Six Picture Books for Older Kids: Books to Think About

Picture books aren’t just for babies. There are many thoughtful, informational picture books that are wonderful reads for children of all ages. Here are just a few.

god bless america“God Bless America: The Story of an Immigrant Named Irving Berlin” is a very timely nonfiction picture book by Adah Nuchi and illustrated by Rob Polivka. The author is the daughter of immigrants, and this book is chock-full of references to the contributions of immigrants to our country. And the man who wrote such American classics as “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” “Blue Skies,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” to mention just a few, was an immigrant. In fact, Izzy Baline, more famously known as Irving Berlin, was a prolific, brilliant songwriter. Yet his family escaped from Russia where Jews were being persecuted, and they came to America with their children, their work ethic, and nothing else. When Berlin’s father died, the family was even more in need. So young Berlin went to work, kept writing songs, and eventually sold one, which led to more work. As much as this story is about Irving Berlin, it’s also very much a story about the contributions that immigrants make to our great country. Nuchi writes, “And while some people didn’t like that the voice of America belonged to an immigrant and a Jew, most people felt that a refugee was just the right person to celebrate the hope America held.” Ain’t that the truth. (Disney-Hyperion)

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From Robins to Band-aids: Nonfiction Picture Books Perfect for Summer Reading

Just because it’s summer and the sun is shining doesn’t mean it’s time to stop reading. Not with all the fabulous books out there that children will love and that will keep them learning new information. From animals who build shelters to the man who invents a way to make bandages to help his accident-prone wife, here are a bunch of books to make your summer a bit more interesting!

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‘Drawn Together’ by Minh Lê and Dan Santat Is a Picture Book About the Power of Art (and Love) to Break Barriers

drawn together

“Drawn Together” by Minh Lê and Dan Santat is a truly touching, beautifully written and brilliantly illustrated picture book about bridging the gap that language and generations can cause. The story is simple; the presentation is not.

The first three pages of the story have no text, but none is needed. A boy visits his grandfather. He does not look happy to be there, but they bow politely to each other. The grandfather smiles widely and invites his grandson in, and the next page shows the meals they are eating.

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6 Picture Books that Will Encourage Thought, Compassion, and Discussion about Diversity

Summer is a time of leisure, and a time when long sun-filled days might just give parents more time to read and reflect on books with their children. Here are many picture books that kids will love, and parents will love to discuss with those kids. They would be great choices for library read aloud time or for classrooms in the fall. All share wonderful messages. Continue reading

‘Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind’

write to me

A beautifully written, touching picture book about a shameful period of American history is “Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind” by Cynthia Grady and illustrated by Amiko Hirao.

The book includes pictures from that time of children wearing identification tags and families with their belongings (they were only allowed to bring what they could carry). At the heart of the story is Clara Breed, a children’s librarian in San Diego County where many Japanese American families lived. She formed relationships with her patrons, and when they told her that they were going to be imprisoned because they were of Japanese descent, she gave them postcards so they could keep in contact with her.

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‘Whale in a Fishbowl’ by Troy Howell & Richard Jones Is a Touching Picture Book about Belonging

whale in a fishbowl

“Whale in a Fishbowl” By Troy Howell and Richard Jones is a picture book that children will love. They will intuitively know that whales don’t belong in fishbowls. They will know that Wednesday, the whale who lives in a huge fishbowl in the middle of the busy city certainly does not belong there.

And Wednesday knows that — deep down. But the fishbowl is the only home she has ever known. When she occasionally catches a glimpse of the sea, her heart leaps, although she doesn’t know why.  She just leaps to see that tiny speck of blue.

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