Monster Bones: The Story of a Dinosaur Fossil: An excellent introduction to fossilization and paleontology, following a single dinosaur’s path from living creature to museum exhibit. Clearly written and engaging. Also, three cheers for referring to the dinosaur and other fossilized creatures as “it” rather than “he,” making the lead scientist and about half the humans in the images women, and including a significant proportion of people of color, all without making a fuss over it. Much-recommended!
Barnum’s Bones: Another awesome dinosaur-and-paleontology book! This one’s a more traditional, narrative picture book.
The Bobbin Girl: An accessible and engaging invitation to conversations about labor history, socioeconomic class, sexism, and the power of long-term grassroots political struggle. I love that this is a moving and basically upbeat picture book about a protest that doesn’t achieve the desired results.
She’s Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!: Another good way into conversations about gender history. Noah particularly loved this book and read it many times on his own after the initial read-aloud. Great, colorful pictures and a good historical note at the end.
The Christmas Magic: A beautiful Christmas book with an unusual representation of Santa Claus.
Hanna’s Cold Winter: I loved this one so much! During WWII, the people of Budapest come together to keep the zoo’s hippopotami from starving.
Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein: Approaches Einstein’s life and work by starting with his childhood, when he was a little peculiar (who among us is not, I ask you?) and had quite a temper. Very accessible.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have a Dream Speech in Translation: What It Really Means and March On! The Day My Brother Changed the World: Moving and thoughtful accounts of King’s most famous speech, these two focus on his message, life, and cultural moment rather than on his death, which Noah knows about but doesn’t love dwelling on. Unlike some school/popular accounts of King’s legacy, the ‘speech in translation’ book presents the entire speech and doesn’t soften King’s message.
Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins: Even Eric, who’s a US historian and is rarely impressed by picture books of any kind, really really liked this one. A personal and accessible approach to the Civil Rights movement, racism, and activism.