• Sir Simon, Super Scarer











    Sir Simon, Super Scarer
    by Cale Atkinson
    Tundra Books, 2018

    A determined, pragmatic ghost with a business card—what could be cuter?

    Sir Simon, a young ghost, talks frankly with readers, introducing them to the practice of ghosting.  After sharing many places where he practicing his scare technique, he shares he’s just been promoted to his first haunted house!  But a haunted house requires doing more Ghost chores.  He explains the chores and the potential “scarees.”  But then a kid shows up.  Kids aren’t supposed to live in old, haunted houses, and this one is anything but quiet.  Then Sir Simon decides to train the kid to do Ghost chores.  The kid fails miserably.

    Humorous illustrations appear on every page to tickle the alert reader’s funny bone in this unexpected friendship story.  Not limited to Halloween readings, this story holds its own year-round.

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  • Between the Lines, How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery












    Between the Lines, How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery
    by Sandra Neil Wallace, illustrated by Bryan Collier
    A Paula Wiseman Book, 2018

    Born in segregated South Carolina, Ernie Barnes couldn’t wait until the rainy season, for he could paint pictures with a stick in the mud.  Not allowed into museums, he went to his mom’s place of work where he could look at books and art.  At six foot three, his high school football coach got him onto the team, where Ernie soon became captain.  His abilities earned him 26 college scholarships. He took the one he could learn art while playing football.  A beautifully told story of how Ernie became famous for his paintings of sports.  As a player, he included details non-players couldn’t know.  His first painting was called The Bench.  After his football career, his art career flourished.  An inspiring tale encouraging readers to never give up on their dreams and to be ready to work hard, in spite of roadblocks.

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  • What is Given from the Heart












    What is Given from the Heart
    Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison
    Schwartz & Wade Books, 2019

    An old tale with a new twist. Re-written with a voice of a poor African-American, young boy, his father dies, his mother and him lose the farm and they move. The mother always tries to find the good in every situation. At church they are asked to help a family with a young girl who lost everything in a fire.  The boy wonders what he could possibly give a young girl, for they have nothing. He considered many things, but nothing seemed right, until, when he was reading his favorite, his only, book, he thought to make her a book. He presented the book, “From My Heart to Your Heart”, a story about her, to her personally.  She was overwhelmed and so pleased to have a book about herself.

    Beautifully written, illustrated with loose colors of mixed media including art pens.  A touching story.

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  • Bully

    by Jennifer Sattler
    Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

    This book does an amazing job of showing exactly what bullies get when they bully.

    As each loveable, innocent creature comes by to enjoy the water lilies in the pond, Bully declares the lilies are his and sends them away.  Soon he is alone.  Enjoying the lilies all for himself, he makes a crown, eats them (getting a tummy ache) and sleeps on a new pile each night until there is only one lily left.  He declares it “Mine!” and sits on it.  About then, a little bee has an idea.  He shares his idea with all the creatures sent away.  They, too, want the lilies to return, and they return together to chase the bully away.

    You’ll have to read the story to see exactly what the bully gets for being a bully.  A delightful read, simply told so even the very youngest readers will get the message and have fun laughing, too.

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  • Me and My Fear













    Me and My Fear
    by Francesca Sanna
    Flying Eye Books, 2018

    A young girl who recently moved to a new home discusses her friend “fear.”  Fear has always looked after her and kept her safe, until she moved to a new country.  There fear started to grow and grow and wouldn’t even let her go outside to explore her more neighborhood, even when she wanted to. Fear really didn’t like going to school and wouldn’t let the girl play with others.  When a young boy offer to play, for the second time, the girl does play with the boy and fear begins to shrink.

    Cleverly written story that reframes the notion of fear, making it a friend of a young child, something to protect her.  Great introduction to fear and its benefits.

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  • Quiet Wyatt, Super Shy—or Superhero?













    Quiet Wyatt, Super Shy—or Superhero?
    by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Arthur Howard
    Clarion Books, 2018

    Wyatt, a quiet boy, is paired with Noreen on a field trip; Noreen is anything but quiet.  Noreen boldly goes where she has never gone before, and Wyatt reluctantly follows, quietly.  He often takes the brunt of Noreen’s antics.  She thinks she’s good at noticing the details, while Wyatt notices many, many more details.  Wyatt doesn’t say much, until something happens where he could not stay quiet. Using his voice and his personal strengths, he saves Noreen, and they become friends. (You’ll have to find out ‘how’.)

    Perfect book for quiet children, where they are the hero.

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  • The Old Man










    The Old Man
    by Sarah V and Claude K Dubois
    Gecko Press, 2018

    The gray illustrations, with a hint of color, capture the lonely and lost demeanor of an old homeless man, a young girl observes.  Winter cold and too early for stores to open, he climbs aboard a bus, but when people arrive, they cry out, “He stinks.” and he deboards quickly.  He goes to the shelter for food, but can’t remember his name and leaves without eating.  The  girl spots him again and offers him a sandwich.  He returns to the shelter for a meal that night and remembers his name.

    A gentle look at what it feels like to be homeless.  Great for discussions.

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  • Geraldine

    by Elizabeth Lilly
    A Neal Porter Book, 2018

    Geraldine moves to a new school where she is the only giraffe and is soon known as “That Giraffe Girl.”  At her old school she was ‘Geraldine”, but here she is “That Giraffe Girl.”  Feeling left out, she hides behind a tree, sort of.  One day another girl sits in Geraldine’s tree spot. The new girl, Cassie, is defensive as everyone calls her names because she’s smart, likes math and organizes her food.  Soon they start playing together, and like it.  One day Geraldine drags Cassie to the lunch table and introduces her as someone who can stay in a handstand for 167 seconds.  The other kids are impressed.  Cassie introduces Geraldine as the Queen of England. The kids are quiet, until Geraldine gives them her most queenly royal wave, and they all laugh.

    A beautifully written book that provides a role model showing the importance of being one’s self even when you move to a new school.  I suspect more Geraldine books will soon turn up.

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  • Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise












    Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise
    by Sean Taylor, Illustrated by Jean Jullien
    Candlewick Press, 2015

    This humorous mystery book keeps the pages turning!

    Hoot Owl disguises himself in costumes to sneak up on his prey.  He is not deterred when the rabbit hops away from his carrot disguise.  He immediately locates his next victim and cleverly creates his next disguise.  But lo, his victims never end up in his tummy, until the last one!  This g rated ending provides a humorous, satisfying conclusion.

    With creative descriptions, tension and repetitive phrases, young readers will want to read this clever story again and again.

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  • The Day You Begin












    The Day You Begin
    by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
    Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018

    Jacqueline Woodson writes a deeply felt book on diversity as only she can.

    Told in second person, the books speaks frankly to its readers about how “no one … is quite like you.”  She shares many ways in which everyone is different from everyone else.  She shows how her summer story of reading books to her sister can be just as wonderful as everyone else’s stories of summer travel.  And it shows how even when you are excluded from teams and play, how you still have “your own brave self”.  It ends with, “every … friend has something a little like you—and something else so fabulously not quite like you…”  A book that speaks to the heart and gently enlightens and empowers the soul and imagination into a world of acceptance of differences.  Beautiful story.

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