Children June 2019Archive
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Millennial parents are redefining social norms in traditions, lifestyles and parenting. We have handpicked a selection of books with the timeless theme of unconditional love. Enjoy these diverse stories celebrating yesterdays, todays, and future moms and dads.
Dad and the Dinosaur
Written by Gennifer Choldenko; illustrated by Dan Santat
At night, Nicholas, unlike his astronomer dad, has a fear of the world outside his door. Gripping it in his hand, Nicholas unleashes a secret weapon… his fearless toy dinosaur, which, like lucky underwear, Nicholas keeps close to him when challenges arise that require bravery such as climbing, swimming and soccer games, and he begins to gain newfound confidence and praise. One day, Nicholas and his dinosaur face an opposing team star goalie called “Gorilla” – and win the game! But when it’s time to go home Nicholas’s dinosaur goes missing. On the drive back home, Nicholas’s world once again becomes ominous, but his father lets Nicholas know that it’s okay to be afraid. They go back to the soccer field, find the dinosaur and return home. As Nicholas realizes that his father has uncovered his secret weapon, he asks him not to share this information with Nicholas’s mother. The story concludes with father and son bonding over a mutual secret of bravery.
This book celebrates mom and dad because we all look to our parents for security. Gennifer Choldenko takes us through a story where a young boy tries to model his dad’s bravery by reimagining it in a toy dinosaur. Choldenko teaches children that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared, and implies that they shouldn’t let fear hold them back. The author also suggests ways in which parents can avoid reacting negatively to their child’s expressions of feelings, doubts, anxiety and denial, and instead actively support and coach children to channel those feelings into positive actions. Illustrator Dan Santat skillfully uses predominantly dark, dramatic colors and figures that maintain an entertaining and lighthearted feel. As parents read this book, kids are able to see Nicholas’s imagination, emotions and alter ego expressed through his dinosaur. Ages 6‑8.Check Availability
Written by Timothy Knapman; illustrated by Joe Berger
We all know that moms are the best, but one little girl tells us why her mom rises above the rest—as Supermom! (Super)mom springs into action starting early in the morning, getting her daughter up and ready for school, landing her daughter on the school bus, carrying heavy but precious burdens and so on. Supermom plays games and quickly rushes to her daughter’s aid when hurt. She is not above having fun during her daughter’s bath time, and her role as Supermom becomes defined when she recovers her daughter’s favorite stuffed toy: a teddy bear dressed in a superhero costume.
Author Timothy Knapman describes the modern‑day mother—a functional dresser who wears fashionable pants, flats and ponytails—as an unlikely superhero ready to face anything. Illustrator Joe Berger mixes ubiquitous red, black and yellow with fun pinks and purples to create colors that make ordinary scenes pop off the page and catch the eye, such as a jazzy bathroom filled with brightly colored circles and squiggly lines. Mom and daughter have a blast being silly together while covered in soft pastel bubbles. In this book, the visuals and storyline are both entertaining and relatable. Ages 3‑7.Check Availability
Written by Jamilah Thompkins‑Bigelow; illustrated by Ebony Glenn
This is a story about interfaith families and love, as well as dress‑up time! A little girl peeks into her mom’s closet and sees a wide array of beautifully colored and textured headscarves, also known as khimars. There are many fashionable fabrics and scarves to select from, but a yellow one becomes the daughter’s favorite. When she wears the yellow khimar, she feels as caring as a nurturer, as strong as a superhero and, most importantly, she feels her mother’s loving presence. More than just a fashionable accessory, this khimar signifies the little girl’s faith and how she worships differently from her grandmother, who does not wear the headdress but loves her granddaughter unconditionally. On visiting the mosque, the little girl learns another name for the khimar—hijab. At night before going to bed, she gently returns the cherished headscarf back to the closet. As she lies in bed, the memories of wearing the khimar makes her feel close to her mother.
There are many forms and names for the khimar; it is widely worn across the world by Muslim women and girls of other races, ethnicities and backgrounds, and this story gently introduces readers to them. Illustrator Ebony Glenn uses vivid colors, soft outlines and muted mosaics to subtly (or magically) recreate the khimar in the girl’s and the readers’ imaginations, and shows us how these scarves can be accepted and loved for themselves as the women and girls who wear them are. Ages 4‑8.Check Availability
Stella Brings the Family
Written by Miriam B. Schiffer; illustrated by Holly Clifton‑Brown
As the big day approaches, whom is Stella going to bring to her school’s mother’s day party?! For Stella is a girl who has two fathers—a daddy and a papa—not a mom and dad! During the school week, Stella worries about not having a mother to bring to the party; she is distracted from enjoying clay modeling, playing soccer and eating lunch with her school friends. When her friend Jonathan suggests a simple solution to her dilemma, Stella still isn’t sure the solution will work. Nonetheless, she perseveres. At the school party later that week, Stella is able to celebrate it happily and joyfully, along with her peers and their parents as well.
Through the eyes of Stella, author Miriam B. Schiffer shows readers how same sex parents can help their children resolve unexpectedly difficult scenarios or situations posed by conventional holidays. It’s also an endearing story of friendship and courage, and how those we love can help us through tough times when we turn to them for support. The book is cheerfully and colorfully illustrated by Holly Clifton‑Brown. Ages 5‑8.Check Availability
Written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
In this poignant tale of immigration, a mother and her infant son leave their home and enter into the United States on foot, carrying a few belongings on their persons, as well as their hopes and fears. As time passes, the mother and son transform from migrants (migrantes) into walkers (caminantes); they begin their new lives unknowledgeable of so many things about their new country, awestruck and unable to speak or understand the language, and then become uprooted immigrants, stuck between their old home and their newly adopted one, unsure of where they truly belong. Then, one day by lucky chance, mother and son discover the world inside their local public library, where books help them read, write, speak and start to make their voices heard. Most importantly, they can begin to trust and to find a sense of home. The story ends with them as proud, resilient fighters and dreamers (soñadores) of the American dream and the world.
Accompanying the evocative prose are singular illustrations; Yuyi Morales has written and illustrated many other distinctive books for children, winning six prestigious children’s book awards as well. Page after page treats readers to vivid, dream‑like collages of animals, habitats and places, artifacts, fabrics and clothing familiar to Morales, as well as childhood drawings of her own from Mexico, as well as her son’s. The book is a wonderful commemoration to immigrant parents and affirms Harriet Tubman’s observation that “[e]very great dream begins with a dreamer.” Ages 4‑8.Check Availability
Raj and the Best Day Ever!
Written and illustrated by Sebastien Braun
Disaster strikes, but imagination comes to the rescue in this delightful, humorous story about a father and son’s adventurous, fun‑filled day together. Raj and Dad set off together with a lengthy list of activities and a full backpack (with Raj putting on his superhero cape, of course)! First on the list: going to the library, where they discover Dad left his wallet at home, along with his library card, so they cannot check out any books! Oh no!! Outside the library, the dynamic duo attempt to fulfill the second planned activity on their list: going to a farm to see a tractor. Then suddenly, it starts to rain. Oh no!! But Raj and Dad improvise and ride an imaginary tractor together while waiting at the bus stop for the rain to stop. And so the adventure day continues, with Raj and Dad using their imaginations and wits to accomplish everything on their list, until the list is lost in the park! At that point, Raj and Dad realize they don’t need the list anymore, having had so much fun on their own and being the superheroes that they are.
Sebastien Braun animates this book with endearing animal characters, reminiscent of Richard Scarry, and places them in settings brimming with bustle and business, as well as comically perplexing, ordinary‑life situations. Readers come to realize that a worst day ever can become the very best day, even when plans go awry—provided both parents and children together allow for the unexpected to happen and exercise imagination and patience. Ages 3‑7.Check Availability