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April 2014 Calendar of Children's Books

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

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

Children's Books Spotlight10

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)

It's Time to Thank a Librarian

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Cover art of the picture book The Boy who was Raised by LibrariansCelebrate School Library Month and National Library Week by thanking a librarian. I not only recommend The Boy who was Raised by Librarians for 4-8 year olds, I also recommend it as a thank you gift for a favorite librarian. This amusing, warm-hearted picture book celebrates the impact of libraries and librarians. The author, Carla Morris, is a children's librarian herself. The illustrator, Brad Sneed, has created full page illustrations alive with fun and action.

For tips on all that public libraries have to offer, see my article Save Money at Your Public Library. For more books, read my article about the Best Children's Picture Books About Libraries and Librarians. It includes six excellent books for kids in preschool to middle school.

Do you have a special librarian that you'd like to honor? Click on "Comments" below and share what makes that librarian special. I still fondly remember Miss Wright, the children's librarian at the Westfield Public Library when I was growing up in Westfield, New Jersey.

(Cover art courtesy of Peachtree Publishers)

A Special Passover Birthday Cake

Monday April 14, 2014
Max Makes a Cake - cover artWhat do you do when it's Passover and you're a little boy waiting for your dad to help you make your mom a special birthday cake, but you are running out of time because he's dealing with your fussy baby sister? If you're Max, you get impatient; then, you get worried; then, you get a bright idea and figure out a way to make a very special cake all by yourself. That's the story of Max Makes a Cake by Michelle Edwards, with illustrations by Charles Santoso. It's a good story to share with children 3 to 7 years old. For more good children's books about Passover, see my Top 10 Children's Books About Passover.

(Cover art courtesy of Random House)

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