History · Julia P · Name in Title · Non-Fiction · Picture book · Poetry · Race · Young Adult

A Wreath for Emmett Till | by Marilyn Nelson

A Wreath for Emmett Till

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
(HMH Books for Young Readers, 2005, 48 pages)

This was the book that introduced me to the work of Marilyn Nelson. I was doing some research on the Coretta Scott King Awards and that is how I discovered this title which received an “Award for Author” Honor in 2006. Something about the way it was described compelled me to request it and I found it so incredibly heartbreaking and moving. The art that accompanies the piece was also very well done. At the end of the book there is an explanation of the poems (something Nelson does regularly and which is a feature I love) in addition to an explanation of the art.

This poem tells the story of Emmett Till’s murder while also reminding the reader of his humanity – it’s so easy to just hear the name, remember the story, and not think about him as a boy living in the world, as a son, as a man who didn’t get the chance to grow up. A Wreath for Emmett Till is aimed at younger readers and I think it powerfully combines history and poetry in a way that quickly captures the reader’s attention. This is one of those books that will find its way to my permanent book collection so I have it on hand when my daughter is old enough to read it. It’s hard to say I “enjoyed” it given the subject matter, but it was beautifully done and led me down a Marilyn Nelson path for which I am so grateful.

4/5 stars

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Fiction · Julia P · Juvenile · Picture book · Poetry

Where Is the Green Sheep? *by Mem Fox | Here’s a Little Poem *collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters

Where Is the Green Sheep

Where Is the Green Sheep?
by Mem Fox; illustrated by Judy Horacek
(Penguin, 2004, 32 pages)

Here's a Little Poem

Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry
collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters; illustrated by Polly Dunbar
(Candlewick, 2007, 112 pages)

I’m officially a fan of Mem Fox – and it started after reading her book about reading to children, Reading Magic, a few weeks ago. Where Is the Green Sheep? is a fun book to read aloud for a number of reasons. The rhythm and rhyme of the story are great. Plus the repetitive nature of asking where the green sheep is will make for an enjoyable activity when reading with a toddler who can “guess” the next line.

The book touches on opposites, colors, and lends itself to a fun overall reading experience. As we explore different kinds of sheep doing different things, we are constantly on the lookout for a green sheep, who doesn’t appear to be anywhere. The illustrations are wonderful because there is so much detail provided it offers a lot of opportunities to explore the images with your child and ask them questions about what they see. This book is officially added to my collection 🙂

Here’s a Little Poem is a collection of poetry from a number of different authors including Margaret Wise Brown, Langston Hughes and Jack Prelutsky. The poems touch on a number of themes and are paired with bright illustrations. They’re perfect for reading out loud and a great way to introduce your child to poetry.

Early Reader · Fiction · Julia P · Juvenile · Picture book · Vivs

A Was Once an Apple Pie | adapted by Suse MacDonald — Dr. Seuss’s ABC | by Dr. Seuss

A Was Once an Apple Pie

A Was Once an Apple Pie by Edward Lear; adapted by Suse MacDonald
(Orchard Books, 2005, 32 pages)

My daughter and I were able to get some quality reading time in this week while she was home sick. We went with an alphabet theme, starting with A Was Once an Apple Pie. This alphabet poem by Edward Lear was adapted by illustrator Suse MacDonald. The bright pictures provide a nice accompaniment to the rhyming, sing-songy poem written by Lear – a man known for his literary playfulness. This was fun to read aloud, especially once I got the right cadence 😉

Dr. Seuss's ABC

Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss
(Random House Books for Young Readers, 1991, 63 pages)

I remember reading this classic when I was younger and I loved it then. It made sense to finish up our alphabet storytime with Dr. Seuss. The setup of the book is perfect for building anticipation in the form of repetition. Almost every introduction to a letter begins the same way, “Big A, little a, what begins with A?” and everything about the wording and the illustrations stands out. I could feel this more strongly since I associate the book with my own childhood, but I don’t think so 🙂

Dr. Seuss’s ABC will undoubtedly have a steady rotation in our household. A classic book that lends itself to a vibrant, punchy, and interactive reading experience.

Early Reader · Fiction · Julia P · Juvenile · Picture book · Vivs

Bubbles, Bubbles | by Kathi Appelt — Mama, Do You Love Me? | by Barbara M. Joosse

Bubbles Bubbles

Bubbles, Bubbles by Kathi Appelt; pictures by Fumi Kosaka
(Scholastic, 2002, 18 pages)

My reading life has changed a bit since having a baby back in January. Picture books are now a regular part of my rotation and they have the highest completion rate (shocking, I know). Even though my daughter hasn’t hit 5 months yet, early literacy is important and I’m doing what I can to try and raise a “reader.”

Bubbles, Bubbles is a book about bath time. The book’s nameless protagonist (along with her rubber duck and frog companions) gets ready for her bath. The book has bold and engaging pictures which will catch your child’s eye. Also, Appelt uses fun words and repetition to make for a lively reading experience. I got some giggles out of my daughter more than a few times with the ways I played with rhymes and exaggerated words.

Mama, Do You Love Me

Mama, Do You Love Me?
by Barbara M. Joosse; illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
(Scholastic, 1991, 27 pages)

Mama, Do You Love Me? exceeded my expectations. My daughter received it in a basket of books from her great grandmother and I just appreciated that it offered up diverse characters (a topic that has received a lot of discussion recently). The story is about a young girl who wants to know just how much her mother loves her. The daughter’s questions and the mother’s responses are sweet. Even when the daughter goes to extremes (what if I turn into a polar bear?!) her mother explains that even if she was scared or surprised there are no limits on the love she has for her daughter.

This book definitely lends itself for engaging your child throughout the reading. I’d echo the mother in the book’s sentiments and talk to my daughter about how much I love her (I promise I’m not being cheesy). A nice addition to a long line of books that highlight the love between parents and their children.

*Since the picture books we read are obviously going to be on the short side I’ll plan on combining reviews into a single post like you see here.*