In My Library Tote: January Children’s Books

I’ve always kept an ongoing list of picture and early chapter books I’d like to read with Jona (and eventually, Violet) in my book bullet journal so I never run out of things to check out at the library. Because my old job was right across the street from one of the branches of our local library, I could easily stop by on my way home, or during lunch, to pick up a few books. These days it’s a lot less convenient, so I have to be more strategic with my holds. I'm trying to get into a regular routine so I can keep our library stack refreshed. Do you have a library routine? Are you a browser or do you run in, grab your books, and go? (I'm usually the latter.)

Here’s what we read together in January.

{Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder} We listened to this on audio. I adored these books as a child and was chomping at the bit to share them with Jona. I thought the audio was delightful and Jona was fascinated by the description of life during this time. My only issue, and one I don’t at all remember from childhood, was that one of the songs that Pa sings makes a racist reference. I don’t know if anything like that comes up in the other books, but I’d like to be prepared so that I can have a conversation with Jona about it. I don’t want to not listen or read these books because of instances like that, but at the same time I’m not going to ignore it for the sake of it being written “a long time ago.” Have you read these books recently with your children? How do you address this?

{The Curse of the Incredible Priceless Corncob and The Case of the One-Eyed Killer Stud Horse by John R. Erickson} After listening to Little House, Jona was ready to go back to his beloved Hank the Cowdog, so we listened to books 7 and 8 last month. I don’t think you need to read or listen to this series in order at all, but I have a hard time not starting a series from the beginning. We usually do a couple of Hanks in a row and then move on to something different for a while--I need a break from the silliness sometimes!

{The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain} This was a library check-out that ended up being a big hit with Jona. It explores the world below your feet when you’re outside walking. It takes you on a tour, starting from the sidewalk and going down--all the way to the earth’s core. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic for a picture book, but with the gorgeous illustrations and interesting yet succinct descriptions, it was captivating. Jona has been gravitating towards non-fiction lately, so this one was a winner for him.

{Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson} This is the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah who was born in Ghana with only one functioning leg. Despite many people seeing his disability as a setback or even a curse, his mother taught him to work hard, persevere, and believe in himself. He taught himself to ride a bike and ended up riding around the entire country of Ghana to empower disabled people throughout his country. Jona really liked that this was a true story, and has been fascinated lately by stories like this of people overcoming a disability or injury. (For example, there was a story in a book he read about a football player--a kicker--who was missing his toes but who was one of the best kickers. Jona loved that.) I thought it was an inspiring story as well!

{Imogene's Antlers by David Small} If it’s not a true story, Jona prefers his stories with a bit of goofiness, so this one, about a little girl who woke up one day with a set of antlers growing out of her head, did the trick. It came through as sweet and whimsical though, rather than the kind of goofy that only a five year old can appreciate. Thankfully, I enjoyed it too. Thanks Anne (I think!) for the recommendation!

{Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers} Finn lives by the sea, and when he looks outside he thinks about a story his grandfather used to tell him, about a place where the ocean meets the sky. He decides to build his own ship to sail to this magical place. This is a sweet story about the power of imagination and memories, and the illustrations are stunning.

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