The Watcher

Grimes, Nikki. The Watcher. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Jordan is afraid of Tanya, the class bully. But she, too, is afraid. Can these two classmates become friends? Nikki Grimes has used the the words of Psalm 121 to write her own narrative poem, ending each line with a word from the psalm. Designed so those words are in boldface, the entire psalm can be read by simply reading the last word of each line. Powerfully illustrated by the award-winning Bryan Collier, this brilliant picture book is highly recommended for readers – and listeners – 6 years old and up.
P.S. Maybe you’d like to try writing your own “golden shovel” poem afterwards. All the directions are supplied at the end of the book.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore. (NIV) 

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Addy’s Cup of Sugar

Muth, Jon J. Addy’s Cup of Sugar: Based on a Buddhist Story of Healing. New York: Scholastic Press, 2020.
How do we carry on after a loved one has died? That is the question in another picture book about grief. Similar to The Boy and the Gorilla, this story depicts a helper. Stillwater, a giant panda who has appeared in previous books by Jon Muth, teaches Addy how to recover from grief after her beloved kitten is hit by a car. She is sent to borrow a cup of sugar from someone who has never experienced loss. By the end of the day, she realizes that everyone has suffered the desolation of losing loved ones. She is not alone in her pain. And she still has a heart full of loving memories. This story, with its full-page watercolour and pencil illustrations, will appeal to readers of all ages and all faiths. Highly recommended. 

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