Milo Imagines The World

The award winning duo behind Last Stop On Market Street and Carmella Full of Wishes, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, are back at it with their latest release, Milo Imagines The World.

In this book, we follow a young boy named Milo as he and his older sister take their monthly Sunday subway ride to visit their mother.

As we follow Milo on his commute, he observes the people around him and draws their lives as he imagines them to be. In Milo’s drawings, a young boy in a suit becomes a prince and a woman in a wedding dress marries a man who whisks her away in a hot air balloon.

I don’t want to give away the ending, but I will say that as Milo reaches his destination, he is surprised to find the young boy in the suit is going to the very same place as Milo and his sister. That’s how he learns that we can’t really know anyone just by looking at them, and is inspired to reimagine all of his drawings.

Inspired by Christian Robinson’s childhood experiences, Milo Imagines The World is a beautiful story that reminds us all not to judge a book by its cover. The lyrical text encourages us to practice understanding and love before judgement. I have a feeling this one will be an instant classic, and I can’t recommend it enough.

I think my favorite part has to be Christian Robinson’s illustrations! I especially love Milo’s drawings, the way they provide depth to Milo as a character by giving us a look into his internal monologue and his understanding of the world around him.

Milo Imagines The World is on sale next week (February 2, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These 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 continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Matt de la Peña is the award winning author of seven young adult novels and five picture books, and he currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches creative writing. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at mattdelapena.com.

Christian Robinson is an author, illustrator, animator, and Caldecott Honoree base in San Francisco, CA. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at TheArtofFun.com.

I also want to extend a HUGE thank you to G. P. Putnam’s Sons for proving me with a review copy of Milo Imagines The World. This is one I will keep coming back to for years to come with my little one.

Off To See The Sea – An Imaginative Bath Time Adventure

The author and illustrator duo that brought us Bedtime for Sweet Creatures (Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon) is back at it again with Off To See The Sea.

With just as much imagination as Bedtime For Sweet Creatures, Off To See The Sea focuses on bath time.

In this book, we see the every day activity of bathing with the imagination of a child. Faucets turn to waterfalls, and toy tugboats float on the waves of a raging sea.

My little guy will be a year next week, and for the last six months or so, bath time has been his absolute favorite. Sometimes if he’s having a bad day, we even give him an extra bath. In Off To See The Sea, Nikki Grimes perfectly captures the same joy and excitement I see on his face when he plays in the tub.

The illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon are perfection.

I love that Off To See The Sea captures Black joy. It can sometimes feel like when we are actively diversifying our shelves, there is a specific focus on the generations of pain, trauma, and uphill climbs faced by Black folks. Off to See The Sea provides you with an opportunity to add some melanin to your library with a loving portrayal of an everyday routine every child can identify with.

Off To See The Sea officially releases tomorrow (January 12, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. These links allow me to receive a small commission on purchases made at no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.)

To see learn more about Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon and see more of their work, be sure to visit their websites, nikkigrimes.com and lizzunon.com, respectively.

I want to thank Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing me with a review copy of Off To See The Sea. I’m sure I will be reading this one to my bath-loving little one for years to come!

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We Are The Supremes – A Picture Book Biography of America’s Most Successful Vocal Group

I’m sure most of you are familiar with The Supremes, but many young readers have yet to learn much about America’s most successful vocal group.

We Are The Supremes by Zoe Tucker is a perfect introduction, while also making for a great read for children who are already fans.

Starting from Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Diana Ross’s beginnings at the Brewster-Douglass public housing project in Detroit, all the way to their global success with Motown Records, We are The Supremes tells the story of the rise of this successful music group.

This book is a celebration of the success of three Black women who became international superstars during a time when many record labels turned away Black artists. The hard work and determination these women showed make for a great example to encourage young readers to work hard at the things they love.

I think my favorite part has to be the illustrations by Salini Perera. They are absolutely fantastic! I particularly love the all the outfits. Every illustration perfectly captures the fashion from the 50’s and 60’s.

I also love that this book doesn’t shy away from some of the disagreements within the group, showing young readers that friendships often take work and encouraging them to resolve their disagreements with friends through communication.

We Are The Supremes is available in the UK, and will be released in North America next week (January 12, 2021). You can preorder it now wherever you purchase books, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.)

To see more work from Zoe Tucker and Salini Perera, be sure to visit their websites: zoetucker.co.uk and saliniperera.com, respectively.

I also want to thank Quarto Publishing Group for generously providing me with a digital review copy for this title.

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Songs In A Rainstorm – The Story of Musical Prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins

Songs in A Rainstorm by Glenda Armand is an amazing picture book biography of Thomas Wiggins, also known as Blind Tom.

I have to admit, I didn’t know much about Thomas Wiggins before I read this book, and I’m so disappointed in myself because his story is so incredibly inspiring!

Thomas Wiggins was born without sight to enslaved parents in 1849. Thomas was what we would today call a musical savant.

Shortly after Tom was born, his parents learned that their owner, Wiley Jones, planned to sell some of his slaves. Fearing for their son, Tom’s parents secretly reached out to General James Bethune to prearrange their sale to him, due to his reputation as a “fair man”. The family was sold together, and Jones threw Tom in for free, calling him a “useless burden”

But Jones was wrong. Tom was blind, but he was never useless.

At the age of four, General Bethune’s daughters began to teach Tom to speak, and eventually to play the piano. When Bethune heard how well Tom played and how quickly he learned, he saw a business opportunity and began to manage Tom’s career as a professional musician.

Against all odds, Thomas Wiggins followed his passion for music. Tom wowed audiences across the world and was the first African American to perform in the White House.

I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. Brittany Jackson really brought Tom and his story to life.

But my favorite part of Songs In a Rainstorm has to be the honesty. It doesn’t shy away from the ugly truths, like the reality of slavery or the fact that Bethune took the majority of the fortune Tom earned.

I would highly recommend this book, especially for any little ones who are showing an interest in music.

Songs in a Rainstorm is officially released on January 1, 2021, but you can preorder it anywhere you purchase books, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links, at no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you.)

I would like to thank Albert Whitman & Company for providing me with a review copy of Songs In a Rainstorm. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to learn more about Thomas Wiggins and his story.

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My Very Favorite Book In The Whole Wide World

Today I wanted to share My Very Favorite Book In The Whole Wide World with you all.

Written by Super Bowl Champion and literacy advocate Malcolm Mitchell, this is a beautiful story about a boy named Henley who receives the scariest homework assignment. His teacher wants everyone in class to bring in their very favorite book in the whole wide world, but Henley doesn’t have one.

I’m a huge believer that any child who “doesn’t like reading” just hasn’t found the right book yet, and this book perfectly illustrates that concept.

In My Very Favorite Book In The Whole Wide World, we follow Henley as he searches for his very favorite book. He tries all kinds of books about all kinds of things, but can’t seem to find the right one. I won’t spoil it, but Henley comes up with a creative solution and manages to find his very favorite book in the whole wide world.

The bold illustrations by Michael Robertson are sure to capture the reader’s attention. This book is the perfect choice to inspire reluctant readers that they too will find their very favorite book in the whole wide world.

This one isn’t out until next week, but you can pre-order it anywhere you buy books, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are 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 to bring content to you.)

To learn more about Malcolm Mitchell and the Share The Magic Foundation, be sure to visit ReadWithMalcolm.com!

I would like to thank Orchard Books and Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of this book! It was such a delight!

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This is Your Time

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Ruby Bridges. She is a civil rights activist who made history when she was just six years old. In 1960, she was the first Black child to attend an all white school in New Orleans, inciting protests from the white communities. This is Your Time is her most recent book.

In this book, Mrs. Bridges writes a letter to her readers, recounting her experience and encouraging young readers to participate in the fight for racial equality. She poignantly compares the unrest in our country now to the unrest in our country then.

Every other page features a black and white photo perfectly paired with the message. For example, on one page, Mrs. Bridges speaks about parents protesting and removing their children from school, while the opposite page features a picture of parents laughing while holding up a coffin with a black baby doll in it. Many things have changed in 60 years, but it is still critical that we teach our children the importance of equality.

With the news of our new President Elect, I have begun to notice an uptick in conversations (especially among white people) about unity and hope. While I absolutely support the idea of unity and hope, I worry we may already be becoming complacent. I worry we are already forgetting how hard-earned these victories have come. I worry we may not be acknowledging the communities who fought hardest to make change.

For me this book represents the kind of unity and hope we need as a nation. This book feels like an action. This book feel like a seed I can plant. This book tells every young person who reads it that they too can be like Ruby Bridges. They too can be brave and stand on the right side of history. I can’t think of a better way to bring our nation together than to teach our children to love and defend one another.

This is Your Time is being released today and would make the perfect gift for any young peacemaker in your life. It can be purchased just about anywhere books are sold, including at my Bookshop Page. (Please note this is an affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission of any purchases made using this link. This commission allows me to maintain this website and continue to bring reviews to you. Any support is greatly appreciated.)

I would like to thank Random House Kids for providing this review copy, and the hope it has brought me.