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Kat Hats

2022

by Daniel Pinkwater and Aaron Renier

"A wild picture book starring a world-renowned cat, his trainer, a cast of quirky characters from award-winning creators Daniel Pinkwater and Aaron Renier Thermal Herman 6-7/8 is the top Kat Hat in Matt Katz’s company. A trained cat who is able to form himself into specialty hats, Thermal Herman is world-renowned for his warmth and agility. When a friend wanders off with a brain freeze and finds themself in peril, Thermal Herman must rush in to save the day in this zany and cleverly illustrated picture book, sure to make young readers giggle with every page." -- publisher

Incidental

48 Grasshopper Estates

2021

by Sara de Waal and Erika Medina

"A little girl uses imagination and inventiveness to spread friendship through her community. But will she find a friend of her own? Whether it’s a supersonic sandwich maker or a twelve-tailed dragon, Sicily Bridges can make almost anything from materials she finds around her apartment complex. But when it comes to making friends, Sicily has yet to find the perfect fit. With a diverse cast of characters brought to life by illustrator Erika Medina, Sara de Waal’s whimsical debut emphasizes the power of imagination and finding companionship where you least expect it." -- publisher

Any Child Cross Group

A Boy Named Isamu

2021

by James Yang

"With stunning artwork and heart-singing text, the 2020 winner of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award brings to life the imagination of Isamu Noguchi. Winner of the Theordor Seuss Geisel Award in 2020 for Stop! Bot!, James Yang imagines a day in the boyhood of Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi. Wandering through an outdoor market, through the forest, and then by the ocean, Isamu sees things through the eyes of a young artist…but also in a way that many children will relate. Stones look like birds. And birds look like stones. Through colorful artwork and exquisite text, Yang translates the essence of Noguchi so that we can all begin to see as an artist sees." -- publisher

Any Child

A Day for Rememberin’

2021

by Leah Henderson and Floyd Cooper

"A moving tribute to the little-known history behind the first Memorial Day, illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award winner Floyd Cooper Today is a special day. Eli knows it’s important if he’s allowed to miss one second of school, his “hard-earned right.” Inspired by true events and told through the eyes of a young boy, this is the deeply moving story about what is regarded as the first Memorial Day on May 1, 1865. Eli dresses up in his best clothes, Mama gathers the mayflowers, Papa straightens his hat, and together they join the crowds filling the streets of Charleston, South Carolina, with bouquets, crosses, and wreaths. Abolitionists, missionaries, teachers, military officers, and a sea of faces Black, Brown, and White, they march as one and sing for all those who gave their lives fighting for freedom during the Civil War. With poignant prose and celebratory, powerful illustrations, A Day for Rememberin’ shines light on the little-known history of this important holiday and reminds us never to forget the people who put their lives on the line for their country. The book is illustrated by award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper and includes archival photos in the back matter, as well as an author’s note, bibliography, timeline, and index." -- publisher

Beautiful Life Informational

A Sky-Blue Bench

2021

by Bahram Rahman and Peggy Collins

"A young Afghani amputee matter-of-factly removes her own barrier to education, building a bench from discarded wood so that she and her “helper-leg” can sit through school in comfort. It's Afghani schoolgirl Aria's first day back at school since her accident. She's excited, but she's also worried about sitting on the hard floor all day with her new prosthetic "helper-leg." Just as Aria feared, sitting on the floor is so uncomfortable that she can't think about learning at all. She knows that before the war changed many things in Afghanistan, schools like hers had benches for students to sit at. If she had a bench, her leg would not hurt so much. The answer is obvious: she will gather materials, talk to Kaka Najar, the carpenter in the old city, and learn to build a bench for herself. In A Sky-Blue Bench, Bahram Rahman, author of The Library Bus, returns again to the setting of his homeland, Afghanistan, to reveal the resilience and resolve of young children—especially young girls—who face barriers to education. Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author's note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan, which has the highest concentration of landmines of any country in the world." -- publisher

Oppression & Resilience

Arlo Draws an Octopus

2021

by Lori Mortensen

"An empowering picture book about creativity, making mistakes, and changing your perspective When Arlo decides to draw an octopus, he can’t help but think that maybe he’s just not an octopus drawer. His drawing has a head that looks like a hill and eight squiggly arms that look like roads. It’s an octopus disaster-piece! But just as Arlo vows to never draw an octopus again, he makes a discovery that changes his perspective about his drawing . . . and much more. This endearing and relatable story gives readers of all ages a gentle reminder that we’re better than we may think. Sometimes all it takes is a second look." -- publisher

Any Child

Astronaut Training

2021

by Aneta Cruz and Olivia Aserr

"When Astrid’s first space mission goes disastrously wrong, she realizes she needs a bit more training than she thought! Astrid is training to go to space! But as she builds her shuttle, cooks astronaut food, and practices floating in zero gravity, Dad tells Astrid that the ship’s construction is too dangerous, she’s too little to cook alone, and she’s not allowed to flood the bathroom. That night, when Astrid dreams she’s an astronaut, the challenges she encounters are overwhelming. Astrid realizes she isn’t as ready as she thought. Back on Earth, Astrid turns to her loving and supportive Dad, who helps Astrid continue her astronaut training." -- publisher

Any Child

Birds On Wishbone Street

2021

by Suzanne Del Rizzo

"From the author of New York Times Notable picture book My Beautiful Birds, former Syrian refugee Sami finds a sense of home in a new place by caring for a bird with a new friend A simple act of neighborly kindness and a bird that needs their aid helps former refugee Sami settle into his new community with new-found friend Moe Moe’s neighbors on Wishbone Street come from all over the world, and she’s excited to meet the new boy who just arrived from Syria. Sami isn’t quite ready to talk about his past, but he loves birds just as much as Moe does. And who wouldn’t have fun in a parkette full of packing snow? When the children discover a female cardinal stunned by the cold, Sami uses his experience taking care of pigeons in Syria to help rescue the bird—an incident that helps Sami to feel more at home. In Birds on Wishbone Street, author/illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo demonstrates the power of an act of kindness, telling a story about finding home and making friends in new places. Illustrated with her signature polymer clay art, the story revisits characters from Del Rizzo’s New York Times Notable My Beautiful Birds and reminds us that we’re all more similar than we are different." -- publisher

Cross Group

Bloom

2021

by Anne Booth and Robyn Wilson-Owen

"There was once a beautiful flower and a little girl who loved it. She talked to it every morning on her way to school. The owner of the flower shouted at her. The next day, the flower did not open. The angry man didn't understand. He tried watering it. He tried giving it shade and he tried talking to it. He told it how wonderful he was, how important his job was and how lonely he felt. But it still refused to open. So, he asked the little girl. "Why don't you tell it how wonderful it is and how much you love it?" she said. As he did so, his own heart filled with love. And the flower bloomed." -- publisher

Any Child

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