Picture Book Biographies: The picture book format has proved effective for biographies, serving as an introduction to the lives of a variety of accomplished men and women. Some picture book biographies like Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman, and by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by LeUyen Pham, appeal to children in grade one to three.
A World of Pausabilities pulls us into a neighborhood on a summer day that could be any neighborhood on any day. There, we see both children and adults applying mindfulness to everyday moments by taking a pause. The illustrations are crisp and active, depicting all sorts of people delving into the richness of moments like eating an apple and taking a slow, silent walk. The words rhyme, child-like in their simplicity. After reading this book, I started noticing pausabilities all over the place in my world—little bursts of extra mindfulness while brushing my teeth and walking the dog.
Robert McCloskey has won the Caldecott Medal for this winner with families everywhere. Mr. And Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place in the city of Boston to raise their young ducks. They need a place where there will be no threat from wolves, foxes, or turtles. When they decide to nest in Boston’s Public Garden, they are right at home with the help of a police officer and others. The illustrations of Boston’s famous landmarks adds to the authenticity of this story. A treasure to share and educational too, this is one that may become a family favorite to read together.
Amos McGee is a kind, friendly older gentleman who works at the zoo. Each day he finds time to spend with his five special animal friends: the elephant, penguin, rhino, owl, and tortoise. Until one day, when Mr. McGee is too sick to make it to work. After waiting patiently, his friends decide to hop on the bus and visit him. Each animal finds their own unique way to help make Amos feel better, whether it’s playing chess with him or keeping his feet warm. This is one of the best children’s books for teaching kids the importance of compassion and taking care of one another.
This story told from the perspective of the wolf who is considered the bad guy in the original story, offers another side to the classic tale. Alexander T. Wolf has a different way of telling the story, with an explanation as to what he says really happened. You see, he wasn’t huffing and puffing, trying on purpose to blow those houses down. The truth, according to him, is that he had a bad cold. All he wanted was to borrow a cup of sugar so he could bake a cake for his granny. Fun, hilarious, and a riot to compare to the original, this is one that you will enjoy reading.
When self esteem, or the lack of it, tells Vashti that she can’t draw, her teacher encourages her to try. Just making one dot on the page, and seeing where it will lead, opens up a new world of being artistic. That is some of the best advice she could have given her. When Vashti finds that she can mix some colors to create other colors, she begins to experiment and see just how much she can do. This is one of the most encouraging childrens books to read aloud or even alone. Trying in the midst of doubt can help anyone find hidden talent, and reach places they would have never made it to.
This spoof on the three little pigs will have you laughing and wanting to know more within the first few pages. When the three little wolves go out on their own, they build a house that should stand up to the big bad pig. But the pig is armed with more than simply his huffing and puffing. He has dynamite! Sharing this hilarious tale will make a family reading time more fun than ever. And the ending may surprise even those who think they can tell what will happen next. This anytime story will be one to read over and over again.
Cows may seem quite boring to most people, especially when they are plain old ordinary cows. The way Doreen Cronin tells it with pictures by Betsy Lewin that prove it to be true, Farmer Brown’s cows are no ordinary cows, at least not after they find an old typewriter that someone left in the barn. When the cows begin to learn how to spell and write, they insist on being treated differently and end up going on strike when Farmer Brown refuses their demands. Funny, delightful and entertaining, this is a great book for the entire family to share.
Each page of Breathe and Be offers a miniature poem to tune the mind to the pitch of that which is nourishing and beautiful. “There’s a quiet place in my head like an egg hidden in a nest.” The clever and delicate drawings are not to be rushed through. My eight-year-old daughter declared, “Wow, this is my favorite one.” Breathe and Be is, to put it simply, classy. It would be as much a gorgeous book to give to my daughter as a gift as to give to my mother. It has a lovely timeless quality about it. I could see having this one on my shelf for generations.
Unfortunately the children gobbled up the treats so fast that the old woman had a hard time keeping her supply of flour and spices to continue making the batches of gingerbread. Sometimes she suspected little hands of having reached through her kitchen window because gingerbread pieces and cookies would disappear. One time a whole gingerbread house vanished mysteriously. She told her husband, "Those naughty children are at it again. They don't understand all they have to do is knock on the door and I'll give them my gingerbread treats."
When I was a kid back in the eighties, we had lots of cool books. We had Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, and The Berenstain Bears. There were countless stories with morals and endearing, memorable characters, but I can’t recall a single example that suggested mindfulness: awareness of breath, conscious self-talk, slowing down the moments, tapping into the senses as a way to come into the present moment for ourselves as well as for others.