The Neighborhood Mother Goose is one of my favorites by the fabulously talented Nina Crews. Crews was inspired by her neighborhood in Brooklyn to create this urban reprinting of traditional nursery rhymes. Each verse is illustrated photographically–pictures of real children with beautiful multi-cultural faces accompany each selection. Every page is a delight, whether it’s Pat-a-cake with two girls in front of a bakery, Georgie Porgie on the playground, to market to market to buy a fat pig at the grocery store, or Mary Mary quite contrary watering her garden. It really modernizes and brings meaning to stories that seem trite and old-fashioned to the new generation. Check this book out for a spicy new taste of Mother Goose!
Jabberwocky by Christopher Myers is a fantastic re-imagining of the nonsensical poem from Lewis Carroll’s classic Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Myers interprets the piece to be about a particularly intense game of basketball (an analysis, by the way, he backs up with a tremendous amount of research on both Carroll and James Naismith, the “inventor” of basketball, and their mutual interest in an ancient Aztec ritual called ollamalitzli). The words of the story are practically gibberish, for instance, the narrator warns us to “beware the jubjub bird and shun the frumious bandersnatch!” The illustrations that accompany the poem really tell the story of a David-and-Goliath-esque courtside battle of epic porportions, held on a hot summer day in the inner city.
This book brings tears to my eyes every time I read it (I’m a very emotional librarian). Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope is an inspiring biography of our country’s 44th president by Coretta Scott King Award winning author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Bryan Collier. A young boy named David asks his mother who that man on TV is andwhy people are shouting his name. She tells him the story of a boy with inter-racial parents who grew up in Hawaii. He pursued higher education, and longed to change the world. That boy was Barack Obama and he grew up to be our president asking, “Can we make America better? Can we work together, as one?” Yes. We can.
Inspired by the well-known spiritual by the same name, Kadir Nelson brings us He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands, a wonderful book, filled with beautiful images of vast landscapes and multicultural faces. The lyrics of the song are complimented by illustrations of rainbows, sunrises, clear nights, blue skies, clean oceans, and one special boy enjoying them all with his loving family. Try singing it to your child! Children retain messages better with music. That’s why the alphabet is a song! If you like this book consider others you could sing, like Hush Little Alien by Daniel Kirk, or more stories featuring Nelson’s art like Please, Puppy, Please by Spike Lee.