High Variance

Finding My Niche #IMWAYR

If you look in the right places on the Internet, you can find terrific suggestions for books to read with your kids. Many of these recommendations are written by teachers and librarians who are tapped into the very latest and coolest new books. The downside is that I now have long wish lists of books that my local library hasn’t had a chance to buy yet. A year from now, my library might have some, but until then, my only option is to shell out real money for a brand new copy.

The fact is there are real gems hiding on the shelves of most libraries waiting to be discovered or rediscovered. That’s what you’ll find here: good books that I know can be found at at least one library (mine) and hopefully yours.

The Quiet Place (written by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small, 2012) This book is told as a series of letters written by a young girl who moves from Mexico to the US. She starts nervous but excited and even though she has a wonderful mother and brother, she misses the family and home she’s left behind. Gradually, she makes a new home and new friends. I don’t think the author was an immigrant herself, but she really captures the experience and brought a tear to my eye.

Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymus Bosch (written by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Leo, Diane, and Lee Dillon, 1991) On the one hand, it seems totally insane to turn Bosch’s psychadelic visions of hell into a children’s book, but on the other, kids love big eccentric detailed illustrations (e.g., Richard Scarry’s Busy, Busy Town) and those are right in Bosch’s wheel house. This is the story of the artist, his housekeeper, and their unusual house, and it totally works.

Bog Baby (written by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Gwen Millward, 2009) I love stories about kids who find animals, take them home, and then realize that wild animals need to be wild. Angelina Ballerina learns the lesson with a butterfly, Mole learns the lesson with a baby bird, and in this book, two sisters learn the lesson with a fantastical creature called a bog baby. The pen and ink illustrations are unique and beautiful.

AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First (written by Alethea Kontis, illustrated Bob Kolar) Why does A always get to go first? Z decides it’s time to mix things up and hilarity ensues. Both my girls (now 6 and 3.5 years old) thought this book was a lot of fun.

Sheila at Book Journey started It’s Monday! What are You Reading?, and Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host kidlit versions. All three sites are great places to find new books for yourself and your kids.