New Picture Books from Candlewick Press for 2020
Miss Mingo and the 100th Day of School by Jamie Harper
This brightly colored STEM picture book will keep kids counting along with Miss Mingo, the graceful flamengo star of the book, and her lovely menagerie of students. I really appreciated the scientific facts that accompany each student’s 100 and the added mathematic concepts in the text is a win-win. So much to contemplate and to keep young minds engaged. The book also exemplifies compassion, friendship, diversity, exercise, mindfulness, stress reduction, and emotional control. Both readers and educators will be inspired by this joyful and creative way to celebrate this 100 Day mile-stone! Ages 4-8
Mr. Brown’s Bad Day by Lou Peacock; Illustrated by Alison Friend
Mr. Brown’s fun and friendly tiger face jumps right out at you and invites you into a chase to retrieve a briefcase that holds something very near and dear to him (be sure to pay attention to the few little jokes on the front cover.) What is in that case? This silly series of events offers just the right amount of tension and release to keep mind’s engaged and bellies laughing. Love diverse wildlife that makes up the cast of cute and animated characters. There’s a good dose of silly and light hearted fun and I appreciate the message that even grown-ups might have something to snuggle and feel comforted by. This is a lovely, simple way to take care of the self by paying attention to one’s own emotional well being. I would add this also to the category of good self image. It is a wonderful thing to stay in touch with one’s winner child. Ages 2-5
Thank you to Candlewick Press for these titles. All opinions expressed are my won.
Everyday Mindfulness: 108 Simple Practices To Empower Yourself And Transform Your Life by Melissa Steginus
This book was a pleasant surprise! I was not sure what to expect but when I received it I was thrilled at the straightforward approach and the accessibility of the exercises. The practices are geared to pull you out of any rut, misdirection or distraction that you are experiencing and offer simple ways for you to reexamine your trajectory.
This book needed to be followed and I realized that I knew a number of people who might also benefit from this journey. It inspired me to start a Facebook group so they could join in, follow the exercises within a supportive environment and notice how mindfulness can be slipped into the day, into the things we already do. The directions are easy to follow and allow you the freedom to join in as much or as little as you want. It is your journey while at the same time a group journey. I am loving the experience. In case you’d like to join in, search on Facebook for: 108 Days of Everyday Mindfulness.
I love the accessibility of this book. It is simple, practical and engaging. It opens the door to deepening mindful attention and intention as mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgement, in the service of self-understanding and inner wisdom. This book offers 108 ways to support this journey. I highly recommend it.
Thank you to TCK Publishing for sharing this book with me. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Holiday Favorites & Gift Books From Candlewick Press
My Favorite Color: I Can Only Pick One? by Aaron Becker
I learned early on that when asking children what their favorite color is, it can be as fleeting as the seasons. Today it’s yellow and sunny, then blue and free, then green like the sea, then pink and sparkly, then purple and dreamy, then red and fiery…that is the beauty of color…it is in the eye of the beholder. What you see as green, I may see as blue; colors create a deep sense of connection and individuality. This book is absolutely gorgeous and uses a very unique presentation for color exploration. Using colorful grids of small squares with varied translucent inserts and painted squares, the colors shift and transition through each speed. I am fascinated by the way color and light are played with in this creatively-designed board book. The text is simple, but the color play and discussion possibilities with this board book are endless. This is a must-add to your gift list! (Ages 4-8)
2. See the Cat Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
This book is a hoot! Poor puppy cannot seem to get the narrator to realize it’s a dog, not a cat and the funny faces, hilarious expressions and all-over silliness will keep the beginning reader laughing out loud. The stories each have the right amount of build up to keep the reader turning page after page and with the final story ending with a sense of positivity, this trio of stories is sure to leave the reader with a smile. I love the large comical dog and his unpredictable stories. This is a great addition to the beginning readers library and will surely be under the tree for my granddaughter!
3. Anatomicum Welcome to the Museum Curated by Jennifer Z. Paxton & illustrated by Katy Wiedemann
Stop what you are doing right now and get this book. I mean it! I cannot put it down! This is hands down one of the best STEAM books I have seen; I only wish it had been made 15 years ago so I could buy it for my son when he was young. But no bother….he loves it now (he’s 19!). This is a pictural trip through the human body from the outside to deep inside. It shows how a human works and has just the right amount of detail to be thorough but not overwhelming. The illustrations are gorgeously detailed and offer a peek into the wonderful world right inside our own beings. Every time I open to a new page, I am drawn into a whole new system and I can freely explore the human body in a way I have never been able to do so before! Love it! (Ages 8-12 and beyond)
4. The Language of the Universe A Visual Exploration of Mathematics by Colin Stuart; Illustrated by Ximo Abadia
I cannot get enough of this giant sized picture book dedicated to the exploration of mathematics. So often we just see math as numbers and it often scares people if they cannot grasp its concepts, but this book creates a whole new paradigm for math. By using illustrations, it breaks down math facts into appealing math nuggets and shows how math is part of the world around us. There is math in everything and if you can see this, math then becomes less frightening and so much more enjoyable. One way I taught my son about math in everyday life was by looking out the window while we were driving somewhere, choosing an item such as a flag or a wreath and then counting, sorting and guesstimating distances the whole car trip. It kept him engaged and showed him how math is all around and can be applied to everything. You do not need to be a mathematician to love math…even a knitter uses math! This is a great book to introduce math as a topic everyone can love. The 1950’s color palette of the illustrations is truly lovely! (Ages 8-12 and beyond)
5. One of a Kind A Story About Sorting and Classifying by Neil Packer
This is a book I would have definitely bought for my son when he was young. Through carefully collected pictures, this book categorizes everything from family trees, musical instruments, transportation and even how to make categories of categories. This book is the organizer and list makers dream. The illustrations have a fun, vintage feel and the simple narrative highlights the groups. THis book is perfect for the budding scientist, interior decorator or personal organizer. So much fun! (Ages 7-10)
6. Lost in the Imagination A Journey Through Nine Worlds in Nine Nights by Hiawyn Oram; illustrated by David Wyatt
One of the first graphic adventure puzzle video games I ever played was Myst. The object of the game was to solve puzzles and travel to four worlds. This book has the feel of this adventure. I love the notebook style of information taking and the illustrative details of the 9 worlds will offer hours of free creative exploration into the fantastical worlds. This book is mystical and magical and is an open ended invitation to dream big (or small if you happen to be in Lilliput, the miniature world). This is the perfect gift for anyone who is willing to look beyond the physical world and instead dig deep into their imagination. Dream worlds come to life in this book which will inspire creativity leading to hours of imaginative play. A picture book aimed at the older child (and what adult isn’t an “older child” in disguise?) is a magical offering to help keep their inner child alive. (Ages 8-12 and beyond)
Jasmine Green Rescues: A Kitten Called Holly by Helen Peters; illustrated by Ellie Snowdon (ages 7-9)
This was a very well written children’s chapter book that has a real-life feel. The family is relatable and the kids are a wonderful representation of people who are caring, kind and wholesome but do at times make the wrong choices. The family dynamics are good and problems are able to be solved with careful thought. I appreciate the main element of kindness to animals and how good friends can do more together than just play video games. This is a bit like All Creatures Great and Small for the young generation. A great primer for a child who might be interested in a career in animal care but above all, I felt the flow of anticipation and resolution kept the story very interesting. I see it is part of the Jasmine Rescue Series and I can see this being a great gift for an avid lover of animals. The accompanying sweet pencil drawings by Ellie Snowden add the perfect element to the story and present the characters in a very pleasing light. The addition of a holiday element adds a nice festive backdrop to this story.
Peppa Pig and the Day of Giving Thanks by Candlewick Entertainment (ages 2-5)Peppa and her diverse cast of characters are back just in time for Thanksgiving, yet this book will fit in perfectly anytime of the year. Gratitude is something to practice everyday and by taking a moment to slow down to appreciate the little things in life, especially when a rainy day ends with a rainbow although in this case, it ends with a giant mud-hole, is positively the essence of being thankful. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder! Additionally, the book jacket reverses to reveal a ready-to-color poster. This book is bright and cheery and will warm the hearts of Peppa fans all over the world. I recommend this book as a fun way to remember to stop and smell the roses and as a life lesson in learning that disappointment can change to happiness in just a blink of an eye.
Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.