Dr. Fauci

Messner, Kate. Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021.
A straight-forward picture book biography – with extensive additional information, including information on how vaccines are developed, a reading list, a timeline, and numerous photographs – for curious readers 6 to 11 years old. Useful for classroom discussions and as a springboard to research. Recommended for its timeliness.

More biographies

Erika-san

Say, Allen. Erika-san. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008.
A little girl, seeing a picture of a teahouse in her grandmother’s home, becomes curious about Japan. She reads books about Japan, learns how to speak Japanese, and – after she grows up and finishes college – moves to Japan to become a schoolteacher. But busy Tokyo doesn’t appeal to her. She longs for the countryside. She finally finds it, a little village that reminds her of the picture from long ago, a place where she makes a friend, marries him, and creates her new home.
Some reviewers have criticized this picture book for depicting a character that dislikes a foreign city, for writing about a character appropriating another culture as her own. But this quietly beautiful picture book isn’t about displaying political correctness or conveying moral messages. It is a story about someone who admires a way of life and goes out to find it. It is a story for everyone who has had a dream and then set out to find it. Recommended for reflective readers 9 to 12 years old. 

More sophisticated picture books

More stories set in Japan

More stories by Allen Say

Prairie Days

MacLachlan, Patricia. Prairie Days. New York, Toronto: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2020.
Any story by Patricia MacLachlan is worth reading. Any book by Margaret K. McElderry is worth looking at. And this picture book illustrated with collages by Micha Archer is no exception. Written from the first-person point of view, it is a wonderfully exuberant celebration of long-ago summers on the American prairies. An excellent read-aloud for family gatherings, sure to start more stories of long ago memories. Highly recommended for everyone who loves country life.

More country life stories

Stories based on real life 

Picture books with collages

First-person point of view

P.S. A little clue to MacLachlan’s brilliance: When she talks about the farm horses – Lyddie, Blue, and Joe – she doesn’t say ‘that’ we used to ride. She uses the pronoun ‘who’ instead. Because those horses aren’t objects. They are alive. They are loved.

Just Like That

Summer holidays are coming to an end and a new term is about to begin. Get ready by reading a historical novel set in a boarding school. 

Schmidt, Gary D. Just Like That. Boston: Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021.
Meryl Lee is sent to a posh boarding school in Maine where wealthy students are clearly considered superior. Unfortunately, she is not wealthy. Meanwhile, Matt has run away – with a pillowcase full of money – from a criminal gang and is hiding in a seaside shack. The two teenagers meet and begin a fragile friendship. Set in 1968 during the Vietnam war, this young adult novel addresses political issues, religious beliefs, and social justice. Highly recommended for readers 12 years old and up. (P.S. All stories written by award-winning Gary D. Schmidt are worth reading.)

More stories of faith 

More stories of runaways