Allergic – A Coming Of Age Story of Friendship, Family, and Allergies

Some of you may not know this about me, but I am a sucker for a good graphic novel. Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd and Michelle Mee Nutter definitely fits the bill.

This sweet middle-grade graphic novel follows a young girl named Maggie, who finds herself the odd one out at home.

With her parents preparing for a new baby and her younger brothers off in their own twin world, Maggie can’t help but feel a bit left out. She believes a new puppy will be the answer to her problems, only to find she’s severely allergic to anything with fur.

Luckily, this is just the beginning of Maggie’s story. She sets out on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to find the perfect pet to be her companion. Maggie faces many trials familiar to real world fifth graders, like a new school, new friends, and a new sibling, making her story completely relatable to young readers. The illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter are absolute perfection. They bring Maggie’s whole world to life, capturing all the emotions of her journey.

I absolutely loved Allergic. I read the entire book in one sitting, and I’m honestly thinking of rereading it right now because I enjoyed it so much. It’s one of those pure and wholesome stories that tugs at your heartstrings.

Allergic officially releases next week, but I would highly recommend you run (not walk) to preorder it today at Bookshop, Amazon, your local bookstore, or wherever you normally buy books. (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 continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Megan Wagner Lloyd is a children’s book author based in Washington DC. To learn more about her and her other books, please visit her website at meganwagnerlloyd.com.

Michelle Mee Nutter is an illustrator and designer based in Boston, MA. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at michellemee.com.

Thank you so much to Graphix and Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of Allergic. This is my favorite graphic novel of the year so far, and I look forward to reading it again.

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You Are Enough: A Book About Inclusion

If you are looking for an empowering picture book about inclusion with disabled representation, I’ve got the perfect pick for you today.

You Are Enough by Margaret O’Hair is inspired by viral sensation and Down syndrome advocate Sophia Sanchez. Opening with a lovely letter from Sophia herself, this book is all about being kids, being brave, and being yourself.

Perfect for fans of Be Brave! by Sonia Sotamayor and All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, You Are Enough encourages young readers to embrace their differences, because those differences are what make us who we are.

Throughout the book there is a gentle message that we may be misunderstood, but with courage, conviction, and the support of our friends and families we can be proud of who we are, because we are all enough.

I absolutely love the illustrations by Sofia Cardoso. While I was thrilled to see the extremely diverse cast of characters pictured, I was most impressed with Sofia’s ability to capture the personality of those characters on every single page.

You Are Enough is available next week (March 2, 2021), but you can preorder it 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 continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Margaret ‘Meg’ O’Hair is a mom, teacher, and award-winning writer. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at margaretohair.com.

Sofia Cardoso is an illustrator and designer based in Portugal. To learn more, be sure to check out her website at sofiacardoso.com.

Sofia Sanchez is an actress, model, Down syndrome advocate, and fifth grade student who lives in Northern California with her family. You can learn more about Sofia and her story at sofia-sanchez.com

I would also like to thank Scholastic for providing me with a review copy of such a delightful book. I absolutely adored You Are Enough, and I am so glad to be able to share it with you all.

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What Are Little Girls Made Of: Nursery Rhymes To Empower Young Feminists

I have to admit something to you all today. As a first time mom figuring this whole parenting thing out during a pandemic, I allow my son to watch far too much Little Baby Bum. So much that I wouldn’t be surprised if YouTube was the next word he learned. I know, I know, we should be limiting screentime, but during a pandemic, all bets are off.

And while I don’t necessarily think nursery rhymes are the most harmful content a kid can consume, I was so happy to find a book that challenges some of the outdated messages hidden in these songs. What Are Little Girls Made Of by Jeanne Willis does just that!

After listening to nursery rhymes nonstop for an entire year, I am familiar with the stereotypes in them. Whether it’s the five little monkeys, Humpty Dumpty, or Miss Molly’s dolly, the doctor helping them is ALWAYS a man. Girls are often portrayed as scared, helpless objects and the women always seem to be baking, washing, or having their noses pecked off. So I was thrilled to find What Are Little Girls Made Of to offer my son a little perspective.

From Little Bo Peep rescuing her sheep from mud puddles to Little Miss Muffet petting a spider, this book redefines the roles we often see assigned to girls and women in nursery rhymes. In this book, there are no damsels in distress, Georgie Porgie learns a thing or two about consent, and I’m happy to report that there are TWO female doctors.

The re-imagined nursery rhymes are paired with the cutest illustrations by Isabelle Follath, depicting a diverse cast of characters. The colors are absolute perfection and sure to grab the attention of young readers.

While I won’t be turning Little Baby Bum off anytime soon, What Are Little Girls Made Of gives me a great way to share updated versions of these nursery rhymes and actively challenge the stereotypes presented in the originals. I would highly recommend it for any parent looking to talk about the trouble with stereotypes, regardless of their child’s gender. We all benefit when gender stereotypes are challenged and dismissed for the weird social expectations they are.

What Are Little Girls Made Of is available now, 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 continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Jeanne Willis is an author based in London who has written over three hundred books. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jeannewillis.com.

Isabelle Follath is an incredibly talented freelance illustrator who lives in Switzerland. If you would like to learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at www.isabellefollath.ch.

I would like to thank Candlewick Press for generously providing me with a review copy of this lovely book. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for and I can’t wait to share it with my son.

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Sato The Rabbit – A Whimsical Escape From Reality

Sato The Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya is a whimsical picture book packed with imagination, making it a fabulous addition to every little one’s library.

Originally published in Japan, Sato The Rabbit is being published in English for the first time, translated by Michael Blaskowsky. This is the first book in a trilogy, introducing us to a young boy named Haneru Sato, who becomes a rabbit and finds a dreamy world filled with extraordinary possibilities.

Sato The Rabbit is divided into seven tales and almost feels like an introduction to short stories for young readers. I can see reading one of these to my son for a bedtime story every night in the same way I read a short story before bed.

Starting with “A Tiny Pond”, where we discover a small pond is blowing water into the hose Sato uses to water his plants, all the way to “Forest Ice”, in which Sato experiences different emotions by drinking melted ice from different seasons, the collection provides a completely unique reading experience.

Yuki Ainoya’s beautiful illustrations bring Sato’s imaginary world to life, and the full-page spreads make you feel like you’ve truly escaped reality for just a moment.

Sato The Rabbit officially releases next week (February 23, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. You can also purchase this title directly from the publisher, Enchanted Lion. (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 continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Michael Blaskowsky is a translator for literature, video games, and more. You can find out more about him and his work at his website blaskowskytranslations.com.

I would like to thank Enchanted Lion for providing me with a review copy of Sato The Rabbit. This book was incredibly unique and an absolute delight to read.

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The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

If you’re looking for a picture book about bravery and passion, I have the perfect pick for you today!

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung is a phenomenal picture book biography detailing the life of Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.

Despite being born during a time when racial bias was rampant against Chinese people in the United States, Hazel Ying Lee wasn’t afraid of anything. Hazel fell in love with flying when she was in an airshow with a friend. She worked an “invisible job” as an elevator operator to pay for flying lessons. Regardless of both the gender and racial barriers of her time, she would go on to serve as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II.

I appreciate that The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee doesn’t shy away from the obstacles faced by Hazel, specifically the racism she faced. From an encounter with a farmer who mistook her for a Japanese fighter when she crash-landed in a Kansas field mid-training, to Hazel’s family’s fight to bury her in a whites-only cemetery when Hazel died in service to her country at the age of 32, these examples give us a great introduction to talk to young readers about the racism directed towards Asian Americans, which seems to all too common during the time of COVID-19.

Even with these hard lessons of injustice, The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is a beautiful book celebrating the accomplishments of a groundbreaking woman. I really appreciated the beautiful illustrations by Julie Kwon.

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is available 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!)

Julie Leung is a children’s book author based in New York. She is also the author of one of my favorites: Paper Son: The Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jleungbooks.com.

Julie Kwon is an artist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is her debut picture book. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at julikwonart.com.

Many thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for generously providing me with a review copy of The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee. I’m so grateful to have a part in sharing Hazel’s story.

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Opening The Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book

As we enter the second week of Black History Month, I want to share Opening The Road by Keila Dawson with you all.

This inspiring picture book biography details Victor Hugo Green’s creation and distribution of The Negro Motorist Green Book, or as most people call it today, The Green Book.

In the late 1930’s, Black Americans were not guaranteed safe travel throughout the United States. Segregation barred Black motorist’s access to establishments like gas stations, rest areas, or hotels. The high number of “sundown towns”, all white communities that excluded non-white individuals after dark though intimidating and often violent tactics, made it dangerous for Black Americans to travel long distances.

Inspired by a Jewish newspaper, Victor Hugo Green, a US Postal Service worker in Harlem, decided to write a book to help Black travelers find safe options. The Green Book allowed trips to be planned with hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and many other businesses that welcomed Black customers. This travel guide became an invaluable resource for Black Americans throughout the country, and it flew off shelves, eventually selling over two million copies.

I love that the illustrations by Alleanna Harris bring life not just to Victor’s story, but also to the stories of many Black families who were able to safely enjoy family vacations.

Victor’s story highlights the resilience Black Americans have shown amid the countless obstacles facing them throughout our nation’s history. In the face of enormous challenges like segregation and racism, Victor, Alma, and all of Victor’s Postal service friends found a way to distribute vital information throughout the country, allowing numerous travelers safe passage.

The back of the book contains a fantastic author’s note that includes more historical detail, context around why The Green Book is relevant to conversations about safety in Black communities today, and information on current projects inspired by The Green Book, as well as a timeline.

You can purchase a copy of Opening The Road 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!)

Keila Dawson is an author, editor, and former teacher based in Cincinnati, OH. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at keiladawson.com.

Alleanna Harris is an artist and illustrator based in New Jersey. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at alleannaharris.com.

I would like to thank Beaming Books for sending me a review copy of this amazing book. I am so grateful to be able to share Victor Hugo Green’s story.

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Old Enough To Save The Planet – A Picture Book For Young Climate Change Activists

When you hear of young climate activists, your mind may go to well known activists like Greta Thunberg. But there are children across the globe, just like our children, who are taking action against climate change.

Old Enough To Save The Planet by Loll Kirby introduces us to twelve young climate activists, and highlights the actions they are taking to make change in their community.

From New York to Australia, these young children are making huge changes like reducing the effects of traffic pollution, diverting food waste from landfills, and reducing litter pollution.

I love that Old Enough To Save The Planet gives specific examples of different elements affecting climate change, like littering and deforestation, as well as specific ways to address many of those issues. Sometimes, I feel like children’s books about climate change add anxiety for children when they describe the problems facing our planet, but this one is written with so much hope and encouragement that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

The beautiful illustrations by Adelina Lirius capture the beauty of nature, as well as the diversity of our communities, providing a great visual of how we can all work together to save the the planet that we all share

To further assist young readers in making a difference, the back of the book has several empowering ideas, including a list of ten ways young readers can help save the planet, ten ways to make their voice heard, and resources for further reading.

Old Enough To Save The Planet officially releases in North America next week (February 9, 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!)

Loll Kirby is a children’s book author and former teacher based in Bristol, UK, who was inspired to write this book by her students. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at www.gatherandgrow.co.uk.

Adelina Lirius is an extremely talented illustrator based in Stockholm, Sweden. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at adelinalirius.com.

I would like to thank Abrams Young Readers and Magic Cat Publishing for providing me with a review copy of such a wonderful book.

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Brilliant Baby Does Math

As many of you know, I am the mother of a one-year-old, which means I read LOTS of board books these days.

I’m always on the lookout for board books that provide a bit of educational content to encourage my little one to have a lifelong love of learning.

Brilliant Baby Does Math by Laura Gehl and Jean Claude is just what I was looking for!

Part of a new series from Little Bee Books, Brilliant Baby Does Math highlights all the everyday applications of math in an age-appropriate manner. Without being too overwhelming, it lets young readers know that numbers are all around us and are used in toys, games, shopping, and many other every day activities. The rhyming text is also a nice way to keep little ones engaged.

I personally love the adorable illustrations by Jean Claude. Just look at all these precious babies doing math!

If you’re looking to expand your collection of educational board books, I would highly recommend this one.

Brilliant Baby Does Math is available now 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!)

Laura Gehl is the author of nearly two dozen children’s books. She currently lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and four children. For more about information Laura and her work, please visit her website at lauragehl.com.

Jean Claude is a self-trained illustrator from the UK who currently lives in Lisbon, Portugal with his partner and child. To learn more about his work, please visit www.advocate-art.com.

Thank you to Little Bee Books for providing me with a review copy of Brilliant Baby Does Math. I can’t wait to share this delightful board book with my little one.

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Opal’s Greenwood Oasis – An Introduction To Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street” in 1921

Today I want to share Opal’s Greenwood Oasis by Najah- Amatullah Hylton and Quraysh Ali Lansana with you all.

In Opal’s Greenwood Oasis we are introduced to the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma (also known as “Black Wall Street”) as it was in 1921, just before the Tulsa Race Massacre took place.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know very much about the city of Tulsa before I read this book, but now I can’t think of a better introduction than Opal’s.

Following a day in the life of a young girl named Opal Brown, we are introduced to the prosperous community of Greenwood and its happy families and busy stores as she rides her bike to the drugstore all by herself for the first time. Her descriptions of the historic businesses she passes combined with the photographs used in Skip Hill’s mixed media illustrations provide us all with a clear picture of what a vibrant, thriving Black community Greenwood was before one of the worst acts of violence in American history occurred there.

I love that the focus of Opal’s Greenwood Oasis is Opal’s joy and pride in her home, making this book feel more like a celebration of what the community was, and is today. Though there is some mention of the origins of the Tulsa Race Massacre in the narrative, the tragedy isn’t explained until the back matter, which provides a short historical explanation.

Opal’s Greenwood Oasis is published by Calliope Group, an independent publisher in Tulsa. The care and attention put into this book really highlight the love that everyone involved in making this book has for the city of Tulsa, and for the Greenwood District.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, I would highly recommend this title to teach young readers about Greenwood and the tragedy it faced.

Opal’s Greenwood Oasis is officially releases next week (February 2, 2021,) but you can preorder it today on Bookshop, Amazon, or directly from Calliope Group at thecalliopegroup.com. (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!)

Many thanks to The Calliope Group for providing me with a review copy of Opal’s Greenwood Oasis. It was an honor to see Greenwood for the first time through Opal’s eyes.

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Standing On Her Shoulders – Celebrating the Women Who Came Before Us

I’m so excited to share Standing on Her Shoulders: A Celebration of Women by Monica Clark-Robinson with you all today.

I originally thought this book was going to be a collection of biographies about women throughout history, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s something a little bit different.

Standing on Her Shoulders combines the elements of a love letter to our children, a tribute to our ancestors, and a biography collection, creating something altogether unique.

This book is a beautiful reminder of how strong women are when we lift one another up, how far we have come, and how far the next generation will take us. Standing on Her Shoulders is not a heavy historical text, but rather a poetic tribute to honor the legacy of women who worked to achieve the freedoms women enjoy today.

Monica Clark-Robinson’s lyrical text is paired perfectly with Laura Freeman’s illustrations, allowing us to look in on one Black family’s conversation with the next generation about the numerous women who came before them, paving the way for us all.

The back matter contains one sentence biographies of the twenty-six women featured in the illustrations (from Sacajawea to Simone Biles), opening the door to further conversations about the historic accomplishments of each woman.

My favorite part about this book however is that it doesn’t just emphasize the importance of honoring those who came before us, but also reminds young readers that someone will be standing on their shoulders someday.

Standing On Her Shoulders officially releases next week (February 2, 2021), but you can preorder 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!)

Monica Clark-Robinson is an author, professional actor, and voice-over artist who is passionate about stories. She lives in Arkansas with her husband, daughters, and many cats. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at monicaclark-robinson.com.

Laura Freeman is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree who has illustrated over thirty books for children, including Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice and The New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at lfreemanart.com.

Thank you to Orchards Books and Scholastic for sending me a copy of Standing On Her Shoulders. I can’t wait to share this inspiring book with my nieces.

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