Dianne White is another author I would like to emulate. I’ve read two of her books – Green on Green and Blue on Blue.
Green on Green describes the vibrant colors of the seasons – shades of yellow for spring, blue for summer, brown for fall and white for winter. The illustrations tell a parallel story of family, culminating with the birth of a new baby just when winter ends and seedlings come up in early spring.
Blue on Blue takes us through a summer storm, from start to finish. It’s a peaceful, contemplative bedtime story ending with the stars shining at night.
Both books are a feast to the senses, with beautiful rhyme and rhythm.
I’m looking forward to reading her other books: Sometimes a Wall, Goodbye Brings Hello and Who Eats Orange.
A Small Blue Whale (illustrated by Lisa Mundorff Alfred Knopf, 2017, 34p.) is another tender friendship story. The whale wishes and wants and waits for a friend… who will be his friend? The sun? The cloud? The penguins? This touching story is full of feelings, and we watch as the whale learns what friendship sounds like, feels like, tastes like and feels like… and it is worth the wait.
The Rules of the Birthday Wish (illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, G.P. Putnam 2019; 48 p.) is completely different from the other two. Fun language and whimsical animal illustrations capture the festive birthday party mood. Silly exceptions to the ‘rules’ are rollicking fun!
Beth Ferry is a New York Times best-selling children’s author from New Jersey. I was introduced to her books when one of my book groups, Missing Voice, was studying her latest work, Swashby by the Sea. Since my library didn’t have a copy of Swashby, I took out three other books and immediately fell in love!
The first book I read was The Scarecrow (Harper Collins; 2019; 40 p.; 398 words) – a touching story about the friendship between a scarecrow and a crow. In gentle rhyme, Beth takes us through the seasons and we feel the Scarecrow’s loneliness, kindness, and acts of love. Such a beautiful poem about the joy of helping others. Soft, textured illustrations move us through this tender, gentle story.
Zoe’s Scavenger Hunt Fun by Rinda Beach
There's no place like the lake!
This action-packed story moves quickly through one family’s lake vacation. Great for kids vacationing on or near lakes in the summer – and there is an activity section where kids can journal about their own vacation in the back!
A great book for kids who have spent summer days on a lake, this early chapter book is best for 5-8-year-olds.
In the Overground Railroad, lyrical language and bold art depict the story of one family leaving the oppressive South for a new life in the North. Family, friends, and everything that was familiar was left behind. On the train, Ruthie reads the autobiography of Frederick Douglass to her mom. His journey north to escape slavery gives her courage and hope.
Follow Me Down to Nicodemus Town introduces the Exodusters and explores a part of pioneer history that needs to be better known. Dede and her family work hard to buy their way out of sharecropping. After a long day’s work on the farm, Papa builds furniture and Mama sews dresses. Little Dede shines shoes at the railroad station. Soft tones and fluid lines in the illustrations convey the family’s hope for a new life in Kansas.
I have always loved historical fiction. These two historical fiction picture books introduce an important piece of American history that is often overlooked. Both share courage and hope as Dede and Ruthie with their families flee the oppressive sharecropping system of post-civil war American South. Teachers and parents can use these as a springboard to learning.