Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! This is Margaret covering for Karina once more. I know I said on Tuesday that I would have a list of early chapter books with disability representation for Disability Pride Month in this newsletter, but I need to do some reading first, so expect that list at the end of the month. And if you have any recommendations, feel free to send me an email! Instead, I’m bringing you some ocean nonfiction, plus reviews of two new releases, as usual!
Before I get to those reviews, let me tell you about one of Book Riot’s new podcasts! What do S.A. Cosby, Khaled Hosseini, Sarah Bakewell, and Yahdon Israel have in common? They’ve been guests on Book Riot’s newest podcast, First Edition, where BookRiot.com co-founder Jeff O’Neal explores the wide bookish world. Subscribe to hear them and stay to hear Book Riot’s editors pick the “it” book of the month.
My Friends Are Reading Shirt by RaffasBookClub
This children’s tee is adorable! It’s currently available in four sizes. $15
Dare to Question by Jasmine A. Stirling, illustrated by Udayana Lugo (picture book)
Carrie Chapman Catt was integral to the U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movement and in winning women the vote. This picture book biography opens with Catt as an inquisitive young child daring to ask questions that her father scoffs at. In college, she decides to join the Women’s Suffrage Movement, where she continues to question the organization’s methods. When Susan B. Anthony retires, she asks Catt to replace her. Catt is the one that leads the movement all the way to Nashville, TN, where women’s right to vote is finally won. As a Nashvillian, I love learning about women’s suffrage and Carrie Chapman Catt! This picture book bio does a great job of covering her life and the measures she took to ensure women had the right to vote.
There’s a Beach in My Bedroom by Kevin Jonas & Danielle Jonas, illustrated by Courtney Dawson (picture book)
Bella loves going to the beach. Sunday is family beach day, and she’s been looking forward to it all week. But when Sunday arrives, it’s raining! She’s devastated when her parents tell her that they’ll have to cancel their beach day. She doesn’t want to play with her family at all anymore. To cheer her up, her sister has a great idea — they can set up a pretend beach in Bella’s room! We live 7-8 hours from the nearest beach and only make it there every few years, so we pretend play beach like Bella does all the time!
For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!
While I can’t visit the beach this year, I can bring the beach to me by reading these four nonfiction picture books about the ocean.
How the Sea Came to Be: (And All the Creatures in It) by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Amanda Hall
This picture book tackles the big-picture history of how the ocean, and the creatures that live in it, came to be. Divided into three parts, it begins billions and billions of years ago when the Earth was covered in magma. Berne describes how the Earth cooled down and how life started, and how that life evolved over millions of years into what we know today. Even though it covers such broad and complicated topics, Berne keeps the prose lyrical and expressive vs. informative, which makes this really lovely to read aloud. Instead, she packs the back matter with lots of further reading. The illustrations are also lovely.
Diving Deep: Using Machines to Explore the Ocean by Michelle Cusolito, illustrated by Nicole Wong
I’m typically not super interested in machines, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. In lyrical prose, Cusolito follows the history of how humans explored the ocean and the tools and machines humans have made to enable that exploration, from snorkeling gear to diving suits to submersibles and more. Each page includes more details about the tools for further reading. Maybe don’t tell your kids about the recent Titanic submersible catastrophe though, if they haven’t heard about it already…
Behold the Octopus! by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
The illustrations in this nonfiction picture book about octopi (octopuses?) are stunning! Each page spread depicts a different type of octopus. On one side of the page, Slade has written a lovely poem about the octopus. On the other side is a paragraph-long description of the octopus shown in the illustration and octopus behavior. It’s a really beautiful book.
At the Sea by Emma Giuliani
Kids love this interactive nonfiction about things found at the sea. It’s a giant book — probably a nightmare to shelve for librarians and booksellers — but a great format for the kind of illustrations and content. Each page covers a different topic: “On the Beach,” “At the Port,” “Welcome Aboard,” and more. The book follows Plum and Robin, mother and son, as they explore the beach. Flaps uncover more details about what they find, like treasures from the tide and seahorses living among the coral. Be sure to check out the author’s other book in this series, In the Garden.
The last time we went to the beach was when my daughter was 3 years old, to Dauphin Island in Alabama. She LOVED it and still talks about it frequently. I sometimes wonder if her oldest memories as an adult will be of this trip.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.