Relationships are critical to human beings, whether it is the relationship between parent and child; between teacher and student; between human and beloved pet; or so many other possibilities. We cherish our relationships and hold them dear. Children rely on these relationships for play, talking, comfort and so much more. This quarter’s Books of Excellence feature three books about relationships between humans and animals.
In Flora and the Chicks, our infants and toddlers selection, Flora observes and then lovingly holds and counts each chick as they hatch. (Remember to open the the flaps of the book for surprises). The preschool Book of Excellence, A Book for Benny, tells the story of a girl, Sam, who wants her dog, Benny, to like books as much as she does. A trip together to the library and a borrowed book selected especially for Benny helps him begin to appreciate Sam’s love of books. The school-age selection is Lost and Found Cat, the true story of a family fleeing Iraq and their determination to keep their beautiful white cat with them as they travel. Each of these books tells of a remarkable relationship between a human being and an animal and inspires the reader to reach for kindness, caring, and some fun in relationships.
By Linda C. Whitehead, Ph.D., Senior Advisor, Education and Development
BOOKS OF EXCELLENCE
Flora and the Chicks, written and illustrated by Molly Idle, Infant/Toddler: Flora and the Chicks is a wordless book about a young girl who is present during the hatching of ten eggs. The book’s whimsical illustrations tell the delightful story. Flora, the main character, appears a little overwhelmed with the rapidly hatching eggs. It’s a book that will help children learn to count and discover the world of baby animals. Children will have fun lifting flaps throughout the book and counting each unique chick that is hatched.
A Book for Benny, written by Judith Koppens and illustrated by Marja Meijer, Preschool: Sam is a little girl who loves to read and thinks there is no better way to spend a rainy day. Her dog Benny does not agree! Sam decides she needs to share her love of reading with Benny. Off to the library they go in search of the perfect book for Benny. Children will be delighted by Benny’s humorous ways of indicating to Sam which book he likes or dislikes. The story as well as the illustrations are endearing and will capture the hearts of all who read this book.
Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey, written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison, School-Age: This touching story of an immigrant family who had to flee Iraq with their beloved cat will pull at any reader’s heartstrings. Upon arrival to Greece, the family was separated from their cat, Kunkush. Readers will enjoy the well written verse of how the cat was reunited with his family and the beautiful illustrations that go along with it.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, written by Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Gordon C. James, School-Age: Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, is already a winner of at least four book awards. Through cool, engaging artwork and text, this book documents the experience of a young boy going to the barber shop and getting a fresh cut. But the barber shop is more than a barber shop. It is a chance to be around other beautiful black and brown men and boys and a chance to be and look special, and to know that you matter.
NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Who Loves Me?, written and illustrated by David McPhail, Infant & Toddler: Simple and sweet, this book gets to the heart of relationships. Walter and Mama discuss all of the people (and pets) who love Walter. After a long list, Mama reveals what Walter has known all along —she loves him too!
I Just Want to Say Good Night, written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora, Infant & Toddler: Lala interacts with family, pets, and objects she has relationships with while delaying her bedtime. Set in the plains of Africa, the vibrant illustrations allow children to visualize her country while relating to her bedtime routine.
Shake a Leg, Egg!, written and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, Preschool: Spring is in the air and animals excitedly welcome new life to the pond. With rhyming language and whimsical pictures, this book will appeal to young listeners, especially those who might be nervous of coming out of their own shells.
The Runaway Egg, written and illustrated by Katy Hudson, Preschool: Big brother chick is responsible for his baby brother, an egg. When big brother accidentally falls asleep, Egg starts to hatch, initiating a treacherously exciting journey around the farm for these siblings!
Still a Family, written by Brenda Reeves Sturgis and illustrated by Jo-Shin Lee, School-Age: The love of family is stronger than distance and can endure even when a family is split apart because of homelessness. This story shares some ways that family bonds can be strengthened despite hardship.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, written by Karina Yan Glaser, School-Age: The Vanderbeeker family has lived in the same brownstone forever. Unexpectedly, their landlord announces he will not be renewing the leases to his tenants. Glaser’s engaging story highlights a community with neighbors of different backgrounds coming together for a common cause.