Children’s books to read tucked away with your favorite youngster

Close your eyes and think about your favorite picture books when you were young. They were probably the perfect mix of colorful images and evocative words – and they created whole worlds you can step into. They featured people and animals running, jumping, climbing and soaring.

This fall, we bring you five titles that include a happy cross-section of people and cultures and a generous sharing of universal experiences. The children in these books overcome their fears, discover the delights of the natural world, celebrate time spent alone, and discover a chicken that may or may not have special powers.

Why we wrote this

What promotes closeness better than story time? We asked a buyer of children’s books at an independent bookstore to share her recommendations for titles she had read aloud to the little ones.

With illustrated books, the connection between reader and listener – as well as the interplay of text and image – can create powerful memories. These books are enriched by the experience of their sharing, the time of reading aloud arousing the child’s curiosity and fueling discussions.

Room for everyone (4-8 years old)

Written by Naaz Khan, illustrated by Mercè López

Why we wrote this

What promotes closeness better than story time? We asked a buyer of children’s books at an independent bookstore to share her recommendations for titles she had read aloud to the little ones.

Get on the daladala (a kind of minibus taxi) on the way to the crystal blue waters of Zanzibar! The vibrant illustrations play with color, perspective and texture. Rhythmic language dances through the pages as more people and their belongings pile into the vehicle on the way to the beach. It looks like there may not be room, but “after a few thrills, laughs and fun, they’ve made enough room for everyone.” Even the typeface becomes flexible, with words like “shuffle”, “squirm” and “squeeze” taking up extra space on the page.

The bus fills up and the artwork continues to expand to a truly dramatic cross section of the overload daladala is followed by cathartic release. Ahhhhh. Once the characters have stepped out to enjoy the beautiful beach, readers should stay on board for a glossary of Arabic and Swahili words as well as a page on Zanzibar and its culture. It is a book that you will be happy to read over and over again because it is full of sunshine and energy.

GP Putnam’s Sounds books for young readers

Gladys the magic chicken (4-9 years old)

Written by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Adam Rex

The author of “Dragons Love Tacos” teams up with the illustrator of “On Account of the Gum” in this hilarious tale. It’s a great story that’s perfect for sharing a belly laugh with the whole family.

Set in ancient times, the story centers on a very famous and insect-eyed chicken named Gladys. At 48 pages, it’s longer than the standard picture book, which helps give it an epic feeling. Characters such as Shepherd Boy, Brave Swordsman, Purple Pooh-bah and Learned Princess, who writes a catchy little song that ends with “Abra-cock-a-doodle-dee-doo!” “Gladys the Magic Chicken” laughs out loud, memorable.

But what I really like about it is that it can spark your own Socratic dialogue: Made Gladys has special powers? Why not reread it together and discuss it?

Maybe maybe Marisol Rainey

(4-10 years)

Written and illustrated by Erin Entrada Kelly

Readers may know Erin Entrada Kelly from her Newbery Medal-winning chapter book, “Hello, Universe,” or her Newbery Honor book, “We Dream of Space.” In this debut of a series aimed at young readers, Kelly creates rich characters again, but this time with short chapters and endearing line art that work perfectly for multi-level reading aloud as well as reading. independent of the first chapters.

Eight-year-old Marisol is eccentric: she loves silent movies and has four stuffed cats named after her favorite foods: Nacho, Lumpia, Banana Split, and Pot Roast. Her charm shines through prose and images. In this book, Marisol shows the courage to climb the tree in her garden (which she names Peppina) – maybe. The unique details of Marisol’s life mesh perfectly with the universal emotions depicted, making her a wonderful conversation piece and a satisfying replay. Watch for a second book in the series in 2022.

Viking books for young readers

A boy named Isamu (3-7 years)

Written and illustrated by James Yang

One of the unexpected charms of this book is that it is told in the second person. The lines between audience and character, observer and artist, and reader and listener soften to allow us to explore sensation, isolation and creativity with the protagonist.

Isamu seeks calm so that he can listen to his own curiosity. “What kind of wood is it?” How does the fruit get its color? Why is the fabric so soft? Who made the path with stone? Readers can think about how they might answer these questions in the text, and they might come up with their own questions. They are invited to explore the wonder of the sound of a stick in the sand, the gaze of a welcoming light and the perception of the weight of the stone.

The main character is inspired by the American-Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi. The author’s note at the end of the book provides further information, including a photograph of young Isamu and one of his sculptures. It also explicitly celebrates time spent alone and the creativity that comes with it.

This wonderful book could help anyone understand how one can be “alone but not alone”.

We all play (3-7 years)

Written and illustrated by Julie Flett

Stunning illustrations, fun alliterations, fantastic vocabulary, and screaming repeats make this a favorite. Each page of the book shows a sequence of alliterative verbs associated with animals, followed by the refrain of “We play too!” / kimêtawânaw mina”And a playful assortment of children in different seasonal contexts. The images are soft, warm and full of exuberant movement. Towards the end, the Cubs “bark / and yawn / And slowly, side by side / the animals fall asleep”. Finally, after a final frolic in a pile of fall leaves, “So are we.” nîstanân mîda … / zzzz. “The children of the book, as well as those who listen, come to a calm conclusion.

Images and text are spared enough to give readers enough time to talk about the vocabulary and mimic the movements. The plural first-person storytelling emphasizes universality and a connection to the natural world, which is also touched upon at the end of the book as the author-illustrator shares a bit of her Cree-Métis culture. A glossary with Cree words is included, and readers can find an online audio guide for pronunciation.

Bedtime, old house (3-7 years)

Written by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by AG Ford

This multigenerational story is sweet, calming and uplifting.

Young Isaac is delighted to visit his grandfather, but he’s also worried about sleeping away from home. Grandpop guides Isaac in a bedtime ritual through the house, recognizing the noises old unfamiliar houses make and subtly addressing Isaac’s fears. They end up with pre-literary Isaac “reading the pictures” aloud to Grandpop. Adults and children alike may recognize the story Isaac reads as “The Snowy Day” – a nod to a beloved children’s classic. The illustration of this scene is particularly heartwarming, with Grandpop, Isaac, and Isaac’s bear huddled together in an armchair with the book. The scene emphasizes the power of connection through books, transmitting warmth and love through text and image.

In the final pages, Grandpop is asleep and Isaac takes responsibility for getting into bed. Like Isaac, readers and listeners can look forward to a good night’s sleep and another day of fun to come tomorrow.

About Joey J. Hott

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