We’ve been homeschooling this summer, which means we’ve all been reading to each other even more than usual. We are passionate readers.
We organize our weeks around topics of interest to Noah, and places he’s selected by closing his eyes and spinning the globe. (As the globe in question is from 1990 or thereabouts, he sometimes hits upon a country that no longer exists, which is pretty interesting in and of itself.)
So, suddenly we’re discovering and reading tons of new picture books and readers. I mean, I would never have searched our library system’s catalog for Senegal or creation stories just for kicks, but it’s great fun to access all this new and different material together.
Here are a few of my personal favorites so far:
Cloudette, by Tom Lichtenheld: Just a really cute, visually appealing book about a little cumulus cloud who wants to make important weather.
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, adapted by Chris van Wyk from Mandela’s autobiography and illustrated by Paddy Bouma: Picture books about social justice, oppression, and/or history often suck. This one is good. It doesn’t talk down to children and takes them seriously as human beings.
Skunkdog, by Emily Jenkins: Dying of cute! The dog’s name is Dumpling, and she cannot smell and therefore can’t make dog friends. Lonely Dumpling! But look, oh no, a skunk! I am in love with this book; it just pleases me so much. Noah liked it, too.
Dreamer from the Village: the Story of Marc Chagall, by Michelle Markel, illustrated by Emily Lisker: A thoughtful and interesting treatment of the artist and his rather odd art. I really liked this one as a way to talk about art, color, perception, etc.
The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters, by Christoph Niemann: A visually-appealing, design-y, and fun introduction to a few Chinese characters (as in, the writing system). Noah loved reading this book and then trying to draw some of the characters. Such a great concept.
Lin Yi’s Lantern: A Moon Festival Tale, by Brenda Williams, illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe: Really beautiful illustrations and a nice story about responsibility, generosity, the Moon Festival, and market life in China.