The Kids Are All Right

Beaches, Vacations, Grandmothers, and More

Happy Tuesday, kid lit friends! This week I’ve been buying school supplies and getting school forms turned in. My daughter’s back-to-school supply list includes two bags of buttons and lots and lots of art supplies, so I’m very intrigued by what she’ll be creating in preschool this year! I hope everyone’s kids have wonderful first days.

Bookish Goods

Montessori Bookshelf by Child Universe

Montessori Bookshelf by Child Universe

This front-facing bookshelf is on sale right now by quite a bit. $89+

New Releases

Cover of Nana, Nenek, and Nina by Ferneyhough

Nana, Nenek & Nina by Liza Ferneyhough

Nina’s two grandmothers live very far apart: Nenek in Malaysia and Nana in England. She loves visiting both, and as the side-by-side format shows, Nina does many of the same things in both locations, like gardening, grocery shopping, and playing at the beach, but these activities are still quite different between locations! But no matter where she is, Nina knows her grandmothers love her. This is a delightful, intergenerational picture book and a great conversation starter about cultures.

Cover of Fighting for Yes! by Cocca-Leffler

Fighting for Yes!: The Story of Disability Rights Activist Judith Heumann by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger

I recently reviewed this picture book biography on my Instagram and included a poll to see how many of my followers knew who Judith Heumann was. Only 24% of my followers had heard of her. Judith Heumann is a major figure in the history of disability rights activism. She led the historic 504 sit-in in 1977, which paved the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act, and she sued New York City in 1970 for refusing to grant her a teaching license on the grounds of her disability. This picture book biography tells her story from childhood through the 504 sit-in, describing society’s repeated efforts to refuse her entry and how she kept pushing back against all the “nos” until she finally heard “yes.” It’s vital more children’s disability histories and biographies like this one are published.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Maybe it’s a bit weird to be thinking about beach trips right when school is starting, but we’re currently planning a beach trip for late summer or early fall, and I thought I’d share some of my favorite new children’s books about beaches.

Cover of What a Shell Can Tell by Scales

What a Shell Can Tell by Helen Scales, illustrated by Sonia Pulido

This fascinating and beautifully illustrated nonfiction identifies types of seashells as well as giving lots of neat facts about them. Written by a marine biologist, it’s super informative. This is a perfect companion for seashell collectors.

Cover of A Day for Sandcastles by Lawson

A Day for Sandcastles by JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng

I am picky about the wordless picture books I enjoy, but this one is delightful and so evocative of the beach. Three siblings ride a bus to the beach with their parents, ready to make a sandcastle. But the sandcastle keeps getting toppled, either by a rampaging toddler or by the sea itself. But these siblings don’t give up, and keep on building despite interruptions.

Cover of Vampire Vacation by Lavoie

Vampire Vacation by Laura Lavoie, illustrated by Micah Player

Every year Fang’s family goes to Transylvania for vacation, but Fang is tired of the same trip, and thinks Transylvania is boring. He has a mission to convince his family to go to the beach instead. But vampires don’t go to the beach! This is a super funny picture book.

cover of Mermaid Kenzie by Charlotte Watson Sherman

Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deeps by Charlotte Watson Sherman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers

Written in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), this lyrical picture book encourages kids to clean up litter at the beach. While Kenzie and her mom are snorkeling, Kenzie spots all kinds of litter. Wanting to help the marine life, like her seal friend, she slips on her mermaid tail, grabs a net, and starts scooping litter. However, she knows one person isn’t enough to clean up everything. She enlists the help of other children, and together, they clear the beach of litter.

A children's owl suitcase, the kids are all right

Marian recently watched a video of the Crayola Experience in Orlando, and now she’s obsessed with how crayons are made and has decided we’re leaving immediately for Orlando…which is an 11 hour drive. She packed her suitcase a week ago and won’t let us unpack it. So we know her vacation vote!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury