Love It! Books that celebrate connection

February book selections are all about love: stories about love itself, stories to share with those we love and stories that foster a love of reading, storytelling and togetherness. Our list was chosen with the help of JoAnn Fruchtman from The Children’s Bookstore in Roland Park.

BOARD BOOKS:

I Love My Daddy Board Book by Sebastian Braun. This classic is now in board book form and is sure to become a favorite at bedtime and story time. It’s an upbeat, cheery and playful book about the love between parent and child and the things parents do to show their love for the little cubs in their lives.

Plant a Kiss Board Book by Amy Rosenthal, Illustrated by Peter Reynolds. Rhythmic and descriptive with colorful illustrations, this book captures the idea of a little girl who plants a kiss and watches it blossom and blow away, sharing love and good wishes wherever it lands. A complicated idea, told simply, that even small hearts can understand.

PICTURE BOOKS:

Love Is by Diane Adams, Illustrated by Claire Keane. This story revolves around a little girl and a duckling which she cares for and which grows with during their year together. Young children will identify with the idea of caring for a pet, while parents will no doubt draw parallels to the life cycle of falling in love with and nurturing something so fragile that eventually grows and becomes its own being. The frame-worthy illustrations add clarity and humor, driving the story along.

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards, Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. I loved everything about this book: the story, the illustrations and the meaning behind doing simple things that have long-lasting meaning for others. This book revolves around Sophia, who was recently taught how to make pompoms for the many hats which Mrs. Goldman knits and gives away to those in her neighborhood. When Sophia realizes that Mrs. Goldman is without a hat on a cold day (because she gifted it, of course), Sophia decides to knit one for Mrs. Goldman herself.

EARLY READER:

Playing from the Heart, by Peter H. Reynolds. On the surface, this book is about a young boy who shows an interest in playing piano, his father who encourages him, and how the desire to motivate and encourage someone to be better can sometimes backfire.

What Do You Do With a Chance by Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Mae Besom. This story is told with straightforward language and vivid, imaginative illustrations, and shows how a young boy, presented with lost chances, must decide whether to risk it all and try again or let opportunities for growth pass him by.

 

MIDDLE READER:

My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson. Many will remember Ms. Paterson’s award-winning Bridge to Terabithia. Her latest novel, based on true events and full of cultural details about Cuban life and history, follows the story of a young teen, Lora, who decides to volunteer her services in Cuba’s literacy corps to help others learn to write and read. A story for the entire family to enjoy that shows how a driven, compassionate and competent teenager has something important to offer —and share — with others in her community.

Rules by Cynthia Lord. A funny yet heartbreaking story about Catherine, a 12-year-old girl who has an autistic brother, David, and the choices she makes in pursuit of a friendship with Kristi, a new girl who moves into the neighborhood. Will the rigid set of rules Catherine has created for David to help him in social situations and her preoccupation with what it means to be “normal” get in the way of her friendship with Kristi, or will an unexpected bond with a new, special boy inform her decisions about what it truly means to accept someone, just as they are?

YOUNG ADULT:

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. The use of email correspondence throughout this book serves as a refreshing and modern story telling tool. Jessie’s life is complicated. The loss of her mother to cancer, a new and permanent romance for her father, the sale of their family home and a forced relocation, topped with enrollment in an elite private prep school, and Jessie is lost. When an anonymous email arrives, and its recipient offers to show her the ropes, she must decide whether to trust someone with her concerns and secrets.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. Madeline is a likeable teen who is afflicted with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome, meaning she is allergic to nearly everything in the outside world, and lives, literally, in a bubble. When an intriguing boy, Olly, moves in next door, and within view of Madeline, the two form a way to communicate with one another and hatch a deceptive plan with youthful exuberance – one which could endanger both of their lives.

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