Wondering how to discuss emotions with your toddler? Need a way to open up a discussion about feelings with an older child? Here are eight superb choices to use at home, in the classroom, in a clinical setting, or anywhere in between to help jump-start a talk about how we feel and what we can do about it. Aside from being useful, many of these are just plain fun to read!
Two books that should be a part of any middle school or high school nonfiction collection are “The Life of Frederick Douglass” by David F. Walker and “1919: The Year that Changed America” by Martin W. Sandler. The books are very different; one is a graphic narrative with few photographs while the other is a compilation of photographs, text, and timelines, yet both are books about important topics. They are, surprisingly, books that complement each other.
This review was written by a junior reviewer, Jamie L., who is a fourth grader who loves to read.
“Spy Toys Out of Control” by Mark Powers is a great sequel that includes action, humor, and a little bit of mystery. Powers hooks the reader into his writing, forming a picture in the reader’s head. Once a person starts reading, this book will not be put down.
“The Secretary” by Renée Knight portrays the perfect British secretary. Christine is circumspect, loyal, devoted, and willing to give up marriage and her child to comply with Mina Appleton’s every whim and need. And Mina is a generous and caring employer — until she isn’t.
Story within a story, play within a play, movie within a movie. Authors, playwrights, and screenwriters — usually clever ones — do it often. But Lee Goldberg takes the concept several crazy steps beyond that relatively simple technique in his latest novel, “Killer Thriller.” Here, the stories wind around and through the main narrative like a long river running and twisting through a countryside. Novels inside novels, movies inside novels, movies inside movies — it’s downright dizzying — but incredibly entertaining.
“Secret in Stone” is the second book in “The Unicorn Quest” series by Kamilla Benko, and it truly is a fantasy adventure. The sisters, Claire and Sophie, are in an alternate world accessed by a chimney in their great-aunt’s house which leads to a well in the land of Arden, where magic lives.
Picture books are fabulous ways to start discussions about serious topics like friendship, discrimination, kindness, and prejudice. These three picture books are wonderful examples of books that express a wide range of messages and showcase a variety of styles of illustrations. All are excellent choices for school libraries and classrooms, as well as for any child who loves books.
“Song for a Whale” by Lynne Kelly follows her first book, the award-winning novel “Chained.” Kelly’s writing is as beautiful as ever, and the story just as touching — and perhaps more accessible to young readers as the setting is in the United States instead of India. It’s a story about Iris, who is deaf, and the connection she feels for a whale named Blue 55, who is unable to communicate with other whales.
“The Simple Art of Flying” by Cory Leonardo isn’t a simple book at all. It’s filled with an erudite African grey parrot, a feisty octogenarian, an adolescent wanna-be medical doctor, and a pet store owner who shouldn’t be allowed to own even a goldfish. This middle grade tale is filled with quirky characters — both human and not — and a sweet message of acceptance and family. And family can certainly include our non-human family members.
Shaun Tan creates another thoughtful, insightful, simple-yet-oh-so-complex picture book with “Cicada.” The plot, on one hand, is simple. As Tan writes on the inside cover of the book, “Cicada tell story. Story good. Story simple. Story even human can understand. Tok Tok Tok!”
Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, authors of “Undying,” have done a spectacular job writing a two-book sci-fi series in which both books are completely filled with action, two very likable and admirable characters, great settings, and over-the-top suspense.
In “The Curiosities,” author Susan Gloss creates a cast of characters who all come together in the home of Betsy Barrett, a deceased philanthropist, who left instructions to create a residency program, or artist colony, in her Madison, Wisconsin mansion. The main character, Nell Parker, has a PhD in art and the outstanding bills from many failed IVF attempts to have a baby, to compel her to take the job. The artists for the first session have already been chosen, and Nell will run and oversee the program.