Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The First Six 2020-One Little Word

To say this year, 2020, has taken the world by surprise is a vast understatement, perhaps the largest understatement in the last 100 years.  People are suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, continued, and escalated social, economic, and racial injustices, and the horrific effects of climate change.  The sparks of hope, the lights, in this darkness are the creators of books for children.  These people continue to write and illustrate with their whole hearts, brightening our souls. 

On January 2, 2020 and on January 3, 2020, I selected books from 2019 I had not previously discussed, but wanted to highlight before diving into the new year's books. For each of the twenty-four books, I selected One Little Word as designed for the original 2006 project by Ali Edwards.  In that spirit, I wish to feature over two separate blog posts, on August 25, 2020 and September 1, 2020, eighteen books from the first six months of 2020 not previously showcased here.  For each title I will provide links when available to the publisher's website, the author's website, the illustrator's website, educational extras, books trailers, a short summary, and the introductory text.  I sincerely hope you will discover new titles to enjoy personally or professionally.


Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale With A Tail (Charlesbridge, January 28, 2020) written by Leslea Newman with illustrations by Susan Gal

Additional image views Penguin Random House

In a rhythm of contrasts between inside a family's home on the first night of Passover and outside with a homeless kitten, readers are introduced to Jewish celebratory traditions.  A boy and the kitten are connected through the waiting each one is experiencing. Both are surprised at the outcome. An author's note supplies further information. 

Inside, there was light.

Outside, there was darkness.

Inside, it was warm.

Outside, it was windy.

Inside, there was laughter.

Outside, there was silence.


Straw (Disney Hyperion, February 4, 2020) written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal with illustrations by Scott Magoon

Little, Brown and Company

Four Questions for Scott Magoon at Publisher's Weekly about his collaboration with Amy Krouse Rosenthal on this series of books

This third title, following Spoon and Chopsticks, focuses on Straw, a fellow with a need for speed.  He, along with readers, finally understands the value of moving slower.  You see much more in each day if you stop to enjoy each sensory moment. 

This is Straw's story.

Straw has a great big family of all stripes and colors.

Straw has a great bunch of friends.

And Straw has a great thirst for being first. 


NIGHT ANIMALS need sleep too (Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, February 25, 2020) written and illustrated by Gianna Marino

The crew of creatures we fell in love with from NIGHT ANIMALS returns prompting laughter with every page turn.  Possum can't sleep.  In his search for someplace dark to doze, he manages to wake up all his nighttime friends amid a series of too-close encounters.

Hey, Possum, what's wrong?

It's too bright. I need somewhere dark and quiet to sleep.


Fly, Firefly! (Sleeping Bear PressMarch 1, 2020) written by Shana Keller with illustrations by Ramona Kaulitzki

A lovely rhyming journey taken by a firefly to the sea with luminous illustrations presents the power of light.  This is based upon a letter read by the author written by Rachel Carson to a friend.  At the close of the book are a page each dedicated to Rachel Carson and Living Light.
On a breeze, through the trees,

a wind current carried him out

to see the sea.


The Society of Distinguished Lemmings (Peachtree Publishing Company Inc., March 1, 2020) written and illustrated by Julie Colombet

Publisher's website includes discussion guide, excerpt, and personality quiz

Who knew lemmings had so many rules?  Each page reveals not only rules, but an excess of comedic commentary by the mass of lemmings.  Bert has had enough and meets a bear.  It isn't until a drastic situation ensues that the lemmings understand there is a place for rules, and a time to bend them.

This is the society of distinguished lemmings.

Deep in their underground burrow, the lemmings follow a strict set of rules and are always busy with social events.

They perform long and serious plays.

Whose skull is that?

That has to be a wig.

To be or not to be, that is the question.



My Best Friend (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Division, March 3, 2020) written by Julie Fogliano with illustrations by Jillian Tamaki 

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast hosted by author, reviewer, and blogger Julie Danielson This is an extensive post about the book.

Watch. Connect. Read. hosted by Scholastic's Ambassador of School Libraries, John Schumacher This is a cover reveal and a chat with both the author and the illustrator.

Experience for the first time or relive your first true blue friendship, through the words and artwork expressing the heart of a child. 

i have a new friend

and her hair is black

and it shines

and it shines

and she always laughs at everything

she is so smart

and when 

i say la la la

she says

la la la


Studio: A Place For Art To Start (Tundra, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, March 3, 2020) written by Emily Arrow and The Little Friends Of Printmaking

Readers join animal creators as the meaning of studio is defined by the activities in which they are engaging.  Rhyming text invites readers into the spaces.  Collaboration and sharing are part of creativity, too.

A place for making music,
A place for making art,
A place to build and dream and move,
A place for art to start.


When my brother gets home (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 3. 2020) written and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

A Fuse #8 Production School Library Journal guest post by Tom Lichtenheld

Oh, the wonderful joy of waiting and dreaming of the magical things you will do with your brother when he gets home from school. The title phrase ties each possibility together as the images expand them into another realm.  Each time the title phrase appears a childlike illustration portrays the school bus in another position on its trek from school to hone.

When my brother gets home . . .

we're going to have 
after-school snacks . . .

for the entire kingdom.


Fire Truck vs. Dragon (Little, Brown and Company, March 10, 2020) written by Chris Barton with illustrations by Shanda McCloskey

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Storytime! with Bill on Facebook This is a read aloud of this title.

In this companion to the earlier Shark vs. Train  Dragon and Fire truck are the best of friends.  
They are chatting with a trio of children about all the endeavors in which each of them excels.  As the story moves along, they realize the children (with whom they are camping) want them to do something else.  You'll be cheering amid your laughter with the children at the end. 

It might surprise you that a
fire truck and a dragon can in fact
be good friends.

We get along great!
Why wouldn't we?


Follow the Recipe: Poems About Imagination, Celebration & Cake (Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, March 10, 2020) written by Marilyn Singer with illustrations by Marjorie Priceman

Vibrant, lively images complement a collection of twenty-three recipes for life.  There are recipes for success in cooking, measurement, adventure, a poem, for love, and for endurance to name a few.  These recipes are presented in a variety of poetic forms to spice up the results. 

recipe for a good recipe

What's in a good recipe?

Something right for me and you.

Steps to follow, A to Z.

What's in a good recipe

for falling in love, for making a stew,

for balance or for harmony?

What's in a good recipe?

Something right for me and you.

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