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.

Strong Mama by author Robin Arzon and illustrator Addy Rivera Sonda

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 11, 2022

The storyteller is an athletic expectant mother. She shares her love of exercise, running, meditation, dancing and eating right with her growing baby. Her family welcomes the new baby and another person’s life adventures begin. This book is inspiring for all moms. Illustrations are filled with healthy lifestyle and good feelings.

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.

In the Nick of Time by author Deedee Cummings and illustrator Charlene Mosley

Publisher: Make A Way Media, LLC

Publication Date: October 4, 2019

In this picture book, a reversal in name placements on an envelope lands a letter intended for Santa in the hands of a boy named Nick Saint. The letter, written by a boy named Cooper E. at Nick’s school, describes the misfortunes of the family. Cooper’s family needs a home and his mother needs a job. Nick learns that this task is larger than he can tackle alone. His parents get involved, organize a job fair and toy drive, at Nick’s school. This story teaches readers to think bigger than their wants and consider others. Illustrations pair nicely with this story.

The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 18, 2018

A boy named Jack wants a spectacular Christmas. He wants the most decorations and the biggest tree. He finds a box with an ornament in it. His mother does not want him to hang the ornament but Jack hurries to the tree and drops the ornament. His mother is upset. When nobody but Jack is around, a fairy appears from the broken ornament. She gives Jack an extravagant Christmas yet with all she can do, the fairy cannot repair the ornament. The fairy reveals the reason for Jack’s mother’s feelings and he decides that a luxurious Christmas isn’t what he needs at this time. Jack finds a way to warm his mother’s heart and the family has a wonderful Christmas. Illustrations show a range of emotions. This is another picture book that reveals a character’s growth. A story that shows that a child has to think about the feelings of others particularly the adults in their lives.

Soul Food Sunday by author Winsome Bingham and illustrator C. G. Esperanza

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: November 16, 2021

When family gathers at granny’s for Sunday dinner, one grandson decides that it is time to learn granny’s cooking rituals. The grandson dons his grandfather’s chef jacket as he stands near a photo of grandpa who had a career in the Army. He gets to work. He realizes that cooking takes much strength yet he perseveres. Granny assigns him to grate cheese, clean greens and prepare sausage, chicken and ribs for the grill. After he completes each task, granny compliments him. The result is a delicious meal shared by many. Illustrations depict brightly colored scenes of a loving family spending time together. A recipe is included.

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.

Carla and the Christmas Cornbread by author Carla Hall and illustrator Cherise Harris

Reading Age: 4 – 8 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

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

Publication Date: November 2, 2021

In this holiday picture book, readers see Carla Hall as a youngster and traditions that her family partakes in to celebrate Christmas. Grandma’s cornbread is delicious. Something special is made for Santa. It is his Christmas cookie. This year Carla can’t resist biting the cookie intended for Santa. Will Santa bypass Carla’s home? My Book Eyes enjoys taking a step back in time when viewing illustrations of hair styles, clothing, home decor and cars from the 70s. A recipe is included.

Max and the Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper

Reading Age: 3 – 7

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Puffin Books

Publication Date: March 15, 2015

Upon leaving his grandpa’s house, Max notices the moon. Grandpa assures Max that the moon will always shine for him. On the long car ride home, Max watches the moon. When the moon hides behind clouds, Max feels alone. The moon will not always shine for him. Once Max climbs into bed, the moon brightly shines again and Max is satisfied. This story resonates with many. Who has not followed the moon as a child? Mr. Cooper’s illustrations are beautiful. His talent will be missed.

Tomatoes for Neela by author Padma Lakshmi and illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal

Reading Age: 3 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: August 31, 2021

Neela likes cooking with her mother who learned to cook from Neela’s grandmother. Neela’s mother taught Neela about different types of tomatoes at the farmer’s market. They create tomato sauce, save jars of it to eat during winter and to share with her grandmother when she visits from India. At times a lot of information is shown pictorially with labels attached that will appeal to older and younger readers. The illustrator weaves facts into this children’s book in a visually pleasing way. For example, information about heirloom tomatoes show Neela’s happy face peeking through the vines. History about the origins of tomatoes is also within the story. At the end of this picture book are fun facts about tomatoes, information about farm workers, an author’s note and two recipes.