Aaron Becker, Art, astronomy, cats, Chris Riddell, Edel Rodriquez, fairy tales, George Gershwin, Helen Hancocks, Henri Rousseau, Leonard Nimoy, Mordicai Gerstein, music, mystery, Neil Gaiman, picture books, Raúl Colόn, Richard Michelson, Robert Burleigh, Stacy Innerst, Suzanne Slade, young adult
How about something a little different today. Do you have some last minute gift shopping to do? Maybe some of you are looking for gift book ideas for children. Or maybe you want something special to add to your own library. If so, today’s post is for you.
Being the director of a small town library is a great for many reasons. Today’s reason is finding really great children’s books. I thought I share a few of my favorite titles that I discovered this year.
This book is my favorite of all the children’s books I discovered this year. This whodunnit for kids is about William, international cat of mystery and his hunt for the painting stolen from a Paris museum – the Mona Cheesa. William’s friend, Monsieur Gruyere, is frantic to get the painting back because it is National Cheese week and his museum has been honored to hold an exhibit in honor of the celebration of cheese.
During his investigation, William lunches at a sidewalk café and rides a moped through the streets of Paris to visit his friends Fifi Le Brie and Henri Roquefort. Kids will love reading about William’s analysis of the clues left by the perpetrator of this high profile crime. Adults can appreciate the author’s Homage to Fromage in both her words and pictures.
From the author of Journey and Quest, Return is another beautifully illustrated book with no words. Within the pages is a complete story, not only in the amazing art that fills every page, but also in the reader’s head. Children and their parents can narrate the story as they discover all the incredible detail in each drawing. As much as this reader appreciates the written word, sometimes you just need a different way of looking at a story. I recommend all three books in the exquisite Journey trilogy: Journey, Return and Quest.
The Sleeping Gypsy by Mordicai Gerstein, Published 2016
Based on Henri Rousseau’s beloved masterpiece The Sleeping Gypsy, the author has imagined the dream world that Rousseau based his painting on. I love the creativity of the dream and the beautiful illustrations. The reader is free to interpret the dream any way he or she likes.
The subtitle of this book is George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue. One of my favorite pieces of music, many years ago I wore out my cassette tape recording of Rhapsody in Blue. This books is for the music lover parent who hopes to instill a similar appreciation in their child. I love the illustrations which contain a lot of the color blue. The story of Gershwin’s inspiration, and the opening clarinet solo and how the piece was introduced to the public, is sure to appeal to someone who loves jazz, George Gershwin and Rhapsody in Blue.
Fascinating – by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Edel Rodriquez, Published 2016
This book is all about The Life of Leonard Nimoy. From his first on stage experience singing God Bless America to the original use of the traditional Vulcan greeting, the story of Leonard Nimoy is is a book for children and for all the adults that grew up with Star Trek.
Look Up by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raúl Colόn, Published 2013
Subtitled Henriette Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astonomer, Look Up is an inspirational book about a woman whose interest in astronomy led her to discover the first accurate method for measuring great distances in space in the early 1900’s. Not much is known about her life, but astronomers of her time and after her time appreciated her contribution to the science. Look Up is the story of a young woman’s desire to do so much more than what was expected of women of her time.
The Sleeper and the Spindle – by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell, Published 2013
While all the previous books I’ve listed are directed to younger children (10 and under), this last selection is a young adult title. I don’t read a lot of young adult titles (they take a lot more time than those children’s picture books). But I do read a few. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors so I decided to try The Sleeper and the Spindle. This fusing of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White is the most creative and surprising retelling of the fairy tales I have had the pleasure of reading. In The Sleeper and the Spindle, Gaiman boldy illustrates his words ‘You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men.’ Speaking of illustrating things, Chris Riddell’s glorious art is 50% of the reason you should buy this book for yourself. The Sleeper and the Spindle is my favorite young adult book I read this year!