Recommendations by Laura M

Four New Children's Books Worth Checking Out

One of the best parts of my job is ordering books for the Children’s collection, and the most exciting bit is going through the new books when they arrive.

There were a few books that came in before the holidays that I immediately put holds on, knowing that I wanted to highlight them in this blog. Perhaps some will strike your fancy as well!

13 Stories about Harris13 Stories About Harris by Amy Schwartz

This book does such a brilliant job portraying a preschooler, in this case - Harris. As the title indicates, 13 stories about Harris are included in the book which are written and illustrated in individual chapters.

Some chapters are quite short – like the permanent marker incident in chapter eight. Some chapters are a bit longer – like when Harris and his friend Ayana go to the beach or when they are at preschool.

Each chapter portrays such a beautiful, every-day moment in Harris’ life – this is what happens when he stands on his truck, this is what happens when he’s out walking on a windy day, this is what happens when his mother puts a little cream in a jar and he shakes it. Each simple snapshot is so well-chosen and captured!

 

If You Come to EarthIf You Come to Earth, by Sophie Blackall

This book is framed as a letter from a child to a “Visitor from Outer Space,” telling them what they need to know if they come to Earth.

What I find striking, is all the things the child decides to include in her letter - coupled with some of the obvious things you would expect to see/read in a story like this are some unexpected things that might otherwise be overlooked or not mentioned. For instance, when the child talks about food they write that “some of us have more food than others.” And, when they write “we live in all kinds of homes,” there is a group of people carrying backpacks saying “we lost our homes! In a fire. In a flood. In a war.” There’s even a page for invisible things, like sound waves and ghosts.

One of my favourite pages is the one with tubes of paint said to be “the colors you need to paint everything in the world.” If you look closely, the paint labels read things like – waffle day, proud and gramma’s lipstick!

The narration seems so authentic, you can really hear this child’s voice. And, I feel like they’re telling us some big things – quite simply. Like, “Sometimes we hurt each other. It’s better when we help each other.” To boot, the helping each other pages are illustrated in a library – where you can spot a staff member offering a tissue to someone who’s upset. Heartwarming, right?

 

When We Are KindWhen We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith (illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt)

Monique Gray Smith has been writing some fabulous books – My heart fills with happiness and You hold me up are her previous titles.

What I think is great about this book is that it not only shows some lovely instances of being kind, but goes on to tell how it feels to extend and receive kindness. I am especially pleased that she includes – “I feel respectful when I am kind to myself.” And her ending really hits the mark!

 

We Wear MasksWe Wear Masks by Marla Lesage

There have been a few COVID-related books trickling into the library these days, and to tell you the truth, I haven’t been very keen on reading them. However, when this one came in it looked so soft and inviting that I opened it up. I’m glad I did.

I think if you’re looking for a picture book to share with a child(ren) that deals with masks, this one is pretty good. It starts by presenting different people/professionals who wear masks – pilots, scuba-divers, actors. Then goes on to show how nowadays people are wearing masks all the time (although it doesn’t directly mention that it’s because of the coronavirus).

The book attempts to make this whole business of mask wearing feel a bit easier and to highlight the fact that wearing a mask is about caring for others.