Fiction or nonfiction? Realistic fiction can help readers understand real information. Picturebooks can serve as a bridge to respect and acceptance of those who are different and of situations we may encounter. These beautiful new releases are all stories that readers may recognize themselves in or will help them to better understand others.
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, written by Nina La Cour, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita is a lovely picture book about a parent who has to travel for work. The week without her is long and sad. The other kids at school also have others they miss but Mommy is missed as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky. When Mommy returns there’s reason to celebrate and for the child to fit in the middle again. ISBN 978-1-5362-1151-1, Candlewick Press
I’ll Go and Come Back, Rajani LaRocca, art by Sara Palacios, is a touching multicultural story of a grandchild visiting her grandmother in India where everything is different and new: the sounds, the smells, the tastes. Together they form a friendship and when time comes to leave, they promise each other to ‘go and come back”. When grandmother comes to North America, everything is new for her: the sounds, the smells, the tastes. But together they learn and build strong memories. And they promise again to always ‘go and come back’. A great story for children whose grandparents live far away. ISBN 978-1-5362-0717-0, Candlewick Press
City Streets Are for People by Andrea Curtis, with art by Emma Fitzgerald, is much more than the title suggests. This nonfiction book is part of the ThinkCities series. It looks at transportation and its effect on our daily lives, on cities and on the environment. The text explains why streets in medieval cities were so narrow, how public transportation evolved and how traffic impacts our lives. It looks at (fossil) fuels and solar power. There are amazing projects mentioned such as hovering high speed trains and peddle-school-busses. Many cities around the world are mentioned with specific examples. A great book to raise awareness of how we can improve our global footprint and how we can demand action from our city managers. ISBN 978-1-77306-465-9, Groundwood Books
Love in the Library, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, art by Yas Imamura is a touching picturebook based on true events. Words can help you cope with feelings and situations. Books filled with words can be a comfort, especially when one is forced to live in an internment camp. Tama is Japanese and, following the bombing of Pearl Harbour, she is suddenly consider an enemy. Tama runs the camp library where George checks out books each day. More books than he can possibly read each night. George helps Tama find the right words to see how humans can cope. ISBN 978-1-5362-0430-8, Candlewick Press
Margriet Ruurs is a children’s book writer who conducts author presentations at international school. Contact her via www.margrietruurs.com