A boy doesn’t think he will enjoy his family reunion. He would rather stay home and play video games. He goes. He sees folks that look like him and hears stories of family members’ accomplishments. He plays games with cousins, eats good food, participates in a dance contest. The family goes to church the next day. To his surprise, he looks forward to the next family reunion. Illustrations depict positive interactions between relatives. My Book Eyes likes the warmth that exudes from this picture book.
Readers and viewers experience life through the senses (mainly smell) of a girl from Philippine ancestry. Her summers are filled with scents of stone fruit, jasmine, fingerpaint and trouble until grandma (Lola) arrives from the Philippines. Lola adds scents to the air of mango jam, sampaguita, dried squid, milk candy, wooden beads, cassava cake, suman, sisig, kalamansi pie, lumpia, kamayan, stuffed milkfish to name many. The storyteller also adds scents that are more common to the masses such as chlorine at the pool, tennis balls, sunscreen, salty swimsuits, limes, garlic, fireworks, warm summer rain, cherry ice cream cones and freshly sharpened pencils. Illustrations are vivid on a white background. Happiness throughout the visit and sadness during the departure are seen but the girl adapts as the story transitions to a new school year. My Book Eyes enjoyed this picture book with the addition of another culture to enlighten about diverse and shared experiences.
Farmer Brown has a pond but no pool. His brother Bob has the opposite. Farmer Brown and his farm animals join Bob in his pool. All animals jump in except the cows who are picky about noise and crowds. Everyone leaves the pool and give the cows a chance to enjoy the pool. Now things that annoyed the cows no longer do and everyone jumps into the pool! Some counting is included. Repetitive words help those learning to read. Illustrations are in Ms. Lewin’s style which makes this early reader enjoyable.
A mother and baby watch from the window as dad and daughter go outside. Dad teaches her to ride a bike. She learns to try again when she falls. Dad is very supportive. Many verbs in this children’s rhyming picture book will expand vocabularies. The story ends on a sweet note with the family enjoying a bike ride together. Illustrations show the struggles and triumphs of this momentous occasion in a child’s life.
In this picture book, a son named Danny relishes dressing up in costumes with his dad. The father-son pair go many places in their community as rockets, sea creatures, wizards, superheroes to name a few. Danny notices that other dads do not dress-up. He wants his dad to be like them. Danny’s dad does not wear a costume at Danny’s birthday party. The children enjoy the party but want to be chased around by the man who wears the costumes. Danny realizes that he likes his dad in costume and the party fun begins! Illustrations are adorable and capture the close relationship between the two. Diverse characters are shown. A book about a father, a son and fun that can be read anytime of the year.
Abraham Lincoln presented the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 freeing slaves in southern confederate states. Many slaves did not realize they were free. Unlike today, communications in the 1800s travelled slowly. It wasn’t until June 19, 1865 when Major General Gordon Granger presented General Order No.3 in Galveston, Texas that slaves were notified of their freedom. This early reader discusses the history of Juneteenth for children learning to read. Illustrations are filled with emotion and events pre and post Juneteenth’s beginning.
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.
When Alton Yates was a youngster in Florida, his neighbor, Mr. Jeffcoat talked to him about his days serving his country in World War I. When Alton got to junior high school, Air Force Captain Daniel James visited Alton’s school and discussed being an American warrior. Alton was impressed with the fact that the Air Force was the first armed forces to be integrated. He enlisted and met Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Stapp who was involved in research. This captivated Alton. Alton became one of the subjects who rode in machines to find out their impact on humans. After 4 years in the Air Force Alton’s family needed him at home. When Alton returned to Florida, he found that overt racism still existed. Jim Crow thrived. Alton got involved with the NAACP Youth Council and participated in lunch counter sit-ins. This picture book biography is another fascinating perspective to add to a libraries collection. It is beautifully illustrated with large illustrations which are wonderful to view when in a group. Range of emotions are easily understood. Included at the end of this book are a timeline, author and illustrator notes and selected sources.
In the 1930’s in Hawaii, some parents worked on a sugar plantation. Their children busied themselves by swimming in a ditch. Sometimes police would chase them away from the ditch. A science teacher named Soichi Sakamoto decided to take responsibility for the children while they swam. He coached them in swimming. Eventually a swimming pool was built where young swimmers trained for the Olympics. Bill Smith won gold metals in the 1948 Olympics. This picture book is succinctly told in rhyme. Illustrations are attractive. An author’s note is included.
From the start readers and listeners will notice that Kate is trying to remember the differences between alphabet letters. Shortly therafter we learn of Kate‘s mother’s reluctance to allow Kate to spend the summer alone with her grandparents. Kate has Down syndrome. Her grandmother convinces Kate’s mother to let her go. Kate’s grandfather delivers groceries by boat. Immediately Kate is introduced to her grandparent’s occupation as she accompanies the delivery trips. Her grandmother teaches Kate to steer the boat. When grandfather gets sick, Kate takes the reins and makes grandfather’s deliveries. My Book Eyes likes seeing the perception of Kate change to someone who can take on more responsibilities than society may have thought she could. Varied illustrations add information to this story . This is an Ezra Jack Keats Best New Writer Award winner for 2021.