What a Beautiful Morning

Levine, Arthur A. What a Beautiful Morning! Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Kids, 2016.
Life is delightful for Noah when he visits his grandparents. Every day starts with a song and leads to all sorts of adventures. But all that changes when one summer day Grandpa can’t remember how to cut his cinnamon French toast. A touching story of love for readers who are facing the consequences of dementia in their own families. Highly recommended for all ages.

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Be You!

Reynolds, Beter H. Be You! New York: Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2020.
An upbeat and encouraging story by a master storyteller. The illustrations, the font, the design of each page all contribute to create a picture book for readers of all ages. A perfect companion to Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 

More stories of individuality

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie

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Because

Willems, Mo. Because. New York: Hyperion Books For Children, 2019.

An encouraging story showing how we are all connected to each other, how one action by one person can lead to inspiration for others. Cheerful illustrations by Amber Ren help tell a story of Franz Schubert composing a symphony that leads to a young girl becoming a composer. The front endpaper shows Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B-Minor, while the back endpaper features Hilary Purrington’s The Cold, a piece composed especially for this picture book. The back flyleaf intriguingly relates the chain of events that led to the author’s and illustrator’s own careers.  A wonderful story for readers six to eleven-years-old, a discussion starter for teachers of middle school students. 

Listen to the The Cold and learn more about the creative ideas that led to this story HERE.

More stories about music and musicians

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The Bicycle Spy

McDonough, Yona Zeldis. The Bicycle Spy. New York: Scholastic Press, 2016.
Twelve-year-old Marcel – riding his bicycle and dreaming of racing in the Tour de France – discovers that he is delivering more than bread from his family’s bakery. He is delivering secret messages that must be kept hidden from the German soldiers who have invaded France. Set in 1942, this suspenseful novel – with widely spaced lines and relatively large print – will appeal to readers 10 years old and up. 

More stories of World War 2 

More stories set in France

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Paper Son

Leung, Julie. Paper Son : the Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2019.
In 1919, a nine-year-old boy left his home in China to move to America with his father. Every night on the long voyage across the ocean, he memorized the answers he would need to correctly answer the questions sure to be asked by immigration officials. Years later, after studying art in California, he became one of the animators who helped create Disney’s famous film, Bambi. This beautiful picture book – accompanied by photographs and historical information – is highly recommended for readers 8 years old and up.

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A Song for China

Zhang, Ange. A Song for China: How My Father Wrote Yellow River Cantata. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2019.
A fascinating account of the author’s father, a writer who used his art and writing to fight for social justice in China. Illustrated with photographs and wood-block style illustrations and  supplemented by the English and Chinese words of the cantata, this 54-page biography is highly recommended for readers 14-years-old and up who want to expand their understanding of Chinese history.

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Orphan Train Girl

Kline, Christina Baker. Orphan Train Girl: the Young Readers’ Edition of Orphan Train. New York: Harper, 2017.
Molly, a foster child in Maine, is court-ordered to do community service after stealing a book from the public library. Forced to help an elderly woman clean up her attic, she makes a friend who shares her own past as a homeless Irish-Catholic child sent out to work without pay in order to earn her keep. A powerful story based on history as explained – and illustrated with photographs – in an afterward. Highly recommended for readers 11 years old and up.

More historical fiction

More stories of foster children

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