CHOO-CHOO SCHOOL by author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrator Mike Yamada

Age Range: 3 – 7 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Little train cars travel to school in this picture book. Their names are Engine, Sleeper, Diner, Caboose, Flatcar, Boxcar, and Tank Car. When the book’s front cover is opened, pictures of each little train car with their names are seen. These personified train cars go through school routines to suit their train lifestyles which are reminiscent of children’s school routines. Their day is filled with lessons to learn and small problems to solve by helping one another. Rhyming and wit remind readers of Amy’s style in past books. Illustrations will keep children entertained and learning about the train cars’ day. Children that cannot read words independently will enjoy reading the pictures.

Shirley Chisolm Is a Verb by author Veronica Chambers and illustrator Rachelle Baker

Age Range: 4 years – 8 years

Publisher: Dial Books

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

This picture book biography enlightens the audience about the life of political figure Shirley Chisolm. She was the daughter of immigrant parents who like many, had to work hard to purchase a piece of the American dream. Unfortunately, in order to continue with their arduous work schedules, Shirley’s parents sent Shirley and her two sisters to live with their maternal grandparent in Barbados. After 6 years, Shirley returned to Brooklyn, New York and attended public schools. She went to college and became a preschool teacher. Wanting to cast her net wider in helping others, she was instrumental in beginning head start programs. Shirley found that entering the political arena was where she could influence society the most. Ms. Chisolm was elected to New York State Assembly then to Congress. She was the Democratic Party nomination for United States president. Shirley was an action oriented person who helped make changes for the betterment of the less fortunate. Throughout this book are verbs highlighted in blue that will improve vocabulary and lead to interesting projects. Illustrations are realistic and match the tone of the book.

BUZZING WITH QUESTIONS: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by author Janice N. Harrington and illustrator Theodore Taylor III

Age Range: 7 years – 10 years

Publisher: Calkins Creek

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

In this nonfiction picture book biography, readers and listeners learn about Charles Henry Turner, a person who based his career on studying insects called an entomologist. Dr. Turner was born in 1867 in Ohio, two years after the end of slavery in the United States. He was gifted with the desire to learn about bugs and did extensive research with spiders, ants, and bees to name a few. He obtained a PhD at the University of Chicago and published work substantially. Additionally, he had interests in civil rights and education. His career appears to have been limited due to racism. He became a high school teacher after a short career in higher education. Along with the insightful text, the illustrations ignite interests in insect behavior and scientific experiments. Included are: an author’s note, timeline, bibliography, source note and archival images.

NO PARTY POOPERS! by author Gretchen McLellan and illustrator Lucy Semple

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: little bee books

Publication Date: June 9, 2020

A picky panda and a bracing brown bear attempt to collaborate on an invitation list for a party. Panda presumes that all animals except bears will cause catastrophes at this shindig negating potential invitees in his conversations with Brown Bear. On the other hand, Brown Bear believes that his neighbors will be fine guests at this bash. Can the two create a list that both will agree on? Can Panda change his views? Will any of the animals be party poopers? A good book to stimulate open minded thinking and collaboration. Illustrations of cute critters bring to life Panda’s concerns and move the story along nicely.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by author Meg Medina and illustrator Sonia Sanchez

Age Range: 5 years – 7 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Change is in the air. Leaves don autumn colors. People wrap in more clothing. Daniela’s neighbor and close friend named Evelyn is leaving their neighborhood where the two have shared many good times. This stirring story about changing life events can provoke discussions about what to do and how to adjust when things don’t stay on a predictable path. Illustrations are lively and beautiful capturing this sentimental journey in Evelyn and Daniela’s lives.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away was selected by Jumpstart Read for the Record 2020 to be read nationally on October 29, 2020https://www.jstart.org/read-for-the-record/

Daddy On Duty by Arnelle Collins

Publisher: Acollinsbooks

Publication Date: June 15, 2020

A hardworking dad is briefly in charge…or is he? Mom left a list of tasks to complete but do they get done her way or at all? The daughter, Arnellia, a private school student, has alternative plans. Can Arnellia persuade dad to do things her way? A comical read with a message about parenting styles. Adults will also find humor and wisdom in this picture book. For children reading independently, My Book Eyes recommends it for readers to 10 years of age however it can be read to all ages. Illustrations are clear and colorful.

Sunday Shopping by author Sally Derby and illustrator Shadra Strickland

Age Range: 4 years – 8 years

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Publication Date: May 15, 2015

This picture book brings together three generations in an evening of simulated shopping. Evie and her grandmother create scenarios that allow them to buy items that they see in newspapers from a variety of vendors. While the mother is not in attendance, her presence is felt when we learn mom is in the army and when Evie pretend purchases gifts and places them near mom’s photo. Dialogue between grandmother and Evie is warm and leaves readers with good feelings. Illustrations are bright and contrasting making details easy to see. This book introduces it’s audience to a fun activity that can be enjoyed repeatedly using different newspapers, magazines and ads. Activity enthusiasts could also paint or draw shopping items or head to the internet and copy and paste interesting items for computer based collages. A nice way to include money management skills.

Pete the Cat’s Family Road Trip by Kimberly and James Dean

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

In this early reader, Pete’s family goes on a road trip across the United States. They visit New York, Georgia, Florida, Utah, California, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Washington and Wyoming. Occasional feline humor injected into illustrations and text will make readers chuckle. This book is a great way to introduce youngsters to historic sites within the United States while they learn to read. Also this title can ignite curiosity and a desire to further research places mentioned.

I Love Mom with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Mom cat

Age Range: 3 years – 5 years

Publisher: World of Eric Carle

Publication Date: March 14, 2017

The Very Hungry Caterpillar journeys from one mother child pair to another in this picture book. The audience learns why mom’s are loved. The words are sparse but well chosen. Only one to six words appear on two page spreads which makes this a great read for young audiences. Mr. Carle’s vivid collage designs on white background are eye-catching.