Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! Last week I wrote about how sick our household was. I’m happy to report all fevers have now ceased, though my spouse is still feeling a bit under the weather. My kid is able to attend all two days of preschool this week, so I’m calling the week a win. Here’s hoping that September is healthier than August!
One Thursday Afternoon by Barbara Dilorenzo
This is a heartbreaking picture book about school shooting drills. Normally Ava and her Grandad have such fun after school together, but today, Ava’s quiet when Grandad picks her up. He made plans for the two to have a picnic and paint in the park, but Ava doesn’t want to participate in either. Eventually, nature helps Ava process her emotions, and she begins to cry and tells her Grandad about how they had a school shooting drill that day, and how much it scares her. With Grandad’s support and empathy, Ava is able to work through the anxiety, and the two paint together. It makes me so angry that books like these are necessary but necessary they are. It’s such a compassionate take on a heavy topic.
Magnolia Flower by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Loveis Wise
Ibram X. Kendi, the author of How to be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, adapts this lovely folktale by Zora Neale Hurston for younger readers. Magnolia Flower’s father is Black and escaped enslavement, and her mother is Native American and survived The Trail of Tears. She grew up climbing three trees beside a river. When her father forbids her to marry a poor, formerly enslaved man, the two lovers escape down the river between the trees to live a life based on love. They return decades later, and Magnolia Flower is welcomed home by the trees. This is the kind of picture book adults will enjoy just as much as children. The illustrations are stunning.
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I’ve read several children’s books with divorced families lately, so I thought I’d share four of my favorites. I’m glad to see more children’s books present happy, well-adjusted divorced families.
Tuesday is Daddy’s Day by Elliot Kreloff
This little girl protagonist has two great families: her mom and her daddy and his partner Harry. She also has the perfect schedule worked out to split the time between the two, but when her mom picks her up from school on Tuesday — Daddy’s day — she feels thrown off. Things just aren’t right! However, her dads and mom have a surprise that will make everything better. This is a super fun, LGBTQ+ inclusive picture book.
Thursday by Ann Bonwill, illustrated by Kayla Harren
While the other three books on this list present happy divorced families, this picture book deals with the initial sadness of finding out your parents are divorcing. Thursday is the protagonist’s favorite day of the week, but when her parents tell her they’re divorcing on a Thursday, it ruins the day for her. At first she feels stuck in sadness and frustration, but nature and the comfort of a unicorn lovey she found next to the trash help her to awaken to the world again slowly. This is a sensitively written, sad yet hopeful picture book about divorce.
The Critter Club: Amy Meets Her Stepsister by Callie Barkley, illustrated by Marsha Riti
My daughter and I have been slowly making our way through The Critter Club early chapter books, and while this book isn’t new, it’s new to us. Amy’s parents are divorced, and her Dad is remarrying a woman who has a child Amy’s age, Chloe. Amy is so excited to meet Chloe, but they immediately clash. To Amy, it feels like Chloe is being intentionally mean to her. Over the weekend, both girls are constantly at odds, until a wayward Dalmation helps them connect, and Amy realizes she and Chloe were just having one big misunderstanding.
Book Buddies: Ivy Lost and Found by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
This new early chapter book series is adorable. When Anne the librarian was a child, she had a beloved doll, Ivy. When she finds Ivy in a box, she adds her to her library’s book buddy collection. Kids can check out a book buddy for two weeks and write their own little book about their adventures. Ivy is adopted by a girl who is staying with her dad for the weekend. She rarely gets to visit her dad, and she’s resentful of her younger step-siblings who are always there, and who monopolize her time. She loves staying with her mom, but she misses her dad too. She tells all this to Ivy, who calmly listens. Maybe Ivy and the other book buddy companions can help! Told from Ivy’s perspective, this is a delightful and imaginative book for early readers.
Speaking of book buddies, my daughter’s lovey, Fawn, simply had to read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site the other evening.
If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next Tuesday!