Closing comments. No, not from me . . .
The last post ended with a stack of books purchased from The Yellow Book Road, the wonderful bookstore closing the end of May.
Early Picture Books:
The first to catch my eye was Bear On His Own, from the “Let’s Go to the Zoo” Smithsonian Institution series and the Trudy Corporation in 2000. Jessie Cohen took the photos of the spectacled bear cub’s day ending with a sweet mama and cub snuggle.
Hey, we need some board books—you know the ones babies chew.
Itsy Bitsy Spider and Baa Baa, Black Sheep! are board books by Annie Kubler, published by Child’s Play International in 2004. Both have illustrations that include simple sign language for some of the words in the songs. Wonderful introduction for teaching babies signing (. . . and singing).
So far so good. Next I found The Book of ZZZs, written and photographed by Arlene Alda (stands to reason Alan Alda’s wife is a wonderfully talented woman) and published by Tundra Books in 2005.
This book with it’s photos of sleeping animals including the young human variety will make you think “Awww!” even if you manage not to say it. The text and photos compliment each other and should enchant young children at nap or bedtime.
A Picture Book for Older Kids:
Then I looked up and saw Bird, a picture book with three award stickers—New Voices Award Honor, Ezra Jack Keats Award, and a Coretta Scott King Award. I had to look.
This picture book, written by Zetta Elliot, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, and published by Lee & Low Books in 2008, is for more mature children.
The heart-breaking and heart-healing story is told by a young boy who mourns the loss of his older brother to drugs and the death of his granddad. Supported by the love of his family and his granddad’s friend, he’s learning to live with what he’s powerless to change and how to claim the power of his own “somethin’.”
The three awards are well-deserved.
You can see that it wasn’t my fault I already had five books I hadn’t intended to buy.
Middle Grade Books by Linda Sue Park:
At that point, I wisely decided to make a bee line for Linda Sue Park’s Keeping Score, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2008. We’d recently had a short Twitter conversation about baseball. I’d also learned helpful things from her presentation at a SCBWI conference. So I wanted that book.
Maggie, the protagonist, is a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan who learns the notations for box scores and can’t help but root for Willie Mays (Giants, if you’re not a baseball person). Her brother plays baseball, but Maggie doesn’t have that opportunity.
Hey, I was a huge LA Dodgers fan who loved Willie Mays. My ambition in life was to be a short stop. And I learned to keep score for my brother’s Little League team since girls couldn’t play.
The book continually deepens and connects to broader issues. The fireman who taught Maggie to score is drafted and sent to fight in the Korean War. Maggie tries to sort out the relationships between faith, prayers, friendships, and baseball.
My husband, who always greets the opening of baseball season with, “Our long national nightmare is over,” is reading it now.
Okay, so five books I hadn’t intended to get and one that I had. Did I mention that right next to Keeping Score stood a slim book with the intriguing title SeeSaw Girl, also by Linda Sue Park and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 1999?
Jade, a seventeenth-century Korean girl, lives the wealthy, proper, and cloistered life of a nobleman’s daughter. But she wants to see the mountains for herself. How? She also longs to see her cousin. How? And how can she live a happy life without bringing dishonor on her family?
Okay, so six books I hadn’t intended to get and one that I had. I looked for another title that would help balance the score a little bit.
One Last Picture Book:
The Incredible Painting of Felix Closseau, written and illustrated by Jon Agee and published by Harper Collins, Toronto in 1988, is a hoot. Love the art, the story, the jokes, and the twist at the end. If you like the Hogswart paintings, find this book.
Final score, six unplanned purchases to two planned one. Eight winners total.
Without an actual bookstore, an actual children’s bookstore to peruse, I wouldn’t have found six of these must-haves.
So I’m going back to The Yellow Book Road in Liberty Station, San Diego, before it closes at the end of the month. In the next post, I’ll let you know what I found . . . if you don’t beat me to them.
Also next post, a cautionary tale for indie writers.