The Kids Are All Right

Failure, Figure Skating, And More!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! I have good news; I am feeling better this week! It’s been two months of viruses, and while not everyone is feeling better (my SO has a double ear infection, ruptured ear drum, and is still in the midst of a respiratory virus), I’m hopeful that in spring we’ll get fewer viruses. Fingers crossed. I’m picking my kid up from preschool, AKA the germ factory, in an hour, so who knows how long my hopeful feeling will last, lol.

Bookish Goods

Ban Bigots, Not Books by angiepea

Ban Bigots Not Books Sweatshirt by angiepea

Now that I have a child who is fixing to start attending public schools, I’ve decided I need to attend school board meetings. I live in a red state that bans books, so I’m thinking I need to pick up some shirts like these. $21+

New Releases

Cover of Black Beach by Stith

Black Beach: A Community, an Oil Spill, and the Origin of Earth Day by Shaunna & John Stith, illustrated by Maribel Lechuga (picture book)

I did not know how Earth Day started until reading this picture book told by a fictional child. Sam is in class when she first knows something is wrong. It’s 1969 in Santa Barbara, and her teacher is worried. When she gets home, she hears about how Union Oil has caused an oil spill. Her beloved beach is now inky black, and sea animals are covered in oil. She and other members of the community clean up and rally together to fight for the environment. They garner the attention of Senator Gaylord Nelson, who organizes the first Earth Day. It’s a fascinating read for Earth Day.

Cover of Wei Skates On by Chen

Wei Skates On by Nathan Chen, illustrated by Lorraine Nam (picture book)

Olympic gold med­alist Nathan Chen writes his debut picture book about a young boy, Wei, and his first figure skating competition. Wei loves figure skating and feels confident in his abilities. However, during practice the day before the competition, he finds himself falling on moves he typically has no trouble with. He suddenly realizes how nervous he is about the next day. With some help from his mom, he realizes the most important thing isn’t winning but enjoying the act of figure skating, which has always given him so much joy. This is a lovely picture book about embracing failure and nerves and loving the process.

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

Riot Recommendations

To go along with Wei Skates On, I thought I’d recommend some more books about embracing mistakes and not getting too caught up in competitions.

Cover of Delphine Denise and the Mardi Gras Surprise by Mazique

Delphine Denise and the Mardi Gras Prize by Brittany Mazique, illustrated by Sawyer Cloud (picture book)

Delphine Denise and her friends usually ride their bikes with the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, but this year Delphine has a big idea: she wants to make a float and win the float contest! Her friends aren’t keen on the idea, though they do initially try to help. As Delphine tries to turn her big ideas into a reality, she realizes some things are more important than competing. Today is Mardi Gras, so it’s a perfect perfect read for the day!

Cover of Jabari Tries by Cornwall

Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall (picture book)

Jabari wants to make a flying machine in the backyard, and insists he doesn’t need help from his father or little sister. But no matter what he does, his contraption is a failure. He just can’t get it to work! When he opens himself up to help from his father and little sister, however, he realizes he can build something even better than he imagined.

Cover of Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea

Phoebe Dupree Is Coming to Tea! by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Alea Marley (picture book)

In this rhythmic picture book, Abby is so excited about inviting Phoebe Dupree — the coolest girl in class — to a tea party. But when Phoebe arrives, everything goes wrong! Pastries are spilled, wet dogs are let inside, clothes are ruined. Everything is a disaster! However, it turns out that Phoebe was never expecting perfection, and that maybe friendship can bloom when everyone relaxes and has a good laugh.

Cover of Bella's Recipe for Success by Siquiera

Bella’s Recipe for Success by Ana Siqueira, illustrated by Geraldine Rodríguez (picture book)

All of Bella’s family is good at something. One sibling has perfected somersaults, another is fantastic at piano. Bella has a tendency to give up on things after an initial failure, so when she falls after a somersault attempt and her piano playing causes a racket, she gives up. Yet she wants to find something she’s good at. She decides it’s going to be baking like her abuela. However, baking isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. This fun intergenerational picture book includes Spanish.

Woven blanket The Kids are All Right

Speaking of failures, my daughter and I had a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how to weave on the children’s Melissa and Doug loom she received for Christmas this past weekend. Yes, I’m just now getting it out of the closet. I will admit, with my shaky hands (thanks POTS), I was unable to help set up the loom and weave, but my SO helped my daughter make this tiny blanket, which is perfectly sized for her hamster kitties. Lesson to be learned: embracing failures also means giving up and letting someone else take over a task sometimes. It can also mean starting small.

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