The Bench by author Meghan The Duchess of Sussex and illustrator Christian Robinson

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

A mother looks out her window and views a dad and young son near a bench in the yard. She tells her story in rhyme about experiences both males will share over time. The illustrator creates diverse dyads of fathers and sons throughout the book with a variety of benches to fit the scenes. Stability, comfort, rest, joy, victory and many other of life’s variations are shared in this beautifully written and illustrated picture book.

You’re the Hugs to My Kisses by author Barbara Herndon and illustrator Diane Ewen

Grade Level: 1 – 2

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Publication Date: January 4, 2022

Endearing bonds between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, adults, friends, siblings, owner and pet are depicted in a variety of scenarios. Illustrations are uplifting with fun sprinkled in. Diverse people are shown throughout this rhyming picture book.

I Love Strawberries by author Shannon Anderson and illustrator Jaclyn Sinquett

Reading Age: 4 – 8

Grade Level: 1 – 2

Publisher: Feeding Minds Press

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Julie enjoys eating strawberries. She wants to grow them. Jolie shows her parents that she is responsible. She earns money to buy the seeds and grows a strawberry patch. She diligently tends to her garden, documenting her experiences in a journal. Is she prepared for strawberry patch invaders? Illustrations are warm with a touch of red on pages. Diverse characters are shown. Readers and listeners will enjoy learning about how to grow this scrumptious fruit. Backmatter includes information about growing strawberries and pest control.

One Good Night ’til Easter by author Frank J. Berrios III and illustrator Ramon Olivera

Reading Age: Baby – 3

Grade Level: Preschool and up

Publisher: LB Kids

Publication Date: February 8, 2022

In this rhyming board book, diverse children and their families get ready for Easter. There are treats to make, cards to create, eggs to decorate and to find, chocolate to taste, guests to welcome and new outfits to wear. The illustrations are bright and leave readers and listeners feeling happy. A fun read.

Jayden’s Impossible Garden by author Melina Mangal and illustrator Ken Daley

Reading Age: 4 – 9 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

Publication Date: March 5, 2021

A boy named Jayden lives in the city. He enjoys nature and sees it around him in the weather, his collections of stones and branches, and by observing birds and squirrels. Jayden discovers that his neighbor, Mr. Curtis, also enjoys nature. Spring arrives and the two neighbors spend time together listening to each others stories, building a fort, and planting flowers in reusable materials. Their garden attracts other neighbors who are glad to see nature sprouting.Illustrations are attractive. The book includes author and illustrator notes, information about insects and animals displayed in this book and information about recyclable crafts to make. My Book Eyes enjoyed seeing a warm relationship between a youngster and an older person with a disability and the emphasis on common interests.

Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Reading Age: 10 years and up

Grade Level: 5 – 9

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Publication Date: September 10, 2019

This non-fiction children’s book highlights 50 diverse women from around the globe who have contributed to the history of art from 1200 to present. Their struggles and triumphs are highlighted in their descriptions. Under each illustration is a quote from the artist. The page spreads include an illustration of the artist and information about the artist. There is a matching color theme for the 2 page spread which is attractive. There is a timeline. This is a valuable resource for all bookshelves.

Nana Akua Goes to School by author Tricia Elam Walker and illustrator April Harrison

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool -3

Publisher: Anne Schwartz Books

Publication Date: June 16, 2020

This is a heartwarming story about a girl named Zura who is uneasy about bringing her grandmother, Nana Akua, to school for Grandparent’s Day to discuss what makes her special with Zura’s diverse classmates. Nana Akua has facial markings called Adinkra symbols that the other grandparents do not have and Zura is worried that her classmates will make fun of her grandmother. Readers learn that Nana Akua, born in Ghana was given those marks as a child to represent the tribe that her family belongs to as well as to symbolize beauty and confidence. Dressed in African clothing and armed with a quilt decorated with Adrinka symbols, the two head to school. Nana Akua comfortably discusses her culture and gets the students and other grandparents involved by allowing them to choose symbols from the quilt that she paints on their faces. My Book Eyes appreciates the way Nana Akua uses a hands on approach to include others in her cultural experience. Illustrations are ladened with texture with some items representing African culture sprinkled throughout Zura’s home. A terrific picture book to educate people about culture.

A Friend Like You by authors Frank Murphy and Charnaie Gordon and illustrator Kayla Harren

Reading Age: 5 – 8

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 3

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Publication Date: August 15, 2021

What is a friend? People connect with each other for different reasons. Whether it is short term, long term, for external or internal reasons or for causes no one else can understand except those involved, people bond. This picture book explores several ways that people can be friends. My Book Eyes learned much from this book. Illustrations are of diverse people with a host of scenarios for eyes to explore. A catalyst for discussions and projects centered around friendships and getting along with others.

And That’s Why She’s My Mama by Tiarra Nazario

Reading Age: 7 – 8 years

Publisher: Tiarra Nazario

Publication Date: March 15, 2018

In this rhyming picture book, the reader learns why mamas are special. Whether they encompass getting ready in the morning, going off to school, accepting wins and loses, taking care of the sick, helping to make treats to name a few, mamas are there. This book depicts mothers and children with different ages, abilities, skin tones, and hair textures/colors which are realities for many families whether they are biologically related, adopted or foster families. This book is a must in libraries.

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.