Picture Book Round-Up #3

In this round-up, we’ve got some books recommended to me during the ALSC Institute Session Black Kids Camp Too, Don’t They? and more (aka: an ARC I also got at ALSC Institute)

Where’s Rodney by Carmen Bogan, illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

Gosh, Floyd Cooper’s style is so unique and despite illustrating many different kinds of books, it’s always somehow the perfect style for the story. This was a commissioned book by one of the National Parks, if I read correctly and is about a Black boy who cant’ sit still in class and who lives in what appears to be not a great neighborhood (based on his mother’s reaction to him being inside) and finds joy and majesty on a class trip to a national park. It’s gorgeously illustrated–the joy on Rodney’s face outside is fun delight. It’s also a good story to pair with an activity or to share with boys who don’t always see people like them–the class clons and the can’t sit downs–in books.

Hike by Pete Oswald

This is a cute mostly-wordless picture book that plays with linear structure across the page in a way that will help prepare readers for graphic novels. The palette is loving and inviting, and the use of onomatopoeia throughout is fun. It’s mostly an unforgettable book for me, but I do think the representation is great and it invites readers to tell the story in their own words and experiences.

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K Mann

This is a graphic novel style picture book—it has frames throughout–and simply put, I am a sucker for a packing list/suitcase spread in books. I liked it, but I do wish people would stop putting black text on grass-green backgrounds. It’s so hard to read! Overall, a fun little read–great for getting kids into comics, as it’s a bit longer than a traditional picture book, though I wouldn’t say it’s especially wordy. Very dialogue driven. The people are illustrated in a very child-friendly manner, stickish legs and very round heads and button noses. I love that this showed more of camping than just tents and fires and sleeping–there’s swimming in nearby water, making dinner, etc. The star-gazing page is gorgeous.

I am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges and illustrated by Nikkolas Smith

We all know Ruby Bridges’ story, right? This time, it’s in her own words! I heard her speak on NPR about this title and highlight how it’s not an overview or a birds eye look at this–it’s based on HER personal experiences as a six year old. She didn’t know certain things–or see the bigger pictures–she just lived it. It’s a really eye-opening read, and sometimes kind of funny! Six year olds are hilarious. This isn’t about the racism she faced outside the school, even, though–it’s about her lived experiences in tose early days and how important it was to be the first. I wonder if that’s why it’s not getting more buzz–because it’s not some hard-hitting message book, or a complete biography or anything. Smith’s illustrations are AMAZING in this one–the kind of stuff that I hope is framed somewhere.

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