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Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare, by Gene Barretta, Featured in SLJ Post on Expository Nonfiction

by Claire Easton in Represents Comments: 0

Reading nonfiction is an important part of any child’s elementary education. But kids don’t just like reading the popular genre of narrative nonfiction, in which true information is presented in the format of a story. Children also enjoy expository nonfiction, which are books that lay out the facts in a clear and easy-to-understand way. In order to highlight the importance of expository nonfiction, as well as present some excellent examples of the genre, guest blogger Melissa Stewart wrote a great post at the School Library Journal (SLJ) on expository nonfiction. One of her featured examples was Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare, by Gene Barretta!

Lincoln and Kennedy is an expository nonfiction book that compares and contrasts the lives of those two great presidents. Stewart praised it as a great example of using an engaging text structure. Each spread puts Lincoln and Kennedy side by side, and, as Stewart writes, “As a result, readers notice fun patterns as well as startling similarities between the two men’s lives.” Expository nonfiction books can be just as fun and exciting as fiction or as narrative nonfiction.

Melissa Stewart’s full blog post is available hereLincoln and Kennedy is available for purchase here.


Wee Sister Strange, illus. by K.G. Campbell, Included in BookPage’s Majestic Moon Picture Book Roundup

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Wee Sister Strange was only released a few days ago, but it’s already bringing in positive reviews! This beautiful new picture book is written by Holly Grant and illustrated by K.G. Campbell. It tells the story of a nymph-like girl wandering through the woods after dark, looking for a special something.

BookPage included this lovely new tale in their article, “Majestic Moon: New Picture Books Celebrate Earth’s Satellite.” This quick list rounds up some of the new picture books featuring the moon, including Wee Sister Strange. They call Wee Sister Strange, a “captivating story,” and praise the poetic language, particularly that surrounding the moon! They write of the illustrations, “Artist K.G. Campbell’s marvelous illustrations transport the reader to an intriguing otherworld.” In all, they conclude that Wee Sister Strange, “has all the makings of a classic.”

To read BookPage’s full article, follow this linkWee Sister Strange was released September 19th and is available online here.

Rashida Jones Reads Gerald Kelley’s Please Please the Bees for Storyline Online

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Storyline Online is a wonderful site that provides videos of actors reading children’s books aloud, accompanied by beautiful animations of the illustrations. Reading out loud to children has been proven to improve literacy, and this is a great new resource for parents, teachers, and children. Recently, Gerald Kelley‘s picture book Please Please the Bees was chosen for one of Storyline Online’s videos!

Please Please the Bees is the story of honey-loving bear, Benedict. When the bees that provide him with honey go on strike, he must learn to appreciate and help the hard loving workers in order to improve their lives and his own. Actress Rashida Jones, whom you may recognize from popular sitcom Parks and Recreation, was selected to read Please Please the Bees. She praised the story for its emphasis on community and cooperation.

The video reading can be found on Storyline’s website here. You can order Please Please the Bees online here.

Gerald Kelley’s Please Please the Bees Wins the Bock Book Award for Children’s Literature

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Each year, the Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies awards the Frances and Wesley Bock Award to a children’s book that they feel exemplifies Franciscan values. The children’s book must appeal to children’s sense of wonder, be aesthetically pleasing, and encourage reverence for nature and creation.

This year, the winner is Please Please the Bees, by Gerald KelleyPlease Please the Bees tells the story of a bear, Benedict, who loves honey. But when the bees who create his honey feel underappreciated, Benedict must learn to appreciate the bees just as much as their honey. Please Please the Bees is Gerald’s debut as an author.

Congratulations on winning this exciting award, Gerald!

More information about the Bock Award is available herePlease Please the Bees can be purchased online here.

Book Trailer for La La La, Illus. by Jaime Kim, Premieres on Mr. Schu Reads Blog

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La La La, the forthcoming picture book written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Jaime Kim, is receiving plenty of hype in advance of its October release. This nearly wordless picture book tells the story of a little girl seeking connection with the world through music. A book trailer (below) was recently released on the blog Mr. Schu Reads, along with interviews with Jaime and Kate.

Mr. Schu asks Kate and Jaime about their inspirations for the story, as well as some of the challenges and joys of creating a nearly wordless book. Jaime shares that her inspiration for the adorable little girl protagonist came from a combination of her childhood self and her memories of her younger sister as a child. She also describes her challenges in illustrating Kate’s brief text, saying that despite the lack of words, she could sense there was a lot beneath the surface, inspiring her to make her illustrations as beautiful and detailed as possible.

The interviews with Kate and Jaime are available here and hereLa La La will be released in October, but if you just can’t wait for this exciting and unique new story, you can pre-order it here.

Lost and Found Cat, Illus. by Sue Cornelison, Featured in Two New York Times Articles

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Refugees are an important issue right now that’s on many people’s mind, an issue that may be difficult for parents to explain to children. In order to help with these complex issues, many books for children and teens have been released. The New York Times shone a spotlight on this trend this week, featuring two articles focused on books for children about refugees. Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey, written by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes and illustrated by Sue Cornelison, was included in both of these articles.

Lost and Found Cat tells the true and heart warming tale of a family of refugees who became separated from their beloved family pet, only to be reunited a year later. The cover of Lost and Found Cat was included in the Times’s feature story in which they interviewed the authors of some stories about refugees. Lost and Found Cat was also included in a guide to some of the new picture books about refugees, entitled “Reading, Writing and Refugees.” The Times described it as “a rare war story with a happy ending,” and praised it for being a non-frightening way to approach a difficult topic.

The Times’s two articles can be found here and hereLost and Found Cat is available for purchase here.

Praise for Guy Stuff, Illus. by Micah Player

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You might not expect American Girl to publish a book for boys going through puberty, but that’s exactly what they’ve done with Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys. Written by pediatrician Cara Natterson and illustrated by Micah PlayerGuy Stuff is a fact-filled non-fiction to help guide boys through adolescence and puberty. Guy Stuff was released as of yesterday, and already praise is pouring in. Both Bustle and the Chicago Tribune have written reviews praising Guy Stuff.

Bustle praises Guy Stuff for its gender inclusivity. As Cara Natterson points out, multiple great books have been published (many by American Girl!) to help guide young women through puberty, but far fewer exist for boys. Not only that, but Guy Stuff makes an effort to encourage young men to understand and express their emotions in a healthy way. Bustle’s full review is available here.

The Chicago Tribune also appreciates the emphasis on healthy emotional development in boys. They compliment the conversational, casual tone of the prose. They also praise Micah’s illustrations, which they call “fabulous” and “irreverent.” The Tribune’s full review can be found here.

Guy Stuff was published August 8th and can now be purchased here.


Publishers Weekly Praises Everywhere I Go, God Is With Me, Illus. by Nomar Perez

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Everywhere I Go, God Is With Me, a religious board book for children, was only released yesterday, but it’s already receiving praise! Written by Mikal Keefer and illustrated by Nomar Perez, the picture book follows the adventures of a blue whale as he learns about God’s love. Publishers Weekly wrote a review of the book and had nothing but praise! A stand out feature was Nomar’s cute and ridiculous illustrations of the whale protagonist. PW writes, “Perez’s gently textured, Golden Books–retro images bring a welcome dose of absurdity to the book’s comforting message.”

Publishers Weekly’s review is available hereEverywhere I Go, God Is With Me is available for purchase here.

Two New Board Books Illustrated by Nomar Perez Available Today

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Not one but two new children’s books illustrated by Nomar Perez are out today! All Day Long, God Loves Me, written by Mikal Keefer, is the story of a cute little bird as he goes about his day feeling God’s love. Everywhere I Go, God Is With Me, also written by Mikal Keefer, centers on a whale learning about God. Part of the Best of Li’l Buddies series, these two sweet board books for preschoolers are perfect for the Christian family.

All Day Long, God Loves Me can be purchased online hereEverywhere I Go, God Is With Me is available here.

Sarah Dillard Book Reading at Unlikely Story Bookstore

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On Wednesday, August 9th, Sarah Dillard will be reading from her early chapter book Mouse Scouts. The reading will take place at the Unlikely Story Bookstore and Cafe in Plainville, Massachusetts. From 3 to 5 pm, there will be reading, book signing, and the opportunity to earn your very own Mouse Scouts badge! If you’re a fan of the series or looking for a way to brighten up your Wednesday, Sarah would love for you to drop by!

More information about the event is available at Unlikely Story’s website here. The first book in the Mouse Scouts series can be purchased here.