Stitch by Stitch: Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley Sees Her Way to Freedom by author Connie Schofield -Morrison and illustrator Elizabeth Zunon

Reading Age: 7 – 10 years

Grade Level: 2 – 5

Publisher: Holiday House

Publication Date: November 9, 2021

In this picture book biography, we follow the life of Elizabeth Hobbs from her birth into slavery in Virginia until her death. Elizabeth learned to sew from her mother Agnes. This book unveils harsh realities of slave life i.e. Being beaten for grieving instead of hiding feelings behind smiling faces or being sold and having to do the work of three people. As a slave, Elizabeth and her son were sent to live in St. Louis where she made clothes for the wealthy. She became popular. Her clients raised money for Elizabeth to buy freedom for both her and her son. Elizabeth repaid her clients and moved to Washington, D.C. She made dresses for the wives of leaders including Mrs. Lincoln. Over time Elizabeth became instrumental in helping former slaves who came to DC. She founded the Ladies Relief Contraband Association which gave food, clothing and shelter. Elizabeth had a dress shop that provided jobs for women. She wrote a book about her life as a slave as well as her years working in the White House. She worked at Wilberforce University teaching sewing. Mixed media illustrations depict lovely gowns and artistry throughout the book.

Slug in Love by author Rachel Bright and illustrator Nadia Shireen

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Publication Date: December 14, 2021

Doug, a slug, needs a hug. Which bug will honor Doug with a hug? In this rhyming picture book, readers and listeners meet different bugs who deny Doug a hug. They learn words associated with slugs like slimy. My Book Eyes likes the repetitive vocabulary for children learning to read. The ending is surprising. Illustrations are large and add humor to this book that can be read all year long.

Stacey’s Extraordinary Words by author Stacey Abrams and illustrator Kitt Thomas

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: December 28, 2021

In this picture book, young Stacey occupies her time by learning about different words. Her drive to read, spell and pronounce words attracts Stacey’s teacher’s attention. Stacey is surprised when her teacher invites her to participate in a spelling bee but she is shocked when she learns that a school bully will also be one of the contestants. Readers and listeners will sit on the edge of their seats waiting to find out who will win the spelling bee. My Book Eyes cherishes illustrations of a supportive mother. Illustrations show diverse characters. The message that life has its ups and downs but perseverance is key is encouraging.

Love the World by Todd Parr

Reading Age: Baby – 3 years

Grade Level: Preschool and up

Publisher: LB Kids

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

Children learn to love themselves and a variety of things in the world. They learn to help others by giving and having a voice. Many positive messages in this rhyming board book from land to sea. Children around the world will enjoy this book. The illustrations and their color combinations are adorable.