline and excerpt from the Congressional Black Caucus would make a great addition to history lessons. The Faith of Elijah Cummings is a must have for school and classroom libraries!

You can purchase your copy of The Faith of Elijah Cummings today, wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Blue Slip Media and Random House Kids for sending me a review copy of this powerful book. I am honored to share Elijah Cummings’ story with readers today.

About The Author:

Carole Boston Weatherford, a two-time NAACP Image Award winner, is the author of the Newbery Honor Book Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom, as well as three Caldecott Honor Books, including Freedom in Congo Square and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom. She also wrote Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins. Born in Baltimore, she first encountered Elijah Cummings when he was president of the Monumental City Bar Association, an affiliate of the National Bar Association, for which she was publicist. Weatherford teaches at Fayetteville State University, in North Carolina.

About The Illustrator:

Laura Freeman is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree. Her work has been recognized with an NAACP Image Award, reached the New York Times bestseller List, and been honored by the Society of Illustrators, the Georgia Center for the Book, and in the annuals for Communication Arts and American Illustration. In addition to illustrating books, Laura’s art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards, and her editorial images are frequently seen in the New York Times and other periodicals. She invites you to visit her website, LFreemanArt.com, to discover more about her.


I am excited to announce that I am giving away a copy of The Faith of Elijah Cummings, along with a copy of Opal Lee and What it Means to be Free by Alice Faye Duncan and Keturah A. Bobo and My First Heroes: Black History by Silver Dolphin Books to help you bring Black history into your reading year round! You can find all the entry details on the Rafflecopter giveaway.

This giveaway is open to US residents only. One lucky winner will be notified via email on March 8, 2022. Good luck and happy reading!

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Review: Ablaze With Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Today I want to share another picture book biography with you all, because you know they’re my favorites. Following the life of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have her work added to the White House Collection, Ablaze With Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise is a wonderful selection for both Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

Title: Ablaze With Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Author: Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrator: Loveis Wise
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Published: February 22, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Beginning with Alma’s childhood in Georgia, where her family filled their home with creativity despite the racism they faced, Ablaze With Color follows her story through her successful career as an educator, all the way to the day her art was hung in the Old Family Dining Room of The White House. This stunning picture book biography is a celebration of Alma Thomas’ art, and the beauty and joy she brought to the world.

The illustrations by Loveis Wise perfectly capture that beauty and joy. The vibrant colors on every page mirror Alma’s signature style and bring her remarkable story to life.

With substantial backmatter, including an Author’s Note, Illustrator’s Note, and timeline, Ablaze With Color is a must-have for the shelves of classrooms and school libraries.

Ablaze With Color officially released yesterday (February 22, 2022), so you can pick up your copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Many thanks to Blue Slip Media and Harper Collins Children’s for sharing a review copy of Ablaze With Color with me. I am so honored to learn about Alma Thomas and share her story today.

About The Author:

Jeanne Walker Harvey has been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Just like Alma Thomas, Jeanne believes that art brings us joy. Her other picture books include Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines and My Hands Sing the BluesRomare Bearden’s Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California. Visit her online at www.jeanneharvey.com.

About The Illustrator:

Loveis Wise is a nonbinary illustrator and designer from Washington, DC, now based in Los Angeles. They have collaborated and imagined with clients such as the New Yorkerthe New York Times, HarperCollins, Google, Disney Hyperion, and Adobe, to name a few. Their work often speaks to themes of joy, mindfulness, and liberation. 

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Review: Opal Lee and What It Means To Be Free

If you’re looking for a picture book biography to celebrate Black History Month, I have a great selection for you today. Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan and Keturah A. Bobo is a beautiful picture book celebrating Opal Lee, a teacher and civil rights activist who led a movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

Title: Opal Lee and What it Means To Be Free
Author: Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrator: Keturah A. Bobo
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: January 11, 2022
Format: Picture Book

In Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free, young readers follow along as Miss Opal Lee shares a Juneteenth story. Beginning with the history of Juneteenth, she recounts the stories passed down to her about June 19, 1865, when the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas were finally informed of their freedom two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was passed. Miss Opal Lee shares stories of Juneteenths from her childhood during the Jim Crow era, including the Juneteenth when her family’s Texas home was burned down by angry, racist neighbors.

Even through the discussion of the struggles faced by Black people throughout history, Alice Faye Duncan does a beautiful job of highlighting the joys in Opal Lee’s life and the celebration of freedom that Juneteenth is. As Miss Opal Lee says, “Good and bad work together like the sun and rain.”, and that balance is found throughout the entire book.

The illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator Keturah A. Bobo do not disappoint. She brings Opal Lee’s story to life on every page with her familiar style.

The backmatter contains a recipe for Juneteenth Red Punch, a timeline detailing the journey to Juneteenth being signed into law as a federal holiday by Joe Biden (With a 94 year old Opal Lee by his side), and detailed information about Opal Lee’s life, making it a great selection for classrooms, school libraries, and homeschoolers.

You can find your copy of Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free where books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Thomas Nelson for sharing this inspiring book with me. I am honored to be able to share Miss Opal Lee’s story with everyone today!

Abouth The Author:

Alice Faye Duncan is a National Board Certified Teacher, who writes for young learners. Memory is her motivation. She writes to help children remember important moments from African American history. Her books are celebrated for vivid imagery and lyrical texts that sound like music. Alice’s most popular titles include A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks; Just Like a Mama; Honey Baby Sugar Child; and Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop, which received a 2019 Coretta Scott King Honor Medal. Alice lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where at a young age, her mother nurtured her writing talent with prayer, poetry books, and praise. Her website is http://www.alicefayeduncan.com.

About The Illustrator:

Keturah A. Bobo is an artist and New York Times bestselling illustrator known for creating vibrant images that are relatable and distinguishable. She is passionate about creating art that inspires, uplifts, and advocates for her community. Keturah has received notable praises for her colorful illustrative style that brings the story to life and resonates with the viewer. She graduated with a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her family of entrepreneurs. Visit Keturah online at http://www.keturahariel.com.

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Review: All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball

We all know that Jackie Robinson was the first Black major league baseball player, but how much do you know about the second? All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball by Audrey Vernick and Cannaday Chapman introduces young readers to the man who joined the major leagues just eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson.

Title: All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball
Author: Audrey Vernick
Illustrator: Cannaday Chapman
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published: January 4, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Beginning with his childhood in Camden, South Carolina, All Star follows Larry Doby all the way to the day he helped his team win the World Series with a game-winning home run in 1948. Highlighting the changes we’ve seen since Larry Doby’s career as well as the changes we fight for today, All Star doesn’t shy away from the racism found in America and it’s favorite pastime. From detailing Larry’s first day in the dugout to pointing out the racism of Cleveland’s team name and logo in the author’s note, All Star eloquently addresses progress with young readers, inspiring them to continue changing things for the better.

Cannaday Chapman’s powerful artwork pairs perfectly with Audrey Vernick’s text. The illustrations are filled with emotion and brings Larry Doby’s story to life on every single page.

The back matter contains an author’s note with more detail about Larry’s life, a bibliography, and the iconic photo of Larry Doby and pitcher Steve Gromek embracing after their World Series victory, making this a fantastic educational resource for classroom and school libraries.

All Star officially releases tomorrow (January 4, 2021), but you can preorder your copy today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you.)

Thank you so much to Clarion Books for providing me with a review copy of All Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball. I am honored to share Larry’s story on Mutually Inclusive.

About The Author:

Audrey Vernick is author of several novels and many picture books, including Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team. She lives with her family near the ocean in New Jersey. Visit her online at audreyvernick.com and on Twitter @yourbuffalo.

About The Illustrator:

Cannaday Chapman is the illustrator of the picture book biographies All-Star: How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball and Feed Your Mind: The Story of August Wilson, and his work has been featured in the New York Times and on the cover of The New Yorker. He was born in upstate New York and studied illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and he currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

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Mutually Inclusive’s 22 Most Anticipated Picture Books of 2022

It’s that time of year again where we are all looking forward and wondering what the new year has in store for us. Personally, the future freaks me out these days, so I really just want to know what books I’m going to be reading. So I thought I would share the 22 books I am most looking forward to this year, as well as preorder links so those release dates don’t sneak up on you!

So here they are, my most anticipated titles of 2022, in order of publication date (but we all know those are moving targets these days).

Please note: This list will contain affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links at no additional cost to you. This commission allows me to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.

Love , Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild, Illustrated by Charlene Chua

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Love, Violet by Charlotte Sullivan Wild and Charlene Chua is a touching picture book about friendship and the courage it takes to share your feelings.

Of all the kids in Violet’s class, only one leaves her speechless: Mira, the girl with the cheery laugh who races like the wind. If only they could adventure together! But every time Violet tries to tell Mira how she feels, Violet goes shy. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Violet is determined to tell Mira just how special she is.”

Love In The Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Illustrated by Yas Imamura

“After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast—elderly people, children, babies—now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn’t know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp’s tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn’t the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before. As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day? Beautifully illustrated and complete with an afterword, back matter, and a photo of the real Tama and George—the author’s grandparents—Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s elegant love story for readers of all ages sheds light on a shameful chapter of American history.”

“Based on the research that race, gender, consent, and body positivity should be discussed with toddlers on up, this read-aloud board book series offers adults the opportunity to begin important conversations with young children in an informed, safe, and supported way.

Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book offers clear, concrete language and imagery to introduce the concept of CONSENT. This book serves to normalize and celebrate the experience of asking for and being asked for permission to do something involving one’s body. It centers on respect for bodily autonomy, and reviews the many ways that one can say or indicate ‘NO’.”

Powwow Day by Traci Sorell , Illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight

“River wants so badly to dance at powwow day as she does every year. In this uplifting and contemporary picture book perfect for beginning readers, follow River’s journey from feeling isolated after an illness to learning the healing power of community.

Additional information explains the history and functions of powwows, which are commonplace across the United States and Canada and are open to both Native Americans and non-Native visitors. Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation, and illustrator Madelyn Goodnight is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.”

I Am Thinking My Life by Allysun Atwater, Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

“I am thinking my life.
Every day.
I am creating a universe.
I am communicating with the world.
I think stars. I see stars.
I am stars.
I think myself smiling. I see myself smiling.
I am smiling.
I am sculpting my world. I am clay. I am motion. I am light.
I am what I think.

Follow along as a young girl discovers the relationship between her thoughts, actions, and her place in the world. This empowering story is all about dreaming, doing, and becoming, and how the power of positive thinking can transform our lives—and the lives of those around us—forever.”

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers by Uma Mishra-Newbery and Lina AlHathloul, Illustrated by Rebecca Green

“Loujain watches her beloved baba attach his feather wings and fly each morning, but her own dreams of flying face a big obstacle: only boys, not girls, are allowed to fly in her country. Yet despite the taunts of her classmates, she is determined to do it—especially because Loujain loves colors, and only by flying can she see the color-filled field of sunflowers her baba has told her about. Eventually, he agrees to teach her, and Loujain’s impossible dream becomes reality—and soon other girls dare to learn to fly.

Based on the experiences of co-author Lina AlHathloul’s sister, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Loujain AlHathloul, who led the successful campaign to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, this moving and gorgeously illustrated story reminds us to strive for the changes we want to see—and to never take for granted women’s and girls’ freedoms.”

Dress-Up Day by Blanca Gómez

“When a little girl is home sick for dress-up day at school, she decides there’s no need to miss out entirely: She’ll just wear her rabbit costume the next day!

But when the next day arrives and she’s the only one in costume, it doesn’t feel like such a great idea, after all. Can a little bit of confidence and an unexpected new friend turn a self-conscious moment into a wonderful one?

Funny, endearing, and relatable to any kid who’s ever felt insecure, Dress-Up Day is an ode to friendship, embracing individuality, and putting yourself out there no matter the occasion.”

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour, Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita

“A little girl stays home with Mama when Mommy goes off on a work trip in this tender, inviting story that will resonate with every child who has missed a parent.

For one little girl, there’s no place she’d rather be than sitting between Mama and Mommy. So when Mommy goes away on a work trip, it’s tricky to find a good place at the table. As the days go by, Mama brings her to the library, they watch movies, and all of them talk on the phone, but she still misses Mommy as deep as the ocean and as high as an astronaut up in the stars. As they pass by a beautiful garden, the girl gets an idea . . . but when Mommy finally comes home, it takes a minute to shake off the empty feeling she felt all week before leaning in for a kiss. Michael L. Printz Award winner Nina LaCour thoughtfully renders a familiar, touching story of a child who misses a parent, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, whose distinctive style brings charm and playfulness to this delightful family of three.”

This is a School by John Schu, Illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison

“A moving celebration of school and all it may signify: work and play, creativity and trust, and a supportive community that extends beyond walls

A school isn’t just a building; it is all the people who work and learn together. It is a place for discovery and asking questions. A place for sharing, for helping, and for community. It is a place of hope and healing, even when that community can’t be together in the same room. John Schu, a librarian and former ambassador of school libraries for Scholastic, crafts a loving letter to schools and the people that make up the communities within in a picture book debut beautifully illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison.”

I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated by Sara Palacios

“When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?”

The Pronoun Book by Chris Ayala-Kronos, Illustrated by Melita Tirado

“They, she, he . . . all together, us! Join along in this vibrant board book’s joyful celebration of people and their pronouns.

How do you know what someone wants to be called? Ask! This lively board book features eye-catching illustrations of a diverse cast of people and simple text that introduces their pronouns, perfect for readers both young and old.”

How You Came to Be by Carole Gerber, Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

“This love letter written from mother to child invites readers to experience a baby’s month-by-month development in the womb as compared to familiar fruits and vegetables.

A mother lovingly describes the sizes and stages of her baby’s month-by-month development inside the womb, and the amazement of experiencing it from the outside.

Simple, age-appropriate facts are woven into a tender and lyrical text that celebrates the miracle of a baby. It demystifies and informs readers, while simultaneously appreciating the wonder of it all. A perfect read-aloud for mother and child, or for children whose mothers are pregnant with a younger sibling.”

One Million Trees: A True Story by Kristen Balouch

“When Kristen Balouch was 10 years old, her parents made a surprising announcement: their whole family was going on a trip to plant trees! Kristen, her sisters, and her mom and dad—and their pet, Wonder Dog!—flew from their California home to a logging site in British Columbia. There, they joined a crew working to replant the trees that had been cut down.

In One Million Trees, Kristen reflects on the forty days they spent living in a tent, covered in mud and bug bites, working hard every day to plant a new forest. Young readers will learn a little French, practice some math skills, and learn all about how to plant a tree the right way!”

Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker, Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth

“From the moment Evelyn Glennie heard her first note, music held her heart. She could play the piano by ear at age eight, the clarinet by age ten. But soon the nerves in her ears began to degenerate, and Evelyn was told that, as a deaf girl, she could never be a musician. What sounds Evelyn couldn’t hear with her ears, though, she could feel resonate through her body, as if she were a drum, and the music she created as a result was extraordinary. All she had to do was listen in a way that others didn’t. And soon, the world was listening too.”

Hattie Hates Hugs by Sarah Hovorka, Illustrated by Heather Brockman Lee

“Hattie loves her family, but she hates hugs!

While at a family reunion, Hattie wants to play horseshoes with Uncle Jake and Aunt Celia, but her boisterous relatives keep hugging her. Hattie’s stomach squirms uncomfortably when she’s hugged, but dodging and hiding from the open arms isn’t working. Great-Grandma is the only relative who understands how Hattie feels. With Great-Grandma’s help, Hattie learns to use simple but clear body language with verbal reinforcement to set boundaries around her personal space and to assert her right to consent to physical touch. And she even wins a game of horseshoes!

This picture book will teach huggers and non-huggers alike the importance of respecting people’s personal boundaries and provides an example of how to advocate for yourself with confidence.”

The Hair Book by LaTonya Yvette, Illustrated by Amanda Jane Jones

“A bold, graphic picture book celebrating all types of hair.
With striking, colorful graphics and simple alliterative text, this paper-over-board book with thick interior stock features poufy hair, wavy hair, Afro hair, hair covered in a hijab, and more. The message is clear: no matter what you look like, you are beautiful, valued, and welcome everywhere.”

Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick, Illustrated by Juana Medina

“This joyful picture-book homage to a day of community and inclusion—and to the joys of anticipation—is also a comprehensive history. With bright, buoyant illustrations and lyrical, age-appropriate rhyme modeled on “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” it tackles difficult content such as the Stonewall Riots and the AIDS marches. On the night before Pride, families everywhere are preparing to partake. As one family packs snacks and makes signs, an older sibling shares the importance of the march with the newest member of the family. Reflecting on the day, the siblings agree that the best thing about Pride is getting to be yourself. Debut author Joanna McClintick and Pura Belpré Award–winning author-illustrator Juana Medina create a new classic that pays homage to the beauty of families of all compositions—and of all-inclusive love.”

Mi Ciudad Sings by Cynthia Harmony, Illustrated by Teresa Martinez

“After experiencing a devastating earthquake, the spirit of a charming and vibrant Mexican neighborhood might be shaken, but it cannot be broken.

As a little girl and her dog embark on their daily walk through the city, they skip and spin to the familiar sounds of revving cars, clanking bikes, friendly barks, and whistling camote carts. But what they aren’t expecting to hear is the terrifying sound of a rumbling earthquake…and then…silence.

With captivating text and lively, beautiful illustrations, this heartwarming story leaves readers with the message that they can choose to be strong and brave even when they are scared, and can still find joy and hope in the midst of sadness.”

Ice Cream Face by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

“The Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning creator of Brick by Brick brings to delicious life the anxiety and elation involved in waiting in line to get ice cream.

As far as this ice-cream-loving kid is concerned, every meal should include ice cream. In any form, in every flavor, he loves it all. But what he doesn’t love is seeing other people with ice cream . . . while he’s still waiting in line for his. That’s when he can get his mad, “no-ice-cream-yet, waiting-in-a-long-line face”–until he finally gets his cone, and his mad face melts into something sweet. Heidi Woodward Sheffield gently explores a range of emotions as they relate to this delicious, everyday experience.”

Today I’m Strong by Nadiya Hussain, Illustrated by Ella Bailey

“A classic in the making from the winner of The Great British Baking Show and star of Nadiya Bakes, about a young girl finding her strength in spite of a schoolyard bully.

I love to go to school. Well, most days I do.
There are some days when what I really want
is to stay at home with you.

Most days, this little girl loves to go to school and play with her friends. But sometimes the schoolyard can feel like a battleground where she has to dodge mean words from a bully. Luckily, she always has her steadfast tiger by her side—even if she’s the only one who can see it. With the reminder that strength comes from within, she digs deep to believe in herself, no matter what anyone else says.”

That’s Not My Name! by Anoosha Syed

“A debut picture book about loving your name, finding your voice, and standing up for yourself from the critically acclaimed illustrator of Bilal Cooks Daal and I Am Perfectly Designed.

Mirha is so excited for her first day of school! She can’t wait to learn, play, and make new friends. But when her classmates mispronounce her name, she goes home wondering if she shound find a new one. Maybe then she’d be able to find a monogrammed keychain at the gas station or order a hot chocolate at the cafe more easily.

Mama helps Mirha to see how special her name is, and she returns to school the next day determined to help her classmates say it correctly–even if it takes a hundred tries.”

Sam’s Super Seats by Keah Brown, Illustrated by Sharee Miller

“A joyful picture book about a disabled girl with cerebral palsy who goes back-to-school shopping with her best friends, from #DisabledandCute creator and The Pretty One author Keah Brown.

Sam loves herself, learning, and making her family and friends laugh. She also loves comfortable seats, including a graceful couch named after Misty Copeland and Laney, the sassy backseat of Mom’s car.

After a busy morning of rest, Sam and her friends try on cute outfits at the mall and imagine what the new school year might bring. It’s not until Sam feels tired, and the new seat she meets isn’t so super, that she discovers what might be her best idea all day.

With hilarious, charming text by Keah Brown and exuberant illustrations by Sharee Miller, Sam’s Super Seats celebrates the beauty of self-love, the power of rest, and the necessity of accessible seating in public spaces. Includes narrative description of art for those with low/limited vision.”

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a few of these titles before I even finished writing this post, and let me tell you, they are living up to the hype so far.

What books do you have your eye on in 2022? Make sure to share in the comments below!

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Review: The Real Santa

We all know that finding diverse and inclusive holiday books can be a tall order, but if you’re looking for a book with a non-white Santa Clause, it can feel nearly impossible. For Christmas Eve, I want to share The Real Santa by Nancy Redd and Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, an affirming picture book that celebrates Black Santa.

Title: The Real Santa
Author: Nancy Redd
Illustrator: Charnelle Pinkey Barlow
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Published: October 26, 2021
Format: Picture Book

This delightful book follows a young Black boy as he and his family celebrate Christmas. Our young narrator’s favorite Christmas tradition is adding to his Santa collection, but he wonders if the real Santa looks like the figurines on the mantle. He decides to stay up late and catch a glimpse of Santa, but that is easier said than done.

Serving as both a mirror and a window for children, The Real Santa is a perfect example of Black representation through Black joy. Young readers will not be faced with history or struggle, but the love of a family celebrating Christmas and the curiosity of a young boy.

Charnelle Pinkney Barlow’s illustrations capture the joy and excitement of Christmas on every page, making The Real Santa a fantastic read aloud for the holidays. Observant young readers can also spot a surfer Santa on every spread, adding more fun on each additional reading.

The Real Santa is available for purchase wherever books are sold, including Bookshop, Amazon, and your local independent bookstore. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Random House Books For Young Readers for sharing The Real Santa with me. I know my little one will love reading this one tonight as he waits for a visit from Santa.

About The Author:

Nancy Redd is an award-winning on-air host, a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner, an NAACP Image Award nominee for outstanding literary work, and a GLAAD Media Award nominee for outstanding digital journalism. She is also the author of the highly-acclaimed picture book BEDTIME BONNET. Called “the perfect combination of style and substance” by Essence magazine, Nancy holds an honors degree in women’s studies from Harvard University. THE REAL SANTA was inspired by Nancy’s family’s own beloved Christmas traditions. Find Nancy online at www.nancyredd.com.

About The Illustrator:

Growing up, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow was surrounded by art. Her passion for illustration grew after being introduced to the wonderful world of watercolor. She received her BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts and her MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts. Creating images and stories that speak to the hearts of children and those that guide them is her greatest joy. Charnelle currently lives in Indianapolis with her husband. When she’s not drawing, she is baking, sewing or reading with a cup of tea by her side. Find her online at www.callmechartreuse.com.

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Review: Kids Around The World Series

If you’re looking to introduce a young reader to different cultures across the globe, Albatros Books has a series for you. The Kids Around The World Series currently has two titles (with another coming early next year) that focus on the ways different cultures celebrate different holidays, as well as the ways our everyday lives might differ.

How Kids Celebrate Christmas Around the World

Just in time for Christmas, How Kids Celebrate Christmas Around the World shows young readers the diverse range of Christmas celebrations across fourteen different countries. From tamales in Mexico to flatbread in Ethiopia, children will learn about different traditional holiday meals prepared across the globe. Holiday traditions and customs are discussed for each country, expanding children’s knowledge of a holiday they might already be familiar with.

How Kids Celebrate Holidays Around the World

The second book in the series, How Kids Celebrate Holidays Around the World, will introduce young readers to holidays they might not be so familiar with. This book follows fifteen different children as they teach readers about the details surrounding a holiday they celebrate with their family. From Purim to Diwali, each narrator provides nine different facts about their holiday, such as the history and both traditional and modern customs and observations. This is the perfect selection for young readers who are looking to learn more about holidays they might not celebrate.

How Kids Live Around the World

The third installation in the series, How Kids Live Around the World, will be releasing early next year and is already available for preorder. As its title indicates, How Kids Live Around the World turns the focus away from holidays and narrows in on the every lives of fifteen different children in fifteen different countries. Each child shares ten different tidbits about their life, including things like what type of house they live in, how they get around, and where they go to school. This is a fantastic selection to introduce young readers to many different cultures and lifestyles across the globe.

I want to thank both Albatros Books and Publisher Spotlight for sharing this wonderful series with me. I can’t wait to see all the other aspects of the global community this series continues to share with children.

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Review: The Science of How Series

Today is the first day of Children’s Book Week and National STEM Day! In honor of both celebrations, I want to share two more picture books by Susan Hughes all about science. Illustrated by Ellen Rooney, The Science Of series teaches curious readers about the science of sounds and light with Lights Day and Night, and Sounds All Around.

Lights Day And Night: The Science of How Light Works is a delightful picture book that explains the mysteries of the science of light. From the natural light of the sun or a firefly, to artificial light of lighthouses and traffic lights, this book answers the questions curious readers might have about light. Following a young girl and her cat on a summer day, Lights Day and Night is both engaging and educational. Best of all, the backmatter contains instructions for a shadow puppet show, for further learning.

Originally published in May, Sounds All Around: The Science of How Sound Works is all about the science of sound. This education picture book discusses the way our ears process sounds, the way animals communicate with sounds, and even details the way pitch and sounds in general are measured. Following a young boy and his dog, Sounds All Around is as fun as it is informative. With instructions to make a bee buzzer in the back matter, this book brings a lot of fun to science.

I love the way both of these books use nature and animals to relate the scientific concepts. Each principal explained is easy for children to understand because the books use real world examples that perfectly highlight each lesson.

Ellen Rooney’s illustrations are fantastic! The characters on every page have so much personality (especially the pets), making both books an engaging read.

Sounds All Around and Lights Day and Night are both fantastic additions to libraries, classrooms, and bookshelves everywhere. You can pick up your own copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Kids Can Press for providing me with a review copy of Lights Day and Night and Sounds All Around. I’m so thrilled to be sharing them with everyone today!

About The Author:

Susan Hughes an award-winning author, whose books for children include Case Closed?, No Girls Allowed, Earth to Audrey and Maggie McGillicuddy’s Eye for Trouble. Susan lives in Toronto, Ontario.

About The Illustrator:

Ellen Rooney is an illustrator, designer and artist. She’s originally from Massachusetts, but now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. She loves graphic shapes, textured color, printmaking, drawing outdoors, painting — and her hidden art powers are released when cutting up paper!

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Flashback Friday: Monsters Like Us

If you’re looking for a not-so-spooky book for Halloween weekend, I’ve got the perfect pick for you! Monsters Like Us by Amy Huntington is an adorable picture book about monsters with a fun twist.

Title: Monsters Like Us
Author/Illustrator: Amy Huntington
Publisher: Beaming Books
Published: April 13, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Originally published in April, Monsters Like Us teaches young readers that monsters aren’t so different from us humans, and that they aren’t always scary after all. Young readers will learn about all the things they might have in common with monsters, from reading books and cleaning their rooms to snoozing in the sun. The whimsical illustrations paired with the simple text are absolutely delightful. I especially love the anticipation in the page turns, which make Monsters Like Us a fantastic read aloud.

Be sure to grab your copy of Monsters Like Us this Halloween weekend. You can find it wherever wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Beaming Books for providing me with a review copy of this precious book! I can’t wait to share it with my own little monster on Halloween.

About The Author/Illustrator:

Amy Huntington began painting in kindergarten, using the ends of her pigtails for brushes. She drew castles, bicycles, sleds, cats, and her siblings with the chicken pox. In summer she wrote poems while tucked in the branches of her favorite tree.

After college she settled in Vermont, exhibiting her paintings in various New England galleries. As a new mother, she fell in love with picture books and has never looked back. She fills lots of sketchbooks and writes lots of words. Some turn into books.

Her first picture book, One Monday, had both Huntington’s words and her art. She has since illustrated numerous books, including Grandma Drove the Garbage TruckFresh-Picked Poetry: Poems from the Farmer’s Market; and NINE: A Book of Nonet Poems. Huntington lives with her husband, two wild cats, some hens, and two sheep in an old Vermont farmhouse that needs lots of care.

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