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April 2014 Calendar of Children's Books


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

Children's Books Spotlight10

Celebrate Earth Day with Children's Books

Tuesday April 22, 2014
We Are Extremely Very Good Recyclers cover artToday is Earth Day. See Popular Characters Celebrate Earth Day and the Environment for some recommended picture books and beginning reader books for children ages 2-8. Some of the popular characters featured are Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola, Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy and Marc Brown's Arthur.

Older children and young teens will appreciate Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, a fascinating nonfiction book. It's part of the excellent Scientists in the Field series. One of the most popular children's books about caring for the environment is The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, a picture book that appeals to a wide range of ages. Don't forget all of the excellent children's poetry books about nature and the picture books about gardens and gardening that are listed on my April Calendar of Children's Books.

(Cover art courtesy of Penguin)

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)

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