Noozhawk, a Santa Barbara newspaper, has created a list of recommended books for young readers for the upcoming Black History Month. Included on that list were Loving Vs. Virginia and Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born. Loving Vs. Virginia, written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Shadra Strickland, tells in verse the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, a young interracial couple in the 1950s who fought for and won the right for marriage between races. Noozhawk praises the beautiful poetry and Shadra’s illustrations, which they described as “vintage-style sketches…characterized by a loose, impromptu drawing style that reflects the honesty and energy of the couple’s journey together.” Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born is written by Gene Barretta and illustrated by Frank Morrison. This biographical picture book reveals the story of how the famous boxer got his start in boxing. Noozhawk calls Muhammad Ali, “lighter hearted and super fun…bold and cool,” and praises Gene’s narration for both showing Ali’s beginnings and his later battles for peace and equality. Noozhawk’s full list of recommendations can be found here. Loving Vs. Virginia can be purchased online here and Muhammad Ali can be purchased here.
Every year the Children’s Book Council (CBC) releases a list of children and YA books with social studies themes that they consider to be exceptional in storytelling, themes, diversity, and illustrations. They have recently released the preview for the 2017 list, and three of our authors and illustrators have made the list! Kindergarten to Second Grade: Lincoln and Kennedy: A Pair to Compare, by Gene Barretta Third to Fifth Grade: Grover Cleveland, Again!, written by Ken Burns and illustrated by Gerald Kelley The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Frank Morrison Congratulations, Gene, Gerald, and Frank! The full preview of recommended books for 2017 as well as more information about the selection process can be found here.
Every year, the Texas Library Association selects a list of 20 recommended books for children age two to grade two. This highly selective list is used by school and public librarians in Texas and across the country to select what books to buy for their library catalogs. K.G. Campbell‘s picture book Dylan the Villain, which tells the story of a little boy born to be a supervillain, was chosen to be on the current 2×2 list! Congratulations, K.G.! The full 2×2 list can be found on the TLA site here. Dylan the Villain can be purchased online here.
London Ladd recently participated in blogger James Preller’s “5 Questions” interview series, in which he interviews authors and illustrators on one of their recent books. In this case, Preller interviewed London Ladd on Frederick’s Journey, the biographical picture book written by Doreen Rappaport that London illustrated, which tells the life story of the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. James and London discussed London’s artistic process, diversity in children’s books, and London’s upcoming projects. London reveals details about his careful sketching process,d detailed research, and even the way that he works to understand a character by growing out his hair! Anyone who enjoys London’s work and wants to learn more about how he creates his beautiful paintings should make sure to check this detailed interview out. The full interview can be found on Preller’s blog here. Frederick’s Journey can be ordered online here.
Thunder Underground, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Josée Masse, is receiving a ton of great advance buzz, including a recent starred review from Publishers Weekly! Thunder Underground is a collection of factual and whimsical poems about the mysteries hidden underground, ranging from ant colonies to hidden treasure. Publishers Weekly writes, “Blending creativity with scientific fact, Yolen’s poems appeal to readers’ imaginations and intellects alike.” They praised Josée’s, “crisp, gently textured mixed-media illustrations.” Thunder Underground will be released in March, but until then, you can pre-order it online here.
There’s a great new review for Michael Slack‘s upcoming picture book, Turtle Tug to the Rescue. Part of his Elecopter and Monkey Truck series, Turtle Tug shows the brave turtle tug boat setting out to rescue animals on the sea when a storm hits. Booklist praises Slack’s rhyming narration and his illustrations, writing, “Slack’s rhyming lines grow more urgent with the change in weather, echoing the escalating chaos in the colorful, richly textured artwork.” They conclude that Turtle Tug is a “story that playfully emphasizes perseverance, bravery, and togetherness.” Turtle Tug will not be available to purchase until March, but you can pre-order it online here.