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Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou, Amelia Earhart, Audrey Hepburn, Emmeline Pankhurst and Rosa Parks, 32 pp, RL 2

Last year I reviewed the first four books in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series. Initially skeptical (could a picture book for a very young audience focusing on a historic figure really convey her life's work and importance?) I was immediately won over. The books in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series distill and give context to the lives of the subjects, making their contributions to humanity immediate for young readers/listener. Back matter includes photographs of the subject, when available, along with a timeline and text that adds depth to the life and work of the subject. Also, and equally important, the Little People, BIG DREAMS series stands out on the shelf. Visually, these books look very different from biographies for children and American picture books in general. That could be because this series is published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books, an imprint of the British publisher The Quarto Group, known for making and selling, beautifully illustrated and design…
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I Won't Eat That by Christopher Silas Neal

I Won't Eat That by Christopher Silas Neal is the kind of picture book kids LOVE. There is dissatisfaction, exploration, questions asked, repetition and an inevitable ending that is delightful precisely because it is expected. Perfectly capturing typical "cattitude," I Won't Eat That begins, "Dogs eat dog food. Fish eat fish food. But I'm a cat, and I will not eat cat food." The cat heads out into the world to see what other animals eat.

Asking the same question of every animal the cat encounters, each animal's food of choice does not appeal to the finicky cat. Each animal speaks adoringly of their diet, from worms to rabbits to ants to food that glows in the dark - bioluminescent phytoplankton! In the final pages, the frustrated, hungry cat encounters a mouse who asks, "What does a cat eat?" The final page shows the cat eyeing the mouse hungrily, with the endpapers, repeating the polkadot pattern at the start of the book, include a mouse ru…

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

Written in free verse by Carole Boston Weatherford and richly illustrated by Eric Velasquez, Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library is a truly amazing book about a truly amazing man.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1874 in Puerto Rico, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was Afro-Puerto Rican. As a child, he questioned why his history book did no include stories of great Africans and was told, "Africa's sons and daughters had no history, no heroes worth noting." It became Schomburg's life's work and passion to find these histories, make them public and preserve them. Immigrating to New York City in 1891, Schomburg wanted to pursue a profession like medicine or law, but was denied further schooling because he had no proof of his formal education in Puerto Rico. While working as a law clerk and a mail clerk and raising his family, Schomburg also began scouring rare book stores for Africana, educating himself and the world.

The works and stories of heroes Schomburg discovered/recovered a…

Jacqueline Woodson named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature

Reading = Hope × Change  (What’s Your Equation?)
These are the words that the phenomenal, multi-award winning author Jacqueline Woodson is beginning her two year tenure as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature with. Awarded by the Library of Congress, the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader, sponsor this  important initiative. The post of National Ambassador for Young People's Literature was established to raise awareness of the importance of young people's literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people.
As the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Woodson will travel the country and speak to children. Carla Hayden, the 14th Congressional Librarian, said she knew Woodson would be a "natural fit" for this role, having seen the author interact with children during her tenure as the chief executive at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD. Sp…

Love, by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long

#ThisIsLOVE  (as expressed by students in my elementary school library)  by Matt de la Peña & Loren Long
 This is Love, the book by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long, as reviewed by me.
Of Love, Matt de la Peña says, "I wanted to write a book about love that I could read to my daughter, but, like everything I write, it morphed into something else. It really became a look at the evolution of love in a child's life. At birth, love is literally handed to them, but it gets more complicated as they grow up. There's pain. There are challenges. I had to acknowledge that."
There are moments of tenderness and joy in Love and there are moments of sadness, tragedy and pain. A boy and his dog hide under a grand piano, an almost empty glass of whisky perched on top, as a woman covers her face on the verso and a man appears to be stumbling off the opposite page. Another page shows a family gathered around a glowing flat screen tv. But, "when you ask what happened, the…