Young Reader

Snow days in Santa Cruz are few and far between (okay, I’ve never experienced one). Yet even one day of snuggling back in under the covers because school is cancelled can be a treasure chest of nostalgia. This book captures that feeling and adds the longing of a young child for her mother to curl up next to her, just this once, staying home from work too. Caldecott Award–winner Beth Krommes’ distinctive wood-engraving illustrations create the magically charged atmosphere of the winter holidays. This is a gorgeous book, sure to enchant every age. Ages 4–7.  —TERA

 

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Before Morning Cover Image
By Joyce Sidman, Beth Krommes (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780547979175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 4th, 2016

The sheer joy and exuberance of learning is revealed when Frank, a young boy, and Lucky, a black Lab pup from a shelter, are brought together. “Both had a lot to learn.” They learn about science—“Science is when you wonder about something, so you observe it and ask questions about it”—and specifically about botany, entomology, and chemistry because Lucky had “wondered about skunks.” They learn about math—“Let’s say a dog comes in from outside and gets one biscuit, but there are three people in the living room. How many more biscuits should the dog receive?”—and specifically about fractions. At night, how much of the bed belongs to Lucky or to Frank? The answer, as shown in multiple panels, changes during the course of the night. They learn about history and perspective when a cake vanishes—“Sometimes in history there are different versions of what really happened, depending on who is telling the story.” They learn about geography and languages—Frank learns Spanish; Lucky tries to learn Duck. Learning is all around us, and the love of it is celebrated in Perkins’ deadpan but exceedingly funny text and delightful pen-and-ink and watercolor paintings. This is my favorite picture book of the year. Grades 1 & up.    —GA

 

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Frank and Lucky Get Schooled Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062373458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - June 14th, 2016

Growing up black in the South was a dangerous thing to do. Some people are kind and welcoming to all, some people are not. Stella knows this, but she figures things are okay, as there hasn’t been any trouble in a while. Then one summer, that all changes. Her father wants to take the test to vote. The Klan is becoming active again. And Stella is there, watching, listening, learning, and writing it all down. This is a moving, uplifting story of family, community, and strength in the face of the worst kind of adversity.  --Flannery

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Stella by Starlight Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781442494985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - March 29th, 2016

It’s the summer of 1968, and 11-year old Delphine and her two sisters have just been sent off to Oakland, California to live with their estranged mother. However, their mother is busy with her own things, and sends the kids off to a summer camp at the People’s Center, run by the Black Panther Party. Over the summer, Delphine and her sisters learn a lot about the world they live in, the mother who left them, and themselves. Not only does this have a great local setting, but it talks about the Civil Rights Movement on the West Coast, a little tackled subject.  --Flannery

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One Crazy Summer Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780060760908
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Amistad Press - December 27th, 2011

In the late 1880’s, a call went out across America: Free land in Oklahoma, for any who will settle it. Many of those who rushed to claim that land were newly freed slaves, eager for a fresh start in a new place, and filled with the fire and hope required to survive settling the frontier. Based on her family’s own history, Joyce Carol Thomas has written a beautiful book that tells of that call and the hope that came with it. This lovely, lyrical book is perfect for reading out loud.  --Flannery

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I Have Heard of a Land Cover Image
By Joyce Carol Thomas, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780064436175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - January 5th, 2000

Long before the Civil Rights Movement, Ida B. Wells stood up and took a stand against discrimination. Growing up during Reconstruction, Wells saw what life could have been like for African Americans, and when it ended, she used the power of the printed press to advocate for change. In addition to fighting for black rights, Wells fought for the women’s right to vote. This wonderful picture book by noted author Walter Dean Myers is a fitting tribute to an incredible woman.  --Flannery

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Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780060544683
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad Press - January 27th, 2015

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, and she’s very happy there with her friends and family. But there’s one thing Africa can’t give her: Anna wants to see snow! This is a sweet, fun book about a charming, clever girl. If you’ve got a young reader who’s burned through Ivy & Bean, Judy Moody, or Junie B. Jones, give them the Anna Hibiscus series, and they’ll find a kindred spirit!  --Flannery

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Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! Cover Image
By Atinuke, Lauren Tobia (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781610670081
Availability: Special Order
Published: Kane/Miller Book Publishers - March 1st, 2011

I think Miss Rumphius is a perfect children’s book. Based on a real woman, it tells the story of a lady who spends her youth adventuring, and her elder days scattering lupine seeds wherever she goes—making the world a more beautiful place. I love the message that something as small as scattering seeds can bring such joy to the world, and Cooney’s gorgeous illustrations bring me joy.
  --Flannery

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Miss Rumphius: Story and Pictures Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780140505399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - June 23rd, 2010

Honestly, almost any Bill Peet book could go on this list. Clever, funny, with silly rhyming words to rival Dr. Seuss, Bill Peet’s books are perfect for children. His colored pencil drawings are wonderful, and his stories have a flow and cadence that makes them perfect for reading out loud.  --Flannery

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The Wump World Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780395311295
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 27th, 1981

This is my favorite Roald Dahl book. For one, what child’s dream isn’t to be in a candy factory like that? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is sweet and heartwarming, dark and funny. I tear up every time I read the part where Charlie finds the golden ticket. To me, this is pure literary magic.  --Flannery

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780142410318
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - August 16th, 2007

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