Lettuce Get in Trouble by Linda Kuo, Illustrated by Mariana Rio

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Lettuce Get In Trouble
Author: Linda Kuo
Illustrator: Mariana Rio
Co-Authors: Cynthia Benjamin & Paula Rees
Published May 17th, 2022 by Center for Design Books

Summary: Sara Little Turnbull was a designer, an observer, a mentor, and not afraid to cause a little trouble while making the world a better place. As a global traveler, she made connections between people and found wonder in the everyday objects they hold dear.

As a very petite female designer in the world of large men, Sara used her unique perspective and curiosity to design a wide range of revolutionary products–from facemasks to cookware to astronaut suits–and to encourage others to see the world through new eyes. Sara was a mentor to designers of all ages and in Lettuce Get in Trouble, she helps children understand the basics of design: observing the world around them, asking questions, and trying out new things. One day, the Ministry of Food asks Sara Little to convince the children to eat more vegetables. Instead of offering a stern lecture, however, Sara Little brings her young friends to her Little Lab to explore the colors and shapes of food and why we eat anything at all. Together they design a grand event, inviting children to gather, play, and design tasty new creations.

Sara Little Trouble Maker Series Information: New Children’s Picture Book Series Introduces Young Readers to the Basics of Design by asking “Why?”

Lettuce Get in Trouble is the first volume in the Sara Little Trouble Maker series from Center for Design Books—a children’s picture book that teaches the basics of design in a way that is easy for young readers to understand. Inspired by a little-known but influential designer, Sara Little, Lettuce Get in Trouble helps children learn to problem-solve by observing the world around them, asking great questions, and trying out new things.

“Sara wears many hats and one tiny upside-down clock on her black turtleneck. She is always asking a lot of questions.”

Why?

In Lettuce Get in Trouble, we meet Sara Little, a troublemaker of the best sort; she asks great questions starting with Why? Sara looks at the world a little differently than other adults—by doing so, interesting problems and the need for design solutions come her way. This first story focuses on Sara’s design influence with new foods and is set in her beloved city of New York. One day, the Ministry of Food asks Sara Little to convince the children to eat more vegetables. Instead of offering a stern lecture, Sara brings her young friends to her Little Lab to explore the colors and shapes of food and why we eat anything at all. Together, they plan a grand event, inviting children from around the world to design fresh, tasty creations. “The children will cook, and we shall allow them to play with their food!” says Sara. Will the leader of the Ministry of Food be happy? Will the children learn to love veggies?

“Good design solves problems and also makes the world more beautiful and fun.”

Through experimentation, discovery, and planning, Sara teaches children that “good design solves problems and also makes the world more beautiful and fun.” In Lettuce Get in Trouble, the children—and designers of all ages—learn to make their world a better place by being curious, ‘taking the time to see’ and not being afraid to cause a little trouble.

“When you take the time to see, the wonders become commonplace, and the commonplace become wonders.”

About the Real Little Sara: Sara Little (1917-2015) was a designer, teacher, and observer not afraid to cause a little trouble while developing innovative solutions to fulfill our basic needs. As a global traveler, she made connections between people and found wonder in the everyday objects, tools, and rituals their cultures hold dear. As a very petite female designer in the world of large men, Sara used her unique perspective and curiosity to design a wide range of revolutionary products—from medical masks which inspired the N95 to cookware to astronaut’s spacesuits—and encouraged others to see the world through new eyes. This first story reflects Sara’s influence on the American lifestyle by promoting casual dining with buffets and finger foods.

About the Creators: 

Linda Kuo designs products for children and loves creative storytelling. She has a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York and an MFA from Stanford University, where Sara Little mentored her. Sara often said, “Design is to create order.” Linda practices Sara’s teaching in all her projects as the Design Director at Pottery Barn Kids & Teen, headquartered in San Francisco, and serves as a board member of the Center for Design.

Mariana Rio is an award-winning illustrator and educator in Porto, Portugal. She graduated in Communication Design from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto. With over a decade of experience, she is happy to spend her days creating characters and visual narratives for publishing houses and institutions worldwide. Her illustrations have been featured in the Bologna Children’s Book Fair exhibitions. Mariana is always eager to learn, and she found Sara Little’s legacy a huge inspiration. Find more at: www.marianario.com

The Sara Little [Turnbull] Center for Design Institute is a non-profit (501c3) in Seattle, WA, with a mission to educate and enhance the public’s knowledge of design and further the education of under served women and girls. Profit from the book series will support that work.

Review: Lettuce Get in Trouble is such a great inquiry book! It shows the importance of asking questions, asking more questions, pushing boundaries, and never letting someone judge you by their assumptions.

I found the collage-esque and colorful illustrations mixed with the multi-format of the picture book just so much fun to read and as unique as its subject. It also has such a quick pace that could have been detrimental but instead kept the reader wanting to move forward to see what Sara is going to tackle next.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I think the first thing I would do with this book is start with the WHY and have students come up with their own questions then find answers. Use Sara Little’s inquiry to inspire their own inquiry. There are also other mentor opportunities such as answering Sara’s questions and having students write a letter that they would have written to Sara.

Also, there is so much to learn about Sara Little Turnbull. She changed our world yet is too unknown. Students can use this book/series as a jumping off point to learning about her career and inventions. After reading the book, students could be grouped and each group assigned one of her designs/inventions to research and share.

Learn more about Sara Little at The Center for Design, the Sara Little Troublemaker website, or this Fortune article about her for Women’s History Month.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What did Sara do differently than others at the Ministry of Food?
  • What traits does Sara have that made her such a great designer and thinker?
  • What did Sara’s mom do to help her become the inquisitive thinker she was?
  • What questions do you have like Sara?
  • How did Sara think about food differently than others?
  • Why did the Center for Design decide to start a series inspired by Sara Little?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Nontraditional picture book biographies

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Claire McKinney PR for providing a copy for review!**

Educators’ Guide for Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers: A Story Inspired by Loujain Alhathloul by Lina AlHathloul & Uma Mishra-Newbery, Illustrated by Rebecca Green

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Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers
Authors: Lina AlHathloul & Uma Mishra-Newbery
Illustrator: Rebecca Green
Published: February 8, 2022 by Astra Publishing

Summary: A courageous girl follows her dream of learning to fly in this beautifully illustrated story inspired by imprisoned human rights activist Loujain AlHathloul.

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 that some day, she too will learn to do it–especially because Loujain loves colors, and only by flying will she be able to 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–inspiring other girls to dare to learn to fly. Inspired by co-author Lina al-Hathloul’s sister, formerly imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Loujain al-Hathloul, who led the successful campaign to lift Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving. This gorgeously illustrated story is lyrical and moving.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I co-created for Astra Publishing for Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers on Astra Publishing’s page.

Recommended For: 

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Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson by Sandra Nickel, Illustrated by Helena Perez Garcia

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Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson
Author: Sandra Nickel
Illustrator: Helena Perez Garcia
Published March 8, 2022 by Abrams

Summary: An inspiring picture book about the meteorologist whose discoveries helped us understand how weather works. When Joanne Simpson (1923-2010) was a girl, she sailed her boat beneath the puffy white clouds of Cape Cod. As a pilot, she flew her plane so high, its wings almost touched them. And when World War II began and Joanne moved to the University of Chicago, a professor asked her to teach Air Force officers about those very clouds and the weather-changing winds.

As soon as the war ended, Joanne decided to seriously study the clouds she had grown to love so much. Her professors laughed. They told her to go home. They told her she was no longer needed. They told her, “No woman ever got a doctorate in meteorology. And no woman ever will.”

But Joanne was stubborn. She sold her boat. She flew her last flight. She saved her money so that she could study clouds. She worked so hard and discovered so much that—despite what the professors said—she received a doctorate in meteorology. She was the first woman in the world to do so.

Breaking Through the Clouds tells the story of a trailblazing scientist whose discoveries about clouds and how they work changed everything we know about weather today.

Praise: “An energetic, compassionate examination of a determined researcher who left her mark on the field of atmospheric sciences.” — Publishers Weekly

About the Author: Sandra Nickel says that story ideas are everywhere; you just have to reach out and grab them.  She holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her first book, Nacho’s Nachos: The Story Behind the World’s Favorite Snack, was awarded a Christopher Award and was a Golden Kite Award finalist. Sandra lives in Chexbres, Switzerland, where she blogs about children’s book writers and illustrators at whatwason.com. To learn more, visit https://sandranickel.com/.

Twitter:  @senickel
Facebook: @sandranickelbooks
Instagram: @sandranickelbooks

Review: I love learning about the women in our history that have broken through barriers to make it so we are where we are today with women’s rights, and there are so many and so many wonderful stories to tell–I am always so happy when I find a new one, and this one is a gem! Joanne Simpson is so kick butt! She not only broke barriers, she smashed them, jumped in a plane, and then broke through the clouds (hence the title!). It was so wonderful learning about her and how she stuck it to the men and showed what a phenomenal person she was.

Nickel does a fantastic job balancing Simpson’s story as a meteorologist with her story of the sexism she faced during her education and working. We learn about how she used the traits that others saw as negative, like stubbornness and focus, to take the world by storm. Along with the colorful, page-filling illustrations, this book is beautiful, educational, and inspiring.

Curriculum Guide with Activities and Discussion Questions:

Flagged Passages: 

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: Picture book biographies, especially about science, weather, or women’s history

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas by Jeanne Walker Harvey, Illustrated by Loveis Wise

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Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Author: Jeanne Walker Harvey
Illustrator: Loveis Wise
Published February 22, 2022 by HarperCollins

Summary: Celebrate the life-changing power of art in this inspiring and stunningly illustrated picture book biography of American artist Alma Thomas.

Meet an incredible woman who broke down barriers throughout her whole life and is now known as one of the most preeminent painters of the 20th century. Told from the point of view of young Alma Thomas, readers can follow along as she grows into her discovery of the life-changing power of art.

As a child in Georgia, Alma Thomas loved to spend time outside, soaking up the colors around her. And her parents filled their home with color and creativity despite the racial injustices they faced. After the family moved to Washington DC, Alma shared her passion for art by teaching children. When she was almost seventy years old, she focused on her own artwork, inspired by nature and space travel.

In this celebration of art and the power of imagination, Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise tell the incredible true story of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City and to have her work chosen for the White House collection. With her bold and vibrant abstract paintings, Alma set the world ablaze with color.

Ablaze with Color includes extensive backmatter with photos, an author’s and illustrator’s note, a timeline, and a list of sources and resources, which will be a great tool for parents, educators, and librarians. Perfect for Women’s History Month and Black History Month units.

Praise: 

* “This charming biography…is a must for art and biography shelves.” — Booklist (STARRED review)

* “Superb picture-book biography… Harvey’s poetic text is imagistic and deftly paced; Wise’s digital artwork is boldly, fittingly colorful.” — Horn Book (STARRED review)

* “An inspiring introduction for artists and appreciators” — School Library Journal (STARRED review)

About the Creators: 

Jeanne Walker Harvey has had many jobs, ranging from working as a roller coaster ride operator to an attorney for high-tech companies to a writer of magazine articles to a teacher of Language Arts and writing workshops at a public middle school. She has also 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 Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California. Visit her online at www.jeanneharvey.com.

Twitter: @JeanneWHarvey
Pinterest: @JeanneWalkerHarvey

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 Yorker, the New York Times, HarperCollins, Google, Disney Hyperion, and Adobe, to name a few. Their work often speaks to themes of joy, mindfulness, and liberation. For more information visit: loveiswise.com.

Instagram: @loveiswiseillu

Review: I am a sucker for amazing picture book biographies, anything celebrating women, and any book sharing the love of art, so this book has my heart. Alma Thomas is a phenomenal artist, and I didn’t know about her life until reading Ablaze with Color. I am so glad that Jeanne Walker Harvey told us Alma’s story, and her narrative is so lyrical and beautifully written. Combined with Wise’s vibrant and Thomas-inspired artwork, the book packs into it not only the story of Thomas as an artist, but also her story of resilience against the inequity and racism she faced on her way to becoming a world-renowned artist and the first Black woman to be hung in the White House. A stellar book!

Educators’ Guide: 

Flagged Passages: 

View the below spreads, a book trailer, and more at https://www.jeanneharvey.com/ablaze-with-color.

Read This If You Love: Art, Picture Book Biographies

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

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Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

If you are looking for an adventure book, a fairytale-ish book and a comedic book this is the book you have been searching for! Presenting…The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell!!!  I highly recommend this to really anybody aged 7+!

There are six books in the Land of Stories series and even though I have only read three of them, I still highly recommend the series! Book #1, The Land Of Stories: The Wishing Spell,  is about twins, Alex and Conner. Alex, the girl, is a total bookworm and excels in all of her studies, while Conner, the boy, is the exact opposite! Conner falls asleep in school and gets lousy grades. One day, when their grandmother visits and gives them a magical fairytale book, they have no idea that they are going to enter the fairytale world. While exploring this land they realize that it is not at all what they expected. Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom and is very picky about everything, really. Goldilocks is now an outlaw and a wanted fugitive! Queen Cinderella is about to have a child! As soon as Alex and Conner see all of this mayhem they know they must leave but with the well known Evil Queen closing in on them, they realize that they might be done for!

I love this book so much because of the action. This book just makes everything seem so real! The action is thrilling and very exciting! I also love this book because it is fun to imagine a fugitive Goldilocks, or a Queen Red Riding Hood! You can’t tell me you don’t want to see these character transformations! Cheerful reading!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! This action-packed book looks like it is a great read!**

 

A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story by Elisa Boxer, Illustrated by Laura Freeman

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A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story
Author: Elisa Boxer
Illustrator: Laura Freeman
Published September 7, 2021

Summary: This inspiring picture-book biography about Nancy Pelosi shows her journey from the child of Baltimore’s mayor to her marble-ceiling-shattering four terms as Speaker of the House, including the historic events of January 6th, 2021.

Nancy Pelosi grew up watching her father, the mayor of Baltimore, welcome in people of all different backgrounds to sit at their table and make their voices heard. Nancy’s mother always stood beside him, working behind the scenes to help her husband and the people he served. When Nancy grew up, she continued working behind the scenes in politics until a friend asked her to run for Congress herself–jump-starting a 33 year career as a political representative and taking her higher than she could have once imagined.

Young girls, especially, will be inspired by Nancy’s journey and her commitment to using her voice to help others and to make sure women are heard in government. The backmatter also includes an exclusive interview with Nancy Pelosi herself.

Praise: 

“Pays due homage to its subject.“–Kirkus Reviews

“Sends a resilient message.”–Publishers Weekly

An ­accessible introduction with a focus on Pelosi’s influences and role as a woman in politics.”–School Library Journal

About the Author: Elisa Boxer is a Maine-based, Emmy-winning journalist and columnist whose writing has appeared in publications including The New York TimesInc., and Fast Company. Having worked in newspaper, magazine, and television journalism, Elisa is thrilled to bring her reporting and storytelling skills to the world of children’s literature. She is the author of A Seat at the Table: The Nancy Pelosi Story and The Voice That Won the Vote: How One Woman’s Words Made History.

Marta Álvarez Miguéns is an author and children’s book illustrator living in A Coruña, Spain. In 2007, her artwork was selected and exhibited at the Bratislava Biennial of Illustration (BIB). She illustrated Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist, which was named one of the Best Children’s Books of 2017 by Parents Magazine, and won the Blue Spruce Award in 2018. She also painted the funny and charming illustrations for What Is Poo?, which won the Silver Award at the Junior Design Awards 2017.

About the Illustrator: Laura Freeman received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and began her career illustrating for various editorial clients. Laura has illustrated many fine children’s books over the years, including Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe, written by Deborah Blumenthal, and the Coretta Scott King Honor book Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly. Laura now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.

Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Elisa Boxer has crafted a very informative homage to Nancy Pelosi showing her foundation and her ambition. It was wonderful reading about how Pelosi climbed to the top of politics and became the highest-ranked female (until Kamala Harris). I think it is important to note that although we do learn about Nancy Pelosi’s views and most important platforms, the book itself is written as a non-bias biography. This will be a wonderful addition to a picture book biography text set and/or history unit. (And don’t miss out on reading Boxer’s entire interview with Nancy Pelosi at https://elisaboxer.com/nancy-pelosi-interview-elisa-boxer.html.)

Discussion Questions: 

  • How did Nancy’s dad’s job as mayor inspire her?
  • Although her mother wasn’t in politics, how did her mother inspire Nancy?
  • How has the view on women changed since Nancy’s childhood?
  • How did Nancy’s privilege of position help propel her into politics? On the other hand, how did being a woman add obstacles to her journey?
  • What does the saying “a seat at the table” mean and how does it relate to Nancy’s story?
  • Why did Nancy change the saying to “marble ceiling” instead of glass?
  • How did Nancy moving to minority leader in 2011 effect Nancy?
  • How does the backmatter add to the book?

Flagged Passages: 


Listen to a sample of the audiobook HERE.

Read This If You Love: Biography picture books, learning about politics through picture books

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Nicole Banholzer Public Relations for providing a copy for review!**

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Double Life of Danny Day by Mike Thayer

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Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

GET READY TO READ THE BEST BOOK EVER! Introducing The Double Life of Danny Day by Mike Thayer! Danny is no normal kid! He lives every day twice, which means he can improvise on the first run of the day! During his “discard days” he does crazy things because he knows anything that discard Danny does will be erased from people’s memories at the stroke of midnight. This is the kind of book that would make reluctant readers hooked. This book is recommended for ages 8-12.

Danny has always had the ability to live every day twice. When he was a little kid and did not know to keep the double day thing a secret his parents thought he was crazy. Only after going to a psychologist for a few years, he now knows how to keep it a secret. Maybe he got this “power” by being born on February 22 at 2:22 am (2/22 at 2:22 am!) At his new school Danny sits with a girl named Freddie. On a discard day Danny plays a game called the brown bag game. It is a game where kids play a video game at lunch and whoever wins gets all the money the other people put into a brown bag under the lunch table. The money that the winner gets is the money that the kids pay as “entrance fee” which is two dollars. But Danny and Freddie suspect foul play when one kid wins every day. By now you might know why Danny mostly plays on discard days. At some point Danny starts to feel like he should tell somebody about the double day. Do you think Danny will tell somebody, and most importantly, who will he tell?!

I love this book because it is so funny and it keeps you reading. I love the idea of living every day twice and was enchanted by this book. It was so amazing to see how much a person can change on a discard day. I would really recommend this book to anybody! I hope you enjoy this fantastic book!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! Now we need to get our hands on this book!**