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Staff Picks Category: Picture books

You Are Stardust by Elin Kelsey []

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This book will definitely spark a child’s curiosity about the world around them. Elin Kelsey explores topics of the universe and nature through simple and lighthearted text complimented by beautiful artwork. Soyeon Kim captivates her audience with magical three dimensional dioramas that jump off the page.
stardust
Like this book? Try Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford

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Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown []

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A wonderful book about self confidence and being an individual! The story centers around a young Scottish-Peruvian girl who is extremely creative, confident, and embraces her mixed heritage. Everyone in Marisol’s life tells her that she doesn’t match- her clothes, her name, even her red hair. Marisol tries to change her appearance and the way she acts but ends up very unhappy. Her teacher asks her why she changed and Marisol could not find a reasons. In the end she realizes that other people’s opinions don’t matter and she is happy to be herself.

 

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A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet []

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Horace couldn’t stop drawing. He drew all the time and said, “Pictures just come to my mind…and I tell my heart to go ahead”. Horace never stopped making pictures. Not while working hard every day to provide for his family and not even when he was in the trenches in France during WWI. Of the war, Horace said, it “brought out all the art in me”. He painted war scenes, bible scenes, and what he saw of everyday life. This is an engaging picture book that will introduce children to a great American artist.

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When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill; pictures by Theodore Taylor III []

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In his introduction to Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, DJ Kool Herc says, “Hip-hop is the voice of this generation.” This picture book tells the story of the beginning of hip hop in the Bronx. Clive wanted to be a DJ since he was young. He grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and looked up to a DJ named King George. Clive moved to New York to live with his mama when he was 13 years old. He started going by the name Kool Herc and became DJ Kool Herc when he was able to rewire his father’s sound system to get a really big sound! He was the first person to use two turntables to extend the break so people could really dance to the music. DJ Kool Herc was in high demand for house parties and street parties. He would plug his sound system into the lampposts to get power. The music was just one part of the budding hip hop culture in the Bronx. Hip hop has its own music (rap and beats), its own dance (break dancing) and its own visual art (graffiti). DJ Kool Herc loved music and his contribution to hip hop is something kids should be reading about!

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Raven and the Red Ball by Sarah Drummond []

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This is a beautiful wordless picture book with woodcut illustrations. A dog finds a red ball and begins to play until a raven appears. With eyes red like the ball, the raven takes the ball from the dog. Defeated and exhausted after chasing the raven, the dog stops to rest only to be pleasantly surprised by the red ball falling from above.

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When the Moon is Full: A Lunar Year by Penny Pollock; illustrations by Mary Azarian []

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Full moons come,

full moons go,

softening nights

with their silver glow.

This book has amazing illustrations by Vermont woodcut artist, Mary Azarian. Pollock tells the story of the lunar calendar. Each month has a verse describing the twelve moons according to Native American tradition and a hand-colored woodcut illustration.

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Un regalo de gracias: La leyenda de la Altagracia by Julia Alvarez; illustrations by Beatriz Vidal []

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Maria is afraid that her family will have to abandon their farm after their olive crop fails. Then one night she dreams of a beautiful and mysterious lady. Maria and her family plant seeds to grow oranges. Soon they have an amazing orange grove. Maria wonders who the beautiful lady that came to her in her dream is.

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Finding the Green Stone by Alice Walker; paintings by Catherine Deeter []

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Find the Green Stone is a story about a boy named Johnny who lives in a town where everyone has a glowing green stone. Johnny is distraught when he loses his stone and it takes the community coming together to help him for Johnny to realize he needs to find the love in his heart to get his glowing green stone back.

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