Off to See the Sea by author Nikki Grimes and illustrator Elizabeth Zunon

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Date: January 12, 2021

In this picture book, My Book Eyes feels transported to a tropical island when a mother and child enjoy bathtime via imaginary scenarios. Mesmerized children will quickly turn pages to investigate the action packed fun that awaits.The author uses poetic devices to energize this tale about a familiar activity. Vivid and contrasting patterns weave through the text and illustrations. A must read.

William Wakes Up by author Linda Ashman and illustrator Chuck Groenink

Reading Age: 3-5 years

Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

In this rhyming picture book, hibernation is over and a bluebird is returning to enjoy the warmer spring weather. William and his animal friends roll out of bed one by one to tidy up. They work together except for Raccoon who decides to stay in bed. A cake is baked to welcome bluebird. Raccoon is ready to eat however his friends are his jury and decide that Raccoon did not work enough to enjoy the treat until Raccoon agrees to help with the last chore. Bluebird needs nests built for the birds that are returning and everyone, including Raccoon, help build. Rhyming text will help listeners and readers remember the story. Some early math skills are included i.e. when the animals roll out of bed. Illustrations and text are great introductions to the meaning of spring for this age group.

Princess Arabella is a Big Sister by author/illustrator Mylo Freeman

Reading Age: 3 – 6 years

Grade Level: Preschool-2

Publisher: Cassava Republic Press

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

This story begins with Princess Arabella playing alone in her room and wishing that she had a brother or sister to play with her. When she approaches her parents about a sibling, they ask her selection, a brother or sister. She isn’t sure so she makes some observations when she visits her friends with brothers or sisters. Both seem pleasant and annoying. After Princess Arabella decides that maybe she is better without siblings, her parents give her double treats! This is an enjoyable book. Illustrations with white backgrounds make it easy to discern details on pages.

Let’s Play Basketball! by author Charles R. Smith Jr. and illustrator Terry Widener

Reading Age: 2- 5 years

Publisher: Candlewick

Publication Date: July 8, 2004

This rhyming picture book is told from a basketball’s point of view. It wants to go outside. Text is filled with action verbs mentioning moves the ball could do outdoors with its owner. Illustrations are vivid and depict ball’s movements. A good book for children learning to read. Also, this book can be used to engage youngsters in movement activities.

The Teachers March!: How Selma’s Teachers Changed History by authors Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace and illustrator Charly Palmer

Reading Age: 7 – 10 years

Grade Level: 2-5

Publisher: Calkins Creek

Publication Date: September 29, 2020

In the 1960s when blacks were not allowed to vote but were allowed to teach about the Constitution of the United States in the segregated south, Reverend F. D. Reese, also a high school science teacher, wanted change. He was familiar with being chased away from the courthouse when he and protesters marched there. Frustrated, he had an idea to get teachers to march for voting rights. After all, teachers were looked highly upon in the community. Educators feared loosing their jobs however with so many of them marching, could they all be fired? Especially when marching was against the law in Selma, Alabama. A visit from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assured marchers that they were on the right path. During the Civil Rights Era many groups marched. The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. My Book Eyes liked the drama and tension in the text and illustrations that beckoned pages to turn. Included in this nonfiction picture book are an author’s note, illustrator’s note, Timeline, Selected Bibliography, a list of In-Person Visits and a Learn More About the Teachers’ March section.

Snowy Race by author April Jones Prince and illustrator Christine Davenier

Reading Age: 3 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books

Publication Date: November 26, 2019

In this rhyming picture book, viewers follow a little girl from the time she wakes up until the time she arrives back home. They also watch a snowstorm get progressively worse then slow down with more snow to come. The youngster accompanies her dad in a snowplow on their way to meet her mom. Illustrations are large and easy to see from a distance. The story moves quickly making it a good one to read to young ones and groups.

Mmmmm! Soup Joumou! by author Carline Smothers and illustrator Fuuji Takashi

Reading Age: baby – 10 years

Grade Level: 0 to grade 5

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition

Publication Date: June 5, 2017

In this picture book, a young girl partakes in the celebration of Haiti’s Independence Day by shopping with her family for soup joumou ingredients then watching the preparation of the soup. She learns about the soup’s significance. The family enjoys the meal. The colors and artwork in this book are warm and attractive. All details are easily discernible. The text is enough information for a young child. For an older child, extra research about Haiti’s Independence Day as well as varied recipes for soup joumou would increase knowledge about this important day in history.

Sophie Washington: Queen of the Bee by Tonya Duncan Ellis

Grade Level: 2 – 6

Reading Age: 8 – 12 years

Publisher: Page Turner Publishing; Illustrated edition 

Publication Date: November 28, 2018

In this middle grade chapter book, 10 year old Sophie from Texas has no desire to be on the school spelling bee until she is challenged by a classmate named Nathan. Her parents encourage Sophie to excel. Sophie shows that focusing on a goal then working to achieve that goal can bring desired results. In addition to the spelling bee, readers learn about Sophie’s life which includes a loving family, a sometimes annoying little brother, and events at her private school but all is not perfect. At times Sophie finds herself having to face uncomfortable situations that she perceives will be horrible however once the event occurs she manages.

Christmas in Lagos by author Sharon Abimbola Salu and illustrator Maria Nikla

Publisher: Independently published

Publication Date: November 13, 2019

Ranti, a girl living in Lagos, Nigeria, worries when her classmates share that they are traveling during the school break. Her family will not be traveling. What will she do in her hometown? Her teacher advises Ranti to document her activities in a journal during vacation time. From December 16-December 25, Ranti is amazed at how many events she and her family partake in including greeting family members at the airport, attending a wedding, meeting Father Christmas, and attending a Christmas Concert to name a few. The illustrations use vivid and high contrasting colors and are displayed in a variety of ways from vignettes to full spreads, etc. Many details are seen in the artwork. This picture book will keep readers and listeners engaged and coming back to read again and again.

MasterChef Junior Bakes!: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Bakers: A Baking Book by MasterChef Junior

Reading Level: 7 – 9 years

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Publication Date: October 8, 2019

This cookbook features photographs and tips from the contestants on the MasterChef television show. These youngsters range in age from 8 years to 13 years. The foods are delectable and are easy to more complex to prepare. In addition to baked goods this cookbook includes puddings, custards and ice creams. A getting prepared section enlightens young chefs about how to bake safely and cleanly. Additionally home challenges and science of baking are included.