I really enjoy Beth’s Job by Carole Roberts, illustrated by Michael Garland. It is ideal for the child who is ready to read a book all on their own. It’s the story of an elementary school student named Beth. On the day everyone is assigned their class jobs, and Beth is very excited, until she discovers she will be in charge of watering the class plant. This seems very dull to her. She is jealous of her other classmates, that seem to have much more interesting duties. Max gets to feed the class rabbit! And Jeff is in charge of being first in line. Glen gets to hold the flag during the pledge of allegiance. Beth’s job seems so boring in comparison to all the cool things the other kids get to do. Until one day, the plant blooms! Thanks to all the care Beth gave the plant, the class now has a beautiful flower, leading Beth to proclaim, “This job is the best!”
Enjoy a clever take on an old nursery rhyme with Mary Had a Little Lamp, by Jack Lecher, illustrations by Bob Staake. It’s not unusual for a child to carry a blanket or a favorite toy around every where they go, or for child to be trailed by a loyal pet. But the girl in this story has formed a strong and strange attachment to an office lamp. She drags it with her to school, to the playground, even to therapy (which her bemused parents become convinced she needs). Mary takes her lamp to the movies, her cousin’s wedding, even out for chinese food, and at night when she gets tucked in, the lamp gets tucked in too. But one day Mary seems to old for the lamp. She sets it on the shelf. (Now she carries a toaster instead!)
Best Friend on Wheels by Debra Shirley, illustrated by Judy Stead, is a great way to teach your child that people with disabilities are still people. Our narrator is a second grader who’s teacher asks her to show “the new girl” around. She is surprised to see that “the new girl,” Sarah, was in a wheelchair. At first she didn’t know what to do, but once she got to know Sarah, she discovered they had a lot in common! They became best friends and now do all their favorite things together: painting, reading, having sleepovers, scrapbooking, and hot air balooning! They even go dancing–Sarah loves ballet–“Shes spins on her wheels and twirls every which way.” Some people only see a wheelchair when they look at Sarah, but our narrator only sees her best friend.
Toni Buzzeo offers us The Library Doors, a playful media-centric reinterpretation of the popular children’s sing-along chant, “The Wheels on the Bus” with the help of illustrator Nadine Bernard Westcott. Join some elementary school students on a trip to their library. There’s a lot of fun things to do there, but you have to be quiet! You can go to story time, look up books in the catalog, browse the shelves for things you like, and of course read read read! There’s also computers to help you do your homework or find information you’re interested in. When you go to check your books out, be sure to wave goodbye to the librarian, and let her know you’ll be sure to come back “all through the year!” This is a fun book to recite with your child, or if you’re feeling up to it, sing! You know you know the tune…
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.
Noted by The New York Times to be one of the best illustrated children’s books of 2008, A River of Words by Jen Bryant, is a wonderful juvenile biography of William Carlos Williams, American poet, 1883-1963, best known for works like “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “This is Just to Say.” Willie Williams grew up in Rutherford, NJ. In school, English was his favorite subject. He loved to read and write poetry, and was inspired by simple things found in everyday life. But Willie knew that poets did not earn much money, and he needed to support his family, so he went to medical school and became a doctor. Although he spent his days healing the sick, he always found time for poetry. An inspiring story, with touching collage illustrations by Melissa Sweet.