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.
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 Kelley. Please 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 here. Please Please the Bees can be purchased online here.
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 here. La 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.
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 […]
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 Player, Guy 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.
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 here. Everywhere I Go, God Is With Me is available for purchase here.