As we wrap up this year at TAP, and after reading the Kirkus Review, New York Times and various other “Best Of 2011” children’s literature lists, I’ve been thinking about books we would love to add to the library. Here are a few that are not only TAP-tastic, but imaginative, beautifully illustrated, and sure to be new story-book classics:
Diego Rivera: His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh introduces one of the most influential artists and muralist of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera. It tells the story of Diego as a boy with a passion for art while also asking readers to think about what Diego would paint today. He posits, how would Rivera’s paintings reflect today’s culture, like the murals of Diego’s time depicted Mexico’s culture and historical events. Kirkus Reviews explains that, “…By establishing a link between modern readers and Rivera and challenging them to ‘make our own mural,’ the author makes art both aspiration and action. Both solid introduction and exhortation, this book will thrill budding artists.”
Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown illustrates the life of Neruda, Chile’s Poet of the People. The book follows Neftalí, Neruda’s given name, from boyhood where he discovered the magic words and books until he began publishing his poems as Pablo Neruda. He wrote about the Chilean people and their stories of struggle. Booklist raved that, “Brown’s succinct lines read like a poem themselves, and they emphasize the infinite places writers find inspiration, from seashores to coal mines to the faces of people they love.”
Rah, Rah, Radishes!: A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre looks like a fun book about gardening, healthy eating, and nutrition. School Library Journal enthused, “Sayre’s catchy, rhyming verse has an infectious rhythm that begs to be read aloud…With its upbeat, easy-to-digest text and large, clear images, this book will become a go-to choice in spring-themed preschool story times and early elementary health or environmental units.”
Roots and Blues: A Celebration by Arnold Adoff, author of Hip Hop Speaks to Children, another TAP favorite, is a poetic tribute to that uniquely American form of music called the blues. In addition to the haunting acrylic illustrations, Adoff introduces, “…blues performers Bessie Smith, Lonnie Johnson, Son House, Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson, Johnny Lee Hooker, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters, stepping down on the ‘Chicago/train/station/platform/with a suitcase/of Mississippi River/with a suitcase/of Mississippi/Delta with a suitcase of Mississippi/dripping/on side/walk/s.”
Where’s Walrus by Stephen Savage is a picture book in the tradition of Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne, one of my TAP favorites, about an escaped walrus who hides out in the city: in a fountain, a department store, a construction site, a burning building, and a chorus line! School Library Journal says the illustrations are, “…large, clear, and simple; the colors are bright, although flat. Young children will take delight in their ability to spot the wandering walrus; older kids might see this book as a humorous Where’s Waldo spoof.”
If you haven’t already perused out Books We Love Amazon Wishlist please check it out! Consider donating books that are in “very good” condition. Add them to your shopping cart and pay for them along with your other items when you checkout; donated items are shipped directly to TAP.