Global Authors: Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin
Illustrator: Giovanni Rigano
Publishing April 11, 2023 by Sourcebooks Young Readers
Summary: Time is running out for Sami and Yuki. Sami and his grandfather live in a village along the Indian Ocean. They earn their living by fishing. But the ocean is rising and each day they bring back fewer and fewer fish. Yuki lives in the far north of Canada where warming temperature are melting the ice. Polar bears have less food to hunt and are wandering into town looking for something to eat. Yuki is determined to do something to help the bears.
Four pages, written in graphic novel format, that summarize the history of global warming and the climate change movement
An author letter
Plot Synopsis as put by the authors:
About the Creators:
Eoin Colfer is the author of Illegal as well as the internationally bestselling Artemis Fowl series. Eoin lives in Ireland with his family. Learn more at eoincolfer.com
Andrew Donkin is the author of more than sixty books and graphic novels for children and adults. He lives in London. Learn more at andrewdonkin.co.uk.
Giovanni Rigano is an artist and illustrator who has illustrated many graphic novels, including the Artemis Fowl series, The Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Illegal. He lives in Como, Italy.
Review:Just like in Illegal, Colfer, Donkin, and Rigano do a beautiful job putting a narrative to a crisis to make it more accessible to children who may not understand how something so big is affecting their life and their world.
In Global, the two stories that are told are half a world apart but are tied in the young people who are willing to fight to make the world a better place amidst what many would find truly unlivable and treacherous times.
These three creators obviously have a mission that they have taken on in spreading information to young minds about about “man-made disaster(s) that most impact vulnerable children who had no hand in causing it,” and they do it so well. I look forward to their next collaboration.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be a great text to read in conjunction with the teaching of climate change because it gives a face and story outside of science to the problems our world is facing. Students could also write their own story in the vein of Global (see below in discussion questions) to connect the science to their life.
How do the two stories told in Global relate to each other? Why would the authors choose to tell these two specific stories?
How do the authors tell the story of climate change without writing a informational nonfiction book?
What did you learn about the two settings that you didn’t know before?
How is climate change affecting your home? If there was a story like Global about you and your home, what would it be about?
Read This If You Love: Illegal by the same trio of creators, learning about plights faced in our world, graphic novels about serious topics
**Thank you to Sourcebooks for providing a copy of the book to review!**
The Marvellers (Marvellverse #1)
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Published: May 3rd, 2022 by Henry Holt and Co.
Summary: Author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky.
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed “bad and unnatural,” but she’s eager to make a good impression—and, hopefully, some friends.
But Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy, and not all of the Marvellers are welcoming. Still, she connects with fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, who is never found without a magical creature or two. Just as Ella begins to find her way at the A.T.I., a notorious criminal escapes from prison, supposedly with Conjurors’ help. Worse, her favorite teacher Masterji Thakur never returns from a research trip, and only Ella seems concerned about his disappearance.
As tensions grow in the Marvellian world, Ella finds herself the target of vicious rumors and growing suspicions. With the help of her new friends, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her beloved mentor Masterji Thakur . . . before she loses her place at the A.T.I. forever.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for The Marvellers:
I Don’t Care Author: Julie Fogliano
Illustrator: Molly Idle & Juana Martinez-Neal
Published November 22nd, 2022 by Neal Porter Books
Summary: Two Caldecott honorees—and real-life best friends— team up to illustrate a story of friendship from bestselling author Julie Fogliano.
Like the two stars of this story, illustrators Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal know that differences only make a good friendship stronger. In this bouncy, rhyming story, two best friends think about all the little things that don’t matter– and the big things that really, really do.
Mostly I care that you’re you and I’m me, and I care that we’re us, and I care that we’re we.
With each artist designing and drawing one character, and collaborating on the scenery and details, Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal transformed this sweet story into a celebration of friendship– including their own– and a unique artistic vision.
Working remotely, they swapped drawings across the country, using a limited palette of teal and yellow over graphite. As artwork passed back and forth between their mailboxes, childhood versions of each artist came to life and came together on the page into one unified creation.
Award-winning author Julie Fogliano’s rhythmic rhymes bring it all together, expressing the unconditional love any best friend can relate to.
★ “Fogliano’s sprightly, rhythmic text sets a fun tone for exploring what really matters in friendship. While effective picture books grow from the combining of words and images, this book takes the collaboration a step further by drawing on the talents of real-life best friends and Caldecott honorees Idle and Martinez-Neal. . . . The result is a warm, loving celebration of how to be a friend, and a successful artistic experiment.”—Booklist, Starred Review
★ “A psychologically acute tally of friendship’s most solid foundations, worth sharing with audiences large or small and tailor-made for reading aloud.”—School Library Journal, Starred Review
★ “A friendship book made by friends. . . . Fogliano’s deftly rhymed verses, which never miss a beat in their cadence or in their emotional resonance, help readers realize that while the friends don’t care about surface matters like appearance, attire, or possessions, they do care about each other. Compositionally, they end up occupying shared space on the spreads and will doubtlessly take up residence in readers’ hearts, too. . . . Show you care by sharing this book with others.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
About the Creators:
Julie Fogliano is the New York Times bestselling author of, among other titles, And Then It’s Spring and If You Want to See a Whale, both illustrated by Erin Stead, and When Green Becomes Tomatoes, illustrated by Julie Morstad. Her first book for Holiday House was Just in Case You Want to Fly, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Recipient of the 2013 Ezra Jack Keats Award and two Boston Globe–Horn Book Honors, her books have been translated into more than ten languages. Julie lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and three children.
Molly Idle is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Honor–winning book Flora and the Flamingo. She is also the creator of Tea Rex, the mermaid tales Pearl and Coral, and Witch Hazel. Molly lives with her fabulous family in Tempe, Arizona—where she can most often be found with a cup of espresso in one hand and a pencil in the other, scribbling away on her next book. To learn more about Molly and her work, visit IdleIllustration.com.
Juana Martinez-Neal is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Honor–winning book Alma and How She Got Her Name. She also illustrated New York Times bestselling picture book Tomatoes for Neela by Padma Lakshmi; Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, which won a Robert F. Sibert Medal; and La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, for which she won a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award. Juana Martinez-Neal lives in Connecticut with her family. Visit her online at www.juanamartinezneal.com.
Review:What a beautiful book to celebrate how friends don’t have to be exactly the same and instead it is about the type of person you are that lends to the type of friend you are. The text was also done quite cleverly switching from what the young children don’t care about to what they do care about in a contrasting structure.
The illustrations are BEAUTIFUL, which I am sure you assume if you know Idle & Martinez-Neal’s work. And I love how the illustrators are in real life Best Friends and Molly Idle had to get Juana Martinez-Neal to do it with her to make it truly authentic.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This text is a wonderful way to introduce compare and contrast, of friends, like the book, or of characters.
Also, there is a wonderful edition of Ready Set Draw! with all three creators where viewers get to see how the collaboration worked. It would be a great deep dive into the book and could lend itself to having students work together to create their own stories comparing and contrasting the students working on it.
How are your best friend and you alike and different?
What is most important for you when it comes to finding a friend?
What are some things you DON’T care about when it comes to a friend?
What are the similarities and differences between the two characters in the book?
What is the theme of the book?
Read This If You Love: Books about friendship and how people with differences can still get along
**Thank you to Sara at Holiday House for providing a copy for review!!**
The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey Author & Illustrator: Jason Chin
Published October 18th, 2022
Summary: Caldecott Medalist Jason Chin’s companion book to the award-winning Your Place in the Universe explores the world of the very small, delving deep into the microscopic world just beneath our skin.
From Jason Chin, Caldecott Medalist for Watercress and Cook Prize winning author and illustrator of Your Place in the Universe comes The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey, a companion book about the very small, from the tiniest mammals to the intricate structures of microscopic organisms and subatomic particles that make up every human body. This deep dive into an unseen world explores the building blocks of all matter and life, demonstrating how much we have in common with everything around us.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Horn Book Fanfare Title
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Jason Chin does it again: combining impeccable illustrations with science to take the reader into the microscopic world within our universe. Chin is such a master at bringing the reader into whatever world he has decided to explore and share with us. His writing is thorough and interesting, his illustrations are detailed and labeled, and the book together is definitely the journey he promises.
What is so special about the structure of the book? Why do you think the author set the structure up this way?
What is the smallest thing in the universe? How do these small particles impact us?
How does the author make this nonfiction book like a journey?
Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the Pond Between Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome
Illustrator: Ashley Benham-Yazdani
Published November 15th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: From the award-winning author of Before She Was Harriet comes another work of lyrical beauty, the story of Henry David Thoreau and businessman Frederic Tudor–and a changing world.
Thoreau and Tudor could not have been more different from each other. Yet both shared the bounties of Walden Pond and would change the course of history through their writings and innovations.
This study in opposites contrasts the austere philosopher with the consummate capitalist (whose innovations would change commercial ice harvesting and home refrigerators) to show how two seemingly conflicting American legacies could be built side by side.
Oddball/ tax dodger/ nature lover/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Thoreau. Bankrupt/ disgrace/ good for nothing/ dreamer/ That’s what they called/ Tudor.
Celebrated author Lesa Cline-Ransome takes her magnificent talent for research and detail to plumb the depths of these two history-makers. The graceful text is paired with Ashley Benham-Yazdani’s period accurate watercolor and pencil artwork. In winter, readers see Tudor’s men sawing through the ice, the workhorses dragging the ice, and Thoreau observing it all; in spring, summer, and fall, the ice continues its journey across the globe with Thoreau and Tudor writing and reflecting in their respective diaries.
An Author’s Note, which explores how Thoreau’s writings influenced such figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Frost, and Mohandas Gandhi, is included.
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Lesa Cline-Ransome introduces us to another aspect of Walden Pond that Thoreau fans may not know about: Tudor’s industrial side of the pond. Cline Ransome’s verse shows us the contrast between the two lives that are tied together by the pond that they both loved, for very different reasons. Beautifully written with rhythm that yells for it to be read aloud.
Benham-Yazdani’s “period accurate watercolor” reminds me of Grandma Moses which is perfect for this story!
What does the different fascinations with the pond show you about the two men?
Why do you think the author chose to write the book in verse separated by seasons?
What did you learn about the past of ice that surprised you?
Polar Bear Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published November 22nd, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: This companion book to the authors’ Sibert award-winning Honeybee explores the life and habitat of a majestic endangered species through dramatic text and sumptuous illustration.
April in the Arctic . . . Cold winds send snow clouds scuttling across the sky. Temperatures barely nudge above freezing. But every now and again, The cloud cover parts, The sun shines down, And the frozen world stretches awake.
As spring approaches in the Arctic, a mother polar bear and her two cubs tentatively emerge from hibernation to explore the changing landscape. When it is time, she takes her cubs on a forty-mile journey, back to their home on the ice. Along the way, she fends off wolves, hunts for food, and swims miles and miles.
This companion book to Honeybee and Giant Squid features the unique talents of Fleming and Rohmann on a perennially popular subject. Eric Rohmann’s magnificent oil paintings feature (as in Honeybee) a spectacular gatefold of the polar landscape.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Review & Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:Candace Fleming’s beautiful verse introduces us to the polar bear and all of the trials and tribulations she faces with her cubs in the Arctic. Within the narrative, we learn so much information about them and their habitat. The verse adds an extra poetic element to the book that just brings it to the next leve.
Add to that Rohmann’s illustrations, and this stunning picture book sucks in the reader through word and pictures. Backmatter adds even more information through shared research and fun facts.
Why do you think that author chose to write the book in verse?
What does the gatefold add to the experience of reading Polar Bear?
What are the biggest threats to polar bears?
Why does the back matter include the statement “I’s All About the Ice?”
We’re Not Weird: Structure and Function in the Animal Kingdom Author & Illustrator: Michael Garland
Published January 3rd, 2023 by Holiday House
Summary: Meet nature’s most extraordinary looking creatures. But they aren’t weird!
Birds with blue feet, fish that walk, unicorns in the sea, and more! Learn how these animals’ quirks help them survive. Perfect for budding naturalists who are always ready to share a cool (or gross) animal fact.
Very hard scales protect me, and my long tongue is perfect for eating ants. When I feel threatened, I roll myself into a ball. I am a Pangolin.
See these animals’ amazing body parts in vibrant and detailed woodcut illustrations, from the thorny dragon’s spiky skin to the star-nosed mole’s twenty-two feelers. Read how these creatures’ unique traits help them thrive and survive in their environments. Learn where they live, what they eat, how they protect themselves, and more.
With easy-to-read text vetted by an expert, this book aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards on adaptation, structure, and function for kindergarten through 3rd grade. With supplementary information on each animal’s habitat and diet.
Review:This book introduces the reader to so many different unique animals (20 of them!), featuring what makes them different than others. The text in the book is written in 1st person with interesting facts and an introduction to the animal. Additional info on each animal is on in the back matter giving even more information about the animal including their habitat and diet.
Which of the animals would you like to learn more about? Why?
Choose your own animal to research and write an introduction, in 1st person, highlighting the animal’s uniqueness and interesting facts.
What is similar about all of the animals’ unique features?
The Science of Light: Things that Shine, Flash, and Glow Author & Illustrator: Margaret Peot
Published December 6th, 2022 by Holiday House
Summary: With a striking glow-in-the-dark cover, this intriguing science book invites young readers to find light all around.
Sun shines. Stars twinkle. Aurora borealis glimmers.
Dramatic paintings of lightning, fire, fireworks and more introduces the sources of light–both natural and manmade–and encourage children to look around and observe.
Kids will gasp in surprise at the beautiful glow-in-the-dark cover, and the bold spreads within. Margaret Peot’s distinctive art style captures the elusive nature of light. Bioluminescent squid, fireflies and phytoplankton reveal light sources in living things. Fireworks and light bubbles sparkle on the page.
This foundational science book will kindle curiosity in physical science and the natural world. The simple text makes science accessible to all ages.
Toddlers will delight in the colorful art at storytime. As they grow, kids will return to this nonfiction favorite and discover new ideas each time. Science vocabulary and definitions are included in the back of the book.
An Orbis Pictus Honor Book
Review:This beautifully illustrated book with sparse text gives an introduction to light in science including natural sources of light, bioluminescence, and artificial light. All of the animals, nature, and items in the book are tied together by the light that they make.
The author’s backmatter adds even more depth to the text by sharing more information on the different types of light, a bibliography, and websites to learn more.
What are the differences between the three types of light shared in the book?
Which of the types fascinates you the most?
How does bioluminescence work?
**Thank you to Sara at Holiday House for providing copies for review!**
Everybody Counts! Author: Matt Forrest Esenwine
Illustrator: Emma Graham
Published January 1st, 2023 by Little Fig
Summary: “Everyone is helpful, in large and small amounts. Everybody matters. Everybody counts!”
So begins Everybody Counts!, a creative foreign-language counting picture book. Get a taste of diversity as you explore this far-reaching festival of food and count your way to a full plate of fun.
Everybody Counts! makes learning numbers fun as young ones discover new foods and languages from around the world. Explore favorite foods from twelve countries. Illustrations highlight the animals and numerical symbols that represent each country.
Review:Esenwine’s Everybody Counts shows the ties between us all as it counts through 12 different languages along with animals from that country sharing now only the language with us but also food and culture of each country. Each spread is so thoughtfully created with colorful illustrations of each animal and their favorite food fill the spread.
You So Black Author: Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.
Illustrator: London Ladd
Published January 10, 2023 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Summary: Based on Theresa Wilson’s (a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D.’s) beautiful, viral spoken word poem of the same name, You So Black is a picture book celebration of the richness, the nuance, and the joy of Blackness.
Black is everywhere, and in everything, and in everyone—in the night sky and the fertile soil below. It’s in familial connections and invention, in hands lifted in praise and voices lifted in protest, and in hearts wide open and filled with love. Black is good.
Accompanied by powerful yet tender illustrations by award-winning illustrator London Ladd, Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. has adapted her poem, full of gorgeous lyricism and imagery, to show readers the love, joy, resilience, and universality in the beauty of Blackness.
About the Creators:
Theresa Wilson a.k.a. Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D. is a musical, lyrical and theatrical alchemist, sprinkling magic like hot sauce. She is best known for her appearance on the 2019 Trumpet Awards on Bounce TV, and the now viral recitation of “You So Black.” Theresa is from the south suburbs of Chicago but calls Atlanta home. She holds a degree in commercial music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois.
London Ladd is a graduate of Syracuse University with an MFA in illustration. He uses a unique mixed media approach, combining cut paper textured with acrylic paint, tissue paper and colored pencil to bring his diverse subjects to life. London’s artwork is steeped in intensity and emotion, a reflection of the artist himself. His hope is that You So Black will be passed down through generations, reaffirming African Americans’ strength, beauty, power and love. His goal is to open a visual arts community center where lower-income families can create their own art. London lives in Syracuse, New York.
Review:This celebration of blackness is beautifully written and is made to be read out loud. The verse, combined with London Ladd’s dynamic yet warm collages, come together to create a book that shows the beauty, resilience, and brilliance of blackness. The author takes a “historically charged insult” and takes back the ownership and shows how “You So Black” is something to be proud of and in love with.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This beautiful picture book definitely belongs on the shelves of everywhere that students who need it can find it.
However, I also picture it being used to introduce spoken word poetry. The picture book in conjunction with the original spoken word poem can be used together and start conversations about rhythm, rhyme, articulation, prosody, etc. as well as other poetic elements like figurative language, specifically similes, and imagery.
Also, in conjunction with the interview linked below, it would lend itself to a great conversation about author’s purpose with evidence from the interview.
Original Spoken Word Poem:
Read This If You Love: Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o & Vashti Harrison, Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut and I am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James, The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson & Rafael López, All Because You Matter and We Are Here by Tami Charles & Bryan Collier, I am Enough and I Believe I Can by Grace Byers & Keturah A. Bobo
**Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy for review!!**
Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting Shirley Chisholm”
Author: Tonya Bolden
Forward by: Stacey Abrams
Published January 4th, 2022 by National Geographic Kids
Summary: From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.
Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.
Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.
Praise: “The strength of Bolden’s skill as a researcher is evident; chapter by chapter, she provides succinct but critical context around the motivations and movements of Chisholm’s political career. A foreword by Stacey Abrams helps establish that Chisholm’s legacy is one of political innovation as someone who forged a path for others to follow. This informative book has an engaging narrative structure. The use of repetition and inclusion of memorable pearls of wisdom attributed to Chisholm add a poetic tone. An insightful and focused profile of a political trailblazer.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This lively, detailed look at Chisholm’s personal and political life shines in its portrayal of a strong woman who never backed down; Bolden’s accessible text is great for report writers covering the groundbreaking Chisholm and the momentous time she lived in.” —Booklist
About the Author: Tonya Bolden has authored, edited and co-authored more than 40 books. Her work has garnered numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Honor, the James Madison Book Award, the NCSS Carter G. Woodson Honor, the Children’s Book Guild of Washington, D.C.’s Nonfiction Award, the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children, the Virginia Library Association Jefferson Cup Award and the Cleveland Public Library Sugarman Award. Lauded for her skilled storytelling, impeccable research and lively text, Tonya lives New York City.
Review:Tonya Bolden’s biography of Shirley Chisholm is a perfect mix of historical remembrance as well as narrative structure to pull the reader in. You follow Shirley’s life as she goes against all odds and fights her way through politics, all while never losing her morals or remembrance of where she came from. As someone who knew of Chisholm but not specifics and boy, is she phenomenal! I highly recommend reading this book to learn more about this pioneer of civil and feminist rights.
Also, I read this book at the right time for me. As a Floridian going through an election, a reminder of hope is always needed. And Shirley Chisholm, her fight and success, and resilience shows that there have always been times to fight and there are always others that need to fight more.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This biography will be perfect for updating nonfiction sections of libraries. Additionally, it would be a wonderful book club choice or lit circle choice when focusing on HERstory or true history.