Granny’s Kitchen by author Sade Smith and illustrator Ken Daley

Reading Age: 3 – 6 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 1

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: July 12, 2022

On the Caribbean island of Jamaica, when a young girl named Shelly-Ann gets hungry, she asks her grandmother to make a Jamaican dish. Each time, Shelly-Ann’s grandmother shows her how to make a meal, Shelly-Ann’s cooking is faulty i.e. too soft, mushy, burnt, salty. One day the grandmother is too tired to cook so the girl demonstrates her independence in the kitchen and cooks her grandmother a breakfast that isn’t as good as her grandmother’s but considering that this is only Shelly-Ann’s second time cooking the foods, they both find the meal tasty. Children and adults will appreciate the child’s determination to be as good of a cook as granny but it will take practice as it took granny many years to perfect her culinary skills. There are 4 recipes included for fried or boiled dumplings, ackee, saltfish and fried plantains. Additionally fun facts about Jamaica are added at the back of this picture book. Illustrations are eye-catching and suit the story. Due to the added recipes, an older child could definitely benefit from this book.

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone


Reading Age: 9 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

In this middle grade novel, an 11 year old boy nicknamed Scoob has his share of school related problems. Additionally, he is mixed heritage and brown skinned with a white or pale skinned grandmother. They adore each other. Grandmother takes Scoob on a roadtrip through southern states and educates him about 1960’s events related to the African American experience. Grandmother relives a trip that could not be completed with Scoob’s grandfather in the 1960s because he was a brown skinned man and society frowned upon mixed relationships. The author unravels a grandmother who would be respected anywhere because of skin color but with a life lived of poverty and continuous criminal activity. Readers learn that she educates her grandson about racism but contributed to it in her past. Scoob’s dad who was reared by only his mother now is rearing Scoob singly. Interesting reading to keep pages turning. Text is appropriate for this targeted age group. Black and white illustrations dispersed throughout give eyes extra facts and details to look at. A good class discussion book. Looking forward to a sequel.

The Leaping Laddoo by author Harshita Jerath and illustrator Kamala M. Nair

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Publication Date: March 1, 2022

In India, Mrs. Kapoor plans to make a big laddoo for her husband. As soon as she rolls the mixture into a ball, the laddoo comes to life and dashes out the door and down the street. Laddoo encounters many people who want to capture it but laddoo is too fast similar to the Gingerbread Man. Through illustrations and words readers and onlookers are introduced to some of India’s culture such as but not limited to the marketplace, common animals, clothing, the sport called cricket, a wedding, and chaiwala. Illustrations are vibrant and transport viewers to India. There are a glossary and ladoo recipe in the back of the book. My Book Eyes was surprised and satisfied with the ending.

Saturday by Oge Mora

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 22, 2019

The only day of the week that Ava and her mother have to enjoy time together are Saturdays. Unfortunately things don’t always go as planned. All scheduled events were ruined one Saturday. Storytime at the library – cancelled. New hairdos – drenched. Puppet show tickets – forgotten at home. Ava is mature and consoles her mother who feels awful. The two salvage the day by spending quality time at home for the remainder of the day. Gorgeous collage illustrations show vivid scenery and sentiments.

The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen Kids

Diverse youngsters create homemade foods that are often store bought such as ketchup and strawberry sauce in this cookbook. Included are over 100 recipes for everyday staples, snacks, sweets, drinks and do it yourself mixes such as oatmeal, pancake, waffles, brownies. Imagine creating ice cream, fudge sauce and sprinkles from scratch, Yum! All recipes have been made by other 8 – 12 year olds to determine feasibility of cooking tasks. Science facts about ingredients are added. Photographs of foods and procedures are clearly viewed.

Bubbles…Up! by author Jacqueline Davies and illustrator Sonia Sanchez

Reading Age: 4 – 8

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

On a hot day, dive into a poetically written picture book about spending time at a pool. A young girl and other pool patrons frolic and show off their agility. Lots of movement throughout. Underwater illustrations are a must see. Despite the good times, issues arise. A thunderstorm occurs and all evacuate the water until the storm subsides. A toy is rescued. Diverse children have fun together.

Look Out, Leonard! by author Jessie James and illustrator Tamara Anegon

Reading Age: 3 – 5 years

Publisher: DK Children

publication Date: March 2, 2021

It is time for the Shrew family to move to a new home. The Shrews walk in single file holding onto each other’s tails. Leonard, the last Shrew with seemingly the worst vision keeps grabbing the tails of other jungle animals and romps through slapstick types of experiences seemingly enjoying the series of encounters. When his family is in danger, Leonard’s lighthearted antics saves and reunites them. A funny read that introduces children to 6 different animals (including the shrew). Children will love yelling, “Look out, Leonard!” when Leonard is in a bind. Attractive foliage with clearly depicted characters. In the end there is added information about shrews.

Stella Keeps the Sun Up by author Clothilde Ewing and illustrator Lynn Gaines

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Denene Millner Books/ Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 2, 2022

An enterprising girl named Stella decides that the best times are had when the sun is out. With the help of a stuffed toy hippo named Roger, Stella strives to keep the sun from setting. Her antics will make readers and onlookers laugh however to a young child Stella’s ideas maybe ingenious i.e. offering coffee to the sun so that it stays up, shining a flashlight on the sun, trying to confuse the sun about time, inviting the sun to stay up to name some of her deeds. Feelings for her best friend Kamrynn who moved across the world and sleeps when Stella is awake and visa versa makes Stella realize that if the sun stays out where Stella lives then Kamrynn will always be in darkness. This book is good for bedtime and as an introduction to the topic of how the sun works. The sparkles on the book cover and color combinations in illustrations are pleasing to view.

Dumpling Day by author Meera Sriram, illustrator Ines de Antunano and contributor Laurel P. Jackson


Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Publication Date: October 29, 2021

Enjoy a feast of dumplings from around the world in this rhyming picture book. Ten families prepare dumplings that originate from their homelands of USA, Nigeria, India, China, Syria, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Russia and Israel. They share their foods at a potluck. Counting dumplings from 1 -10 occurs. The end of the book includes 10 recipes for each type of dumpling as well as a map pinpointing recipe birthplaces. Illustration style reminds My Book Eyes of folk art and is a great match for this picture book.

Nigel and the Moon by author Antwan Eady and illustrator Gracey Zhang

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Pubisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: February 21, 2022

At home at night, a youngster named Nigel speaks to the moon about careers he wants to have when he grows up. In school, Nigel does not share the same skin color as his classmates. In books, he does not see people with his skin color as dancers, astronauts or superheroes. He sits quietly in class and does not participate in career day conversations. He is embarrassed to talk about his parents’ occupations. To Nigel’s surprise, his parents appear on the last day of career week and proudly discuss their occupations and their feelings for Nigel in front of the class. This event gives Nigel the fortitude to speak to his classmates about his aspirations. Scenes and feelings in illustrations are easily read.

Nigel and the Moon was selected by Jumpstart Read for the Record 2022 to be read nationally on October 27, 2022. https://www.jstart.org/read-for-the-record/