Coming out this upcoming January, The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist, written by Cynthia Levinson and illustrated by Vanessa B Newton, tells the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest marcher known to be arrested in the Birmingham civil rights protests of the 1960s. This new picture book has received great reviews from both Publishers Weekly and The School Library Journal. Publishers Weekly praised the picture book’s portrayal of the bravery of the marchers and wrote, “Newton’s bright, digitally assembled collages adeptly highlight the danger of the situation…while emphasizing the power of the marchers’ collective efforts to push back against injustice.” Read the full review here. The School Library Journal commented on The Youngest Marcher‘s detailed inclusion of source material about the marches and praised the way that Vanessa’s illustrations worked to show the contrast between an idealized expectation of marches and the actual discomfort of the experience, writing that, “Digital collage illustrations show a young, pigtailed Audrey and her family mostly smiling and happy leading up to the march…Pictures and words combine to depict the discomfort of Hendricks’s actual experience.” You can preorder The Youngest Marcher online here.
The Horn Book, a site that publishes information and recommendations about books for children and young adults, included Frederick’s Journey: The Life of Frederick Douglass, on a list of recommended picture book biographies. Frederick’s Journey, written by Doreen Rappaport and illustrated by London Ladd, is a biography of the life of famous American abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The Horn Book praises the book’s ability to synthesize Douglass’s complex life into the short form of a picture book, and writes that London’s illusrations, “alternate between moments of violence and times of reflection — all resulting in a portrait that is fiery yet dignified.” To see the full review and the Horn Book’s other recommended biographies, check out their site here. You can order Frederick’s Journey online here.
The National Public Radio (NPR) put out a list of books chosen by their staff as being the best of 2016. Included in the children’s section is Don’t Call Me Grandma, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by Liz Zunon, and The Opposite Zoo by Il Sung Na. Don’t Call Me Grandma is the story of a young girl’s relationship with her prickly but fascinating grandma. NPR praised the fact that this story presents an unconventional and more fully realized version of a grandmother than most childrens’ literature. They describe Liz’s illustrations as “genius.” The Opposite Zoo teaches children about opposites through the medium of a whimsical, brightly colored zoo after it closes for the night. They describe the picture book as “spacious” and inviting. Congratulations, Il Sung and Liz! The full list of recommended books can be found on NPR’s site here. You can purchase Don’t Call Me Grandma here and The Opposite Zoo here.
The recently published picture book Take Heart, My Child, written by Ainsley Earhardt and illustrated by Jaime Kim, has now been at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list for two weeks straight! It debuted the week of December 4 at the number one spot. Currently it is at number two. Full of Jaime’s gorgeous illustrations, the New York Times describes it as “a lyrical address to a newborn.” Congratulations, Ainsley and Jaime! You can find the New York Times’s list of bestselling picture books here. Take Heart, My Child, can be ordered online here.
Publisher’s Weekly recently compiled a list of new and upcoming books, published between 2016 and 2017, that are focused on African American issues. Focusing on historical events and famous figures, as well as current events or African American characters, these are great books for African American young readers and for everyone. Included on this list is the forthcoming Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born, written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison, and The Legendary Miss Lena Horne, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Liz Zunon. These picture books will both be released in January of 2017. You can pre-order Muhammad Ali here and Miss Lena Horne here.
The Toronto Public Library released a First and Best 2016 list, naming the books they thought were the best Canadian books of the year. Included in this list were their Top Ten Picks for Kids Under Five. Two of the books to make this list were Lila and the Crow, by Gabrielle Grimard, and The Toad, by Elise Gravel. Congratulations, Elise and Gabrielle! Make sure to check out these First and Best books! You can purchase Lila and the Crow here and The Toad here.