For the Kids
The Mountain that loved a Bird
by Alice McLerran, Pictures by Eric Carle
Plot Summary: A barren, lonely mountain is visited by a bird named Joy who, with the help of her descendants over the course of many generations, helps to open the mountain's heart and bring life to its slopes.
Why I Love It: This book makes me cry (sob, really) every time I read it to my kids. The story is beautiful and poignant. It reads and feels like a descendant of Charlotte's Web. With her lyrical prose, Alice McLerran evokes the bittersweet feeling of choosing love and connection even when we know it won't last forever. Eric Carle's signature style of illustration captures the vividness of Joy the Bird and the transformation that occurs on the mountain through the love and devotion in their friendship.
Age Range: Pre-K - Grade 3
Written by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, Illustrated by Maurie J. Manning
Plot Summary: A young man's grandfather teaches him that everyone has an invisible bucket, and the boy starts to notice the connection between how we treat each other and how we feel.
Why I Love It: This book is a fantastic tool for teaching about empathy and the impacts of our actions on others. The metaphor of a "bucket" to signify our emotional well-being has been transformational in our house this week. My 4-year old immediately adopted the language, saying, "My bucket is empty!" or "I think he needs more drops in his bucket." This is the kids' version of the original "How Full is Your Bucket?" which I also checked out from the library, but I think I've got all I need from this volume for kids.
Age Range: Pre-K to 3rd Grade (but a good read for anyone)
Written by Sarah Nash, Illustrated by Pamela Venus
Plot Summary: Tyrone's stuffed tiger loses his stripes in the wash, and it takes the whole family to find a solution to help him recover his stripes.
Why I Love It: In the inappropriately homogeneous racial landscape of children's literature, this is a welcome depiction of an inter-generational African American family, with characters including Nana, Grandpa, Dad, Mom, and Auntie. The gorgeous charcoal and watercolor illustrations set off the simple story and evoke the magical realism of childhood, with a collection of Tyrone's toys and stuffed animals animating gracefully as playful friends and participants in each scene.
Age Range: 2 - 5 Years
Written by Glennon Doyle Melton
Summary: It took Glennon Doyle Melton decades to learn that bulimia, alcoholism, and drug abuse were the "superhero capes" she adopted to avoid feeling too much. An unexpected pregnancy pushed her into instant sobriety and kickstarted her journey of choosing Love over Fear. This book of essays includes some of her best pieces from the popular website Momastery and touches on motherhood, love, faith, and friendship.
Why I Love It: I could live in this book. Every piece is funny, beautiful, wise, honest, and true. Thank goodness Melton (or Glennon, as I think of her, because she makes you feel like she's your new best friend) has found her calling as a "radical truth-teller". As she says, the world is both beautiful and brutal - "brutiful" - but the world is more beautiful with her writing to guide us.