Monday, January 10, 2022

Monday Reading - Picture Books Please!

   Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! 
   Hoping your 2022 is starting well!

         Mixing in science with something akin to a folk tale, Carmen Agra Deedy tells this tale of how the moon became "The Children's Moon" when it and the sun became, well, friends. You could even call them cohorts! The sun, quite full of itself, shooed the moon away as children went to bed. They never got to see it nor did the moon see them, but did hear the mysterious laughter, and asked what it was. The sun, in all its glory, finally gave in and Deedy described the beauty of the day. Later, listening to the moon describe the beauty of the night, including STARS (like the sun), the sun relented and what came about during a special time of the month became their compromise. Read this to discover the science in the story and enjoy the gorgeous illustrations by Jim LaMarche and the clever word interplay between the sun and the moon. You will love those facial expressions! Two pages at the back explain the science. 

          Alexandra S. D. Hinrichs tells this inspiring story of someone who came from poverty, doing odd jobs until he met his mentor, Frank Manny, a principal who helped him find work as a janitor and to begin his studies at a school. He became a teacher and was appointed the school photographer. This was at the beginning of camera work, a huge fifty-pound camera he lugged around taking school pics then, connecting to the NCLC (the National Child Labor Committee) and taking pictures for them, too. He soon quit teaching to go on the road to capture children working, raising awareness of the need for improved laws. It took until 1941 to finally enact the law at the federal level. In poetic story-telling, Alexandra's words are shown in realistic paintings by Michael Garland, page by page, the sad tales show children as young as five working in coal mines, selling news on the streets, delivering meals, and working in a cotton mill. In that mill, the owner would not let him in, so he made up a story that he was sent to take pictures of broken machines and got those pics! He took thousands of photos all over the U.S., showing the heartbreak of children who couldn't attend school because of their work. The illustrations show the sadness but at the end, with an extensive timeline, are examples of real photographs. Also mentioned is that it continues to be an issue all over the world, and sometimes here in our country, too. How Lewis Hine would have loves our phone cameras, right? A quote at the beginning from Hine: "There are two things I wanted to do. I wanted to show the things that had to be corrected. I wanted to show the things that had to be appreciated." Often, the photos he took were the very first the child had ever had taken!  
      (A personal note: My stepfather told stories that when he was young they were very poor and he sold the paper titled "Grit" on the streets to make some money for his family. "Only for pennies," he said, so I guess he was one of those young kids who probably wasn't supposed to be working.) You can read about "Grit" here on Wikipedia.)

              I watched Daniel Miyares in the past year (or more) share sketches and more sketches on Twitter as he prepared this book, so I knew it would be beautiful. And it is! A sea captain in the 1700s prepares for a voyage and his daughter, Hope, does not want him to go, wishes to be part of the adventure. She hides out in a lifeboat on board, but the ship is already at sea before she is discovered. Her father turns to teach her all about the ship and how to be guided by the stars via a sextant. It isn't all wonderful, however, because when returning, there is a terrible storm and they land on the rocks, shipwrecked! Father and daughter do survive, gather the ship's wood that washes up on the beach. A plan is hatched! This ending was a surprise to me as it will be to readers but it was a good one. Miyares' story is quite an adventure to imagine. And his gorgeous watercolor/pen and ink illustrations add to the anticipation of how will Hope be received, then later he adds many details of the ship and the fright of the storm. Don't miss the endpapers, full of tools and other sea-related things. It will be a delight to read this aloud to a group, which could serve as a history lesson support, too, as it seems true to the time period. 

      Based on her real-life story, Kalia Yang tells this sweetest story of her father climbing with her to the top of the highest tree in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp to show her life behind the fences. There are mountains to view, places to wonder about. Thousands of Hmong families have fled in the aftermath of the Secret War in Laos that happened during our Vietnam War. (Now, many have come to the U.S.) In this story, no matter the circumstances, children play, race with chickens, climb a beloved dog. Rachel Wada's illustrations show a father's love and a child's wonder beautifully as she shows some parts of a refugee's life. For example, in this trip to the top, father and Kalia dress from the one suitcase with "nice clothes". If you want an introduction to the topic of refugee camps and a small part of the life there, like "ration day", this will be a poignant one to read. There is an added letter at the back from Kao Kalia Yang sharing more of her life story plus a photo of her and her father "at the tops of the trees".

        This may be better kept until Halloween. There is a part about that holiday which Riel Nason frames as a turning point. It becomes a story about fitting in because he is different. This little ghost struggles to fly; the quilt is simply too heavy. It was so hard to fly and when he did, he was slow. There came a time when he was caught but through his courage, he escaped, and others applauded and cheered him, and flew slowly with him all the way home. In darkly colored illustrations with the important parts in color (see that cover), Byron Eggenschwiler "lights" this sweet story wonderfully.

What's Next: Still Cloud Cuckoo Land and more poetry! 


  1. I am very sad that my library does not have a copy of Hope at Sea. I love Daniel Miyares work. It doesn't have The Traveling Camera either.
    I'm glad you enjoyed The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt. I agree that it is a delightful book to bring out at Halloween.
    Happy reading this week. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on Cuckoo Land.

  2. Loved The Children's Moon. Carmen Agra Deedy is an amazing story teller.

  3. Oh, the Little Ghost book looks so sweet! I have Hope at Sea to read soon!
    Happy reading this week :)

  4. Such interesting titles and I really want to find From the Tops of Trees, sounds like a story of hope.

  5. Wonderful suggestions, as usual. Thanks!

  6. I'm impressed that you crammed in so many picture books this week while you're also getting so much else read! And these all look absolutely wonderful—I'm not familiar with Lewis Hine, but it sounds like he was incredibly instrumental in child labor awareness, so The Traveling Camera is very intriguing. And I have both From the Tops of the Trees and The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt on my TBR list—they both sound excellent! Hope at Sea sounds lovely as well, and it's so fun that you've seen it made on Twitter! Thanks so much for the wonderful post, Linda!

  7. I am also eager to check out Hope at Sea at some point. It looks so beautiful. From the Tops of the Trees also looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on all of these.

  8. Thank you everyone! I hope you found a book that will give you some joy!


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