four mini reviews, four informational picture books

These aren’t quite capsule reviews, or even lightning reviews, but they are a series of short book reviews of informational kids’ books that I read on Friday—because, as a librarian who works with children’s literature a lot so I can serve preservice teachers and preservice speech therapists, I need to know that lit. And preservice teachers really need informational texts. Before I launch into these … Continue reading four mini reviews, four informational picture books

you don’t have to be smol to enjoy The Going to Bed Book

Everything sucks, the world is always on fire, I’m stretched so thin that I’m about to break (thanks overwork!), and so last night I really needed something special to unwind. Something that didn’t demand a hell of a lot of analytical abilities. Something with big font and easy words, because dyslexia is bad when stress and fatigue are bad. Something that was pretty light, both … Continue reading you don’t have to be smol to enjoy The Going to Bed Book

The Sealey Challenge: Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams

We’re in the midst of another storm, here, and in the midst of a storm of a week, and so I picked, today, a warm, magical little book of poetry awash with dreamy illustrations: Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams, a 2000 collaboration between poet Janet Wong and artist Julie Paschkis. (They also worked together in Knock On Wood, which I read for … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams

The Sealey Challenge: Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions

Janet Wong’s poetry is charming as hell, and Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions is another delightful entry—or perhaps I should say it’s a lovely book in her back catalog. Knock on Wood is built around superstitions: seventeen of them, in fact, each one with a delightful poem accompanied by a lush, warm, almost mythic illustration by Julie Paschkis. The illustrations feel pretty much perfect … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Knock on Wood: Poems About Superstitions

The Sealey Challenge: Drum Dream Girl

Today I needed poetry of triumph, of grit and determination rewarded, of strength seen and honored, and so I turned to Margarita Engle’s words and Rafael López’s illustrations in Drum Dream Girl, the Pura Belpré Award-winning poem about groundbreaking Cuban drummer Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. Engle is well-known, in kidlit, for her gorgeous work in verse: she’s written novels in verse for teens, novels in verse … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Drum Dream Girl

The Sealey Challenge: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

Almost all my friends were Asian American, when I was little—but I almost never saw them reflected in popular culture. In their homes, sure. In museums, too, at least a little. But other than woodblock prints, or Korean pottery, or Chinese jades, I didn’t see my friends or their cultures reflected in the world outside our corner. It makes books like Joanna Ho’s Eyes that … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: Eyes that Kiss in the Corners

The Sealey Challenge: The Shortest Day

Today was a difficult day set in a difficult week, and I turned to picture book poetry for solace: Susan Cooper’s The Shortest Day, lovingly illustrated by Carson Ellis. Cooper has written of rising darkness forced down with light for years: I first met her, and fell in love with her work, with her Dark Is Rising sequence, and I see the same play of … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: The Shortest Day

The Sealey Challenge: I Am Loved

This is a long day in a long week, and so I picked something different: I Am Loved, a collection of Nikki Giovanni’s poetry coupled with Ashley Bryan’s lush art. Nikki Giovanni sings in her poetry, writing celebrations of love and life and family and friends in the midst of horror. (In Love Poems, that horror includes hate crimes—she doesn’t shy from reality.) The poems … Continue reading The Sealey Challenge: I Am Loved