Jason Tharp’s It’s Okay to be a Unicorn is a delightful picture book about a creative and kind unicorn, Cornelius J. Sparklesteed, hiding his identity in a town of horses with irrational beliefs about unicorns. The town, Hoofington, bans unicorns, but is otherwise warm and welcoming. Cornelius makes fabulous hats for the town’s citizens and, as a result, is asked by the mayor to perform in the town’s holiday festival Hoofapalooza. The catch: the mayor requests Cornelius make “the most UN-UNICORNY hat” he can. Along with preparing for his own act, Cornelius inspires many of his friends to create even more fantastic art, songs, and even baked goods. Continue reading
Anne Ursu’s The Lost Girl (2019) is a haunting middle-grade novel that dabbles in the fantastic, but it is real-world drama that drives the story-line. The novel is about two twin sisters, Iris and Lark, who mirror each other physically while having distinct personalities. The twins live with their mother and father, but (as is requisite for middle-grade fiction) the father is absent. He is in London on a six-month long business trip and is only introduced in the text through Skype. The story is really about the girls’ relationship with each other and their discovery of their uniqueness through a forced separation at school. The two had always been in the same class but start the new school year with separate teachers. This does allow them to experience individual challenges while learning that they can have separate experiences and still share a deep bond. Continue reading
The Dragon Thief is a wonderful story that is both culturally specific and wonderfully expansive in its fantasy world-making.
Both books represent intergenerational relationships, chosen family, and annoying little sisters with wit and grace. These books will appeal to readers just moving out of their early-chapter book phase while also engaging older audiences. Of course, they also make wonderful read-aloud choices for home or school!
You won’t regret running to your nearest bookstore or library to check out this amazing new book!
The Voyage, by Robert Vescio and Andrea Edmonds, is a visual narrative created to help children reflect on the refugee experience. In this short picture book, moody and atmospheric illustrations take the lead with only single albeit powerful word orienting the reader to the action depicted.
The story follows a family fleeing violence in their home country. Continue reading
My Mom is a Girl: A Lesson of Equality is a recent Mascot Books publication written by Andrea Lardner and illustrated by Junica.
The book focuses on the relationship of a young boy named Taj and his mother. Mother and son both have light-brown skin, rosy cheeks, big brown eyes, and dark brown hair. The story opens with mother and son reading a bedtime story about equality. Continue reading
This week I am boosting an amazing blog! Please, check out Colorful Pages!
I really appreciate this post about building an ethnically diverse library for children and young adults. Colorful Pages is a wonderful resource for parents, educators, and librarians.