This celebration of childhood innocence is a "How To" guide for resourceful kids: How to go fast is illustrated with one child riding a scooter, another on stilts, and a third wearing butterfly wings. Imaginative and creative, other examples are how to wash your face (look up into the rain), and how to wonder (gaze at the night sky). Illustrator Julie Morstad's (When I Was Small, 2012) smart, clear designs show children at their best. Ages 4-6
Nino Wrestles the World
Nino dons his red mask, sneakers and wrestling pants to transform himself into a professional wrestler – one by one he takes on the scary bad guys of Mexican folklore and manages to win every match. No opponent is too much for him – until his sisters (Las Hermanitas) awaken from their naps! Faced with these cunning opponents he must devise a new plan to win. Morales’ comic illustrations with speech bubbles and sound effects are perfect for this campy and theatrical story. Ages 6-7
No Fits, Nilson!
Amelia tells her gigantic gorilla friend “No fits, Nilson!” whenever he loses his temper. Familiar triggers include a toppled block tower, shoes that are too tight, and boring errands with adults. Amelia offers support to help him avoid meltdowns, until Nilson gets the last banana ice cream- then Amelia has a fit! Nilson offers to share his scoop and all is well. Readers will giggle when Amelia kisses Nilson goodnight and they realize he’s actually a pint-sized stuffed animal who has been helping her manage her feelings. Ohora’s acrylic paintings feature cheerful matte colors, crisp white spaces and thick black outlines – perfect for this modern fable. Ages 4-6
Pi in the Sky
Joss is the seventh son in a family of overachievers and his dad is the Supreme Overlord of the Universe. Joss’ job is to deliver pies that are distributed wherever new star systems are forming. He isn’t quite sure why these pies are important (they “hold the very fabric of the universe together.”) When the earth and its solar system are destroyed Joss is assigned the task of recreating it. He gets help from Earthling Annika and together they labor to rebuild the earth. Each chapter is introduced with a quote from luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan. Full of intriguing science and clever wit, this extraterrestrial adventure is exciting and entertaining. Ages 8-12
The Thing About Luck
Twelve-year-old Summer has experienced a year of bad luck - she contracted malaria and her parents must go to Japan to care for relatives. Summer, her brother Jaz and her grandparents must take on the burden of helping with the wheat harvest. Traveling throughout the Midwest, Summer narrates their adventures in a journal with diagrams. Lively and humorous, Summer’s story reveals a determined and compassionate girl with a generous spirit. Another gem from the Newbery Medal-winning author of Kira-Kira (2004) Ages 9-12
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