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The Picture Book Buzz

The Picture Book Buzz - A Few Other Fun August Picture Books

Even with only four and a half weeks in August, I still don't have enough days to highlight all the wonderful authors and illustrators and their amazing books which are releasing this month. So I decided to do a quick shout out for a few of the books I wish I had space for. Each of these books is a little unusual, but absolutely worth a read.

The Very Last Leaf by Stef Wade, illustrated by Jennifer Davison (Capstone 2021). Exploring themes of anxiety, perfectionism, teasing, and overcoming ones fears, through the narration of a leaf who is afraid of falling, is ingenious.

A tree school with cartoonish-faced leaves using pencils and notebooks, and facing a final exam in autumn, is so adorable. I love the ending and the way Stef and Jennifer wrapped in kids and fall fun.

This is a great book for the start of school and for encouraging some autumn activities.

Mindful Mr. Sloth by Katy Hudson (Capstone 2021). By the way, I adore Katy's other books Too Many Carrots, The Golden Acord, A Loud Winter's Nap, The Perfect Birthday Recipe, The Runaway Egg, and Bear and Duck!

When a HIGHLY energetic Sasha discovers a sloth on the roof of her treehouse, his one speed - slow - makes her chosen activities nearly impossible. So she plops him in her bike basket and heads off to a wonderfully diverse neighborhood race. I love that even Mr. Sloth's speech is slow when he cries "Stoooooop" to make Sasha listen to a bird, smell flowers, and then befriend a butterfly.

Katy's created two adorable and fun characters. I mean how cute is it that Sloth's "cowlick" sticks up through his helmet? As in every friendship, Sasha and Mr. Sloth both learn to enjoy a few new things, though with a nod toward reality neither totally changes. Be sure to spend time looking carefully throughout the illustrations and the end pages. This is a great book on friendship, slowing down (at times) and really seeing what's around you, and acknowledging each other's individual personalities; especially as we head back to in-person class settings.

Fred & Marjorie: A Doctor, a Dog, and the Discovery of Insulin by Deborah Kerbel, illustrated by Angela Poon (Owlkids Books 2021). A fifty-five page graphic nonfiction picture book! This is such a fun format for a nonfiction picture book. One I think that will interest many kids and adults.

Working in The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto, Canada in 1920, Dr. Fred Banting struggled against the fatal disease - juvenile diabetes. This is a remarkably fascinating and poignant story of two men and some special dogs who worked for two years to successfully discover insulin. The author's note addresses gaps in primary sources and memories and the ethics of using animals in research. Such a great STEM book.

Inspire the World: A Kid's Journey to Making a Difference by Sammie Vance, illustrated by Talitha Shipman (Clear Fork Publishing 2021). This 45-page nonfiction story, about how an eight-year-old's drive to create environmentally friendly friendship benches for her school expanded throughout the world, is narrated by Sammie herself (now thirteen).

Created as part story and part doodled scrapbook, I think this will appeal to many kids and hopefully spur them to start their own projects. As well as hopefully advocate for the installation of a friendship bench in their own schools. Throughout the book there are "Process Q & A," and Fun Facts sections, as well as questions that challenge the reader to develop their own projects. It's a wonderful story of how one girl inspired her community and beyond through giving, determination, bravery, and helping others. A great book for encouraging kids to get involved to solve issues in their communities.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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