Hi Kid Lit friends,
I’ve been thinking about water lately. What happens when there is too much or too little of it, weather patterns, what is happening to our oceans, and who has access to clean drinking water and who doesn’t. There are lots of books with water themes or settings in children’s literature, so if you’re thinking about water too, take a look.
Sponsored by CALEB AND KIT by Beth Vrabel, Running Press Kids
A powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb has cystic fibrosis, and while he tries not to let his disorder define him, it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Caleb meets Kit–a vibrant, independent girl–and his world changes instantly. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb must decide if their friendship is really what’s best for him–or her.
Float by Daniel Miyares
A little boy takes a boat made of newspaper out for a rainy-day adventure. The boy and his boat dance in the downpour and play in the puddles, but when the boy sends his boat floating down a gutter stream, it quickly gets away from him.
Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin
Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless…it heats up.
Whirl. Swirl. Watch it curl by. Steam is steam unless…it cools high.
This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle.
Out of the Woods by Rebecca Bond
Antonio Willie Giroux lived in a hotel his mother ran on the edge of a lake. He loved to explore the woods and look for animals, but they always remained hidden away. One hot, dry summer, when Antonio was almost five, disaster struck: a fire rushed through the forest. Everyone ran to the lake-the only safe place in town-and stood knee-deep in water as they watched the fire. Then, slowly, animals emerged from their forest home and joined the people in the water. Miraculously, the hotel did not burn down, and the animals rebuilt their homes in the forest-but Antonio never forgot the time when he watched the distance between people and animals disappear.
In A Village by the Sea by Muon Van, illustrated by April Chu
Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, In a Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.
Town Is By the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith
A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather’s grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith, the award-winning illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers, show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig.
Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece by Marc Harshman and Anna Egan Smucker, art by LeUyen Pham
In Bear Run, Pennsylvania, a home unlike any other perches atop a waterfall. The water’s tune plays differently in each of its sunlight-dappled rooms; the structure itself blends effortlessly into the rock and forest behind it. This is Fallingwater, a masterpiece equally informed by meticulous research and unbounded imagination, designed by the lauded American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Pattan’s Pumpkin: An Indian Flood Story by Chitra Soundar, illustrated Frane Lessac
When Pattan finds a yellow-flower vine wilting in his valley, he replants and cares for it, watching as a pumpkin appears and grows taller than the goats, taller than the elephants, as tall as the very mountains. When a terrible storm rages across the valley, Pattan wonders if perhaps his pumpkin can save the seeds and grains and saplings, the goats and birds and bison, and protect them all as the storm clouds burst and the waters rise. Frané Lessac’s brilliantly hued artwork is a feast for the eyes, while Chitra Soundar’s thoughtful retelling is a fascinating example of the kinds of stories told the world over — and the differences that make each version unique.
Me and You and the Red Canoe by Jean E. Pendziwol and Phil
In the stillness of a summer dawn, two siblings leave their campsite with fishing rods, tackle and bait, and push a red canoe into the lake. A perfect morning on the water unfolds, with thrilling glimpses of wildlife along the way.
Jabari’s Jump by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board.
Let’s Investigate with Nate, The Water Cycle by Nate Ball, illustrated by Wes Hargis
Ever wonder where water comes from and where it goes? Or why sometimes it rains and sometimes it snows? Then join Nate Ball and his crack team of curious scientists as they shrink down smaller than a raindrop to see firsthand what the water cycle is all about.
Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks
In Coral Reefs, we learn all about sea animals! This absorbing look at ocean science covers the biology of coral reefs as well as their ecological importance. Nonfiction comics genius Maris Wicks brings to bear her signature combination of hardcore cuteness and in-depth science.
The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi
Life in Sunrise Valley is tranquil, but beyond its borders lies certain death. A dangerous black fog looms outside the village, but its inhabitants are kept safe by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig’s father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again. Now Pig is the dam keeper. But a new threat is on the horizon―a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.
Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eager
When her parents, the great marine scientists Dr. and Dr. Quail, are killed in a tragic accident, eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is racked by grief — and guilt. It was a submarine of Fidelia’s invention that her parents were in when they died, and it was she who pressed them to stay out longer when the raging Undertow was looming. But Fidelia is forced out of her mourning when she’s kidnapped by Merrick the Monstrous, a pirate whose list of treasons stretches longer than a ribbon eel. Her task? Use her marine know-how to retrieve his treasure, lost on the ocean floor.
Survivor Diaries Overboard by Terry Lynn Johnson
Eleven-year-old Travis and his family are on a whale watch off the coast of Washington when disaster strikes. The boat capsizes, throwing everyone into the ice-cold chaotic waves. Separated from their families and struggling to stay afloat, Travis and twelve-year-old Marina must use all of their grit and knowledge to survive.
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.
Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Corinne LaMer defeated the wicked jumbie Severine months ago, but things haven’t exactly gone back to normal in her Caribbean island home. Everyone knows Corinne is half-jumbie, and many of her neighbors treat her with mistrust. When local children begin to go missing, snatched from the beach and vanishing into wells, suspicious eyes turn to Corinne.
Ice Whale by Jean Craighead George
In 1848 in Barrow, Alaska, a young Eskimo boy witnesses a rare sight—the birth of a bowhead, or ice whale, that he calls Siku. But when he unwittingly guides Yankee whalers to a pod of bowhead whales, all the whales are killed. For this act, the boy receives a curse of banishment. Through the generations, this curse is handed down. Siku, the ice whale, returns year after year, in reality and dreams, to haunt each descendant. The curse is finally broken when a daughter recognizes and saves the whale, and he in turn saves her. Told in alternating voices, both human and whale, Jean Craighead George’s last novel is an ambitious and touching take on the interconnectedness of humans, animals, and the earth they depend on.
New Releases! (All coming out on 10/31!)
My Little Book of Big Freedoms: The Human Rights Act in Pictures by Chris Riddell (picture book)
We all want a good life, to have fun, to be safe, happy, and fulfilled. For this to happen, we need to look after each other and stand up for the basic human rights that we often take for granted. This picture book features 16 different freedoms, each accompanied by beautiful illustrations. It shows why our human rights are so important–they help to keep us safe. Every day.
Princess Hair by Sharee Miller (picture book)
Princesses with curls wear pearls.
Princesses with head wraps take long naps.
And princesses with teeny-weeny Afros wear teeny-weeny bows.
Celebrate different hair shapes, textures, and styles in this self-affirming picture book! From dreadlocks to blowouts to braids, Princess Hair shines a spotlight on the beauty and diversity of black hair, showing young readers that every kind of hair is princess hair.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (middle grade)
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.
The Fourth Ruby by James R. Hannibal (middle grade)
It’s been a year since Jack Buckles discovered the Keep beneath Baker Street, an underground tower no Section Thirteen was ever supposed to see; a year since his dad fell into a coma. Nothing has been the same since. Jack’s tracker abilities are on the fritz, Gwen’s not speaking to him and, what’s worse, there’s a pounding voice in his head calling for “the flame.”
The Secrets of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (middle grade)
1919. Mama is ill. Father has taken a job abroad. Nanny Jane is too busy to pay any attention to Henrietta and the things she sees — or thinks she sees — in the shadows of their new home, Hope House. All alone, with only stories for company, Henry discovers that Hope House is full of strange secrets: a forgotten attic, ghostly figures, mysterious firelight that flickers in the trees beyond the garden. One night she ventures into the darkness of Nightingale Wood. What she finds there will change her whole world…
Dogs: From Predators to Protectors by Andy Hirsch (graphic novel)
How well do you know our favorite furry companion? Did they really descend from wolves? What’s the difference between a Chihuahua and a Saint Bernard? And just how smart are they? Join one friendly mutt on a journey to discover the secret origin of dogs, how genetics and evolution shape species, and where in the world his favorite ball bounced off to.
Around the web…
17 Wonderful Wordless Picture Books Everyone Can Love, via Book Riot
9 Spooktacularly Good Halloween Audiobooks for Families, via Brightly
Ivy and Bean Bundle Set (Books 4-6) by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, $2.99
Warriors: A Vision of Shadows #1: The Apprentice’s Quest by Erin Hunter, $1.99
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale, $1.99
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, $1.99
This week I’m reading Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin, The Best We Could Do (an illustrated memoir for adults by illustrator Thi Bui), and Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora.
Don’t forget about Book Riot’s huge bookstore giveaway – $500 to the bookstore of your choice! Enter here.
Until next time,
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