Finally the book we’ve all been waiting for! A biography of Gertrude Stein for children! Seriously, when I first saw Getrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Calef Brown, I wondered “Is this really necessary?” But I found it to be a wonderful, kid-friendly, and interesting story. Gertrude Stein is known for her poetry (which inspires the title and text of Gertrude), her friendship with many avant-garde modern artists such as Picasso and Hemingway, her long-time companionship with Alice B. Toklas (which is summed up gracefully with “Gertrude and Alice are Gertrude and Alice”) and her poodle, Basket!
Ron’s Big Mission by Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden, and illustrated by Don Tate, is a truly inspirational story. Ron McNair loved to go the library and look through books about airplanes and space. But he couldn’t check them out and take them home, because he was black, and this story takes place in the south during the time of segregation. Only white people could have a library card, and Ron thought this was unfair. One day he had enough. In protest of the unfair rules, he climbed up on the library’s front desk and refused to come down. They called the police! They called his mom! Finally the librarian gives him a card and Ron takes his books home. And Ron grew up to be an astronaut! When he tragically died in the Challenger accident, they dedicated his childhood hometown library to his memory.
No doubt inspired by the stories of gorillas who have been trained to speak sign language and care for pets comes Little Beauty by Anthony Browne. In it we meet a very special gorilla who has everything he needs, except a friend. He communicates to his handlers that he desires company and they provide him with a kitten. The gorilla loves his cat. He feeds her milk and honey, carries her everywhere he goes, takes naps with her, they even go to the potty together! But one night they watch a movie and it makes the gorilla very angry! When he smashes the TV set in a rage, the zookeepers wonder if they should take his kitty away. Find out the thrilling conclusion to this saga by checking out Little Beauty today!
Matt Faulkner’s A Taste of Colored Water is an engaging story about an important issue. When Abbey Finch informs Jelly and LuLu that she saw a fountain of colored water in the big city, they decide they need to see it for themselves. It’s probably just one of Abbey’s crazy stories, but what if isn’t? Can you imagine a fountain of water all the colors of the rainbow? And probably the flavor of assorted fruits! So they decide to tag along the next time Uncle Jack has to drive to the city. But Jelly and Lulu live in the south during the civil rights movement. And the “colored” sign over their fountain of water, is just part of the unfair Jim Crow laws popular there at the time. It’s an unfortunate discovery for them to make. Being children, they wonder “what color does a person have to be to get a taste of colored water?”
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed is the latest by six time Emmy award winning former writer for Sesame Street, Mo Willems. Our hero here is Wilbur, a naked mole rat, who is very strange, in that he doesn’t like to be naked. Wilbur loves clothes so much he opens his own fashion boutique, much to the chagrin of his fellow naked mole rats, who immediately report him to Grand-pah “the oldest, greatest, and most naked naked mole rat ever.” How will he judge this effrontery? Find out in Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed!
The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faria is a fascinating story published partly in braille. A boy named Thomas describes the world around him in terms of what he feels, smells, hears, and tastes. People who are sighted tend to take visions of simple things like fruit or rain for granted, but with this book one can imagine what it’s like to be blind. The pages of black drawings on black paper can serve as a gateway to discussing tolerance for people with disabilities with your child.