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April 2014 Calendar of Children's Books

Cover art of the children's picture book We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers - Lauren Child

National Poetry Month, National Garden Month, National Library Week, Passover, Easter, Earth Day and more.

Children's Books Spotlight10

Children's Books Buzz - April 19, 2014

Saturday April 19, 2014
Cover - The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi KnightThis week the buzz was all about Star Wars. Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) has announced good news for Star Wars fans. DPW is publishing four new children's books based on the original Star Wars film trilogy.

The first book, The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight,, which is a picture book written by Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles), will be released in October 2014. The additional three Star Wars saga retellings will be written by popular children's authors R.J. Palacio (Wonder), Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark and Grimm), and Tom Angleberger (Origami Yoda series). (Source: Star Wars: Disney Media Release, 4/17/14)

(Cover art courtesy of Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Middle Grade Recreational Reading

Friday April 18, 2014
Cover art for Summer of the Gypsy MothsKids don't have to wait for summer to enjoy stories set in the summer and other recreational reading. There are lots of good choices for recreational reading, including a novel about a wilderness adventure, the humorous story of a summer camp for gifted kids, a story of friendship, home and the summer challenges two children face, and a book of fascinating facts. Read the book reviews for details about the books: (Cover art courtesy of HarperCollins)

A Children's Edition of My People by Langston Hughes

Thursday April 17, 2014
Cover Art - My People by Langston HughesThe quality of the photography and the way it complements the text made me select My People as one of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2009. The text of the book is the 33-word-long poem "My People" by Langston Hughes. Despite its brevity, poet Langston Hughes provides a heartfelt and moving paean to the beauty of "my people." That beauty is captured in the dramatic sepia-toned photographs by photographer Charles R. Smith, Jr. The fact that Charles R. Smith, Jr. is also a poet may account for his ability to so sensitively and beautifully illustrate the poem. I recommend My People for all ages.

I am presently researching other African American poets who either write (or wrote) poetry for children or whose poetry has been published not only for for adults but also in children's editions as was My People. Look for an article, with a number of recommended black poets and their poetry books for children, in about a week. If you have books to suggest, please scroll down to "Comments" and post your suggestions.

(Cover art courtesy of Simon & Schuster)

Get Ready for Earth Day With The Lorax

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Cover art for The Lorax by Dr SeussAlthough it is much more serious than most of his other picture books, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss is one of my Favorite Picture Books and Beginning Readers by Dr. Seuss. This story of the impact that unbridled greed can have on the environment is not only a story kids enjoy because of Seuss's storytelling skills, it is also one parents and teachers can use to emphasize the importance of individual responsibility in caring for the environment. The title character has become a symbol for environmental concerns. Another good picture book for younger children is Lauren Child's We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers. For more good books for Earth Day, see April 22 on my April Calendar of Children's Books.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

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