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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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.

I Am A Kindness Hero – A New Kind Of Role Model For Boys

As a mother who has a son, I’m always on the lookout for picture books encouraging kindness and gentleness, especially “for boys”.

This isn’t because my son is particularly unkind, or because I think boys in general have a tendency to be unkind, but rather that I believe society doesn’t expect kindness from boys in the same way we expect it from young girls.

While my husband and I do not buy into gender stereotypes, I am very aware that the world will tell my son all about the dangers of being “soft”. He has lived a pretty secluded first year thanks to COVID, so there’s no one to tell him he shouldn’t gently hug his stuffed animals and make that sweet little “MMmm” sound. However, I know the day is coming when those kinds of behaviors will be ridiculed because they don’t mirror societal expectations of masculinity.

To get ahead of this negative message, we love a book that provides positive examples of boys being tender. I Am A Kindness Hero by Jennifer Adams depicts this role model perfectly.

A companion to I Am A Warrior Goddess, this book follows a young boy practicing kindness. Whether he is helping someone cross the street, standing up to bullies on the playground, or just helping his little sister tie her shoe, our main character reminds us to lead with patience, love, and kindness.

The illustrations by Carme Lemniscates are fantastic. I especially love the warmth of the colors, and how they mirror the warmth we associate with kindness.

I would highly recommend this book for any young reader, because its message is truly universal. I don’t believe the world can ever have too much kindness.

I Am A Kindness Hero will officially be available next week (January 26, 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!)

Jennifer Adams is an editor and accomplished author (with 50 books published!) who lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, who is also a writer. You can learn more about her and her work by visiting her website at jennifer-adams.com.

Carme Lemniscates is an author, illustrator, designer, and the founder of Lemniscates Studio. To learn more about her and her work you can visit her website at lemniscates.com.

I would like to thank Sound True for providing me with a review copy of I Am A Kindness Hero. I know I will read this one to my son for many years to come, in hopes it will encourage him to stay sweet and kind forever,

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The Aquanaut – Encouraging Children To Dream Big

As soon as I heard about The Aquanaut by Jill Heinerth and illustrated by Jaime Kim, I knew I had to have a copy!

A children’s book written by a traiblazing female cave diver and underwater explorer, illustrated by a NYT bestselling illustrator?

Yes! Sign me up.

At first glance, I thought this book would be another empowering picture book biography focusing on girl power. (Now, don’t get me wrong! This is one of my favorite types of books, but you have to admit, there are A LOT out there these days.) I was pleasantly surprised to learn that The Aquanaut is empowering in a very different way.

Instead of encouraging readers to overcome gender specific obstacles society may present them, this book gently encourages children to dream big, and to follow those dreams. Jill tells young readers about the big dreams she had as a child. Each spread detailing her dream is followed by a wordless spread with magnificent illustrations by Jaime Kim showing us an adult Jill achieving those dreams, metaphorically speaking.

The Aquanaut is the perfect pick to encourage imagination, while also reminding young readers they don’t have to wait until they’re grown to achieve all of their dreams. If they dream of helping others, they can start today!

The illustrations in this book are absolute perfection! Somehow Jaime Kim perfectly captures the comparisons of Young Jill’s dreams and Adult Jill’s achievements, while simultaneously creating the perfect calming atmosphere for young readers to reflect on their own dreams. It’s genius!

On top of being a writer, Jill Heinerth is also an award-winning cave diver, as well as an underwater explorer, photographer, and filmmaker. To learn more about her and her work, be sure to visit her website at intotheplanet.com.

Jaime Kim is an extremely talented illustrator whose debut picture book Take Heart, My Child was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. To learn more about her and her work, visit her website at jaimekim.com.

The Aquanaut officially releases next week (January 19, 2021), but you can preorder it today at Bookshop, Amazon, and anywhere else you purchase books. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to earn a small commission from purchases made at no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site, and continue bringing content to you.)

Many thanks to Tundra Books for providing me with a copy of The Aquanaut. I am so grateful to have had the chance to review such a brilliant book!

A Thousand White Butterflies

A Thousand White Butterflies by Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Williams is a delightful picture book about making friends.

In A Thousand White Butterflies, we meet Isabella, a young girl whose family recently immigrated to the US from Colombia. Isabella misses her Papa, who is still in Columbia waiting for permission to travel to join his family.

Isabella has big plans to make friends on her first day of school, but the weather has other plans. When school is cancelled because there is too much snow, Isabella misses Colombia more than ever and worries she won’t ever make friends in the United States. But Isabella will soon learn that making friends in her new home is easier than she may have thought!

I really love the Illustrations by Gina Maldonado! They perfectly capture both the atmosphere of a snow day, and all the emotions they bring Isabella.

There is Spanish text peppered throughout Isabella’s conversation with her Mama and Abuelita, and an accompanying glossary in the back of the book.

This is a great selection for both children who have immigrated to a new country and children who have friends and classmates who are immigrants . Children who are immigrants themselves can find their experiences represented in this story. Children who are new to the concept of immigration will find a great example of welcoming new friends, as well as an empathetic look into the thoughts and feelings of a child who is new to their country and school.

A Thousand White Butterflies officially releases next week (January 19, 2021) but you can preorder it today wherever you purchase books, 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.)

I would like to give a big thank you to Charlesbridge for sending me a review copy of A Thousand White Butterflies. It was an absolute delight!

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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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This Small Blue Dot – A Sister’s Welcome to The World

I am so excited to share This Small Blue Dot By Zeno Sworder with you all today!

Zeno Sworder was inspired to write This Small Blue Dot when his daughter struggled to find picture books with characters who looked like her.

This heartfelt picture book is all about a little girl welcoming a new sibling to the world. Our narrator shares everything she’s learned so far, from the billions of stars and planets, to her thoughts on broccoli.

Though it’s told from a child’s perspective, This Small Blue Dot effortlessly handles so much knowledge and wisdom! There are life lessons included that even some adults may need a reminder of, such as mindfulness and the importance of caring for our planet. From silly dances to dark days, this book truly captures the human experience.

The illustrations in This Small Blue Dot are unlike any I’ve seen before. I loved the contrasting combination of pencil and crayon, and the crayons immediately brought me back to memories of my own childhood.

This Small Blue Dot officially releases next week (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 with no additional cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing you content.)

To see more of Zeno Sworder’s work, be sure to visit his website, zenosworder.com.

I would also like to Thames and Hudson for generously providing me with a review copy of This Small Blue Dot in exchange for an honest review.

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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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