Written & Illustrated by Kim Smith
Age Level: 4 - 7
Grade Level: P – 3
I’d love to be a boxitect! What’s that? An architect who uses boxes. Life is great until two girls both decide they should be in charge. It gets worse when they’re forced to work together. What can they do? Work separately? Work together? You’ll have to read to find out how this one ends!
Bonus: the STEAM connection in this story and the back matter. It explains what’s so great about cardboard and offers a few suggestions for want-to-be boxitects like me!
Born to Fly
Written by Steve Sheinkin
Illustrated by Bijou Karman
Age Level: 10 - 14
Grade Level: 4 – 6
I discovered this book at a writers’ conference. It was recommended as a model for nonfiction. The details the author uncovered from a century ago were incredible.
In the first third you’ll meet fliers like Amelia Earhart, Marvel Crosson, Louise Thaden, and Elinor Smith as little girls. You’ll read about the kinds of things they did as kids, the things that shaped them into the women they’d become.
The second third follows them into the 1929 Air Derby, the first women’s race across the US. Women had just earned the right to vote in 1920, and now they were fighting to fly an airplane. The public believed women weren’t capable of flying, let alone doing it cross country.
The final third follows our heroines past the race and into their future. It’s the end to each of their stories. The back matter will show you the author’s source notes and photo credits. BORN TO FLY is well done from the start to the finish line!
The Thank You Book
Written by Mary Lyn Ray
Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
Age Level: 4 - 7
Grade Level: PS – 3
This book is as cute as the cover! But it’s about much more than just manners. It’s a call to the things inside you, the things that touch you, that make you feel grateful.
When you see the sun rise in the morning, are you thankful for a new day, for new opportunities? Try looking down at your toes in fresh green grass – it’s another moment to savour, another moment for gratitude.
This book gives you a wonderful opportunity to sit down with your favorite child. You can look at the little things, the ones around you, that you never take time to be grateful for. Thank you to the author and illustrator for this wise, sweet book.
Piper Green and the Fairy Tree
Written by Ellen Potter
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Age Level: 7 - 9
Grade Level: 2 – 4
Looking for a cute story that takes place in an unusual setting? This is it! Piper Green lives on an island, and she goes to school in a lobster boat, but this year is different. Her brother is going away to school, but Piper isn’t. She misses him so much that she wears his earmuffs into class. It sounds sweet, but not to her teacher who tries to make Piper take off those earmuffs. When Piper gets in trouble at school, can a tree, even a fairy one, help her? You’ll have to read to find out how.
PS – If you like this story, check out the two sequels – Too Much Good Luck and The Sea Pony.
Like Bug Juice on a Burger
Written by Julie Sternberg
Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Age Level: 6 - 9
Grade Level: 1 – 4
This title sounds absolutely disgusting, but that’s why kids love it! So much so that it’s the second in a series of books about icky foods. Check out the other 2 – Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and Carrot Juice on a Cupcake.
Meet the main character of all 3 books, Eleanor. In this book she’s so excited . . . she gets to go to the same summer camp her mother went to as a kid. Her problem – it’s time to leave for camp. Have you had the same experience, excited to do something . . . till it’s time to do it? I have!
Eleanor is prepared for the worst, even bug juice on a burger! So she gives her parents a code. If she writes Esmerelda, it’s a message to pick her up. Unfortunately the camp counselor discovers what it really means. She comes up with a deal. Eleanor must post 2 feeling letters on the camp wall, anonymously. Will it work? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
The Baby Tree
Written & Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Age Level: 5 - 8
Grade Level: K – 3
This was a surprising book! It answers the question where do babies come from, in an unusual way. A few characters answer, but mom and dad finally give the real one. I was surprised by how graphic it was, how true, and by how well done the book was. The back matter includes answers to other interesting questions kids might really ask. If you have a child with an inquiring mind, this is the book for both of you.
Don’t Eat That!
Written and Illustrated by Drew Sheneman
Age Level: 3 - 5 Grade Level: PS – K
I loved this book! Have you ever been so hungry you could eat everything in sight in seconds? I have!
That’s exactly what this story is about. Poor Bear! He falls off the zoo truck and runs into a scout that wants to earn her merit badge. She tries to teach Bear what to eat/not eat, and she fails miserably. Bear is NOT a picky eater! He would have tried a bit of rock, skunk, rabbit, dirt, even a pine cone. But that darn scout! She wouldn’t let him. You’ll have to read for yourself to see if Bear finally gets fed. Enjoy! Plus this book is a little punny too!
Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet
Written by Curtis Manley
Illustrated by Jessica Lanan
Age Level: 5 - 9
Grade Level: PS – 3
I loved this book and the information inside. I’d never thought of a planet having to be just right with temperature, water, and so many other variables for life to exist. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the author had the great idea of having a family explore a museum that specializes in the search for life beyond Earth. Did you know that using one telescope and looking at one tiny portion of the night sky, you can find 4000 extrasolar planets or exoplanets. It’s amazing - that there are so many possibilities for life beyond earth!
The back matter includes the science of detecting life, whether it’s carbon-based like here on Earth, or not. The end pages show timelines for exploring space.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Written by Jamie A. Swenson
Illustrated by David Walker
Age Level: 2 - 6 Grade Level: PS – K
This is the perfect book for kids who are afraid of thunderstorms. It starts with a little boy curled up safe in bed with his teddy bear Fred. They’re fine, but the dog isn’t – until our boy lets him in. How many pets can fit in a bed? You’ll have to read to find out .
This story is perfect to help a little one think of something else besides the storm, and it follows in the traditions of The Mitten and The Little Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. Kids will love it! I did!
Feet Go to Sleep
Written by Barabara Bottner
Illustrated by Maggie Smith
Age Level: 3 - 7 Grade Level: PS – 2
Oh my gosh! This book is so cute! Its blurb on the back cover – help your little one slip from a great day into a good night. It’s the perfect description!
In this story, a little girl had the best vacation day ever, and she’s too antsy to go to sleep. Her Mom talks her down from excitement – and into sleep with lines like . . . ‘Toes go to sleep. Toes for gripping flip flops on the way to the beach.’ Then mom asked what’s next. Our girl said, feet.
This is one of the most creative books I’ve ever seen. I wish there was an audio book! I’d buy it for the nights when I’m wound up and can’t sleep. My final comment – this story is sweet enough for moms, but sassy enough for kids. The perfect combination!
Whenever I read or write, I find a comfy chair with a great view. I get my favorite drink, stretch out, and let the words take me away.